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Why Do Some Materialists' Arguments Seem Valid?

 

As to the materialists such as Steven Pinker, Michael Shermer, and Richard Dawkins, our interpretation of reality must account for all the evidence. If we had all the evidence about our existence, including neurobiology, physics principles, the afterlife, and psychic activity on note cards and spread them out on a huge table, we would have to draw conclusions that accommodated as many note cards as possible. That is logical positivism and satisfies the requirement for an explanation that fits Occam's Razor and the rule of parsimony. That means the explanation or conclusion we derive should fit as many of the facts on the cards as possible. We won't call it "Truth" because Truth changes as humankind changes. However, the explanation is the best fit that accommodates the most facts known right now, and leaves the fewest anomalies.

If we have a small number of facts that our explanation can't explain, we may stay with the only conclusion we have that fits the facts in most note cards until we have more knowledge that enables us to fit the facts in the few that don't quite fit now. That conclusion we come to must be the simplest one that includes the most facts from among competing explanations.

The problem with the materialists isn't that what they say isn't true--much is true. It's that their conclusions leave a large stack of note cards that are not included in the paradigm they develop. Their conclusions may, in fact, include the facts on half or two-thirds of the note cards; they seem very rational when you read them. But what about the other half or third? They deny the other facts exist. They simply shove them off the table.

What they do is to come to the table with a conclusion already established. Those facts on note cards that fit with their preconception are judged as valid because they're measuring validity against the paradigm they've come with to use as the measurement standard. Those not fitting their preconception seem to be invalid to them because they don't fit with their paradigm. They figure that even if the data in findings they reject are from carefully controlled studies with no flaws, there must be some error somewhere because the results couldn't be true--they don't fit with what they are certain is true--their preconceived paradigm.

And so, for them, they are certain the selection of note cards with facts they choose to believe demonstrate that the mind is in the brain. They really believe that. Never mind the other third or half of the note cards they've shoved under the table. They feel they couldn't be valid because they demonstrate a conclusion that's impossible (in their pre-conceived view), so they're not worth including in the paradigm.

We, on the other hand, leave all the cards on the table and work at finding conclusions that contain them all. We don't deny the materialist's facts. The real difference between the materialists and we who are examining all the facts is in our willingness to let truth be found wherever the assembly of facts on the table takes us. We aren't proselytizing to a belief system the way the religions and materialists are. We aren't starting with conclusions and then accepting only the facts that fit those conclusions. It's that openness to all facts and desire to include them all in the most parsimonious explanation that distinguishes us from the materialists, not the conclusions to which we come. Their explanations are valid for the limited facts they'll accept. They just don't accommodate all we now know to be true.

 

 

 

 

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