Tabling the Conversation

I am ready to call a cease fire in the ongoing non-debate with 1RW on the mysteries of matter worship. A cease fire and not a surrender: I will reopen the debate once he agrees to follow, and shows himself able to follow, the rules and usages of this fashion of war.

My boasted patience wears thinner these days, now that I am more preoccupied, than in my far vanished youth. I am sorry for that. After explaining, for the umpteenth time, the difference between a logical fallacy and a rational response, I am afraid the weariness has overcome my spirit.

Forgive my tone of asperity, but if you play chess with me, I don’t want to have to halt the game each move to explain that how pawns do not move backward. It is not a valid move in chess.

I am honored that you thought me worthy to explore these deep matters, my dear materialist, but you have not even yet made an opening statement showing even a simple argument to support your position.

For example: in order for mind to move matter, as when my thought allows me to snap my fingers, the cause and effect must be of the same nature and substance. Since the finger is matter, ergo the thought must be matter. Likewise, alcohol is matter and can influence the capacity and coherence of thought, which it could not do unless thought were made of the same substance as the wine.

That is an argument. I would have to think carefully before responding. It would give my brain exercise.

The pot cannot call the kettle black;  therefore a circular argument (petitio principii) is a valid form of argument if and when I find a case where YOU used that form. 

This is not an argument. It has nothing to do with an argument. It is a psychological defense mechanism used to avoid argument. It is an attempt to change the subject from the topic under discussion to a discussion of who has the right to correct errors in logic seen in others.

Likewise, if you want to have a serious debate with me about a serious topic, I would like to move past the stage where you repeat sophomoric errors in logic (ad hominem, ad verecundiam, strawman, irrelevance)  and I keep asking you not to so that we can begin the discussion.

I am so very, very, infinitely weary of reminding you that I did not say the false and phony things you keep pretending I said that this is grounds by itself to end the game. Each time you reach across the board and pull my king into a weaker position, and I say that I move that chessman, not you, my patience for the game wanes. I am willing to explain, and at any length needed, anything you do not understand.

My last two posts, in fact, were from a reader who wrote me privately, and he actually posed questions that were on topic and cast sober doubt on my position, and I was required to exercise my brain to come up with the best counter argument I could. You would do well to read what he wrote me, and see how it differs from your approach.

So many of your comments are offtopic or astonishingly illogical, that I no longer have faith that you understand what we are discussing.

Here is the topic:

I submit to your candid judgment that radical materialism, aka panphysicaliasm, is wrong, on the grounds that  if panphysicalism were true, and all things were merely matter in motion and nothing more, then description of material quantities, if sufficiently precise, would also describe every aspect of any possible topic, including things like the relationship between symbols and referents, including things like final causes, including things like formal definitions, including things like mathematics and geometry, including things like metaphysical conclusions, including things like free will. But, for the reasons given, such a reduction to material quantities cannot be done, nor even imagined. The thing is impossible.

All that is needed to refute my argument is to produce a single, solitary example of any of these things successfully reduced, in all its aspects, to a description of material quantities.

Show me the mass and duration of ‘checkmate’, or the temperature of the number ‘4’, or the candlepower of the ‘law of noncontradiction’, or anything of the like.

Explain in detail the experiment or observation whereby you come by that knowledge so that I can reproduce said experiment or observation myself. The mute testimony of nature does not lie.

I am from Missouri. Show me. And you win the argument. Easy as that.

As a corollary, if all reality in its every aspect could be reduced to a description of matter, since such description cannot contain these and other things (symbols and referent relations, mathematics, abstractions, universal, free will, moral operations, final causes) therefore, none would exist.

Men would be robotic automatons, without purpose, without moral character, without the ability to form or understand symbols, hence without the ability to lie as well as without the ability to tell the truth, hence without the ability to act purposefully, hence without the ability to reason.

Since this conversation itself presupposes a truthful ability to reason and a moral character of a philosopher, willing to seek the truth even against his own self interest, therefore the fact that this conversation exists proves that panphysicalism is wrong.

Using honest reasoning to investigate whether panphysicalism is true is an impossible task unless panphysicalism is not true.

A second corollary is that if panphysicalism were true, nothing exists but matter, therefore any true statement is empirical and no non-empirical statement is true. Empirical statements are conditional and relative (that is, statements that are true only when the conditions of the observation apply). The statement that nothing exists but matter, however, is an unconditional and universal statement hence non-empirical, hence not true.

A coherent statement of the basic principle of panphysicalism refutes it.

That is the topic. I gave an argument and two corollaries.

That is the argument you must rebut in order to make a convincing counter argument.

Now, in order to voice that rebuttal, my opponent would have to understand what is meant by words like symbol, referent, formal, metaphysical, empirical, conditional, universal, nonempyrical, free will, and so on.

These are fairly common terms, but I took the trouble to explain them at some length in case they are unfamiliar to you.

I am not asking you to accept my definition nor to make the error of assuming that merely because I have defined something a real example of the defined thing exists. I merely want reassurance that you are comprehending what is being said before you take issue with it.

No such reassurance was given.

Like Dr. Andreassen, like every other materialist with whom I have debated, the part of the conversation before it begins where we define our terms was ignored. Hence, as with him, no legitimate conversation started. It was merely me thinking you were listening and thinking you were willing to offer intelligent rebuttals, overestimating your capacity or willingness.

Saying that robots get angry does not add to nor subtract from the argument: it is irrelevant.

Saying some other argument made by someone else is circular does not add to not subtract from the argument: it is irrelevant.

Saying that Turing machines exist but do not exist in physical existence does not add to nor subtract from the argument: it is irrelevant, as well as being a self-refuting conclusion.

Saying I don’t understand Turing machines does not add to nor subtract from the argument: it is irrelevant.

Saying advertising sometimes influences men in subtle ways does not add to nor subtract from the argument: it is irrelevant.

And on and on and on.

Even now, even now, I find myself having to explain what any High School Freshman should know about the rules of logic and the rules of debate. Did no one ever tell you these things? You tell me you are a professional man who works with computers. It is the most logical imaginable of professions. But if you put garbage in to your argument, you will get a garbage out response from anyone examining the argument. How can that principle be unknown to you?

You are not willing to do me the same courtesy you would do a Turing machine, and give me a logical argument rather than ill constructed and incoherent lines of code.

I can only say ‘pawns don’t move backward’ so many times.

I fear that perhaps the conversation is beyond your grasp. At this point, I am willing to table it. Perhaps in a few years you will have the training and equipment needed to play the game.

Return as soon as you have mastered either the skill of basic reasoning, or the humility and patience needed to approach an unfamiliar worldview with an open mind.

If you cannot take honest correction without bristling, philosophy is not for you.

Please read and support my work on Patreon!