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Re: Is Atheism Irrational? Plantinga thinks so...
February 24, 2014 04:37PM
"Plantinga is a Christian, but not an apologist like WLC is... He is a tough as nails philosopher, the leading expert on the metaphysics of modality and the man who destroyed the logical problem of evil...

I guess what I'm saying is that his arguments cannot be easily dismissed..."
-Tuk

I'm not dismissing them. I'm just trying to understand the seeming hypocrisy of them by seeking clarification.

How is theism logical but atheism is not? It just seems that the standards are conveniently not equal for determining the logic of each belief system in this debate as raised by Plantinga.

Re: Is Atheism Irrational? Plantinga thinks so...
February 24, 2014 09:39PM
With regard to his argument that belief in both evolution and materialism is self-defeating, I think he basis it on assumptions for which he has no empirical evidence.

Such as?
Re: Is Atheism Irrational? Plantinga thinks so...
February 24, 2014 09:47PM
[youtu.be]

Here is a video with Plantinga making that argument...
Re: Is Atheism Irrational? Plantinga thinks so...
February 24, 2014 09:59PM
starts at around the 10:00 mark...
Re: Is Atheism Irrational? Plantinga thinks so...
February 24, 2014 11:58PM
How is theism logical but atheism is not?

I have already explained this... For Plantinga, he is discussing different epistemic theories. He said it is possible that atheism is properly basic and rational, but we know most atheists do not believe this. For most atheists, it's only rational to believe something that is based on logical proof or material evidence...

Reformed epistemology = both atheism and theism can be rational
Foundationalism = both atheism and theism is irrational (both include metaphysical beliefs that are not based on logical proof and material evidence.)

Like Islander and I said with RE we are not debating the existence of God and that seems counter productive to discussion boards... It's why I'm trying to gloss over it and focus on other theological topics...

If I were to guess I think Plantinga wants the discussion to be... God exists, so now let's talk about the logical implications of such a belief and let's see if it's consistent with the world we live in...



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/24/2014 11:59PM by tuk22.
Re: Is Atheism Irrational? Plantinga thinks so...
February 25, 2014 12:18AM
Quote

With regard to his argument that belief in both evolution and materialism is self-defeating, I think he basis it on assumptions for which he has no empirical evidence.

Such as?

One is his assumption that it would be unlikely, if naturalistic evolution were the case, that our cognitive faculties would have us arrive at true beliefs about the world since evolution selects not for true beliefs but for behavior.
Re: Is Atheism Irrational? Plantinga thinks so...
February 25, 2014 01:09AM
No, that isn't what he is claiming... He said given both M and E...

Quote

given materialism and evolution, it follows that our belief-producing faculties are not reliable...



Quote

Evolution will have resulted in our having beliefs that are adaptive; that is, beliefs that cause adaptive actions.

Do you doubt this?
Re: Is Atheism Irrational? Plantinga thinks so...
February 25, 2014 01:52AM
Quote

First, if materialism is true, human beings, naturally enough, are material objects. Now what, from this point of view, would a belief be? My belief that Marcel Proust is more subtle that [sic: should be "than"] Louis L’Amour, for example? Presumably this belief would have to be a material structure in my brain, say a collection of neurons that sends electrical impulses to other such structures as well as to nerves and muscles, and receives electrical impulses from other structures.

But in addition to such neurophysiological properties, this structure, if it is a belief, would also have to have a content: It would have, say, to be the belief that Proust is more subtle than L’Amour.

Let's say (A) constitutes the NP properties and (B is the content where it makes sense to say A + B = C (C) being 'reliably true beliefs'.

Quote

For example, my belief that there is a beer in the fridge (together with my desire to have a beer) can cause me to heave myself out of my comfortable armchair and lumber over to the fridge.

But here’s the important point: It’s by virtue of its material, neurophysiological properties that a belief causes the action. It’s in virtue of those electrical signals sent via efferent nerves to the relevant muscles, that the belief about the beer in the fridge causes me to go to the fridge. It is not by virtue of the content (there is a beer in the fridge) the belief has... if this belief — this structure — had a totally different content (even, say, if it was a belief that there is no beer in the fridge) but had the same neurophysiological properties, it would still have caused that same action of going to the fridge. This means that the content of the belief isn’t a cause of the behavior. As far as causing the behavior goes, the content of the belief doesn’t matter.

Plantigna is suggesting that if we accept materialism it is only A that produces beliefs and B just doesn't matter... But B obviously matters and now there is tension...



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/25/2014 01:53AM by tuk22.
Re: Is Atheism Irrational? Plantinga thinks so...
February 25, 2014 02:16AM
Quote

No, that isn't what he is claiming... He said given both M and E...

That's precisely what I meant when I said "naturalistic evolution" (no supernatural intervention) which most would describe as materialism.

Why does he 'assume' that beliefs resulting from such would most likely not be true?

We are able to test our beliefs.
Re: Is Atheism Irrational? Plantinga thinks so...
February 25, 2014 02:29AM
Quote

But here’s the important point: It’s by virtue of its material, neurophysiological properties that a belief causes the action. It’s in virtue of those electrical signals sent via efferent nerves to the relevant muscles, that the belief about the beer in the fridge causes me to go to the fridge. It is not by virtue of the content (there is a beer in the fridge) the belief has..

Plantinga is apparently dismissing consciousness, or at least assuming consciousness is incompatible with a natural (materialistic) philosophy. Only some fringe extremest materialists would deny the existence of consciousness. Consciousness is where the content of a belief is found.
Re: Is Atheism Irrational? Plantinga thinks so...
February 25, 2014 08:34PM
Why does he 'assume' that beliefs resulting from such would most likely not be true?

I don't think Plantinga is assuming anything... Given the definitions of M & E and the understanding that the content of a belief has nothing to do with behavior... if materialism is true, and if evolutionary theory is true, then it is improbable that our beliefs as a whole will be mostly true...

Given that evolution selects survival/adaptive processes, not necessarily truth-conducive processes, because per M, the content of the belief doesn't matter... only the NP's matter...


Plantinga is apparently dismissing consciousness, or at least assuming consciousness is incompatible with a natural (materialistic) philosophy.


He might think that but that isn't what his argument is about...

Again he isn't saying evolution isn't true nor is he saying our cognitive faculties are necessarily unreliable... Only that there is tension between M & E...

Quote

Evolution will select for belief-producing processes that produce beliefs with adaptive neurophysiological properties, but not for belief-producing processes that produce true beliefs. Given materialism and evolution, any particular belief is as likely to be false as true.

So I guess we could attack his knowledge of evolution and understanding of materialism, but he's an expert in philosophy...

There seems to be an issue with instinctive beliefs... or beliefs/thoughts contemplated after certain instinctive actions. You would think given M & E those particular beliefs would be reliable... e.g. heightened sense of fear from a predator, uneasiness of heights...
Re: Is Atheism Irrational? Plantinga thinks so...
February 26, 2014 01:25AM
Quote

I don't think Plantinga is assuming anything... Given the definitions of M & E and the understanding that the content of a belief has nothing to do with behavior... if materialism is true, and if evolutionary theory is true, then it is improbable that our beliefs as a whole will be mostly true...

'But' I contend that the content of a belief does affect our behavior. Don't forget, if evolution is true, consciousness is one of the products of evolution. Our conscious thoughts and beliefs do indeed affect our behavior. It's difficult for me to believe that you, Plantinga, or anyone else can 'seriously' claim that they don't. If I believe that a bridge is safe, I'll walk across it (behavior affected by belief). If I believe the bridge isn't safe, I won't walk across it. My behavior, because of my belief, will be different depending on the content of my belief. I have a sneaky feeling that Plantinga, because evolution does not make conscious, intentional, choices, is assuming that only the neuro-electro processes of our cognitive functions can be attributed to evolution, not our thoughts or the content of our beliefs for which 'we' are responsible (even though he seems to acknowledge that 'we' are a product of evolution).

Evolution would, indeed, select for beliefs that conform to reality. Any living organism capable of forming beliefs will have a better chance for survival, ergo, passing on it's genes through reproduction, if its behavior is based on beliefs that conform to reality---that is---beliefs that are true. The closer our beliefs come to conforming to reality, the better are our chances to survive and reproduce.
Re: Is Atheism Irrational? Plantinga thinks so...
February 26, 2014 02:57AM
It's difficult for me to believe that you, Plantinga, or anyone else can 'seriously' claim that they don't.

He doesn't believe that... He says content does affect behavior, but if materialism is true, only NP affects behavior!

Quote

Because if this belief — this structure — had a totally different content (even, say, if it was a belief that there is no beer in the fridge) but had the same neurophysiological properties, it would still have caused that same action of going to the fridge. This means that the content of the belief isn’t a cause of the behavior. As far as causing the behavior goes, the content of the belief doesn’t matter.

We could say the the NP includes the content, but that creates problems as well... e.g. Nobody would agree that 'all men are mortal' is true because we all have the exact same NP...
Re: Is Atheism Irrational? Plantinga thinks so...
February 26, 2014 03:29AM
I'd love to know how Plantinga defines 'material', it certainly can't be the same as what most modern scientists and philosophers of science mean when they talk about it. Does he consider 'force', or a 'field', or the curvature of space, to be matter, or what about mental events? I don't know of any scientists or philosophers who deny that they exist in and are a part of the material universe. And what, exactly, is "matter"? We've long since discarded the concept of matter as we picture it in our mind as something we can describe as solid or something ultimately made up of tiny solid (in the way we generally conceive them) particles. Is matter actually a probability or an event? Ask a quantum physicist! smiling smiley
Re: Is Atheism Irrational? Plantinga thinks so...
February 26, 2014 03:45AM
Materialism is the belief that only material reality exists (matter/energy) and everything is explained by materialistic forces. Evolution does not imply materialism. In fact, all that is necessary is that we assume naturalism is true ie methodological materialism, and there is no tension...

MM or MN (methodological naturalism) is where you assume naturalism solely for the method, or science... It's not some grand metaphysical claim...
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