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Intelligent Design’s Abject Failure

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

I shall argue that Behe’s Irreducible Complexity fails to invalidate a proper understanding of Darwinian evolution by natural selection by considering three ways in which evolution might adequately explain seemingly irreducible complexity. I shall then argue that even granting Behe the falsity of evolution is insufficient to establish an Intelligent Designer. Lastly, I shall couple Behe with Dembski’s argument for reliable empirical indication of intelligent causation, and show this strongest version of Intelligent Design to be a fallacious argument from ignorance at worst or most charitably understood as an ultimately unwarranted inference to best explanation.

φ

It should be noted that (more…)

What does it mean to ‘change the past’ and is it possible?

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

 

“I want to change the past,” Tina insisted. “What good’s a time-machine if it can’t even change the past?” The flickering lights on the head of Tina’s robot servant, Chipton, turned red in response. “Your request is irrational. The past is the set of events preceding the present. One cannot change a set while retaining its identity; it would be a different set. Your request is tantamount to a desire for an event to have happened and not happened at the same time.” Tina frowned and shook her head. “Oh, you and your cold, mechanical words! That’s most certainly not what I mean by ‘changing the past.’ I just want to live in a world where something else happened in 1921 – with a different set from ours if you will – what’s so irrational about that?”

φ

 

I shall disambiguate between three meanings of (more…)

Exotic Qualia, Functionalism & Martian Zombies

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

Can functionalism ever escape Exotic Qualia objections?

I shall formulate a meta-argument encompassing all Exotic Qualia problems and argue that while Lewis and Horgan might successfully escape certain guises of the problem neither eradicates it completely. I then suggest the only promising defence of functionalism therefore is a Chalmers-approach.

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I take functionalism as the position that mental states are states that play a specific causal role in regards to their causes and effects, to other mental states, and to the behaviour of the individual.

(more…)

Presentism, Penguins & The Le Poidevin-Russell Prong

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

Can the presentist escape the Last Thursdayism objection against truthmaking?

ThursdayI shall argue the Last Thursdayism objection against presentist truthmaking is inescapable; since it is a consequence of a sole existing privileged present – intrinsic to all presentisms – and not of any particular presentist truthmaker theory. I shall consider how the truthmaker theories of Rhoda and Cameron fare against the objection – the former because of its unique relevance to the objection; the latter because it is the most sophisticated presentist truthmaker theory.

Presentism is the position that only the present exists. An easy way to understand this is (more…)

Spacetime Worms

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

Except for the occasional sceptic, we all believe that things persist through time (Loux, Readings, p. 321).

Endurantism and perdurantism are the views that temporal persistence of a thing is respectively explained either by its existing wholly and completely at different times or by its having three-dimensional parts at different times, which constitute a four-dimensional whole – or ‘spacetime worm.’ Since these two views usually arise from two different temporal ontologies, namely that of presentism – only the present exists – and eternalism – time is a dimension on par with the spatial dimensions – I shall treat endurantism and perdurantism as interchangeable with their intuitively corresponding ontologies.

Since I am torn on this issue rather than trying to convince the reader I shall devote this essay on an analysis of why perdurantism, which is the view to which I lean the most, appeals to me but why I am still hesitant to embrace it fully.

Scientific Considerations

I should be a perdurantist because I believe that GPS is reliable and that the universe is approximately 13.7 billion years old. The connection to persistence is not immediately obvious. However, both beliefs are reliant on Einstein’s theories of relativity. In his book, Parallel Worlds, Michio Kaku explains how crucial relativity is to the reliability of GPS.

Michio Kaku

…in order to guarantee such incredible accuracy, scientists must calculate slight corrections to Newton’s laws due to relativity, which states that radio waves will be slightly

shifted in frequency as satellites soar in outer space. In fact, if we foolishly discard the corrections due to relativity, then the GPS clocks will run faster each day by 40,000 billions of a second, and the entire system will become unreliable (p. 257).

(more…)

Bundled Vortices: Relation over Constituents

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Is the idea that particulars are bundles of properties defensible?

The defensibility of bundle theory depends on the definition. I shall flesh out a minimal definition and consider three objections, two of which can be handled expeditiously. The third I shall argue is equally a problem for substratum theory, after which I shall attempt a solution based on my own interpretive definition.

Bundle theory is described as concrete particulars – ordinary objects – being constituted of properties. However, this is a broad outline and details vary between presenters. As such ‘bundle theory’ is more an umbrella term of loosely associated theories than a single well-defined theory. It is tempting, therefore, to assert (more…)

Braaaains on a Plane

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Are there any good arguments for believing in other minds? Justify your answer.

Intention

I shall argue against single-mind solipsism and in extension the zombie hypothesis by inference to the best explanation.

Limitations of the Problem

Image by courtesy of A Tribe Called Möw.

Image by courtesy of A Tribe Called Möw.

The presupposition of the problem is that each person can only ever have direct experience of his or her own mind. Therefore, in lieu of any evidence to the contrary there is no reason to assume that any mind other than one’s own exists. I posit that there are only two ways that this could be the case. Either we must grant veracity to the zombie hypothesis or alternately to the notion of the outside world as a mirage, a dream, or something similarly illusory.

In this essay I shall take a non-illusory outside world for granted. Therefore, I will focus solely on (more…)

Sorrow, Mourning, and Self-Torment

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

An analysis of Edgar Alan Poe’s “The Raven”

By Heini Reinert

Raven

‘Once upon a midnight dreary’ on January 29, 1845, the immensely famous epic poem ‘The Raven’ was written and published for the first time in the New York Evening Mirror and was immediately well received by critics and pastime readers alike. Since then the popularity of this classic has all but diminished, as it frequently pays a visit to the odd English class or horror-forum and even to this date keeps spawning countless parodies and homages, spanning everything from guest appearances in The Simpsons, Mad Magazine and Batman to constrained writing exercises, computer terminological versions, an adaptation pertaining to Fermat’s Last Theorem1 and numerous musical interpretations.2

The reasons for the poem’s ever-growing popularity and appertaining analyses are as many as (more…)

Puddles, Black Holes & Fungi

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Explain the ‘fine-tuning’ version of the teleological argument. Then argue for whether or not it supports the rationality of theism.

 

I shall argue that, while it might support the rationality of believing there is an explanation, the fine-tuning version of the teleological argument does not support the rationality of granting any particular explanation – e.g. theism – precedence.

Teleological arguments hinge upon certain attributes of natural phenomena being evidential of intentional purposiveness. Very crudely put; just as a painting must have a painter, so must the creation have a creator. Of course there is far between this simplistic reasoning and its more sophisticated kinship; most importantly, the replacement of question begging with a rationale for why said attributes are indicative of design.

One such common rationale is the improbability of an attribute emerging by blind chance as opposed to (more…)

Ineffable Face of God

Friday, April 24th, 2009

 

Merkið

Les hetta á føroyskum

Explain either the temporal or modal version of the cosmological argument.  Then argue for whether it is or is not a sound argument for the existence of God.

 

Intention

In this essay I shall argue that the modal version of the cosmological argument for the existence of God is either not sound or not a problem for atheism.

Briefly on the Concept of ‘God’

For the purpose of this essay I assume that by ‘God’ we mean a sentient entity in possession of all the classical omni- characteristics. However, it should be noted that any sentient force, which could be said to have brought about the world, as we know it, would do. Admittedly, as religious commentator, Alan Watts, says in one of his lectures ‘sophisticated Christians […] think beyond images’ and ‘[do] not imagine that God is a cosmic male parent with a white beard sitting on a golden throne above the stars (Watts, 1996, p. 74).’ Suffice it to say that if by ‘God’ we do not even refer to a personal creator but something more ineffable still, then I take no issue with that other than on a trivially semantic level, and my critique ceases to apply. However, it also ceases to be a problem, since (more…)