Some of the discussion on the “Edward Feser and Vincent Torley” thread seems to have drifted way off topic.  So I’m starting a new thread for further discussion on realism.

I’ll just quote part of a recent comment by BruceS:

1. A complete description of the world is a scientific description (or has a large component that is a scientific description).

2. Science is in principle reducible to physics.

3. Physics requires mathematics.

4. Mathematics is “unreasonably effective” when used in physics, which is saying that somehow the world is describable by mathematical concepts.

5. The (parts of the) any two separate complete description of the world (eg by us and some alien species) in mathematical physics will hence involve the same (or at least mathematically equivalent) concepts.

I realize all of these statements are quite questionable, although I would have thought that #3, the need for mathematics in physics, would have been among the least questionable premises!

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Honest False Testimony

I’m kind of busy, and negligent in posting here, but I simply couldn’t resist starting this discussion. We touched on it a while back, and it pushes a lot of my buttons. I think it lies behind most disagreements. (All disagreements on this site, because we assume honesty.)

Based on her work, and that of others, Tavris shows three ways that different people can present conflicting narratives of the same event—not because any of them are lying, but because they are presenting what she calls “honest false testimony.” That is, their views of what really happened aren’t made up, but are tinged by several factors that makes them believe they are telling the truth.

Edward Feser and Vincent Torley

I have been following Vincent’s spat with Edward Feser (A Catholic philosopher with some reactionary views – his blog) over whether Feser’s own “cosmological argument” has the merit Feser seems to think. Here’s Vincent’s latest post on the matter.

Not being able to post at Uncommon Descent, I thought I might catch up with Vincent at Feser’s blog but I seem to have worn out my welcome. In case anyone decides to pop in from Feser’s blog, I thought I’d offer this thread for discussion. And please regard it as an open thread. Nothing will be considered off-topic. Usual rules apply!

Should Everything Be Cured?

The debate regarding homosexuality reminds me of a larger issue. What do we mean by normality, and do we want everyone to be normal?

For example, some forms of deafness are inherited, and some deaf parents do not want their children “cured”. I do not know how homosexual parents feel about this. (There are gay parents. Some adopt children, and some marry and have children by conventional means.)

Not everyone who deviates from majority traits considers their variation to be a handicap. I come from a family where left-handedness is common. It causes some problems, the most notable of which is with using scissors. I wonder if parents would go for some simple and inexpensive intervention that would guarantee right-handedness. I also have color-blindness in the family, including a nephew who is totally color-blind. There are some benefits to these traits.

I thought it would be fun to make a list of such differences and toss around opinions about whether they are actually detrimental and whether people would readily adopt medical technology that normalized children.

It’s obviously controversial, but I hope we can play nice.

Overt Homophobic Piggery, or Genuinely Clueless Idiocy?

From our favorite Right Wing Authoritarian, Barry Arrington:

6. A man’s body is designed to be complimentary with a woman’s body and vice versa. All of the confusion about whether same-sex relations are licit would be swept away in an instant if everyone acknowledged this obvious truth.

Is it possible to forgive a man in our modern world for saying such bigoted things?  Isn’t Barry just as bad as his white christian forebearers who said that it was obvious that Africans were better off in slavery in America, in the protection of their careful owners? Obvious truth?  Hmm, not like christians have a good record with the concept of truth …   

Of course it IS NOT OBVIOUS that gendered bodies are “designed” to be “complimentary”.  Jayzuz, Barry, talk about assuming your conclusion before you begin your argument.

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Eric Harris Übermensch

Barry Arrington (the current owner of the blog, Uncommon Descent – the former “playground” of William Dembski, advocate of “Intelligent Design”) is a lawyer who seems to regard his finest hour when he acted for some victims families in the wake of the Columbine massacre.

Regular readers of Uncommon Descent (come on, admit it – it’s not just me) may have noted Barry’s singular style of posting “gotcha” questions and using the answers and his ability to control what appears on his blog to bolster his claim of “crickets”. (No complaint from me – ID is a lost cause as a philosophical view so whatever Barry does cannot make any difference in the real world – whether he allows discussion or limits it, the hollowness of ID shines through). The latest post, Eric Harris Was Just Paying Attention, seems to blend Barry’s contribution to Columbine with his predilection for the gotcha. Continue reading

Quine, Alston and Hall On What There Is

As we have been discussing ontology as it refers to hidden variables and multiple worlds, I thought there might be some interest in this excerpt from my Hall book, The Roots of Representationism.  It focuses on a shift in Quine’s position subsequent to “On What There Is,” but I think it touches on some of the broader questions of ontology and how one ought to investigate it as well. Continue reading