Thursday, July 2, 2009

Exploring Necessary Implications of Materialism

I’ve had two requests to state the Big Numbers question as a formal challenge like the Show How You’d Subject The Virgin Birth To Science* challenge below. Further questions that arise from responses could become future challenges. I’d suggest you answer in terms that a layman could understand OK. Here it goes.

Materialists and others, imagine a big number in the set of counting numbers. A counting number that is a trillion, trillion powers larger than the number of the physical entities in the material universe. A number which can’t have a one-to-one correspondence to an actual, material entity in the universe.

- Is that number contained in the material universe? If so, how and in what sense is it contained in the material universe?

- Is that number real? Is it real in the same sense that a material object is real?

- If it is neither contained in the material universe or it is not real in the same sense as a material object is, explain how it could be real under the ideology of materialism.

- If that number is not a part of the material universe and so you hold it is not real, wouldn’t that mean that the set of counting numbers is, in fact, finite and not infinite?

A statement of a materialist who has already responded to this ( see below ) necessitates two further questions.

- If that number is real but it is non-corporeal, account for how a non-corporeal but real entities can be so notably relevant to the material universe. If you hold that numbers as non-corporeal but are real, that would overturn the ideology of materialism, wouldn’t it?

Would the numbers exist without the material universe? But if they can't then that makes my big numbers question is all the more relevant. Does that number exist and if it doesn't wouldn't that mean that there are a finite number of numbers? Maybe that property of the numbers system is just an invented myth? Do you really want to go there?

Note: I decided to avoid the puns that I unusually include in this challenge because some have used those to avoid parts of the challenge in the past. Also note, while I believe in God, I don’t draw any implication that the failure to locate the number system in the material universe is a confirmation of the supernatural, though others could certainly do so. I draw the conclusion that materialism is basically a fallacious idea.

1 comment:

  1. The false premise of your "challenge" is that numbers are anything other than mental constructs to follow logal rules. In that sense they are real (as the products of the mind, such as language, are real and are wholly material, as they are the product of wholly material minds.)

    They correspond to things in existance, because they are defined that way. If one has two apples and adds a third, there isn't any "two-ness" of the first two apples that changes into a "three-ness" with the addition of the other. The numbers are defined in a way that when the third is added, the rules demand that we change the set name "two" to "three."

    Further, for numbers whose value exceeds the number of particles of the universe: because all numbers are mental constructs, such a number is as real as "two" or "three." The only difference is that there is no group in existance which can bear the label of that number. The number itself still exists as the mental contruct.

    Once this is understood, the remainder of your questions fall into place.