Archive for March 4th, 2012

March 4, 2012

What do we do next?

by Neil Rickert

In a recent post “Free will: what do we do next?“, Jerry Coyne wonders:

Given that we all agree on these issues, what comes next?

Well, it is really quite simple.  Nothing much comes next.  Given that it is all an illusion, you might as well set back and watch the illusion as it unfolds.  And, if we are unable to choose otherwise, then that is obviously what we shall do.

When thinking about this yesterday, …

Well you weren’t really thinking about it.  After all, thinking is that aspect of our lives where we consider ideas and make choices about them.  But if making choices is an illusion, as your view of “free will” asserts, then that thinking must also be an illusion.

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March 4, 2012

The reliability of perception

by Neil Rickert

In a recent post about Plantinga’s argument against naturalism, John Wilkins quotes Plantinga as arguing:

If our cognitive faculties have originated as Dawkins thinks, then their ultimate purpose or function (if they have a purpose or function) will be something like survival (of individual, species, gene, or genotype); but then it seems initially doubtful that among their functions—ultimate, proximate, or otherwise—would be the production of true beliefs.

John Wilkins seems to think that this is an objection that deserves a response, arguing that selection for fitness will provide a perception that generates true beliefs.

I disagree.  Plantinga is quite right.  There is no basis for expecting that perception of an evolved organism will produce true beliefs.  However, that’s a rather  hollow “victory” for Plantinga.  For there is also no basis for expecting that perception will produce false beliefs.  Quite simply, truth or falsity is not a criterion for perception.  As Al Gore might have put it, there is no controlling authority.

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March 4, 2012

In the beginning …

by Neil Rickert


Genesis 1:1 – In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

That seems to provide the basis for science, the study of the heaven (cosmology, physics) and the earth (geology, physics, chemistry, biology), the study of material things.

John 1:1 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

And that seems to provide for philosophy and theology, the study of abstract propositions and logic, the study of immaterial things, the basis for dualism.