Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Incinerating Presuppositionalism: Year Nine

Today is the ninth anniversary of Incinerating Presuppositionalism! Yes, that’s right – on March 26, 2005, I posted my first entry on this blog. So as I do on every birthday my blog has, I am posting the list of entries that I published over the previous year, since the last birthday.

This past year has seen a huge amount of activity. Yes, I’ve been quite busy with my blog, especially over the past six months. Somehow, in spite of my hectic schedule of a full workload, raising my daughter, dodging six-foot long reptiles, etc., I’ve managed to find time to continue arguing for my verdicts and telling the world what I’ve learned.

So without any further ado, here’s this year’s list in continued enumeration:
303. On the Validity of the Senses - April 3, 2013
307. Klouda-ing the Issue - June 21, 2013
308. TAG Defeated in One Fell Swoop - June 26, 2013
311. Presuppositionalist Pseudolosophy - August 21, 2013
312. Hodge’s Hedgings - August 24, 2013
313. STB: Three Years and Counting - August 27, 2013
315. My August Comments to B.C. Hodge - September 29, 2013
316. The Primacy of the Inner over the Outer - October 17, 2013
318. Behold How the Holy Ones Speak - October 24, 2013
319. Reason vs. Faith - October 26, 2013
320. Twerking for Jesus - October 31, 2013
322. The Moral Code of Life - November 6, 2013
324. For Jonathan - November 14, 2013
325. Examining Stefan’s Presuppositionalism - November 16, 2013
344. Jason Lisle on Logic - March 9, 2014
345. On Romans 1:20-21 - March 10, 2014
346. Jason Lisle on Axioms - March 14, 2014
350. A Logical God? - March 24, 2014
As you will see, Year Nine covered a lot of ground! As has been in the past, nothing has changed – I still have lots more in store for IP in the coming weeks, months and years.
So stay tuned, but try to be patient as I’m quite busy these days. At this time, I am relocating to a new condo in central Bangkok, so over the next few weeks I will be quite busy. Then I will need to adjust to new surroundings, which will be crowded with people instead of reptiles and other creeping things. I won’t miss the four-, six- and eight-legged critters (at all!), but living in a very densely populated part of an enormous city will take some getting used to. Well, it’s all part of the adventure of life!
by Dawson Bethrick

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38 Comments:

Blogger Ydemoc said...

Dawson,

Congratulations on another great year!

Ydemoc

March 26, 2014 9:39 AM  
Blogger wakawakwaka said...

another wonderful year of refuting nonsense

March 26, 2014 1:53 PM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Good morning Dawson. Thank you for sticking with Incinerating Presuppositionalism. Your work in conjuction with the other Objectiist Philosophers has helped me live a better life. You should write a book which would be an Objectivism primer combining the ideas found in OPAR and ITOE and VOS into convenient epub or mobi format. Current human civilization, if it is to avoid the sorts of self-collapse plaguing past civilizations, needs be more objective oriented. Then again, most likely if you were to write such a book, it'd not make sufficient difference, for most are committed to a worldview of blatant subjectivity.

:) - Thanks again for what you do, and keep it up.

March 29, 2014 6:18 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Dawson, check out Dr Sproul who claims to be a Classical Apologist and who offers a critique of Presuppositionalism, but who holds that reason, Law of Non-Contradiction, causalty, and validity of the senses are presuppositions (15:05-15:22 of the video) rather than self-evident truths. Would this make for a worthy blog topic?

March 29, 2014 10:05 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Opps, I forgot the link to the video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4xyK1t6eyQ&feature=share&list=PL6attS4PbTfw8fli3BSBZNhSYbOQd5NZh

March 29, 2014 10:06 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hi Robert,

Thanks for the link. I will have to check it out later. I am heading out tonight to Laos on some urgent business. I expect to be back sometime Wednesday, but I'll probably still be pretty busy until next weekend.

Until then, have a good week!

Regards,
Dawson

March 30, 2014 1:43 AM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

If anyone is interested, See Matt Dillahunty miss the 800 pound stolen concept hiding in plain sight.

http://court-of-reality.blogspot.com/2014/04/eric-lounsbery-and-matt-dillahunty.html

April 12, 2014 12:19 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hi Justin,

Thanks for posting a link to your latest blog entry. I started reading it and then came to the link for the recent debate and then started listening to that... Then I started taking notes when Eric Lounsbery read off his list of premises... Wow... I'm deviating way off course... Anyway, I plan to get back to your blog entry, as I was just getting started and got sidetracked quite quickly! So far it's all a wonderful feast!

Anyway, lots going on, will try to get another blog entry up myself in the next couple days. Stay tuned!

Regards,
Dawson

April 12, 2014 5:30 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

No worries dawson. If you wait long enough you can view my first youtube video. I am as I write this making a video version of my blog post of uploading. I want to be like all the other cool kids and go vlogging:)

April 12, 2014 5:57 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Oh, that sounds great, Justin. I'm looking forward to that. Do post a link once it's up!

April 12, 2014 6:00 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

April 12, 2014 8:02 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Justin,

Please re-check the link. This one goes to a dashboard of sorts. There must be another link for the video itself.

Eagerly waiting!
Dawson

April 12, 2014 8:20 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

OK try this one and please delete the post with the bad link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8OGDrFIICM

April 12, 2014 8:22 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Okay, Justin, going there now!!

Thanks!!

April 12, 2014 8:30 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

the Eric Lounsbery Matt Dillahunty debate can be found here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UiNEuz6wstM

April 12, 2014 8:50 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Justin,

I thought that your YouTube presentation was very well done. Some of the points you covered reminded me of an interaction I had with a couple of apologists while I was sitting on a bench in downtown Culver City.

While sitting there waiting for my wife's car to be serviced, I was approached two apologists. At one point in our rather brief exchange, one of them basically said to me, "Look around you... Where do you think all this came from?"

What this apologist was essentially asking me (but clearly failed to realize), was: "From what place did everything come from, including all 'places'?"

The fallacious nature of such a question is quite evident as soon as it's brought out that this is what is being asked. It's a stolen concept through and through.

Ydemoc

April 12, 2014 9:22 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Ydemoc

Thanks, I thought I spoke to softly at times and could have articulated my points better. What did you think of the accompanying fractal images. That was all original work and I hoped it looked good.

April 12, 2014 10:00 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Justin,

I listened to your first vid. Great voice by the way.

I’m not sure I agree that the statement “something cannot come from nothing” commits the fallacy of the stolen concept. I think your analysis of the concept ‘bachelor’ was fine. But it’s not clear that the statement “something cannot come from nothing” is in any way akin to saying “all men are bachelors” – a statement which does breach the concept hierarchy. A difference between the two statements is that one is affirmative while the other is negative. Also, the term “something” is not all-inclusive; it does not denote everything in existence (whereas “all men” is all-inclusive). Thus it allows that other things exist, which would satisfy conditions for the existence of time (which would mean that time is not being implicitly denied). Perhaps I didn’t catch everything you stated, but it seems that your case for the statement “something cannot come from nothing” treats “something” as though it were equivalent to meaning everything. Or, am I missing something?

I would agree that the question which Ydemoc cited, namely “where do you think all this came from?” (assuming “all this” is intended to mean everything in existence) is conceptually fallacious, and I would hope that even theists could understand why, given some explanation if it were not readily apparent to them. But again, we have in such a case an all-inclusive descriptor and also a positive assumption – namely that “all this” did come from something to begin with.

I frankly don’t see anything wrong with stating something along the lines of “existence did not come from non-existence.” In fact, I don’t think existence “came from” anything; I don’t think existence “came” into being. I don’t start with non-existence, and since I do start with existence, I see no need to try to explain how existence came into being.

If I were debating Lounsbery and he affirmed the premise “something cannot come from nothing,” I’d say: “Okay, that rule out creation ex nihilo. Case closed.”

Anyway, if I’m missing some key part of your case, please correct me. I’ve been undercaffeinated lately. Also, it’s Songkran Day here in Thailand, which is celebrated by folks splashing each other with water in public. So when I was out a bit ago just trying to find a replacement for the light bulb that went out this morning, I got doused… It may have knocked a few wires loose. ;)

Regards,
Dawson

April 12, 2014 10:05 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Dawson

Thank you for your input. If I were to distill down my point it would be this. We have a mental model consisting of two points in time. At time 0 we have nothing and at time 1 we have something. Between the two we have something created ex-nihilo. However this is a contradiction as if there is time at time 0 there is something thus we have something at time 0. The statement loses coherency at this point. Thats it, nothing more. My point is I think valid only if one considers time a entity onto its self. If it is not then the way is open for quantum mechanic counter examples.

April 12, 2014 10:17 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hi Justin,

I agree that affirming that existence came from nothing commits the fallacy of the stolen concept (which is sufficient to deny the view that it did). Not, however, because it denies the basis of time as such, but because it denies the basis of causality as such. Time presupposes causality.

But notice your own description of the problem: “At time 0 we have nothing and at time 1 we have something.” This describes the view that *everything* (not just “something”) came from nothing. Thus it’s all-inclusive. But I don’t think the statement “something came from nothing” = “everything came from nothing.” While I don’t think any concretes come from nothing (i.e., from “non-existence”), the statement “something came from nothing” is not directly incompatible with the prior existence of other things. For example, suppose the universe exists. Thus the preconditions for causality and time are in play. Then “something” comes into existence – this “something” being an addition to everything that already exists. In terms of strict logic, the statement “something came from nothing” is compatible with such a situation.

But I don’t think that’s what Lounsbery had in mind. Then again, it’s hard to know what exactly he had in mind – 1) I didn’t look at the older debate, and 2) I find theism utterly incoherent to begin with. Even theists themselves do not say *everything* came out of nothing, for they want to say that their god has existed for all eternity and did not come into being at all – it’s just always been there. They just don’t like the idea of starting without a form of consciousness as the source of it all. And yet, they never explain how physical things can come into being as a result of some conscious activity. That is purely imaginary.

In the more recent discussion between Dillahunty and Lounsbery, most of which I have listened to, I noticed a missed opportunity on Dillahunty’s part. During the cross-examination I believe, Lounsbery references a scenario described earlier in the debate about some writing on the ground at a beach or something. This is taken as evidence of design. Dillahunty is correct that “design” is conceptually meaningful only in contrast to what is not designed – i.e., nature as such. But where he failed is in conceding an important premise of Lounsbery’s – one that Lounsbery himself does not seem to appreciate fully. At one point in the exchange, Lounsbery asks Dillahunty if intelligence is all that is needed to explain the words discovered written at the seashore (not sure if they were drawn in sand with a stick or if they were formed by rocks being placed in the form of letters, but either way doesn’t matter). Dillahunty concedes that intelligence would be sufficient. But I would not do this. I’m intelligent (sort of anyway), but neither my intelligence alone nor anyone else’s would be sufficient for such an arrangement. Intelligence would be a necessary factor, but it would not in itself be sufficient. The intelligent being would need to *move* the rocks (or the stick if it’s a drawing) in order to manipulate the environment to conform with the intended design. I know of no evidence which suggests that intelligence alone is sufficient to do this. This would be analogous to manipulating physical objects by mere wishing. But this is what Lounsbery’s case requires, and it appears that Dillahunty did not catch this. Without this premise, Lounsbery’s case will crumble to ashes.

Anyway, just my $0.02.

Regards,
Dawson

April 12, 2014 10:50 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Justin,

I thought the images of fractals were interesting -- when I was looking at them. To tell you the truth, most of the time I found myself looking away from the screen as I was listening to you. Doing so seemed to help me concentrate a little better on what you were saying.

But don't take this to mean that I thought the fractals were distracting -- not at all, although I must admit that at one point when I looked closely at one of those images on the screen, I thought I detected in the fine details a slight resemblance to some of your animated cartoon characters. Of course, this may have been me just imagining things. But it did prompt me to wonder whether or not you had designed these fractals yourself.

Now I have my answer: You did!

At one point while watching, I also thought how it might have been helpful to have had written-out summaries of certain key points. Maybe a sentence or two, every so often, superimposed over the fractals.

Ydemoc

April 13, 2014 7:16 AM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Dawson

Thank you again, your words assist in clarifying the issue for me. Eric's chosen words originally were to ask if something can come from nothing. If empty space (vacuum) and time are considered something then the answer to his question is yes. The casmir effect as well as other we known and testable quantum mechanical phenomena attest to this. However Eric wanted to exclude space and time the necessary preconditions to causality. This is where the shift occurs that I thank you for pointing out. Once we exclude space and time then the question removes the conditions required for causation making the term "comes form" meaningless. I should have used the term causality in my blog and video. I would have made it much clearer and to the point.

"Not, however, because it denies the basis of time as such, but because it denies the basis of causality as such. Time presupposes causality."

Yes indeed. I need to rewrite by article, I should have said no time no causality. No causality no "comes from"

April 13, 2014 7:41 AM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Ydemoc

That is an excellent suggestion and in fact I am working on how to do just that. This was my very first effort at making a video, still learning a lot. If anyone is curious I used KDEnlive to record the audio. Gnofract4d to render the fractals. Openshot to edit and render the actual video. All of this done on Debian Linux:) It was a blast and now that I have a handle on it I want to post ones that concern scientific issues of interest. Ones with my own animations and yes I have given thought to my old cartoon characters as well. Anyway guys take care and be prosperous.

April 13, 2014 7:46 AM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Dawson

I am so thick headed, I see my mistake now clearly. I mistook a metaphysical requirement for an epistemological one. Just like there is a concept hierarchy there is a hierarchy of physical dependence. Nothing says that they have to mirror each other. The order of the concepts need not match the order of the referents. Physically causality depends of there being a spacetime continuum, at least thats our modern understanding in physics. However in our conceptualization time is a measurement of the difference between events and thus presupposes causality. So the question can something come from nothing is not a stolen concept fallacy necessarily but is still self defeating. What would we call this then or am I still way off base and banging my head against my desk?

April 13, 2014 6:44 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hi Justin,

Thanks for your thoughts. Also, thanks for introducing me to fractals. When I watched your video yesterday, I was not sitting in front of my computer for most of the time, so I only saw one image on your broadcast. I looked at it and thought it was a torn hamper. Boy, was I off! This just goes to confirm that perception and identification are two different cognitive functions. Anyway, I was doing some stuff in my condo while your voice was booming through the air. Just think, your voice has been heard in Bangkok!

As for the something from nothing idea, my concern is that we avoid the rationalistic approach, which gravitates to treating issues as mere exercises of logic without sufficient evidence. We often hear thinkers talk about what’s “logically possible.” This is a red flag to me, given what I’ve seen so repeatedly over the years. “Logically possible” essentially means, in a great many of the cases when it is affirmed, nothing more than “conceivable” without directly contradicting some other notion that is held to be true. It is not reasoning that begins with facts, but with declarations that are simply stipulated to be true (“axioms” in the non-Objectivist sense, or “presuppositions” as we’ve seen among Christian apologists). This means that imagination can serve as a substitute for facts. One might say it’s “logically possible” that human beings can breathe water. This might not be supported by facts (indeed, it isn’t), but that doesn’t bother such thinkers – they say it’s “logically possible” because it does not contradict “truths” which are taken to be analytical in nature (i.e., “true by definition” – which equals “true by stipulation”). Facts are not the guide in such thinking because facts are “contingent” rather than “necessary.” There’s no “necessary” reason, on such a view, that man should have lungs fitted for breathing air instead of gills fitted for breathing water. It could have been different, they say. Thus, given this anti-objective conception of possibility, whatever a thinker might imagine is thus deemed “logically possible” so long as it is not along the lines that “it’s logically possible that 2 + 2 = 5,” since things like “2 + 2 = 4” are taken to be “analytic truths” and thus cannot possibly be otherwise. All of this contorted sophistry ultimately originates in a false theory of concepts. If you haven’t read Peikoff’s “The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy” in Rand’s Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, I strongly suggest a very close study of this essay. It tips over many sacred cows.

All this is to say that, when it comes to considering proposals such as “something can come from nothing,” it’s crucial to look at the facts. Facts are our friends, as Andrew Bernstein once said in a lecture. We need to go by the facts, not by alternatives to facts that we can fantasize in our imaginations. So what do the facts say on this matter? Do we have factual evidence of things coming into existence from nothing? If anyone affirming the view that something can come from nothing, where’s the evidence? Let’s see a demonstration. I’m hungry now – let’s see a plate of fried rice pop into existence on my dining room table. If that’s not what he’s affirming, what exactly is he affirming, and what factual basis (if any) does he have for this? If he simply says it’s “logically possible,” then he’s misappropriating both logic and possibility.

Much of this kind of thinking pervades some sectors of the physical sciences, especially physics itself, thanks in large part to the toxic influence of Kant.

[continued…]

April 13, 2014 8:37 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

You write that “Physically causality depends of there being a spacetime continuum, at least thats our modern understanding in physics.” No doubt this is a common assumption in the modern understanding of physics. It was adopted from Kant and accepted as one of those analytic truths. But on this view, what is the relationship between causality and things that exist? I don’t know. I really don’t know what “spacetime continuum” is supposed to denote. Is it an entity? Is it a group of entities? Is it a background? Is it something we imagine? What does it look like? Is it a broad abstraction? If so, I don’t see how it could be conceptually irreducible. You’re right that the epistemological hierarchy does not have to track the hierarchy we find in the world. For example, when I was a little child making discoveries about the world, I was forming my first concepts for the things that I directly perceived. My father has a heart, lungs, digestive system, nervous system, etc., just as all fathers do, and their continued existence depends on all these functioning sufficiently. But even though that suggests a metaphysical hierarchy, I was unaware of these things when I first formed the concept ‘father’.

But again, I admit I’ve always been confused by the notion of a “spacetime continuum,” even though many thinkers seem to use it as though its meaning and truth were self-evident. For one thing, I don’t think the concept ‘space’ denotes a thing. If I’m going to bring a new sofa into my house, I don’t say “Oh, there’s a space – let’s remove the space in order to make room for the sofa.” It seems that the concept ‘space’ denotes the absence of existents. But existents do exist, and thus the concept ‘space’ seems to have been formed in distinction to things that exist. If so, then epistemologically ‘space’ is not fundamental; existents are. But should we then say that space (qua absence of things that exist) is metaphysically fundamental? On what basis would we say that it is? Since we start with the fact that existence exists, it seems utterly unnecessary to suppose that we need to “account for” the fact that things exist searching for an explanation of how existence “got here.” Such a move would suggest that, in spite of our knowledge of the fact that existence exists, we need to treat the matter as if non-existence were our true starting point. But why should we do this? What facts indicate that this is the proper course of thinking about metaphysics? I know of none, and going that direction only leads to absurdities (since now you have to have a cause for existence, but causality presupposes existence, so many thinkers have abandoned causality and just say that existence came into being without a cause, etc.).

Anyway, I hope I’m not going too far off on tangents here. My point is that I’m highly suspicious of the view that causality depends on something called “a spacetime continuum.” Causality is the relationship between an entity and its own actions. So causality depends on there being things that exist. Time is the measurement of motion, and is essentially epistemological in nature (since measurement is a cognitive process). What time measures – i.e., motion, action – is metaphysical. Actions happen whether we take note of them or not. And if you recall when I make the point about the universality of concepts, I have explained that two crucial measurements omitted in forming concepts of entities are time and place (not “space”). So I have tried my best to be consistent in all this.

[continued…]

April 13, 2014 8:37 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

I realize that the views I’ve presented (in brief!) here will likely ruffle the feathers of many a physicist, especially if they are from the Neils Bohr camp. I have no training in physics, so I’m no authority on the matter. But I’ve always been suspicious of many of the claims I’ve heard attributed to leading physicists of the day. There tends to be a fundamental reversal going on from at least some of the physics crowd, namely the attempt to base philosophy on the discoveries and conclusions championed in one physics camp or another. This is extremely dangerous in my view. Physics is a branch of the special sciences. Science is the systematic application of reason to some specific area of study. Thus we need reason before we can even embark on any of the special sciences. Where do we get our understanding of reason? From philosophy. We need rational philosophy to guide our scientific endeavors, otherwise reason becomes a stolen concept.

Tell you what, Justin, if you haven’t already, please listen to Jan Irvin’s two interviews with David Harriman. You can find them here:

Part 1

Part 2

Though Harriman brings out much more in these interviews than I could have hoped for, he confirms many of my suspicions. I’d be very curious to know your thoughts on the points and criticisms that Harriman raises. I think the bottom line is that physics today is a real mess that is in dire need of fundamental cleanup and overhaul.

Okay, I have to get some work done. Chat with you later!

Regards,
Dawson

April 13, 2014 8:38 PM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello Friends. As always, it's fun to discuss important ideas.

Dawson wrote: I agree that affirming that existence came from nothing commits the fallacy of the stolen concept (which is sufficient to deny the view that it did). Not, however, because it denies the basis of time as such, but because it denies the basis of causality as such. Time presupposes causality.

Ayn Rand placed these words in the mouth of John Galt. "The law of causality is the law of identity applied to action. All actions are caused by entities. The nature of an action is caused and determined by the nature of the entities that act; a thing cannot act in contradiction to its nature ."

Time is what is measured on a clock, a gradation of sequential occurrence of action presupposing not only casualty but entity-mass-energy and this very Hilbert Space. If Eric's argument turned on stolen concepts denying all that, then it was misdirected indeed.

Best Wishes for a Making it a Great Day

April 14, 2014 7:06 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Dawson suggested > ". If you haven’t read Peikoff’s “The Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy” in Rand’s Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, I strongly suggest a very close study of this essay. It tips over many sacred cows."

I have a public domain PDF version of ITOE on my Google drive folder. Here's the link if anyone wishes to have the file.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6Uib8vbFDOCUVlULWZURUlhWU0/edit?usp=sharing

April 14, 2014 7:19 AM  
Blogger Robert Bumbalough said...

Hello Friends> Dawson's intelligent observation demands elaboration. He wrote: . I really don’t know what “space-time continuum” is supposed to denote. Is it an entity? Is it a group of entities? Is it a background? Is it something we imagine? What does it look like? Is it a broad abstraction? If so, I don’t see how it could be conceptually irreducible.

The lack of answers for these salient questions has nagged humanity since our ancestors first found themselves reproductively isolated from our progenitor hominid species. However, these question are now answered by the family of Chaotic Inflation Hypotheses now confirmed by discovery of B-Mode Polarizations in the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation.

Victor Stenger's cogent presentation in "Fallacy of Fine Tuning" section 5.3 provided a bit of detail regarding what the cosmic inflation business is about.

[img]http://twitpic.com/e159ux/full[/img]

The Friedmann equations are a set of equations in physical cosmology that govern the expansion of space in homogeneous and isotropic models of the universe within the context of general relativity. They were first derived by Alexander Friedmann in 1922[1] from Einstein's field equations of gravitation for the Friedmann–Lemaître–Robertson–Walker metric and a perfect fluid with a given mass density \!\rho and pressure \!p. The equations for negative spatial curvature were given by Friedmann in 1924.[2]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedmann_equations

The offshot of Kazanas, Guth, and Lindi's solution to Friedman's equations is that space-time, isn't the irreducible primary. Space is what happens when an Inflaton particle spontaneously nucleates from a false vacuum via Casmir effect and interacts with an inflaton field. Prior to K, G, and L's discovery nobody had a clue about this, but it is now confirmed by observations of B-Mode Polarizations in the CMBR.

That space-time isn't an irreducible primary is evident from the Cosmological Constant, Λ (greek letter lamda), vacuum energy of our Hilbert space. It precisely offsets the positive rest mass, kinetic, gravitational potential energies of existence such that the overall energy of the universe is zero. Space-time isn't primary, nor is mass or matter. Stenger again explains.

In quantum field theory, elementary particles are described as the “quanta” or excitations of certain abstract quantum fields. For example, the photon is the quantum of the electromagnetic field. The electron is the quantum of the Dirac field. In general, the quantum field is a multidimensional mathematical function that has a set of values at each point in space-time and accounts for all the particles of a given type, such as photons or electrons, at those points in space-time.

Stenger, Victor J. (2011-05-19). Fallacy of Fine-Tuning, The: Why the Universe Is Not Designed for Us (Kindle Locations 2593-2596). Prometheus Books. Kindle Edition.

Vacuum polarizations in quantum fields, including the Higgs Field, provide the excitations that manifest as the fundamental particles and space-time. Such quantum fields are the irreducible primaries. This is by no means a satisfying answer because the fields can't be detected, but they are in the models that describe reality and successfully predict how reality behaves. However, this is what I think modern physics indicates, and even if what is perceived isn't irreducible, no significant changes to Objectivism are mandated because consciousness still can't directly make, cause, manipulate or modify the underlying quantum fields that provide the excitations that form reality. This is known because existence is point of view invariant such that regardless of where or when an observer resides the maths in the models remain valid to describe and predict reality.

(Disclaimer: a proper understanding of these issues requires years of intense study of many thick and complex books. I don't have such an education and welcome correction to my current understanding.)

April 14, 2014 8:26 AM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hi Robert,

Thanks for posting this. Readers should find this very helpful.

Okay, my wife just got back from a business trip to Costa Rica today. We went out and had a huge dinner. I'm so stuffed I can hardly move. I had planned on doing some more writing tonight, but I think I need to lay down!

Regards,
Dawson

April 14, 2014 8:28 AM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Dawson

I will have some time to devote to this thursday, busy until then sorry.

@Robert

I like the suggestion that you left on my youtube channel. Id love to put videos explaining many of the logical fallacies we encounter when dealing with apologists such as stolen concept and package dealing. However I would want Dawson to either review the text first or if he is willing write it himself. I can add accompanying graphics to assist in making the verbal points.

April 14, 2014 9:12 AM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Robert

you said... "Vacuum polarizations in quantum fields, including the Higgs Field, provide the excitations that manifest as the fundamental particles and space-time. Such quantum fields are the irreducible primaries. This is by no means a satisfying answer because the fields can't be detected, but they are in the models that describe reality and successfully predict how reality behaves. However, this is what I think modern physics indicates, and even if what is perceived isn't irreducible, no significant changes to Objectivism are mandated because consciousness still can't directly make, cause, manipulate or modify the underlying quantum fields that provide the excitations that form reality. This is known because existence is point of view invariant such that regardless of where or when an observer resides the maths in the models remain valid to describe and predict reality. "

I could not agree more, regardless of the nature of space and time wishing still don't make it so

April 17, 2014 6:28 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Dawson

OK, I viewed both parts of the interview. Many thoughts and points I'd like to cover and I need time to digest what I have listened too. I think I will post something this weekend. Hope all is well.

April 17, 2014 6:29 PM  
Blogger Ydemoc said...

Justin,

Thanks for the heads up about my email for Ydemoc! I hope you didn't experience any problems as a result. I, too, received a suspicious email -- from "myself"! Fortunately, I'd seen this kind of thing before and did not click on the link.

I checked my "Sent Mail" box for Ydemoc, but it shows nothing that was recently outgoing to you or anyone else, so I suspect that it's somebody trying to use my email as a ruse of some sort, to get folks to click on the link they send. In any event, I've changed my password out of caution.

Thanks again!

Ydemoc

April 20, 2014 5:54 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Ydemoc

No worries. One of the benefits of running Linux is that I rarely have to worry about such things. Also google warned me that it was suspicious. Anyway I hope all is well and taken care of

April 20, 2014 6:21 PM  
Blogger Justin Hall said...

@Dawson

I am still working on writing up something for my blog concerning the Harriman interview. In doing research I found this and thought it might be of interest. If you want a good understanding of space and time in light of general and special relativity check out this video. The part relevant to space time starts at about 19 minutes in

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iPZNgzi9Aw

April 20, 2014 10:30 PM  
Blogger Bahnsen Burner said...

Hi Justin,

Thanks for your comment and the link to the video. I'm glad you got a chance to listen to the David Harriman interviews. Naturally, I would expect what he says there to ruffle a lot of feathers in the physics establishment. As they say, pioneers always take the first arrows. Questioning the physcis establishment's pronouncements has come to resemble defiance of the Inquisition. Harriman brings out some examples of this going back to the 30's and 40's. Pretty alarming actually.

I'm still using my DTAC aircard for my internet connection, which is miserably slow - too slow for streaming audio and video. Once I get real internet (hopefully this week?), I should have the necessary connectivity to enjoy the Youtube video you posted. Then all I will need is time, which is desperately fleeting!

In the meantime, I have posted a new blog entry:

A Reply to Dave McPhillips on Bahnsen’s Treatment of the Problem of Evil

I wrote this in response to a comment posted on an earlier blog about Bahnsen's proposed response to the problem of evil.

Okay, time for breakfast!

Regards,
Dawson

April 21, 2014 4:52 PM  

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