Design, Causal Ecosystems, “X Designed Y”, Un-designed Designers, and Naturalism’s Necessary Conservation of Non-Design
Whether or not laptops are designed by non-designed designers carries forward to the causal ecosystems in play. The definition of “designed” does not have to do with fallacious distractions such as, say, Probability (… http://disq.us/p/1njdjp5 ..) or various God-of-The-Gaps segues (again http://disq.us/p/1njdjp5 ..), but, rather, it has to do with absurdity, coherence, and equivocation. The content under review carries forward to Metaphysical Naturalism’s (…Non-Theism’s…) Necessary Conservation of Non-Design — from the ground up — whether DNA or Laptop or Stonehenge or Cosmos. This particular post/essay is Part 1 of 2 and Part 2 is located at https://metachristianity.com/design-causal-ecosystems-x-designed-y-part-2-non-theisms-failure-to-follow-through-on-tooth-claw/
Part I of V
From Randal Rauser’s Twitter page, a few brief excerpts of R.R.’s comments in an exchange of ideas:
Just so we’re clear, the absence of perfect or optimal design is not evidence for the absence of *intelligent* design. (Simple though this point may be, it is missed by so many ID critics.) Paley was defending a form of the teleological argument, not intelligent design theory. And the teleological argument is a powerful, centuries old argument which has many able defenders today. It certainly isn’t an “embarrassment.” The teleological tradition that Paley defended extends back to ancient Greece. ID developed in the 1990s as a means to defend mental explanations for natural events/processes. They’re very different projects.
“Perfect designer” is ambiguous because designs can have various ends. The designs that exist in nature may be imperfect relative to particular ends, but it doesn’t follow that they’re imperfect relative to God’s ends. You can identify perfect design relative to the ends for which the design is purposed. The point is that the observer does not know all the ends relative to which God might have purposed particular designs. For example, a design that is imperfect for the end of seeing with maximal precision might nonetheless be perfect relative to the end of seeing adequately whilst building moral fortitude and achieving other divine ends.
A reply was made of, “And since you say we can’t know the designers purpose, you are acknowledging the point I made. We have no way to identify perfect or imperfect design. Or any design, for that matter.”
No, we can identify various instances of perfect design. What we can’t do is say that the absence of a particular kind of perfect design provides evidence for the non-existence of a perfect designer. That’s how the point functions as an undercutting defeater. And in that way I undercut your defeater to the claim that God is the designer.
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.
Probability has nothing to do with whether or not laptops are designed by non-designed designers. Rather, the landscape of that causal ecosystem has to do with absurdity, coherence, and equivocation. The content under review carries forward to Metaphysical Naturalism’s (…Non-Theism’s…) Necessary Conservation of Non-Design — from the ground up — whether DNA or Laptop or Stonehenge or Cosmos.
The typical Non-Theistic foist of looking at the current natural order and shouting, “Not Designed!” is a foist which has not accounted for Privation nor for the fact that the Edenic (which is not Privation) lacked God’s Eternal Ideal — lacked the affairs of Eternal Life. More layers remained in play. That foist is therefore arguing against a Non-Christian metaphysic. At that juncture in such discussions we (too often) get a bit of evasion and the Non-Theistic hedge of, “But laptops are designed!” typically arrives. Unfortunately that yields a forced reduction to absurdity given Non-Theism wherein both the causal ecosystem and the Ontic of what the term “design” references all end in an illusory knot of equivocations.
Our Non-Theist friends seem unwilling to comment on the reality of co-existing / bracketed Specificity & Complexity or [S & C], on the Causal Content (causal ecosystem) within “X designed Y”, on the “Ontic” of becoming, and on the “Ontic” of the term “design” vis-à-vis how an X becomes an X, and so on. Without clarifying what those terms in fact “mean” / “do” within “X designed Y” when we speak of Laptops, merely repeating shouts of, “…but it’s not designed…!” won’t do. Part II with respect to that term (design) and Stonehenge takes a few initial steps in that direction.
Those terms all press in: Man is un-designed and yet Man Designs – and so on… and so on within Non-Theism’s illusory knot of equivocations. Unfortunately there are no such things as “ontological cul-de-sacs” and therein “Un-designed designers” collapses into “un-designed design” which collapses into a metaphysical absurdity. It’s as simple as that. “Mailbox” doesn’t mean “left turn only sign” and, for the same reasons, the term “design” (employed by the Non-Theist etc.) in *any* context is no friend to Philosophical (Metaphysical) Naturalism (…see http://disq.us/p/1mlolff ..).
Part II of V
We can add a bit more over in the corner of Evolution, Design, and Absurdity. When the Non-Theist uses the term “design” in “…laptops are designed…” what emerges is incoherence, and that begins to emerge with the following complaint by many (not all) of our Non-Theist friends:
“The physics or causes within “design” with respect to “laptops are designed”? That is nothing more than the ontological fallacy.”
First of all, in ANY discussion about the *Non*Theist’s* *use* of the term “design” both Evolution and I.D. are irrelevant. What IS relevant about the *Non*Theist’s* *use* of the term design in “…laptops are designed…” is the *Non*Theist’s* causal map which he points to as he goes on about “design” and thereby muddies the waters.
That evasive charge of the ontological fallacy ends up labeling nature’s four fundamental forces (fields) are fallacious. So again we ask: Designed laptops? Too often our Non-Theist friends are found evading the intersections involved when it comes to Intentionality (design), Mental States, John Searle’s Carbon Networks, Downward Causation, and Causal Backgrounds.
The causal content of the map of nature’s four fundamental forces (…or whatever the Non-Theist wishes to invoke…) which describes the content of “design” in the phrase, “…laptops are designed…” is under review. YET, our Non-T. friends (not all, but enough) first agree and claim laptops are designed and THEN they ask that we ignore “that” (…and instead focus on Evolution and I.D. …) when in fact “that” is where the key fallacy awaits discovery by some, not all, but some of our Non-Theist friends.
Again: In ANY discussion about the *Non*Theist’s* *use* of the term “design” both Evolution and I.D. are irrelevant. What IS relevant about the *Non*Theist’s* *use* of the term design in “…laptops are designed…” is the *Non*Theist’s* causal map which he points to as he goes on about “design” and thereby muddies the waters.
Mapping Reality: none of this is new information with respect to Intentionality (Design), Mental States, John Searle’s Carbon Networks, Downward Causation, and Causal Backgrounds, as per:
A brief excerpt from some of that linked content for context:
The trend demonstrated by “Poetic Naturalism” (S. Carroll, etc.) corresponds to the fundamental nature of reality via Philosophical Naturalism which forces a fundamental conservation of non-design within and upon all “layers” of reality (…given the causal map of physics – full stop …). Carroll and other Non-Theistic physicists/philosophers more and more of late (…determined to remain true to their presupposition of No-God no matter the intellectual cost…) are merely affirming the only option they have left: The syntax of “X designed Y” with respect to space stations and laptops describes the same irreducible (causal) constitutions as does “X bounced off the floor” or “X rolled down the hill”. Literally. As in, for real. Obviously that forces a radical deflationary truth value upon all semantics, the proverbial reductio ad absurdum. But then that’s just what materialism (or PN, or Non-Theism, etc.) sums to, which is why we rationally reject that paradigm’s bookkeeping. It’s also why the Christian welcomes the anthology of physics in his own bookkeeping, as it’s yet one more line of evidence which agrees with the predictions of his own “semantic ecosystem” (a phrase from J.H.) within his own metaphysical landscape.
Part III of V
The thread or comment box at https://www.str.org/node/42734#.WuRhlRYpCaM or else at https://www.str.org/node/42734#.Wu (…STR’s “Get the Dictionary of Christianity and Science” …) is tedious as our Non-Theist friends seem unwilling to comment on [S & C] or Specificity & Complexity, on the Causal Content (ecosystem) within “X designed Y”, on the “Ontic” of becoming, and on the “Ontic” of the term “design” vis-à-vis how an X becomes an X, and so on. Just repeated shouts of, “…but it’s not designed…!” — Nonetheless the thread alludes to several helpful layers vis-à-vis Stonehenge and [S & C] and Causal Ecosystems and so on.
In that thread there is a comment which opens with the following section:
Stonehenge: Designed? Non-Designed? As in:
The hyperlinks are not consistent (it seems at times) and so the following is a copy/paste of the various comments with one or two brief edits:
Interesting point. The pesky bench-top of mind atop matter always has been a problem for the Non-Theist.
What’s interesting about Stonehenge is that it is obviously designed, but no one has any idea what it is for.
So the idea that, for example, I cannot say “X is designed” unless I know what the plan or purpose of X is is utter drivel. By that standard, Stonehenge is not designed.
In fact, as far as I can tell, we know (and yes we do know that Stonehenge is designed) that it is designed simply because it seems designed to us.
What is it that confuses you? The claim that we know Stonehenge was designed? Or the claim about how we know Stonehenge was designed?
Do you think Stonehenge is designed?
Did you see it designed?
Is it possible for you to see it designed?
Do you know what the purpose of it was?
Do you know what the plan of it was?
Apart from the appearance of design that it bears, do you know that it even had a plan or purpose?
You know “because” can mean “for the reason that”.
We know Stonehenge was designed for the reason that it seems designed.
But even if it meant “as a causal effect of”, you still haven’t got it right.
You see, I said that we have our knowledge of Stonehenge being designed because it seems designed to us.
I did not say, nor would I, that Stonehenge is designed because it seems designed to us.
Appearances certainly can be causes of knowledge.
Not sure what the sailing stones are about…you think those have the same degree of appearance of design as Stonehenge? I guess I look at them and say “Look! Rocks that got pushed around by the wind”
You think the wind piled the Stonehenge rocks up?
If there were really good arguments against evolution, then you would not find yourself talking about Stonehenge and red shirts…
You stated, “…There is a really good argument against evolution: the prevalent appearance of design in all sorts of aspects of nature…”
And you know very well that I don’t mention red shirts and Stonehenge as distractions. I mention them to test claims that you and others have made about design. And those claims fail the test. That’s all.
I also note that you answered none of my questions. So I’ll repeat them.
Do you think Stonehenge is designed?
Did you see it designed?
Is it possible for you to see it designed?
Do you know what the purpose of it was?
Do you know what the plan of it was?
Apart from the appearance of design that it bears, do you know that it even had a plan or purpose?
It seems to me fairly obvious that the answer to the first question is “yes”. And the answer to all the rest is “no”.
That’s because we know Stonehenge is designed for the sole reason that it appears so.
SCB was hasty in ‘agreeing’ with Mike that the laptop is designed. Mike’s recalcitrance in saying what he means by the sentence “the laptop is designed” makes it impossible to agree or disagree with the claim. Given what I know of Mike’s meanings, it seems to me that the sentence isn’t true, it’s not even false.
Mike, your recalcitrant refusal to even say what you mean makes “the laptop is designed” the contentious claim. Unless and until you say what you mean, I shall assume that what you are saying is untrue, and possibly false. I do not and will not agree with you about the laptop until you make yourself clear.
The OP Is, “Can Intelligent Design and Evolution Both Be True?”
As such, whatever logic we apply must be applied to both Design and to Evolution.
WL and myself have tried to get Mike to realize such an obvious composition of terms, but he seems to think that he himself is NOT claiming design.
Mike’s own metric of design is the mind of man.
The Christian agrees with Mike that the Mind of Man designs.
And there’s the rub.
Just as “evolution” demands clarification before any forward progress can be made, so too does design demand clarification before any forward progress can be made.
The Christian is happy to unpack the mind of man and what it “is” and what it “does” when it “designs” and what the verb design-ing entails (metaphysics, neuroscience, physics, philosophy of mind, etc.).
But Mike just won’t go there despite the fact that the OP’s question demands it and despite the fact that his own metric of design demands it and despite the fact that the Christian agrees that man’s mind designs and as such seeks a thorough explanation of said mind and its said designing activities.
As you alluded to, Mike can’t apply his own reasoning to the OP nor to his own terms.
But of course, the fact that the mind of man qualifies as intelligent design in both his view and in our view just is the metaphysical lock-and-key which cannot go unattended.
Not honestly, that is.
I think you can see, given WL’s and my own effort to point out the obvious, that you’ll be wasting your time to think you’ll get logical progressions from point A to point B to point C…..to point Z on said lock and key from our friend Mike.
Given that the OP demands that both terms be defined, you will be (should you move forward with Mike) intellectually justified in demanding that both parties define both terms (evolution and design etc….).
We both agree, the Non-Theist and the Theist, that both Evolution and Intelligent Design *ARE* true.
Of course, what is needed, given such a peculiar outcome, is that all parties be willing to define all terms.
That, then, is the current state of affairs — unless Mike wishes to tell us that laptops are *not* intelligently designed.
The reality, or actual state of affairs, that is intelligence and that is design, and that is design-ing, is 50% of the OP’s question. If you want to move forward with Mike (wasting your time btw) then the metaphysical lock-and-key is the both parties agree that both evolution and intelligent design *are* true.
Hence our Non-Theist friends, if they are going to use the mind of man as their metric for design, needs to pour out some heavy-meta on that front should they presume to be able to make comments about design one way or the other.
That said, we have what you observed:
Mike cannot apply his own reasoning to his own state of affairs. In fact, his own reasoning can’t even address the OP in its entirety given that his own reasoning cannot actually defend his own metric of design — that metric being the mind of man.
Given that M.’s own reasoning cannot defend his own metric of design (the mind of man, design, design-*ing*, and so on) then clearly M. has forfeited his intellectual right to participate in any discussion which necessitates the inclusion of *mind*, and of design, and of design-*ing*, and so on in its primary constitutions.
Because if one does not know what mind is, what design is, what design-ing is, then one does not know how to evaluate whether or not any given X is or is not designed.
And if one does not know how to evaluate whether or not any given X is or is not designed, then one has no intellectual right to foist claims of Ya/Na in this particular arena.
If you move forward with Mike, it is obvious that you’ll be intellectually justified camping out on the obvious metaphysical lock-and-key given that *both* the Non-Theist *and* the Christian agree that both evolution and design *are* true.
Discussing the premises behind “Created designers” vis-à-vis the Christian metaphysic (…Created Minds, Man, and so on, which/who are designed…) and segueing into physics, causation (…causal ecosystems…), neurons, neuroscience, mind, and the philosophy of mind is all “gobbledygook” per our Non-Theist friend and, so, the following reply:
Yes, we know you consider the activity within neurons, and neuroscience in general, to be “gobbledygook”. Though, we are hoping you’ll see the value of neuroscience as we attempt to unpack, explain, what it is that the verb “design-ing” actually “consists of”.
Neuroscience is a fascinating field — hopefully your intellectual aversion to unpacking its science vis-à-vis physics will fade one day and permit you to discuss it further with Brad.
Of course, pending said discussion with Brad B, it is entertaining watching you respond to each request to dive into neuroscience and physics by referring to neuroscience and physics as “gobbledygook”. Thank you for those many, many gifts.
Part IV of V
Note: The following content (….here in Part 4 of 5…) is in part taken from discussions in various comment sections and will therefore reflect the usual wording of “you” and “yours” and “me” and “I” and so on. Because there are a few comments fused together there are a few edits along the way in order to provide a more seamless flow.
Evolution, Causality, Maps, Physics, The Ontology Of Design, and Metaphysics
The science behind the syntax of “AB Caused/Causes CD”
The science behind the syntax of “What”– Caused/Causes –“What”
Countless books are offered up by our Non-Theist friends in which they claim to address the Christian Metaphysic with respect to the “Causal Ecosystem” which the proverbial Map of Physics affirms and which has come into the consciousness of Mankind in and by and through the uncanny Metanarratives of the Ancient Hebrew as we approach the Story or Meta-Narrative of a. the Ontological History of Becoming v. Cosmos and b. the Ontological History of Becoming v. the Conscious Observer.
The following is a kind of “Generic Reply” to any such book as, for the most part, what we actually find in such books is something akin to, “…but physical transitions occur…” – Hard-Stop. And that’s it. Full-Stop.
Our Non-Theist friends – in their attempt to address the actual physics in play are forever pointing at boxes containing [particle cascades] as if any such Box/Content actually addresses the Map that is Physics – causally speaking – and as if any such Box/Content actually addresses the Map that is the Christian Metaphysic — causal and otherwise. Often such a persistent missing-of-the-point is followed by some sort of unfortunate self-congratulations by our Non-Theist friends along the lines of, say, “This book is a slam dunk!” and so on (…for context see http://disq.us/p/1v8ndjf for a few background contours…).
Here’s that sort-of “Generic Reply” as it were which is applicable to a rather large swath of such attempts by our Non-Theist friends:
A “Slam Dunk” book which fails to address advertised content? Not possible. Not without serious craftiness (wrt your claims about what *design* *is* and *isn’t*). It’s your own book. Your own use of your own term (design) within your own Naturalism shouldn’t confuse you.
No philosophical gibberish please. You’re making claims on the Map of *design* and you’ve Metaphysical Naturalism’s “Causal Ecosystem” in which to work. Is your paradigm’s “AB Caused CD” merely philosophical? It’s basic science, yes? Yet you evade unfavorable and/or rigorous challenges to your book’s silence on the very topic it is actually claiming to be about. Why?
We get that you don’t understand the Christian Metaphysic nor the similarities & differences amid I.D. / A.T. We also get that you overplay both the similarities and the differences there (…amid I.D. & A.T. — see https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2010/05/id-versus-t-roundup.html and see https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2018/07/fallacies-physicists-fall-for.html ..). But that you are evasive about the term design within your own (Naturalism’s) “Causal Ecosystem” is troubling. After all your book *is* referencing that very *same* term.
A book in which your own terms and the science behind them are both mysteriously evaded? How does that work, exactly?
It’s unavoidable (given that lack of content) that that same sort of dishonest Gap-Jumping is what your premises employ in your book each and every time you reference design (…context: http://disq.us/p/1v8ndjf …).
Clarification arrives when we simply grant whatever swath of Time and whatever particle cascade from “Dirt To Body” our Non-Theist friends feel is warranted by the physical sciences. Then, from “there” we find that your *own* content of what-caused/causes-what is *still* mysteriously out of bounds.
Never mind the similarities & differences among I.D. / A.T. — sure, we can talk about that – but even leaving all of that to the side doesn’t magically infuse the missing content into your book. Your claim of “No-Design-Exists” is of course ultimately an untenable claim — as it eats itself alive — but such is the cost of affirming Metaphysical Naturalism’s necessary conservation of Non-Design from the ground up.
Design? Your “Slam Dunk” ignores *both* Naturalism’s *and* Christendom’s entire Map of “What”–Caused/Causes–“What”. Why? Christendom’s most pervasive and longstanding Map with respect to design? — Avoided? Why?
That evasiveness mirrors Coyne’s unfortunate reinvention of Christian claims as per E. Feser’s “Omnibus Of Fallacies” at https://www.firstthings.com/article/2016/02/omnibus-of-fallacies
Carving out such isolated cul-de-sacs & arguing “as-if” one’s epistemic Map in fact properly funds one’s ontological Map is an unfortunate repetition of the long deflated “Coyne-esc” v. cognitive indolence & muddied waters:
Your own “Slam Dunk” on the science behind “What-Caused/Causes-What” is entirely void of that advertised content vis-à-vis the actual map which physics affirms with respect to causality & nature’s four fundamental forces (…four interactions or waves are better terms…).
Why? It may be helpful for you to actually interact with Christendom’s Widest Swaths all of which are centuries old. A preliminary road by which to do so would be to explain the following six links and while doing so include references to three books – namely A. the book https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2017/08/five-proofs-is-out.html and B. https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2019/03/order-now-aristotles-revenge.html and of course C. your own book(s) and its/their content. Here’s the six links:
5 — “Design, Causal Ecosystems, “X Designed Y”, Un-Designed Designers, And Naturalism’s Necessary Conservation Of Non-Design” at https://metachristianity.com/design-causal-ecosystems-x-designed-y-un-designed-designers-and-naturalisms-necessary-conservation-of-non-design/
6 — “Design, Causal Ecosystems, & “X Designed Y” Part 2: Non-Theism’s Failure To Follow-Through On Tooth & Claw” at https://metachristianity.com/design-causal-ecosystems-x-designed-y-part-2-non-theisms-failure-to-follow-through-on-tooth-claw/
The syntax of “X Designed Y” and of “Y Is Designed” and of “Y Is Not Designed”
Given Metaphysical Naturalism, drawing the above *distinctions* within Design Ontology ends up within the same deflationary truth value as Empathy does within Moral Ontology.
Our Non-Theist friends claim “Laptops Are Designed” while simultaneously affirming Metaphysical Naturalism’s necessary conservation of Non-Design vis-a-vis a universe void of those very same distinctions.
*Design* wrt Laptops is foisted as an ontological fact by our Non-Theist friends — but without justification. The Evolutionary Biologists do this, while the Physicists deny this. Why? Because of their respective Start/Stop points wrt the proverbial “Ontic Arrow” in the sense that the Non-Theistic Evolutionary Biologist defines reality “as-if” the Driver’s Seat is occupied by Biology, as if Biology defines, outdistances, and subsumes Physics. As if Biology is causing, driving, Physics. Whereas, the Physicists — and all the evidence — reverse the direction of that proverbial Ontic Arrow
In fact Physics, or, quite simply, Nature’s four fundamental forces (…interactions or wave functions…) vis-à-vis 1. Gravity and 2. electromagnetic interactions and 3. strong nuclear forces and 4. weak nuclear forces – occupies the Driver’s Seat and (in fact) defines, outdistances, and subsumes Biology. Physics is causing, driving, Biology.
Reason’s Ontology & the Ontology of Sentience & the Ontological Continuity of Abstractions
The following excerpt looks at this from the vantage point of Sentience and the circular reasoning used by some of our Non-Theist friends as they try to claim that on Non-Theism there is a Magical Wall of Separation between Sentience & Physics such that the term and content and syntax of “Design / Designed / Not Designed / X Designed Y / and so on can be constituted of Eternal & Irreducible Equivocations. In part this brief excerpt looks at that Ontology of Sentience vis-à-vis the Ontology of Trees in order to point out some key distinctions.
Reason’s Ontology & the Ontology of Sentience & Moral Ontology with respect to Moral Facts & the Ontological Continuity of Abstractions:
Non-Theism cannot follow / trace its own brands of “the ontology of sentience” from reality’s concrete furniture all the way up to mind-dependent abstractions. But then that lack of continuity is not an “ontology” if it hasn’t the Means/Ends vis-à-vis [Sentience] (…or Moral Facts or Reason’s Ontology for obvious reasons…) to offer anything through & through. But that the Non-Theist means that to go about his Ontology of Sentience (…or Moral Ontology…) while excluding the wider Map of Physics forces us to ask: How? Typically there is a kind of anti-scientific move by our Non-Theist friends as they go about claiming that Abstractions and/or Moral Facts cannot be reduced to Physics – that there is some other “category” which is not itself entirely subsumed by, defined by, the far wider Map we call physics. That typically lands in a cul-de-sac and the cul-de-sac is supposed to have its own “ontology” which is (somehow) insulated from and immune to the “ontology” of reality outside of said cul-de-sac. And said cul-de-sac is (typically) within the cerebral cortex of sentient creatures. Now, that “walling-off” or “slicing-out” of that proverbial “cerebral cortex” and arbitrarily treating “it” as if “it” has “its” own “fundamental nature” is entirely one grand ball of circularity neatly & arbitrarily isolated from the Non-Theist’s own paradigm and its fundamental & irreducible rock-bottom.
The belief in play there with respect to Sentience v. Self v. Intentionality v. Self-Giving v. Love v. Moral Facts is a strange form of circular-talk which claims that Moral Ontology can somehow “happen” in a vacuum void of Physics – as if on Non-Theism the Map of our own body of emotions and neurons is not ITSELF entirely subsumed by and defined by that far wider Map (Physics).
That yields an entirely self-referencing set of premises when making all of those arbitrary cuts which of course begs the question on what is good, how it is good, and why it is good, and in fact what “good” in fact “is” vis-à-vis this or that irreducible-hard-stop. And it is that last point there, the “is” and the “irreducible” and the “hard-stop” which forces our Non-Theist friends to insist on that cul-de-sac – for without those arbitrary walls one finds one’s very Self and therein Love Itself giving way to – not the hard-stop of the cul-de-sac’s walls – but instead the fundamental nature of the Wider Ocean v. Reality outside of the cul-de-sac in which and by which we find all that the cul-de-sac is, has, or even can be vis-à-vis any syntax of any category of “fundamental nature”.
When we describe “the ontology of trees” that is a narrative of (some phrase it this way) “the history of the becoming” wrt trees, or some phrase it “the history of the Tree’s becoming” and the word “becoming” is key as it tells us that the essence of and fundamental reality of “Tree” is not something irreducible and timeless but instead suffers from non-being at some point in the history of “reality” (….the universe on Non-Theism…) and then “becomes” (…or we can say “becomes real”…) and eventually fades again into non-being (….trees emerged and so are not irreducible and timeless…). The Ontology Of Trees is NOT “…what we find right here inside of the living experience of trees…“.
IF that is all one has then one does NOT have anything that is actually Ontological but instead one has an entirely self-referencing and circular map. And circular Maps cannot tell us anything about the fundamental essence of Trees as we’ve no contextual sight, no ontology, no physics, and we may actually believe that what causes Water to go to the leaves is something other than [Gravity, Strong & Weak Nuclear Forces, and Electromagnetic Forces] – believing perhaps in something like “Better/Worse” vis-à-vis “Flourishing” and so on.
Recall that the only reason the Non-Theist avoids Physics is to avoid loosing the hard-stop of the wall of his artificial cul-de-sac, because without that wall then love itself does not find that irreducible hard stop but finds instead the Irreducible Indifference vis-à-vis the Fundamental Nature of the Ocean Outside which we referent as “Reality” (….Cosmos, QM, whatever….).
Well with Moral Facts the same narrative applies as in fact what causes Water to go into leaves has nothing within it of Better/Worse and how do we know those facts? We know those facts from the ontological history of trees and NOT by self-referencing slices of Tree against Tree via the circularity of “life-good-death-bad” or of “better/worse” or of “flourish”.
With Moral Facts the same narrative applies with respect to essence and content and the fundamental nature of ANY vector. The reason the growing pool of Non-Theists claim there are NOT any vectors which sum to Objective Moral Facts is b/c of a Nominalism grounded in Non-Theism’s only available Map of Moral Ontology.
Our Non-Theist friends assure us that there is some sort of Wall of Separation between Sentience & Physics such that the term and content and causal maps referenced in and by the syntax of “Design / Designed / Not Designed / X Designed Y / and so on can be constituted of Eternal & Irreducible Equivocations. Physics sums to Laptops sums to Designed – and – also – Physics sums to Stones Rolling Downhill sums to Not-Designed. Recall that his is all despite Metaphysical Naturalism’s Necessary Conservation of Non-Design.
Laptops & The Rolling Stones
“Physics? Ba-Humbug! It’s all about the biology!” Well, to start, our Non-Theist friends with that statement foist an inexplicable nominalism wrt to the all-subsuming reach of nature’s four fundamental wave functions (interactions, forces) – or Physics – when it comes to biology, which is unfortunate. That said, their reaction is in one sense correct, and that is that they are correct that Downward Causation is ridiculous & untenable. Sam Harris & Sean Carroll & a wide & growing pool of Non-Theists agree as the science catches up to the theology. The unavoidable and catastrophic consequences on the concept of Intentionality / Design are obvious. And of course Downward Dausation isn’t new information. It’s been around awhile. Most Theologians & Physicists realize that it is untenable (…given Metaphysical Naturalism…). Meanwhile biologists are catching up. Slowly. That delayed pace is because they tend to reason “as-if” biology subsumes physics when in fact the opposite is true.
Our Non-Theist friends, despite their protest and demand for nominalism wrt the reach of nature’s fundamental wave functions (interactions, forces) – or Physics – still cannot tell us how they draw *distinctions* between 1. the nature of causation behind & within [Laptop] and 2. the nature of causation behind and within the [Rolling Stones] (rocks rolling down a hill).
Too often our Non-T friends define terms (design, causes, caused, intention, etc.) by reasoning through their pathways “as if” biology drives physics and, so, they therefore map the nature of causation v. human acts as somehow ontologically *distinct* from the nature of causation v. reality’s totality of events. But “Biology” is entirely shaped, driven, outdistanced, & subsumed by, Physics.
Sam Harris’ nominalism:
“…I choose, but I do not choose what I choose….”
“…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…”
Summation & Convergence:
- Nominalism *emerges* as victorious.
- Downward Causation fails.
- Intentionality never was.
- Design Equals Non-Being
Metaphysical Naturalism’s Necessary Conservation of Non-Design through & through —
In order to claim a “layer” of “immunity” or “protection” (…our Non-Theist friends have great faith in the Magic of “Layers” to escape “Reality”…) from the Driver – from reality’s fundamental nature and thereby claim some “new” “nature” the Non-Theistic Biologist foists a logically impossible cul-de-sac with his statement of,
“…yes but *our* use of the term *Design* does not ultimately reference a vacuum void of the intentional! It is a cul-de-sac or a “Box” that is causally / ontologically *distinct* from the “Box” that is [gravity, electromagnetic interactions, strong nuclear and weak nuclear forces]… Don’t ask how… just believe…”
Whereas, in fact reality’s fundamental nature has no “immunity” or “protection” (…no ontological *distinction* …) from, well, from reality’s fundamental nature – from herself – and we find all fermions & bosons & interactions living and moving within the Physicist’s full-on metaphysical armistice (… http://disq.us/p/1vkjbqj …).
The Non-Theistic evolutionary biologist cannot justify his premise that events within neurons are ontologically *distinct* from reality’s totality of events. It is a blind foist. It is descriptive full-stop void of ontological *distinctions* and ipso facto makes only illusory “distinctions”.
Projects which claim to reveal “Anti-Evolutionary Claims” within the Christian Metaphysic — but which fail to address exactly what is causing what — again ipso facto fail to unpack the necessary *distinctions*. A rough sketch of what that looks like is found in a book published by one of our Non-Theist friends. In his book he goes about describing the behaviors of a wide array of physical systems (evolutionary biology etc.) all while claiming that in doing so he is demonstrating evidence against the Christian Metaphysic wrt the term Design.
Now, the book is fine wrt describing said systems, yet he is unable to justify his own illusory “distinctions” in his own paradigm’s contradiction with respect to his own Causal Ecosystem. He affirms that “Laptops Are Designed” while simultaneously affirming Metaphysical Naturalism’s necessary conservation of Non-Design v. a universe void of those very same distinctions and in fact he cannot demonstrate any ontological distinctions within his own “ontology” “of” “design”. 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 designcannot 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/less/more/design” are all still more Ontic-Anathemas should they be found within Non-Theism.
In reply to our Non-Theist friend wrt to his book describing the behaviors of a wide array of physical systems and his claim that in doing so he somehow demonstrates a “problem” within the Christian Metaphysic, a few sample replies are given for context:
Begin Sample Replies:
The academic focus of your content is, so far, picking out little straw-men to “wrestle-against” on the internet and all while avoiding Christendom’s actual premises wrt design. Those longstanding and pervasive premises you avoid are…. what? Anti-evolutionary? How is it Anti-evolutionary to agree with you on, to outright grant you…..
1— …whatever series of particle cascades from dirt to molecule to body science (your book) affirms and also…
2— …those series over whatever time frame the sciences (your book) affirm…
You’ve claimed that the Christian is anti-evolution in affirming the ontological distinction of design. Why? Are you actually denying that, say, Laptops are designed? The causal network which designed laptops and spaces stations is constituted of the following given Non-Theism:
“…..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…..” (Sean Carroll).
Now, I don’t really care whether or not you agree with Sean Carroll about the fundamental causal nature of reality. Why? Well, two reasons.
First: The Driver’s Seat is occupied by someone else. Who? Well Physics, or, quite simply, Nature’s four fundamental forces (interactions or wave functions) vis-à-vis 1. Gravity and 2. electromagnetic interactions and 3. strong nuclear forces and 4. weak nuclear forces – occupies the Driver’s Seat and (in fact) defines, outdistances, and subsumes Biology. Physics is causing, driving, Biology.
Second: Because given any “attempt” you make to create the logical absurdity called an “ontological cul-de-sac” – given any attempt you make to (causally) differentiate any verb from any other verb, all your definitions will be (factually) subsumed by nature’s fundamental conservation of non-design which is forced upon philosophical naturalism whether the Non-Theist likes it or not. It’s just honest science.
That is, at bottom that which causally constitutes “X designed Y” (laptops, space stations) is factually indistinguishable from the causal constitutions of “The rock rolled into the river“. That is why I referenced some sort of causality of any causal paradigm (of your choosing) when asking you these questions about your book. And these are very straightforward questions – which you and your book fail to address. Your entire project speaks “as-if” Biology outdistances, causes, drives Physics.
As if Nature’s Immunity to Nature – to herself – were possible. But why?
Perhaps you can explain your own inability to draw ontological causal distinctions between the Verbs used within “X designed Y” and within “The rock rolled into the river”. In order to claim a “layer” of “immunity” or “protection” from the Driver – from reality’s fundamental nature and thereby claim some “new” “nature” you are, whenever your premises must do some actual WORK, forever foisting a logically impossible cul-de-sac with statements such as,
“….yes but *our* use of the term *Design* does not ultimately reference a vacuum void of the intentional! It is a cul-de-sac or a “Box” that is causally / ontologically *distinct* from the “Box” that is [gravity, electromagnetic interactions, strong nuclear and weak nuclear forces]… Don’t ask how… just believe…”
No philosophical gibberish please. You’re making claims wrt *what *causes *what wrt physics and you’ve Naturalism’s proverbial “Causal Ecosystem” in which to work. Eternalism & Presentism? Oh please. Eternalism only makes all of the *distinctions* you’re in need of that much more absurd (… http://disq.us/p/1w4283r …). Again, no philosophical gibberish please. Why? Well is the statement of “AB Caused CD” a merely philosophical statement? It’s basic science, yes? Nature’s four fundamental forces (or interactions or wave functions), yes? Yet your book is silent on the very topic it is actually claiming to be about. Why?
End Sample Replies.
Aristotle’s famous doctrine that all practical reasoning must find a terminus presses in (…see http://disq.us/p/1j5inui …). This is why “Dirt-To-Man” by ANY path in ANY Non-Theistic paradigm suffers the fate of remaining eternally *open*ended* and as such annihilates irreducible (ontological vis-à-vis being) intentionality (and with it, purpose). On Non-Theism the dopamine & serotonin effervescence driving the act of drawing *distinctions* is autohypnosis at best.
Non-Theism’s “…Being” as a flat plane in which *distinction* is achieved only by violence among converging equals…” – see http://disq.us/p/1vkjbqj
Part V of V
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 …)
Those are discussed at → → http://disq.us/p/1mlolff ← ←
The “big picture” question centers on the fact that we all affirm and use this statement: “X designed Y”, and “That X is designed, but this X is not designed.”.
But that statement in itself does not tell us anything given that both Non-Theists and Theists us that string of words. When “nature” designs a designer, what is “design”? When “Man” is the designed, what is “design” on Non-Theism and on Theism (…well… the Christian metaphysic specifically…)?
That asks a very generic question. Alex Rosenberg and Sean Carroll have fairly (mostly) honest answers from the Non-Theistic point of view with respect to intentionality, downward causation, and so on.
Here’s a copy/paste of that comment, which houses the typical content which these sorts of discussions typically demand clarification of, but which our Non-Theist friends too often evade:
Causal Ecosystems, Design, “X Designed Y”, Undesigned Designers, and Naturalism’s Necessary Conservation of Non-Design:
From http://disq.us/p/1cg2grf — Despite my reference to causality when I asked you for your explanation of what you mean by design (causally speaking), you did not define “design”. Not causally, as in forces, interactions, and so on. There at their fundamental nature. You know, the causal map of physics – full stop. Now, that’s my driving theme here: The fundamental nature of “design” in any and all contexts vis-à-vis philosophical naturalism. I’ll try to draw it out more precisely here as to the nature of the question:
The causal network which designed laptops and spaces stations is constituted of the following given Non-Theism:
“…..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…..” (Sean Carroll).
Now, I don’t really care whether or not you agree with Sean Carroll about the fundamental causal nature of reality. Why? Because given any “attempt” you make to (causally) differentiate any verb from any other verb, all your definitions will be (factually) subsumed by nature’s fundamental conservation of non-design which is forced upon philosophical naturalism whether the Non-Theist likes it or not.
That is, at bottom that which causally constitutes “X designed Y” (laptops, space stations) is factually indistinguishable from the causal constitutions of “The rock rolled into the river“. That is why I referenced some sort of causality, of any causal paradigm (of your choosing) when asking you the question.
The definitions you gave (scientifically stillborn, can’t differentiate), while applicable to Philosophical Naturalism and her necessary conservation of non-design, are simply irrelevant when investigating the fundamental nature of reality given some other ontological history of becoming. What metric will you use regarding *any* claim of  design or  ontological history of becoming? Nature’s fundamental conservation of non-design which is forced upon philosophical naturalism? Seriously?
Causally differentiating the respective ontological histories of becoming with respect to *any* thing/verb (say, a rock or a galaxy) juxtaposed to some *other* thing/verb (say, a space station or an intentional act) was left entirely unaddressed by the content you gave.
As for semantics, we’ll get to that a bit later, but the bottom line is this: There’s no such thing as a definition which can claim immunity to what reality *is*. Such a category of “immunity” can only live within the metaphysical absurdity of an “ontological cul-de-sac”. If one’s definitions are all over the illusory map then one needs to redefine one’s terms. “Mailbox” doesn’t mean “left turn only sign” and, for the same reasons, the term “design” (employed by the Non-Theist etc.) in any context just isn’t your friend.
Interestingly more and more of late we find that “realism” within philosophical naturalism pretty much wins out at the “layer” of the four fundamental forces of reality (quantum waves, etc.), whereas, nominalism and items like Sean Carroll’s Poetic Naturalism pretty much live up at higher “layers” (the “useful but not true” layers of semantics in reference to reality, as in syntax referencing “person” or “climb” or “want” and “design” so on). The concept of “verb” is that of “doing” and, given where realism expunges nominalism, the illusory presses in on the attempt to define *any* X as designed (space station, laptop, whatever). Just the same, the Non-Theist’s ontology which makes up his supposed “un-designed designers” (“Man”) collapses into “un-designed design” (Space Stations) which collapses into a metaphysical absurdity.
Hence the irrelevance of your own (Non-Theism etc.) content offered so far regarding the scientifically stillborn vis-à-vis causal differentiation. Sure, we know “Physics – Full Stop” is in fact unable to differentiate causality as it’s all the same, as *all* X’s 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…..”, but it’ just odd that you to mistake “that” for the Christian’s causal paradigm, or that you try to, as if it can possibly cohere with our respective definitions.
The following list of Non-Theism’s tools for any verb a Non-Theist might attempt to “causally differentiate” from any other verb will be helpful for you:
“Fundamental interactions, also known as fundamental forces, are the interactions in physical systems that do not appear to be reducible to more basic interactions. There are four conventionally accepted fundamental interactions — gravitational, electromagnetic, strong nuclear, and weak nuclear. Each one is understood as the dynamics of a field. The gravitational force is modeled as a continuous classical field. The other three are each modeled as discrete quantum fields, and exhibit a measurable unit or elementary particle. The two nuclear interactions produce strong forces at minuscule, subatomic distances. The strong nuclear interaction is responsible for the binding of atomic nuclei. The weak nuclear interaction also acts on the nucleus, mediating radioactive decay. Electromagnetism and gravity produce significant forces at macroscopic scales where the effects can be seen directly in everyday life. Electrical and magnetic fields tend to cancel each other out when large collections of objects are considered, so over the largest distances (on the scale of planets and galaxies), gravity tends to be the dominant force.” (Wiki)
Regarding that “attempt” to causally differentiate any verb from any other verb, nature’s fundamental conservation of non-design is forced upon philosophical naturalism whether the Non-Theist likes it or not.
That fact carries us to a term of causation (design) which is both scientifically and paradigmatically stillborn given philosophical naturalism. When the Non-Theist tries to “causally differentiate” the non-designed from the designed he employs a term that is a completely useless term because it is trivially compatible with every conceivable (causal) observation and it is neither contradicted by any conceivable (causal) observation nor able to explain any conceivable (causal) observation. Therefore the attempt at drawing a “factual distinction” of design period – (are space stations intelligently designed?) – claimed by the Non-Theist with respect to laptops or any other X isn’t testable in any objective sense and given the anthology of physics it is demonstrably false.
When challenged on the causal content of “design”, on the meaning of “X designed Y” with respect to whatever forces, causes and so on which such syntax in fact referents, Non-Theists often evade by thinking they can hide behind this or that “definition” and just go on pretending that his own causal paradigm gives him the necessary metrics by which to even coherently converse about the causally un-designed and the causally designed. In a way, it’s like “Occasionalism” only for Non-Theists. While a fallacy for Christianity, it just may work if we reverse it and apply it to Non-Theism’s causal paradigm. Perhaps we can call it, “Physionalism”.
Of course, the Non-Theist would be unwise to explain philosophical naturalism’s definition of design. No one likes admitting absurdity via his own reductio ad absurdum. But that’s my driving theme here: The fundamental nature of “design” in any and all contexts vis-à-vis philosophical naturalism.
It impacts the Non-Theist’s reach over another paradigm’s (causal) definitions and therefore impacts his ability to even comment on *any* ontology of *design* for he has no paradigmatic *metric* by which to even make a guess. The fundamentally illusory as a “metric” just won’t do. In short: The Non-Theist can’t afford the intellectual price tag by which one must purchase a seat at the proverbial table.
Take this example stated: “Darwinists say that we observe design, but it’s deceptive – it’s really random.”
This is false. Non-Theists affirm that design exists. They do it all the time with respect to all kinds of things. Space stations and so on. It’s simply that their causal paradigm either eliminates their affirmation or else lacks the means to account for it. Eventually their (causal) realism makes a mockery of their (causal) nominalistic referents such that the (causal) content referenced in “X is designed” referencing space stations and laptops is (causally speaking) the equivalent of the (causal) content referenced in the syntax of “X bouncing off the floor.” Given any “verb”, there is nothing less than – and there is nothing more than – nature’s four fundamental forces (given the causal map of physics – full stop).
There’s no such thing as the Non-Theist’s definition which can claim immunity to what reality *is*. If one’s definitions are all over the illusory map then one needs to redefine one’s terms – otherwise all we’re left with is meaningless words – which amounts to intellectual dishonesty if it’s actively embraced just to avoid incoherence.
“Un-designed designers” collapses into “un-designed design” which collapses into a metaphysical absurdity. It’s as simple as that. “Mailbox” doesn’t mean “left turn only sign” and, for the same reasons, the term “design” (employed by the Non-Theist etc.) in *any* context is no friend to philosophical naturalism.
Like it or not, nature’s fundamental conservation of non-design is forced upon philosophical naturalism.
Therefore, please define what you mean by design, causally speaking (causal ecosystem).
BTW, here’s another tool to add to the Non-Theist’s tool box when trying to (causally) differentiate things:
“……at the lowest level of reality, the fermions that make up our bodies are subject to only the four fundamental forces of nature. There is no room for *you* to control their behavior.” (by A. Ginn) Indeed, like it or not, nature’s fundamental conservation of non-design is forced upon philosophical naturalism.
That fact carries us to a term of causation (design) which is both scientifically and paradigmatically stillborn in that it is trivially compatible with every conceivable (causal) observation and it is neither contradicted by any conceivable (causal) observation nor able to explain any conceivable (causal) observation. Therefore (given the causal map of physics – full stop) the Non-Theist finds that, at bottom, either everything is laced through with design (including space stations and laptops), or else nothing is designed (including space stations and laptops).
The following is a segue into a discussion on various nature(s) of ontic-design(s) and the relevant metrics:
Only, the Non-Theist hasn’t the ontic-metrics, causally speaking, by which to afford the necessary intellectual price tag of admission to *any* discussion on the fundamental nature(s) of that which sums to ontic-design(s), given “Reality’s” or “Nature’s” fundamental conservation of non-design (given the causal map of physics – full stop), and so on. However, it is introduced here simply for the sake of very briefly introducing what sort of “table-talk” goes on once we leave philosophical naturalism’s non-metric behind:
The causal spectrum from proportionate causality to final causes affords the Christian the intellectual luxury of seamlessness amid his “semantic ecosystem” (to borrow a phrase from J.H.) and amid his ontological landscape. Contra philosophical naturalism’s fundamental conservation of non-design, it is *not* ultimately an illusion that what a laptop *is* and what a rock *is* and what a man *is* and what a galaxy *is* – and what their respective ontological histories of becoming *are* – factually differ.
Foisting un-designed designers just is foisting un-designed design and, for painfully obvious reasons, at some ontological seam somewhere the notion of un-designed design unravels into a metaphysical absurdity. Fortunately, reason as truth-finder chases after lucidity and not after this or that forced reductio ad absurdum. If there is design anywhere in a universe such as ours then we have awoken inside of a universe constituted of, soaked through with, Final Causes. Regardless© of how *that* unfolds it is going to come at a price far too high for the meager means of philosophical naturalism.
The Christian’s casual spectrum of proportionate causality to final causes is rationally justified in causally differentiating the ontological histories of becoming with respect to Man, Rock, Laptop, Galaxy, and Airplane while also justifiably employing irreducible ontic-referents to realities such as “better/worse“, and of “less ideal / more ideal,” and of good amalgamated with good-minus-some-thing, or of benefiting purpose X, or of frustrating purpose X.
Lastly, the vast majority of Christendom rationally rejects the (causal) nonsense of “Occasionalism”. As in:
Therefore it is of no intellectual or theological relevance here. Now, if a Non-Theist were to rationally convince us of Occasionalism and thereby reject his Non-Theism, well then perhaps he’d have a seat at that proverbial table. Of course, we can appreciate the Non-Theist’s preference for that topic, given that it all coheres so well with what is his own version of same: “Physionalism”.