From Solipsism to God

If you are willing to say that your thinking process has no beginning, then i can only conclude that you are not a serious person or a serious thinker. What more can be added? I grow tired of all the twisting and turning.

But that’s obviously not true. I know you have no problem with evolution so you’ll accept that there is a direct lineage from you - with an intellect, to something that crawled out of tbe ocean a few billion years ago - which had no intellect. And that is a direct lineage in the literal sense. So your intellect very gradually formed. It didn’t suddenly appear.

So was your argument incorrect to begin with but then became gradually a little more correct at each stage of development? That makes no sense.

That’s wrong. A nervous system gradually appeared and became more complex, and now we have the brains we have today. However, it would be a logical contradiction to think that the act of reasoning to an end, or to act for a reasoned purpose, is caused by or is essentially comprised of a blind natural process. Natural activity and intelligent activity is distinct in that one is a blind undirected process and the other is a purposeful directed process born out of intentionality; and as such they are not the same thing. Nature does not have intentionality, but we do. People simply take it for granted and assume that it makes sense to reduce it to bio-chemical reactions.

That’s not what I said. I said that my thinking process may be eternal. Meaning that it has existed since the beginning of time. You do agree that time has a beginning…right. So who’s to say that my beginning to think isn’t concurrent with the beginning of time?

It’s irrelevant. That’s not what i meant by something always existing, and i have explained what i meant. And if you agree that your thought processes have a beginning, then you have no rebuttal. Anything else is red herring.

So I assume that somewhere in the following is your definition of “always”.

I know that I can be rather dense at times, so could you please point out to me where in the above is your definition of always.

I would rule this out by establishing that the first cause is unchanging in so much that it is a necessary act of existence and thus cannot be what is not existentially necessary. Since my mind is changing, and is thus composed of potentiality and act, it cannot be said that my mind is either necessary or is comprised in anyway of that which necessarily exists.

This rules out pantheism

Since you seem to be hesitant to actually give me your definition of “always” let me give you mine.

Always: From the beginning of time to the end of time.

Would you like to propose an alternative definition?

If not, then my argument stands, it’s entirely possible that my thought processes have ALWAYS existed.

Even that aspect (working to an end) has developed. That there may an ultimate end (there isn’t) doesn’t affect the intellect other than it having an ability to consider it. Even a chimp grooming another chimp has an end in mind (to form a bond, hence to gain a supporter, thence to form a coalition, eventually to overthrow the tribe’s leader).

Even pack animals have an end in mind when they hunt. So keep going back in time and we can see this aspect of our intellect develop as well. So the question remains: Does your proposal also develop to become more correct? And the reverse: Does it become less correct as we move back?

Not what i meant.

I don’t see you as somebody with poor intelligence. I think you know exactly what i mean. And i think it would be very honest of you if you said that your thought processes have a beginning, they do not infinitely regress.

Any thing else is just a waste of time.

Intending an end is not a natural process.

If that is true, then so to it is true that chimps act with intention and it is not a natural process. But i just put that down to the fact that there is teleology in nature; creatures do not truly act with reasoned intention in mind, they act instinctively, and that instinct causes them to behave teleologically. And blind natural processes cannot be the ultimate cause of goal directed behaviour because blind natural processes do not act for a goal or create goal directed information.

The point is, there is a definite distinction between a blind natural process, and an act of intention. They are not the same thing.

Your missing the point. The fact that there is teleological behaviour in nature/goal directed behaviour, only further solidifies my argument. The idea that it developed over time is irrelevant.

Intentionality and the reasoning of the intellect on the other hand is a very definite thing and is not the same thing as instinct. It is something that no other creature before us as ever had.

I gotcha. You’ve got your hands full here anyway. My points tried to suggest that solipsism itself doesn’t get off the ground with premise 1. It’s just a Cartesian “given,” I suppose.

So you exhibit teleology but when a chimp does the same then that’s just instinct. OK, we can go with that.

Now it is undoubtedly true that at some point in the distant past a direct ancestor of yours, that chimp like creature, was exhibiting the exact same signs as out chimp in tbe earlier example. And you have said that that is not teleologocal behaviour - it is just natural instinct.

So now we can agree that that natural instinct back then has evolved in a direct line into true teleological acts now.

The question yet again stands. Was your proposal wrong then but gradually evolved into something correct?

You rationalise about your ends, you can extrapolate from things and comprehend things. An animal does not. it acts out of instinct, just like when some creatures are born they walk by themselves and just start doing things automatically without comprehending. It’s got nothing to do with reason. This is not a controversial idea. There is a clear distinction.

If i did, let me correct myself. It’s teleological behaviour and self evidently so.

No because what you intend to imply is logically impossible. Blind natural processes, by themselves, cannot act with intention because intentionality is not a blind natural process and blind natural processes do not act for a goal. There is on the other-hand teleology in nature. Certain qualities emerge withing organisms that cause creatures to act towards a goal, but nature is blind to it so it cannot be the ultimate cause of it. It cannot create goals since goals require foresight. Thus we need an intelligent cause to explain the existence of those goal directed qualities like instinct, traits that drive a creature to survive or reproduce or the flight or fight response for example; all those qualities that presuppose an environment in which to survive and live.

But when it comes to us, we are not driven by instinct alone, and we can create our own goals and act with our own reasoned intention and intellect.

It doesn’t. it fell as soon as you admitted goal direction into the conversation.

Well solipsism generally is the idea that we cannot know if the object of our minds has an extension beyond our minds, or that we cannot truly know what is beyond our minds.

I challenge that by beginning with what we have no choice but to accept…

  1. i think therefore i am. (you would not be thinking if you did not exist)

and

  1. Our thought processes are changing.

From there i go on to build an argument for God.

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You’re contradicting yourself it appears. You say it’s just animal instinct and then say that you need to correct yourself and it is self-evidently teleological. Teleology implies applying conscious thought to an end. As chimps undoubtedly do. If not then we can describe a flower turning to the sun in terms of teleology which serves no purpose for the discussion.

So let’s take it back a step and just decribe it as you said. As goal directed behaviour. You say that chimps for example are acting on instinct whereas we don’t. But yet again I have to say that it is factually correct to say that whatever animal instinct caused us to act via instinct in a way that can be described as goal directed behaviour has evolved to allow us to act intentionally in a way that can be described the same way. The point still stands however you wish to describe it. It is an evolved ability.

That said, at the point where it was simply natural instinct, your argument doesn’t work. And now (you say) it does. So the argument must have co-evolved to be more correct. Which is nonsense.

I think i have made my self clear. Instinct involves teleological behaviour.

But that is not the same as reasoned intentionality, even though this involves acting for a goal also.

Why has goal directing qualities emerged within the universe? Well, one cannot logically argue that it’s ultimate cause is a blind physical process since a blind physical universe does not act for a purpose and does not have the foresight to create goals. So the existence of this self-evident teleology in nature is caused by God.

No. it involves any goal directed behaviour

I never said that we don’t have instincts. I said that we have the power of reason and intentionality also.

Intentionality has not evolved. Nervous systems and brains have evolved. You think that materialism is true and so you think that this includes the power of intention, but as i have said, the power intention is not a blind physical process and is not the same thing as an instinct either, and to argue otherwise leads to contradiction. An instinct is what drives an organism to a goal that we would otherwise reason about. It’s not the same thing as rational behaviour, although it may seem that way. So to keep arguing what you feel is a valid point does nothing to undermine the argument. It is the argument you must address, and you cannot resolve it by presenting a materialistic interpretation of evolution and asserting that this is in fact the theory of evolution. And despite your interpretation it leads to a contradiction, so your argument is necessarily wrong.

It is your materialism that is in error and you are conflating it with the theory of evolution.

Evolutionary theory is formed from material evidence. To accuse me of conflating evolution with something on which it is based is nonsensical.

But intentionalty has not evolved? OK. Then I’m pretty certain that if I asked you where it came from then you’d say God (if you don’t know then you are simply making an assumption and your case falls at that point).

On the assumption that you believe this ability is God-given then may I suggest you put that at point 1 and you need go no further.

‘God has given us the ability to act intentionally, therefore…um…God exists’.

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