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Tags consciousness , materialism

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Old 8th October 2014, 11:48 AM   #1
Bernardo
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I challenge you: your best argument for materialism

As some of you know, I think materialism is baloney. I subscribe to the much more parsimonious and skeptical notion that reality is in a trans-personal form of consciousness, of which we are localizations -- like whirlpools in a stream. This ontology is often called monistic idealism. My books, videos and blog expand on all this, so I won't elaborate here (moreover, apparently I lose rights to anything I post here). What I want to do is this: in my upcoming book, I am taking the time to dissect and expose all materialist counter-arguments against monistic idealism. So far I have selected 16 of them, which I list below. I argue in the upcoming book that all these points fail because they (a) beg the question; (b) contradict materialism itself (!); (c) totally misunderstand and misrepresent monistic idealism (i.e. straw man); (d) misunderstand or misrepresent the evidence; or (e) fail simple sound logic.

So my challenge to you is this: can you come up with other, better arguments for materialism, beyond the ones I list below? I doubt, but remain curious and open minded.

The current list:

1) Our sense perceptions provide direct evidence for a world outside consciousness.
2) Because we cannot change reality by merely wishing it to be different, itís clear that reality is outside consciousness.
3) Because we are separate beings witnessing the same external reality, reality has to be outside consciousness.
4) It is untenable to maintain that there is no reality independent of consciousness, for there is plenty of evidence about what was going on in the Universe before consciousness evolved.
5) It is not parsimonious to say that reality is in consciousness, because that would require postulating an unfathomably complex entity to be imagining reality.
6) Reality is clearly not inside our heads, therefore monistic idealism is wrong.
7) Monistic idealism is too metaphysical.
8) There are strong correlations between brain activity and subjective experience. Clearly, thus, the brain generates consciousness.
9) Unconscious brain activity precedes the awareness of certain decisions, showing a clear arrow of causation from purely material processes to conscious experience.
10) Because psychoactive drugs and brain trauma can markedly change subjective experience, itís clear that the brain generates consciousness.
11) During dreamless sleep, or under general anesthesia, we are clearly unconscious. Yet, we donít cease to exist because we become temporarily unconscious. Clearly, thus, reality cannot be in consciousness.
12) The stability and consistency of the laws of physics show that reality is outside consciousness.
13) To postulate a collective and obfuscated part of consciousness as the source of consensus reality is equivalent to postulating a reality outside consciousness.
14) Why would consciousness deceive us by simulating a materialist world?
15) Monistic idealism is solipsistic and, as such, unfalsifiable.
16) One cannot prove that monistic idealism is true.

Although you have to wait for the publication of my new book to see the refutation of all these 16 arguments, I can guarantee to you that only smoldering ashes will be left of them after I am done. ;-)

So can you come up with anything else? What's your best argument in defense of materialism? What's your best argument against monistic idealism? Apologies in advance for the fact that I will have to ignore trolls given my limited time. As for the rest of you, your input will be sincerely appreciated.
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Old 8th October 2014, 11:54 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Bernardo View Post
As some of you know, I think materialism is baloney. I subscribe to the much more parsimonious and skeptical notion that reality is in a trans-personal form of consciousness, of which we are localizations -- like whirlpools in a stream. This ontology is often called monistic idealism. My books, videos and blog expand on all this, so I won't elaborate here (moreover, apparently I lose rights to anything I post here). What I want to do is this: in my upcoming book, I am taking the time to dissect and expose all materialist counter-arguments against monistic idealism. So far I have selected 16 of them, which I list below. I argue in the upcoming book that all these points fail because they (a) beg the question; (b) contradict materialism itself (!); (c) totally misunderstand and misrepresent monistic idealism (i.e. straw man); (d) misunderstand or misrepresent the evidence; or (e) fail simple sound logic.

So my challenge to you is this: can you come up with other, better arguments for materialism, beyond the ones I list below? I doubt, but remain curious and open minded.

The current list:

1) Our sense perceptions provide direct evidence for a world outside consciousness.
2) Because we cannot change reality by merely wishing it to be different, it’s clear that reality is outside consciousness.
3) Because we are separate beings witnessing the same external reality, reality has to be outside consciousness.
4) It is untenable to maintain that there is no reality independent of consciousness, for there is plenty of evidence about what was going on in the Universe before consciousness evolved.
5) It is not parsimonious to say that reality is in consciousness, because that would require postulating an unfathomably complex entity to be imagining reality.
6) Reality is clearly not inside our heads, therefore monistic idealism is wrong.
7) Monistic idealism is too metaphysical.
8) There are strong correlations between brain activity and subjective experience. Clearly, thus, the brain generates consciousness.
9) Unconscious brain activity precedes the awareness of certain decisions, showing a clear arrow of causation from purely material processes to conscious experience.
10) Because psychoactive drugs and brain trauma can markedly change subjective experience, it’s clear that the brain generates consciousness.
11) During dreamless sleep, or under general anesthesia, we are clearly unconscious. Yet, we don’t cease to exist because we become temporarily unconscious. Clearly, thus, reality cannot be in consciousness.
12) The stability and consistency of the laws of physics show that reality is outside consciousness.
13) To postulate a collective and obfuscated part of consciousness as the source of consensus reality is equivalent to postulating a reality outside consciousness.
14) Why would consciousness deceive us by simulating a materialist world?
15) Monistic idealism is solipsistic and, as such, unfalsifiable.
16) One cannot prove that monistic idealism is true.

Although you have to wait for the publication of my new book to see the refutation of all these 16 arguments, I can guarantee to you that only smoldering ashes will be left of them after I am done. ;-)
Is that a double-money-back guarantee? If I order now do I get two books for one easy payment of $49.99? Is your book titled Materialist Straw Man Arguments I Made Up to Knock Down? Didn't the publisher ask you to tighten that title up? Are you the publisher?
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Old 8th October 2014, 11:55 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Resume View Post
Is that a double-money-back guarantee? If I order now do I get two books for one easy payment of $49.99? Is your book titled Materialist Straw Man Arguments I Made Up to Knock Down? Didn't the publisher ask you to tighten that title up? Are you the publisher?
Ahh, so delightful. JREF at its best!
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Old 8th October 2014, 11:58 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Bernardo View Post
My books, videos and blog expand on all this, so I won't elaborate here (moreover, apparently I lose rights to anything I post here).
Isn't being worried about such rights materialistic?
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Old 8th October 2014, 11:59 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Bernardo View Post
Ahh, so delightful. JREF at its best!
(Blushes) Aw shucks.
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Old 8th October 2014, 11:59 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Bernardo View Post
As some of you know, I think materialism is baloney. I subscribe to the much more parsimonious and skeptical notion that reality is in a trans-personal form of consciousness, of which we are localizations -- like whirlpools in a stream. This ontology is often called monistic idealism. My books, videos and blog expand on all this, so I won't elaborate here (moreover, apparently I lose rights to anything I post here). What I want to do is this: in my upcoming book, I am taking the time to dissect and expose all materialist counter-arguments against monistic idealism. So far I have selected 16 of them, which I list below. I argue in the upcoming book that all these points fail because they (a) beg the question; (b) contradict materialism itself (!); (c) totally misunderstand and misrepresent monistic idealism (i.e. straw man); (d) misunderstand or misrepresent the evidence; or (e) fail simple sound logic.

So my challenge to you is this: can you come up with other, better arguments for materialism, beyond the ones I list below? I doubt, but remain curious and open minded.

The current list:

1) Our sense perceptions provide direct evidence for a world outside consciousness.
2) Because we cannot change reality by merely wishing it to be different, it’s clear that reality is outside consciousness.
3) Because we are separate beings witnessing the same external reality, reality has to be outside consciousness.
4) It is untenable to maintain that there is no reality independent of consciousness, for there is plenty of evidence about what was going on in the Universe before consciousness evolved.
5) It is not parsimonious to say that reality is in consciousness, because that would require postulating an unfathomably complex entity to be imagining reality.
6) Reality is clearly not inside our heads, therefore monistic idealism is wrong.
7) Monistic idealism is too metaphysical.
8) There are strong correlations between brain activity and subjective experience. Clearly, thus, the brain generates consciousness.
9) Unconscious brain activity precedes the awareness of certain decisions, showing a clear arrow of causation from purely material processes to conscious experience.
10) Because psychoactive drugs and brain trauma can markedly change subjective experience, it’s clear that the brain generates consciousness.
11) During dreamless sleep, or under general anesthesia, we are clearly unconscious. Yet, we don’t cease to exist because we become temporarily unconscious. Clearly, thus, reality cannot be in consciousness.
12) The stability and consistency of the laws of physics show that reality is outside consciousness.
13) To postulate a collective and obfuscated part of consciousness as the source of consensus reality is equivalent to postulating a reality outside consciousness.
14) Why would consciousness deceive us by simulating a materialist world?
15) Monistic idealism is solipsistic and, as such, unfalsifiable.
16) One cannot prove that monistic idealism is true.

Although you have to wait for the publication of my new book to see the refutation of all these 16 arguments, I can guarantee to you that only smoldering ashes will be left of them after I am done. ;-)

So can you come up with anything else? What's your best argument in defense of materialism? What's your best argument against monistic idealism? Apologies in advance for the fact that I will have to ignore trolls given my limited time. As for the rest of you, your input will be sincerely appreciated.
Any particular reason for this thread?
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Last edited by MikeG; 8th October 2014 at 12:00 PM.
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Old 8th October 2014, 12:02 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by MikeG View Post
Any particular reason for this thread?
Of course. To try and make MY BOOK more complete.

Soon in good retailers everywhere.
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Old 8th October 2014, 12:03 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Bernardo View Post
As some of you know, I think materialism is baloney. I subscribe to the much more parsimonious and skeptical notion that reality is in a trans-personal form of consciousness, of which we are localizations -- like whirlpools in a stream.

I don't think you completely have a handle on what "parsimonious" means.
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Old 8th October 2014, 12:04 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Bernardo View Post
Of course. To try and make MY BOOK more complete.
You haven't finished it yet?

Originally Posted by Bernardo View Post
Soon in good retailers everywhere.
Doubtful.
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Old 8th October 2014, 12:06 PM   #10
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I suggest that if it is soon to be found in book shops, that it has gone to press. Therefore your claim that this thread will make your book more complete is as unsustainable as your theory. In other words, they're both bollocks.
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Old 8th October 2014, 12:06 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Loss Leader View Post
I don't think you completely have a handle on what "parsimonious" means.
*yawn*
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Old 8th October 2014, 12:07 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Spindrift View Post
You haven't finished it yet?
Nope, still working on it.
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Old 8th October 2014, 12:07 PM   #13
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I will wait for the book. And then ignore it.

I am not saying that I will ignore any arguments of your own that you choose to present here, but I don't think you have presented any. If you wish to do so, even at the risk of reducing this forum to smoldering ashes, please go ahead.
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Old 8th October 2014, 12:08 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Bernardo View Post
Nope, still working on it.
Why pimp it now?
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Old 8th October 2014, 12:09 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by MikeG View Post
I suggest that if it is soon to be found in book shops, that it has gone to press. Therefore your claim that this thread will make your book more complete is as unsustainable as your theory. In other words, they're both bollocks.
I love the way you guys always take the discussion totally away from the actual substance as soon as you feel cornered.

There is such a thing as an advance publishing agreement, you know? And the best publishers turn books around in only months.
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Old 8th October 2014, 12:09 PM   #16
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You seem to want to sell a book. That's pretty materialistic.

Why do you care about money if you don't think it's actually real?
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Old 8th October 2014, 12:10 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Bernardo View Post
Nope, still working on it.
You seem to be using a rather non-standard definition of 'soon' then. Similar to your use of 'parsimonious'.
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Old 8th October 2014, 12:10 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
I will wait for the book. And then ignore it.

I am not saying that I will ignore any arguments of your own that you choose to present here, but I don't think you have presented any. If you wish to do so, even at the risk of reducing this forum to smoldering ashes, please go ahead.
http://www.bernardokastrup.com

There, the copyright is mine.

Nothing to add to the list? Nada?
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Old 8th October 2014, 12:11 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Bernardo View Post
I love the way you guys always take the discussion totally away from the actual substance as soon as you feel cornered.

There is such a thing as an advance publishing agreement, you know? And the best publishers turn books around in only months.
Which publisher would that be?
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Old 8th October 2014, 12:11 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Spindrift View Post
You seem to be using a rather non-standard definition of 'soon' then. Similar to your use of 'parsimonious'.
Nothing to add to the list? Nada? I am hoping at least SOME people here actually have something of relevance to say.
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Old 8th October 2014, 12:11 PM   #21
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I can't think of any 100% sound argument for materialism that doesn't rely on assumptions. It's an extremely handy thing to assume though.

Mind you, the same goes for consciousness, free will, logic, existence, etc.
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Old 8th October 2014, 12:12 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Spindrift View Post
Which publisher would that be?
So, let's get this straight. You decided that it is more relevant to argue against my claim that I can publish a book (which would be my fifth), instead of arguing for materialism; is that right?
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Old 8th October 2014, 12:13 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by ehcks View Post
Why do you care about money if you don't think it's actually real?
Silly conflation: to say that reality is in consciousness does not imply that reality doesn't exist.
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Old 8th October 2014, 12:16 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Bernardo View Post
I love the way you guys always take the discussion totally away from the actual substance.......
Sorry, there's some substance here is there? You might want to point it out. I can't see any links to any published research.
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Old 8th October 2014, 12:16 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Bernardo View Post
Nothing to add to the list? Nada? I am hoping at least SOME people here actually have something of relevance to say.
You go first. You brought up your book, but don't care to "elaborate" on its substance. You say you're gonna ignore trolls ,yet post like one. You guarantee smoldering ash but your Zippo needs butane.
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Old 8th October 2014, 12:17 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by One Tenth View Post
I can't think of any 100% sound argument for materialism that doesn't rely on assumptions. It's an extremely handy thing to assume though.

Mind you, the same goes for consciousness, free will, logic, existence, etc.
But that's the thing. Materialism is the assumption you start with. You first assume that the universe is real, then you experiment on it. You have a few possible outcomes:

1. The experiments show that the universe is material because it is.
2. The experiments show that the universe is material but it isn't.
3. The experiments show that the universe isn't material because it isn't.

All experimentation has agreed with the first two, so we're down to those two, and whatever possibilities option 2 has.

The universe could be actively deceiving us, malevolently or not; or it could be that our own belief that the universe is material makes it seem so. The former assumes an outside influence for which there can never be evidence. The latter would makes us the WH40k Orks.

There is no logical reason to believe anything but outcome number 1.
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Old 8th October 2014, 12:17 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Bernardo View Post
Ahh, so delightful. JREF at its best!
What's a JREF?
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Old 8th October 2014, 12:17 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by One Tenth View Post
I can't think of any 100% sound argument for materialism that doesn't rely on assumptions. It's an extremely handy thing to assume though.

Mind you, the same goes for consciousness, free will, logic, existence, etc.
Finally something with content. I would argue that the existence of consciousness is the primary datum of reality and the one undeniable empirical fact. And that is the sole ontological entity (and therefore primitive) that monistic idealism requires. Now, the argument behind monistic idealism, of course, also requires that we grant validity to logic, although, as you point out, we cannot use logic to argue for the validity of logic. In this sense, certain things are indeed assumed, but none more than what materialism assumes. My goal isn't to prove anything (that's for naive positivists), but to show that, as far as logic and empirical evidence go, monistic idealism is a far BETTER ontology than materialism.
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Old 8th October 2014, 12:17 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Bernardo View Post
So, let's get this straight. You decided that it is more relevant to argue against my claim that I can publish a book (which would be my fifth), instead of arguing for materialism; is that right?
Pretty much any one can get a vanity press to publish themselves.

What exactly happens after you publish your book and all your arguments are not refuted?

And if it will make you happy.

Quote:
Consciousness is the only carrier of reality anyone can ever know for sure; it is the one undeniable, empirical fact of existence.
Why is it the one undeniable, empirical fact of existence?

Is it undeniable because it has been proven so? If so, by whom?

Or, is it undeniable because you don't want to deny it? And without that assumption your house of cards falls?
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Old 8th October 2014, 12:19 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by MikeG View Post
Sorry, there's some substance here is there? You might want to point it out. I can't see any links to any published research.
My output is widely published. I am not hiding anything.
http://www.bernardokastrup.com
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Old 8th October 2014, 12:20 PM   #31
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I don't subscribe to either materialism OR idealism.

Check out the idea of the holographic universe (the one from string theory). I don't think you'll like it, though; while nothing is "real", everything is meaningless--so your hopes and dreams and ideas have nothing to do with shaping it.
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Old 8th October 2014, 12:21 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by ehcks View Post
But that's the thing. Materialism is the assumption you start with. You first assume that the universe is real, then you experiment on it. You have a few possible outcomes:

1. The experiments show that the universe is material because it is.
2. The experiments show that the universe is material but it isn't.
3. The experiments show that the universe isn't material because it isn't.

All experimentation has agreed with the first two, so we're down to those two, and whatever possibilities option 2 has.

The universe could be actively deceiving us, malevolently or not; or it could be that our own belief that the universe is material makes it seem so. The former assumes an outside influence for which there can never be evidence. The latter would makes us the WH40k Orks.

There is no logical reason to believe anything but outcome number 1.
This is such a complete misunderstanding of philosophy of science! Materialism is an ontology, not an experimental outcome or conclusion. It's one of several possible ontological interpretations of experimental outcomes. All that can be experimentally demonstrated are the patterns and regularities of reality, not their ontological interpretations.
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Old 8th October 2014, 12:22 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Bernardo View Post
My output is widely published. I am not hiding anything.
http://www.bernardokastrup.com
You may not be hiding anything, but you aren't supplying anything either. Like..........erm................you know....................evidence.
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Old 8th October 2014, 12:23 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Spindrift View Post
Pretty much any one can get a vanity press to publish themselves.

What exactly happens after you publish your book and all your arguments are not refuted?

And if it will make you happy.


Why is it the one undeniable, empirical fact of existence?

Is it undeniable because it has been proven so? If so, by whom?

Or, is it undeniable because you don't want to deny it? And without that assumption your house of cards falls?

Unbelievable...
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Old 8th October 2014, 12:24 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by MikeG View Post
You may not be hiding anything, but you aren't supplying anything either. Like..........erm................you know....................evidence.
Do you need a more thorough and detailed explanation for how to click on an hyperlink? <snip>


Edited by Loss Leader:  Edited. Rule 0.

Last edited by Loss Leader; 8th October 2014 at 08:57 PM.
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Old 8th October 2014, 12:24 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Bernardo View Post
Unbelievable...
That's what I said about the OP too!

I assume you're not going to answer my question.
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Last edited by Spindrift; 8th October 2014 at 12:26 PM.
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Old 8th October 2014, 12:25 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Piscivore View Post
I don't subscribe to either materialism OR idealism.

Check out the idea of the holographic universe (the one from string theory). I don't think you'll like it, though; while nothing is "real", everything is meaningless--so your hopes and dreams and ideas have nothing to do with shaping it.
Don't you think you might perhaps be projecting some of your own prejudices and expectations on me?
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Old 8th October 2014, 12:27 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by Bernardo View Post
This is such a complete misunderstanding of philosophy of science! Materialism is an ontology, not an experimental outcome or conclusion. It's one of several possible ontological interpretations of experimental outcomes. All that can be experimentally demonstrated are the patterns and regularities of reality, not their ontological interpretations.
Presupposing that your claim can not be experimented on is outright stating that it's unfalsifiable and therefore a meaningless claim.
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Old 8th October 2014, 12:28 PM   #39
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Lost interested in this for today, folks. The silliness is a little too concentrated for my taste for now... Will check back tomorrow to see if anyone has ACTUALLY BEEN ABLE TO ADD ANYTHING TO THE LIST!
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Old 8th October 2014, 12:30 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by Bernardo View Post
Do you need a more thorough and detailed explanation for how to click on an hyperlink? Maybe a user's manual for a mouse?
You want me to read your book before commenting on your thread? Hmmmm, OK, I see.....
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