Saturday, August 27, 2005

Theism vs materialism

Maverick Philosopher
examines a debate between materialism and theism.

Theism is arguably superior to materialism because it explains more with less. Its explanation is relatively simple whereas that of materialism must postulate innumerable separate objects that just happen to have the same powers as each other.

The problem with this logic is a common one in the theism materialism debate. Most examples of theism are VERY poor predictors of events. This means they provide very little information about why a particular event happened and we are using a very weak definition of the word "explanation" that implies considerable lack of knowledge.

Materialism on the other hand has very complex rules but is extremely powerful predictor of events. This means the sort of "explanation" it provides is vastly more powerful than most examples of theism.

This means you cannot use Occam's razor to argue that theism explains more with less any more than you can argue "stuff happens" is the ultimate theory that should replace any other because it is simple and explains everything.

In the quotes in the post God is invoked as the reason why sub atomic particles behave in a normal way and this is deemed to be a good argument since it is simple. However actually this theory just adds (at least) one unit of complexity (god) without adding any testable explanitory power (unless someone cares to explain the test and then make it). Worse yet one would then have to explain why god chose to make it work that way (as opposed to any other - and "that is the only way" is not a valid explination unless you can prove that).


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