Saturday, June 9, 2007

Materialism and Iron Spikes

Michael Egnor employs the strange case of Phineas Gage to argue that materialism is self-refuting. He observes, for example, that:

Brain matter cannot be the complete cause for ideas because matter and ideas share no properties. Cause and effect can't be 'linked' between substances that have no properties in common.

I believe that materialism is incapable of providing an adequate explanation for the mind. Clearly ideas can influence the movement of matter (via the brain), and vice-versa, but materialism alone is inadequate to explain the link. The link between the mind and the brain must involve agency that has such non-material properties as purpose and judgment, and, as such, an adequate explanation for the mind must necessarily be open to immaterial causes.

Egnor makes an interesting argument for what philosophers call substance dualism, the belief that reality is comprised of two disparate essences, mind and matter. Materialists, of course, believe that matter is all there is. His essay can be read at the link.


Yielding to the Gentleman

In Alabama they still settle disputes in the state legislature with, uh, body language. When one senator took offense to the words of a colleague a third observed that, "It's certainly a black eye on the Legislature and the Senate in particular."

Yes, and to one of the senators most particularly, it appears.

You can watch the video here.


Killed Bill

John Hawkins of Right Wing News has a post based on information he was given by a congressional aide on why the Immigration Reform Bill was killed. He says in his piece that:

I asked my source if his boss has been hearing from his constituents on this bill and what the for and against ratio was. He said that they have received thousands and thousands of calls and the ratio was something like 95%-98% against the bill.

I also asked my source why he thought so many Republicans had been supporting such an incredibly unpopular bill. He gave three reasons:

First off, there was what he referred to as the "Rovian School of thought," which says that passing this bill would capture the Hispanic vote for the GOP for decades to come.

Next up, there's the "Chamber of Commerce" vote. He says these Republicans were heavily influenced by business groups that want cheap labor no matter what the cost is for the rest of the country.

Then there was the last group, the smallest group in his opinion, who were willing to sign onto a terrible bill just so they could say they were part of a big reform that had bipartisan support.

Is there a noble reason in there anywhere? Makes one proud to be a Republican, doesn't it?