Sunday, November 21, 2010

What atheists believe (part 2)

4) Of the Four Causes in nature proposed by Aristotle (material, formal, efficient, and final), which of them are real? Do final causes exist?
Not enough context to give a good answer.

5) Why do we have subjective experience, and not merely objective existence?

We are imperfect beings. Perfection doesn't exist in anything remotely complex. Objective experiences  would require that we process ever input perfectly from all points of view. We simply can't do that, so we are stuck with the alternative. 

6) Why is the human mind intentional, in the technical philosophical sense of aboutness, which is the referral to something besides itself? How can mental states be about something? 
 Question is meaningless to me. If someone will clarify it, I will give it a go...

7) Does Moral Law exist in itself, or is it an artifact of nature (natural selection, etc.)
Morals are simply a sense of fairness. It can be seen in other social mammals. It comes from nature in that treating fellow social members of your unit fairly increases your chances to breed, remain in the group, have your young cared for, etc. 

8) Why is there evil?
If you mean people who do bad things, because some people lack that sense of fairness. We care for all people and their kids. So morality is no longer being selected for in the same sense it would be if our society was under more survival pressure. Again, there is no such thing as perfection in this world. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What atheists believe (part 1)

Michael Egnor has Eight Questions for the New Atheists.  So I will take them on and answer them with my take. 

1) Why is there anything?

Simply. A state of nothingness can't exist. Even nothing is something. When I tell you to think of nothing, you can't. A state of nothingness is unstable and can't exist. 

2) What caused the Universe?
Whatever it was, it wasn't god. When you impose god as the cause, you get too many other stupid questions that pop up. What was god doing before the universe? Why now? Why us? What happens after for that eternity of which the bible speaks? What caused god? etc. I subscribe to the idea that cosmology will find the likely cause and whatever that is, gods will not  be part of the answer.

Watch a pot of water on the stove. As it approaches boiling, bubbles spontaneously form at the base of the pot. Same as our universe in some respects. 

3) Why is there regularity (Law) in nature?
Laws are simply things we see in nature. To assume that something put the laws there is absurd. The are part of nature, just as gravity is a by-product of having mass, that electrons have a negative charge. They weren't made to be like this and to have these laws, but the laws are our way of describing what we observe.

More to come later.....