Naturalism states that we are all completely natural human beings, that there is no immaterial god "out there" and there is no immaterial soul "in here". It also states that freewill is an illusion, that we are as individuals who we are because of our genetics, environment, and culture.


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That's right. I think you should take a listen to Ramesh Balsekar, he goes into questions like the ones you're asking here. A suggestion:

Ramesh Balsekar - Uniquely Programmed Individual

Well, y'ever heard of Bell's theorem or "nonlocality" in quantum physics?

Perhaps it is the very assumptions of naturalism that create this false dichotomy. In the deterministic view, you extrapolate Newtonian physics and take it to its furthest rational conclusion which leaves you with a fatalism or what's also called "hard determinism." Everything being predestined as though, metaphorically, the entire universe is something akin to a movie burnt to a DVD, and the entire movie has already been burnt. On the other hand, you have "free will" which says that no moment is determined, that it's rather not random, but "indeterminate" as a free willy might say.

If you take into account an eastern perspective, for instance, the insight of the yin-yang which says that all opposites compliment each other so where one thing appears to be is only in relation to another thing. So, that you couldn't have black without the white, and vice versa, they are interconnected opposites. And the illusion involved in this is that you can have one without the other. And this applies to every conceivable duality; good and evil, light and dark, "free will" and "predestination," etc.

So, as Robert Anton Wilson says, if you look it this through the eyes of Aristotelian logic, where things are either "a" or "not a," then you will have miss the eastern perspective where things can be both "a" and "not a" at the same time.

Adyashanti | Non Dual Mystery

So, a way I've sort of come to think about this, and I'm going to take a quote from Terence McKenna on the topic of "Philosophy of Mind." He said, "The way I think of mind is as a 4th dimensional organ of your body, you can't see it, 'cause it resides in a higher dimension, but you experience a sectioning of it in the phenomenon of consciousness, but that is only a partial sectioning of it in the same way a plane is a partial sectioning of a cone when it transects it."

I don't even know if I truly understand that quote, but I manage to squeeze some sense out of it in my own interpretation. Assuming that consciousness does reside in a "higher dimension," this could account for our imagination. In other words, consciousness draws from infinite possibilities that, in some sense, "already exist" in a higher dimension. Meaning that wherever imagination flows, the potential for it to go there was always there. And if it draws from, another assumption: "infinite possibilities." Then, in some existential sense, you do have "free will," because the imagination entertains infinite possibilities.

However, despite this spontaneity, the caveat in all of that is that it is all predetermined. So, if you take account that eastern perspective, where things are both "a" and "not a," then it is a subtle realization, as Adyashanti says (if you clicked that YouTube link) to see that "free will" and "no free will" are ultimately one and the same thing.

That was a whole mouthful, but I appreciate the effort. Unfortunately, I mostly disagree with everything you've said here. I do not buy into logical contradictions, so I am an Aristotelian in that sense. Often there is a way around a dichotomy, which is why we recognize many dichotomies as false, and if you are able to take a subtler view of the matter at hand then you can get a result that basically says, "yeah, it's both". I strongly doubt this applies here.


As for consciousness, our brains are by far the most complex apparatuses (apparati?) that we are aware of, so we can get consciousness and imagination without having to go to such great lengths.


As for determinism, I take a subtler approach. before I was aware of quantum effects, I was content with being a hard determinist. As you rightly, I think, point out, hard determinism doesn't hold up to the evidence. But i do not believe that leaves us with only soft determinism, i.e. a world which is deterministic in some areas and not in others, leaving open the possibility of free will. What I now call myself is a causalist, which is to say just that all events have a prior cause. This leaves open no room for free will, but allows for a view which takes into consideration quantum effects in which events are not completely predetermined. So, one could not look at the way the world is and, having complete knowledge of the state of the universe as it is and the laws governing it, make absolute predictions of the future. But on this view, quantum effects merely add randomness to the equation - they do not add "fourth dimensions" or "emergent properties" which are somehow not caused by the prior states of the universe. This is bad news for the idea of free will, because adding randomness only makes it even more difficult to ascribe any sense of control over the causes of our behavior. For more on this read some Sam Harris, I have posted links to his articles on free will on both the Sam Harris and Free Will DNE (does not exist) groups.

Well, String Theory posits 10 dimensions or 11 (it's always 10 or 11 that these string theorists or M-theorists put this theory on). What's meant by "mind or consciousness resides in the 4th dimension" is that all the possibilities that consciousness draw from, the potentiality in some sense is "already there," and assuming that consciousness draws from infinite possibilities, then  this could account for a kind of "freedom." But however, I did mention that the caveat in that description is that this seemingly infinite potential to draw spontaneity from to entertain the vast array of permutations is all pre-determined. Did you, by any chance, take a listen to that Adyashanti video I posted? He goes into this idea a bit.

The emergent properties, in other words, are intertwined somehow with these "higher dimensions," however vaguely defined. Have you ever heard Michael Hoffman's take on this, he expounds thoroughly at…

Matt, if I may comment on your thoughts. They are interesting for sure! 

I have heard of the non-locality theory and was forced to do research on it when opposed with an argument that it disproved Aristotelian logic. I am no quamtum physicist, I'm a philosopher, so the research was as informed as you can imagine me to be. However, as with every theory, especially when based on an experiment, there are alternate opinions and ways of looking at things. I can't site them at the moment, but can if need be. 

Most of what you've spoken of sounds like phenomenal logic, are you familiar with this? I can't stand it personally, too many assumptions. The quote concerning the mind for example is based on unseen, pure speculation. I can not believe in such a thing any more than I can believe in a God. So can you extrapolate on your thoughts concerning your theories a little more? If you will and don't mind! 

Well, I'm not sure what you'd like me to expound on. I'm actually not familiar with phenomenal logic or maybe I am, I just haven't heard it phrased like that.

But my take on the whole free will/no free will thing is basically an eastern take, and I did suggest a video, a talk by Adyashanti, here it is again, that goes into this maybe in a way that 's more easily understood than the way I threw it out there.

By the way, I should mention that I've been heavily influenced by people like Alan Watts, Terence McKenna, Ramesh Balsekar who all spoke heavily on this very topic.

Sounds wonderful to me.

I guess I'm a naturalist, I have always thought that my human made surroundings (books, cars, buildings, etc) were products of evolution.

I believe you should apply the rules of objectivity vs. subjectivity.  This is best explained by Loren Miller fron the following post:  It is the second post in the discussion.  It is very well explained there.


With this in mind nothing is real and everything is nothing.  That would be like you don't exist!  How can you prove that you are real?  The same principals you apply to prove your existence is the same principals used to prove that God does not exist.  Because, God is actually idealism created in the mind of man can't be proved to exist; except in the minds of delusional people!

By your definition -- the total absence of free will? -- you had no choice but to write this posting, just as I had no choice but to respond.  This has been proposed both by religion -- predestination -- and by science.  I find neither argument compelling; if I did, I'd have to ask why we go on playing by a script over which we have no influence.  Absence of free will would, to me, make life pointless.

We go on playing by a script over which we have no influence because we have no choice.



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