I'm mostly just trying to follow along in this discussion you're having with RAZD, but I thought I'd add my two cents. The way I see it, most words have more than one meaning and more than one sense in which they can be used. Sometimes someone asks "why" and wants to know the reason or purpose, e.g., "Why did you hit me?" Other times they want to understand the causes or mechanisms, e.g., "Why did the plane crash?" If I've been reading you right then I think we agree that one can't assign a single approach to interpreting "why" questions.
That's exactly the point I was making to RAZD. ABE: see Message 534
And that his insistence that the "why" questions must be ones of ultimate purpose is just Begging the Question.
I don't know if you're correct relative to RAZD because I don't understand his position. Is he perhaps dividing questions into two types, why and how?
Well, he's not eliminating 'where'
What he's doing is defining a question so that science is unable to answer it. A "Free Speech Zone", if you will.
I don't have a problem with that. With the word 'why', we can ask about purpose. And science cannot test it.
But things also happen without purpose, and we often use the word 'why' in a search for how they happen.
Why is the sky blue?
Because the atmosphere screws up the light.
No, not how. For what purpose is the sky blue?
Oh, I dunno. Science can't answer it.
Well, maybe its because... skreeetch
Hold on. If you're gonna step outside of science-land. You're gonna hafta go into that "Free Speech Zone". That's Begging the Question.
That was my first point to RAZD:
quote:If you're simply pointing out that science is unable to identify any purpose behind the way things are, then you're just begging the question of having any need to identify a purpose in the first place.
Here's the problem:
We can make progress into how things work by using the word 'why' (that's why two year olds do it).
but if we keep going back through all the how-answers to the fundamentals of the universe,
and then you ask the question of purpose, you may arrive at something like Deism (or even Intelligent Design) through this.
but you've ended up finding yourself at some ultimate purpose by applying the same why question again to the answer,
and meaning purpose instead of how,
the path doesn't actually end there.
You could then ask why did god do it? And why is it so, that god does it that way? And why is it so, that it is so that god does it that why? And why is so, that it is so that it so that god does is it that way.
Wait. That's an infinite regress, let's go ahead and stop. Note that doesn't necessarily mean that deism is wrong.
What it means is our path to getting there was flawed. Our language and logic don't allow us to answer those questions that way.
That might have something to do with why Begging the Question is a logical fallacy.
Now that I look back, its sort of a nitpick point out that looking for a purpose of the universe is a logical fallacy. But I enjoy writing this stuff way more than the logic puzzles I used to play with as a kid.
I just didn't like RAZD's claim that "science can't answer why questions", because it can.
He finally acknowledged.
But that doesn't mean we can't talk about it. Go ahead.
An aside: this isn't something I've ever given much thought to, so I invented terminology on the spot (e.g., mundane and intangible, etc.). Suggestions welcome.
Makes sense to me.
The topic is "Is there a legitimate argument for design?"
If you put one out there, I'll be around to check it.
I think there exists a "purpose" that stems from sentience, that is non-deterministic, and is unable to be tested in any way by science. I suppose that can be boiled down to some kind of duality that is, in itself, unscientific. But there it sits.
And I think that's what RAZD might be limiting the word 'purpose' to.
That may be a little short sighted, but I don't have a problem using it to talk about things like that.