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← Untrue Reason -- re Naturalism

This Is Not A Meme's Avatar Jump to comment 17 by This Is Not A Meme

I admire your charity and taking the tougher, worthwhile battles.

'Anyone who claims to understand quantum physics is a liar.' Searle makes this Feynman reference in a lecture where he submitted the humblest assumption that many people hold, that randomness exists (free will = agent without antecedent). I ran this lecture through a physics forum and they were pointing and laughing. It seemed a demonstration of philosophers not understanding the language of science. The models of physics incorporate randomness, but this is not a statement about the Universe. Randomness is an absence of Information (in the physics sense), and even that is purely epistemic and not ontological. To assert or deny randomness is a departure from science, into the realm of metaphysics. I recommend asking a few physicists to make sure they understand you.

Spinoza denies randomness, so I've always considered Naturalism a causal worldview. I'm not convinced the argument can't be made.

To risk hubris.... In physics there is the Conservation of Information. The particles in a puff of smoke indicate their previous position, and thus can be traced back to their origin. This seems to deny randomness. The true loss of information is debated, as physics doesn't subscribe to metaphysics. Hawking lost a bet a few years ago over whether information was lost in black holes.

I say go for it. No Randomness, No Masters! The Universe is knowable!

I'd also like to know how you can concede randomness and affirmatively deny that god is possible. Actually, if there is an acceptance of randomness in the Dawkins liturgy, I may have to break off and form my own sect, the A+theists, aka the A-Team. I look forward to years of bloody warfare over this intractable sectarian divide.

Wed, 21 Mar 2012 11:41:03 UTC | #929244