NCBs as a state-of-affairs.

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NCBs as a state-of-affairs.

Postby hyksos on May 12th, 2018, 6:58 pm 

NCB is used around this forum to mean a "Non-corporeal being".

Is a person without a body coherent? Ghosts, angels, demons, and deities.

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Re: NCBs as a state-of-affairs.

Postby mitchellmckain on May 19th, 2018, 12:08 am 

Part of the problem is what you mean by words such as "corporeal" and "body". In 1 Corinthians 15, you find the following (and the point here is not to dictate any authoritarian answer to any questions, but simply to show one of the complexities involved in the question you are discussing).

35 But some one will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” 36 You foolish man! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 And what you sow is not the body which is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. 39 For not all flesh is alike, but there is one kind for men, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40 There are celestial bodies and there are terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. 42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the spiritual which is first but the physical, and then the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall[b] also bear the image of the man of heaven. 50 I tell you this, brethren: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.


The point here is that the word "body" does not necessarily mean what we refer to in everyday life (what is referred to in the text as "physical body"). The text also refers to a "spiritual body" very different from the physical or natural body in several ways -- made of different stuff and subject to different laws (imperishable).

So it should be observed that what we usually mean by the corporeal or physical body is a measurable thing as a part of the same system of space-time mathematical relationships as ourselves, known as the physical universe. But we know from science that there is nothing absolute about these measures of space-time relationships so it is easy to imagine or suppose other contexts (such as an unconnected system of space-time relationships) in which the term "body" might be applicable to something there as well. But relative to us and our ability to measure and interact with them these other bodies would not be physical or corporeal.

So that is a question that needs to be answered first before you can discuss whether this idea of a person "without a body" is incoherent. It is hard to see why simply not being a part of our physical universe (system of space-time relationship) would mean something is logically incoherent. But then we can go from there to supposing that the laws and relationships governing these other bodies may also be radically different and again I see no reason to leap to any conclusion that this means they are logically incoherent either.

It seems to me that the only way forward is to explore what you think logical coherence requires in order to put a limit on how different these other bodies can be without becoming incoherent. And perhaps you mean to suggest that it is simply incoherent if you suppose they have no body of any sort and/or are not a part of any system of space and/or time relationships. For example, it is particularly difficult to imagine anything like what we would call a person if they are not at least a part of some kind of temporal ordering, for all the activities which we think of as defining a person is seem to be rather temporal in nature.
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Re: NCBs as a state-of-affairs.

Postby hyksos on May 21st, 2018, 5:14 pm 

The man appearing in the interview is Richard Swinburne. Here is one of his books from the late 1970s.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/644 ... _of_Theism
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Re: NCBs as a state-of-affairs.

Postby mitchellmckain on May 24th, 2018, 2:46 pm 

The coherence of the idea of God is more problematic than just the coherence of the idea of a person without a body, and when we are talking about the Christian God there are more difficulties.

The typical ideas about God makes him not only spiritual in nature but also infinite in many respects. Unlimited power and knowledge as well as omnipresence does not go so well with conceiving Him as something with something so finite and limited as how we usually think of body (whether physical or not) embedded in any kind of space-time.

When it comes to Christianity, there is also the doctrine of the Trinity, which can find similarities in some parts of Hinduism with the idea of a God trancending a singularity of personhood. In Hinduism they use the word "avatar" for the incarnation of a transcendent God Vishnu into the physical forms of Rama and Krishna. In any case, many monotheists don't find this idea of a multiperson God to be so coherent, while others like myself see this as one way in which God is not created in our own image.
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Re: NCBs as a state-of-affairs.

Postby hyksos on May 26th, 2018, 9:47 pm 

In any case, many monotheists don't find this idea of a multiperson God to be so coherent, while others like myself see this as one way in which God is not created in our own image.

It is certainly the case that in Hollywood movies like Star Wars, you can build an entire plot around The Force. I will be the first person sitting in the audience to admit this idea is compelling.

Wikipedia suggests that Swinburne has defended Cartesian Dualism.

Mind, Brain, and Free Will presents a powerful new case for substance dualism (the theory that humans consist of two parts body and soul) and for libertarian free will (that humans have some freedom to choose between alternatives, independently of the causes which influence them). Richard Swinburne begins by analysing the criteria for one event or substance being the same event or substance as another one, and the criteria for an event being metaphysically possible; and then goes on to analyse the criteria for beliefs about these issues being rational or justified. Given these criteria, he then proceeds to argue that pure mental events (including conscious events) are distinct from physical events and interact with them. He claims that no result from neuroscience or any other science could show that there is no such interaction, and illustrates this claim by showing that recent scientific work (such as Libet's experiments) has no

A book authored by Swinburne in 2013, appears to corroborate Wikipedia.

In front of the fireplace, Swinburne claims that there mere act of "explaining a state of affairs in which it could be imaginable" is sufficient to elevate a claim from status of woo-woo directly into coherence status.

So he says. But is that true in practice?

That would be like saying that "movie magic" (I refer to the advanced technology of HOllywood movie making) movie-magic depicting The Force being compelling to audiences is sufficient enough to show the coherence of the idea of The Force.

Movies are illusions. At the Oscars, the famous american actor came on stage. Matthew McConaughey. He reminded the audience that what they are seeing is a magic trick. It is frames displayed one after the next producing an illusion of motion. It is fake audio, and actors acting. These frames have to be 'edited'. And thus he introduced the "Award for best film Editing". (..and the oscar goes to..)

This breaks down at the end of the day into merely : "As long as I can tell this story about Harry Potter and enough people find the story compelling , then I have successfully elevated witchcraft at Hogwarts to coherence."


Now that the stage is set (pardon this pun) : I can stake this claim. I can adopt this position. Compellingness to a large popular audience is not sufficient for determining or establishing coherence of an idea.

This is an interesting claim. CNN has 24-hour news cycle. Very briefly they brought on TJ the Amazing Atheist along with (our good friend here at the forum) William Lane Craig. TJ is some kind of amateur comedian /slash/ atheist advocate, who came to prominence on youtube.

Anyways, after a few minutes of TJ jockeying back and forth with WL Craig, the CNN host brought up the numbers game. This is the "percentage of americans who subscribe to no faith".

WL Craig obviously found this number very important, since he starting yammering actual percentages. TJ responded in turn, attempting to correct Craig's estimation to represent higher numbers of atheists in the USA. Neither one of them attempted to make some argument that Christianity and secularism is not a numbers a game. Both debaters clearly acted as they thought that it is.

If it is a numbers game, then this entire pretense to "coherence versus incoherence" is eyewash. IT is pretty tinsel wrapped around pretty paraphernalia. At base, this is just a game of Winning Hearts and Minds. And that game does not abide by logical or mathematical coherence.

It matters not how many people in Europe even understood General RElativity in 1938. Let alone how many found it "compelling". Whether GR predicts the behavior of the planets is what matters. Opinions be damned. In contrast in the Game of Winning Hearts and Minds opinion is the central, crucial, deciding factor. Feeling. Emotion. Compelling-ness. These are the principle mental processes determining how many converts you have. NOt logic. Not predictable accuracy. And not coherence either.

Richard Swinburne pretends to be selling coherence. He is not. He is creating his own epistemic rules and then pretending to be producing coherence for Substance Dualism.

At this stage, I would ask why everyone is being so polly-anna, and so intentionally naive.

There is certainly an argument to be made that the kind of Substance Dualism seen in Descartes and in German Idealism did not come from a coherent investigation from the real world -- but instead its origins were in mankinds own ignorant past. Prior to the advent of medicine, and biology, the human body and the metabolism of organisms was not understood. Ancient people ascribed to biological phenomenon "spirits" that would "animate" flesh. These ideas were indoctrinated into major religion, and then percolated by word-of-mouth. Almost everyone in medieval and renaissance Europe was illiterate. By no accident of geography, these ideas "leaked into" the philosophy of the Enlightenment.

How could Swinburne expect the audience of this book to be so polly-anna naive about the history and development of biology, medicine, and metabolism? The man is literally proselytizing SUBSTANCE DUALISM in a book written in 2013 AD !!! ( let me add 3 exclamation points to that).

If it is coherence we are trying to chase down -- then coherence is found in the science of biology and metabolism. Scientific disciplines from
  • molecular biochemistry,
  • to genetics,
  • biochemistry of oxygen in blood cells,
  • to medicine
  • to surgery
  • to anatomy
These disciplines all cross-corroborate each other in a beautiful, harmonious and COHERENT whole. This is the way COHERENCE looks in the 21st century. Multiple disciplines all consistent with physics and chemistry, and co-consistent amongst each other in striking and harmonious ways.

We have no need for Substance Dualism. Nothing measured in the functioning of the human body (3rd person) is a mystery to modern science. We know exactly what neuron cells are doing when they send action potentials across dendrites and axons. We can explain this process at the level of molecules and charged ions. (Of course we don't know what that is doing at a mental-functional level, but I didn't make that claim.)

We see only physical processes in the human body. We do not see nor do we measure "spiritual interactions" in the human body. Of course I mean 3rd-person measurements.

As far as 1st person consciousness goes, science admits ignorance here. It certainly does not say something like "Consciousness is the way the SOUL INTERACTS with the body". That's idiotic. And worse for Swinburne is is likely incoherent! ( exclamation point).

And now the stage is really set. If a third person would come along to this thread and read my post, they would already know what is going on. THe basic game-plan utilized by 21st century Christian Apologists.

1) Find some aspect of the world that science is ignorant of.
2) Use fancy wording to smuggle the soul into that aspect.
3) ??
4) Profit.

This is analogous to playing God-of-the-Gaps. Find the gap in scientific knowledge then place God there. But in this context, it is playing Soul-of-the-Gaps.
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Re: NCBs as a state-of-affairs.

Postby mitchellmckain on May 27th, 2018, 2:12 am 

hyksos » May 26th, 2018, 8:47 pm wrote:In front of the fireplace, Swinburne claims that there mere act of "explaining a state of affairs in which it could be imaginable" is sufficient to elevate a claim from status of woo-woo directly into coherence status.

So he says. But is that true in practice?

Yes and no. On the one hand, merely engaging the imagination is hardly a guarantee against logical inconsistencies. On the other hand, I suspect that there is difficulty here in distinguishing mere logical coherence from rationality in the context of what we see and experience of life. I think it is possible to describe a logically consistent state of affairs apart from any contexts of presumptions from human life and that can be considered coherent even though it not rational in the sense of reasonable which considers the inconsistencies with the objective evidence.

hyksos » May 26th, 2018, 8:47 pm wrote:That would be like saying that "movie magic" (I refer to the advanced technology of HOllywood movie making) movie-magic depicting The Force being compelling to audiences is sufficient enough to show the coherence of the idea of The Force.

Yes but there are good movies and bad. Those which don't make any sense because of incoherent premises are ones I tend to bin with the bad ones. But I can still enjoy star wars and star trek movies even though they are entirely inconsistent with the finding of relativity. It just makes them more fantasy than science fiction.

hyksos » May 26th, 2018, 8:47 pm wrote:This breaks down at the end of the day into merely : "As long as I can tell this story about Harry Potter and enough people find the story compelling , then I have successfully elevated witchcraft at Hogwarts to coherence."

Well this requires some fixes. Most human productions whether books or films have inconsistencies in them if you look hard enough. And then there is the fact that a great deal of the things in the story have very little explanation behind them. So, suppose we fix this by supposing that we can think up an explanation for something at least similar (thus taking care of small inconsistencies), then I think we can say it is possible to imagine a logically coherent result. Also the "enough people find the story compelling" part of this is garbage. A majority of people have frequently found total nonsense to be compelling. So I cannot agree with that part.

hyksos » May 26th, 2018, 8:47 pm wrote:If it is coherence we are trying to chase down -- then coherence is found in the science of biology and metabolism. Scientific disciplines from
  • molecular biochemistry,
  • to genetics,
  • biochemistry of oxygen in blood cells,
  • to medicine
  • to surgery
  • to anatomy
These disciplines all cross-corroborate each other in a beautiful, harmonious and COHERENT whole. This is the way COHERENCE looks in the 21st century. Multiple disciplines all consistent with physics and chemistry, and co-consistent amongst each other in striking and harmonious ways.

I would agree that these are needed for rationality in general but not that they are needed for mere logical coherence apart from any of the evidence and observation of human life.

hyksos » May 26th, 2018, 8:47 pm wrote:We have no need for Substance Dualism. Nothing measured in the functioning of the human body (3rd person) is a mystery to modern science. We know exactly what neuron cells are doing when they send action potentials across dendrites and axons. We can explain this process at the level of molecules and charged ions. (Of course we don't know what that is doing at a mental-functional level, but I didn't make that claim.)

Agreed.

hyksos » May 26th, 2018, 8:47 pm wrote:This is analogous to playing God-of-the-Gaps. Find the gap in scientific knowledge then place God there. But in this context, it is playing Soul-of-the-Gaps.

This is a tactic people use when they stubbornly cling to beliefs in spite of the evidence and not just for gods and souls. People also do this for stubborn dreams and beliefs in the possibility of FTL travel. They do it for determinism also. But it is a tactic rank (as in smells) with desperation, because scientific knowledge advances inexorably exposing these dark corners.
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