Design, Causal Ecosystems, And “X Designed Y” Part 2: Non-Theism’s Failure to Follow-Through On Tooth and Claw
Non-Theism’s Failure to Follow-Through with The Claim of Evil Within Tooth & Claw
“Part 1” is at https://metachristianity.com/design-causal-ecosystems-x-designed-y-un-designed-designers-and-naturalisms-necessary-conservation-of-non-design/ and is titled, Design, Causal Ecosystems, “X Designed Y”, Un-designed Designers, and Naturalism’s Necessary Conservation of Non-Design. Here in “Part 2” we are assuming “Part 1” has already been read.
“…Sean Carroll is willing to use the term “personal causes”, but only with the understanding that this is short-hand way of saying “complex impersonal causes” …” (by J.H.)
Also a common theme here:
“…if I believed about God what the atheist believes about God, I wouldn’t believe in God either. So to be induced to somehow change my mind about belief in God…. I would have to accept the atheist’s misunderstanding of what God is…” (J. Black)
The topic is a bit tedious but as we work through it recall that we are working our way towards the Non-Theist’s complaint here of Tooth & Claw which as we progress through several steps is in part or in some form similar to this:
IF the Christian metaphysic is to retain coherence THEN we cannot find a Universe soaked through with “degrees” and “fragments” of (on the one hand) “Design / The-Good” intermixed with (on the other hand) “degrees” and “fragments” of “The-Broken / The-Lacking” – Whereas on Non-Theism we first affirm that our Universe is in fact defined by Metaphysical Naturalism’s Necessary Conservation of Non-Design, and, then we also affirm that on Non-Theism we CAN find that very same Universe soaked through with the topography of (Ontological) “Mixing of Fundamental Natures” wherein SOME Un-Designed Designers in fact Design SOME things.
Why? How? Recall “Part 1” here as the causes in play press in as we’re assured by our Non-Theist friends that the fundamental Causal Ecosystem of reality, which just is the fundamental “Nature” of “Reality” vis-à-vis the Map that is Physics, sums to, say, for now at least, Nature’s Four Fundamental Interactions or Forces (…Strong & Weak Nuclear, Electromagnetic, & Gravitational…) – but – while that “Nature” constitutes Reality’s Rock-Bottom vis-à-vis Metaphysical Naturalism’s fundamental conservation of Non-Design, we find somehow, some way, well it’s all a bit muddied, or spooky, and at bottom it’s all Non-Ontic, akin to Sean Carroll’s “Layers” in which the syntax of “That Laptop Is Designed” is, though useful, not actually “true” with respect to reality’s concrete furniture.
To complete that series of illusory knots of equivocations we are at times assured (by our Non-Theist friends) that particles bump into particles and build more and more intricate and sophisticated structures until they pass a threshold of complexity beyond which they produce a New Fundamental Nature Of Reality sufficiently complicated that it can E-S-C-A-P-E that causal chain or continuum of particle-in-motion that is reality’s Fundamental Causal Ecosystem (…those four fundamental forces or interactions…).
Our Non-Theist friends first assure us that the Map of Physics and those Four Fundamental Waves (…or Forces or Interactions…) are “really” Reality’s “real” Fundamental Nature – or Causal Ecosystem – except when the Reality’s Causal Bedrock somehow Escapes-Itself such that this OTHER “Fundamental Nature Of Reality” somehow, some way, becomes the Causal Rock-Bottom of “reality” – and so on in a sort of Ontic-Seesaw. The Universe is in fact “Reality” wherein we find Metaphysical Naturalism’s Necessary Conservation of Non-Design, and, at the same time, that Universe is occasionally found to contain violations of said conservation within this or that “pocket” or within “cul-de-sacs” — more precisely of course the claim is that we occasionally find the metaphysical absurdity of an “Ontological Cul-De-Sac“.
A Brief Excerpt From Part 1 of This Series:
For context the following excerpt will be helpful:
Sean Carroll (among many) finds the End of all Vectors within the singularity that is the Wave-Function – singular – and it is that which gives rise to all possible worlds, including what we call time, change, and becoming. The duplication of the Wave Function when it branches is a key:
“In a classical universe, identifying a single individual as a person aging through time is generally unproblematic. At any moment a person is a certain arrangement of atoms, but it’s not the individual atoms that matter; to a large extent our atoms are replaced over time. What matters is the pattern we form, and the continuity of that pattern, especially in the memories of the person under consideration. The new feature of QM is the duplication of that pattern when the wave function branches….. We just have to adjust our notion of personal identity through time to account for a situation that we never had reason to contemplate over the millennia of pre-scientific human evolution….” (…S. Carroll’s “Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime”…)
Just as Time is not ontologically basic so too is it the case that All Possible Worlds sum to Singularity in “That Which” Irreducibly Precedes & Supersedes All Possible Worlds (…not that “precedes” is ontologically basic, and so “supersedes” is better….) — namely the Singularity that is The-Wave-Function.
Notice the Reducible & Mutable “therein” as opposed to the Irreducible & Immutable “therein” – which is to say notice (therein) that which is, and is not, the Always & Already, the Explanatory Terminus, the Source of All.
It is therein within the contours of Reducible/Irreducible where we begin to discover the fundamental nature of X – namely ANY/ALL X’s. What is the fundamental nature of X? It’s unavoidable as there is no such thing as “Immunity” in this or that “Metaphysical Cul-De-Sac” (so to speak) from the metaphysical wellspring of all ontic-possibility and, therein, we discover that all syntax – all semantic intent – must – at some ontological seam somewhere – Begin & End with a totality of indifference to all but One Fundamental Nature – and that One is the fundamental nature of The-Wave-Function.
The Identity of Reason/Self and The Conservation of The-Wave-Function:
Option: Non-Theism / Metaphysical Naturalism: The Necessary Conservation of [No-I-AM] vis-à-vis [Reality’s Fundamental Nature] vis-à-vis the fundamental nature of Reason vis-à-vis Being vis-à-vis Mind vis-à-vis Intention vis-à-vis Self.
Option: Theism / Divine Mind v. The Christian Metaphysic: The Necessary Conservation of [The-Great-I-AM] vis-à-vis [Reality’s Fundamental Nature] vis-à-vis the fundamental nature of Reason vis-à-vis Being vis-à-vis Mind vis-à-vis Intention vis-à-vis Self.
There are no other options.
Application: All Branching Wave-Functions are superseded by, subsumed, by The-Wave-Function and that’s as predicted given the Christian Metaphysic but some such as Carroll (Etc.) may not be aware of it. Obviously the realism with respect to Identity vis-à-vis the Self summing to something other than atoms and/or elementary particles isn’t new. In fact it’s actually old. Perhaps “Only” is a better term here than New/Old. What becomes of the Conscious Observer, not behind/ahead, not eventually, but Always & Already, is where function and illusion and realism actually “speak”. The trouble with the Irreducible Any-Thing is the claim of irreducible distinctions among the fundamental natures (plural) of many things (plural). The Conscious Observer as per the Always & Already is the only distinction that matters. Reason as illusory Self/Mind cannot, in any possible world, yield Non-Illusory Self-Giving such that, at bottom, as goes the Self/Mind, so too goes (necessarily) Self-Giving vis-à-vis the nature of love. Given the necessity of singularity, we find that, whether Wave Function or not, all syntax either must or else cannot begin and end in Reason & Reciprocity – in Logic & Love.
Application: It is therein within the contours of Reducible/Irreducible where we begin to discover that the semantic intent which lands on Evil/Lack yields either something Irreducibly True or else (within the No-God paradigm) Non-Speech, even as the semantic intent which lands on [X Designed Y] yields either something Irreducibly True or else (within the No-God paradigm) Non-Speech, even as the semantic intent which lands on “DEGREES-OF” “Better/Worse” yields either something Irreducibly True or else (within the No-God paradigm) Non-Speech.
Just as Time is not ontologically basic so too is it the case that All Possible Worlds sum to singularity in that which Precedes & Supersedes All Possible Worlds – namely the Singularity that is The-Wave-Function.
Application: Non-Theism claims that Laptops are designed and that said Design exists as Un-Designed Designers (Man, People, the Adamic) in fact design Laptops, and that the Universe thereby houses “Degrees” of Design which are quantifiable by “Better/Worse” and, therein, the claim is that God’s Design has Peaks/Nadirs and Better/Worse vis-à-vis that semantic intent which lands on “Degrees”. We there find that the whole claim from start to finish actually collapses into a reductio ad absurdum – and – for all the same reasons that identical collapse occurs within all attempts at “Degrees” of Better/Worse vis-à-vis the semantic intent of Good / Evil / Lack / Whole.
Tooth & Claw – Therefore No-God: Recall that we are working our way FROM “Part 1” and, then, here, towards THAT complaint (…The Evil of Tooth & Claw – therefore No-God…). As we travel to that terminus a key here is found in those affairs which our Non-Theist friends are forever appealing to when they speak of design – namely those affairs of Stacking-Up-Of-Layers-Of-Causal-Waves (on the one hand) and Reality’s Fundamental Causal Ecosystem or Reality’s Causal Rock-Bottom (on the other hand). One must keep that Non-Theistic “Combination Package” in the forefront as one progresses through this discussion when it comes to the causes in-play (…the “Causal Content” in-play or “Causal Ecosystem” in-play…) which the terms “Design / Designed” in fact refer to – or the “ontic” which they in fact referent (…as opposed to the “epistemic” …).
The sum-total of causes which are in fact causing things to happen in “The Rock Rolled Down The Hill” of course is, in the end, the very SAME sum-total of causes which are in fact causing things to happen in “The Man Designed The Laptop”. “What causes what?” is fairly clear given Nature’s Four Fundamental Interactions (…or Forces or Waves…) there in Weak Nuclear Forces, Strong Nuclear Forces, Electromagnetic Forces, and Gravity (…Forces or Interactions or Waves…). Until we begin stacking up layers (or so the Non-Theist’s Ontic-Seesaw assures us…). The causation(s) in-play there are discussed more in “Part 1” (…at https://metachristianity.com/design-causal-ecosystems-x-designed-y-un-designed-designers-and-naturalisms-necessary-conservation-of-non-design/ …).
Recall that this discussion is NOT about the Christian’s meaning when the Christian employs the term “Design / Designed”. The Christian of course thereby references the “Causal Content” or “Causal Ecosystem” of Irreducible (Ontic) Intentionality and the Causal Content or Ecosystem of Irreducible (Ontic) Purpose as such means and ends are laced within the syntax of that paradigm’s own cosmic ocean of causes and interactions and so on.
Whereas, this discussion IS about the Non-Theist’s own meaning when the Non-Theistic Paradigm employs ITS OWN cosmic ocean of causes or waves or forces or interactions – as in its own “means” and “ends” in employing the term “Design / Designed” in its attempt to employ its own Ocean of Necessary Conservation of Non-Design in order to “discuss” and/or “define” and/or “inform” that same Universe — from which and in which they (we) live and move and obtain our very being — the ontological landscape of “design“. And let’s be clear: none of us, Christian or Theist or Non-Theist, mean to speak of non-being when we point to our ontic-referents for “design“.
There are claims flying about from both sides about “Design” and “This Is Designed” and “That Is Not Designed” and so on, which is fine. However, what isn’t fine is any sort of “Ontic-Cheat” or “Equivocation” when it comes to just WHAT we are in fact referencing when we employ that term (design / designed / designing) in the context of doing/verb or as some like to put it for emphasis: verb-ing. Once that is sorted out, well then we can seamlessly segue into The Evil of Tooth & Claw. As a reminder this Part 2 assumes one has read Part 1 which is at https://metachristianity.com/design-causal-ecosystems-x-designed-y-un-designed-designers-and-naturalisms-necessary-conservation-of-non-design/ – as rewriting A and B and C and D, and so on is not attempted.
Part of the supposed “problem” which our Non-Theist friends insist exists for the Christian metaphysic ends up, it seems, as a nuance or as a fragment of a stream of thought which talks about something our Non-Theist friends themselves are not exactly aware of. What is that? It is in fact a half-narrative which has to do with the “Incline” observed in “Biological Evolution” or “Natural Selection” where the term “Incline” referents a state of affairs where we find “degrees” and “fragments” rather than “wholes”. Recall the following observation from Part 1 (…Part 1 is at https://metachristianity.com/design-causal-ecosystems-x-designed-y-un-designed-designers-and-naturalisms-necessary-conservation-of-non-design/ …) earlier:
……If the Non-Theist wishes to demand “degrees” of “design” (Ends), then he should know that the Christian Metaphysic easily accommodates such landscapes — WHEREAS Metaphysical Naturalism’s (…Non-Theism’s…) Necessary Conservation of Non-Design, from the ground up, forces absurdities……
With Each Attempt To Draw Distinctions — A Problem
Non-Theism seeks to draw distinctions and to comment on the ontological picture of design and what that looks like and, yet, there is no evidence that laptops or any other “X” at all is designed once we follow Non-Theism’s Causal Map. Muddied waters of equivocation float the Non-Theist’s irrational appeal to we-know-not-what when they begin their slow but inevitable slide into premises laced through-and-through with 1. those nuances of “degrees” and “fragments” of the Un-Designed running about Designing as (therein) all Design-ing collapses into the Un-Designed Designer vis-à-vis irreducible Intentionality all of which (thereby) collapses into the metaphysical absurdity of Non-Designed Design, and, also, 2. the almost unnoticed fallacy of appealing to “stacking-up-layers” of those “degrees” until, finally, they 3. arrive at a “Fundamental Nature” (…for example, say, Irreducible Intentionality…) that has itself escaped, broken free of, the Fundamental Nature of Reality.
A few items from http://disq.us/p/1l7j3f2 are perhaps helpful here:
“To put it a little more simply, in the world of compatibilism, particles bump into particles, building more and more intricate and sophisticated structures, until they pass a threshold of complexity beyond which they produce a system sufficiently complicated that it can escape that causal chain….” (…from https://highplainsskeptic.com/2017/06/20/the-universe-according-to-carroll-the-sneaky-idealism-of-poetic-naturalism/ …)
Dr. Dennis Bonnette comments:
“The position you present appears to be simply a more sophisticated form of scientific materialism that claims that the incredibly complex interaction of trillions of neurons in the human physiology can account for phenomena formerly thought to be of philosophical significance – and if there are any extent epistemological mysteries left, it is just a matter of time until we can sort these out….”
Sean Carroll observes the following with respect to this illusory escapism:
“…..we are collections of vibrating quantum fields held together in persistent patterns by feeding off of ambient free energy according to impersonal and uncaring laws of nature, and we are also human beings who make choices and care about what happens to ourselves and others…”
Unfortunately we find that in Metaphysical Naturalism there is in fact an immutable ontic wherein there is, from A to Z, the Necessary Conservation of Non-Design and that finds us within the topography of Cosmic (…ontic vis-à-vis reality’s concrete furniture…) intentionality and purpose. All vectors in Non-Theism’s Causal Ocean finally or cosmically leave us within what just is a metaphysical armistice amid eternally colliding ontological equals and thereby we’ve no means by which to find any (ontic) causal and (…and moral…) DISTINCTION. “Being” is conceived of as “….a plain upon which forces of meaning and meaninglessness converge in endless war; according to either, being is known in its oppositions, and oppositions must be overcome or affirmed, but in either case as violence….”
David Bentley Hart describes such views and notes that – on simplicity – on beauty – on goodness – it is not Totality, nor is it Chaos, nor is it distinction achieved only by violence among converging equals, but rather it is the compositions of the triune where all vectors of being ultimately converge. “Nietzsche prophesied correctly: what now always lies ahead is a choice between Dionysus (who is also Apollo) and the Crucified: between, that is, the tragic splendor of totality and the inexhaustible beauty of an infinite love.” His book, “The Beauty of the Infinite: The Aesthetics of Christian Truth” in part explores such contours. A brief excerpt:
(Begin quote) “Within Christian theology there is a thought – a story – of the infinite that is also the thought – the story – of beauty; for pagan philosophy and culture, such a confluence of themes was ultimately unthinkable. Even Plotinian Neoplatonism, which brought the Platonic project to its most delightful completion by imagining infinity as an attribute of the One, was nonetheless compelled to imagine the beauty of form as finally subordinate to a formless and abstract simplicity, devoid of internal relation, diminished by reduction to particularity, polluted by contact with matter’s “absolute evil”; nor could later Neoplatonism very comfortably allow that the One was also infinite being, but typically placed being only in the second moment of emanation, not only because the One, if it were also Being, would constitute a bifid form, but because being is always in some sense contaminated by or open to becoming, to movement, and thus is, even in the very splendor of its overflow, also a kind of original contagion, beginning as an almost organic ferment in the noetic realm and ending in the death of matter.
Christian thought – whose infinite is triune, whose God became incarnate, and whose account of salvation promises not liberation from, but glorification of, material creation – can never separate the formal particularity of beauty from the infinite it announces, and so tells the tale of being in a way that will forever be a scandal to the Greeks. For their parts, classical “metaphysics” [rather than rigorous metaphysics] and postmodernism belong to the same story; each, implying or repeating the other, conceives being as a plain upon which forces of meaning and meaninglessness converge in endless war; according to either, being is known in its oppositions, and oppositions must be overcome or affirmed, but in either case as violence: amid the strife of images and the flow of simulacra, shining form appears always only as an abeyance of death, fragile before the convulsions of chaos, and engulfed in fate. There is a specular infinity in mutually defining opposites: Parmenides and Heracleitos gaze into one another’s eyes, and the story of being springs up between them; just as two mirrors set before one another their depths indefinitely, repeating an opposition that recedes forever along an illusory corridor without end, seeming to span all horizons and contain all things, the dialectic of Apollo and Dionysus oscillates without resolution between endless repetitions of the same emptiness, the same play of reflection and inversion. But the true infinite lies outside and all about this enclosed universe of strife and shadows; it shows itself as beauty and as light: not totality, nor again chaos, but the music of a triune God. Nietzsche prophesied correctly: what now always lies ahead is a choice between Dionysus (who is also Apollo) and the Crucified: between, that is, the tragic splendor of totality and the inexhaustible beauty of an infinite love.” (End quote)
Evil – Tooth & Claw – therefore No-God:
We have not lost our way and we are traveling towards that terminus. However, there is a “Map” in play here and we are for the moment navigating the unfortunate fact that our Non-Theist friends seek contradictory ends:
A. They seek first to define “Design” as a [Box] that is “Full of Intentionality” in their every-day epistemic such that “Design” is thereby a [Box] that is full of Purpose / Purposed vis-à-vis Causes & Forces – or vis-à-vis the Causal Ecosystem.
B. However, when pressed into a corner, they ride atop their Ontic-Seesaw and, without fail, insist that in fact their own Metaphysical Naturalism’s Necessary Conservation of Non-Design reigns supreme and in fact that is [The Only Real Box] and that it is in fact a [Box] that is itself “Void Of Intentionality” whereby they seek to define “Design” as a [Box] that is void of Intention – and therefore by force of logic void of Purpose / Purposed vis-à-vis Causes & Forces – or vis-à-vis the Causal Ecosystem.
Keep reading. The Evil of Tooth & Claw is the end-game here. All that is being established is just “what” the Non-Theist “means” when he goes about his claim-making on the ontological picture of design. There’s two key problems with the Map.
Naturalism’s Epistemological Nightmare – by Dr. Dennis Bonnette is at https://strangenotions.com/naturalisms-epistemological-nightmare/
Snowflakes Are Complex Without A Designer – by STR is at http://str.typepad.com/weblog/2016/05/challenge-response-snowflakes-are-complex-without-a-designer.html
With respect to Naturalism’s Epistemological Nightmare, Dr. Bonnette offers a few clarifications in that (rather long) thread. A few helpful items are in the following:
- YOS’s content at http://disq.us/p/1kv5an8 along with http://disq.us/p/1kvn1zk
- Trillions of Neurons Stacking Up In Layers at http://disq.us/p/1kyewqv and at http://disq.us/p/1l4bmgt and at http://disq.us/p/1l58tny and at http://disq.us/p/1l67kn6
With respect to that attempt to define “Design” as “Verb” which is “Void Of Intentionality” we come to said “BOXES” and that approach’s failure, which is looked at in the comment http://str.typepad.com/weblog/2016/05/challenge-response-snowflakes-are-complex-without-a-designer.html?cid=6a00d83451d2ba69e201b7c867a296970b#comment-6a00d83451d2ba69e201b7c867a296970b (…again with respect to Snowflakes Are Complex Without A Designer, see the end of this post for a list of links to specific comments in that thread…)
With respect to Snowflakes Are Complex Without A Designer, see the end of this post for a list of links to specific comments in that (rather long) thread as there AGAIN we find our Non-Theist friends appealing to STACKING UP [BOX]’S all Void Of Intentionality within the [THE BOX] that is The Universe visa-vis Metaphysical Naturalism’s Necessary Conservation of Non-Design and somehow, some way, arriving at [BOX]’s Full Of Intentionality (…the Un-Designed Designer intends for the laptop to do so-and-so, and is intentional therein, finding verbs / verb-ing which somehow offend a Necessary Conservation of Non-Design….). When speaking “X Designed Y” we are all of course referencing our own paradigmatic body of Causes and of Causality and of What-Causes-What and the Non-Theist is found to be navigating all of that with what ends up being a rather muddied and misleading Map.
Some of our Non-Theist friends attempt the following in order to get “Verb” and “Designed” separated from one another with respect to their paradigm’s pesky absurdity in trying to defend inherent (irreducible, ontic) Intentionality:
“Designing is an act, a stage of making, of deciding what features an object will have. Whether an object was designed or not is a historical question about its origin. It’s not a question about its nature….”
With respect to that attempt to define “Design” as “Verb” which is “Void Of Intentionality” we come to said “BOXES” and that approach’s failure, which is looked at in the comment http://str.typepad.com/weblog/2016/05/challenge-response-snowflakes-are-complex-without-a-designer.html?cid=6a00d83451d2ba69e201b7c867a296970b#comment-6a00d83451d2ba69e201b7c867a296970b (…again with respect to Snowflakes Are Complex Without A Designer, see the end of this post for a list of links to specific comments in that particular thread…)
“Layers of Causal Networks which constitute the brain” are described by a valid ontological story within Time, within History, and that allows the Non-Theist (we’re told) to expunge anything “intentional / directional” so that the “Story Of How It Became The Funneled Cloud Of Causes In This Cul-De-Sac Over Here” is what “Design” now “means”. Or (…if that fails…) at times that story within Time, within History DOES allow Non-Theism to tell the ontological history of a genuine (we’re assured) “intentionality” there in the Fundamental Nature of the Causal Rock-Bottom within those Networks (…neurons…).
So, again, with respect to Snowflakes Are Complex Without A Designer, see the end of this post for a list of links to specific comments in that thread. It all overlaps with a different, but just as relevant, part of this “Map” which is addressed by Dr. Bonnette in his Naturalism’s Epistemological Nightmare. Claim-making about the Ontological Picture of “Design” is fine, but one must mean what one says. To replay one item from a few paragraphs earlier:
“…..we are collections of vibrating quantum fields held together in persistent patterns by feeding off of ambient free energy according to impersonal and uncaring laws of nature, and we are also human beings who make choices and care about what happens to ourselves and others…” (Sean Carroll)
In that quote there is a KEY equivocation with “….and we are also human beings who…” as, there, we find all the affairs of a logical impossibility – namely – an “ontological cul-de-sac” – a [Causally Isolated Box] – a box located in a Cul-De-Sac – in fact in an Ontological Cul-De-Sac which sums to a “Fundamental Nature” there inside our skulls – somehow Causally-Isolated from – free from – having escaped from – Reality’s Rock-Bottom Causal Ecosystem – Immune to the “Ocean” within which it subsists both causally and otherwise as all vectors are subsumed by the only causal continuum available to the Non-Theist.
It is that ontological seam where – not physics – but Reason itself and Intentionality Itself and thereby Purpose Itself are – all – finally – by the free and informed mind – sacrificed on the proverbial altar of one’s preferred a priori.
Metaphysical Naturalism affirms, at the end of the day, the necessary conservation of non-design.
When one demands such expensive divorce proceedings between one’s epistemology and one’s ontology it is not physics which is being sacrificed, nor is it “more knowledge” which the Non-Theist is in need of, but in fact it is Reason Itself which is finally lost to the illusory corridors of the one, and only, casual continuum available to any Non-Theistic paradigm.
The argument keeps getting stuck inside of just one more physical system if we are not careful to remain clear.
The nominalism with respect to the Self vis-à-vis Reason and Intentionality which the Non-Theist must finally embrace is an open embrace *not* of reason’s mere subservience in some sort of partnership, but of reason’s concrete annihilation made real by an ontic-trade to salvage one’s ontological cul-de-sac, one’s epistemic.
ANY metaphysic which finally trades away reason itself, leaving her expunged by the concrete furniture of reality, eventually carries forward to the epistemological troubles under review.
Physics and a lack of knowledge is not the problem. Rather, the problem lies in the fact that the Hard Stop of Reason Itself does not exist in ANY Non-Theistic metaphysic and it is that which is the final, and everlasting, problem which is not merely epistemological but is in fact paradigmatic in all of Non-Theism’s explanatory termini – whatever they may be.
Only in the Christian’s metaphysic of Infinite Consciousness in and of the Divine Mind do we find that the concrete furniture of reality is in fact Necessary and Sufficient to precede, to fill, and to outdistance all vectors such that Reason Itself is in fact reality’s explanatory terminus – as in – *GOD* / Being Itself.
Granted, of course many people disagree with S. Carroll and his epistemological (and explanatory) terminus in the illusory. Including S. Carroll himself. Just because someone (Carroll) foists that contradictions are not contradictory doesn’t make it so. It’s easy to be immune (or claim immunity) when you’re all over the illusory map.
“We have reached a curious juncture in the history of materialism, which seems to point toward a terminus that is either tragic or comical (depending on where one’s sympathies lie). For a number of “naturalist” theorists it has become entirely credible, and even logically inevitable, that the defense of “rationalistic” values should require the denial of the existence of reason. Or, rather, intellectual consistency obliges them to believe that reason is parasitic upon purely irrational physical events, and that it may well be the case that our nonexistent consciousness is only deluded in intentionally believing that there is such a thing as intentional belief. Or they think that what we have mistaken for our rational convictions and ideas are actually only a colony of diverse “memes” that have established themselves in the ecologies of our cerebral cortices. Or whatever. At such a bizarre cultural or intellectual juncture, the word “fanaticism” is not opprobrious, but merely descriptive. We have reached a point of almost mystically fundamentalist absurdism. Even so, what is really astonishing here is not that some extreme proponents of naturalist thought accept such ideas but that any person of a naturalist bent could imagine that his or her beliefs permit any other conclusions.” (by David B. Hart)
A quote of William Carroll on Sean Carroll’s The Big Picture:
Emergence of Complex Structures
To explain the relationship between the elements of the Core Theory and the macroscopic world, Carroll employs a broad notion of emergence. This concept traditionally refers to the ways in which higher level properties (e.g., those of water) emerge from the combination of more elementary constituents (e.g., hydrogen and oxygen). He claims that as time passes and entropy increases,
“…..the configuration of matter in the universe takes on different forms, enabling the emergence of different higher-level ways of talking. The appearance of something like “purpose” simply comes down to the question: “Is purpose a useful concept when developing an effective theory of this part of reality in this particular domain of applicability?””
“Consciousness” and “understanding” are concepts “we invent in order to give ourselves more useful and efficient descriptions of the world.” These concepts are not illusions, but accepting their reality does not mean a rejection of the laws of physics. All such concepts “are part of a higher-level vocabulary we use to talk about the emergent behavior of the underlying physical system, [they are] not something separate from the physical system.”
This general mode of explanation allows the poetic naturalist to argue that
“…..we are collections of vibrating quantum fields held together in persistent patterns by feeding off of ambient free energy according to impersonal and uncaring laws of nature, and we are also human beings who make choices and care about what happens to ourselves and others.”
For poetic naturalism, the reality of concepts like consciousness, causality, and organism is only linguistic; they perform functions in particular narratives. The discussion is thus a nominalist discussion about concepts, not a realist discussion of what is true about nature. Yet, when Carroll turns to fermions, bosons, and the quantum wave function, he does think that these terms refer to the fundamental furniture of the universe. At this level of discourse, he is a realist; whereas in other areas he is a nominalist.
When we ask about Metaphysical Naturalism’s necessary (…and irreducible…) conservation of Non-Design we seem to find ourselves with our Non-Theist friends riding atop one of their childhood Ontic-Seesaws. It’s not that childhood bobbles are “bad” but, rather, it’s that sooner or later one needs to say what one means and get on with it. What is “it”? Well “it” is reality.
“….do you really believe that rearranging the fundamental causes of reality actually changes the fundamental causes of reality….?”
The Evil of Tooth & Claw – Therefore No-God
The horrific evil which exists is precisely that — it is irreducibly horrific and it is irreducibly evil. Anyone who has witnessed cancer knows/perceives this. It is, painfully, undeniable.
The damning claim upon the irreducible preciousness of all men, of our beloveds, is that everything which came before this sentence is irreducibly fiction at bottom, which, ultimately/ cosmically, is the claim of Non-Theism. Intellectually honest Non-Theists more and more of late concede their paradigm’s failure to deliver objective morality given its lack of means with respect to the convertibility of the necessary transcendentals.
Objective Evil testifies — loudly — of the fact of both The Good and of The Good Minus Something. Non-Theism is therefore left without even a single witness testifying on its behalf.
That which truly (ontologically) is Beauty/Good and that which truly (ontologically) is Ugly/Evil compel the rational mind to the fact of their irreducible reality, and thereby all such transcendentals compel the rational mind Godward.
In very basic terms: *IF* the Non-Theist is going to carry on this discussion “as-if” the Christian is a physicalist or (to say it another way) “as-if” we find that within the Christian’s body of premises both A. the proverbial Door into Eternal Life and B. the proverbial Door into Good/Evil (…Privation…) are in fact or were in fact both molecular/physical Pills or Fruit on a molecular/physical Tree wherein one swallows it into one’s physical gastrointestinal system and thereby the “Actualizations” of both of those Doors/Trees come about by, well, by altering molecular motion, or something, or whatever, well *THEN* the Non-Theist had better be prepared to take a stand and equate the current nature of the current universe with those other natures through those other Doors (…Eternal Life, The-Good, Evil, Privation…as in the Ontic, not the Epistemic…).
Think it through: Whatever the nature of Adam (or of “The Adamic”) was, and whatever the nature of Eden (or of “The Edenic”) was, such natures (Eden/Adam) were *not* those irreducible essences which we find inside of Eternal Life *nor* were they (Eden/Adam) those irreducible essences which we find inside of this nature of this world (…specifically Privation…). The Ontic of the Edenic was not the current Ontic of Privation, nor was it the Ontic of Eternal Life (…Heaven and so on…).
*IF* Tooth and Claw and the pains of Natural Section are in fact Evil, and *IF* design is in fact soaked through with not only Good but also with all the pains of Good-Minus-Some-Thing (Privation), well *THEN* the various forms of EAAE literally crash down upon us in and by paradigm-shifting necessities from the ground up such that even if it turns out that the entire show of natural selection is, simply, all the pains of Good-Evil (…with respect to, say, final causes and an obviously paradigm shifting Privation…) well then the Christian genre alone finds the needed solvency for the Non-Theist to painfully borrow from in all his (the Non-Theist’s) own claims. The EAAN of course is Evolution’s Argument Against Naturalism while the EAAE is Evil’s Argument Against Evolution (…see http://str.typepad.com/weblog/2016/01/bad-design-is-a-bad-argument-against-id.html which is STR’s Bad Design Is A Bad Argument – and note that the EAAE should not to be confused with the EAAN…).
Non-Theists faithfully affirm the all-encompassing metaphysical landscape of Genesis and they do so both when observing nature’s unmistakable straining along that Incline towards Reciprocity and/or towards that syntax of the proverbial E Pluribus Unum from the ground up through eons of Tooth and Claw, and they do so when observing the schizophrenic array of causations within the Painful Privation of Good through those same eons. Their thoroughness in describing such a painful mess as a painful mess is uncanny as they affirm Christianity’s metaphysical landscape and in fact reject Metaphysical Naturalism’s necessary conservation of its own inability to *distinguish* any *Degree* of Casually Designed.
An entire Paradigm, an entire World – Universe – soaked through with Tooth and Claw, soaked through with Privatized Good and thereby Evil, Lack, Brokenness, Thirst, Striving – from A to Z – and just the same soaked through with Final Causes vis-à-vis Direction, Intention, Purpose, and thereby Good, Reach, Teleos, Hope, Becoming – from A to Z – is precisely the World we all affirm, both Non-Theist and Christian. Just as, for all the same reasons, both Christian and Non-Christian are forever saying “…this “X” over here is Better/Worse/Degree with respect to yes-design — but / and / or — this other “X” over there is Better/Worse/Degree with respect to no-design…”
Our Non-Theist friends go about claim-making on the ontological structure of Design vis-à-vis Tooth & Claw even as they go about claim-making on the ontological structure of Design vis-à-vis Laptops even as they go about claim-making on the hard fact that in fact reality itself – their paradigm itself – affirms it’s own Fundamental Nature’s Relentless Conservation of Non-Design. It is “there” and it is “thereby” which they – on all counts – testify on behalf of Scripture’s Metanarrative with each cycle of their absurd Ontic-Seesaw.
All options belong to the Theist alone, to the Christian alone.
The Imago Dei arrives on scene and the Immaterial (whatever that is) is not, and cannot be, made up of, and therefore reduced to, covalent bonds vis-à-vis Material (whatever that is). The Non-Theist’s myopic obsession with/upon Biology-Full-Stop when discussing the Imago Dei is entirely misguided. Now, perhaps we can grant our Non-Theist friends their straw-man and say that the phrase God-Breathes means God has lungs. Perhaps God walking in the cool of the morning denotes God having legs. And, so, then, it’s legs and lungs and covalent bonds and…. and…. and…
Please. It’s a curious thing to observe A. the Non-Theist carefully set up all of his Metrics and Calibrations there in his Physicalism (or whatever) and then B. go about trying to cram the Christian’s entire metaphysical landscape into those Metrics and Calibrations only to then C. opine about the “difficulty” he is having “lining up” their respective “surfaces“.
The proverbial Dog and Pony Show.
The Corporeal’s (…the Body’s…) ontological history of becoming and the Imago Dei’s ontological history of becoming are not wholly interchangeable given the sorts of ontic real estate each respectively traverses.
There’s a reason the Corporeal is found lifeless outside of Eden. Made of the ground.
There’s a reason the Breath of God births Life, the Imago Dei. Still outside of Eden.
There’s a reason it is only then that the Adamic and the Edenic converge.
There’s a reason Eden cannot remain, is not God’s Ideal, and has two *outward* facing Doors/Trees, each necessitating a radical change in the ontological status of all things Adamic (…Privation / Eternal Life…). In fact, at the other end of the Book all the same syntax repeats as yet another category of Radical Change (whatever that is) awaits Up Ahead over yet another Horizon for – again – all things Adamic.
Reality matters. Therefore precision matters. As in: [Pre-Eden] just is not convertible with [Eden] which just is not convertible with [Privation] which just is not convertible with [Eternal Wholeness / Life]. And yet our Non-Theist friends opine that the Christian metaphysic does not “Begin-And-End” in Non-Theism’s own Physicalism and/or Positivism and/or Scientism.
Whatever mechanism of creation we find employed, including presenting the entire show of gradualism (…natural selection…) as, say, for example, something akin to all the pains of Good and Evil vis-à-vis final causes and a paradigm shifting privation and so on up and down the proverbial ontic-line, or, say, for example, this or that Ontological History of Monism which presents a topography that neither begins in nor ends in [contingent-particles / covalent-bonds full-stop] but instead in The Necessary & Immutable – or, say, for example, this or that Ontological History of Dualism which presents a topography that neither begins in nor ends in [contingent-particles / covalent-bonds full-stop] – or, say, for example — and so on — well the Non-Theist just cannot speak coherently about *ANY* of it *EVEN* on his own terms, whether from the perspective of pain, or suffering, or design mixed with the good, or design mixed with good-minus-some-thing, or the inescapable reductio ad absurdum which the entire materialist project suffers from when it is faced with the irreducibly intentional.
Non-Theism demands, retains, and houses ad infinitum the permanent landscape of an immutable conservation of Non-Design. It is there that we discover that Metaphysical Naturalism does not “lack the ability to speak” about design – for that phrase implies that the tongue is there, and the cerebral cortex is there, and the teeth and jaw are there, and if one could only revive whatever unknown trauma caused its own expressive aphasia then in fact it might one day “Speak” on “Design”. No. Not at all. It is instead that Metaphysical Naturalism cannot find even one tooth within its own house, nor any cerebral cortex, nor any proverbial jaw – and so on – such that it cannot comment on any nuance, at all, which necessitates either inherent intentionality or which necessitates design of ANY “degree” given that EVEN the silly phrases of good design, bad design, stupid design, or great design cannot even be “thought-of” – never mind spoken – and let’s not stop there – as all phrases with respect to “degree-of-design” and all phrases with respect to “broken/design” are all still more Ontic-Anathemas should they be found within Non-Theism.
The Non-Theist’s epistemic is insolvent with respect to funding such Causal Ecosystems and hence his entire epistemological “box” merely rides upon the coattails of the only genre on Planet Earth wherein such terms and definitions are actually solvent when it comes to achieving “Ontic-Closure”. That singular genre being, obviously, none other than the singular metanarrative of the Christian paradigm. We find here that there is a convergence of all things when it comes to Christianity’s metaphysical landscape, necessity, science, and facts. By that we mean two things.
“The universe, however physics and scientific cosmology end up describing it – even if it turned out to be a universe without a temporal beginning, even if it is a four-dimensional block universe, even if Hawking’s closed universe model turned out to be correct, even if we should really think in terms of a multiverse rather than a single universe – will, the Aristotelian argues, necessarily exhibit just these features (potentialities needing actualization, composition, contingency, etc.). And thus it will, as a matter of metaphysical necessity, require a cause outside it. And only that which is pure actuality devoid of potentiality, only what is utterly simple or non-composite, only something whose essence or nature just is existence itself, only what is therefore in no way contingent but utterly necessary – only that, the classical theist maintains, could in principle be the ultimate terminus of explanation, whatever the specific scientific details turn out to be.” (E. Feser) (… from http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2014/07/carroll-on-laws-and-causation.html …)
Regarding the topic at hand, the landscape of Adam, Eden, and World, our ultimate terminus of explanation, whatever the specific scientific details turn out to be, finds only two options in a universe such as ours:
Option A: It is a universe void of inherent intentionality, it is a universe void of inherent design, and so on up and down the ontic-line.
Option B: It is a universe constituted of, soaked through with, Cosmic Intentionality, Final Causes, and so on up and down the ontic-line.
Our Non-Theist friends occasionally hedge and claim that it all depends on what we think we “are”. What “Person” in fact, “is”. And of course that is correct. Representations and complex systems and Networks are unpacked much further in “Philosophy Of Mind” contexts and end precisely where our Non-Theist friends start: Inherent Intentionality is not true in the way they want to go about claim-making with respect to “that” (irreducible intentionality). In fact it cannot be true in the sense they mean to assert as all such lines are out reach for any arrangement of (…inherently intention-less / inherently meaning-less…) “scaffoldings” of, say, to borrow from DNW,
“…..your scaffolding of that cluster of tautological statements giving an appearance of a meaningful structure or system when stacked and leaned up against each other at various angles … the resultant spaces providing the necessary illusion for pattern projecting subjects to go on to….” (DNW).
Are Laptops designed? Recall from Part 1 at https://metachristianity.com/design-causal-ecosystems-x-designed-y-un-designed-designers-and-naturalisms-necessary-conservation-of-non-design/ the last section titled “Part IV Of IV” and, then, again, we must ask our Non-Theist friends what in the world they mean when they say that “X Designed Y” with respect to “what caused what” vis-à-vis laptops. That section refers part to http://disq.us/p/1mlolff and opened with the following, put here to help keep our lens in focus:
How things become what they are involves various causes and/or forces, and so on. Whatever systems of available causes and/or forces are “in-play” becomes a genuine feature in our understanding of **how** a thing becomes what it is and therefore of **what** it is. And so:
1. Causal Ecosystems
3. X Designed Y
4. Undesigned Designers
5. Naturalism’s (…Non-Theism’s…) Necessary Conservation of Non-Design
6. [S & C] Specificity & Complexity (… http://disq.us/p/1msbcmq …)
Non-Theism’s Golden Calf Of Intentional-ity
The semantics of “…in such a way to appear designed.…” is, on the one hand, correct as appearance is the best the Non-Theist can grant from “bottom to top” given his paradigm’s means, and, on the other hand, it is an ontic-cheat which pretends as-if the causally closed paradigm which maps to Physics mystically breaks free of itself once inside neuronal sodium pumps there inside our skulls. The Golden Calf of inherent intentionality is there begotten. Don’t ask how. Just believe. Therein our Non-Theists friends seek to “talk-as-if” some things really are designed and some things really are not designed, that our laptops actually are designed and that our brains actually are not designed.
That epistemological/ontological mysticism is the Golden Calf of the Non-Theist. It is the why of the Non-Theist’s “….just believe our assertions…” Don’t ask questions. Just believe.
The Non-Theist’s epistemic lines expunge the ontology of his own causal chain of continuity as the Un-designed causal chain of continuity summing to rip-tides of particle we term rocks, laptops, heat, thermodynamics, cars, galaxies, and so on, and their funneling currents of particle amid cul-de-sacs called sodium pumps running back and forth designing things is one mammoth plane of equivocation.
But in fact it cannot stop there. In fact, the whole show must ultimately, at the causal level of everything, at once sum to both Non-Design and Design or else the Non-Theist’s causal chain of continuity evaporates. Literally.
“…Sean Carroll is willing to use the term “personal causes”, but only with the understanding that this is short-hand way of saying “complex impersonal causes” …” (by J.H.)
With respect to a few contours within the Christian’s causal paradigm see:
- Metaphysical Middle Man: http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2013/01/metaphysical-middle-man.html
- Causality, Pantheism, and Deism: http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2014/12/causality-pantheism-and-deism.html
- Carroll on Laws and Causation: http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2014/07/carroll-on-laws-and-causation.html
- Hawking’s God Particle, Possible Universes, & The End of The Universe: https://www.reasonablefaith.org/media/reasonable-faith-podcast/the-end-of-the-universe
That last item about “Hawking’s God Particle” is “half” of the story with respect to the Christian’s overlap. The Christian also agrees with Hawking regarding the fact that there are other ontological possibilities ((possible worlds)), however, not in the sense of Hawking’s full-on Ontological Pluralism as that is really just an extreme form of Antirealism. That said, “Our Current Map Called Physics” isn’t the only Possible World/Physics. The segues from that into Perception, Realism, and Mind ((eliminativism etc.)) are another topic.
The Nature of Eden
Briefly, before going to that topic (the Nature of Eden), two quotes dealing the nature of Intentionality and of Reason given that the term Design cannot escape those terms:
Quote: This sort of theory proposes that the meaning or intentional content of any particular mental state (a belief, desire, or whatever) derives from the role it plays within a system of mental states, all of which, as we’ve seen, seem logically interrelated in the manner briefly discussed in chapters 3 and 6, since to have any one mental state seems to require having a number of others along with it. The idea is that what gives the belief that Socrates is mortal the precise meaning it has is that it is entailed by other beliefs meaning that all men are mortal and that Socrates is a man, that together with a belief meaning that all mortals will eventually die it entails a belief meaning that Socrates will eventually die, and so on. If we think of beliefs, desires, and the like as a vast system of logically interconnected elements, the theory holds that each element in the system gets its meaning from having precisely the place in the system it has, by bearing exactly the logical and conceptual relations it bears to the other elements. (More precisely, it is the objects of beliefs, desires, and the like — sentences of Mentalese according to the CRTT, or, more generically and for those not necessarily committed to the CRTT, “mental representations” of some other, non-sentential sort — that bear meaning or intentional content. But for the sake of simplicity, we can ignore this qualification in what follows.)
There seems to be a serious problem with the conceptual role approach, namely that even if it is granted that mental states have the specific meaning or content they do only because of their relations to other mental states, this wouldn’t explain how mental states have any meaning at all in the first place. That a particular belief either implies other beliefs or is implied by them presupposes that it has some meaning or other: nothing that was completely meaningless could imply (or be implied by) anything. The very having of logical and conceptual relations assumes the prior existence of meaning, so that no appeal to logical and conceptual connections can (fully) account for meaning. Moreover, if belief A gets its content from its relations to beliefs B and C, and these get their content from their relations to beliefs D, E, and F, we seem destined to be led either in a circle or to an infinite regress.
Either way, no ultimate explanation of intentional content will have been given. To provide such an explanation thus inevitably requires an appeal to something outside the network, something which can impart meaning to the whole. John Searle, who endorses something like the conceptual role theory of meaning, acknowledges that logical and conceptual relations between mental states cannot be the whole story if circularity or infinite regress is to be avoided. He therefore postulates that the entire “Network” of intentional mental states (he capitalizes Network to signify its status as a technical term) rests on what he calls a “Background” of non-intentional capacities to interact with the world around us. We have, for example, such intentional mental states as the desire to have a beer and the belief that there is beer in the refrigerator, and these mental states do, in part, get the specific meaning they have via their relations to each other and to other mental states in the broader Network.
But ultimately these mental states, and the Network as a whole, function only against a Background of capacities, such as the capacity to move about the world of physical objects, pick them up, manipulate them, and so on. This capacity is not to be identified with the belief that there is a real external world of physical objects; for if it were such an intentional mental state, then it would have to get its meaning from other mental states, and thus couldn’t serve as part of the Background that ends the regress of mental states. The capacity in question is rather something unconscious and without intentionality, a way of acting rather than a way of thinking. One acts as if one had the belief in question, though one in fact does not. While this capacity could in principle become a conscious, intentional mental state — one could come to have the explicit belief that there is a real world of external physical objects that I can manipulate and move about within — this would mean that this particular capacity has moved out of the Background and into the Network, and now rests on some other unconscious, non-Intentional Background capacity or way of acting.
There is, in short, always some set of capacities or other that comprises the Background (even if it is not always the same set for different people, or even for the same person at different times), and these capacities serve to ground the Network of intentional mental states. There is much to be said for Searle’s hypothesis of the Background, but it seems that it cannot save the conceptual role theory, for to speak of a “non-intentional capacity for acting” is to speak ambiguously. Consider that when you act without the conscious belief that there is an external world of physical objects, but merely manifest a capacity to interact with the world of physical objects, your capacity isn’t non-intentional in the same sense that an electric fan’s capacity to interact with the world of physical objects is non-intentional. You behave “as if’ you had a conscious, intentional belief in a world of physical objects, but of course you don’t, because it typically never even occurs to you either to believe or doubt that there is such a world: you just interact with the world, period. The fan also behaves “as if” it believed there was a world of external physical objects (that it “wants” to cool down, say); but of course it doesn’t really have this belief (or any wants) at all. In the case of the fan, this is not because it just hasn’t occurred to the fan to think about whether there is such a world, for the fan isn’t capable of such thoughts; it is rather because, strictly speaking, the fan doesn’t really “act” or “behave” at all, as opposed to just making movements. And the reason we don’t regard it as acting or behaving in the same sense we do is precisely because it doesn’t have intentionality — it is a dumb, meaningless, hunk of steel and wires.
We on the other hand don’t merely make physical movements: the waving of your hand when your friend enters the room isn’t just a meaningless movement, but an action, the action of greeting your friend. If it were just a meaningless movement — the result of a seizure, say — we wouldn’t count it as an action at all; it wouldn’t in that case be something you do, but rather something that happened to you. The fan, however, is capable of making nothing but meaningless movements. For something genuinely to behave or act as we do requires that it does have intentionality — action and behavior of the sort we exhibit are themselves manifestations of intentionality, and thus presuppose it. But in that case, an appeal to a “capacity for action” cannot provide the ultimate explanation of intentionality. We need to know why our capacities for action are different from the mere capacities for movement that a fan exhibits. Merely noting, à la Searle’s Background hypothesis, that our capacities are non-intentional ways of acting cannot help, for that they are genuinely ways of acting is precisely what needs to be explained. Indeed, since they are ways of acting, they cannot be literally non-intentional, for if they were, they would no more be true ways of acting than are the capacities of an electrical fan. A capacity for action is, as a matter of conceptual necessity, an intentional capacity. In fairness to Searle, it isn’t clear that he intends his hypothesis of the Background to serve as a complete explanation of intentionality. His aim may be just to draw out some implications of the fact that mental states are logically and conceptually related to one another in a Network. The point, though, is that his way of avoiding the circularity or regress that threaten any conceptual role theory cannot be appealed to in order to vindicate such a theory as a complete theory of meaning — and that it may even be incoherent, if Searle holds that the capacities and ways of acting that form the Background are literally devoid of intentionality. End Quote. (by Edward Feser)
And, along similar lines is the following:
Quote: In any event, my topic is not really the philosophy of mind, though by this point it may seem as if I have forgotten that. I am concerned not simply with the mystery of consciousness but with the significance of that mystery for a proper understanding of the word “God.” I admit that I have taken my time in reaching this point, but I think defensibly so. My claim throughout these pages is that the grammar for our thinking about the transcendent is given to us in the immanent, in the most humbly ordinary and familiar experiences of reality; in the case of our experience of consciousness, however, the familiarity can easily overwhelm our sense of the essential mystery. There is no meaningful distinction between the subject and the object of experience here, and so the mystery is hidden by its own ubiquity.
One extremely good way, then, to appreciate the utter strangeness of consciousness — the hither side, so to speak, of that moment of existential wonder that wakens us to the strangeness of all things — is to consider the extraordinary labors required to describe the mind in purely material terms. We have reached a curious juncture in the history of materialism, which seems to point toward a terminus that is either tragic or comical (depending on where one’s sympathies lie).
For a number of “naturalist” theorists it has become entirely credible, and even logically inevitable, that the defense of “rationalistic” values should require the denial of the existence of reason. Or, rather, intellectual consistency obliges them to believe that reason is parasitic upon purely irrational physical events, and that it may well be the case that our nonexistent consciousness is only deluded in intentionally believing that there is such a thing as intentional belief. Or they think that what we have mistaken for our rational convictions and ideas are actually only a colony of diverse “memes” that have established themselves in the ecologies of our cerebral cortices. Or whatever. At such a bizarre cultural or intellectual juncture, the word “fanaticism” is not opprobrious, but merely descriptive. We have reached a point of almost mystically fundamentalist absurdism. Even so, what is really astonishing here is not that some extreme proponents of naturalist thought accept such ideas but that any person of a naturalist bent could imagine that his or her beliefs permit any other conclusions.
If nature really is what mechanistic metaphysics portrays it as being, then consciousness is, like being itself, <i>super naturam</i>; and that must be intolerable to any true believer in the mechanistic creed. Materialism is, as I have said, the least rationally defensible and most explanatorily impoverished of metaphysical dogmas; but, if materialism is one’s faith, even reason itself may not be too great an offering to place upon its altar. If one is to exclude the supernatural absolutely from one’s picture of reality, one must not only ignore the mystery of being but also refuse to grant that consciousness could possibly be what it self-evidently is. End Quote. (David Bentley Hart, “The Experience of God”)
The Nature of Eden
While the debate over “The Nature Of Eden” is nothing new, it is of course an entirely theological discussion and we find that the entire anthology of physics and whatever universe physics happens to outline affirms that the current state of physics is by no means – at all – anything which any thinking person can attempt to label “the only physics/universe possible”. Far from it.
Such merges with the theological discussion on the nature of Eden and of course the physicalist hasn’t the tools to participate in that discussion. Natural Selection’s canopy is red with Tooth and Claw and we find therein – from the ground up – all the pains of privation should we take Genesis seriously as to Eden’s topography of possible worlds. Dualism from the get-go, so to speak, which, of course, isn’t surprising should the evidence lead us there. Stephen Webb makes an attempt with his “The Dome of Eden” though (at first glance at least) he seems to ignore (which is problematic) what several other brands of theistic evolutionists ignore – the inescapable landscape of Genesis with respect to the nature of Eden vis-à-vis Eden’s necessary nature of something that is neither a World soaked through with Eternal Life nor a World soaked through with Good and Evil (Privation). But, again, such is a purely theological debate which happens to be immune to scient-ism while simultaneously enjoying the luxury of being perfectly cohesive with the physical sciences. There’s just no good reason to be surprised at Hawking and his proverbial “God Particle”. Just as there’s no good reason to be surprised at Hawking’s Possible World “Pluralism” — from earlier recall that “Hawking’s God Particle” is “half” of the story with respect to the Christian’s overlap. The Christian also agrees with Hawking regarding the fact that there are other ontological possibilities ((possible worlds)), however, not in the sense of Hawking’s full-on Ontological Pluralism as that is really just an extreme form of Antirealism. That said, “Our Current Map Called Physics” isn’t the only Possible World/Physics. The segues from that into Perception, Realism, and Mind ((eliminativism etc.)) are another topic. All of which converges with the following:
“….I do not think that the knowledge of the universe’s death on a time scale of tens of billions of years raises any greater theological difﬁculties than does the even more certain knowledge of our own deaths on timescales of tens of years. The fundamental question posed for us is whether we live in a world that is a cosmos or a chaos. Does the universe make total sense, both now and always, or is its history ultimately “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing?” A naturalistic metaphysics will tend to agree with Steven Weinberg when he said that, in the light of eventual cosmic futility, the more he understood the universe, the more it seemed pointless to him. Naturalism faces these facts with a kind of heroic deﬁance. There is a certain nobility in that bleak point of view, but I do not believe that we are driven to embrace it. Death, cosmic or human, is real, but for the theist it is not the ultimate reality. The last word lies with God and it is to the everlasting faithfulness of the Creator that creatures look for the hope of a destiny beyond their deaths. If there is hope either for the universe or for us, it can only lie in the eternal faithfulness of God—a point that Jesus made clearly in his discussion of these matters with the Sadducees (Mark 12, 18–27). Of great importance here are the various New Testament passages that speak in an astonishing way of the cosmic signiﬁcance of Christ (John 1, Romans 8, Colossians 1). Also important, I believe, is the witness of the empty tomb, for the fact that the Lord’s risen and gloriﬁed body is the transmuted form of his dead body speaks to me of the hope that in Christ there is a destiny not only for humanity but also for matter, and so for creation as a whole. It is in meeting the metaphysical challenge presented by this present world of fruitfulness and transience that the thickness of trinitarian belief, and credibility of the eschatological hope that it can sustain, is of the highest importance…..” (…by John Polkinghorne, from his Physics and Metaphysics in a Trinitarian Perspective – see http://tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14746700309645 …)
The analytical and cerebral reach of so much of what passes for Non-Theism’s “T.O.E.” these days is on all fronts simply, well, anemic. Meanwhile we find the likes of Einstein, Hawking, and the Christian metaphysic far outreaching such listless attempts as they leave behind not only Time but also Physics as we know it as both Scripture and Science affirm that Time is itself an entirely Contingent Frame of Reference, just as “Physics herself” – when we follow her testimony to its bitter ends – leads us beyond herself – else absurdity.
Our Non-Theist friends insist on either A. making “Man” the Center of all things in their own metrics and reference frames or else B. fallaciously attempting to claim that the Christian metaphysic affirms the metaphysical absurdity which sums to “Man As The Center Of Creation”. But of course that landing zone is just that — a logical absurdity and therefore the Christian metaphysic finds all contingent beings to be – by necessity – anything but the Center of all things.
Worlds upon Worlds upon Worlds cannot reverse “Reality’s” fundamental order of The-Necessary / The-Contingent. God alone is God and it is IN HIM (we are told) where all vectors begin and end. Not in this or that supposed World-Contingency Frame of Reference. In fact, it is far more expansive than even that given that in all worlds we find that it is All-Sufficiency Himself (God, the Necessary Being) Who must Pour-Out, must Empty, must be Debased, as there are no Up-Hill Ontics streaming out of “God / Pure Act” – and – in the reverse – we find that in all worlds it is In-Sufficiency Itself (all created and derived beings, all contingent life) who must be filled, must drink from All-Sufficiency’s Cup, must be raised up (…the proper meaning of the term “glorified”…). The Cosmic Significance of Christ presses in.
“….We know that God has visited and redeemed His people, and that tells us just as much about the general character of the creation as [a single] dose [of medicine] given to one sick hen on a big farm tells us about the general character of farming in England.… It is, of course, the essence of Christianity that God loves man and for his sake became man and died. But that does not prove that man is the sole end of nature. In the parable, it was one lost sheep that the shepherd went in search of: it was not the only sheep in the flock, and we are not told that it was the most valuable — save insofar as the most desperately in need has, while the need lasts, a peculiar value in the eyes of Love. The doctrine of the Incarnation would conflict with what we know of this vast universe only if we knew also there were other rational species in it who had, like us, fallen, and who needed redemption in the same mode, and they had not been vouchsafed it. But we know of none of these things…… [ ] ….If we discover other bodies, they must be habitable or uninhabitable: and the odd thing is that both these hypotheses are used as grounds for rejecting Christianity. If the universe is teeming with life, this, we are told, reduces to absurdity the Christian claim — or what is thought to be the Christian claim — that man is unique, and the Christian doctrine that to this one planet God came down and was incarnate for us men and our salvation. If, on the other hand, the earth is really unique, then that proves that life is only an accidental byproduct in the universe, and so again disproves our religion. Really, we are hard to please….” (C.S. Lewis)
Before closing with a list of links to specific comments from “Snowflakes Are Complex Without A Designer”, there’s the following which is a bit esoteric and a bit choppy but is again a comment directed at that antithesis of the metaphysical absurdity that sums to “Man As The Center” which our Non-Theist friends fallaciously claim is embedded in the Christian metaphysic when it comes to this or ANY world. It focuses our lens again on that “Cosmic Significance of Christ“ which both Polkinghorne and Lewis rightly focus on:
On “the resolution of lack, of evil” so to speak, again anything less than seamless lucidity just won’t do. Therefore, with respect to Evil and the End of Evil, we find that in all Worlds vis-à-vis God’s freely decreed Imago Dei (…given what that necessarily entails and promises – once freely decreed / promised…) it is the case that All Sufficiency (God) must pour-out, must be debased, must transpose, instantiate, and thereby – by that love’s free decree amid reciprocity’s landscape – in fact glorify the Insufficient (…glorify the created Imago Dei, or Man, The-Adamic, and so on…), just as in all such Worlds Insufficiency or Man (…if he will know wholeness and life…) must acquiesce, must at least initially (whether in Eden or out of Eden) come to know his own innate insufficiency and lack and volitional motion and mutability and therein love either the Mutable Self or else the Immutable Other within reciprocity’s landscape, must be filled, be glorified in and by All Sufficiency’s (God’s) timeless reciprocity, and, thereby, per love’s reciprocity, in fact glorify All Sufficiency (glorify God)……but such brevity is left off there in this comment and it is enough to say for now that the Divine Topography of Christ is unavoidable in all Worlds given the decreed Imago Dei.
List of Comments and Threads:
Naturalism’s Epistemological Nightmare – by Dr. Dennis Bonnette is at https://strangenotions.com/naturalisms-epistemological-nightmare/
Snowflakes Are Complex Without A Designer – by STR is at http://str.typepad.com/weblog/2016/05/challenge-response-snowflakes-are-complex-without-a-designer.html
Recall from earlier that the thread from the second item (Snowflakes etc.) looked at “layers” and “networks” and so on, with a list of comments to be provided – which is as follows:
- This comment: http://str.typepad.com/weblog/2016/05/challenge-response-snowflakes-are-complex-without-a-designer.html?cid=6a00d83451d2ba69e201b8d1f0d136970c#comment-6a00d83451d2ba69e201b8d1f0d136970c is followed by a typo correction in the comment at http://str.typepad.com/weblog/2016/05/challenge-response-snowflakes-are-complex-without-a-designer.html?cid=6a00d83451d2ba69e201b7c866f9f0970b#comment-6a00d83451d2ba69e201b7c866f9f0970b