Category Archives: Physics and Metaphysics

The Critical Difference Between Science and Philosophy

What is it to which properties attach themselves? What is a thing absent its properties? What is “essence”? What is the IS of a thing? What is a thing without its roundness, or its blueness, or its coarseness or smoothness; its weight or shape, position, location, or speed for example? And where is the distinction between a thing and its properties…the abstract, you might say, and the material? Take away properties and what is left? And if there is no distinction then how do you describe a thing at all? And what and where is the distinction between the properties? Where does a thing’s texture end and its color begin, for example?

Is a thing merely a sum of its parts? Is there a distinction between its parts and itself? If so, then where does the thing end and the parts begin? And if there is no distinction then by what means can we say the thing or its parts exist at all? Parts that are not part of anything are not actually parts. And a thing without parts cannot be distinct because it has no distinctions within itself, and therefore not being distinct it isn’t really a thing. But if it’s not a thing how can we define it? And if it’s not distinct how can we give it a location so that we can compare it to something else in order to say what it is not, as corollary to what it is? In other words, comparison is essential to definition, is it not?

Comparison is essential to definition.


If we give a thing a location…for example, if we say that A exists HERE and B exists THERE and so can compare A to B and thus define A, do we not then admit that A must be A ALREADY and intrinsically and thus is independent of B, and therefore doesn’t need to be compared to B in order for it to be A? And how can this paradox be resolved unless we relegate the objects in question to the realm of pure abstraction, which is the realm of the observer and his concepts? That is, if the paradox can be resolved by making things and their distinctions a function of the observer and his powers of conceptualization, should we not reference all truth and efficacy and meaning to the observer? And if we do that then we cannot obligate the observer to the concepts he uses to describe reality, can we? But then how do we determine any absolute truth FOR the observer if truth is a function of reality which is a function of the observer’s ability to conceptualize? The observer is the source of truth so then can he not decide for himself arbitrarily what is true or not? How can objective truth be both FROM him and TO him?

If the observer defines all things conceptually then he must define HIMSELF conceptually. So is the observer just another concept? What is materialism and is there any such thing?  What is matter? Are these merely concepts, too, or are they outside of conceptualization somehow? But if we accept that we as humans sense, then conceptualize, and therefore are observers and conceptualize all of reality, how would we know?

Are there perhaps answers to be found at the level of quantum physics? But does this not beg the question: Where do a thing’s quantum properties end and its Newtonian properties begin? And if one is a function of the other how can there be any distinction, and thus how can each one actually exist? And if a thing has distinct quantum properties and distinct Newtonian properties then are we dealing with one thing or two?

And are the edges of a thing its beginning or end? Or both, or neither? And if neither then where is it? And if both, and the beginning and end of a thing are constantly folding back in on themselves, then isn’t the thing infinite? And if it’s infinite then it cannot have a location and thus cannot exist anywhere. And if it doesn’t exist anywhere then it doesn’t exist at all, right?

And this, my friends? Is the difference between science and philosophy.


Reason, Not Physics: Why miracles are possible

Say we have a medical issue…an injury, for example. If we accept the Laws of Physics as the arbiter of what is possible or impossible, and accept that these laws are the determinative mechanisms which govern all of reality (which is implicit in the laws themselves), then we must concede that we can only correct our injury according to the same rules which caused it.

So far so good…ostensibly.

The problem, however, is that in such a case, while it may seem a perfectly natural, logical, and efficacious assumption—intuitive even—we cannot make an OBJECTIVE moral value judgement between the injury and its remediation. Since they are both created, caused, and manifest by the exact same determinative rules, which, due to their necessary corollary relationship are at root a singularity, the only value judgement which can be rendered is entirely subjective—arbitrary—and therefore fundamentally meaningless.  For it is not possible to claim that one manifestation of the absolute governing mechanisms which define and compose reality is better or worse than another. Different manifestations of natural law observed by the individual are, fundamentally, morally indistinguishable, and thus any value judgements are completely subjective.  And if value judgements are subjective, then any epistemological (meaning/definitions) judgements are irrelevant, because morality and truth are corollary…for if one cannot morally value distinctions, then the definitions of those distinctions are ultimately useless to the individual. And this being the case, no actual distinctions—like “injury” or “healing”—can really be said to exist at all.

To summarize: Once moral distinctions can no longer be made, because all events are products of the same absolute, determinative natural laws, then no distinctions of any kind can be made. And if no distinctions of any kind can be made, then nothing can be said to exist, because it has become impossible to tell the difference between what something is and what something is not.  Natural law, thus, is entirely inadquate as an apologetic for objective existence, and thus it cannot rationally be said to serve as the plumbline for determining what is truly possible or impossible.

You see, once the perspective of the individaul has been rendered moot by subordinating his powers of perception and conceptualization to the absolute determinative forces of natural law, then the very thing which gives natural law any meaning and relevance at all—the observer—is pointless. And without the observer, there is no one to claim that natural law is actually true, or actually exists in the first place.  Natural law, itself, serves no purpose, because it wrecks the observer, who is the ONLY reference—the only constant—by which natural law can be said to have meaning and thus have value.  Purpose, value, and meaning are not a function of natural law, they’re a function of the observer.  That means MAN.  And that means you and me.  And that means we are NOT products of natural law…because the observer cannot be a function of what he observes.  This is a contradiction in terms, and is objectively impossible.  An observer who is a function of what he is observing is by definition NOT OBSERVING.

The very fact that the laws of physics can be defined at all is proof that they are not the root of objective reality.  They are a tool that man, the individual, the observer, uses to organize the distinction(s) between himself qua himself, and his environment (which also includes his body…but man’s body is not himself qua himself, but is ultimately and rationally a part of his environment…but this is quite a complex subject and is best left to its own article). The very fact that man can and MUST make a moral distinction between injury and healing is proof that the laws of physics cannot be the true arbiter of reality and thus are not the arbiter of possibility and impossibility.

I submit then that only that which violates the identity of the individual (the self qua the self) is impossible.  And since identity is a matter of reason—where reason is defined as rational consistency…the non-contradictory combination of concepts (X cannot simultaneously be Y, for example)—we can generalize this assertion to say that a violation of reason is the only impossibility, because contradiction cannot be made rational; and what cannot be made rational cannot ACTUALLY be defined, which means it cannot actually  exist.

So…you want proof that miracles are possible?

I give you the apologetics of reason.


There Can Be No Such Thing as Gravity Qua Gravity, So What is it?

The following argument is based upon these assumptions, which I aver are all rationally defensible:

1. All that exists must be able to exist, which then supplants Existence with Ability as the metaphysical primary.

2. Gravity cannot possess any distinct existence. That is, there can be no such thing as gravity distinct or separate from the objects upon which it acts. Apart from these objects it has no relevance, which means it has no meaning, which means it cannot be defined as gravity.

3. There is no such thing as space qua space, because the distinction between objects cannot itself be a thing from which objects are also distinct. Therefore, there must be a different manifestation of distinction. I submit that gravity is this distinction.

In light of these, I submit the following about gravity:

Existence is ability to exist. Existence then is action, because ability must find rational expression as action. Action is always observed as relative movement. I therefore propose that gravity is, specifically, the expression of the ability to exist. Or perhaps better said, it is the action of existing…of existence observed  necessarily as an action.

(Part Two: Why UPB Self-Nullifies) The Multitudinous Problems with Secular Ethics: A critique of Universally Preferable Behavior

[I apologize in advance for the tedious and highly technical nature of the following article. Bear with me. There really isn’t an easy way to do this. Thanks.]

1. If UPB is simply a set of possible choices, but does NOT reference an absolute moral Standard which makes compliance with UPB not simply preferable, but necessary in order to avoid some kind of irreparable existential contradiction, which thus implies and necessitates some irreparable existential injury (however that is defined…if it even needs to be defined at all), then UPB cannot claim to be either universal nor preferable, since there is no fundamental existential difference between compliance and non-compliance. In which case, UPB self-nullifies.

2. If UPB IS considered an inexorable natural law–referencing itself as its own absolute moral Standard–to which the individual is obligated or face some form of irreparable existential injury (however that is defined…if it even needs to be defined at all) then UPB is not preferable, but necessary, and perfunctory, and it self-nullifies.

3. If UPB is a legal (as opposed to ethical or moral) Standard–that is, Law as defined by a legal Authority, like the State–then by definition the individual is legally obligated to comply, and non-compliance results in punishment which, though legal, is, for all practical purposes, existential in its effect, since the manifestation of the ownership of oneself–i.e. free will/choice–while under State sanction is impossible. And therefore, UPB is not preferable and therefore self-nullifies.

Now, to expand upon point number two; and the reason is because this argument is, as I observe, the primary argument utilized by apologists for secular ethics:

If UPB is considered merely a de facto parameter of (one’s) Existence–that is, the perfunctory behavior of (one’s) Existence which affirms that (one’s) Existence actually exists, then UPB is nullified. Meaning, if we use the argument that because we observe that species or the individuals of that species behave in ways which are consistent with survival and reproduction and then claim that this behavior is actually preferable…we’ve contradicted ourselves and shown that such behavior cannot possibly be preferable, let alone ethical, and is only universal in that it is simply a de facto function of Existence qua Existence. In other words, if we remove choice–moral agency–from ethics entirely, or make it purely a function of the laws of nature, then a choice is never actually chosen. However, removing choice contradict ethics as meaningful in any rational or practical way, because amoral ethics imply behavior which doesn’t make a distinction between good behavior or bad behavior. So…why would any given behavior be preferable? It wouldn’t.

Also, notice how in scientific terms, which are the secularist’s terms of epistemology, ALL action is merely “behavior”…”choice” as a vehicle is sophistically smuggled in later–a bromide meant for and used by the small minority of non-communist atheists as a nod to the non-aggression principle; but UPB pairs with the NAP like salad pairs with Guinness.

If we accept Existence as the Metaphysical Primary, and therefore objective (empirical) reality and natural law as its practical Ethical and Epistemological derivatives , then we must admit that one cannot act via his Existencee in a way which contradicts his Existence…so regardless of what one does, and therefore what one chooses, one must necessarily always be acting ethically. To claim that one can somehow violate the terms of his or someone else’s (absolute) Existence by Existence, itself, is a contradiction in terms. Therefore, if UPB is said to be an Ethic derived from Existence, it is impossible for one to violate it, since one cannot violate the very thing that makes all behavior–like the “violation” itself– ultimately possible.

On the other hand, if we were to place UPB outside of (one’s) Existence and then argue that, as an Ethic outside of Existence (which is its own giant fallacy, given that Existence is the Metaphysical Primary for all apologists for UPB, I think), failure to follow UPB somehow amounts to an Ethical, and therefore moral, violation, and therefore is evil, and therefore obliges men to “prefer” UPB,  then the individual–as a rank existant–could neither be the source nor the reference for UPB, which makes whatever the individual prefers, and thus ultimately chooses, entirely besides the point…since his choice and preference are a function of himself. This again, as I asserted above in point 3., relegates UPB to the status of a Legal Code–the Legal Law–which means that coercion by a legal Authority, not preference, is the only legitimate and rational means of fulfilling the Law.

Now, if we claim that (one’s) existence is not in fact absolute, but somehow transient–an effect and not a cause, as it were, or a function of some Absolute Cause outside of (one’s) existence, then we would have no logical reason to conclude that behavior which promotes one’s existence is preferable to behavior which does not. For (one’s) existence, being non-absolute, is no more valid a state of nature than is his non-existence. Non-existence, because existence is not absolute, does not violate the Absolute Cause (that of which (one’s) existence AND non-existence is a direct effect), and therefore it can be no more rationally nor morally preferable to behave in ways that promote existence–of either oneself or others–than to behave in ways that do not. And therefore by what basis can we argue that UPB is actually preferable at all? No basis.

Interestingly, I have noticed that those who promote Existence as the Metaphysical Primarily DO, irrationally, make the distinction between Existence, the Primary, and one’s individual existence–because they understand that individual existence necessarily incorporates consciousness, and therefore they reject it as having anything to do with Existence qua Existence, because consciousness they assert is not objective, because it’s not empirical. But you see as soon as one makes the distinction between conscious existence (consciousness) and Existence the Primary, then whatever the individual consciously prefers--and all preference is conscious by definition–is beside the point. When you reject consciousness as fundamental to Existence you necessarily reject choice. Which means that you reject choice as fundamentally meaningful, which not only wrecks UPB but wrecks morality entirely, and makes any discussion of Ethics pointless.  I submit, however, that if we oblige consciousness to rational consistency, which is entirely logical (and a separate article), then reason alone serves as a perfect and categorical guide to Ethical behavior, because it makes Truth actually and objectively possible.

Part three very soon.

Scientific Determinism and Cause and Effect, and Ethics: an in-depth conversation with a determinist

The following is a conversation I had last week with an apologist for scientific determinism in the comments section of a Sam Harris YouTube video entitled “Free Will“. The first comment is my intitial contribution to the thread where I am addressing not Philip, the person with whom I will eventually have the conversation, but simply the video itself. The “you” in this comment refers to Sam Harris, as well as anyone who would assert, specifically, the fallacy that there can be ethics despite an utter lack of any free will, and this due to the monolithic and infinite deterministic power of “cause and effect”.

This is a complicated issue…well…no…the issue qua the issue isn’t actually that complicated. That is, the complication and complexity which indubitably arises in these kinds of discussions isn’t so much a function of the relatively simple and arrantly true claim that “A man who has no agency (cannot act according to himself) cannot actually do anything, because he qua he doesn’t act; and so by definition he cannot act ethically, so why the fuck are we bringing ethics into a conversation about determinism?”, but rather due to the fact that an advocate for determinism and an advocate for individual agency are going to interpret reality according to entirely separate and mutually exclusive metaphysical premises. This means that the conversation, in order for it to not be a collosal waste of time will trend towards…that’s right, metaphysics.  And that’s where the shit gets real. It is there, and only there, that you can really make the relevant case for your position. Like…if you are going to say that man is Self (that is, an Agent who functions from a position of Self-awareness, which implies the actually reality of Self and thus an efficacious distinction between Self and Other (environment)), or that man is Determined (a direct function of Cause and Effect, and thus has no efficacious ontological autonomy), then you must necessarily answer the question “What IS man?”. And that’s why metaphysics is always a part of these discussions, and why they go the way they go when the two conversants are fully committed to their completely different ideas, and also to the conversation (a combination which is unfortunately a lot rarer than you might think). Getting to the metaphysics is involved, and requires a careful and voluminous and painstaking dissection of any number of tertiary and ancillary assumptions. Obviously a YouTube comments thread isn’t the most ideal setting for this dialectic, which is why you’ll undoubtedly notice that the conversation is a bit clumsy and opaque in places.  Nevertheless I think that this conversation has, overall, a lot of value. For example, two of the more salient topics I address is:

1. How determinism contradicts the plurality of existence (the distinction (independence)) of existant objects, which is an implicit prerequisite for cause and effect according to the determinist’s own definition of this mechanism; and:

2. The paradox of: the necessity of the absolute-ness of objects (objects being infinitely themselves…that is infinite existential singularity) + the necessity of absolute relationship between a given object and any number of other distinct objects (infinite existential plurality)…which, as I said, scientific determinism contradicts.

The non-italicized comments are mine, the italicized, his. Thanks so much for reading; I hope you enjoy it.



Laughable. You can deny the existence of will and choice, which, drawn out to its logical conclusion, means that the Agent who is said to Will and to Choose (the autonomous Self) is entirely irrelevant, which practically speaking is the equivalent of non-existence, and yet still argue for ethics! Absurd. How do you have morality [or ethics] absent moral [or ethical] agency? How do you have intelligence absent intellectual agency? Scientific determinism is proof that scientists shouldn’t be within a thousand miles of philosophy. Once Sam can provide a metaphysic which does not collapse under the weight of its own contradictions then maybe I’ll consider him more than just another articulate pseudo-intellectual turned polemic.


I think you’re confusing ethics with moral accountability. Even without free will, it makes sense to want people to have a good experience in life. You can accept you aren’t in control of your thoughts and actions, but you still have a conscious experience. So we have an ethical obligation, regardless of the existence of free will, to increase well being wherever we can. That means potentially stopping someone from doing something that decreases well being. Whether or not they were in control is besides the point.


Without moral accountability, ethics are irrelevant. Meaning, you cannot argue for rational ethics if no one is actually able to act ethically, because choice (and thus will; and thus consciousness) is precluded by your scientific determinism. The irony is that this destruction of ethics (by making “Determinism” the metaphysic) is exactly what the Protestant church teaches. Man is fallen, and thus pervasively depraved, and so cannot choose good or know Truth. Sam is just another mystic without the funny clothes, I’m afraid.


you didn’t really reply to what I said. I said suffering and well being still matter if free will doesn’t exist. and there’s no reason to think consciousness wouldn’t exist without free will. People can act ethically and also accept that they are not in control. determinism does not argue that we are depraved and evil, it argues that we are what we are for reasons beyond our control. To some, recognizing this make morality clearer. You are able to forgive others and think in terms of how they can be helped. if there’s no cause behind their action then there’s no way to change it. Belief in determinism also keeps you cognizant of what is affecting you and the things you do. you may not be in control, but in a sense you gain perspective from recognizing this.


I did reply. You are arguing that ethics is possible absent moral agency. That is, absent the ability to choose right from wrong. If choice between right and wrong is impossible, then what you know to be good or bad with respect to anything is irrelevant. Which makes ethics irrelevant. And that which is irrelevant cannot by definition be effectively applied. Further, I notice that you make the implicit argument that you can know what is true or false and good or bad without actually being able to choose to pursue or apply one over the other. This is a rational impossibility. To be able to define a thing and yet be unable to apply it to a paradigm (like your existence) referenced to You (You, the Observer, as distinct from what you observe), makes the definition irrelevant. And it is impossible to generate an irrelevant definition. You cannot create meaning which doesn’t actually mean anything.


Ethics is a function of epistemology. It is the rational (True, and thus appropriate, or Good) application of what you know. If you are unable to apply what you know, because free will and thus choice is impossible, then ethics does not exist. And if there is no application of what you know, then what you know is irrelevant; and if what you know is irrelevant, then you cannot actually know yourself. Which makes “yourself” impossible to define. Which means you cannot define others.. And all of this means that “Sam Harris” doesn’t actually exist to make this argument. And neither do you or I. So who is typing then?


maybe we have a different definition of ethics. to me, an ethical action or event is one that results in someone feeling good rather than suffering. it’s true that if your definition of ethics requires moral agency, then yes, ethics don’t exist within determinism. all I am saying is that people have experiences regardless of control and it makes sense to want those experiences to be good even if you can’t truly control them. the thing is, we can apply our knowledge of right and wrong without control over the factors that led to the knowledge. it doesn’t make sense to make a decision of right or wrong that is not based on factors you don’t control. what would that even look like? which brings up the other point of the self. it’s true, under determinism the self is just an amalgamation of genes and experience. this solidifies the definition of the self more than a belief that there is some un-quantifiable 3rd factor. or you could just look at the self as the result of a configuration of matter that happens to result in consciousness, which also makes sense. you and I and Sam Harris exist as vessels for experience with predispositions. so yes, I’d say you are typing, but you are your genes and environment.


Okay…well, leaving aside ethics for now, wrt your last comment I would ask how it is possible under the scientific determinism argument to get consciousness from unconsciousness? That is, determinism, I submit by definition, is the absolute antithesis of consciousness. It renders it completely (infinitely) irrelevant–lacking any degree of efficacy whatsoever, which means that if determinism is true, consciousness could not possibly exist. The empirical and rational proof of consciousness is that which gives it efficacy–the ability to apply the awareness of Self to a given existential context (the Self in Its Environment). If choice is impossible, then awareness is meaningless, because man cannot apply what he knows, including the knowledge of him Self. Which brings us back to the lack of any rational efficacy to consciousness within the determinist model. And we can assert that consciousness is an illusion, but this merely begs the question “An illusion of what?”. How can there be an illusion of that which determinism makes impossible by making it utterly antithetical to determinism?


I’m not sure I see why consciousness has to be connected to free will. we don’t know how consciousness arose, but it seems rational to assume it comes from the brain. it may be my lack of philosophical training, but I’m not sure what you mean by the proof of consciousness being the ability to apply the self to an existential context. the only evidence I see is ones own experience. I know I am conscious, but I don’t know you are conscious. there doesn’t seem to be any evidence of free will. the two seem mutually exclusive. it’s not that choice is impossible, it’s just that all the factors that go into a decision can be, in theory, accounted for, given enough data. I don’t really see consciousness as an illusion because of what you said: an illusion of what? it’s a space for us to process information, but we know it’s not the only way we process info. the info we process, both conscious and unconscious, gives rise to our feelings, emotions, personality, views, and everything that we imagine makes up the self. I would say the self is an illusion if you believe we are just vessels for experience. but, consciousness itself is the tool we use to experience the world. my answer to your question is that I don’t think consciousness, free will, or even ethics really depend on each other. I like this conversation. if you can, I’d like to hear how you reach the idea that consciousness is antithetical to free will.


Well, I think studying philosophy would be something you might do…not to sound pejorative or patronizing, of course. I find that the lack of rational consistency which is, again with respect, profound amongst scientists has precisely to do with their ignorance with respect to philosophy. Scientists are great at mathematically categorizing what they observe, but have no real plumb line for actually defining it in an ontological sense, which is absolutely necessary before one can make a philosophical assertion like “free will is an illusion”. Indeed, in order for science to be in any way meangingful, one must assume an ontological distinction between the observer and what he observes. Scientists like Harris obliterate this distinction by making the observer a DIRECT function of what he observes, which wrecks the dichotomy that gives science any practical application or indeed any meaning by wrecking the ability of the observer to actually apply any of the knowledge he gathers about his environment through observation because choice, which is rooted in the knowledge of what is true or false, becomes impossible. And this because the observer–the moral and intellectual agent whose existence provides the rationally necessary context for knowledge gained through observation–is concluded to not actually exist. Consciousness I submit is merely the ability of the Self–the individual Observer, of you will–to conceptualize what he observes and the apply it to his life: the manifestation of the ability of oneto make a distinction between himself and his environment. It’s not a “state”. It’s merely the awareness of self, which is merely the ability to conceptualize self, which implies the conceptualization of that which is not self. Once this dichotomy is realized, free will I think is self evident.


I must be missing it, but I don’t see how a lack of agency leads to nonexistence. You can put info into a calculator and it gives you an answer. That does not make it free. Similarly, we can take in info and then apply the knowledge we gained from it. The process is much more complicated for us, but at no point do I see the opportunity to insert free will. I don’t see how Harris wrecks the distinction between observer and what he observes or, if he does, how that makes choice impossible. Unless by “choice” you mean free choice. We make choices all the time with the inputs I’ve already mentioned. Your talk of an ontological argument seems to muddy the waters. The logic seems simple to me: If the material brain is all that is responsible for consciousness, then consciousness arises out of states of matter. If we live in a universe that follows cause and effect, then all states of matter arise out of previous states of matter. I’m sure it can be put more eloquently, but that’s how I think of it. Your last paragraph makes sense to me until the end. I don’t see how the conceptualization of self and that which isn’t the self leads to free will. I previously talked about the self being an illusion in that it is merely how genetics and experience manifest in consciousness. So in some sense, I think the dichotomy is false. The self is unavoidably connected to everything else because it is a product of everything else. I see what you mean about destroying the distinction now. It seems unavoidable. I guess I’d like to know if you think the logical argument I gave above makes sense. We can argue about the truth of the “ifs” if you’d like, but it’d be a weird and probably fruitless argument.


I’m loquacious…that sometimes makes my arguments less accessible than I’d like them to be. My apologies. What I am trying to convey is that when you destroy the distinction between observer and observed, you cannot speak of Self, which means you QUA you cannot possibly make the arguments you (or Harris) are making. The very fact that you claim a truth is the proof that you concede that you can know the difference between truth and falsehood and can act in service to this knowledge. * If all things are determined, then there is no difference between this idea or that. Sam Harris is no more correct in his asssertions with respect to will than one who asserts the exact opposite. Everything by his own definition is merely the necessary and unavoidable effect of the Great All Determining Cause. So Harris makes an argument whilst at the same rendering his argument moot. Your agreement or disagreement is as determined as his assertion. Of what value then is consciousness? Of what value is knowledge? Of what value is science? None at all. And this further undermines his argument. As far as a “cause and effect” universe–I really don’t understand what that means. In order for “cause and effect” to have any practical value, there must be a difference between those things which are cause and effected, I would think.. Are you saying that “cause and effect” is a force which actually causes the things (material objects) upon which it acts? And if so, how do you quantify or even qualify cause and effect since nothing actually exists to be caused or effected because every object is a DIRECT and absolute function of “cause and effect”. Or are you saying that cause and effect is a force which is distinct from the things upon which it acts? In which case those things, ontologically speaking, are their own root “causes” if you will. I myself submit that cause and effect is simply one of many ways man conceptualizes the relative movement of objects he observes. Cause and effect is not ACTUALLY causal in the ontological sense. Meaning that cause and effect can describe relative movement but it cannot explain how a thing exists.


this is getting into territory that departs from practicality. how is any science able to be done without breaking the dichotomy? I think youre judging the value of an assertion based on whether or not it was made freely rather than whether or not it reflects a truth about reality. and if we’re going to regress into claiming to not know anything about reality, then we can’t really get anywhere. my agreement or disagreement still matters without freedom of choice because it is still either right or wrong and it has consequences in the world. your deconstruction of cause and effect has left me perplexed and no closer to understanding you. I’m using cause and effect in the simple way people use it normally. as in, one thing causes another thing. a thing cannot come from no cause. I don’t know about you, I’ve experienced enough to believe all things are caused. what would it look like to see something that wasn’t caused? I don’t get your definition of existence. does something have to be separate from cause and effect to prove cause and effect? that simply makes no sense, and also doesn’t seem like a rational argument against it. if cause and effect can’t explain how something exists, then I don’t know what can. science makes basic assumptions about reality to function, but anyone who would honestly dispute those assumptions would not be able to function in reality themselves. philosophy and pure logic has its uses, but it seems one can use word games to get somewhere that doesn’t truly make any sense. we could blame this on my ignorance, but I have confidence that I would understand what you are saying if it truly made sense. I can tell you are very intelligent, but your ideas just aren’t clicking with me


Quick reply: If everything is a direct function of something else, how can anything actually exist? If cause and effect is monolithic and infinite, how are objects actually independent of each other?


I just do not see why interconnectedness makes things non-existent. Object aren’t really independent of each other? there’s no situation where an object isn’t being affected by another objects, even if it’s just gravity. can you give me one example of a thing that is not a direct function of something else?


But it’s not interconnected-ness you are asserting. It’s a lack of any distinction whatsoever. You are making one thing an absolute function of another. “Absolute” means that there is no actual difference between the cause and the effect. This is not interconnectedness. This is the assertion that no “thing” (an object qua itself) actually exists. It makes your empirical perception of distinct objects actually impossible. To answer your question, I guess I would ask: does the apple fall from the tree because of gravity first, or because it is able, as a function of its own independent existence, to be “caused upon” by gravity? Unless the apple IS actually the apple, first, then it cannot be caused upon by gravity…there can be no real relationship.. Gravity then requires a true dichotomy. A true distinction. An apple qua an apple. Determinism makes this impossible.


yes but you wouldn’t attribute free will to the apple simply because it exists right? gravity may cause it’s movement, but it’s existence is not of its own doing. it came from an apple tree, which came from a seed, and on back the causes go. how can cause and effect be separate when each effect then becomes a cause? what I am saying is that an object can’t exist without a cause. an effect cannot be removed from its cause so the apple can’t just ‘exist’ independently. gravity’s effect on the apple requires the apple to exist, but the apples existence is predicated on prior cause as well.


Naturally I wasn’t asserting that the apple had free willl. I was asserting that before an apple can fall, it must BE an apple. It needs to possess a distinct identity before it can be said to be caused upon (effected), and before it can be said to cause something else. The point of my initial comment on this video was to point out the inherent rational contradiction which undermines the whole determinist argument. Since “cause and effect”, or the “laws which govern nature” are absolute and monolithic, there can be no such thing as distinct objects, because no object is “itself”–it is entirely a direct and absolute function of something else. There are no such thing as “things” which cause and effect acts upon, or cause and effect other things, because everything is merely an extension of cause and effect. Nothing has any actual identity. The apple is an absolute function of what caused it, which means the apple does not actually exist as such, which means it couldn’t have been caused, which means that that which caused it isn’t actually a cause, because it produced no effect, since the apple doesn’t actually exist. This is why YOU, if indeed you are a direct and utter extension of something else, don’t actually exist. Which means you can’t have a sense or awareness of “you” because you qua you is impossible. Now, if you’d like me to address how think the contradiction can be resolved with a better explanation of how to interpret reality, I can do that. But the fact that I’ve offered no resolution to your determinist fallacy doesn’t mean it’s not a fallacy. With respect, the determinist model colllapses under the weight of its own massive contradiction. You need a new model. Saying “this is the only model science supports” doesn’t make the model rational or true. It merely means that science as of now has failed to provide a rational interpretation and model of reality. So, re-evaluate your premises and start again.


I think you’re reading too much into the importance of objects being identifiable. a determinist could describe reality as the process of matter continuously shifting into different forms. the distinction of when an object becomes what it is and stops being what it is is not clear. in this way, cause and effect is more like a continuous process rather than a series of stages because whatever stages you draw are arbitrary. however, it makes no sense to conclude that because stages of matter are ill defined, objects themselves don’t exist. hurricane Matthew is on the way. there is what Matthew is right now, but there is also the process of Matthew’s development. these two concepts cannot be separated, yet we can’t deny the existence of Matthew. I simply do not see this fallacy of determinism. i would like to hear another way to interpret reality that allows things to exist without a cause, but I understand if you are getting tired of this conversation.


I would say that determinism actually makes cause and effect impossible because there are no independent “things” possible. Everything is merely an extension of determinism. There is no First Cause. Like…the first cause MUST have happened; it could not have NOT happened. In other words, it was determined. It had a cause; and that cause had a cause, and so on and so forth. Cause and effect is subordinated to the infinity of Determinism. Determinism is absolute and monolithic. It doesn’t actually allow for any distinct objects to cause or to be caused upon. Cause and effect is only rational when it becomes merely a cognitive means by which man organizes the relative movement of what he observes. But here’s the bigger issue: I think you are hinting at an implicit root paradox, and I think you are on to something. This is how I define the paradox to which I think you are alluding: object X must be defined according to its observable relationship with object Y; it cannot exist in a vacuum of itself, because in a vacuum of itself it is infinite, and what is infinite cannot be valued and thus cannot be defined. And I am saying that there can be no relationship between objects X and Y unless each object is ACTUALLY itself-with a distinct and separate ontological essence whereby it can have a unique identity and thus it can be said that object X IS ACTUALLY object X, and thus can have a relationship (like “cause and effect”) with object Y. And that is the big question. We need a metaphysic (an irreducible…an axiom of reality; that explains how what is, IS) that resolves this paradox. And it’s not been done yet. Well…I think I’ve done it 🙂 But I don’t think anyone else has. Anyway, I think you’ve definitely identified the paradox. It’s needs to be resolved, but determinism can’t do it.


I’m still hesitant to accept that cause and effect requires independently defined causes and effects. but I see what you are saying. first cause is obviously a problem, but we can’t expect to know everything, or even that we are capable of understanding first cause, or that the question even makes sense because of the connection of time and space. but you think you have discovered an alternative to the apparent paradox? I’d love to hear it. unless it’s a secret.


Well, at this point I think I will leave you with the paradox. The explication of the metaphysics, while not complex or hard to understand, necessarily, will likely lead to an even longer and more tedious conversation than this one. And I’m just not up for that right now.:-) I appreciate your time, and this was fun. Thanks for sharing you ideas with me; I always learn just a little bit more by these kinds of engagements, and I discover more of my own weaknesses, which is exceedingly beneficial in refining my ideas and, importantly, how I deliver them. Take care, man. And thanks again.


Thank you too. I can’t say ive changed my mind but I feel that I need to read more philosophy. It’s a very difficult question. Take care.

Sam Harris: Science’s Satanic High Priest

To claim that will and choice are illusions is to claim that thought itself is an illusion. To claim that thought is an illusion is to claim that the Agent who necessarily must exist in order to think and to will and choose is likewise an illusion. This equation is inexorable, and quite frankly, obvious to anyone not a rank pseudo-intellectual determinist ideologue.

And once the intellectual Agent (the Self) is claimed illusory then morality must likewise be illusory…for the intellectual Agent is also the moral Agent.

And therefore, make no mistake and do not be fooled. Any scientific determinist like Sam Harris who argues that will and choice are an illusion is wrecking not only an aspect of man’s mind, but all thought itself, which thus denies the truth and validity of the Self…the individual human being. And once the Self is declared merely a figment of infinite universal cause and effect then morality is obliterated. And what follows is a torrent of bloodshed.

In my next article, I will make my case for what I consider the root flaw of scientific determinism: the subordination of the Observer to that which is observed. In other words, the absence of any rational metaphysic.




The Paradox of Existential Plurality

The following is a true paradox, not a contradiction in terms presented as a paradox because some people are too lazy to fully and properly think it through. (And by “some people” I mean many scientists, as well as most (other) religious people, especially and including Christians.) 

A thing which has no parts cannot exist; and therefore all things must contain an infinite number of parts.

To Claim That Man is Caused is a Contradiction, and Thus Impossible

Before you can claim to be caused by some root determining force, like God or Natural/Physical Law, you must be able to define “you” as distinct from that force; otherwise “you” is merely an absolute (categorical) extension of the force which means that there is in fact no “you” at all but merely the determining force. And this makes it impossible to ask the questions “what caused me?” and “what am I?” (which in fact summarize the underlying rationale for claiming you were caused) because there is no frame of reference for “me” at all.

Of course once you define “you” as distinct from the root determining force then you have rendered the claim that you were caused by this force a ridiculous contradiction. The very assertion, in other words, that “X caused me” is rationally impossible.

Cause, Effect, and Movement Exist Only by the Cognition of the Observer

The human ability to conceptualize from the frame of reference of the Self is not simply an evolutionary extension of the mathematically determined machinations of an “objective reality outside” of one’s consciousness/cognition, but is integral to objective reality itself, at the most fundamental level. I submit that absent man’s ability to conceptualize the movement of what he observes (that is, man as the Observer) and to establish Self as the reference–as the constant–it is impossible that there is any movement at all, and therefore can be no evolutionary/mathematical “cause and effect” interaction of objects in the material universe.

To claim that there is any such thing as as object movement, or cause and effect interaction, once the observer is removed from the equation is impossible. Because once he who provides the reference by which any such cause and effect interaction and/or object movement has any meaning (including relevancy,  purpose, direction, velocity, distance, etc.) there is no rational argument for asserting or believing that it is happening at all in some “objective reality” that can somehow excludes the very thing that gives that reality any value.

In other words, once movement is no longer observed (and by “observed”, again, I mean not only perception, but the cognitive power of conceptualization), movement has no specific context; no reference by which it can be gauged as “movement” qua movement. This means that without a reference, all movement–and therefore all cause and effect interactions and their “mathematical” deterministic mechanisms–is relative not to a specific but to an absolute degree. And absolute relativity of movement–that is, relative interaction with no set reference provided by the conceptualizing observer–means that all movement of all objects “mathematically” sums to zero. Meaning that absolute relativity, by nature, instantaneously nullifies any movement by any object at any given moment. And if all movement in all moments sums to zero because of un-referenced relativity, then there is, in fact, no movement at all; because movement with zero value is the absence of movement, by definition.

For a simple example, let’s take object A and object B in co-existing in a vacuum (where all must exist if we concede a plurality of existence–that things which exist are utterly distinct from one another). Because of the relative nature of movement, existence in a vacuum demands that any movement by A is automatically and instantaneously transferred to B, and vice versa. There is no way in this vacuum, absent an observer, to claim that only A moves, and not B. In other words, because their existence is again necessarily relative, any movement of A is also the movement of B. And by this I mean that B’s movement is not a reciprocal movement; it’s not a corollary movement; it is the same movement; the movement of A is the movement of B. There is one, un-shared movement. B moves equally as A moves as though B were in fact acting categorically as A.

How can this be?

A scenario where two objects with a single movement by both but no reference to measure which object has moved contradicts the plurality of existence between A and B. There can be no interaction between such objects; no distinction. Any action of one is the action of the other…and because existence is an action, even rank co-existence is impossible.

In a vacuum with no observer, object A moving relative to B while B is not moving, demands the corollary that B is moving relative to A while A is not moving; which means it is axiomatic that objects A and B in the instance of any movement must have both moved and also must have both not moved at the same time. And what this means is that movement in such an absolute relative relationship is a context where the movement of objects and the absence of movement by objects are one and the same.

Which is impossible. The integration of mutually mutually exclusive properties (e.g. movement and non-movement) nullifies them both, rendering to them an existential, moral, and rational value of zero; of NOT; of VOID. That is, of a purely abstract, imagined, placeholder status.

The relative context then, and again, necessitates at a fundamental, axiomatic level the conscious perspective of the observer, who is able to conceptualize relative distinctions between objects using himSELF as the reference.

Now, Objectivists and other “empirical” philosophers will almost certainly accuse me of promulgating a Primacy of Consciousness metaphysic, but this is in large part because they suppose that one can separately categorize evidence and reason, which is not actually possible. There can be no objective, empirical evidence which is also a conceptual contradiction. Of course the light wave/particle paradox is often trotted out as a rebuttal to this assertion, but this is easily rebuffed using reason (which I won’t explain here).

I wish to be clear that I am not proposing a purely subjective, “ethereal” metaphysic…and frankly, this is an amateurish criticism. On the contrary, because rational consistency is necessary to the apprehension and definition of Truth, as the above discussion on relativity and movement indicates, it is impossible that one can claim any efficacious philosophical (metaphysics through aesthetics) positions based purely upon subjective standards. This is because subjectivism necessarily equals contradiction. And contradiction is NOT an idea, it is the absence of one.

Further, to argue that the individual conscious observer’s self-evidentiary and necessary inclusion in anything objectively true (self/evident because truth is only known by conscious individuals) is somehow a bias and a liability to reality is the very definition of absurdity. But further discussion of this is better suited to a separate article…the topic is too complex and involved to serve as a side note for this one.

The point of this article is that man’s consciousness–his conceptualizing ability–is much more than a perfunctory extension of some ethereal, evolutionary, determinative force in the “objective” universe–a force which must necessarily contradict itself by spawning such a consciousness in the first place. Rather, it is a fundamental component of rational consistency, and thus is indespensible in any definition or discussion of objective reality. Human cognition; consciousness; conceptualization; awareness of Self is inexorably tied to the metaphysical axiom–the irreducible Truth from which ALL things spring.

Why Authority (Violence as the Primary Means of Achieving Objectives) is a Direct Function of Determinism

The primary ethic and politic of determinism is authoritarianism. That is, once individual Will becomes merely an inexorable effect of a Singularity of Cause which decides all purpose, be it God, or Natural Law/Scientific Empiricism, Existence (what “is” as its own end, where “Existence” must necessarily subordinate all other definitions of all objects, rendering their distinctions moot), or Social/Cultural Construction, or any other garden variety ideal like the Common Good, the Underprivileged, etcetera etcetera, then man cannot by definition act purposefully, on his own, to any relevant, rational, or moral objective, regardless of how this objective may be defined. Thus, all knowledge and purpose can only be ascribed to some kind of transcendent (and rationally impossible) revelation according to those who proclaim themselves the ecclesiastical (ruling according to “spiritual” mandate) recipients of the “Wisdom” or “Truth” of the Great Cause (the Singularity of Cause).  Examples of this can be found in religious leaders who claim divine rulership according to “God’s Calling”, the Representatives of States who claim to act on behalf of the “People” or the “Common Good”, or Intellectual elites who claim natural insight or acumen with respect to the “language of the Universe”, where the universe speaks in the arcane vernacular of mathematics, statistical analysis, genetic and evolutionary processes, various research methodologies, etcetera, etcetera. In all of these cases, Truth, and thus necessarily all that Is, is a function of an abstract ideal which causes absolutely, and therefore categorically determines all that man does, and thus, by definition, all that man thinks. Man then can only be compelled and controlled by force (violence), since he possesses no real capacity for self-awareness and therefore no capacity for self-control. He cannot think, therefore he cannot choose. And therefore he must be ruled–and absolutely so, by those who DO think, and DO know: those, again, who are the self-proclaimed extensions of the Determining (Singularity of) Cause. In other words, they rule you, because they are, as far as you are concerned,  indistinguishable from that which determines you.