Posted: Nov 26, 2018 2:20 pm
by Calilasseia
Wortfish wrote:
Calilasseia wrote:
This presumes in advance that an "agent" actually exists. That presumption itself awaits proper, rigorous test. Which we've been waiting for 5,000 years to see from supernaturalists.

Yes, agents do exist. They use mechanisms to produce desired effects.

The only "agents" we have reliably repeatable and verifiable evidence for, are assorted living organisms. The presumption that an agent other than this exists, is of course what I was referring to above.

Wortfish wrote:
Oh for fuck's sake, haven't you learned that we've moved on as a species, in the 23 centuries since Aristotle wrote about this?

Aristotle fell into the same trap as a lot of people, namely, thinking that because human beings are responsible for ordered actions arising from intent, that ordered actions arising in nature needed an invisible magic man acting upon intent. Except that, oops, they don't. NONE of the asserted magic entities of any of our mythologies, your favourite one included, has ever shown up, let alone in a reliably repeatable manner. Alleged instances of food vandalism, arising from human pattern matching ability, don't count.

Aristotle distinguished between the efficient cause that produces the effect and the material cause that serves as the means through which the effect is produced. That is uncontroversial and has nothing to do with any religious claims.

Except that blindly asserted magic "agents" from mythology don't count as "agents" in reality. They're figments of human imagination.

Plus, there are plenty of interactions that are not caused by agents of any sort. Gravity, anyone?

Wortfish wrote:
Hydrogen atoms form naturally, the moment you have a lot of protons and neutrons occupying the same space. Those opposite electric charges do the work.

For your information, a hydrogen consists of a single proton orbited by a single electron. So tell me, who/what made protons and electrons and determined their respective charges and masses that are finely balanced?

There was no "who" involved. Oh, and don't try slipping Douglas Adams' Puddle in by the back door.

At bottom, particles (or their string landscape equivalents, for those who took the requisite physics classes) are products of quantum fields. Those quantum fields are, as far as physicists can currently ascertain, have always existed. Indeed, that's a point I keep raising whenever questions of the form "what instantiated X" are inserted into discourse, namely, that either explanations (natural or otherwise) will continue diving deeper and deeper into an infinite regress, or will come to a stop at some point with "we can go no further, and this particular X simply exists, as a brute fact".

Wortfish wrote:
As for oxygen, see: stellar nucleosynthesis.

And who made the stars? We can play these silly games all day long.

Which are only silly as long as you keep insisting upon a "who".

Wortfish wrote:
Bollocks. Mythological magic men are nothing more than figments of the imaginations of ignorant pre-scientific humans. It's testable natural processes all the way down, which have been demonstrated during the past 300 years of scientific advance, to be sufficient to explain vast classes of entities and phenomena, including entities and phenomena that the authors of your sad mythology were incapable of even fantasising about. The authors of your mythology didn't even know of the existence of vast continental land masses on Earth, let alone the majestic panoply of astronomical objects science has since alighted upon, and placed with precise, usefully predictive quantitative frameworks of knowledge. The authors of your mythology didn't know about bacteria, they didn't know the underpinnings of basic genetics, indeed, they were incapable of counting correctly the number of legs that an insect possesses, a task any astute modern day five year old child can accomplish without difficulty. Yet you want to assert here, that the same authors of infantile mythology, that didn't know any of these things, somehow magically alighted upon the keys to the cosmos, whilst 300 years of diligent scientific advance didn't even come within a light year of the bull's eye? You should take this shit to Comedy Central.

Irrespective of whether people in the past did not know many things which we know today, they knew of the existence of observable natural processes and mechanisms.

Except that the authors of mythologies seem to have forgotten this, when they started creating their fiction. And started introducing magic.

Wortfish wrote:They knew that when you heat metals to great temperatures with oxygen you can melt and shape them. They also knew that human agents make use of these physical conditions and laws just as they realised that a supernatural agent was responsible for the tides and the colours in the rainbow by availing of the natural forces (like gravity and refraction) that it established.

Bollocks. They merely assumed that an invisible magic man was responsible, because they didn't possess the cognitive powers to work out that lots of interactions continue happening, without any "agent" being responsible. Intentionalist thinking is inherently misleading whenever this is the case.