Sunday, June 17, 2007

Egnor... doing it again. This time around he is trying to set up a thought experiment to show why things like love and purpose can't be made from "material" stuff. I urge anyone to read the entire article, if nothing else, for the chuckle-value. Below is an excerpt which kind of sums up his argument:

“What if the cell phone is necessary for all of the noises, but only sufficient for some? What if some of the noises in the phone are actual voices of living people, and are merely transmitted through the phone, but not caused by it?”
1) The cell phone is necessary for all of the noises
2) The cell phone is sufficient to produce noises that only have properties — like frequency and amplitude — that are shared with the circuitry in the cell phone itself
3) The cell phone is insufficient to fully account for the noises (i.e., the voices) that have meaning, because meaning is not a property of matter. The only thing that can cause meaning is a person.

Funnily enough, voices are composed of changes in frequency and amplitude - properties that are shared with the circuitry of the cell phone itself. Also, substitute the cell phone for any of a number of other electrical appliances, such as an mp3 player, and it is quite obvious that things with material properties can certainly convey meaning, without merely transmitting it. So, Egnor's Verizon accepter would continue to be a Verzon denier. Supposedly, if it was not understood how the mp3 player made voices, Egnor's Verizon would conclude that the mp3 player was not sufficient to do it. Egnor wants the unknown to be ascribed to his own immaterial theories, by default - even in the total absense of evidence FOR his claim.

The Verizon accepter shows that there is a method of determining whether the mind can be caused entirely by matter. If the mind has a property, such as meaning, that is not a property of matter, then matter, while perhaps necessary to the mind, is insufficient to cause it.
Notice that while Egnor says that he has supplied "a method of determining whether the mind can be caused entirely by matter", in this paragraph, he totally sidesteps it in favor of merely defining it impossible. So, not only does he want unknown causes to be ascribed to immaterial causes by default, he is outright claiming that there CAN'T be any evidence to the contary. Heavy stuff!

I suppose that this is a good time to take some cheap shots at Egnor: where do you reckon the voices in Egnor's head come from?


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