The Messianic Manic’s Razor is Not so Sharp

Recently, The Messianic Manic (TMM) attempted to debunk my 6 part  resurrection series with a lengthy two minute video (He made another short response video prior to this one, but I essentially debunked that during part 5 of my series). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=goN12ufWkLU

Normally I don’t prefer to waste time in responding to him because the errors in his videos speak for themselves, but this one is too easy and I had a little extra time during a recent flight I was on.

*As an update, unfortunately someone who asked to read this an early draft of this reply mistakenly posted it to his page and TMM posted a response to an early draft I had. This is one instance where it is clear patience is always the best approach, since what he responded to was early notes and I was still working on the section he took the most issue with. The final draft (as you will read below) is something other than what TMM responded to. 

So moving on, despite only being two minutes there are numerous errors I want to highlight. First of all, being that in any of his responses there isn’t a moment devoted to the historical data, just philosophical beliefs about how one ought to view the idea of a resurrection. This tactic is not too different from what young earth creationists do. Instead of debating the scientific evidence for the age of the earth, they instead propose philosophical views about how one interprets data and evidence. This was seen in the Bill Nye and Ken Ham debate. Ken Ham said very little about supposed evidence for his theory the earth is only 6000 years old, but instead insisted the only reason we disagree was that evolutionists are looking at data through evolutionary glasses and really it is just their philosophical presuppositions that allow them to accept evolution.

TMM’s tactics are not too different. He is not debating the historical evidence for the resurrection but simply imposing his philosophical belief about how we ought to view a potential resurrection, and that we should be skeptical before any evidence is given, instead of being neutral. It is fine if he wants to think that, but your philosophical presuppositions about resurrections only blind you from being as unbiased as possible in studying the evidence. As I pointed out in part 5, there is nothing in history, science, or logic that says we should begin by thinking resurrections should be seen as the most improbable hypothesis. Nor does TMM give good reason to think the resurrection of Jesus is less parsimonious, other than he just thinks it is improbable. More on this in a moment.

Secondly, TMM actually gets the definition of Occam’s Razor wrong when he defines it as,

“…the idea that explanations that make more assumptions are less likely to be correct than ones that make fewer assumptions.”

This is almost correct but there is a key word missing which completely changes the definition of Occam’s Razor. What TMM should have said was that Occam’s Razor is,

“the idea that explanations that make more unnecessary assumptions are less likely to be correct than ones that make fewer assumptions.”

Occam’s razor is about being sure you are not making additional unnecessary assumptions, not making addition assumptions. For example, if we went on a theory of the universe by only going on the theory that makes the least amount of assumptions we would have to go with the Aristotelian view of the universe, “It just exists.” But due to what we know in modern cosmology and physics we have to make more assumptions in order to explain all the data. The extra assumptions in modern theories of the universe are necessary, and therefore are not shaved off by Occam’s Razor. TMM’s misuse of Occam’s Razor becomes a straw man definition that no historian or philosopher holds to. From his misunderstanding of Occam’s Razor we can see where he makes an error in understanding the resurrection.

Basically, he thinks hypotheses that are naturalistic are superior to the resurrection hypothesis because the resurrection hypothesis involves (as he puts it), “elements we don’t know to exist” (more on this later). However, the problems I pointed out in part 2 and part 4 still remain. Namely naturalistic theories fail to explain all the data presented. If a naturalistic theory could explain all the data then I agree it would be preferred. But they cannot, and since we have an abundance of data that needs to be explained we necessarily have to posit more in order to account for the evidence. This is why the resurrection theory triumphs. It can explain all the data whilst making the least number of unnecessary assumptions in order to account for all the data. Naturalistic theories fall dead in the water because they cannot begin to account for all the data without piling unnecessary assumption after assumption. As Louis de Wohl stated, “That’s the trouble with miracles, Sebastianus — in order to explain them away you have to introduce theories so nonsensical that they are less believable than the miracle itself.(1)”

The hallucination theory, for example, essentially becomes a miracle in itself when it tries to account for all the data and starts to posit mass, multi-sensory group hallucinations happening multiple times over long periods of time.

This is also why TMM’s comparison, with trying to explain the wealth of a rich man, doesn’t work. He tries to compare explaining the data for the resurrection with an example of a rich man. He says, “If you meet a rich person, you would probably be making fewer assumptions if you infer that they got rich by winning the lottery than if you inferred their wealth comes from decades of many profitable investments, but is that really a more parsimonious inference?” The problem with this comparison and why it doesn’t compare to the resurrection is there is simply not enough data offered to make a conclusion on anything. How wealthy is this supposed man? What is his education level? What was he doing 5 years ago with his life? In reality if you met someone rich, you would probably investigate further before making any kind of general inference.

When it comes to resurrection this analogy doesn’t compare, because Christians are not saying “Jesus’ body went missing, therefore resurrection.” Through parts 2 and 3 I listed eight different facts that allow us to infer a resurrection. This is a far larger field of data that allows us to make a reasonable inference. TMM’s analogy simply just doesn’t compare to what we have for the resurrection and therefore is an invalid comparison.

The third point I wish to make is that TMM’s epistemology disallows scientific hypotheses. TMM says, “I pointed out that explanations involving elements that have been established to exist can be more parsimonious than explanations involving elements we don’t know to exist, even if those explanations are more complex.” First I am glad TMM at least admits competing theories to resurrection theory are far more elaborate and complex. It seems we are making progress if he can admit it is the simplest explanation of the data. However this reasoning fails when compared to what happens in science and history.

There are many things we have that have not been established to exist, yet we infer they exist because it best explains the data. Quarks, for example have not been established to exist. They most likely exist because they best explain the effects we see in modern experiments. We essentially see certain effects happening and infer the best way to explain these effects is with inferring the existence of an unobserved sub-atomic particle called a quark. In history, technically speaking, no famous person from the past has been established to exist. We infer that their existence is probable from data and written accounts of them in manuscripts we may find. So we often infer the existence of entities of which we cannot empirically verify because they are necessary in order to account for points of data we encounter.

When it comes to resurrection this one is quite simple because we are doing the same. We have a wealth of data that can only be explained by inferring the existence of an entity that can raise Jesus from the dead. This is the same as when a scientist infers the existence of a quark in order to explain the data.

As philosopher Michael Beaty says,

The confident belief that many practicing scientists have in the reality of electrons (which are not visible) seems inappropriate if evidentialism is true. Thus it seems that this version of evidentialism does not intellectually measure up. It’s too restrictive. Moreover, we might discover that what scientists assume to be adequate evidence for their assumptions are compatible with what counts as good reasons in religious matters. For example, belief in God can be treated as an explanatory hypothesis, like belief in electrons. In both cases, the evidence may be persuasive if not determinant. In both science and religion, tenacity of belief is common and often a good thing. A scientist’s tenacity in a belief, despite paucity of evidence and doubt from peers, may lead her to develop a radically different conception of some aspect of our world, but one that is nonetheless true and significant. (2)

Once one realizes this, one can see that the necessary addition of the entity to raise Jesus from the dead (in order to explain the data other theories fail to) is not an extreme or an unparsimonious assumption. It is quite normal to do this in practices of science and history.

However, TMM is aware of this response and tried to respond to my example of quarks. He says, “Yes, but we still infer that quarks consist of matter. God however, is described by apologists as being “wholly other”.” Okay, there are so many errors in this one statement it is hard to know where to start. First, you can’t say quarks consist of matter… Quarks are sub-atomic particles and therefore they are matter (as he even says in his response to my early draft). Likewise, you can’t say quarks consist of matter, because that would be circular reasoning to say quarks consist of matter. That would just be saying quarks consist of quarks.

Second, just because they are bits of matter that doesn’t mean they are different as a postulate. I can postulate quarks are made of tinier particles called blougoens. Does that mean they are likely, just because they would also be matter? Of course not, and scientists have postulated many things that were presumed to be matter throughout the past 200 years from ethers to super strings, and unless they can explain the data we do not assume they likely exist just because they would be material substance. Is TMM really suggesting something is more likely to exist just because it is theorized to be material? If this reasoning was valid we would have to assume Phlogiston most likely exists just because it was postulated to be material. In reality something likely exists because the evidence infers so, not because of its hypothetical composition.

TMM is just presupposing naturalism to be already true. On his view, therefore, postulating a material substance is fine, but nonmaterial substances are unlikely; and he knows this because naturalism is already true in his mind (so nonmaterial substance are unlikely). So this is just circular reasoning.

In reality a postulate is most likely true (material or nonmaterial) if it can account for the data, not just because of a presupposition that something is more likely to exist if it is material. Quarks, as they stand are totally an unobserved extra postulations. They cannot be observed and we are not entirely sure if they exist. They most likely exist because they account for the data. Likewise God is a necessary postulate invoked in order to explain events (like the events that happened after Jesus’ body went missing) and effects we observe and cannot account for without an extra necessary postulate. So theism is not hard to arrive at or absurd to postulate. It is the simplest explanation that can account for all the data without unnecessary assumptions.

*As you can see TMM, in his video response to an early draft of this, took what I said out of context. That is not entirely his fault since it was an early draft, but his video response to this is useless since it doesn’t address what I actually said. We should always remember patience is a virtue for a reason.

Third, is he really citing a presuppositional apologists on his definition of God? Why not just go to the experts, philosophers of religion? There are entire books written on the attributes and ontology of God. To name a few:

“The Coherence of Theism” by Richard Swinburne

“The Nature of Necessity” by Alvin Plantinga

“Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview” by William Lane Craig and JP Moreland

None of these extensive works describe God as complete unknown or “wholly other.” In fact they note over and over again, there are things we can know about God, like that He is conscious, an entity, benevolent, omniscient, etc. Why doesn’t TMM actually read what real experts have to say on this topic instead of finding a one paragraph article on CARM, written by someone who is not a philosopher of religion. The author, Matt Slick, is a Calvinist and presuppositional apologist, who I disagree with on plenty, especially if he says God is “wholly other” meaning unknowable in any way.

But if you read his tiny one paragraph on CARM we can also see TMM has taken him out of context. Slick is not saying God is completely unknowable but that he believes God is wholly other in relation to physical things; like how we are finite, whereas God is eternal. God is immutable while we change. Slick even says, “It means that we must relate to Him by His self-revelation in the person of Christ Jesus and through the Bible. (3)” This should be obvious to anyone who reads it. Slick is just saying mankind can only know about God from what He reveals about Himself, not that we know nothing at all about God. God is not like a natural object we can study on our own. Slick is suggesting we can only learn anything about Him because of revelation.

Now I disagree with Slick due to my commitment to natural theology. However, the point is TMM only read one paragraph on CARM and didn’t even get it right. If he was really interested in the philosophical work on the nature and ontology of God he could pick up a book by an academic philosopher instead of doing a short internet search, cite a non-expert, take him out of context, and call it a day. This just shows poor research and ignorance on theism, especially for one who creates videos on the topic in order to teach others.

Most importantly, I never advocated this definition. This is important because TMM claims to be responding to my videos, not Matt Slick’s article. So he should go after what I believe and argue for, not what someone else says who I do not entirely agree with. This is a bait and switch at best and a poor attempt to dodge the real issue. TMM should know better.

In conclusion TMM has not offered a better explanation of the data to overtake the resurrection argument. He has only peddled the same atheistic presuppositions about resurrection while combining it with some poor commentary on philosophical concepts. As you can see, this is why I normally do not waste time with TMM’s videos. Errors like this throughout his videos speak for themselves. But simply telling us he doesn’t think resurrections are likely doesn’t mean he was able to overturn all the evidence which inferred what happened to Jesus. He needs to try a bit harder, rather than thinking he can rush through a two minute response that doesn’t even address the historical evidence.

Furthermore, if TMM would like to discuss more on this topic I would be glad to engage him and talk with him more for a public discussion online, we can post to our channels. I think it would be good to get more of what he thinks of this topic since he has barely scratched the surface, yet has already done two short responses to by series on the resurrection, so the invitation is open.
Sources:
1. Louis de Wohl,  Citadel of God (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1959), p. 90.

2. Michael D. Beaty, God Among the Philosophers (Christian Century, June 12-19, 1991)

3. https://carm.org/dictionary-wholly-other

A Response to “The Reference Frame” on Miracles

I recently posted a video explaining why, philosophically and scientifically, there is nothing impossible about miracles occurring:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hQAi0u5Rs0

Afterwards, I received a response from a physicist and supporter of mine that I feel is necessary to address:

http://motls.blogspot.com/2015/12/are-all-arguments-against-miracles.html?m=1

First let me say, I have a great amount of respect for Luboš Motl, and the work he does on his blog, “The Reference Frame.” In the past I have referred people to his work and he has supported my videos on quantum theory, so I don’t want people to think I am attacking him, only his response to my video. He is a very intelligent physicist and a great writer, however, even the smartest of us can make mistakes and his response to my video on miracles was nothing more than a bait and switch. So in this blog entry I’ll point out why miracles are still logically and scientifically possible and the error that occurred in his rebuttal.

First, he doesn’t really address my points as to why miracles are not logically impossible, and he simply dismisses them and says they are, “cute and make me smile but they are just totally silly.” It is one thing to poke fun at an argument, it is another to actually address it. You can poke fun at an argument all you want, but not before you actually dismantle it. Motl has not, and has simply brushed over my main points, then simply followed this with something I do not even dispute.

His main point seems to be that miracles cannot happen because natural processes do not allow them to. He explains Jesus could not have turned water into wine by going over how this naturally cannot occur. But this is nothing I or any other Christian would disagree with. Of course, Jesus didn’t naturally turn water into wine. Motl spends a large section of his blog explaining why this is naturally impossible, but no one argues Jesus turned water into wine through natural processes. This is why we call it a miracle: because it is not caused by the regularities of natural, but by an agent with powers beyond the natural; one that changes something in the system. Miracles are not bound by natural laws or caused by natural forces, which is why they are not violations of natural laws. They are caused or created by powers beyond the natural system. So if Jesus turned water into wine, he did not do it by natural processes, but by heavenly processes, meaning it cannot be explained or prohibited by natural laws, because it was never a natural event to being with. So why argue that Jesus did not naturally turn water into wine – a point Christians agree with. No one has ever claimed such a thing! Jesus would have done it by heavenly powers, and therefore not explained by natural processes.

Next, Motl says it is far more likely the story of Jesus turning water into wine is a lie than it actually happening. Well first off, this was not the claim of my video. My argument in the video was that miracles are logically possible, not that they have definitely occurred. I’ll argue in upcoming videos that at least one miracle has occurred, due to the evidence it is far more likely such an event happened instead of people making it up, but that was never the topic of this particular video, which means this point is nothing but a red herring.

Miracles should be judged on a case by case basis, not dismantled outright from sweeping dismissals, because of a philosophical bias towards naturalism. Let’s be open to the evidence and do our best to allow the evidence to sway us, instead of dismissing evidence that doesn’t agree without philosophical presumptions.  But I digress.

However, prior to this section of his blog he basically rehashes Hume’s old argument, as he says:

“Has Jesus been turning water into wine? Now, let me destroy your Sunday before the Christmas: He hasn’t. How do I know that? I haven’t observed Him. His daily life was as inaccessible to me as ice is inaccessible to the aforementioned poor Saudi prince.” 

Well, there is not much to say here, since we have already shown in the video you cannot assume your subjective experience somehow shows certain things cannot happen. Especially if Motl agrees with me that the laws of nature are only our approximations of the regularity of natures, to the best of our ability. This means our approximations do not exclude an event, just because it is beyond our personal experience. For example, everything beyond the boundary of the singularity point before the big bang is beyond our experience, but that doesn’t mean it did not happen. Many things are beyond our experience, as Philosopher Michael Beaty says:

“The confident belief that many practicing scientists have in the reality of electrons (which are not visible) seems inappropriate if evidentialism is true. Thus it seems that this version of evidentialism does not intellectually measure up. It’s too restrictive. Moreover, we might discover that what scientists assume to be adequate evidence for their assumptions are compatible with what counts as good reasons in religious matters. For example, belief in God can be treated as an explanatory hypothesis, like belief in electrons. In both cases, the evidence may be persuasive if not determinant. In both science and religion, tenacity of belief is common and often a good thing. A scientist’s tenacity in a belief, despite paucity of evidence and doubt from peers, may lead her to develop a radically different conception of some aspect of our world, but one that is nonetheless true and significant.”

There are many things in science beyond our observation, but that doesn’t mean they do not account for the evidence. In the same way, just because the study of history or the life of Jesus is beyond our experience that does not mean the evidence points away from something that has happened beyond the explanatory power of naturalism. I’ll argue the evidence indicates this in my series on the resurrection.  But I digress again.

The point remains the same though: just because you, personally, have never observed a miracle, that doesn’t mean they can never happen or are logically impossible. One cannot say Jesus did not turn water into wine merely because it is out of your immediate experience.

However, his main argument just seems to be it is not scientifically possible that water cannot be turned into wine, and I agree with this, which is why Christians have never said Jesus was doing scientific experiments when he performed miracles, because they were not natural processes at work, but heavenly. If that is his main argument, then it boils down to a bait and switch, and is nothing that really addresses my video.

Another thing I agree with Motl on is that although quantum mechanics does allow for insanely improbable things to occur, they are pretty much forbidden by the approximate regularities of nature. As Motl says:

“But quantum mechanics still predicts many things to be so wonderfully improbable that for all practical and most impractical purposes, we may say that they’re forbidden. For example, if the probability of something is much smaller than 10^-125, we may say it will never happen in our Universe.”

I could not agree more, and I don’t know why he is bringing this point up. I practically said the same thing in my video:

“…even scientifically speaking, there is nothing that violates a natural law in causing an miraculous event, they are extremely improbable and would not happen on their own in a 1000 lifetimes, but still possible within the quantum nature of the universe..” 

Such improbable events would only be likely if God wished to use them to fulfill a purpose of His.

So of course, according to the approximate laws of nature such events will not come about on their own. However, if there is a God, who wants to cause something irregular to happen, there are opportunities built right into the laws of nature that can be acted upon. Of course, they would not come about on their own, and practically have a 0% probability of naturally occurring. There needs to be a powerful outside agent in this equation for them to even be possible, let alone happen. No theists denies that, and nothing in my videos disagrees with Motl’s conclusions on this issue. Only if there is a God are miracles possible. Combine that with this improbabilities in the quantum nature of the universe and miracles are not impossible, according to the quantum nature of the universe.

Finally, there is one more thing that needs to be addressed. Motl doesn’t seem to like the fact that I mentioned the main philosophical theories of the laws of nature (regularity, comic necessity, and causal dispositions theory) and says, “By the laws of Nature, I imagine string theory – or the Standard Model combined with general relativity in some way – and their derivable implications for numerous “more mundane” situations. The three “parts of the laws of Nature” listed above sound like some philosophers’ superstitions.” Well, no. They are not “philosophical superstitions”. They are formal philosophical views about how the laws of nature would work and how theories, like string theory or the standard model are explained philosophically. We must remember one cannot do science until they have worked out philosophy of science. The scientific method is a philosophical construct, and there is debate in philosophy of science as to how science is even suppose to be done. For more on this, I recommend the book, “For and Against Method: Including Lakatos’s Lectures on Scientific Method and the Lakatos-Feyerabend Correspondence”

But basically my point is this: one should not dismiss philosophy of science without first understanding what is going on. We all have philosophical constructs about how nature works and the relationships that happen in the natural world. Philosophy of science helps us to understand what we believe regarding these things so we can study science in a more efficient way. These three different philosophical definitions of natural laws do not contradict the standard model other scientific theories.  They are ways in which we understand such theories. So it seems that Motl, although a very intelligent scientist, doesn’t understand philosophy of science quite well, and his attack on philosophy is only as childish as he calls my Christian beliefs.

In conclusion, I don’t think his critique is a challenge to Christianity or shows miracles are impossible. It seems he agrees with me that miracles cannot be caused by natural processes. If we agree on that, then there is no challenge to my claim that miracles are possible events that would need to be caused by heavenly powers, and thus, there is no real disagreement. The only real disagreement is he does not think God probably exists or that miracles have occurred. But we would probably agree that if a miracle has happened there needs to be good evidence to infer its truth, which is what I will embark to do in my next few videos, and with that, there is nothing more I can say until I publish them.

Fin.

41 Facts Confirmed in the New Testament, from William Paley

In William Paley’s book “A View of the Evidences of Christianity,” Part II, chapter 6, he lists 41 facts confirmed in the New Testament. Of course, it is not an exhaustive list of every fact brought to light over the years, nor was it an exhaustive list in his time either. However, it is a nice sample size of eternal facts they were able to get correct. When combined, they demonstrate a cumulative case the New Testament authors where intimately familiar with the culture of 1st century Judea. Later imposters would surely not have been able to get this many facts correct. The writers of the New Testament possessed local knowledge which could belong only to an inhabitant of that country and to one living in that age.

 

  1. Matthew 2:22  “But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee
    1. In this passage it is shown that Archelaus was ruling over Judea, but implied that he was not ruling over Galilee.
    2. Josephus tells us that Herod the Great, who ruled over all of Israel, appointed Archelaus to rule over just Judea
    3. Matthew said that Archelaus reigned, as king, which is backed by Josephus telling us that Herod the Great gave him the title of King. The same word the apostles used to describe Archelaus as king, Josephus used also
  2. Luke 1:3 “In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness.”
    1. Herod the great decreed that his two sons were to be tetrarchs. One, Herod Antipas, to be over Galilee and Peraea, and the other, Philip, to be over Trachonitis.
    2. Josephus tells of how Herod Antipas was removed by the successor of Tiberius and that Philip died in the twentieth year of Tiberius
  3. Mark 6:17 “For it was Herod who had sent and seized John and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because he had married her.”
    1. Josephus tells of how Herod the tetrarch visited his brother, also Herod. He then fell in love with his brothers wife and wanted to marry her
    2. Josephus also says that Herodias was married to Herod, son of the Great, had a child, but then left him to be with Herod the tetrarch.
  4. Acts 12:1 “About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church.”
    1. Herod in this, addressed as Agrippa by Josephus, had not been referenced as a king until, as Josephus tells us, in the last three years of his life, Caligula crowned him King over the tetrarchie of Philip
  5. Acts 12:19-23 “And after Herod searched for him and did not find him, he examined the sentries and ordered that they should be put to death. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea and spent time there.Now Herod was angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, and they came to him with one accord, and having persuaded Blastus, the king’s chamberlain, they asked for peace, because their country depended on the king’s country for food. On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. And the people were shouting, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last.”
    1. Josephus affirming quote: (Paraphrased)
      1. “He went to the city of Caesarea. Here he celebrated in honor of Caesar. On the second day of the shows, early in the morning, he came into the theatre, dressed in a robe of silver. The rays of the rising sun, reflected from such a splendid clothes, gave him a majestic appearance. They called him a god.The king neither reproved these persons, nor rejected the impious flattery. Immediately after this he was seized with pains in his bowels, extremely violent at the very first. He was carried his palace. These pains continually tormenting him, he died in five days’ time.”
  6. Acts 24:24 “After some days Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, and he sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus.”
    1. Josephus affirming quote: (Paraphrased)
      1. “Agrippa gave his sister Drusilla in marriage to Azizus, king of the Emesenes, when he had consented to be circumcised. But this marriage of Drusilla with Azizus ended when Felix, procurator of Judea, having had a sight of her, he loved her. She broke the laws of her country, and married Felix.”
  7. Acts 25:13 “Now when some days had passed, Agrippa the king and Bernice arrived at Caesarea and greeted Festus.”
    1. Agrippa here is the son of Herod Agrippa, who was king over Judea. Agrippa was going to succeed his father when he died, but when that was going to happen, he was only seventeen and the emperor was persuaded not to allow it.
    2. Agrippa wasn’t king over Judea but he had many territories bordering it. He was referred to as king because of his exercise of power and his father. This is why he saluted Festus as king over Judea
  8. Acts 13:6 “When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus. He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence…”
    1. This verse shows that this false prophet was with the proconsul of Cyprus, Sergius Paulus, who was under Claudius
    2. The Roman empire was in control of Cyprus until it had given it over to the proconsul
    3. That is why the apostles talk about how they went to the proconsul of Cyprus and are correct  
  9. Josephus also tells of how the power of life and death resided in the hands of the governor. However the Jews also had magistrates and councils.
    1. This idea is found in all gospels to the crucifixion of Jesus
  10. Acts 9:31 “So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up.”
    1. This peace comes from the fact that Caligula was trying to put his statue in the temple, so all the churches diverted their attention to this problem.
  11. Acts 21:30 “And they took Paul, and drew him out of the temple; and forthwith the doors were shut. And as they went about to kill him, tidings came to the chief captain of the band that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. Then the chief captain came near, and took him and commanded him to be bound with two chains, and demanded who he was, and what he had done; and some cried one thing, and some another, among the multitude: and, when he could not know the certainty for the tumult, he commanded him to be carried into the castle. And when he came upon the stairs, so it was, that he was borne of the soldiers for the violence of the people.”
    1. In this passage there are soldiers at the castle, the stairs, adjoining to the temple
    2. Josephus’ affirming quote:
      1. “Antonia was situated at the angle of the western and northern porticoes of the outer temple. It was built upon a rock fifty cubits high, steep on all sides. On that side where it joined to the porticoes of the temple, there were stairs reaching to each portico, by which the guard descended; for there was always lodged here a Roman legion; and posting themselves in their armour in several places in the porticoes, they kept a watch on the people on the feast-days to prevent all disorders; for as the temple was a guard to the city, so was Antonia to the temple.”
  12.  Acts 4:1 “And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them.”
    1. Here we have a person who has the title Captain of the Temple who, along with the priests and the sadducees, apprehended the apostles
    2. Josephus affirming quote:
      1. “And at the temple, Eleazer, the son of Ananias the high priest, a young man of a bold and resolute disposition, then captain, persuaded those who performed the sacred ministrations not to receive the gift or sacrifice of any stranger.”  
  13. Acts 25:12 “Then Festus, when he had conferred with his council, answered, ‘To Caesar you have appealed; to Caesar you shall go.’”
    1. Festus conferring with a council of other Roman officers was very usual in the situation according to Cicero’s speech against Verres
  14. Acts 16:13 “And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer…”
    1. The noteworthy phrase of this passage is when it says that the riverside was where they were suppose to pray
    2. Philo talks about how early in the morning, many people flocked to the shores and, “lifted up their voice in one accord.”
    3. Josephus also tells of how there was a decree that any Jews that wanted to observe the sabbath must do so on the sea-side
  15. Acts 26:5 “They have known for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that according to the straightest part of our religion I have lived as a Pharisee.”
    1. Josephus says that, “The Pharisees were reckoned the most religious of any of the Jews, and to be the most exact and skilful in explaining the laws.”
    2. The greek word for straight (found in Acts), and exact (said by Josephus) are the same.
  16. Mark 7:3-4 “For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands properly, holding to the tradition of the elders, and when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other traditions that they observe, such as the washing of cups and pots and copper vessels and dining couches.”
    1. Affirming quote of Josephus:
      1. “The Pharisees have delivered up to the people many institutions, as received from the fathers, which are not written in the law of Moses.”
  17. Acts 23:8 “For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.”
    1. Affirming quote of Josephus: (Paraphrased)
      1. “They (the Pharisees) believe every soul is immortal, but that the soul of the good only passes into another body, and that the soul of the wicked is punished with eternal punishment.” On the other hand, “It is the opinion of the Sadducees that souls perish with the bodies.”
  18. Acts 5:17 “But the high priest rose up, and all who were with him (that is, the party of the Sadducees), and filled with indignation.”
    1. Josephus’ affirming quote:
      1. “ High priest of the Jews, forsook the Pharisees upon a disgust, and joined himself to the party of the Sadducees.”
  19. Luke 9:51 “When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparations for him. But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem.”
    1. Josephus’ affirming quote: (Paraphrased)
      1. “It was the custom of the Galileans, who went up to the holy city at the feasts, to travel through the country of Samaria. As they were in their journey, some inhabitants of the village called Ginaea, which lies on the borders of Samaria and the great plain, killed many of them.”
  20. John 4:20 “Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.”
    1. Affirming quote of Josephus:
      1. “Commanding them to meet Him at mount Gerizim, which is by them (the Samaritans) esteemed the most sacred of all mountains.”
  21. Matthew 26:3 “Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas…”
    1. Account of Josephus:
      1. “Gratus gave the high priesthood to Simon, the son of Camithus. He, having enjoyed this honour not above a year, was succeeded by Joseph, who is also called Caiaphas.”
    2. Account of the removal of Caiaphas:
      1. “And having done these things he took away the priesthood from the high priest Joseph, who is called Caiaphas.”
  22. Acts 23:4 “Those who stood by said, ‘Would you revile God’s high priest?’ And Paul said, ‘I did not know, brothers, that he was the high priest…’”
    1. Upon questioning why Paul wouldn’t know that Ananias (who is the one spoken about) isn’t the high priest, it’s because he isn’t.
    2. Josephus tells us that he was rid of office and then when his successor was murdered by order of Felix, Ananias brought upon the responsibilities of High priest while not being one
  23. Matthew 26:59 “Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking false testimony…”
    1. It is very strange to see Matthew say high priests in the plural form because there was only suppose to be one high priest.
    2. However, Josephus agreed:
      1. “Then might be seen the high priests themselves with ashes on their heads and their breasts naked.”
    3. This is because the high priest at the time, Caiaphas, and others (Annas) shared many of the same powers making them seem equal (Acts 4:6)
    4. Even in Luke 3:1 says that, “Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests…”
      1. This aligns with Josephus in saying, “Quadratus sent two others of the most powerful men of the Jews, as also the high priests Jonathan and Ananias.”
  24. John 19:19-20 “And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross.”
    1. Quote from Dio Cassius:
      1. “Having led him through the midst of the court or assembly, with a writing signifying the cause of his death, and afterwards crucifying him.”
    2. “And it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.”
      1. This was also usual for the Romans to do. Josephus’ quote: “Did ye not erect pillars with inscriptions on them, in the Greek and in our language?”
  25. Matthew 27: 26 “When he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.”
    1. Josephus writes about this by saying:
      1. “Being beaten, they were crucified opposite to the citadel.”
      2. “Whom, having first scourged with whips, he crucified.”
  26. John 19:16 “And they took Jesus, and led him away; and he bearing his cross went forth.”
    1. Quote pertaining to Rome
      1. “Every kind of wickedness produces its own particular torment; just as every malefactor, when he is brought forth to execution, carries his own cross.” -Plutarch
  27. John 19:32 “So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him.”
    1. A secular writer notices the circumstance of breaking the legs
      1. “Eo pius, ut etiam vetus veterrimumque supplicium, patibulum, et cruribus suffringendis, primus removerit.” Note: This was translated to roughly for me to discern its meaning.  
  28. Acts 3:1 “Now Peter and John went up together into the temple, at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.”
    1. Josephus:
      1. “Twice every day, in the morning and at the ninth hour, the priests perform their, duty at the altar.”
  29. Acts 15:21 “For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues.”
    1. Quote of Josephus:
      1. “He (Moses) gave us the law, the most excellent of all institutions; nor did he appoint that it should be heard once only, or twice, or often, but that, laying aside all other works, we should meet together every week to hear it read, and gain a perfect understanding of it.”
  30. Acts 21:23 “Do therefore what we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow; take these men and purify yourself along with them and pay their expenses, so that they may shave their heads.”
    1. Josephus’ affirmation:
      1. “It is customary for those who have been afflicted with some distemper, or have laboured under any other difficulties, to make a vow thirty days before they offer sacrifices, to abstain from wine, and shave the hair of their heads.”
  31. 2 Corinthians 11:24 “Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one.”
    1. Affirmation from Josephus:
      1. “He that acts contrary hereto let him receive forty stripes from the officer.”
    2. Affirmation in Deuteronomy 25:3:
      1. “Forty stripes he may be given but not exceed”
    3. This shows that the author of Corinthians wasn’t guided by books but rather facts because his statement aligns with the customs with the time
  32. Luke 3:12 “Then came also tax-collectors to be baptized.”
    1. It is generally accepted that tax-collectors were Jewish even though they were under the Roman rule
    2. This is proven by a quote by Josephus:
      1. “But Florus not restraining these practices by his authority, the chief men of the Jews, among whom was John the publican, not knowing well what course to take, wait upon Florus and give him eight talents of silver to stop the building.”
  33. Acts 22:25 “And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman and uncondemned?”
    1. Referenced was latin that translated into:
      1. “This crime, it is a Roman citizen to be bound; crime beaten.”
      2. “Was beaten with rods, in the middle of the forum at Messana, a Roman citizen, so I judge no one at the same time groans, no other expression of that wretched man amid his sound of the blows, but the these things, I am a Roman citizen. “
    2. While somewhat applicable, Paley leaves it up to the reader to make the connection
  34. Acts 22:27 “Then the chief captain came, and said unto him (Paul), Tell me, Art thou a Roman? He said Yea.”
    1. The Roman citizenship was at one point a very high honor because of its great value, however Jews were becoming Roman citizens because its value was rapidly declining
    2. Quote:
      1. “This privilege, which had been bought formerly at a great price, became so cheap, that it was commonly said a man might be made a Roman citizen for a few pieces of broken glass.”
  35. Acts 28:16 “And when we came to Rome the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard; but Paul was suffered to dwell by himself, with a soldier that kept him.”
    1. Josephus explains that after Caligula came to the throne, Paul was made to be prisoner, in his own home, with one other guard
  36. Acts 27:1 “And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy, they delivered Paul, and certain other prisoners, unto one named Julius.”
    1. This passage hints at boating prisoners to Rome to be tried is a normal practice due to the fact that Paul is with other prisoners
    2. Josephus’ Affirmation:
      1. “Felix, for some slight offence, bound and sent to Rome several priests of his acquaintance, and very good and honest men, to answer for themselves to Caesar.”
  37. Acts 11:27 “And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch; and there stood up one of them, named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be a great famine throughout all the world (or all the country); which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.”
    1. Josephus affirmation:
      1. “In their time (i. e. about the fifth or sixth year of Claudius) a great famine happened in Judea.”
  38. Acts 18:1-2 “Because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome.”
    1. Latin quote translation: (Severely paraphrased)
      1. “Jews causing many disturbances, and provoking Claudius, were expelled them from Rome.”
  39. Acts 5:37 “After this man, rose up Judas of Galilee, in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him.”
    1. Quote of Josephus
      1. “He (Judas of Galilee) persuaded not a few to enrol themselves when Cyrenius the censor was sent into Judea.”
  40. Acts 21:38 “Are you not the Egyptian, then, who recently stirred up a revolt and led the four thousand men of the Assassins out into the wilderness?”
    1. Confirmation by Josephus:
      1. “But the Egyptian false prophet brought a yet heavier disaster upon the Jews; for this impostor, coming into the country, and gaining the reputation of a prophet, gathered together thirty thousand men, who were deceived by him. Having brought them round out of the wilderness, up to the mount of Olives, he intended from thence to make his attack upon Jerusalem; but Felix, coming suddenly upon him with the Roman soldiers, prevented the attack. — A great number, or (as it should rather be rendered) the greatest part, of those that were with him were either slain or taken prisoners.”
  41. Acts 17:22 “Then Paul stood in the midst of Marshill, and said, men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are too superstitious; for, as I passed by and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore you all ignorantly worship, him I declare unto you.”
    1. Pausanias tells us that there was in fact in alter to the Unknown god of the Romans in saying:
      1. “And nigh unto it is an altar of unknown gods.”

 

Defending Idealism against KnownNoMore

One thing I am proud of is that I know my videos are a bit of a challenge to atheists. If that were false, then YouTube user KnownNoMore (NKM) would not feel the need to do an almost 2 hour response to two of my videos that are no more than half an hour. The fact that he felt the need to go on for so long is flattering, as it hints that my videos are presenting a bit of a challenge to atheists. But perhaps I am speculating too much.

It should also be noted Derezzed83 did a small video response to one of his objections as well:

However, despite the long response, there is not much of a challenge here, other than the time it takes to respond to all his points. This is because it is based on severe misunderstanding of what specific idealists, like myself, claim. So this response, for the most part, will be pointing out why his objections do not threaten our form of idealism. There are several problems, so it will take a bit of space to unpack this whole thing. His later arguments are built on his initial misunderstandings, which doesn’t help his cause. I will address his main points. At places in his video when he reiterates the same points later, I will not respond, since I did so when he first made his case.

Quickly, before we get started I need to point I reject subjective forms of idealism and hold to scientific realism. My view is not that the mind creates all of reality, just the appearance of physical reality. There is obviously an underlying fundamental reality from which the physical emerges from that we do not create. A good way to look at it is something like Brian Whitworth’s Virtual Reality theory or Quantum Information Theory. Obviously there is fundamental reality underneath which we do not control. The reason I point this out is some people have been assuming we accept subjective forms of idealism, which entail scientific anti-realism. We actually prefer not to pick one of the forms of idealism and argue for that, but let the scientific evidence build us our worldview. It is about following the evidence, not picking a view and trying to make the science fit that. It is like what Henry Stapp says, “once the physics assumptions are rectified the philosophy will take care of itself.1

Also, I need to make a disclaimer before I go on. I am going to quote the physicist Amit Goswami to help explain idealism and how we answer the problems. Now, since certain several materialist seem to have this crazy idea that when I quote someone, that must mean I agree with them 100% on everything, I need to point out that that is not the case. I suspect some are just looking for any way to discredit my argument, but I digress. The point I want to make here is that just because I agree with Goswami on idealism that doesn’t mean I agree with him on other subjects. If you read some of his books, he goes off into areas I disagree with. We are both idealists however, and he does a good job of articulating his defense of basic idealism in “The Self-Aware Universe.” So he will be a helpful ally in this case.

Before I get to the meat of it:

Ending at 5:31, this is a minor point. I never directly said that naive realism is a reduced form of realism. Although I understand the confusion. I merely brought it up to clarify confusion with the upcoming studies I would cite. The point was that naive realists can’t discount the input of the observer from the studies which were presented afterwards in my video.

Now, if KNM has theory of metaphysical realism that is compatible with the scientific experiments I cite then I am interesting in hearing it. However, I wonder if he will fall into the same problems of Colln McGinn with his mysterian naturalism. What ends up happening is the metaphysical theory becomes so akin to theism or idealism that we actually like it, minus the name. If there is some fundamental material building block of all things from which consciousness emerges, then I want to see some evidence to support, not just a hypothetical possibility.

So at almost 30 minutes into the video, KNM finally starts to get to his objections and claims he can show that consciousness/mind can be reduced and corrupted. This would mean that it is not fundamental and can reduce to smaller parts, which he believes is brain chemistry (in so many words). However, this is a bait and switch. He doesn’t show the mind can be corrupted, but that the information the mind processes can be corrupted. The mind is not perceptions; the mind can perceive and have perceptions. The mind is not thoughts, but has thoughts. The mind is not memories, but processes memories, etc. In idealism, the mind is a fundamental substance with the ability to have these things. The mind should not be confused with the information is acquires.

This is a slight switch he has pulled. Idealists would agree that you can corrupt the information that the mind processes. Mind, however, would be a fundamental substance with the ability to process and have these things. Showing you can corrupt, thoughts, perceptions, etc., doesn’t show the mind is corruptible, just that the information the mind processes can be. The point idealists make is this information is contingent on there being a mind, or minds there to process these things. Information cannot exist objectively. I’ll point this out by going through his points:

Ending at 28:56 – He starts by trying to show that perceptions are corruptible, but if you reduce perceptions, it is really just information feed to the mind. How is that a problem for idealism? Perceptions are really just qualia, and the mind experiences quaila. The mind is not qualia. Information comes in and the mind processes it. The ability the mind has is to process incoming information to one definite experience of it, not that actual perceptions are the ability of the mind.

Yeah, I see where this is going…

Ending at 29:25 – he says memories can be corrupted. But aren’t memories also information? Processing information is what the mind does, and if the information is lost or altered, then the mind will not be able to process it anymore through the brain. That is not a problem for idealism. If the brain is damaged, then the information the mind can process is lost or damaged. Amit Goswami says, speaking of the brain, “The classical system is necessary to form memories, to make records of collapsed events and to create a sense of continuity.2

I’ve been dealing with these same objections on my channel for some time now, and I always end up repeating myself. Basically, nothing changing for all practical purposes, from realism to this form of idealism. It is only the fundamental nature of what reality is. We can still be scientific realists and metaphysical idealists (more on that later).

Ending at 34:27 – He moves on to personality, but again, same basic idea here. Everyone accepts that no one is born with a personality. This is something we come into over time throughout life. Information we acquire builds up into who we want to be, and with this new information we have, we become someone more than what we were during our infant stage. If the information is damaged or lost, it will change what the mind processes and becomes. I hope you realize what I am getting at: a soul building theodicy. The mind is given a life to obtain experiences where they become an adult through choices, experiences, and living. A personality is information of who someone is, and this is something we become, not an unchangeable, incorruptible thing.

Ending at 35:29 – Ne moves on to thoughts, but same idea still applies. The mind has the ability to think, but it obviously requires information to process in order to think. An ability is useless without information, and thoughts are the information we can process. Amit Goswami says, “Without the immanent world of manifestation, there would be no soul, no self that experiences itself as separate from the object it perceives.3 So in other words, without any information to process, the mind would have no thoughts, no personality, nothing. We would just be beings without anything to be aware of. To reiterate, the mind needs information to be what we call being human, but the mind itself is not just that information, just the processor, so to speak.

Ending at 37:12 – He goes after free will or as he phrases it “intentionality.” So I have to say: no one argues that free will doesn’t require inputs to decide between. Again, information is essential to do anything, but not in the basic ability, just in using the ability. All he can show is the removal of the availability to use free will. If there is no information to decide between then, all that is lost is the availability for free will, not the potential ability.

I’ll skip his short section on belief and knowledge because the same criticism I have already given applies here as well.

Finally ending at 39:00 he makes it to awareness. Now despite his argument this far, I’ve already identified that we agree that the mind must be aware of something, and that it must be aware of information. So this is not an attack on idealism, but one giant bait and switch from mind, to information, which the mind processes and gathers. But he then just makes a non-sequitur that this means awareness is emergent from brain processes. This is assuming that all the incoming information can become the ability of awareness somehow. I fail to see how he reached this conclusion. How does all this incoming information become an ability and process itself? How does information become aware of itself? Naturalistic experts in the study of philosophy of mind accept this is a difficult, if not impossible problem (quotes below). KNM doesn’t even try to explain how awareness/consciousness can emerge from information or chemical processes. He just assumes emergence. More on this a little further down.

So ending at 39:36, he argues that we can become unconscious, and that this is supposed to be a problem for idealists. But being disconnected from the information we process through sleep or being knocked out is hardly an issue for the idealist. If the mind becomes disconnected from the information one can process, then we are not aware of it. Again, information is obviously required to do anything. No one denies that. The mind can be disconnected from its information by either losing consciousness for momentarily recharging (sleep), to better process information and live in the experience of reality. A good analogy is turning off a computer to prevent it from overheating.

Ending at 40:04, he says we can observe someone asleep, who would be unconscious of the information of reality. Well, yes, we would observe the information of a body, without the mind consciously experiencing reality at that time. But how is that solipsism? I would not argue as he assumes I would, so this is another non-issue for idealists. As I pointed out at the end of my original video, we are not absolutely in control of everything in this collective physical experience. We only participate in it. My mind is not creating the information construct of reality. Ironically he seems to challenge this later by suggesting that idealists cannot be scientific realists, but I address this further down.

Ending at 42:09 – he touches on quantum mind theory. He brings up the fact that I agree with Henry Stapp (that the mind is non-local and collapses states, not that collapsed states are consciousness as Hameroff and Penrose argue). Now the interesting thing he tries to claim is that quantum mind theory would be materialistic. I find this hard to believe because it would not fundamental matter, but quantum information. He also needs to realize that quantum mind theories argue that the quantum information can become detached from the brain, and can continue on in an entangled state. So it would start in the brain but then move on elsewhere, you’d just have a “soul building theodicy.” We live this life to develop into the person we become, and then become detached from this experience for something greater. This is a side note obviously.

Ending 42:30 – Ok, so to wrap up that section, the information the mind processes can be corrupted and KNM has only shown that in particular. He hasn’t shown that the substance of the mind itself is reducible to these things. If thoughts and perceptions exist, there must be something thinking them or perceiving them. So this has been nothing but a bait and switch so far.

Even naturalistic philosophers recognize the difference between awareness/consciousness, and the information we are aware of and process, like Ned Block in “Consciousness”. KNM has equated the substance of mind/consciousness to the information it processes, which makes his argument a non-issue for idealism so far. It is a shame that he wasted so much time up to this point, especially since he hasn’t explained how consciousness can emerge from chemicals in the brain. It is crucial for a materialist to argue that consciousness can be fully explained by the brain, but it was the one area he brushed over and didn’t show.

As I mentioned above, how does information become aware of itself? KNM needs a theory of emergence, not just assume it is there. But there is no theory of reducing consciousness to information processing inside the brain. As Ned Block says, “We have nothing – Zilch – worthy of being called a research program… researchers are stumped.4” John Searle says this is the “leading the problem in the biological sciences.5 David Papineau says, “to this question physicalists theories of consciousness seem to provide no answer.6

Now, for idealism, the important thing to remember: is if idealism is true, then monism is true. So meddling with the brain is not a separate substance from the mind. Brain damage and alteration makes sense in idealism. There is mind and the experience of reality, which is information, and an information loss or alteration will affect how the mind processes and functions in the experience of reality. For example, if I see a car coming at me, I’ll move. I won’t say it is just information and will not affect me. The information is real to the mind and affects how we function in our experience. Think of that line from “The Matrix” when Neo is bleeding from his training:

Neo – “I thought it wasn’t real.”

Morpheus – “Your mind makes it real.”

So basically, we agree that the parsimonious answer seems to be that the mind and body are one in some way. You affect one, you affect the other, because they are interconnected. Not because they just appear that way. But KNM’s entire argument so far is that these should be major problems for idealists, which is clearly false. I like the way Amit Goswami explains this:

“Thus in every quantum event the brain-mind state that is collapsed and experienced represents a pure mental state that the classical brain measures (amplifies and records), and there is a clear definition of and justification for the identity. The recognition that most of the brain is a measuring apparatus leads to a new and useful way to think about the brain and conscious evens. Biologists often argue that consciousness must be an epiphenomenon of the brain because changing the brain by natural damage or drugs changes the conscious events. Yes! says the quantum theorist, because changing the measurement apparatus does certainly change what can be measured, and therefore, change the event.7

Ending 53:20 – Ok, now he is redefining terms, which comes across as dishonest. He has said that the belief in a fundamental entity that is conscious is realism. Well, I don’t know where he is getting this definition from, and it is really a shame since he did a good job of defining terms in the beginning. But now he has broadened the definition of realism to practically include several forms of idealism. Saying realism is the belief that there is a fundamental entity/substance is false. Idealists and Material realist both agree that there is a fundamental entity/substance; we just disagree on what that substance is, whether it is mind or matter.

In idealism, the mind is the fundamental substance that is aware of information. If the belief one has is that there is a fundamental substance, which is the mind – which is self-aware and can process information – then you have idealism. But what KNM has actually done is say that metaphysical realism is the belief that there is an entity that is self-aware. But we both agree that is the case. Where we differ is if that is mind or matter.

Actually, something here can bee seen as an equivocation fallacy. He is switching here from what idealists mean when they say consciousness – the substance of mind – to consciousness meaning the ability of awareness. What KNM is trying to say is that idealists believe that the ability to be aware is fundamental, but this is false and an equivocation fallacy. Amit Goswami says, “Beware of possible semantic confusion: Consciousness is a relatively recent word in the English language. The word mind is often used to denote consciousness, especially in the older literature8 (Although I disagree with Goswami’s following theological and philosophical beliefs after this quote).

When we say consciousness is fundamental, we mean that the substance mind is fundamental, not the ability to be aware is fundamental. Both material realists and idealists (like myself) agree that one substance is fundamental, but we disagree whether that is mind or matter. All he has done is just define consciousness as an ability to be aware, so it must be a contingent ability. If you are defining terms that way, then we agree, but that is not what I’ve argued. Obviously an ability cannot exist on its own, and since he defines consciousness as just an ability here, of course I agree. But am disappointed in that reasoning.

Ending at 58:58 – he argues something odd. He seems to get upset that idealists describe reality as dream-like. I don’t see why this is a necessity section. When we say reality is dream-like, it is meant to be a practical tool for explaining, for the layman to understand. If he is asking how we can differentiate from a dream and the experience, then I would say the same way a realist does. Unless there is a mental illness, we know the difference between the information the mind acquires from beyond it and the information the mind processes from in itself. To reiterate, nothing for practical purposes changes from idealism to realism, just the truth of what reality is.

Ending at 59:09 – I have to stop here with a question. KNM said, “Now it is true that every image we see is part of an internalized model, as our brain interprets data to form an imperfect simulation, so to say, of what is actually out there.” Well, if all we know is the internal model, then why posit extra external entities or substances to explain reality? It is unnecessary, which is why forms of idealism is able to explain more with much less.

KMN accepts that we acquire data and form an internal model. So we can ask why assume it has to be anything other than data/information we acquire, which then becomes the appearance of a physical reality. It is far simpler to say that all we get is information, which becomes the perceptions and qualia we experience, instead of positing extra entities from which the information would come from. This is one reason why idealists say, “all is mind”, and there is no independent objective reality of physical objects apart from that. All we get is information, which becomes our experience. Why posit extra entities to rescue realism? I’ll come back to this, because the fact that he admits this is important for his later objections.

Ending at 59:52 – I know I have hit this point so many times, but KNM keeps bringing it up, so to reiterate: he has again misunderstand idealism. We don’t deny that we acquire information that is beyond our individual minds, so to speak.

Ending at 1:05:19 – he tries to argue against theistic idealism. He starts by actually suggesting that idealists cannot distinguish between the collective experience of reality (which we say is virtual and not objectively real), and our private mental experience. I honestly can’t believe he is suggesting this. His first objection is that God would be observing our private mental realm jut as much as the shared mental realm. This he calls the “omnipresence objection.”

So my response: And God observing the private realm means what? The fact that we can imagine things somehow means our imagination should be just as real? Why? There is a difference between information the mind becomes aware of (through reality), and the information the mind builds from experience in its imagination. Everyone intuitively knows that. Again, there is nothing changing for all practical purposes from realism to idealism, just the fundamental nature of what reality is. These objections are not a threat to idealism. God knowing our thoughts doesn’t pose any problem, and KMN fails to explain why this is a problem.

Ending around 1:06:33 – I am not trying to be mean but I have to wonder if he thinks that idealists ever think. Does he really think that we have not thought about these things? The reason I say this is because he suggests idealists cannot explain the fact that it appears that external things affect us when we are secluded from others. He calls this “the seclusion objection.” First, we obviously have a private mental realm, which can be our thoughts: information we have reconstructed from the information we have previously acquired beyond ourselves. God just knowing about our thoughts doesn’t make them the identical to the virtual reality (or shared mental realm). Again, the argument between idealists and realists is not over distinctions like this, but what the nature of what we call external reality is.

Secondly, if I get hit with a rock, then the information construct of reality has changed around me to experience that. I don’t need to posit an external entity change, just that new information I do not control is affecting me. Go back to the line from The Matrix above: “Your mind makes it real.” What he is building up to saying is that idealists have to reject scientific realism, which is something else entirely. But I’ll address that a littler further down.

Ending around 1:09:11 – KNM argues that the subconscious works behind the scenes when we are not consciously aware, and that this should be a problem for idealists. He calls this “the subconscious objection.” I fail to see why this is a problem. No one argues we have total control over the information we get or process 100% of the time. Thoughts can arise unintentionally in the mind. So what? No one said that being conscious means total control over all the information we have acquired. Amit Goswami goes into this more in depth from page 206 to page 207 of his book “The Self-Aware Universe.” I’ll quote a short snippet of that, but to get the full context one should read that section of the book, because some people may not be able to follow him from just this:

How does personal unconscious arise according to the quantum theory? It arises as follows: The subject is conditioned to avoid certain mental states; consequently, the probability becomes overwhelming that these states are never collapsed from coherent super positions that include them. Such coherent super positions, however, may dynamically influence without apparent external cause the collapse of subsequent states… Similarity, Jung suggested that many of our transpersonal experiences are influenced by repressed archetypal themes of a collective unconscious–universal states that we usually do not experience.9

The subconscious is part of the mind that we are not aware of at all present moments. Since I have already distinguished between the ability of consciousness and the mind (sometimes called consciousness as a substance) we do not always have to be always aware of information we have in the mind. No one denies subconscious activity. On a side note, Penrose and Hameroff also make use of this in their quantum consciousness model.

Ending at 1:15:01 – KNM has finally made it to where he says that idealists cannot be scientific realists. He tries to explain this with an example of a world with only one scientist. He asks how a scientist can know the difference between the real world and the dream world. Since I have just responded to this above, I will not go over it again. But he suggests that science is based off of the idea that there has to be a physical reality beyond what we observe. But any philosopher can readily point out that being an idealist doesn’t entail anti-realism or the rejection that science works. Some forms, like subjective idealism would, but forms like Hegelian idealism, or similar forms based of quantum theory implications or based Whitworth’s virtual reality theory (which idealists like myself hold to), would be objective idealistic forms.

One can easily argue that the information we acquire is objectively true independent of what we think, and we would be discovering the mind of God – so to speak – while maintaining that it is ontologically not an objective physical reality, but a virtual emergent reality. What KNM is doing is assuming what he said not to do in the beginning of his video. Which is to say that idealists argue that we create the reality and the information we process. The scientist in his example should and would know of the difference between the information acquired beyond himself, and the information reconstructed in his own mind. Again, the debate between idealists and realists is over the fundamental nature of reality. Here are some quotes to back me up:

Brian Whitworth says in speaking of the difference between VR theory (which idealists like myself hold to) and OR theory (realism):

Since both are untestable science favors neither view. To postulate the world is virtual does not contradict science, but rather engages its spirit of questioning. Science is a method of asking questions, not a set of reality assumptions. Scientists are entitled to ask if what could be actually is so. The only constraint is that the question be decided by feedback gathered from the world by an accepted research method. Science does not require an objective world, only information to test theories against, which a VR can easily provide. Not only can science accommodate the virtual world concept, a virtual world could also sustain science.10

Amit Goswami says:

“Both views can be right if we have two heads, with the empirical object inside one but outside the other. An empirical object would be outside what we might call our small head, and thus realism is validated; the object would simultaneously be inside our being Head and thus be a theoretical idea in this big Head, which would satisfy the idealist.11

Ernan McMullin says:

Does the fact that quantum systems are partially indeterminate in this way affect the realist thesis? Not as far as I can see, unless a confusion is first made between scientific realism and the “realism” that is opposed to idealism, and then the measurement-dependence is somehow read as idealist in its implications.12

Henry Stapp explains all this by saying:

I have stressed just now the idea-like character of the physical state of the universe, within vN/W quantum theory. This suggests that the theory may conform to the tenets of idealism. This is partially true. The quantum state undergoes, when a fact become fixed in a local region, a sudden jump that extends over vast reaches of space. This gives the physical state the character of a representation of knowledge rather than a representation of substantive matter. When not jumping the state represents potentialities or probabilities for actual events to occur. Potentialities and probabilities are normally conceived to be idea-like qualities, not material realities. So as regards the intuitive conception of the intrinsic nature of what is represented within the theory by the physical state it certainly is correct to say that it is idea-like.

On the other hand, the physical state has a mathematical structure, and a behaviour that is governed by the mathematical properies. It evolves much of the time in accordance with local deterministic laws that are direct quantum counterparts of the local deterministic laws of classical mechanics. Thus as regards various structural and causal properties the physical state certainly has aspects that we normally associate with matter.

So this vN/W quantum conception of nature ends up having both idea- like and matter-like qualities. The causal law involves two complementary modes of evolution that, at least at the present level theoretical development, are quite distinct. One of these modes involves a gradual change that is governed by local deterministic laws, and hence is matter-like in character. The other mode is abrupt, and is idea-like in two respects. This hybrid ontology can be called an information-based reality.13

So some forms of idealism are compatible with scientific realism. Idealists, like Johanan Raatz and I do not argue that we control and create the experience of external reality with our minds, just that it is fundamentally mental, depending on a larger mind.

Also, remember that point I said I would come back to ending at 1:05:47? If KNM accepts that we acquire data and form an internal model, then if realism is true, how can his scientist in his example know the difference between his dream and internal model from acquired data? His own criticism applies to realism as well. This is why I said that nothing changes between idealism and realism for all practical purposes.

Ending around 1:20:18 – KNM tries to turn the hard problem of consciousness back on idealism. He suggest that idealists need to explain how consciousness emerges from the mind. But what he fails to realize is what we empirically know verses what we philosophically infer. The problem for materialists is that matter is not consciousness. We know this, because we study it constantly. No one can show how matter can possibly give rise to consciousness. As I ready quoted Ned Block, “We have nothing – Zilch – worthy of being called a research program… researchers are stumped.” So dualists and idealists infer this means it is not emergent from matter but irreducible, since all the evidence shows it cannot emerge from matter through brain processes.

Materialists have a harder burden in saying matter produces consciousness. Since we experience what we call matter and can study it thoroughly. So why can’t we find consciousness in it? Idealists and dualists infer it must come from another entity (mind), because nothing about matter contains any hint or properties of what consciousness is. The dualist JP Moreland notes that this cannot just be a brute fact in a materialist universe. If there are going to be any brute unexplainable facts in a materialist universe it must be that the physical facts themselves, not some odd unexplainable of interlevel emergence. He writes:

Naturalists have the very same kind of problem that they claim as a difficultly for the Cartesian. And given the philosophical constraints that follow from accepting the naturalist epistemology, etiology, and ontology, it is more difficult to see how a naturalist could accept metaphysical supervenience than it is to understand how a Cartesian without those constraints could accept mental/physical interaction.14

Idealism avoids this interaction problem though. In idealism, entities would not be reducible in their abilities. So thoughts arise from information being processed by the mind, which we are aware/conscious of as is. The conscious mind would not be reducible to smaller parts like the theory that consciousness would be emergent from smaller parts in materialism.

In fact, this objection is question begging. This is assuming that the structure of idealism must be like a materialist theory, and we know that it’s fallacious to assume that. One cannot assume reductionist materialism as the structure for a completely different view of reality. So idealism does avoid the problem of emergence, by arguing that it doesn’t reduce past the ability of the mind. Minds are self-aware entities, and would not reduce to non-conscious substances. It is materialism that has to argue for emergence, not idealism.

Ending at 1:28:00 – I actually agree with the points he is making here, except for his claim that it is compatible with materialism. KNM points out that there is something unique about ‘first person experience.” You cannot experience my first person experience, just your first person experience through my eyes. I agree with this, but he tries to claim that materialism is compatible with first person experience. But the problem is: if materialism is true, then all of this emerges from brain processes. Qualia and first person experience should have the same properties as matter, and should be accessible for study the exact same way matter is. They are not however. These things, like first person experience, are inaccessible and beyond material properties and empirical experimentation. But if materialism is true, then why don’t they just reduce to matter and chemical processes? Why are they so unique?

KNM agrees they are, but if that is the case, then it would not be compatible with a reductionist view like materialism. This is what the atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel points out in “Mind and Cosmos” reductionist materialism must be able to reduce these things to material processes. In admitting this KNM has bitten off more than he can chew. This is not compatible with the view that all is reducible to matter. If one cannot reduce “first-person experience” or qualia because they are inherently private and irreducible, then this is a problem for materialism, despite KNM’s claim that it isn’t.

Ending at 1:33:19 – he continues with the assumption that irreducible things like qualia are compatible with materialism. Now he tries to refute the knowledge argument known as “Mary’s room”, one in where Mary is stuck in a black and white room, and cannot go out and study color. However there are better ways to formulate the argument: namely that Mary is a scientist who lives in a world of color, but can only see black and white. This way Mary is surrounding by color and able to study it. So if Mary is able to study everything about color, then if materialism were true, she should be able to know everything about what color is, without the experience. If everything is reducible to material processes, then color should be reducible as well. In other words, someone who could only see black and white should be able to know everything about it, without a mental experience.

If KNM accepts that experience is something different or extra to studying matter then doesn’t that show that these mental experiences are not reducible to material things? Things like qualia cannot be studied like we study chemicals. They have to be mentally experienced. They are completely and fundamentally different because of this. One cannot know about qualia through reductionist studies, only through experience. This poses a problem for materialism since they are not reducible to the material, and thus, evidence strongly favors that they are not material.

Ending at 1:33:52 – KNM admits something interesting. He says that color is not a property of any material object? Then how is that compatible with materialism? If color is not material, or reducible to material processes in the brain then how does materialism explain this emergence of something fundamentally not matter?

KNM tries to suggest that we need eyes and brain to acquire color, but as Goswami has already pointed out, the brain and eyes would constitute as the measuring apparatus for the mind. So how we acquire the information of color is not an argument for materialism, because if you take away the eyes, then you lose the way the mind acquires information in our collective experience of reality. Anyway, I’ve already dealt with this above.

Ending at 1:37:02 – KNM has done something I wouldn’t expect. He seems to have forgotten a very important point I made in my video on the Introspective Argument. He points out just because solipsism is conceivable, that doesn’t make it metaphysically possible. Right, which is why I said in my video, “Thus this argument is not a mere a priori logical possibility or, in other words, an interesting thought but in fact predicts the philosophical implications of quantum mechanics, taking this beyond a mere logic world game.15

I rely on metaphysical possibility from the argument from quantum theory. So he ignored this important fact, and because of this took me out of context. But it is a long response, so it is possible that he just forgot. He is not a bad guy, so I don’t think he did it on purpose. However, I specifically put that in there to avoid this very objection he is bringing up. So I love it when a preemptive plan comes together.

On a side note: ironically after KNM’s quote of Plantinga, he uses the same argument Alexander Pruss uses to distinguish between logical and metaphysical possibility. It is a good argument that is excellent for defending theistic arguments, and refuting opponents of the PSR. So we should thank KNM for the excellent articulation of this argument.

Ending at 1:46:39 – I want to back up Platinga because I feel KNM has misunderstood the whole picture. The main point is that if all the properties of the mind are identical to the body, then why do the properties of the mind seem to be able to be separate from the body? Why we can place them in different scenarios? The conceivability doesn’t stem from imagination but from the fundamental nature of what we know about them through a posteriori research. The argument from conceivability stems from this difference in the fundamental nature of mind and matter, not that it is just imaginable. Perhaps, Plantinga should have pointed this out, but that is beside the point. My argument from solipsism stems from the first part of the video “The Introspective Argument” and the philosophical implications of quantum physics, not that we can just imagine it.

I agree that imagination doesn’t qualify as metaphysical possibility. I can imagine something coming into existence without a cause, but that doesn’t make it possible or come with a reason to back it. However, Plantinga’s argument does, even without quantum physics.

Ending at 1:47:41 – I know he sad he would save this for another video, but he had to say possible world semantics is useless as a tool for metaphysical arguments. This is false. We need to remember Kripke’s distinction between metaphysical and logical possible worlds. Metaphysical possible words are based on a posteriori evidence. So I agree with him that arguing from imagination is useless for finding out what is metaphysically possible, but that is not what we argue when we use metaphysical possible worlds. We are using possible world semantics in a metaphysical sense, so they are based off of a posteriori arguments for possibility, not a priori. That is an important point to remember, and that Kripke demonstrated that possible worlds semantics is useful in metaphysics. It just needs to be done right and rely on a posteriori reasoning.

Ending at 1:48:36 – KNM says that I cannot confirm the argument that solipsism is conceivable in a metaphysical sense, because I argue that God is metaphysically necessary. Well this is true, but hardly a problem. First off I agree with David Deutsch that solipsism is unsustainable on it’s own. Logically it must just collapse to something else. Deutsch argues this is realism, in that because the solipsist didn’t create his own mind or can control what he experiences. Therefore the solipsist just says the external world is the uncontrolled part of the mind the “I” or conscious agent is exploring. He writes:

The solipsist, who believes that nothing exists other than the contents of one mind, must also believe that that mind is a phenomenon of greater multiplicity than is normally supposed. It contains other-people-like thoughts, planet-like thoughts and laws-of-physics-like thoughts. Those thoughts are real. They develop in a complex way (or pretend to), and they have enough autonomy to surprise, disappoint, enlighten or thwart that other class of thoughts which call themselves ‘I’. Thus the solipsist’s explanation of the world is in terms of interacting thoughts rather than interacting objects. But those thoughts are real, and interact according to the same rules that the realist says govern the interaction of objects. Thus solipsism, far from being a world-view stripped to its essentials, is actually just realism disguised and weighed down by additional unnecessary assumptions — worthless baggage, introduced only to be explained away.16

Now, I agree solipsism collapses to something else, but I disagree it collapses to realism. I argue it collapses to theism. If Solipsism is true then the external world is illusionary, but that doesn’t mean it would qualify as realism. All it agrees with realism is that the thoughts are real and governed by rules the “I” cannot control. But it denies there is something other than mind and thought processes. Therefore the aspects of experience the solipsist cannot control are still mental and non-physical. Therefore in saying, the solipsist “must also believe that that mind is a phenomenon of greater multiplicity than is normally supposed” these uncontrolled other things would come from a larger mind in control of the experience, since all is mind.

So when I say in my video solipsism is conceivable it is same as saying the belief that only my mind exists as well as the larger mind, which is necessary anyway.

Ending at 1:49:08 – he tries to modify the Introspective Argument to support materialism/physicalism. Well this is wrong because his mental experiences (like qualia) could be contingent on information processing, which the mind acquires. He has not established his premise 2, or even shown how they can emerge from matter.

So in conclusion, KNM has not shown how mental things like first-person experience or qualia can reduce to a mental substance. Thus, the Introspective Argument stands.

Fin

Notes:

  1. P. Stapp (1999) “Attention, intention, and will in quantum physics,” J. Consciousness Studies Page 4 http://arxiv.org/pdf/quant-ph/9905054v1.pdf
  1. Amit Goswami (1993) The Self-Aware Universe. Page 168.
  1. ibid. Page 188.
  1. Ned Block (1994) A Companion to the Philosophy of Mind. Page 211.
  1. John Searle (1995) The Mystery of Consciousness: part II. Page 61
  1. David Papineau (1993) Philosophical Naturalism. Page 119.
  1. Amit Goswami (1993) The Self-Aware Universe. Page 170.
  1. ibid. Page 51.
  1. ibid. Page 207.
  1. Brian Whitworth (2007) “The Physical World as a Virtual Reality,” Page 6 http://arxiv.org/abs/0801.0337

11. Amit Goswami (1993) The Self-Aware Universe. Page 143.

  1. Ernan McMullin (1984) A Case For Scientific Page 13. http://fitelson.org/290/mcmullin_acfsr.pdf
  1. P. Stapp (1999) “Attention, intention, and will in quantum physics,” J. Consciousness Studies Page 26-27. http://arxiv.org/pdf/quant-ph/9905054v1.pdf
  1. JP Moreland (1988) Should a Naturalist Be a Supervenient Physicalist? Page 57
  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4l1lQMCOguw
  1. David Deutsch. (1997) David Deutsch on Solipsism. http://jake.freivald.org/deutschOnSolipsism.html

AntiCitizenX’s Maximally Great Field of Straw men

It seems a large amount of internet atheists do not know how to voice objections without revealing their immaturity and intellectual dishonesty. AntiCitizenX has decided to respond to the modal ontological argument with exactly this mentality. It is fine if you disagree, but why must respect be thrown out the window? When they do this, it really only reveals intellectual dishonesty, immaturity, and a pure lack of philosophical knowledge.

It should be quickly noted that AntiCitizenX put forward a large amount of objections that were straw men. This actually creates more damage for his case than aids because all he does it set up his viewers for failure. They are given objections by AnticitizenX, which do not work and are based on terrible reasoning like equivocating the property of necessity with existence. Instead of debunking the ontological argument he only succeeds in assuring his viewers will not only misunderstand how theists actually present the argument, but teach them objections to that do work and make them look philosophically ignorant. If one wants to have a conversation on natural theology that is fine, but quote mining and misrepresenting your opponents doesn’t do you or your viewers any favors. It actually hinders their growth for knowledge. So all AnticitizenX does is make his viewers truly ignorant on how the argument works and that is setting them up for failure.

 

AntiCitizenX’s video is by far one of the worse I’ve seen, which is quite funny because he has such an arrogant attitude about how right he knows he is. Allow me to explain:

 

Ending at 0:47 – So right off the bat we have a straw men. Never once did I say the ontological argument (OA) proves facts about the external world (by external I mean physical). In fact, I concluded “Answering Objections to the ontological Argument (Part 2) by quoting Plantinga and saying:

 

Plantinga is not saying the argument is a waste of time. It actually does exactly what it is suppose to do. The point he is making is that this argument cannot and should not be used to prove God exists like one can prove earth is round. But as he says at the end of this quote, the argument shows that the belief in God is completely rational. The ontological argument is not a way to prove God exists, in fact, no argument in natural theology can be said to prove God exists like one proves a scientific fact. The aim of this argument and natural theology is to show that the best inference, and most rational conclusion we can come to is that God exists.1

 

So we have our first straw man, and this is pretty much what the rest of his response is, but you’ll see why below.

 

Ending at 2:07 – AntiCitizenX shows his ignorance on philosophy by bringing up a common point he tries to state often is a proven fact – the analytic/synthetic distinction. First, he presupposes this is proven somehow (which is self refuting and I’ll get to in a second). It is not a proven fact, in fact, most philosophers accept the analytic/synthetic is controversial and blurred, since the philosopher Quine demonstrated this in his paper, “Two Dogmas of Empiricism” This has been pointed out to him before:

 

 

He just presents it like a proven fact, yet fails to mention it is really a controversial philosophical claim. This shows a lack of philosophical knowledge.

 

Second, he bases his objection on this presupposition, that analytical claims have no bearing on claims about the external world. The obvious problem is the analytical/synthetic distinction is claimed to speak about what is true about the real world and must therefore be a synthetic proposition. However, where is the empirical evidence to demonstrate this distinction is true? The fact is he doesn’t have any, so by his logic the analytical/synthetic distinction must be false and is therefore self-refuting.

AntiCitizenX wants to have his philosophical cake and eat to, that claims about the real world can only be empirical, but he presents this exact claim through analytical presuppositions, not empirical evidence. Where is the synthetic evidence of this analytic/synthetic distinction? Well, he doesn’t have any. It is obvious his distinction is analytical, so by his own logic it has no bearing on the real world.

Third, what does he mean by “real world”? Does he mean the physical world? If so, that is not a fact of what the real world consists of. Several philosophers, like Thomas Nagel, would argue the real world includes the objectively of abstract logic, as well as the physical world. In fact, if logical claims are separate from the ‘real world’ how can AntiCitizenX’s logical claims and ‘made up distinction’ have any bearing on the real world? This should alone refute the rest of his video, since he continually makes analytical and logical claims about what can and cannot be true of the real world. So his entire reasoning is – “do as I say, not as I do.”

When it comes to the ontological argument it is already assumed logic is objectively true, so if the real world is logical then what is discovered to be logically true will have an objective bearing on the whole real world. The only way out of this is to deny logic has any relation to the real world, which is self-defeating. Because to argue logic has no relation to the real world is to assume your claim is logically coherent about the real world. So does AntiCitizenX think his claims are logically true statements about the real world? If so then he accepts the same reasoning foundational for the OA and has refuted himself, again.

 

Ending at 2:26 – Again another straw man (that makes two so far) I never said I can prove God exists… Did he even watch my videos or he is more interested in creating propaganda?

 

Ending at 3:14 – AntiCitizenX claims the concept of God is logically incoherent. So my reply is: what professional philosopher in their right mind says that the concept of God is logically impossible? These supposed objections that the properties of God create logical absurdity have been overwhelming rejected by professional philosophers due to theistic responses to show they do not lead to any logical absurdities, once they are property understood. In fact, in my four part series on the OA I demonstrated why this is the case. Now if AntiCitizenX wants to redefine the concept of God in a way to debunk it then he is being ad hoc and not actually addressing the theistic definition. No one has to accept his absurd definitions, which is why this objection fails.

If he thinks religious apologists have not properly defined God then it shows he has never read any theistic philosophers. He should start here: “The Coherence of Theism” by Richard Swinburne. The concept of God is logically coherence and his past objections do not hold any water.

 

Ending at 4:58 – The ignorance is astounding. AntiCitizenX argues just because something is logically possible that doesn’t mean it exists in the real world, which is another objection I already addressed in “Answering Objections to the Ontological Argument Part 2. Of course logical possibility alone doesn’t mean it has evidence in the real world. He is confusing metaphysical and logical possibility. So the objection is answered by the simple point that I already addressed it in “Answering Objections to the Ontological Argument (Part 2).”

 

 

Ending at 7:57 – Yeah, this is sad and pathetic. AntiCitizenX continues his immaturity by taking what I said out of context. Apparently if I state premise 3 that means I didn’t actually defend premise 3. However, I do in a later part of the video. I explain why premise 3 is sound. Instead AntiCitizenX has continued his immaturity and dishonesty by magically pretending I never did this in my video. If that is the best he can do, then it shows he is not interested in having a real conversation but creating propaganda. I do actually show why premise 3 is sound, unlike what AntiCitizenX implies… So this section of his video is propaganda, and reveals his motives are not pure…

 

Ending at 9:01 – Again, another straw man. I never said definitions transfer into empirical proof. I never claimed the definition means God exists in the physical world. In fact, if God did exist in the physical world He would not be God. No Christian theist would ever claim God exists in the physical world. Did he even watch my videos or just hear what he wanted to hear? The dishonestly is pathetic and really shows it is just another piece of propaganda.

Second, once again, he has limited the real world to the physical, which is not proven and is highly controversial, as philosophers like Nagel argue logical truths are objective but not physical. If the real world is only the physical then his own logical claims are not real or true and have no bearing on what is real. I thought it would be obvious the real world would include objective logic, but apparently that it too much to consider for some Internet atheists. Yet the irony is they insist their logical claims are true about the real world, like this analytic/synthetic distinction. It is an excellent example of terrible logic. If you are going to make logical claims about the real world then you already accept logic is objectively true and has a bearing on reality. But some Internet atheists, want it both ways. They want to tell theists their logical claims have no truth-value, why making logical claims about what is true. It is embarrassing and AntiCitizenX is a prime example of this.

Third, the OA never claims from a definition alone you get to existence. It claims the definition is logical coherent and then asks if it is metaphysically possible. You can have a definition, but that alone doesn’t make it metaphysically possible. I can define a tree as necessary, but that will not show it is metaphysically possible based on a posteriori reasoning. So he dishonestly attacks the OA and demonstrates he doesn’t understand it.

 

Ending at 10:28 – This is just plain wrong, as even David Hume points out centuries ago. The only way something can be proven logically if its negation is logically impossible, and Robert Maydole’s Modal perfection argument does in fact show the negation of maximal greatness is impossible, which I went over in “Answering Objections to the Ontological Argument (Part 1). Even if you deny the MPA, no one is saying the definition alone gets you to existence. It must also be metaphysically possible. It must be easy to attack an argument when you consistently take everything out of context.

 

Ending at 10:52 – AntiCitizenX asks for examples of things that exist necessarily, which doesn’t address the argument. That wouldn’t work because he is asking for physical things in the universe, which by definition are not necessary. So this question is a setup. Second, it is matter of metaphysics to explain the physical universe and is the basis of contingency arguments. The obvious logic follows – if there are contingent things, like the physical, where did they originate? This obvious chains goes back to the need for a necessary substance so contingent things can exist, which theists argue would have to be a necessary being. Asking for extra examples would be absurd because logically there would only be a need for one necessary substance/being. Also the mere lack of other necessary things doesn’t imply there are is not one necessary substance obviously… That would be an association fallacy.

 

Also, his ignorance on the nature of necessity outstanding. The definition of ontological necessity does not mean existence by definition, it means “cannot fail to exist if possible.” It is a way for something to exist, not existence by definition. In other words, it describes a type of existence, in the same way something can exist contingently. I doubt he has ever read anything on necessity like, “Naming and Necessity” or “The Nature of Necessity”? If you are going to redefine terms to debunk an argument you only show your ignorance and you end of debunking a straw man, not the argument itself. Necessity doesn’t equal existence; it is a property of something that can exist, if possible…

 

Ending at 11:29 – AntiCitizenX says truth doesn’t exist, it is label. So the obvious question which follows: It that is a truth about reality or just a label? It is true that no truth exists? By his own logic is that not just a label? In other words if all truth is a label, then so is this claim so why would it be anything but a label? This is why his entire position is self-defeating. He wants to say there is no truth, but that itself is truth claim. As Thomas Nagel says:

 

“Claims to the effect that a type of judgment expresses a local point of view are inherently objective in intent: They suggest a picture of the true sources of those judgments which places them in an unconditional context. The judgment of relativity or conditionally cannot be applied to the judgment of relativity itself. To put it schematically, the claim “Everything is subjective” must be nonsense, for it would itself have to be either subjective or objective. But it can’t be objective, since in that case it would be false if true. And it can’t be subjective, because then it would not rule out any objective claim, including the claim that it is objectively false.2

 

Ending at 12:02 – This is false dichotomy. It is not true that in saying if some claims are true, then you are necessarily agreeing in a raw essence of truth. You can think truth exists while not thinking it is a thing of itself, but simply an abstract objective fact of logic like in nominalism and true. Some claims are objectively true and some are objectively false. We do not create the label, we simple discover what is true or not. So even if you reject platonism that doesn’t entail fictionalism. Many philosophers agree in the objectively of logic while rejecting platonism.

 

Ending at 12:33 – This doesn’t make any sense. No one is saying the definition of a square means it exists in the real world. This is once again another terrible straw man. The point is a raw definition of a square entails necessity of four sides. There is no scenario where a square could be without 4 sides. It is a necessary truth of what a square is. No one is therefore claiming it must empirically exist. The dishonestly from this guy is astounding.

 

Ending at 13:33 – This is getting sad and AntiCitizenX only continues the pathetic propaganda. First, I noted in the beginning of my video I am trying to simply the OA, meaning the formulation used is meant to teach, not be a rigorous formation. Second, I already addressed this in a different video, where I point out the OA doesn’t beg the question and gave a more rigorous formulation:

He also continues with his straw man of a definition of necessity. Once again, necessity doesn’t mean existence, that should have been obvious. I can definite a tree as necessary, but that doesn’t make it logically possible or even metaphysically possible.

Ending at 14:42 – Another straw man. Does this guy even try or does he just hear big words and assume the rest without any thought? I never once said “greatness” or “betterness” are objective quantifiable things. This is dishonestly at its finest. ‘Great-making properties’ is a title for properties that are ontologically beneficial in all possible worlds. No where did I say greatness is a property itself. I can’t tell anymore is he is really this ignorant and lying on purpose.

Ending at 15:03 – AntiCitizenX has tried to say he can out define a MGB by defining a being that is maximally great, but can beat the other MGB in an arm wrestling contest. Does he even try? If that was the case then the first being is not maximally great and is just another lesser being. We are not asking for degrees of power but one who would be all powerful and if a being could be all powerful then no other being could be more powerful. So just saying there is a greater being is meaningless. If that was the case then that would be the MGB and the other would not be.

Ending at 15:45 – It is evident AntiCitizenX is not even trying. I never said God is necessary because I said so, but because a MGB must entail all great-making properties. It is not accepted ad hoc, but because all GMPs must be entailed, which includes necessity by definition. Asking why is a MGB necessary is like asking why does 2+2=4. It is by definition. If you think the definition is incoherent then you must explain why, not just get upset because you do not like the definition. When I see parodies of the OA, I explain why the definition is logically incoherent, that is how logic works.

Ending at 18:15 – This is once again self-refuting. If you cannot demonstrate something empirically that means it doesn’t exist? I’ve yet to see AntiCitizenX empirically demonstrate the truth of this claim he insists is true. If the truth of the real world is determined by empirical claims then the claim, “empirical claims determine truth” requires empirical evidence as well, but it has none.

Also, once again, I never said definition alone means it exist in the real world. Something must be metaphysically possible for it to be considered to exist in the real world (and yes, I am making a distinction between real and physical world since the real world is more encompassing than the physical). And I’ve already given evidence for why a MGB is metaphysically possible in the real world. So we have more examples of AntiCitizenX taking things out of context.

Ending at 18:44 – I think this may be the worst lie yet. We have no empirical evidence for God? Notice the switch from empirical proof to empirically evidence. Because in reality, we have plenty of evidence, which we infer to the best explanation of theism, but we never claimed proof:

With this empirical evidence William Lane Craig then explains what the OA does:

The theistic arguments need not be taken to be like links in a chain, in which one link follows another so that the chain is only as strong as the weakest link. Rather, they are like links in a coat of chain mail, in which all the links reinforce one another so that the strength off the whole exceeds that of any single link. The ontological argument might play its part in a cumulative case for theism, in which a multitude of factors simultaneously conspire to lead one to the global conclusion that God exists. In that sense, Anselm was wrong in thinking that he had discovered a single argument which, standing independent of all the rest, severe to demonstrate God’s existence in all his greatness. Nevertheless, his argument does encapsulate the thrust of all the argument together to show that God, the Supreme being, exists.3

So now that we do have evidence in the other arguments of natural theology we then have metaphysical possibility from a posterior reasoning and from there we have all we need for the conclusion of the ontological argument. Even if you deny the conclusions from these other arguments, you cannot deny the minimal metaphysical possibility. From there the OA follows and shows that to simply accept the metaphysical evidence that a necessary being is possible means one the most logical conclusion about the actual world is one exists. The only way out of the conclusion is to deny logic has any bearing on the real world, and which is kind of what it seems AntiCitizenX is implying. Which makes me wonder if he thinks his logical claims have any bearing on the real world.

In conclusion AntiCitizenX did an excellent job debunking the straw man he built. He wrapped himself up in a self-defeating case of nonsense and demonstrated he doesn’t understand the OA or how logic works. If he really thinks logic has no bearing on the actual world, then I expect him to through out all the logical claims he made of the real world. He cannot have it both ways.

 

 

 

 

Notes:

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JRsHIN5ATY
  2. Nagel (2001). The Last Word, Page 14-15.
  3. Craig and Moreland (2003). Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview, Page 449.

ThePolyMath, Quantum Bayesism, Wave Functions, and more

He’s back… ThePolyMath actually did a video reply to my blog post reply, to his video reply, of my original video. This is getting long… But he uses the exact same tactic he used the first time: a retreat to vagueness, personal attacks, and bouncing around from different interpretations. All he has succeeded in doing is showing idealism is a pretty solid understanding of reality if this is the best he can offer.

He starts out by replying that it was not an ad hominem to dismiss certain physicists as quacks because as he says, “Well, actually it is, if the person you are citing is spewing fringe quackery.” Now, if he thinks this constitutes as a reply then I have more to question then just his arguments. Naming-calling people who disagree with you and then dismissing them as quacks is not an argument. The reason certain people are quacks is because their arguments are terrible and based off bad or no evidence. That is why some people are labeled as quacks. If ThePolyMath thinks some of the physicists I cited are quacks then it is his duty to explain why, not just say they are quacks because they are quacks.

I believe Benny Hinn is a quack because he makes doctrines up based on his “so-called” personal revelations he claims to receive, and doesn’t provide objective evidence or support for his claims. That is why he is a quack, not because I can just label him one. ThePolymath fails to demonstrate these things about the physicists he labels as quacks. He seems to imply, “they don’t agree with me, therefore they must be quacks.” It doesn’t work that easily. If you want to call someone a quack then back it up with reasons as to why, do not just say they are quacks because they are quacks…

Ending at 3:18 – ThePolymath tries to refute the von Neumann chain and in doing so demonstrates he doesn’t understand the philosophical implications. He argues that physicists accept the photo detector causes collapse and thus the observer is not necessary. But this is not the point. Advocates of the von Neumann chain agree the photo detector causes collapse, obviously. It is part of the chain and interacts and no one denies this. What we then ask is what caused the photo detector to collapse? If the answer is the environment, then what caused the environment to collapse? Hence you get a chain, a von Neumann chain of several things causing collapse. Trying to say the photo detector causes complete collapse doesn’t address the von Neumann chain.

What he seems to be doing is arguing from the Copenhagen Interpretation alone. Well, of course in the Copenhagen Interpretation the photo detector can fully explain collapse, but it is only a pragmatic interpretation. Of course the von Neumann chain is not necessary in a pragmatic understanding alone. But it doesn’t take any metaphysical conclusions into account, so it can hardly give a complete description of reality. If we are talking from a pragmatic standpoint, then yes, the photo detector causes collapse and I have never denied that. However, it completely misses the real issue of what that would entail, namely a following von Neumann chain to initiate ultimate collapse. So despite “the PolyMath’s claim, the von Neumann chain does take into effect the environmental decoherence effects on particles. But decoherence alone cannot fully explain collapse beyond a pragmatic understanding, and the debate is over the truth of reality. So this appears to be a bait and switch: announce interaction/decoherence can fully explain collapse, but fail to mention that it only applies in the pragmatic Copenhagen Interpretation, which doesn’t address the truth of what reality is.

Also where are these physicists he speaks of that say the photo detector can entirely explains collapse? He claims this all physicists accept this is true, but he seems to leave out the fact that I quoted several physicists in my previous reply to him, which showed interaction/decoherence cannot fully explain collapse. However, he seems to have simply ignored all those quotes and say the exact opposite of what they overwhelmingly agree on – that interaction cannot fully explain collapse. As E Joos said and I previously quoted, “Does decoherence solve the measurement problem? Clearly not. What decoherence tells us, is that certain objects appear classical when they are observed. But what is an observation? At some stage, we still have to apply the usual probability rules of quantum theory.1

There are far more I could of used, like this one from Maximilian Scholosshauer, “…decoherence arises from a direct application of the quantum mechanical formalism to a description of the interaction of a physical system with its environment. By itself, decoherence is therefore neither an interpretation nor a modification of quantum mechanics.2 In fact I could keep going on, but the point is physicists do not say the interaction/decoherence can fully explain collapse other than from a pragmatic standpoint. So ThePolyMath needs to back up his claim, and not just assume something that is obviously true, without evidence. That is intellectual dishonesty at its finest.

Ending at 4:11 – Ok, he did this last time and I skipped over it because it was not an issue. He quotes Lawrence Krauss who says quantum mechanics is deterministic, but our measurement is not what is deterministic. I agree and is why I never addressed it. I fail to see how this is supposed to be shattering for my argument for idealism. We agree the Schroedinger equation is deterministic. As Henry Stapp says:

The Schroedinger equation, like Newton’s and Maxwell’s equations, is deterministic: given the motion of the quantum state for all times prior to the present, the motion for all future time is fixed, insofar as the Schroedinger equation is satisfied for all times. However, the Schroedinger equation fails when an increment of knowledge occurs: then there is a sudden jump to a ‘reduced’ state, which represents the new state of knowledge. This jump involves the well-known element of quantum randomness.3

Of course nature is deterministic, but it is incomplete without our input. This is Henry Stapp’s point, who I quoted in my last reply and ThePolyMath ignored. As I already said in that reply:

Interaction stems back from an observer’s “Heisenberg choice” (to use Henry Stapp’s terminology) which derives a “Dirac Choice” from nature. That is how we can derive the Born Rule and get one actual outcome from the possibilities of the wavefunction. Only the observer has the ability to ‘choose’ between possibilities. Non-conscious measuring devices cannot. As Henry Stapp says, “The observer in quantum theory does more than just read the recordings. He also chooses which question will be put to Nature: which aspect of nature his inquiry will probe. I call this important function of the observer ‘The Heisenberg Choice’, to contrast it with the ‘Dirac Choice’, which is the random choice on the part of Nature that Dirac emphasized.4

 So I fail to see what this is suppose to accomplish in pointing out the evolving wave function by itself is deterministic. No one denies that and neither have I.

Ending at 6:02 – Okay, now I am confused about his position. Prior to this he seemed to argue decoherence theory or from a pragmatic Copenhagen view. In his last video he did that as well, but also implied hidden variables. But now he is advocating quantum bayesism? First thing to note, he seems to be jumping between different ways to avoid idealism, which doesn’t seem reasonable, but instead is an attempt to avoid the most logical explanation. Second, I don’t think quantum bayesism is a good way to save materialism. It seems to be more akin to a scientific anti-realist view of quantum mechanics. Scientific American did an article on this interpretation titled, “Quantum Weirdness? It’s all in your mind: A new version of quantum theory sweeps away the bizarre paradoxes of the microscopic world. The cost? Quantum information exists only in your imagination.5

Now if ThePolyMath is actually an antirealist then it is his right to hold to this view, but I don’t think he has been advocating it up until this point and he doesn’t seem to be elsewhere, which is why I am confused of his position. QBism argues the wave function is just a description of what the observer believes. We are detached from reality and can never know what is taking place and the mathematics is all in our imagination, so to speak. As they say in the Scientific American article:

By interpreting the wave function as personal degrees of belief, it gives precise, mathematical meaning to Bohr’s intuition that “physics concerns what we can say about nature.” And proponents of QBism embrace the notion that until an experiment is performed, its outcome simply does not exist. Before the speed or position of an electron is measured, for example, the electron does not have a speed or a position. The measurement brings the property in question into being. As Fuchs puts it, “With every measurement set by an experimenter’s free will, the world is shaped just a little as it participates in a kind of moment of birth.” In this way, we become active contributors to the ongoing creation of the universe.5

This doesn’t sound like the salvation of materialism (And ThePolyMath fails to demonstrate how this rescues materialism). It sounds like a scientific anti-realist position and more close to subjective idealism. If ThePolyMath wants to hold to QBism, that is his right, but he never demonstrated how this rescues materialism or what the interpretation implies. It seems to lead more towards idealism, which defeats his argument.

It is also a fairly new theory and is unable to explain macroscopic phenomena, so I don’t see it is competing with interpretations based off of standard quantum theory. When I pointed these things out in the information section to ThePolyMath, he simply jumped to Bohmian Mechanics. I’m sorry, but I must ask: are we following the data to where it leads or starting with a presupposition that materialism must be true and then finding anyway to explain the data to save that presupposition? Bohmian Mechanics is incomplete as physicsts have noted.6,7 But also becomes ad hoc due to problems with contextually and over complicates things, causing it to lack parsimony.

However, that is besides the point. This is not how we do science. We don’t start with a metaphysical belief, like materialism, and do everything we can to save it in the face of new evidence. I’ll let the evidence lead me. As Henry Stapp says, “…once the physics assumptions are rectified the philosophy will take care of itself.8 We do not start with a set belief. We start with science and build a philosophical worldview that fits what science has given us. This is why I am idealist now and wasn’t when I started my channel. Scientific evidence converted me.

Ending at 6:48 – Ok he seems to be jumping back to a neo-Copenhagen Interpretation or a hidden variable interpretation now. I wish he would just pick a position to argue from. ThePolyMath is not holding to an interpretation he feels best fits the data, but it simply trying to do anything he can to avoid idealism. When I pointed out the environment cannot choose between different possibilities he responds by quoting something from his last video, where he argues “the wave function doesn’t have a physical reality, it is just a mathematical model that describes the expectation values of particular observables of a quantum particle or system.” To which I reply: why on earth would I disagree with this? Of course it doesn’t have a “physical reality”. Seriously, is he even trying or has he been listening to me up until this point? I argue it is real, just as something nonphysical from which physical reality emerges from upon collapse. So his argument is a straw man. I never said the wave function had a “physical reality.”

He then tries to argue the Neo-Copenhagen view of the wave function, that it is just, “…a mathematical model that describes the expectation values of particular observables…” Well that is fine, but not everyone agrees as he implies. In fact the ThePolyMath fails to explain why this view of the wave function is the only view one can hold to. The problem is ThePolyMath fails to explain why this is the most logical way to view the wave function or even demonstrate that it is not an actual thing (non-physical that is).

Rosenblum and Kuttner in “The Quantum Enigma,” argue the wave function is a real nonphysical thing:

Quantum probability, waviness, on the other hand, is mysteriously objective; it’s the same for everyone. The wavefunction is the whole story: The standard quantum description has no atom in addition to the wavefunction of the atom. As a leading quantum physics text would have it, the term “the wavefunction of the atom” is synonym for “the atom. If someone looked in a particular spot and happened to see the atom there, that looked “collapsed” the spread out waviness of that atom to be wholly at that particular spot.9

If you read the surrounding the context, they keep iterating the point “Observing the particle creates it being there,” “the atom’s widely spread out wave function to be concentrated at that spot on the screen.” Now the reason I bring this up is because later in his video ThePolyMath comes back to this point and tries again to say that no physicists thinks the wave function is a real thing. Which is clearly false. I could name several.

Here is another recent paper which also makes a similar argument: http://arxiv.org/abs/1311.7127

He can call “The Quantum Engima” a book of far-out ideas, but he has yet to demonstrate why this is. If particles have properties prior to measurement and the wave function is only a mathematical model that describes what we can know about the system, then how does that not collapse to scientific anti-realism or hidden variables? And if it is hidden variables then where is the evidence for it? Perhaps I am misunderstanding his position, but he is jumping all over the place making it is impossible to follow or know what his position actually is.

He then goes on to say, “…It is not as if the particle did no have any properties prior to measurement” (and later quotes Stenger who says the same thing, so I address that here as well). As before, I reply – what evidence suggests they do? If hidden variables have been ruled out and the Kochen-Specker shows us the experimental context is essential for the outcome obtained how does this show particles had physical properties prior to measurement? Where is this hidden variable that can give a particle it’s physical properties prior to measurement that he speaks of? As Rosenblum and Kuttner say, “We can never rule out “undetectable things.” But a theory with no testable consequence beyond what is was invented to explain is unscientific”10. If ThePolyMath wants to argue particles can have properties prior to measurement he better get some data to back it up. If he cannot he is being unscientific, because all the data I’ve presented in my blog and videos suggests hidden variables do not exist. He has failed to present evidence for hidden variables so far or explain how particles obtain properties without an observer’s measurement. Until he does that, simply repeating the same assertions in a new video will not change that and I’m sick of repeating myself. So I’ll just ignore his sad attempts to pretend hidden variables exist until he presents evidence.

Ending at 7:13 – ThePolyMath directly lies, literally. There is no other way to put it. He implies I am only quoting some of the early pioneers of quantum mechanics, and we have moved past their ideas so they do not hold any power today. This is incredibly dishonest and he should be ashamed. It is pathetic propaganda. I have quoted early pioneers, but I’ve also quoted recent physics like Paul Davies, John Gribbin, Bruce Rosenblum, Fred Kuttner, Bernard Haisch, Anton Zeilinger, Eaun Squires, Maximilian Scholosshauer, etc. (and Henry Stapp, since he is still alive today and still contributing work). I’ve quoted both early and modern physicists and for him to dishonestly leave out that detail demonstrates his video is a piece of propaganda. Perhaps he is getting desperate at this point and why he feels he has to resort to these types of tactics.

Also why is it wrong to quote the early pioneers of quantum theory? Here is a recent paper Anton Zeilinger co-authored that directly uses a Neils Bohr quote that I have also used – http://arxiv.org/pdf/1206.6578v2.pdf

Is ThePolyMath going to whine about modern physicists quoting early pioneers as well, or only when I do it? The point is their ideas have not been kicked to the wayside as ThePolyMath dishonestly implies. Quantum theory is the most accurate scientific model ever developed. The work of the early pioneers still has an impact and is used by physicists today. If ThePolyMath doesn’t realize this, then he once again has demonstrated poor research on his behalf.

Ending at 14:07 – We finally get to my favorite part. He first tries to claim something I already addressed last time. Yes, Zeilinger doesn’t ever say mind or consciousness, and I addressed this in my last post, so I won’t repeat it here. Did ThePolyMath conveniently leave out that this little fact in his video reply? That is adorable… Just repeating an argument I already addressed is not a counter.

He then say the second half of my response is just a hissy fit and to just ignore it. Yes, the old ‘pay no attention to the man behind the curtain’ act. So just ignore the parts where I pointed out his error on the Kochen-Specker theorem, quote mining of Zelinger, his errors surrounding the Leggett-Garg inequality, etc. If that is what he thinks works as a reply, then it only reassures myself that my arguments are sound, to which I owe him thanks.

He ends the video by resorting back to his ways of childish of insults and then quotes Matt Dillhaunty who is trying to argue you can’t test God, because God is not a variable. This is so much of a misunderstanding I don’t even no where to begin. First, I never said there was a God variable, because God is not a natural process that can be studied. If He were, He would not be God. That much should have been obvious to anyone who tries to debate theism. So that is a straw man. Second, you can’t test any metaphysical view of reality. All we can do is study the data in the natural physical word and reach a metaphysical conclusion of what that data means. To just call a metaphysical inference a conjecture doesn’t make it one. The skeptic needs to show why. There is no materialism variable either. Materialists study reality and feel the data infers the philosophical belief of materialism. So shall we kick materialism to the side since it cannot be tested in the same matter as well?

That is all for now. At this point if I get another response I doubt I’ll respond. ThePolyMath has advocating the hidden variables idea for a second time – that a particle can have properties prior to measurement, but he has yet again failed to offer evidence for it. If he can come up with something better I’ll take another crack at it, but I doubt he will. Furthermore, he seems to just be bouncing around from interpretation to interpretation, trying to find anything to save materialism. If that is his tactic it is pointless to converse with him. Apart from acting like a 5th grade bully who insults people he doesn’t agree with, he doesn’t seem to make coherent sense. He claims I misrepresent physics and that is the cause of his anger but he can’t seem to justify it. So what is the real cause of his childish anger? What he seems to actually be angry about is I offer an interpretation and argue it best fits the data. He doesn’t like the presented interpretation because it doesn’t fit with his philosophical beliefs, so he is angry people disagree with him, which again is childish.

Look, I don’t agree with Many Worlds interpretation but I would never say Everettians are misrepresenting science. They just have different metaphysical beliefs, and I argue they are wrong. But to say either of us is misrepresenting science shows us ThePolyMath doesn’t know what that means and just throws out these lines to further is propaganda work.

Since he doesn’t give evidence or an account of which interpretation he is arguing from it is pointless to keep pointing this out. All he has done is demonstrated that if this is the best reply materialists can come up with then he has assured me idealism and the argument from quantum mechanics is pretty strong and cannot be refuted.

Notes:

  1. Joos (2000). Decoherence: Theoretical, Experimental, and Conceptual Problems, Page 14.
  2. Schlosshauer (2005). Decoherence, the measurement problem and interpretation of quantum mechanics, Page 8. http://arxiv.org/abs/quantph/0312059
  3. Stapp (1999) “Attention, intention, and will in quantum physics,” J. Consciousness Studies, Page 17 http://arxiv.org/pdf/quant-ph/9905054v1.pdf
  4. https://inspiringphilosophy.wordpress.com/2014/03/15/quantum-physics-still-debunks-materialism-refuting-thepolymath/
  5. Von Baeyer, “A New Version of Quantum Theory Sweeps Away the Bizarre Paradoxes of the Microscopic World. The Cost? Quantum Information Exists Only in Your Imagination.” Scientific American June 2013: 49-53. Web.
  6. Schlosshauer (2005). Decoherence, the measurement problem and interpretation of quantum mechanics, Page 31-33. http://arxiv.org/abs/quantph/0312059
  7. Gao (2011). Why the De Broglie-Bohm Theory Goes Astray. http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/8956/
  8. Stapp (1999) “Attention, intention, and will in quantum physics,” J. Consciousness Studies, Page 4 http://arxiv.org/pdf/quant-ph/9905054v1.pdf
  9. Bruce Rosenblum & Fred Kuttner (2011) The Quantum Enigma 2nd Edition, Page 81.
  10. Bruce Rosenblum & Fred Kuttner (2011) The Quantum Enigma 2nd Edition, Page 110.

Refuting and Exposing Atheist “EssenceOfThought”

This is a response to this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G82eM_o_u_U

Have you ever had someone try to respond to you, and wondered if they did any research or even tried? Well EssenceofThought (EoT) did just that in a attempting to respond to my video, “Is Christianity Slavery?” Not only did he do poor research, but also he directly took my words out of context to further his propaganda. This will be easy to point out. But even worse he goes on a hateful rant about how terrible God is while actual being very hypocritical. I’ll point this out below.

Several of his comments are more like quick little attacks on Christianity – claims that it is not factually correct. These will be ignored, since I am only interested in defending the thesis, and not getting sidetracked, like he sure does. These among other objections will be saved for later videos.

Ending at 0:56 – Wow! Apparently, semantics is a crime now… EoT is getting upset because I said, “Why would anyone want to be a Christian? Don’t you lose all freedom?” He goes on a rant about how no one has ever accused Christians of losing all freedom. Well, we have our first example of EoT taking me out of context. The very next line, I explain what I mean by that when I say, “Instead of doing what you want, you have to conform to the strict rules God lays out. How can anyone enjoy that?” Obviously when I say we are accused of losing all freedom, I am speaking in this context, and not saying we philosophically lose even the freedom to think.

For example, when physicists argue the universe could of come from nothing, they don’t mean an actual philosophical nothing, yet people accuse them of this. Instead when we listen to the “context” we see what they are talking about. I expected common sense to prevail here, but EoT has proven me wrong. But I guess it is easier for EoT to take things out of context. How else could he spread his propaganda?

Ending at 3:09 – He first claims that he can have positive freedom without Christianity, to which I reply, fair enough. I never claimed that no one will ever think they can find positive freedom for themselves outside of Christ. Many people feel they do, and as a Christian it is not my job to force the idea down their throats that they are wrong. All I can do is present the Gospel. My entire video is written from perspective of a Christian, and where we use our positive freedom. It is answering a charge against Christianity – not attacking secularism.

‪Second, he says, “Positive Liberty only works where the answer or meaning is not set by another or intrinsically existent.” Well I am not sure if he read Berlin, but that is not what Berlin defines it as. It is fine if he wants to redefine terms for himself, but that just shows you he is no longer addressing my video, as that is not how the terms were defined. Just claiming my definition is wrong and redefining terms based on how he think they should be is not a rebuttal, it is a sad attempt to make things up on a whim, which is laughable. I went of what Berlin defines positive freedom as. He writes about positive and negative freedom as:

The consequences of distinguishing between two selves will become even clearer if one considers the two major forms which the desire to be self-directed – directed by one’s ‘true’ self – has historically taken: the first, that of self-abnegation in order to attain independence; the second, that of self-realisation, or total self-identification with a specific principle or ideal in order to attain the selfsame end.1

The Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy says:

 Positive liberty is the possibility of acting — or the fact of acting — in such a way as to take control of one’s life and realize one’s fundamental purposes… One might say that while on the first view liberty is simply about how many doors are open to the agent, on the second view it is more about going through the right doors for the right reasons.2

So I wonder if he actually researched this or just made up his own definition on the whim to fit what he thought it should be, instead of how it is actually understood.

On a side note, I agree with Berlin that a political tyrant should not be setting positive freedom for their people. In fact, Berlin was mainly writing about freedom in regards to political philosophy, which is why I put this disclaimer in the description, “*Disclaimer – Berlin was mainly writing about political philosophy and positive and negative freedom in political thought. However, from reading his work we can easily see how his definitions of different types of freedom can transcend political philosophy and explain other areas of life and thought.”

Ending at 4:28 – He really shows he has not read Berlin and has done poor research. He claims that I have taxed on my own “bull crap” in explaining what positive freedom does for us in liberating us from less rational desires. In actuality, this is what Berlin says about negative freedom. I merely took it from him, “… the pursuit of immediate pleasures, my ’empirical’ or ‘heteronomous’ self, swept by every gust of desire and passion, needing to be rigidly disciplined if it is ever to rise to the full height of its ‘real’ nature.3 This should be a lesson for all. Do not rush into things without research. It will only hinder your argument. EoT has claimed that I’ve tacked it on, but if he read Berlin’s paper, he would see that that is not the case. This should be embarrassing for him and evidence he doesn’t research well.

Ending at 5:20 – Now he is getting nit-picky. He attacks an example I gave of someone trying to find positive freedom in being a businessman, and argues it will lead to insufficient meaning in life. Now why on earth would I disagree with that? The example was meant to show a contrast of how different people try to seek a purpose. Of course, as a Christian I am going to agree with EoT that being a businessman is not going to give someone true fulfillment. Why even bother bringing this up? Did he listen to what I said? The now suggest he barely paid attention.

Ending at 7:36 – EoT points out several people like JK Rowling, didn’t need to use positive freedom in a career… And so what? Where did I say that all people try to find positive freedom through a career? He clearly didn’t pay attention, and only heard what he wanted to hear. I said, “If you build your life on a career…” Obviously, I never said that all people will. I was merely pointing out, what he already agreed with, that building your life on a career is not a smart decision. However, he implied that I did, which shows a lack of intellectual honesty or an inability to pay attention.

Ending at 8:30 – Here we go with the lies… EoT says, “Who are you to tell people what they can and cannot feel fulfillment on?” But if he clearly listened I said, “But what Christians come to find is trying to earn this purpose….” I never said that other people cannot try other means. I said that this is how Christians look at it. Instead of taking me at my word, EoT has lied and said that I’ve claimed something that I’ve never actually claimed. I am merely arguing from what the Christian feels – not how others feel. EoT clearly didn’t paying attention, and just heard what he wants to hear. By the way, he should never of said this line and I’ll explain why further down.

Ending at 10:30 – Same misconception as before. I never said that other people do not feel that they cannot find positive freedom in another person, I said, “what Christians come to find is that trying to earn this purpose will never work.” He also accuses me of thinking that differences in people are errors, which I never said. I argued that people are imperfect – which he agreed with. No where did I say that this is terrible, or that differences in appearance (as he implied) is horrid. He continues his rampage of attacks on arguments I never made. What a nice work of propaganda. The dishonesty is unbelievable.

Ending at 10:45 – He says, “Millions of non-believers fully disagree.” Well obviously… That is why they are non-believers. Again, I am speaking of what Christians feel. EoT, question for you, did you actually listen to the video?

Ending at 11:56 – EoT claims that to be a Christian means that there are strings attached, and claims that the video clips I used of Christians worshipping God shows this. And this only demonstrates a lack of understanding Christian theology. Paul clearly says in Ephesians 2:8-9 that we are saved by grace and not works. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” When we Christians worship Jesus, we do it out of love, not obligation. A husband doesn’t do things for his wife out of obligation, but out of love. Just showing pictures of Christians worshipping doesn’t mean that we are obligated to do so, we want to. I love worshipping my savior.

Ending at 12:28 – Atheists always tell me how much they hate it when Christians argue from personal testimony, because it is not convincing. Well the same goes for an atheist’s personal testimony. EoT claiming that ‘he is a living witness to being fulfilled without Christ’ is about as convincing as a Muslim’s personal testimony would be for him. If he assures himself he doesn’t need Christ, then I am not going to force it down his throat, but that doesn’t mean I have to agree with him. I believe he thinks he is satisfied – just like he believes the same of me. Why would he try to argue from his personal testimony? Does he think it will work? Apparently arguing from your personal experiences is okay if you are an atheist.

Ending at 13:25 – EoT continues his straw man definition that positive freedom must be a self-mastered or ascribed one. Now I’ve already quoted the experts above to show that this is not how it was defined, so this continues to be a straw man, or redefining terms to fit his needs, instead of how my video defined them. Just redefining positive freedom from what it is in my video is not a rebuttal. Perhaps I should just redefine atheism as believing the earth is a goddess, and then attack that. I wonder if EoT would like that?

Ending at 14:02 – His lies continue. Now he claims that I said that God seeks positive freedom in us. This is laughable and I would like to ask him where I claimed this. No where did I say this, so he is directly lying and should be ashamed. The Bible most definitely doesn’t say God needs us. This is one of the big reasons I call his video a piece of propaganda. All he is doing is making things up that I never said or that Christians have never claimed.

Ending at 16:21 – A lot of problems in this section. He claims I have entered deep water, so I’ll show him how well I can swim and fight off monsters. He is arguing that Christians really aren’t free and happy from his personal testimony. Once again, this is not convincing. He should know better than to tell me what I am supposed to think. Remember earlier when he said, “Who are you to tell people what they can and cannot feel fulfillment on?” Well then… Let me say back to EoT, “Who are you to tell Christians what they can and cannot feel fulfillment in?” The mentality of EoT is quite simple: Christians cannot tell others how to find fulfillment but he sure as hell can. It is apparent his mentality is ‘do as I say not as I do,’ which is hypocrisy at it’s finest. He doesn’t want us to say we can find fulfillment in Christ, but he sure as hell will turn around and tell us where we can and cannot find fulfillment, and that is hypocrisy. But it gets much worse.

He then claims that Christianity takes all the value out humanity (which humanism restores), because of original sin. This is clearly wrong, as the Bible teaches we are highly valued by God, as we were created in His image (Genesis 1:26), that we are his friends (John 15:15), and that He loves us so much that He came into this world to die for us (Romans 5:8). Having sin doesn’t mean that God does not value us – especially if God willingly came to freely give salvation through His sacrifice.

Let’s compare this to humanism. Lets say we are witnessing to an impoverished third-world child. Tell him the Christian message: that he was created in the image of the living God of the entire universe, and God came to earth to sacrifice Himself to freely offer him eternal life out of His love. Then tell him the humanist message: that we humans came about by accident, and at best they will live about 70 years and die. Nothing more, nothing less. Everything gone. Everything is meaningless and value is purely subjective. CS Lewis says:

…a Christian and a non-Christian may both wish to do good to their fellow men. The one believes that men are going to live for ever, that they were created by God and so built that they can find their true and lasting happiness only by being united to God, that they have gone badly off the rails, and that obedient faith in Christ is the only way back. The other believes that men are an accidental result of the blind workings of matter, that they started as mere animals and have more or less steadily improved, that they are going to live for about seventy years, that their happiness is fully attainable by good social services and political organizations, and that everything else (e.g., vivisection, birth-control, the judicial system, education) is to be judged to be ‘good’ or ‘bad’ simply in so far as it helps or hinders that kind of ‘happiness’.4

Please answer me: which gives humans more value? This is why atheist Matthew Paris wrote an article titled, “As an atheist I truly believe Africa needs God.” He writes:, “In Africa Christianity changes people’s hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good… Faith does more than support the missionary; it is also transferred to his flock. This is the effect that matters so immensely, and which I cannot help observing.5″ He closes the article by saying:

Those who want Africa to walk tall amid 21st-century global competition must not kid themselves that providing the material means or even the knowhow that accompanies what we call development will make the change. A whole belief system must first be supplanted. And I’m afraid it has to be supplanted by another. Removing Christian evangelism from the African equation may leave the continent at the mercy of a malign fusion of Nike, the witch doctor, the mobile phone and the machete.5

EoT then goes on to saying Christianity is akin to being abused, and this is just plain wrong. Abusers tend to not sacrifice themselves for their victims, and neither do they usually give us the option to follow them or go our own way. Christianity couldn’t be further from abuse. Even the atheist philosopher Albert Camus recognizes this:

 [Christ] the god-man suffers too, with patience. Evil and death can no longer be entirely imputed to him since he suffers and dies. The night on Golgotha is so important in the history of man only because, in its shadows, the divinity ostensibly abandoned its traditional privilege, lived through to the end, despair included, the agony of death. Thus is explained the ‘Lama sabachthani’ and the frightful doubt of Christ in agony.6

People who abuse do not make sacrifices for their victim, and Christ gave the ultimate sacrifice. How can I not see unconditional love in that?

But here is the worse part. He claims God is akin to a domestic abuser because He devalues us and offers Himself as the only salvation. Now I just argued that is not the case, but look at how EoT handles his response. He spends an entire video dishonestly ridiculing my intelligence and calls me a moron in my comments section:

EOT being verbally abusive

 

He says I am a victim and he offers his ways and his humanistic believes as the salvation. So he tries to devalue me by being verbally abusive and then says he is only trying to help and save me, which is exactly what he says abusive people do to their victims. The hypocrisy is astounding. Perhaps EoT’s view of God is just a psychological projection? It is clearly false and he does exactly what he claims God does to us.

I do fell sorry for the guy in that he was abused. I, myself, had a childhood of being ridiculed and bullied by those who claimed to be Christians, so I can understand what it is like to be a victim, but Christ is nothing like that. He only has given us value and love. But if EoT seriously wants to help people, then trying to verbally abuse theists with insults and ridicule, while offering his own ideas as salvation is doing exactly what he claims is wrong. It is hypocrisy at its finest and it does nothing to liberate us. It only does as the French theologian Henri de Lubac said it would: in its attempts to liberate man by abolishing God, atheistic humanism results solely in chaining man to the whims of the powerful.

So there you have it. EoT just redefines positive freedom, claims that I don’t know what it is, misconstrues Christianity, and directly lies about things I’ve said. If he wants to attempt to respond to someone, he should respond to what they said – not a warped view. His response is filled with lies, hypocrisy, emotion filled attacks, and is hardly a worthy response. If he continues (like he claimed he would) and responds to this, then I plan on just ignoring it. He clearly is not interested in having a conversation, but doing whatever it takes to be right, even the truth won’t get in his way. That is not intellectually honest, that is propaganda.

 

Fin

 

 

 

Notes:

1. Isaiah Berlin (1958) Two Concepts of Liberty, Page 10

2. Ian Carter (2012) Postive and Negative Liberty, http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/liberty-positive-negative/#TwoConLib

3. Isaiah Berlin (1958) Two Concepts of Liberty, Page 9

4. CS Lewis Man or Rabbit?, Page 25

5. Matthew Parris (2009) As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God: http://old.richarddawkins.net/articles/3502-matthew-parris-as-an-atheist-i-truly-believe-africa-needs-god

6. Gillimard (1965) Essais, Page 444. Translated and quoted by Bruce Ward in “Prometheus of Cain? Alvert Camus’s Account of the Western Quest for Justice,” Faith and Philosophy (April 1991): 213

The Magical Quantum Post – A Response to Martymer81

Video this is a response to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WusCyD_eTc

So Martymer81, a popular youtube atheist who responds to theists, but who I admire for his attacks on pseudoscientific ideas, has decided to respond to my video Quantum physics debunks Materialism. For the most part he doesn’t come across as rude or arrogant, even though at specific times it seems that way. But he says he’ll try not to be, so I can look past those specific times. However, his response seemed to attack my points by mischaracterizing them. Raatz also did a video response and noted a lot of the same ideas as I did:

So lets dive in and look at his points:

Ending at 2:30 his first point is nit-picky and I hardly see why it needed to be pointed out. I agree with that and don’t see how it contradicted my definition of realism. I agree that realism would be a system that exists in a distinct state even if it is not observed. I did say in my video that realism is the idea that “physical reality exist independent of observers.” I don’t see how different these are, as I go on throughout the video to pretty much define realism as this. Minor point though.

Ending at 3:36 – Unfortunately, he starts out directly misunderstanding what I am saying in my video. He claims that I say observation brings the entire system into existence. But that is not what I said. Of course something exists prior to observation. We would argue that would be information. What I said (and he put on the screen) was, “The conclusion was drawn that the very act of observing caused the wave function to collapse and create the existence of matter either in the state of particles or as a wave.” I would like to ask him where I said observation creates the whole system, because I clearly said it only “creates the existence of matter either in the state of particles or as a wave.” If he can’t listen to what I actually said, and reword things, then he shouldn’t be trying to criticize my video. This is an odd mistake since he flashed my words on the screen and then attacked something I never said.

Raatz and I are pointing out that quantum states do not exist as particles or waves prior to measurement. The state of the system is information, and appearance of particles comes about from that system depending on what we choose to measure. Didn’t he notice the quotes that followed this section from Rosenblum and Kuttner?

“The waviness in a region is the probability of finding the object in a particular place. We must be careful: The waviness is not the probability of the object being in a particular place. There is a crucial difference here! The object was not there before you found it there.1

Here is another from Heisenberg, “. . . the atoms or elementary particles themselves are not real; they form a world of potentialities or possibilities rather than one of things or facts.2

Ending at 4:19 – Here we go… Marty accuses me of misunderstanding what the wavefunction is, and then takes it to be that of the neo-copenhagenist understanding. On the screen he flashes this, “A wave function tells us the probability of finding the system in a particular state.” This is similar to what Dirac advanced, that the wavefunction just represents our available knowledge of the system, not an ontological claim. Well this is useful in the Copenhagen interpretation for practical usage. But, if I misunderstood the Schrodinger equation as it pertains to the orthodox interpretation or quantum information theory, then perhaps Rosenblum and Kuttner did as well. Allow me to read what they say:

“Quantum probability, waviness, on the other hand, is mysteriously objective; it’s the same for everyone. The wavefunction is the whole story: The standard quantum description has no atom in addition to the wavefunction of the atom. As a leading quantum physics text would have it, the term “the wavefunction of the atom” is synonym for “the atom. If someone looked in a particular spot and happened to see the atom there, that looked “collapsed” the spread out waviness of that atom to be wholly at that particular spot.3

If you read the surrounding the context, they keep iterating the point “Observing the particle creates it being there,” “the atom’s widely spread out wavefunction to be concentrated at that spot on the screen.” All I do is borrow the same language they used for my video. People sometimes ask me why I fill my videos with quotes from experts. Well the answer is simple: if skeptics are going to say I am wrong on a point, then you are going to say the physicists and philosophers are wrong as well. All I do is stand on their shoulders. Also, we are not saying the wavefunction is that of a physical objection like wave in space-time, but information prior space-time.

Ending at 6:34 – It seems all he is doing is just saying the same thing as I am in different words. Raatz said this in his video as well. I find nothing wrong with this section and wonder where he think I disagree. He rightly points out that Bell’s inequality shows we can only have a theory that either violates locality or have hidden variables. What I said was “If this inequality was shown to be false then the local hidden variable theories would be debunked…” So the idea of having both locality and realism (local realism) would be false. No where do I disagree with him on this as I said, “local hidden variable theories.”

Ending at 7:10 – Here he attacks the idealist understanding of the violation of Bell’s inequality. He says it is wrong to say that only from the violation of Bell inequality we can infer that observation defines the properties particles have. Now I agree, as you can avoid it through loopholes, which were closed later. One could avoid that (as John Bell did) with violating relativity and using faster than speed of light signals. However, the violation of Leggett’s inequality in 2007 takes away that last bit of freedom.

Remember, I am going off the argument that the idealistic view is still the best understanding of this. So of course I will conclude observation is what is giving particles their properties instead of non-local hidden variables or other metaphysical interpretations, which I would argue are ad hoc and suffer problems from later experiments that I get to in the next section of my video.

Ending at 8:39 – Now he is challenging the claim that the observer needs to be conscious. But he never actually explains why this is wrong, he just says it is wrong and moves on. Well if that is his argument I guess there is not much to point other than he doesn’t have one. I was absolutely sure one was going to follow and I was ready to respond with failures of decoherence, employing von Neumann’s work, etc. But unfortunately he didn’t offer an argument, so there is nothing more that needs to be said and all I’ll note is this will be addressed in a later video called “The Measurement Problem.” Expect it this August. In actuality all interaction constitutes as measurement but that doesn’t change the implications of the von Neumann chain and the need for a mechanism to derive the Born Rule. Decoherence/interaction cannot do this. But again, this will be explained in my August video.

Ending at 10:16 – Marty makes the point that quantum effects disappear in macro objects, but I fail to see why this matters or where I disagree. The basic point I am trying to make here is that the macro-world is emergent from the quantum world. So the universe isn’t built by tiny particles that are fundamental and independent existing objects. The macro-world is an emergent phenomenon of an underlying reality. Of course the further in size you go up the smaller the probability spread gets and eventually converges to a classical limit. But this doesn’t mean the macro-world is a separate world with a different ontology, so if one tries to posit that they run into issues.

Second, on a bit of a side note, Anton Zeilinger has said that the effects of quantum mechanics may go quite far. In fact they may go further than we expect, but will have to wait and see. We have already demonstrated quantum effects with objects big enough to be seen by the naked eye:

http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100317/full/news.2010.130.html

http://www.wired.com/2009/09/quantum-entanglement/

Ending at 10:59 – Now, we get to the core of Marty’s position. He argues for the Many World Interpretation (MWI) of quantum mechanics, and argues that there is no interpretation of QM that makes fewer assumptions than MWI. Well, I can hardly agree, as I can point out that idealism posits much less, namely, only what we know to exist. Which is that consciousness exists (no one can deny that) and that there is a reality we experience and participate in. It is pretty simple, as it doesn’t need to posit extra substances from which the information comes from.

If we just look at the double slit experiment, what it seems to show us is that we decide how to measure the particle and therefore decide which properties they have, whether it is wave-like or particle-like. The 2011 confirmation of the Kochen-Specker theorem, and other recent experiments show us that what we perceive as reality now depends on our earlier decision of what to measure. So we cannot discount the input of the observer.

With that being said, all this idealist interpretation says is that this what reality is, namely information and consciousness (mind). Minds select one possibility to be actual from the only ‘information reality’ we know to exist. All you need to accept is that we exist and are conscious, and there is one reality, which are mathematical possibilities of what we could experience. Why posit these other possibilities are physically, real, existing worlds that we could never detect or know to exist, when it is simpler to say they exist as information, which is how we know them to be in the mathematics?

Why would it be more parsimonious to argue that the particle really has both sets of properties: one in our world and another in an undetectable world, and we are just measuring to find out which world we are in? The idealistic view is really just the philosophical implications of the pragmatic Copenhagen view. The Copenhagen interpretation was formulated as the most practical way to handle quantum mechanics. If the MWI is far simpler, then why didn’t the founders of quantum theory posit that to begin with? Instead they formulated the most practical way of handing it. All idealists like myself say, is that this practical solution is metaphysically true, and there is no need to posit anything else.

Also quick note, I never said the MWI posits one extra entity per world. I was referring to turning the countless abstract possibilities into a real thing. Minor point though.

With recent experiments like the confirmation of the Kochen-Specker, MWI advocates cannot deny the input of the observer is needed to play a role, so they have to assume some sort of superdeterminism, basically saying all our decisions in this ‘one world of many’ are somehow predetermined. Although it appears we are choosing the outcome, we are really not, and we are really just conforming to what is already set in this world.

However, that makes far more assumptions. Why not just agree that we are affecting reality as it appears in the experiments? Why add the assumption that this selection is an illusion? Why posit realism and then an ensemble of worlds we can never detect to save realism, instead of simply saying they are what we know them as, which is information? Why posit an interpretation that cannot be falsified? Where as, it is easy to falsify the idealistic view scientifically, simply with hidden variables, show that matter can act independently. It seems far more parsimonious.

Furthermore, idealism can go beyond collapse and explain other elements of reality, which Brian Whitworth explains and I addressed in my video, “Digital Physics Argument for God’s Existence.4” The MWI is only employed to explain collapse. It is incapable of explaining other areas of reality, unlike idealism. So if one employs it, then they still have to make extra assumptions to explain these other aspects of reality, which idealism has no problem explaining since it is akin to Whitworth’s virtual reality theory. I hardly see why Marty could say that the MWI can explain more with less.

The irony of all this is that he admits that none of this make sense when he says at 11:30, “Hey, it doesn’t have to make sense, just shut up and do the math.” If that is his mentality, then perhaps he really doesn’t have much faith in MWI, and I don’t blame him for that if it is true. I’d invite him to come over to idealism, where it can make sense. If he doesn’t want to take my word for it, then listen to an atheist:

Now quickly I want to address his assumptions he says we make:

  1. That wave functions are “real things”.

– Yes, and as I have described above it is not an actual wave in space-time but non-local information outside of space-time.

  1. That “real things” don’t exist, yet wave functions do.

-This is false, and I addressed in the beginning.

  1. That observation causes wave function collapse.
  2. …but only of the observer is conscious.

– Yes, and I gave plenty of evidence for why this must be so in my video and I am planning another one soon called “The Measurement Problem.”

  1. That consciousness is fundamental to reality.

– Yes, and basically, if idealism is true and matter is emergent I don’t see why this would be an extra assumption. It would be a consequence of monistic idealism.

Ending at 11:26 – He has made another odd mistake. I am not arguing the Copenhagen Interpretation, as that is just a pragmatic interpretation. I am arguing an idealistic view, based on von Neumann (orthodox) and Quantum Information Theory.

Ending at 11:45 – Well this is straw man. He makes the same remark about the wavefunction, which I addressed earlier, but then accuses me of arguing that no real objects exist. Where did I say there are no real objects? Clearly I would argue that minds exists and information exists. I didn’t say “no things” exist… I argue that matter doesn’t exist independent or fundamentally. It is an emergent illusion of underlying information. Even at that it still exists, just not how realist or materialists argue it does, but as an emergent illusion. So I never said real object do not exist.

Ending at 12:18 – Here we go, with the old contingency argument. Marty sadly decided to raise, what I honestly feel is the worst objection to theism: If God created reality who created God? This has been addressed so many times (even by atheist philosophers like Michael Ruse and Nicolas Everitt) that I can’t believe he would even try it. If he has never heard of the response to this, then allow me to sum it up for him.

God is defined as a necessary being, which basically means uncaused and eternal. Philosophers have pointed out for centuries that since contingent things exist, like us, our existence can only be explained by appealing to external causes. However, there has to be a first cause, an unmoved mover, which started this chain to begin with. Whatever this is, it would be necessary and not needing to be created. Now, I argued this more in-depth in my video, “The Leibnizian Cosmological Argument5“, but basically, when theists say that God is the first mover or creator, we are saying He is necessary and that would entail He doesn’t need a cause. He simply is. Just asking who created God is not a good argument and is in fact meaningless. Even Michael Ruse, in responding to Dawkins points out that this is a terrible objection:

Look at it this way, David Hume said the universe was necessary. If you would have gone to David Hume and tried to refute his theory that the universe was uncaused, by asking if the universe is the explanation for our existence then what created the universe, he would have simply replied he stated that universe is necessary and therefore didn’t need a creator. So this objection is meaningless. Sadly, I may need to do a video pointing this simple fact out because I keep hearing it…

12:35 – Marty tries to argue that the MWI is more parsimonious because we know one reality exists, so why couldn’t more exist? My question is: how does that follow that there are trillions and trillions more? We know one exists… how does that infer that there can be more? Just because something is, that doesn’t mean there ought to be more of them. I don’t see how that logically follows. This is like arguing with people who believe we have been visited by aliens, who have tried an argument on me, “life exists on this planet so there must be life on other planets.” Well that is fallacious to assume based on that reasoning. Perhaps there are good reasons to believe in aliens, but life on this planet doesn’t mean there is on others though. This argument he gives for the MWI commits his same error. I address the MWI more in-depth further above, but I just wanted to note here, the existence of our reality is in no way evidence of other worlds. It is only proof that our reality exists. To infer that there are others just from knowing ours exists is fallacious.

Next, all he does is presuppose physcialism, which would be question begging. I didn’t see any argument that matter produces mind, just the assumption. I argued throughout my video that it is mind from which the illusion of matter emerges based on the scientific evidence. To say that we cannot theorize a mind without a brain is question begging, in that it assumes physcialism from the start. I would argue we cannot experience matter without a mind. So Marty needs to argue that matter produces mind, not just assume it.

14:04 – I am not sure where he got this, but he accuses me of creating a false dichotomy. However, I didn’t create a false dichotomy. I didn’t say we pick one or the other: materialism or idealism. I said that science has buried materialism and inferred theism. That is not a false dichotomy. That is claiming that science has ruled out materialism and is favoring another view. So this is, once again, a mischaracterization. No where do I say we can pick only one of these two. My argument is that materialism is scientifically falsified and theism is the best inference. This obviously doesn’t rule out something like agnosticism.

He ends by saying that I resort to “magic’ to explain my interpretation. Well, he can claim “magic” all he wants like this is some sort of theistic witch hunt and all of us are the same, but I clearly don’t need to invoke ad hoc reasoning to respond. Furthermore, if I am going to also throw out cheap shots as well, then the MWI is just magic. How do these several worlds exist, never interact, and where did they come from? Magic? Or I could be nice and call it a misleading metaphysical interpretation. Calling it “magic” is not an argument, it is resorting to caricatures. If Marty wants to show that people don’t know what they are talking about, then he should rest primarily on arguments, not caricaturing.

Other than that I hope Marty continues to do videos because some of them I rather enjoy, even if I don’t fully agree with him.

 

 

 

Notes:

 

  1. Bruce Rosenblum & Fred Kuttner (2011) The Quantum Enigma 2nd Edition, Page 81
  2. Werner Heisenberg (1958) Physics and Philosophy, Page 160
  3. Bruce Rosenblum & Fred Kuttner (2011) The Quantum Enigma 2nd Edition, Page 83
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2Xsp4FRgas
  5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2ULF5WixMM

Quantum Physics Still Debunks Materialism – Refuting thePolyMath

Response to this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuEHe_BK-oI

When a video starts out with a bunch of name calling, you know the video doesn’t have good arguments. The reason is because one has to bolster his arguments by trying to throw out a bunch of insults in an attempt to give the illusion that one’s opponents are beneath him. Calling someone a ‘fringe quack’ is not an argument. There was a time when the big bang was thought to be quackery, as well as the need for doctors to wash their hands. You need arguments and evidence to show why a theory is wrong, but name-calling doesn’t work. This seems to be the new tactic of some angry new atheists: just call quantum mechanics ‘woo woo’ and move on. It’s really hysterical when we cite scientific studies, and they come back with-name calling. ThePolymath decided to do an hour-long response to my video, “Quantum Physics Debunks Materialism” and that was pretty much what he did. There was little to no evidence given for why the video was wrong, and he didn’t even address many of my points. Here, I’m going to respond to his points (if you can call them that), and show how he failed in many several ways to debunk the video, or to give evidence of hidden variables, giving realism a leg to stand on. Perhaps next time, he should spend more time doing research instead of wasting time figuring out fun ways to insult someone he disagrees with.

Ending at 8:55 – He starts by getting technical and saying that when it comes to observation, “As a matter of physics, it cannot be a human observer, as our eyes are not sensitive enough to see the low intensity light that is frequently dealt with in these types of experiments.” That I agree. I thought it would have been obvious that we are not actually seeing subatomic particles, which is why in my original video I only say an observer makes measurement or an observation, never that we are ‘seeing’ particles. This technicality is hardly a problem for idealism and I’ll explain more in a moment with the decoherence project and the von Neumann chain, as you still need an observer to begin with.

But first, ending at 9:17 – He seems to accuse me of endorsing the pseudoscience documentary “What the Bleep do we know” by Fred Allen Wolf. But do I ever refer to Fred Allen Wolf or cite him in my original video? No, because he does take things too far. I merely use graphics from a documentary to explain the double slit experiment. I never endorse his work, nor do I say that I agree with him. This shows desperation if you have to get upset over the graphic choices I used, and jump to the conclusion that this means I endorse the documentary. Ironically, ThePolymath also uses graphics from the same documentary later in his video, so I guess he must support Wolf… In fact by his own reasoning he does agree with Fred Allen Wolfe.

Ending at 15:27 – Now as expected Polymath tries the interaction/decoherence argument, that observers are not needed to cause collapse to one definite state. But this has been dealt with so many times now. When two photons interact they will cause collapse, but that is only because one is connected back to conscious observer, through what is known as a von Neumann chain.1 When one photon is measured by another they entangle, which is what Bohr pointed out mathematically years ago. If one particle measures another it inherits part of it wave function, so to speak, and that particle (which is supposed to be measuring) cannot be fully explained without what it is measuring. So you need another measuring device to collapse that (initial measuring) particle to a definite state and so on and so on. This creates a chain of material objects in a superposition of measuring. Since quantum laws are what truly describe all material things some other particle or measuring apparatus always need to collapse the next one so it can also measure. You keep going back until you get to something non-local, outside the system, which escapes this chain by not being described by physical quantum laws, which is a conscious observer. And the observer cannot be fully described by quantum theory. I like the way the physicists Stephen Barr explains this:

             The surprising claim, however, is that this cannot be done. The observer is not totally describable by physics… If we could describe by the mathematics of quantum theory everything that happened in a measurement from beginning to end-that is, even up to the point where a definite outcome was obtained by the observer- then the mathematics would have to tell us what that definite outcome was. But this cannot be, for the mathematics of quantum theory will generally yield only probabilities. The actual definite result of the observation cannot emerge from the quantum calculation. And that says that something about the process of observation- and something about the observer- eludes the physical description.2

On top of that advocates of the decoherence project (that interaction will cause collapse without the conscious observer) admit this cannot fully explain why there is a collapse to one definite state and derive the Born Rule. E. Joos says, “Does decoherence solve the measurement problem? Clearly not. What decoherence tells us, is that certain objects appear classical when they are observed. But what is an observation? At some stage, we still have to apply the usual probability rules of quantum theory.”3 G. Bacciagaluppi  says, “Claims that simultaneously the measurement problem is real [and] decoherence solves it are confused at best.4

‪See more in this paper: http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/0312059

Why would they say this? Well as, G. Grübl demonstrates in “The quantum measurement problem enhanced,” initial state environmental effects cannot explain the occurrence of definite experimental outcomes. The environment lacks the ability to choose between the possibilities in the wavefunction and choose one to be actual. Plus the environment is also described by the same quantum laws and has the same results. Thus is why Stephen Adler says “Decoherence, in the absence of a detailed theory showing that it leads to stochastic outcomes with the correct properties, has yet to achieve this status.”5 Even in “Preferred states, predictability, classicality and the environment-induced decoherence” Zurek refers to the observer being involved in the ultimate collapse.6

Interaction stems back from an observer’s ability to make “Heisenberg choice” (to use Henry Stapp’s terminology), which derives a “Dirac Choice” back from nature. That is how we can derive the Born Rule and get one actual outcome from the possibilities of the wavefunction. Only the observer has the ability to ‘choose’ (give a Heisenberg choice) between possibilities. Non-conscious measuring devices cannot. As Henry Stapp says:

 The observer in quantum theory does more than just read the recordings. He also chooses which question will be put to Nature: which aspect of nature his inquiry will probe. I call this important function of the observer ‘The Heisenberg Choice’, to contrast it with the ‘Dirac Choice’, which is the random choice on the part of Nature that Dirac emphasized.7

Niels Bohr said in reply to Einstein once said:

“To my mind, there is no other alternative than to admit that, in this field of experience, we are dealing with individual phenomena and that our possibilities of handling the measuring instruments allow us only to make a choice between the different complementary types of phenomena we want to study.”8 

Ending at 16:21- Here is tries to claim particles actually have properties prior to measurement. And of course, he provides no evidence for this hidden variable, or why we can choose what properties a particle has, as shown by the double slit experiment. How does the particle know what we are going to pick so it can conform to that?

He continues with this theme even though he provides no evidence, he just assume he is right. The problem is, in absence of observation, all we can speak of in regards to a photon is its wavefunction, which is a wave of possibilities rather than a real thing. As Niels Bohr said, “No elementary phenomenon is a phenomenon until it is a registered phenomenon.”9

As they point out in book, ‘The Quantum Enigma’, “Quantum probability is not the probability of where the atom is. It’s the objective probability of where you or anybody, will find it. The atom wasn’t someplace until it was observed to be there.”10

As Heisenberg said years ago: “. . . the atoms or elementary particles themselves are not real; they form a world of potentialities or possibilities rather than one of things or facts.”11 Unless there is evidence of some hidden variable, then how can someone even suggest that a particle has its properties prior to measurement? ThePolyMath doesn’t seem to care or provide any evidence for hidden variables.

But at 21:43 – He tries to quote Victor Stenger to say that particles have properties prior to measurement. However, Stenger never actually explains why this is so. He goes on for several minutes and concludes, “This whole thing is a total misunderstanding.” Okay… Why? Can skeptics not back up this claim, or it is easier to pretend it already has been?

You can call it what you like, but that doesn’t make it true. This would be as bad as if my argument was: “Idealism is true because Amit Goswami says so.” ThePolyMath fallaciously thinks he can just appeal to the opinion of Stenger and be done with it. It’s truly adorable.

Now, lets be clear before we move on. I am not attacking the use of referring to an expert here. That is fine. Quotes are a good way to provide support for your argument, but the key is using them to support an argument, not just saying “person X” disagrees with you, therefore you are wrong. It would have been fine if he gave an argument for hidden variables then quoted Stenger, or even vice-verse. But just relying on the beliefs of one physicist is not an argument.

Ending at 30:10 – He tries to say Haisch doesn’t support an idealist picture of reality, which is laughable! I don’t think he has read much of him. I’d recommend his book “The God Theory” even though I don’t entirely agree with his theology. But to say that astrophysicist Bernard Haisch doesn’t support the idea that mind is fundamental shows very poor research.

He also continues to claim that particles really have properties prior to measurement, but doesn’t really say how or why. In 1982, the violation of Bell’s inequality demonstrated that particles can obtain their properties instantly over a great distance, when the other entangled particle is measured by an observer. So what causes this if not the observer? Why does it just appear we can decide what properties a particle has, and cause non-local effects instantly? Why does observation just appear to collapse the wavefunction to a definite state every time, and even so non-locally?

John Bell theorized that maybe the particles can signal faster than the speed of light. This is what he advocated in his interview in “The Ghost in the Atom.” But the violation of Leggett’s inequality in 2007 takes away that possibility and rules out all non-local hidden variables.12 Observation instantly defines what properties a particle has and if you assume they had properties before we measured them, then you need evidence, because right now there is none which is why realism is dead, and materialism dies with it.

Ending at 30:16 – ThePolymath tries an ad hominem against Haisch here, which shows his desperation. Because Haisch believes some crazy stuff (in his view), he must be wrong about the violation of Leggett’s inequality. So how does that follow? To refute an argument you need evidence, not character assassination. ThePolymath fails to give any. Instead, he just moves on thinking he did his job.

Imagine if I said Dawkins is wrong on his philosophy because he is just a biologist and an atheist… That is pretty much what ThePolyMath does here. In my original video I merely use a video clip of Haisch talking about the 2007 violation of Leggett’s inequality, who is citing “The New Scientist magazine.” Nowhere did I say that I fully agree with Him; just that Leggett’s inequality was violated, and any testable hidden variable has been ruled out.

Ending at 32:37 – Things start to get interesting now. ThePolyMath becomes vague and obscure in his choice of words. He admits something interesting, which is that the knowledge of the properties a particle has, is inaccessible to us. Right! And so we must then ask why it appears that my choice of how to measure gives it a definite position. Are they really there when we don’t measure? If so, why can’t we find hidden variables showing that matter is not dependent on how we choose to measure?

Ending at 34:11 – He continues to remain vague and says something that I could not agree more with at this point. He directly says, “the system itself is information.” Why would this challenge idealism? I doubt he would agree with this claim metaphysically, but he never clarifies. We idealists would completely agree because all reality is information. I also love some of the other things he says before this, like “…in this sense the experimenter is preparing the wavefunction with an initial condition. It can be said that the “which path’ information of any quantum mechanical experiment reduces the state vector, simply because the preparation of the system at any point in time of observation is such that an amount of information which would tell you one of the many eigenstates or paths of the superposition is known to be the definite state or path.” So basically the observer prepares the wavefunction to yield one definite state, which is something I completely agree with. The observer chooses one possibility from the wave function to be actual. How is this challenging what I already said in my original video?

Also love how he says “in principle” we could of measured something different and obtained some other result, and I agree. This is actually the same thing taught in “The Quantum Enigma.” In principle we could of chosen a different possibility to be actual. How does any of this show particles have defined properties before we choose to measure them?

Ending at 36:02 – I almost laughed out loud at this point. Things really start to go down hill now (if they weren’t there already). In my original video I quote Anton Zeilinger talking about the implications of the Kochen-Specker theorem. That our notion of reality depends on our earlier decision of what to measure, which destroys the idea that matter acts independent of us. ThePolyMath says he agrees. Well, if he accepts that our notion of reality now depends on our earlier decision of what to measure, then he agrees that there are no hidden variable acting independent of us, which refutes his opinion (I can’t call it an argument because there was no evidence for it) he gave throughout the first half of a video: that measurement doesn’t give a particle it’s properties. So was he too lazy to go back and fix the first half? Whatever it is, we can’t avoid the implications of the Kochen-Specker theorem.

But he seems to think he can by arguing this doesn’t apply to the macro-world. Now if he’d actually cared to research this topic before thinking he can make a response video, he would’ve of watched the full interview with Zeilinger that I cited. He would have seen that Zeilinger was asked this very question next, no less than a few seconds later. So here ThePolyMath is caught once again doing very poor research. Zeilinger’s reply to question (whether or not the effects of the observer are limited to just quantum objects and not macro-objects) was, “As people say, this is comforting possibility, but there is no reason to believe that, nothing in this theory tells us that. There is no limit for the validity of Quantum mechanics and we and other groups are actually exploring how far can we go and I’m sure we will go to sizes that our quite surprising.” If ThePolyMath actually cared about research instead of just finding any way he thought might work to refute the overwhelming evidence for idealism, he wouldn’t have put his foot in his mouth by trying to argue they very thing that Zeilinger says is not possible in the next question of the interview.13

The Kochen-Specker theorem applies to all matter including the macro-world. Our notion of reality depends on our earlier decision of what to measure, and you cannot escape by positing a separation of the macro world, as Zeilinger points out. And if he agrees with this section, then what was he talking about in the first half of his video that properties of particles exist prior to measurement? As Zeilinger said in the interview (which appeared in my video and his response video), “…we know it is wrong to assume that the features of a system, which we observe in a measurement exist prior to measurement.” Case closed on hidden variables.

Ending at 39:03 – I am not sure if he remembers the video he is responding to. I directly cited several violations of the Leggett-Garg inequality. When he states the Leggett-Garg inequality has not been violated, he is just wrong. But he does say experiments, which show violations of the Leggett-Garg inequality, are criticized. OK… Why? What evidence can he give? Or is he just going to assume that is good enough? The recent violations are even harder to dismiss. Such as:

http://www.nature.com/news/2011/050411/full/news.2011.210.html

http://www.nature.com/news/2010/100317/full/news.2010.130.html

Why are these not violations and where is the line between the quantum and macro-world? Furthermore, there is no way around the fact that the macro-world is made of quantum objects. So the fundamental nature of reality stays quantum (indeterministic and dependent on observer’s input) and the macro-world is just an emergent illusion of this quantum world. That fits just fine into my worldview.

This idea of a dividing line as recently been challenged by Johannes Kofler and Caslav Brukner in a presentation titled “Macrorealism Emerging from Quantum Physics,” which I cited in my original video. As they say, it is conceptually different from the decoherence program but not dynamically. What they say is macrorealism emerges from quantum mechanics under coarse grain-measurements, not independent through a limit for large quantum numbers. Observation still affects macro-objects; we just don’t notice it because the effects are so small.

They argue, and I agree, it has more explanatory power as it can fully explain isolated systems and how macro-realism emerges. Where as the decoherence program has a hard time explaining the dividing line and how to explain why we observe one definite outcome. Coarse-grained measurements for macro-realism has more explanatory power so far, and fits with the frequent violations of the Leggett-Garg inequality.14

So continuing this, ending at 41:00 – I can stop laughing at this point? When Zeilinger was asked what the limit was on showing quantum effects on macro objects. He replied “Only Budget.”15 As I write, physicists are already planning experiments on mid-sized proteins and viruses and no one doubts that the results will be different than before. As I already said in my original video, quantum effects have already been demonstrated with macro-objects. There is no dividing line here. Macro-objects are quantum objects and this has been shown. Case Closed.

Ending at 46:17 – This shows his anger, bias, and ignorance. Nowhere did I see an argument here; just immature bully tactics. Obviously he has some personal anger issues he needs to work out. These arguments from quantum mechanics are really bothering him, and it appears more personal than ‘respectful disagreement’.

Schrodinger’s thought experiment about the cat was meant to show quantum mechanics was absurd and needed to be fixed, but as I already demonstrated in my videos with the experimental results, and as Michio Kaku pointed out: the answer is that this thought experimental is actually true in a sense. Matter, even macro-objections, are quantum objects and observation gives a definite outcome to one state. He has done nothing to show this is false.

Naming-calling is the tactic of children when they are outsmarted, and that is all he does here. So instead of refuting my original video he only reconfirms that he cannot and can only insult.

Second, this shows his bias. ThePolyMath’s thought process seems to be: scientific evidence is okay as long as it doesn’t support the existence of a God. This is not thinking objectively; this is presuppositional atheist apologetics, meaning all the evidence must favor his worldview, or something is wrong with it. If I am actually wrong, then he can show that with evidence, not presuppositional beliefs that science cannot provide evidence for theism no matter what.

Just before the end he throws up a slide saying that the words “mind” or “consciousness” do not appear in any of Zeilinger’s papers. Well, neither does idealism, but so what? ThePolyMath continues with his list of fallacies by now adding an argument from silence. Not using certain words doesn’t mean the evidence doesn’t favor the idealistic explanation. And I doubt he has ever read anything of Zeilinger papers, because Zeilinger use phrases like, “If the observer measures,” “No naive realistic picture is compatible with our results,” “one can actively choose whether or not to erase which-path information,” “achieved by independent active choices,” “Victor is free to choose” “we can actively delay the choice of measurement.” These are only a few phrases from two papers.16,17

To be fair Zeilinger, keeps his personal beliefs private, which I would prefer. He is a scientist, not a philosopher, and I believe he would prefer to present the findings of his results, and leave his personal view out of it. Nowhere do I say “Idealism is true because Zeilinger said so.” I merely cite his experimental results as evidence that idealism is true.

To conclude this response, I have one final thing. At the end, he tries to compare me to Deepak Chopra, which is an ad hominem. Although we would agree on many things, that doesn’t mean we agree on everything. Is ThePolymath actually thinking that these comparisons should be taken seriously? This is like if I said, “Stalin believes the earth is round, God doesn’t exist, and evolution is true. ThePolyMath believes the earth is round, God doesn’t exist, and evolution is true, therefore ThePolyMath is Stalin.” This a cheap shot, but we wouldn’t expect anything better from someone like ThePolyMath, who can’t give a coherent argument, and just resorts to insults as the basis of his argument. This is something you would get from someone in the first grade, not someone claiming to be intellectually honest. He should be ashamed and apologize for this. Of course he won’t, because of the pride and rage in him is obviously overpowering his intellectually honesty and reason, but I hope I will be wrong about this point. We’ll have to wait and see. To be honest, if he apologizes by taking down his video and re-uploading it without all the childish insults, I am willing to redo this blog post and make it sound more respectful, because I long for respectful, intellectual conversation. This mud-slinging is a disgrace.

He ends by saying (in comparing me to Chopra) “Would you really trust some who spews as much bullshit as he does?” Well, the different between ThePolyMath and myself is that I use evidence, scientific experiments, and quotes from the experts. He uses insults, opinions, and no evidence. So why would we trust someone like this guy, who can’t even give evidence for his worldview, and then throws a tantrum when the evidence is presented and contradicts his worldview? He can call it all BS, but that is not an argument. I’ll choose to follow the evidence. He can stay with his pseudoscience and continue to respond with anger.

 

 

Notes:

1. John von Neumann (1955) The Mathematical Foundations of Quantum Mechanics. Princeton: Princeton University Press

2. Stephen Barr (2003) Modern Physics and Ancient Faith. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame, Page 231.

3. E. Joos (2000). Decoherence: Theoretical, Experimental, and Conceptual Problems, Page 14.

4. G. Bacciagaluppi (23 April 2003) Lecture at workshop, Quantum Mechanics on a Large Scale, Vancouver. http://www.physics.ubc.ca/∼berciu/PHILIP/CONFERENCES/ PWI03/FILES/baccia.ps.

5. Stephen Adler (2002) Why Decoherence has not Solved the Measurement Problem: A Response to P.W. Anderson. http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/0112095

6. Wojciech H. Zurek (1994) Preferred states, predictability, classicality and the environment-induced decoherence, Page 30 http://arxiv.org/abs/gr-qc/9402011

7. H. P. Stapp (1999) “Attention, intention, and will in quantum physics,” J. Consciousness Studies Page 21 http://arxiv.org/pdf/quant-ph/9905054v1.pdf

8. Niels Bohr (1951) “Discussions with Einstein on Epistemological Problems in Atomic Physics”

9. N. Bohr (1984) in Quantum Theory and Measurement, J. A. Wheeler and W. H. Zurek, Eds. Princeton University Press, Page 9-49.

10. Bruce Rosenblum & Fred Kuttner (2011) The Quantum Enigma 2nd Edition, Page 129

11. Werner Heisenberg  (1958) Physics and Philosophy, Page 160

12. Simon Groeblacher, Tomasz Paterek, Rainer Kaltenbaek, Caslav Brukner, Marek Żukowski, Markus Aspelmeyer, Anton Zeilinger (2007) “An experimental test of non-local realism” http://arxiv.org/pdf/0704.2529.pdf

13. See full interview here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiNJRh2fxY8

14. See the presentation here: http://www.powershow.com/view/11ad57-NjM4M/Macroscopic_Realism_Emerging_from_Quantum_Physics_powerpoint_ppt_presentation

15. Bruce Rosenblum & Fred Kuttner (2011) The Quantum Enigma 2nd Edition, Page 156.

16. (2013) “Quantum erasure with causally disconnected choice” http://arxiv.org/pdf/1206.6578v2.pdf

17. (2012) “Experimental delayed-choice entanglement swapping” http://arxiv.org/pdf/1203.4834.pdf