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Author Topic:   Materialistic prejudice?
randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 2980 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 31 of 38 (461583)
03-26-2008 12:33 PM
Reply to: Message 30 by Modulous
03-26-2008 8:20 AM


Re: Starting Point
assuming by 'touch on' you mean 'completely describe'.

Why add so many words to straightforward comments from me? No, "touch on" does not mean completely describe. I am not sure anything has ever been completely described, and it's an interesting question whether that's even possible.

If by 'touch on' you mean something like we should find a point of contact between the soul and the brain or something, but the soul is something so different that physics will not be able to describe it, then you've gone back into dualism.

Well, we don't know what physics will be able to detect and describe, but regardless you are leaving out a more likely possibility, and that is some spiritual things may be detected and described to a degree and others not. We may detect the workings of the Logos order within the process of the creation of matter, for example, but not the soul....or perhaps we can one day determine what the soul is from a physics point of view.

You propose that the Biblical concepts of spiritual are not the concepts of spiritual of the dualists

Actually, I think you are confusing the issues with labels here. The dualists of theology would have little problem with what I am saying. In fact, many modern dualists suggest similar things. On the other hand, so does the other side.

The idea the spiritual realm is intertwined and gives rise to the physical realm does not negate the distinction between spiritual and physical.....distinction can be understood as separateness.


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randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 2980 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 32 of 38 (461584)
03-26-2008 12:38 PM
Reply to: Message 30 by Modulous
03-26-2008 8:20 AM


Re: Starting Point
and I presume that means you conclude that ultimately God and the soul can be described using sufficient physics and mathematics. That ultimately, there is no 'certain something' no 'type of stuff' which cannot be described thusly.

It's a little more nuanced than that. I think there is cross-over. Take the concept of God in the New Testament. Paul says "In Him, we live and move and have our being" when preaching to the Greeks in the New Testament. So "we" here refers to all people, both saved and unsaved. He's not talking about the in-Christ experience of being born-again, but something more ordinary, our existence stems from the substance of God we live in.

So from that theological perspective, I would expect to be able to detect an aspect of God, as it is the basis for all things coming into and maintaining their existence at all times.

However, even if math or physics could describe the love and intent of God, I would question if it wouldn't be easier and better to describe it in everyday language.....Note: it might though be possible to detect spiritual love as a substance at one point.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 30 by Modulous, posted 03-26-2008 8:20 AM Modulous has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 33 by Modulous, posted 03-26-2008 1:02 PM randman has responded
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Modulous
Member (Idle past 185 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 33 of 38 (461587)
03-26-2008 1:02 PM
Reply to: Message 32 by randman
03-26-2008 12:38 PM


monism vs dualism
So from that theological perspective, I would expect to be able to detect an aspect of God, as it is the basis for all things coming into and maintaining their existence at all times.

So, at any point your theology posits something which is not describable using physics, the essence of this sustaining force or whatever, that is a 'spiritual' concept. Those parts that posit things which may well be describable by physics are 'physicalist concepts', and there will obviously be areas where it is difficult to determine which is which. If you have some entity which you insist cannot be described thusly, you are in dualist territory. If you have no such entity, you are a monist. If you are a monist that thinks reality can be described in terms of physics, you are a physicalist. If you are monist that thinks that 'spiritual'/'mental'/'physical' are all part of some single higher order construct - then you you might be a neutral monist.

Given your inclinations, I'd suggest that neutral monist might be a good description of your metaphysics - but you might have a better one. Would you consider your metaphysics appeals to any dualistic ideas?

Well, we don't know what physics will be able to detect and describe, but regardless you are leaving out a more likely possibility, and that is some spiritual things may be detected and described to a degree and others not.

Essentially then, dualism. For all those parts that can be described, that's physicalist. When physics stop being able to describe them, they become as it were ineffable when they have the property P that cannot be described in terms of physics...that's the spiritual. The rest isn't.

Actually, I think you are confusing the issues with labels here. The dualists of theology would have little problem with what I am saying. In fact, many modern dualists suggest similar things. On the other hand, so does the other side.

The idea the spiritual realm is intertwined and gives rise to the physical realm does not negate the distinction between spiritual and physical.....distinction can be understood as separateness.

It depends on the nature of the intertwining really. If the intertwining is that material things are special cases of spiritual things being sustained by spiritual powers in a certain way as to make them material, then that is still monism rather than dualism. If there is some seperate non-material 'stuff' that might have some kind of interaction with material 'stuff' that would be dualism.

Either way, the spiritual side of things is generally obvious.

Edited by Modulous, : No reason given.

Edited by Modulous, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 32 by randman, posted 03-26-2008 12:38 PM randman has responded

Replies to this message:
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Straggler
Member
Posts: 10284
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 34 of 38 (461588)
03-26-2008 1:02 PM
Reply to: Message 32 by randman
03-26-2008 12:38 PM


Re: Starting Point
We all seem to be a little lost as to what it is exactly that you are proposing should be considered spiritual as opposed to material.

In the absence of any human consciousness at all (or alien or any other physical being that can be said to be conscious) do you agree that the physical material world would continue on obeying the laws of physics regardless? Stars would form, galaxies collide, particles exist etc. etc. etc.

Is your idea of spiritual reality therefore dependent on human (or other) consciousness already being in place for it to exist?

Is consciousness at the the heart of what you would call "spiritual" or have I got completely the wrong end of the stick?


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Replies to this message:
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Grizz
Member (Idle past 3552 days)
Posts: 318
Joined: 06-08-2007


Message 35 of 38 (461635)
03-26-2008 7:22 PM


There is a certain arbitrariness about how we define and categorize - both in Philosophy and the Sciences. We have become masters at recognizing patterns that emerge from arbitrary parts. For purposes of simplicity, we pick out those things of interest to us, separate them from the environment in which they are immersed, and then give them names and assign them an existence as autonomous parts that have meaning independent from the whole. We are the great Taxonomists.

Subject and object will always be complimentary. Something acted upon requires something acting. For example, asking what an electric charge is in and of itself is meaningless - electric charge is defined in terms of how selected objects in an arbitrary whole behave. That electric charge is something that is 'real' is not in doubt - it exists in the sense that it manifests itself when we choose to look for a particular pattern in a system. Although the pattern repeats, the pattern itself is entirely arbitrary. It is only an arbitrary part of a whole that we choose to notice for pragmatic reasons.

I am not just implying that we never really observe things in and of themselves - I am implying the idea of autonomously existing entities has no consistency. The result will always be circularity.

The same problem arises while attempting to define physical and non-physical. Words are simply metaphors for mental images. All of our concepts and ideas are defined in relation to something else. For a dualist, 'Non-physical' mental images have been derived from experiences obtained via sensory input from that which one seeks to define as 'Physical'. In this context, one cannot define non-physical as something that exists autonomously since is would be via the physical through which it was derived. The same is true for Monism. When trying to juxtapose materialism with the idea of the non-physical, you run into this same problem of circularity. Any subjective experiences can only be defined as simply an arbitrary part of a whole that has no independent meaning or autonomy. Nothing exists in a vacuum.


    
randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 2980 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 36 of 38 (461677)
03-27-2008 1:01 AM
Reply to: Message 34 by Straggler
03-26-2008 1:02 PM


Re: Starting Point
We all seem to be a little lost as to what it is exactly that you are proposing should be considered spiritual as opposed to material.

I am saying in seeking to know if there is evidence for spiritual things, you cannot define spiritual as anything you have no evidence for and the opposite, material things, as things you have evidence for. That's an absurdity which completely ignored the descriptive meaning of the terms.

It is incumbent on anyone claiming there is no evidence for spiritual things to consider the descriptive aspect of what those that believe spiritual things exist. In other words, you have to work with the ideas of "spiritual" given by the other side in the debate if you are approaching the debate with intellectual honesty and integrity.

One way to distinquish between the 2 is that physical things generally have matter or matter-like qualities (photons for example) whereas spiritual things are not physical...they lack matter.

In the absence of any human consciousness at all (or alien or any other physical being that can be said to be conscious) do you agree that the physical material world would continue on obeying the laws of physics regardless? Stars would form, galaxies collide, particles exist etc. etc. etc.

Frankly, I don't know and doubt anyone does. Is consciousness a prerequisite for the formation of matter? I think the jury is out on that one, but I suspect based on theological grounds the universe would exist regardless of human beings and consciousness.

Maybe it would be a different universe in many respects though.

Is your idea of spiritual reality therefore dependent on human (or other) consciousness already being in place for it to exist?

No.

Is consciousness at the the heart of what you would call "spiritual" or have I got completely the wrong end of the stick?

No. I think spirituality plays a role in consciousness, and in some respect, it's true consciousness is required but not human consciousness. God's consciousness, imo, is required but that gets off into a theology discussion.

I think the fundamental plane or realm, the fundamental field of the universe, is spiritual and behaves in a manner consistent with the descriptions of spiritual. It has no matter. It acts regardless of space and time (see entanglement), and that matter and physical existence is merely a derived property of an immaterial realm which in spiritual traditions is labelled "spiritual."

The Bible calls this field the Logos. Men of science label it something else.

Edited by randman, : No reason given.


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randman 
Suspended Member (Idle past 2980 days)
Posts: 6367
Joined: 05-26-2005


Message 37 of 38 (461678)
03-27-2008 1:05 AM
Reply to: Message 33 by Modulous
03-26-2008 1:02 PM


Re: monism vs dualism
So, at any point your theology posits something which is not describable using physics, the essence of this sustaining force or whatever, that is a 'spiritual' concept.

Where have stated that?

I don't really follow your point on the rest of your post.


This message is a reply to:
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Modulous
Member (Idle past 185 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 38 of 38 (461694)
03-27-2008 4:49 AM
Reply to: Message 37 by randman
03-27-2008 1:05 AM


Re: monism vs dualism
Where have {I} stated that?

I didn't say you had. I simply said that at any point where you theology does posit something not describable using physics...that is a spiritual concept. What you did say is that you "would expect to be able to detect an aspect of God" - and the aspect you cannot would be spiritual. You also said that "some spiritual things may be detected and described to a degree and others not.", and I'm arguing that the things that can be described by physics are not spiritual things at all. You also hinted that there might not necessarily be a "distinction between spiritual and physical" (which would be something akin to neutral monism).

I don't really follow your point on the rest of your post.

You opened the door to a discussion on metaphysics - what else could you expect but an esoteric or difficult to follow discussion :p

I understand your point well enough, its a variation on Hempel's dilemma and I hoped we'd get to discussing that - but maybe we're at the end of the discussion now.


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