Purpose is not a thing?

Key points I am responding to:

1. Purpose is not a thing, therefore if I create purpose, I do not create it out of nothing.

2. Purpose does not exist in space and time, cannot be pointed to or painted and such.

3. Purpose does not exist independently from the person that has it.

4. Purpose is not capable of causing effect.

5. Purpose is a word to describe intentions being fulfilled.

 

I agree with some of what you say here. Purpose is not a piece of matter existing in space and time causing effect. A agree that “purpose does not fall into this category.” So how does purpose exist? You ask me to show it to you, to point it out; and you want me to do so on purpose. You ask me to purposely paint it, or purposely do something to it. The problem, as you ask it, is that purpose is not something you can look at; it is something you look along with. Purpose does not cause effect; it is the guiding factor in the cause and effect fulfilling a specific intention. Purpose is something we apply or use to achieve specific ends or goals. As such, you cannot look at purpose; you can only look along purpose towards the end or goal it points to. And if you actually meet or fulfill the goal you set out to achieve, you can actually say you did it on purpose. Otherwise, if the goal is not met and something different is accomplished, you cannot say you did it on purpose.

But, if purpose is something we use, apply, or look along with, that does not relieve us of the responsibility of accounting for the fact that we have it. It is not material but it is there. To say it is not there, is to say so on purpose and to contradict one’s self. You say that purpose is not a thing; but a thing is just a certain kind of being, and being is the most comprehensive concept that we have, applying, as it does, to everything that exists. But, if purpose does not exist, that is to say, there is no guiding factor that we can use to achieve specific ends or goals, then no ends would be fulfilled except by happy accident. And we could not even take advantage of the circumstance to our benefit because we would be doing so on purpose, and as we have said, “there is no purpose.” Here is clear evidence for purpose — that we point to certain ends and goals and actually reach them repeatedly. We intend to grab a soda and actually do. We intend to paint a wall and actually do. We intend to type on the keyboard and actually do. If the same actions produced random, inexplicable, and unexpected results maybe we would never know purpose at all. It is repetition of the same causes with the same effects that shows purpose. Chains of cause and effect in this world that produce random results actually give us a contrast that highlights the purpose we do see.

You say, “Not only can I create purpose, any purpose assigned to me as the causal agent can only come from me.” And here is where you are confused. You are implicitly indicating that throughout the whole process of evolution from beginning to end nothing had purpose, not a single solitary thing; but all of a sudden at a certain point in man’s evolutionary development, man was the first and only one to have purpose. It’s like saying everything was blue throughout evolutionary history until man appeared and then he was red, but there was no such thing as red before man. Here is where you have to admit that purpose was there all along or else you abandon logic; because you are an effect of which the evolutionary process is the cause, and the cause cannot give the effect what it does not have. If the effect has purpose, so did the causes of that effect in some way or another. The only things that we know of that have purposes or give things purposes are causal agents, therefore it follows that a causal agent existed and included purpose in evolution in various ways in order to produce YOU who now have purpose and give purpose to things you make. A causal agent giving the universe purpose is what everyone usually understands to be God.

You say, “purpose is not an independent thing…” and I have to disagree with you. Logic leads me to. It is true that purpose comes from causal agents like yourself, but purpose also exists in the things that we make. For instance, a coffee maker contains purpose and its purpose, which we gave it, is to make coffee. Purpose exists in the coffee maker because we guided the materials involved to form a chain of cause and effect in such a way that the materials would produce coffee every time we push the button. Now, it doesn’t just work for the person who made it, it works for everyone else too. But, they didn’t give the coffee maker purpose. They didn’t form the chain of cause and effect to produce the specific effect of making coffee. They just have to push a button, and actualize the cause and effect chain. Therefore, the purpose that exists in the coffee maker is independent of its maker and anyone else, though it could not have contained it without the maker, and cannot be used without someone pushing the button. It’s clear that purpose once given to materials becomes independent.

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Backwards Ignorance of Evolution

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The truth most needed today is that the end is never the right end. The beginning is the right end at which to begin. The modern man reads everything backwards. He is like a blind man exploring an elephant, and condemned to begin at the very tip of its tail. But, he is still more unlucky; for when he has a first principle, it is generally the very last principle that he ought to have. He starts, as it were, with one infallible dogma about the elephant; that its tail is its trunk. He works that wrong way round on principle, and tries to fit all the practical facts into his principle. Because the elephant has no eyes is its tail-end, he calls it a blind elephant; and lectures on its ignorance, superstition, and lack of education. Because it has no tusks at its tail-end, he says that the tusks are a fantastic flourish attributed to a fabulous fanciful creature. Because it does not as a rule pick up things with its tail, he dismisses the magical story that it can pick up things with its trunk. He probably says it is plainly a piece of anthropomorphism to suppose that an elephant can pack its trunk. He becomes a pessimist; the world to him is not only an elephant, but a white elephant. He does not know what to do with it, and cannot be persuaded of the perfectly simple explanation; which is that he has not made the smallest real attempt to make head or tail of the animal. He will not begin at the right end; because he happens to have come first on the wrong end.

Having arrived at the wrong end, we have a problem: the problem of induction. The inductive method, this superstitious belief in the unchanging repetition of the universe as we know it, continues to see its own reflection as it glances at the history of the world. Perhaps we should call this tendency to see its own reflection “Inductomorphism”. The scientist has grasped evolution by the tail because that is the only thing he can grasp; and has declared, by the power of Inductomorphism, there were no “eyes” in its beginning. He sees no purpose at the end and declares the same for life’s beginning. He has grasped his ignorance and called it intelligence. Now, only the religious man keeps the scientist in check because the religious man has always started at the beginning.  It is the religious man who sees the world rightly as being backwards. He is not afraid to give modern intelligence its rightful name: ignorance. Only when we look backward in time without our modern spectacles do we see how much younger is the Tree of Knowledge than the Tree of Life.

(Much of this is an adaptation of Chesterton and Barfield.)

Who searches for truth and who has the truth?

Richard Dawkins questions God:

“The cheetah is superbly equipped for killing gazelles. The gazelle is superbly equipped to escape from those very same cheetahs. For heaven’s sake, who’s side is the designer on? Is he a sadist who enjoys the spectator sport? Did he who made the lamb make thee? Is it really part of the divine plan that the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the lion eat straw like the ox? In that case, what price the formidable carnassial teeth, the murderous claws of the lion and the leopard? Whence the breathtaking speed and the agile escapology of the antelope and the zebra?”

It reminds me of a previous questioner of God:

“Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? Ye shall not surely die. For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”

And yet I’m reminded of God’s questions:

“Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof? Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? He that reproveth God, let him answer it.”

Scientific Protestants dissenting from the Church of Darwin

Protestants are to the Roman Catholic Church what David Berlinski is to Darwinism.

In scientific observation we have but one Master, the natural universe, and it is our only acknowledged creed-book. I have endeavored to observe materials in the natural universe as though no one had seen them before me and I am as much on my guard against observing it today, through the medium of my own views yesterday, or a week ago, as I am against being influenced by any foreign name, authority, or system whatever, especially the dogmatism of Darwinism.

Click on the picture of David Berlinski below to see the video and join in the dissension.

You Just Don’t Understand Evolution

Some scientific intellectuals have elevated themselves to the point of priesthood. The common man hasn’t attained to their level of knowledge on the subject of evolution so when someone points out holes in the theory, they just say that you don’t understand how evolution works. They have become the new saviors of mankind, the new messiahs. We should all just trust their expertise. We should all read the same books and trust the authors know what they’re talking about. After all, scientists are the only ones with no bias, and with perfect reasoning. Once again, the truth is only accessible through the ones who can “interpret” correctly. It sounds pretty religious to me.

We need to be saved from these scientists just like we need to be saved from religious cults.

Farewell to Dr. Coyne

Whyevolutionistrue,

You said, “Frankly, I’m tired of your trolling”

Frankly, I’m tired of your willful ignorance. No other opinions can be heard, huh? If you want me to leave, just ask me to and I will leave you to your glorious bastion of atheism where opposing views are only allowed to be heard a short time and then silenced; where you congratulate yourself on how intellectual you are. If you didn’t want to hear me, you should have asked me to leave at the first comment. What’s the point of saying evolution is true when you get flustered at reading an opposing viewpoint? You obviously feel that it can’t stand up to the scrutiny. If your view is true, have no nothing to worry about. But, how will you know it’s true unless you allow yourself to be challenged? At least I traveled beyond my own religious box to be challenged, which is why I came to your site. I enjoy the debate, but if your going to get all offended, it’s not enjoyable anymore. Moreover, I can’t consider your version of truth seriously. I’m not done considering evolution, but I am done considering your views. I hope your right. If you are, it’s going to be purely by chance.

Evolutionary Contradiction

Can anyone find the contradiction in this picture?

Humans being a product of natural processes are being held responsible for their natural actions which pollute the world. Humans which were created by cause and effect brought about through natural mechanisms, cannot be held responsible for actions they have no control over. On the atheistic view, this is a natural product of the universe which seems to want to destroy itself through the actions of humans. There is no morality here, no obligation, just an observation of the natural outcome of the natural processes.

Examining the stuff inside the box

Some say that the question of our origins is answerable through science. Isn’t that circular reasoning? It’s like using the stuff inside the box to explain the box when we can’t even fully explain the origins of the stuff inside the box. We like to think “outside the box”, but what we are really doing is thinking about thinking outside the box. None of the theories are independently verifiable since we are all inside the “box”. We may better understand the “stuff” through observation but that has no direct bearing on its origin. The foundation of the theoretical claim cannot be accepted as absolutely true, because the very foundation is in dispute.

We will never have direct, observable, testable, and independently verifiable evidence for things that exist outside of the natural universe. To require that kind of evidence is to assume that non-material things can be found in the material itself which is a logical inconsistency. If no non-material things or no non-material causes of material things exist, then we are left with circular inside-the-box explanations of material origins, the very foundations of which are in dispute. Why is it in dispute? Because the materialistic philosophy of “all I see is all there is” is not rooted in science. It’s rooted in faith.

Atheists have effectively left an intellectual hole while leaving nothing to fill the hole with. Yet, we are encouraged to believe this is somehow not a problem. Faith in the hollow promise of a future answer is no foundation for rejecting faith in a Creator.

Dear Moral Borrowing Atheist,

Do you believe in the higher value of humans over non-human animals? If so, you are borrowing some of your morality from Theistic philosophy. Evolution provides no foundation for this higher value. The philosophy that has its foundation in evolution equates man with animals. In this view, man does not deserve a higher value than animals. This morality is based on one’s ability to suffer.

Is it more moral to kill a pig that can feel pain or a fetus that can’t feel pain? Atheists would save the pig. Is it less moral to eat bacon, seeing as how the pig can suffer and humans killed it, or practice cannibalism as long as the human died accidentally and the relatives say it’s OK? Atheists would enjoy a good batch of John Smith stew. Is it more moral to kill a deformed or mentally retarded infant so they won’t have to suffer all of their lives, or let them live (although this “suffering” is debatable)? Atheists choose to end the suffering. Some atheists would still let the child and the fetus live and also eat bacon, but if they do they betray the fact that their philosophy does not totally align itself with atheistic philosophy. They borrow from Theistic philosophy.

Would you be more disgusted at a picture of a dead fetus? Your answer will tell you what philosophy you live by.