How much energy does it take to respond to a concept of god that directly relates to energy having mental states? More than I originally thought would be needed, north of 7,500 words and getting into some esoteric weeds of an “interesting” conceptualization of god. I posted my first blog entry, a reply to Rational Pantheism’ “Proof of god” in late August of 2022. Rational Pantheism replied to me in turn, in August. However, they strangely did so in silence as I was not aware of the reply until I went looking around their blogspace/Website. It was an interesting reply, but if not for the fact of their blatant dishonesty would not have merited another response, yet here we are.
This is going to be done in the same form as my first post, where I quote what they said, and then reply to the quote. Once again, the link to their post will be at the bottom, then they will be tagged on Twitter when this is published. There is much to read, and to say. Let’s do this!
Quoted text: “Someone calling themselves Shadow of the Dead God has issued a critique of our proof for the existence of God. As per usual his “critique” is nothing but pompous pseudo-scientific drivel riddled with logical fallacies.
Yikes! Well, first and foremost…I do not call myself Shadow of the Dead God, that is the name of my blog, and the title of the book I wrote. I am simply Anthony; my name and email are on my blog and my book. On Twitter, I go by QuintessentialAnthony. At no time was that title a moniker that I went by. Not starting off so hot there, RP. I would love to address you all with proper names and honorifics, but all of you remain anonymous. As for my critique being nothing but pompous pseudo-scientific drivel littered with logical fallacies…well, I disagree obviously. However, we shale see what they have to say, and if they are correct in their counter reply, I will be the first to admit it. Somehow, I am skeptical that they would act accordingly. Also, my original reply is still up, so you may read all the information available and decide for yourself what you think.
Quoted Text: “His first false claim is that we’re redefined God to be the universe. This is the second atheist criticism we deal with right in the proof in the section “Atheist Criticisms”. That he missed it or could not understand it does not bode well for his comprehension abilities.”
That entire paragraph is simple well-poisoning. I saw their address of it, it just was unimportant. To quote their proof it is ““Simply calling the universe god is no different that calling a rock God!” We’re not simply equating god with an inanimate object. We are actually saying that the Universe, the sum total of all things, is a being with some form of mental life.” I did not equate calling the universe god, to calling a rock god, thus their objection on that is moot to what I was saying. I recognize that they consider god to be one in the same with the universe. That is beyond doubt. However, they are already completely mischaracterizing what I said. The original line about this in my reply is as follows: “They redefine the classical philosophical concept of god, into the universe. That is the basics of Pantheism, however it conflates two terms that are rarely used in the same way, and sense that RP is using them here. God and the universe are never used interchangeably outside of pantheistic discussions.” They are so stuck in this weird attack mode that they miss the forest for the tress, and (intentionally or not) ignore the semantical nuance. Classical theism holds that god is a personal being, predicated on perfect being theology, and necessarily non contingency. The key here, is that this god is a personal agent that has/is aseity to ultimate reality. This notion of god is omni-omni (possessing all omni attributes), and thus is antithetical to Rational Pantheism’s conceptualization which is summed up in the first paragraph of their proof “The Universe itself is one massive system of interacting energy and therefore must also have some kind of mental life, however primitive. Thus the God of pantheism is an established fact.” My point then, and now was not the elementary comparison that they rail against but pointing out that pantheists define god differently than the vast majority of everyone else. This does not even begin to touch on the fact that their conceptualization of the universe is vastly different than most. However, I could see why people compare their conception of god to an inanimate object as most people’s conception of the universe is also vastly different that Rational Pantheism’s, and is an inanimate object to most people. These folks fail to realize that almost no one shares their ideas, and as such when using the words “god” and “universe” they are predicating it to their understanding, and this does often conflict with other people’s understanding of those terms.
Quoted Text: “We are not redefining anything. We are simply saying that the Universe is a being, the supreme being, God. Pantheism was the first conception of a supreme being. If anyone has redefined the concept of God it is every non pantheist”
Woah, that is one bold claim, that has no form of justification at all. Not in that paragraph, or the previous, or the following. Yet they later accuse me of unsupported assertions, HA. Let’s dissect that a bit. The first notions in recorded human history that mention something that could be identified as pantheism was starting to emerge in the early days of western philosophy in Greece, right about the time that Aristotle’s prime mover was gaining traction. However, long before that, the Greeks had their pantheon of gods and titans, before them the Egyptians were tinkering around with their pantheon, as were the Mesopotamians. Before that we simply do not know enough about pre-history beliefs to be able to make such a claim. However, the Hindu pantheon and Sumerian pantheon can be traced back as far as 3200 BCE with depictions of the goddess Inanna. However, I would like to be generous here, and say you could stretch nature gods and the worship of nature (practiced by some primitive tribes, including tribes of Native Americans) itself to be a form of pantheism. However, studies seem to show that primitive forms of Animism predate most other concepts of divinity (Hervey C. Peoples, 2016). Pantheism was formally introduced as a concept in philosophy by Joseph Raphson in 1697, with the word being coined by John Toland in 1705 and later popularized by Baurch Spinoza, in his book Ethics. Concerning the way pantheism is used in philosophy, this is what the SEP has to say about it “given the complex and contested nature of the concepts involved, there is insufficient consensus among philosophers to permit the construction of any more detailed definition not open to serious objection from some quarter or other.”
More importantly, is the issue with redefining words. Language is a tool used to communicate, and the usage of words change over time. It is fine to use a new definition for a giving word, as long as you make it clear in how you are using it, and the conversational partners agree to use it as such. All I was doing there was pointing out their definition of god is vastly different that almost everyone else’s. This is going to be important in a moment.
Quoted text: “The second false claim is that we’re “conflating” the terms God and Universe. We are not. We are equating them, saying that they are one and the same thing, not confusing two different things. There is no conflation whatsoever. He does not seem to understand what the concept of conflation refers to.”
Oh, silly me not knowing what conflation means…It’s a noun, that is defined in philosophy as “the merging of two or more sets of information, texts, ideas, etc. into one”. That is quite literally what RP is doing when they combine monotheistic god concepts that has distinct meaning to most people, and the concept of the universe, which has a different distinct meaning to most people. They are taking a philosophical concept (God) and combining it with a sperate scientific idea (the universe) this is by definition conflating. They seemed confused, as I never said they confused two different concepts, simply that they conflated them. I apologize, but who was it that does not seem to understand this concept? If this is the best they have, I understand why they made no effort into letting me know they replied. To summarize, Rational Pantheism indeed does conflate the concept of God, and the concept of the universe.
They say they do not conflate the concepts (even though they demonstrably do), they equate them, as they view them as one in the same. I do not think they understand how intellectual discourse works. In order to equate the two concepts, and use them interchangeably, all parties involved need a tentative agreement on a specific usage, and that they are interchangeable. I have made no such agreement and reject that they are one in the same. This entails that for the purposes of this exchange that they cannot be used interchangeably, because they are conflating two distinct concepts. I know many concepts of god, and a few concepts of the universe. These concepts are distinct, and I reject that they can be equated. Thus, to still do so is simply conflation. I can reject the equating of these concepts, because of the concept of the universe I hold to. I hold to the simplistic definition of the universe, it is all of our local presentation of space-time, and the matter/energy contained therein. That definition is distinct from a Sagan like cosmos, as I do not outright assert that our presentation of the universe is all there is, was, or will be. I am not opposed to possible multiverses and such. If there is many-worlds ensemble, that would not match my concept of the universe, and I would need a new descriptor of that, in order to not conflate different concepts. They can feel free to correct if wrong (though they explicitly state as much later) that when RP speaks of the universe, they are speaking more to Sagan’s cosmos than to the simplistic scientific concept of the universe. Lastly, RP uses a definition of god that most people do not recognize as a god concept, as must people’s concept of god is rather close to that of the god of classical theism, a personal, loving, omni-omni creator god.
Quoted Text: “The third false claim made is that we err by assuming that there is not some physical stuff other than energy. He claims that to assert that one “would need to have a complete theory of quantum gravity, that unifies general and special relativity with quantum mechanics to assert that”. He provides no justification for this odd view presumably because there is none”
Sigh. I thought this one would be uncontroversial. One would have to account for all known, and unknow fundamental, & virtual particles, be able to describe what both dark matter, and dark energy are, and many other points of quantum weirdness to be able to assert that the universe is simply nothing but energy. Granted, matter is a form of energy, but seems to be distinct from what they mean when they speak of energy. Indeed, you would need to have a theory of everything, to be able to assert that energy is all the universe is comprised of. The reason for this, is because the nature of the universe itself (what it is, the ontology of it) is a broad interdisciplinary scientific undertaking that does not seem like it can “solved” withing our lifetimes. Further, the ontology of the universe is a live ongoing philosophical pursuit as well. To be able to definitively and universally state that the universe contains no stuff other than energy, one must be able to present that unified theory of everything and put to rest all cosmological and quantal problems the scientists in those fields have been and still are working on. You cannot just make these bold scientific assertions and expect people not to challenge it. Moreover, the onus is not on me to prove you erred, but rather on you to support your claim. Which RP never does, presumably because there is no way for them to support that bold of a claim. That was the point of the quote from Dr. Kraus (which they mention next) in that the effects of negative energy and positive energy cancel each other out, making the total net energy of the universe zero. If the total net energy of the universe is zero, it seems unlikely to be the case that there is not some other physical stuff besides energy. I do not mean abstracts like mathematics, or metaphysical musings, there is a form of matter in which we know next to nothing about in dark matter. Moreover, the property of gravity is a tangible thing, and cannot solely be energy because it is dependent on mass, the physical realness of energy.
Quoted text: “Next he falsely claims that “Laurence Krauss demonstrated that the total net energy of the universe equals zero.” Kraus did no such thing. His cancellation hypothesis is just that, a hypothesis. A hypothesis with inconclusive experimental proof to support it. At any rate, these cancellation theories are not claiming that there is no energy, only that the effects of positive energy cancel out the effects of negative energy.”
I never said that quote meant there was no energy in the universe, that would be asinine. You may go read the original post to see that I said no such thing, but here is the quote in full “The hidden assumption mentioned above, is the idea that the universe is composed of ONLY energy. One would need to have a complete theory of quantum gravity, that unifies general and special relativity with quantum mechanics to assert that! At best it is a bald assertion without justification. At worst it is a disingenuous pretense to knowledge that they almost certainly do not have. Let us also not forget that Laurence Krauss demonstrated that the total net energy of the universe equals zero, this entails that they have a lot of work to do to be able to instantiate their assertion. There assertion is simply unsubstantiated in context of our current understanding of quantum mechanics.” RP is simply either being disingenuous or lying. I honestly cannot tell which it is. Further than that, to assert that the universe is ONLY energy is seemingly to assume that physical objects are illusory, as only the energy would be real in the colloquial sense. I however do not think that is what they mean, which is why it was not brought up originally as an objection to their point.
As far as that being a false claim, it isn’t. I believe that Dr. Krauss demonstrated that, as it is a rather important concept to both of his books “A Universe from nothing” and “Known Unknowns”. I am going to tentatively side with Dr. Krauss as he is indeed an expert in the field of theoretical physics. I await the paper from RP that repudiates the work done concerning this topic by Dr. Krauss.
Thus, I stand by my point about their ontological assertion of the universe being only energy. “it is a disingenuous pretense to knowledge that they almost certainly do not have.”
Quoted Text: “Next is a false claim that our proof commits an equivocation fallacy. He claims that we are equivocating “electrical and neurological synapsis that create (sic) brain activity” with “gravitational pull of black-holes”. We don’t do that at all. We’re simply saying that both such interactions ultimately involve field interactions. So he has misrepresented our argument and attacked that misrepresentation, i.e. he committed a straw man fallacy.”
Rational Pantheism’s dishonesty is on full display here. From their own argument: “It would involve special pleading to claim that mentality works dramatically differently from physicality.”
This was not a strawman, or a misrepresentation, this is what these folks say, it is part of their argument. Mentality, and physicality are essentially the same, by their own lights. They assert that it is special pleading say suggest that the way energy interacts to generate the near infinite gravitational pull of a black hole, is vastly different than neurological synapsis, their words, not mine. Sure, I could have been clearer in my response, but I was under the impression these folks had the cognitive ability to see what was being said here. So, let’s make this clear. According to Rational Pantheism, since it is special pleading to say that mentality works different than physicality, and that complex mentality arises from complex energy interactions. This locks them into the epistemological commitment to idea that all complex energy systems have complex mental states. It logically follows that these complex mental states would create complex mentality (because humans have complex mentality), and complex mentality necessitates consciousness, (because humans have consciousness derived from complex mentality, derived from complex mental states, derived from complex energy interactions). This logically entails that everything that has complex energy interactions has consciousness. This commits them to an untenable ontological position, that everything that is energy complex has mental states, which gets back to the point at hand. Under Rational Pantheism’s own views, following their logic will eventually lead to the inescapable conclusion that brain activity that creates “the mind” is the same as energy interactions in gravitational fields. It is special pleading using their world view to conclude that only things with brains can have minds, since “We’re simply saying that both such interactions ultimately involve field interactions.” This is because of the next quote.
Quoted text: “When energy coalesces into a packet it’s not going to magically acquire the ability to have mental states. All energy has to therefore have a primitive mental state. By interacting with other energy a more complex mental state results.” “It’s important to understand that interacting energy wouldn’t cause a mental state to magically arise out of nowhere. Energy itself must have the simplest possible default mental state. Energy interactions would then shape this state. Interactions in a complex system would give rise to complex mental states.”
Rational Pantheism states that because energy itself has a mental state, that the more complex the interaction between mental states, the more complex the mental state gets. This is repeated several times in their “proof” and is premise number eight in their syllogism “The more and sophisticated the interactions, the more complex the states” The human consciousness would be a complex mental state. Black holes would also have complex mental states, because black holes are vastly complex interactions of energy, as energy is constantly being “eating” by it, adding even more complexity. This results in black holes being one of the most complex energy interaction systems known to mankind. Thus, by their own reasoning black holes should be sentient and conscious, as they should have an unfathomably high complex mental state. To Assert energy has a mental state, would be to assert that energy has a mind by proxy and yes, this does get justified here in a bit.
Quoted text: “Next he claims that our “assertion that the universe is just one massive system of interacting energy, is patently wrong, and lacking of understanding.” He does not justify this claim and instead rambles on about how the universe does not work and nothing interacts with the universe which is something we’ve not said. He appears to be making the bizarre conflation that we’re claiming that the fact that the Universe is a system of interacting energy somehow means that we’re interacting with the Universe as a whole. It doesn’t though. This is just some nonsense he made up because he seems to have a pathological need to misinterpret what we write.”
Hmm, if I misrepresent that RP says, I truly apologize. However, this is not the full story here. “The Universe itself is one massive system of interacting energy and therefore must also have some kind of mental life, however primitive” being part of the system means that the system interacts with the universe itself. If they mean that the universe contains one massive system of interacting energy, then I concede. However, that is not what was stated. Let’s use an analogy for this. A building could have a massive computer system stored in it. That system would be one massive system of interacting energy, the building itself simply houses that system. That system could contain the computing power for the most complex system of AI every created, but the building has nothing to do with that other than being the shell in which that system is contained. If you do not want people to make the sort of mistake that you accuse me of, then be clearer in your statements. Either the building is part of the system, or simply contains the system. If part of the system, see original point. If simply containing that system, why call it god? Also, it is not I that has misrepresented what RP wrote, it is them that failed to reasonably represent their own views.
Quoted Text: “Next he make the false claim that heat death of the Universe is inevitable. It is not. Few physicists actually believe that and for those that do, their justification is merely theoretical, not an established fact. He then makes the false claim that the Universe had a beginning. The known universe possibly did but the Universe itself for all we know has always existed. A big problem here is his repeated faulty equivocation of theories with fact. This betrays a severe lack of understanding in basic science.
Uh-oh, it seems that no one over at Rational Pantheism has heard of thermodynamics especially the second law of thermodynamics, the law of entropy. To quote the Encyclopedia Britannica “The example of a heat engine illustrates one of the many ways in which the second law of thermodynamics can be applied. One way to generalize the example is to consider the heat engine and its heat reservoir as parts of an isolated (or closed) system—i.e., one that does not exchange heat or work with its surroundings. For example, the heat engine and reservoir could be encased in a rigid container with insulating walls. In this case the second law of thermodynamics (in the simplified form presented here) says that no matter what process takes place inside the container, its entropy must increase or remain the same in the limit of a reversible process. Similarly, if the universe is an isolated system, then its entropy too must increase with time. Indeed, the implication is that the universe must ultimately suffer a “heat death” as its entropy progressively increases toward a maximum value and all parts come into thermal equilibrium at a uniform temperature. After that point, no further changes involving the conversion of heat into useful work would be possible. In general, the equilibrium state for an isolated system is precisely that state of maximum entropy. (This is equivalent to an alternate definition for the term entropy as a measure of the disorder of a system, such that a completely random dispersion of elements corresponds to maximum entropy, or minimum information.”
The say that I show a severe lack of understanding in basic science, yet do not understand what a scientific theory is. A theory in science is the highest grade something can get; I think they mean that I conflate a hypothesis with a theory. The Heat-death of the universe is not a scientific theory, it is indeed just a hypothesis, but one that arises because of the second law of thermodynamics. The heat-death of the universe as a result of entropy and the laws of thermodynamics is an inevitable fact if the universe does indeed behave as a closed system, and it would necessarily if the universe is akin to the cosmos. If the universe does not either generate new energy (which would violate thermodynamics) or get energy input from elsewhere, the heat death of the universe is inevitable. This isn’t an equivocation of “theories with facts” this is an inference based on natural laws.
I do not hold to a cosmos conception of the universe, which would allow for our presentation of the universe to have an input of energy from outside of itself. However, if under Rational Pantheism’s view, the universe is everything (and is also God) then it would ultimately be a closed system. If it is a closed system, the laws of thermodynamics, specifically the law of entropy, means that the “heat-death” of the universe is indeed inevitable.
Quoted text: “Here’s where it gets pretty absurd. He agreed with the following statement: “It’s important to understand that interacting energy wouldn’t cause a mental state to magically arise out of nowhere”. But he had a big problem with the following conclusion: “Energy itself must have the simplest possible default mental state”. If everything is interacting energy and the interactions do not cause mental state to arise from nowhere, the only alternative is that energy has a simple mental state that gets shaped by interaction. He proclaims that this is absurd without any justification. *** “With the following statement: “It would be wrong to assume that only energy packet interaction results in mental states. Any sort of energy interaction should also produce mental states” he conflates mental states with minds and then rejects the statement with an appeal to incredulity fallacy. Because he can’t imagine that energy interactions result in changed mental states, the notion is simply proclaimed to be nonsense.”
Yes, I do have a problem with that statement. That is an assertion that demands justification. You do no get to say that energy has mental states, without supporting that. Just saying that it does because we agree mental cannot Magically arise, is not supportive of that. That is something that is going to take a lot of leg work to justify. This would be revolutionary enough to earn everyone at rational pantheism a fucking Nobel prize if they could demonstrate that. To wit, I repeat myself from my original reply to them “Yeah, that is just straight up absurd. Moreover, it is an assertion that has zero support or justification. Why must it? because you say so? mental states cannot magically arise, but they can magically just be present in energy”...In neither their “proof” or their reply to me do they give justification, they just repeat it. They assert that mental states cannot magically arise but can just magically be present in energy itself. They boldly claim that there is no magic in their worldview yet claim that energy must have mental states. They claim this due to broken logic since mental states can’t arise magically, energy (all energy) must have mental states. It just does not logically follow, and they would have a lot of work to do to justify that conclusion.
Let’s break this down. I do agree, mental states cannot magically arise. However, it is a leap to say because mental states cannot magically arise, means that energy has mental states. The key to this, and why I agree that mental states cannot magically arise, is the semantics of it. The word magically. I don’t believe anything can arise magically, so when someone states that something cannot arise magically, I tend to agree with them. I did say that the concept of energy having mental states was absurd, without saying why, that’s my bad. Let’s do that now, as I want to cover this nonsense entirely. With the information we have attained about brain states, and how they impact mental states, the personality, and consciousness; there is no reason at all to think that a mental state is anything besides an emergent property of the brain.
Next things to mention, is their dishonest use of slippery language. I never said, nor do I believe that a mental state can arise magically. However, when they sneak in this line “If everything is interacting energy and the interactions do not cause mental state to arise from nowhere” they are being purposefully dishonest. We will circle back to this in a moment, however there are other things that need addressing first.
So, the use of mental states as a descriptor here is simply nonsense. In philosophy, mental states are defined as a state of mind, as seen in a multitude of sources ( (Pitt, 2020) (Pryor, 2022) (Robb, 2021)). These are but a few examples of the philosophy that surrounds the mind, and what mental states are. Yet, none of them agree with RP about mental states. At minimum, the vast majority of philosophical sources agree that mental states are a product of the mind and must include an agent with a mind to have a mental state. I take this a step further, and reject mind-body dualism, and think a brain is required…this is based on the science of the brain which I will expound on momentarily. They go on to accuse me of conflating mental states with mind, yet they are working with either no definition of mental state, or an absurd one. Because literally no one worth their salt in philosophy agrees with how they use the term “mental state”. So no, mental states do not arise out of nowhere, and certainly not magically…a mental state is an extension of mentality, IE the mind. The mind in my view is an emergent property of the brain. This is why I did not show the justification for why asserting that energy itself has mental states is absurd, because a justification for it isn’t really needed. However, RP wanted to attack me personally a few times, and continue to spew their nonsense. So, it is incumbent upon me to debunk their bullshit. “he conflates mental states with minds and then rejects the statement with an appeal to incredulity fallacy. Because he can’t imagine that energy interactions result in changed mental states, the notion is simply proclaimed to be nonsense.” Nope, I sure do not conflate the two, as that is what they are. Mental states are a product of a mind, this is agreed upon in philosophy, regardless of one’s stance on any and all forms of dualism. I never stated that “I can’t imagine that energy interactions result in changed mental states” I simply did no such thing. Once again, their dishonesty is on full display. The energy interactions with chemicals in the brain most certainly result in changed mental states, this is the basics of psychiatric medicine. I simply reject the idea that energy that is not connected in some form to brain interactions can change mental states. Chemicals and energy must be introduced to the brain in some form to cause such a change. Otherwise, medical science would be a dead field because psychiatric medicine is entirely dependent on chemical changes to the brain impacting mental states. Zoloft for example builds serotonin in the brain, helping people to be less irritable, and happier in their day-to-day interactions. This is hard evidence for my position, and there is no such sort of evidence for changing mental states without something being done to the brain.
To finish off the philosophical side of this I wanted to reiterate; asserting that energy has a mental state, is to by proxy assert that it has a mind. Mental states arise from minds, this is the established philosophy on it. I am sorry but RP is beyond fringe on this. Hence my comment on my original post. This notion is absurd, and would need godly levels of justification and support, which none are offered up by them. They say that it must be the case because mental states cannot magically arise out of nowhere. That is all they say about it in their “proof” and their reply to me. So, they need to support this assertion, justify this, and demonstrate it. The philosophical and scientific community await, especially those in the fields of philosophy of the mind, neurology, and psychiatry.
Lastly on this stuff about energy and mental states, is the scientific side of this. The scientific evidence we have gathered over the last century of studying the brain, and how it relates to the mind, and mental states is why I reject mind-body dualism. I have seen the impacts of degenerative brain diseases like dementia, and Alzheimer’s. I have seen how these conditions completely change the mind, personality, and mental states of people as they slowly deteriorate the brain. I have seen trauma to the brain render people vegetables, and all but dead without machines preforming their vital functions for them, because of damage to the brain. We know from trauma-victims that severe damage to the brain can drastically alter a personality, and/or effectively render a person dead. When one has brain damage, their mental faculties and personality are impacted in harsh, dynamic ways. When one is brain dead, they have no personality, no motor functions, and are for all practical purposes’ dead. Sure, the body might be physically alive, but the personality is irretrievably gone. There is also a condition known as split brain syndrome, when the corpus callosum, the thing that connects the two halves of the brain together, is partially or completely severed. This creates some interesting brain states, and there is controversy as to whether it creates two consciousnesses in one mind. While I am suspicious of that idea myself, there is some credence to the idea, because of what we know about other neurological issues. We also know for a fact how chemical imbalances in the brain itself causes mental illnesses, and mental disorders (Glen R Finney, 2016) (Mark A. Thornton, 2019) (SouthSideMedical, 2022) All of the evidence point to mind, mentality, personality ECT being reliant on the brain. No other vastly complicated systems of energy interaction produce a mental state because the energy that interacts with brain matter, also requires further chemical interactions to cause a mind, or mental states. To assert because we do not know all the ins and outs at this time, that means all energy has a primitive mental state, is somehow worse than a classic god of the gap’s fallacy. The accused me of an appeal to incredulity, yet the explicitly do that repeatedly because they see no way of mental states arising unless energy has mental states. They follow that up by asserting that energy itself must have a mental states without justification So yes, one can still rather easily come to the rational conclusion that the assertion “all energy has mental states, however primitive” is complete and utterly absurd.
Quoted text “In responding to the argument summary he proclaims that while energy interactions in the brain produce mental states, no other interactions do. That shows that he is engaging in special pleading. Somehow energy interactions in the brain are special in that they alone magically bestow mentality.”
This is why in my original reply I used reductio ad absurdum. I was simply trying to help them follow their own logic to its conclusion. Let us for a moment say that RP is correct, that all energy has primitive mental states, and that because of that the more complex an interaction of energy gets, the more complex the mental states. This means that the most complex interactions of energy in the universe not only should, but logically must produce complex mental states. This is where the comparison to black holes came from. But we could also say the same for nuclear fission at the hearts of stars, the complex chemical reactions that it takes to make certain drugs and so on. If RP is right, we should see everything that is comprised of complex energy interactions have complex mental states. It would then logically follow that we should see all sorts of things with mentality besides creatures with brains. However, the only thing that has been studied to show mentality (a mind, and mental states) are animals with brains. This is not some shit I made up, this is premise eight of their argument “The more and sophisticated the interactions, the more complex the states”. Now, I would be willing to change my mind, and completely convert to rational pantheism if RP could show even one thing that’s not a living creature to have mentality. This was not a case of special pleading, this was a deductive inference, predicated on the current collected data and evidence. We know the brain causes mental states, this in indisputable. (the dispute in philosophy would be around the interaction problem, not that the brain interacts with the mind, but how it does so) We Know that blackholes do not cause mental states, this is also indisputable. It is them that has committed the error in logic, not I. They cannot account for why the brain is the only thing known to humans to cause mentality, and their response is worse than Abrahamic theism’s. Instead of god made humans special, they assert without any support or justification that all things have mental states. Yes, that is what they assert. When they assert that energy has mental states, that means that everything that is comprised of energy must also have a mental state, and this includes blackholes. When they state that the more complex the energy interaction, the more complex the mental state…this logically entails that all complex energy systems have a complex mental state, I.E., there should be a lot of things that are not animals that have mentality. There simply is not, as of right now animals on Planet Earth are the only things, we know of that has mentality. Could at some point in the future it be discovered that things without brains have mental states, it is possible however entirely improbable. This is entirely because nothing, literally nothing that has been studied by humans has a mental state without a mind, and the current scientific evidence indicates that the mind is dependent on the brain.
Quoted text: “He dismisses our observation that treating mentality as a special case from physicality involves special pleading by simply proclaiming that mentality supernaturally arises from the physical. No explanation is given, we are just meant to take this dogmatic statement on blind faith”
This was dismissed because it was not supported. I never proclaimed that mentality supernaturally arises from the physical. This is an outright lie, and once again shows how dishonest Rational Pantheism is as a group that runs their blog. I did say that mentality requires a brain, but that is an inference to the best evidence. Just because we may not be able to account for how mentality NATURALY arises (YET) does not mean it does not, or cannot arise naturally, and once again all the evidence points to such, because of how the brain directly impacts the mental. Nowhere did I ever posit explicitly, or implicitly that mentality arises from the supernatural. They are simply making things up as that is a theistic position, and one I do not hold.
I did not give the explanation in my original reply, this is true enough. However, in this reply I did at length. I never expect anyone to take anything I say on faith, especially blind faith. I always hope people will do research into topics they find interesting. Moreover, substance monism is common enough that anyone with familiarity of the underlying philosophy would already know what the justification is.
Quoted text “He dismisses our objection to the supernatural concept of strong emergence of mentality by simply proclaiming that mental states require a brain. Again, no justification is given, we must simply believe this on blind faith”
They made that sort of objection? All they said is that mentality cannot magically arise, which I agree with. Instead of trying to honestly and rationally parse out why there are mental states at all, they simply assert that all energy has a mental state. This is not an objection to hard emergence. Mental states do require a brain, everything we know from a scientific point of view tells us this. I will freely admit that mind-body dualism is still a hotly contested debate in philosophy of the mind. However, that does not subtract from the justification I have giving for my stance here, and in my book.
It is rich that they say that I ask people to believe what I am saying on blind faith, as it takes more blind faith to accept that energy itself has a mental state, than any other proposition ever posed by humankind. It takes less faith to believe in a young earth than it does to believe that energy has a mental state.
Quoted Text: “He dismisses our conclusion that energy has simple mentality by simply proclaiming that it is an “unfounded, unsupported and absurd assertion” and “absurd, incoherent and illogical nonsense” without finding any holes in the argument’s logic”
I did dismiss their conclusion, for all the reasons I mentioned. I could have just as easily dismissed it via Hitchens’s razor, that which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. Ha, I genuinely laughed out loud when I first read that line. In my original reply, I did not bring my “A game”, tis true. However, there were still plenty of holes I pointed out in their argument, as it is not even much of an argument, to be honest. It is essentially “mental states cannot magically arise, thus all energy has mental states, therefore the universe is god (somehow), because the universe would have to have a mental state”
Their conclusion said a lot of nothing, thus is not worth quoting here. Though, their post will be linked here so that any who are interested can go see it if they wish. They spend a lot of words saying very little, while doubling down on their asinine assertions. Whether they are a plurality of people, or a single person, no one over there (man or woman, it matters not) has the balls to mention that they replied to me. I had to go search their blog myself to find that they had, however sad their reply is. They know next to nothing about science, and even less so of philosophy of the mind. They are masters (or a master) of deception, resorting to straight up lies (no wonder they did not have the gonads to let me know they replied, or even link my reply in their post (Can’t let their followers know how dishonest they are)). They hide behind rhetorical tricks, and even change up their usages of words, and sometimes the words themselves from sentence to sentence. At they end of the day, even Eric Hovind makes a better case for his theological beliefs than they do, hell Ken Ham may even have them beat. This is because they completely ignore major points, lie about others, and just straight up make shit up. Yet, they accuse me of all these things. I digress, read their “proof” such as it is, then read my reply, then their reply to my reply, then this reply and make up your own minds about it.
This will be my last dealings with them, as they did not deserve as much attention as I have giving them in this 2nd reply. Even if they bother to reply, it will be nothing more than vacuous re-assertions of their asinine and absurd proclamations, and they probably still will be cowards about it.
I usually try to avoid cliches. However, especially when it comes to their assertion that energy has mental states…. like any other god concept out there, it cannot survive two simple words
Link to their reply to me https://rationalpantheism.org/?p=55
Link to their “proof” of god https://rationalpantheism.org/?p=468
Editorial Correction. In Rational Pantheism's reply to me, the word "critique" in their opening paragraph does hyper link back to here. That was missed on my part, thus a mistake by me. I apologize for that error.
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