Fun with logic

Whoever thought logic could be so informative:

>The anatomic and physiologic facts of alimentation and reproduction simply do not change based on any cultural setting. In fact, the logical complementarity of the human sexes has been so recognized in our culture that it has entered our vocabulary in the form of naming various pipe fittings either the male fitting or the female fitting depending upon which one interlocks within the other.

>When the complementarity of the sexes is breached, injuries and diseases may occur as noted above. Therefore, based on the simplest known anatomy and physiology, when dealing with the complementarity of the human sexes, one can simply say, Res ipsa loquitur – the thing speaks for itself!

42 thoughts on “Fun with logic”

  1. “it has entered our vocabulary in the form of naming various pipe fittings either the male fitting or the female fitting depending upon which one interlocks within the other.”

    one wonders how the author would reply if one were to refer to the ends of mechanical devices as the “bear fittting and cub fitting” or the “pitcher fitting and catcher fitting” or the “top fitting and the bottom fitting.” moreover what about the t-fitting? that one connects two or three ways? how does it fit into his mechanico-teleological explanation?

  2. “…one interlocks within the other…”

    My girlfriend hates when that happens!

  3. Good one, Matt. And I suppose diseases don’t occur with such male/female interlocking.

  4. “Consensual penile-anal intercourse can be performed safely provided there is adequate lubrication. Few anorectal problems and no evidence of anal-sphincter dysfunction are found in heterosexual women who have anal-receptive intercourse.

    However, forceful anal penetration without lubrication against a resistant sphincter will result in abrasive trauma, causing fissures, contusions, thrombosed hemorrhoids, lacerations with bleeding, pain, and psychic traumaw (Bush, 1986). ”

    So forced intercourse isn’t safe! My, my.

  5. “And I suppose diseases don’t occur with such male/female interlocking.”

    It’s impossible due to there logical complementarity-ness! However, it could explain why I currently have gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes simplex 2, genital warts, and a dash of chlamydia.

  6. Keith Chegwin makes the same point, only a bit more eloquently. Nonetheless, the logic is impeccable.

  7. PM –

    Totally unrelated question, but –

    Do you believe that homosexual activity is a perversion of God-given sexual desire, expressly pronounced against in God’s given Scripture, or not?

    I’m just “curious”.

  8. i think homosexual activity is expressly pronounced against in the Bible. the prophets, as well as paul, announce it as an abomination. however, the poorly reasoned argument for this Scriptural claim jcasey cites is barely worth mentionin the same breath. paul is citing biblical law; this writer is using an improper analogy with the whole mechanical fitting/modern parlance thing. while jcasey argues that the argument is inadequate, while jcasey makes no explicit judegment on the claims made past this.

  9. also, as this is an unrelated line of discussion, perhaps we should take it off the comments section.

  10. I disclaimed that I was aware that it was unrelated. I was just curious to hear you answer. So thank you.

    But now, looking again, I’m not even the columnist is making an argument, per se. So perhaps you and Dr. Casey are being unduly harsh?

    But on a more interesting note – and now suddenly the unrelated thing might become related – doesn’t Paul explicitly refer to homosexuality as a blatant violation of “the natural use”?

    It almost seems, at least at a glance, that there’s something of an appeal there to what is clearly known to be natural. What do you think?

  11. modern parlance, slang, etc. is a totally inept way to reason for the telos of the sexual act. it’s a shifting sand. to infer from the fact that we refer to pipe fittings and plug-ins by male and female pseudonyms in no way communicates any divine intent for the male and female sexual organs. it only communicates that penile penetration is a metaphor for pretty much everything men on a construction site do; it doesn’t communicate where or in what manner that penetration should occur. i was making no value claim about the content of the writers arguement, only pointing out the inaccuracy of his analogy, that’s why paul’s writings are still unrelated. whether or not paul speaks of the natural use of the sexual organs has no bearing on the improper anology this writer employs.
    if we called it a top fitting and a bottom fitting, would that then imply that male-male homosexual sex is natural, simply becuase that’s the popular metaphor? by this writer’s logic, it would and that’s why it’s a crappy analogy.

  12. Again, I’m not sure the writer is actually making an analogical (no pun intended) argument, strictly speaking.

  13. “In fact, the logical complementarity of the human sexes has been so recognized in our culture that it has entered our vocabulary in the form of naming various pipe fittings either the male fitting or the female fitting depending upon which one interlocks within the other. “

  14. I read the article as well Phil. Still, I’m not positive that the portion you’ve repeated need be considered an analogical argument.

    And also, ‘complimentarity’ – as a concept itself – presupposes teleology.

    Also, what could a “some say” appeal to those who don’t normally apply the concept to biology do for an argument that the concept can’t be applied in biological discussions?

  15. Also, the very concept of violation/violence itself presupposes a teleology.

    So it doesn’t seem that even the implied conclusion in Steven Jerome’s comment can be salvaged. Or, it if is, I think we’re going to have to explain why we approve of a teleological appeal that is implicit in our shunning of “forced” sodomy over and against are mocking of teleological appeal elsewhere.

    So for Steven, violent/forced sodomy poses risk to Charmides? How still will we argue Socrates out of doing him such? (assuming of course for the sake of argument that he were not so anxious to “suffer violence”).

  16. PS –
    And no one gets out by claiming that the appeal against non-consensual/violent instances appeal to an ethic rather than a teleology. The whole point is that the ethic itself can be grounded in nothing but a teleology.

    Sorry for three posts that should have been one everyone.

  17. i think at best he’s pretending that the analogous relationship of mechanical connections to the sexual acts communicates some unacknowledged universal truth about the natural purpose of sex, which is just silly. at worst, he’s got a thinly disguised argument by improper analogy.

    “And also, ‘complimentarity’ – as a concept itself – presupposes teleology. ”

    i’m not sure that’s the case. where do you see that? i’ve only recently come across the term in feyerabend and i’m still trying to wrap my head around it, however, i think this writer is equivocating between things that are complimentary and complimentarity in his usage of the term.

    “Also, what could a “some say” appeal to those who don’t normally apply the concept to biology do for an argument that the concept can’t be applied in biological discussions?”

    it reinforces the claim that this guy is using a highly problematic and technical scientific term as if it had some broad, universally accepted definition, which it doesn’t. he’s laying claim to some notion of complimentarity without ever establishing what that notion is. he just tosses it in there as if the reader should know.

  18. Phil, it means ‘complimentary’.

    I know that’s difficult to discern from the radically different structure of the two words. Look closely. It’s there. Every once in a while you must take a break from prepping your next name-drop, and use your wonderful mind. The complimentarity/complimentary connection is such an instance.

    Forgive the sarcasm please. You know I love you… in a non-violent way.

  19. According to my Cheerios box (or the Cheerios box from my younger years at least), the following items are all “compliments” to a complete breakfast.

    – a bowl of Cheerios in milk (oddly enough)
    – a glass of orange juice
    – some buttered toast

    Now, they can’t be compliments for the purposes of a complete breakfast unless there is a “complete breakfast”. And there can’t be a complete breakfast unless there’s ideal nutrition. And there can’t be ideal nutrition unless there’s….

    Complimentarity presupposes teleology.

  20. Yes, QED.

    But there remains also the point — yet to be QED’d by you — that any ‘ethic’ with which you would hope to ground the appeal to “consensuality” also, like my Cheerios, presupposes a teleology.

    Or perhaps Steven Jerome should concede that one, rather than you, since it was his veiled point.

  21. let’s cut to the chase. you’re going to argue that everything presupposes teleology, therefore everything must have a purpose and that without presupposing a teleology, no one has any claim to Truth or morality. no need to continue the erisitic. that may be true, however it does not relate the writer’s silly idea that the fact that we refer to the connective parts of mechanical connections by the terms “male” and “female” is fundmentally communicative of any metaphysical fact.

  22. I think there are three things that might be confused here:

    1. Means/End relations.
    2. Cause/co-cause (what Aristotle refers to as a “sunaitia”)
    3. Strict “logical” complements (roughly, two classes are strict complements when together they include the totality—p and not-p are complements).

    I don’t see any reason to believe that “logical complementarity” has anything to do with teleology. You shift here to the domain of means/ends and causality and not logic, I think.

    I don’t know what the original source possibly means by speaking about “logical complementarity,” but at best it seems confused.

    Perhaps, one could make the sex-functional argument that there is a natural function for these organs and other uses are “unnatural.” The source seems to think that there is some medical evidence that supports this. That last point seems to be the argument under scrutiny. Whether the sex-functional argument is sound is a different question.

    It might be better to drop the language of “complementarity” here to clarify the issue.

  23. “So it doesn’t seem that even the implied conclusion in Steven Jerome’s comment can be salvaged. Or, it if is, I think we’re going to have to explain why we approve of a teleological appeal that is implicit in our shunning of “forced” sodomy over and against are mocking of teleological appeal elsewhere.”

    You don’t seem to grasp the implied conclusion in my previous response. His comparison of homosexuality to ‘pipe fittings’ is a teleological claim, that is an appeal to design argument. If he can demonstrate that male sodomy, regardless of the manner in which it is practiced, causes bodily injury, than such evidence could be certainly aid his conclusion. Of course, male sodomy can be performed without injury, as the previous paragraph acknowledges. It is only when males are engaged in ‘forced sodomy’ is there an inherent risk of injury. To assume that all male sodomy is ‘forced’ sodomy, is a silly claim, that his data doesn’t support. According to his data, only 5% of male sodomy can be characterized this way. Heterosexual intercourse, when forced, can also cause injury, and often does. Considering that it is possible to engage in sodomy safely, (free from bodily risk), then the inclusion of this blurb on forced sodomy, is entirely useless. If sodomy could not be practiced without injury, then we could build a powerful teleological argument in the way that the argument against cigarette smoking in public places has been made. It is, however, possible to engage in safe sodomy, just as it is possible to inflict bodily harm by engaging in forced ‘heterosexual’ sex. He is the one making the teleological claim about the nature of sodomy, and so he must defend it. Pipe-fitting analogies hardly suffice.

  24. Analogical reasoning = making a point and supporting it with an analogy. In the article under discussion the point is clear. The male and female sexes show logical complementarity to each other (whatever that means…even if does just mean “compliments”). The analogy used to support this claim = male and female sex organs fit together like pipe fittings because we call the ends of some pipe fittings male and female.

    Analogical reasoning is a form of inductive reasoning. Therefore, a poor analogy = a weak inductive argument. A weak inductive argument = a poor argument. So offering a poor analogy to support a point, which is the case here, is the same as giving a poor argument.

    Also, if we define terms by there use, then in no way does the term complementarity (or even complimentary, which may or may not be equivalent to complementarity) presuppose a teleology. When quantum physicists claim that two pairs of electrons have complimentary spins they do not presuppose that the electrons have an end goal or purpose. They are simply telling us that the two electrons have spin-states that are correlated. To claim that having correlated spin states is teleological is to be confused about what teleology means. Also, to claim that even though the scientists don’t believe they are presupposing teleology but they still in fact are presupposing teleology is to simply beg the question.

    However, even if the author of the article in question did intend to make some sort of teleological claim, I don’t see how that has any bearing on the use of his poor analogy. It still remains a weak inductive argument no matter the teleological position.

    Last, I am not sure that the claims being attributed to Steven Jerome’s post are accurate.

  25. Ah, I see Steven Jerome posted while I was writing…so my last sentence is not useful at this point.

  26. Steven, to your comment that –

    “You don’t seem to grasp the implied conclusion in my previous response. His comparison of homosexuality to ‘pipe fittings’ is a teleological claim, that is an appeal to design argument. If he can demonstrate that male sodomy, regardless of the manner in which it is practiced, causes bodily injury, than such evidence could be certainly aid his conclusion.”

    Is bodily injury the only kind of injury we should be concerned with?
    Just a thought, but nevermind it for the moment.

    I think maybe I do grasp what you are saying, and am taking you one further. I’m saying that without an ethic that is – at some point down its inferential chain – going to have to make a teleological appeal, neither can you even ground your implication that forced sodomy is a problem.

    I think the mix-up is coming in that you’re possibly reading ‘teleology’ in a design argument sort of way, without taking into consideration that any ethical principle you attempt to lay down is an appeal to how things “should be,” which seems to presupposes a purposiveness, or, teleology, no?

    If you say that Socrates shouldn’t rape Charmides because of possible detrimental health risks for the lad, you’re also then going to have to lay down an ethical premise for why Socrates should care about Charmides’ health. And once you get way down the line in this argument, you’re gonna have to finally make some sort of appeal to the “promotion” or “flourishing” of human life, or some such thing.

    The ethical appeal can’t escape subjective futility without eventually admitting its teleological assumptions.

    Maybe I’m being unclear. I think my point is merely that it seemed (and you then even said) that the author’s argument could work if the “health risk” argument could be shown applicable to consensual cases as well. But it seems that in saying this you’re as much as admitting that you’re grounding your moral assessment in what does or does not jeopardize another’s health. But like I said, carried out, this argument is gonna have to make those appeals to the “promotion of life” and “stable society” and such things, and, it seems then that all the while what is undergirding it [your argument] are assumptions about human “purposiveness” (i.e. that humans ‘should’ flourish, and not destroy their own species, or whatever). And those assumptions about a purposiveness in which your grounding your ethical distinction are thus teleological in nature, or at least inextricable from considerations that are so.

  27. In reply to Colin, that –

    “I don’t see any reason to believe that “logical complementarity” has anything to do with teleology. You shift here to the domain of means/ends and causality and not logic, I think.”

    In the first place, I honestly think the author of the piece probably just meant “logical” loosely, as many people do, in the sense of “common sense”.

    But more importantly, the assumption in your comment – I think – that is interesting to me is the assumption that discussions of logic can be had independently of discussions of (or discussions that are ultimately going to involve) teleology — and by that I mean considerations of a purposive “plan” in which everything adheres.

    I don’t agree with that assumption.

    Suppose one were a materialist. I know that’s far fetched for any of us, but I swear to you, there are those out there who claim to be. But just suppose it for a moment. In fact, suppose it’s me.

    For “me” then, on this view, I (the “knower”) am no different than anything else in my environment; I am not distinguished by a “mind” that has the self-consciousness and freedom to search for the truth, evaluate opinions, and make intellectual commitments, for I have nothing but a physical/material brain, which – like every other natural object – is determined by chemistry, biology, and physics. The “thinking’ of this product of chance cannot warrant the notion of universals, necessity, causal connections or moral prescriptions. In the second place, the “facts” that I encounter are likewise random and unconnected in any way that could justify categorization, laws, or predictability. The “standards” of logic or reasoning cannot be taken as objective or justified as to their universality – or even applicability to the world of contingent material facts.

    Now, this (this dispersion of loose, isolated, random, and discreet material) is in fact what the world is unless it adheres **within** the purposive/providential mind of God. If the laws of science, the laws of logic, and the laws of morality are **not** seen as expressions of the unchanging mind of God, then the notion of universal and absolute “laws” or the concept of order in the contingent, changing world of matter makes no sense whatsoever. In what way could anything be truly universal and law abiding when every event is isolated and random? **If universality is supposed to be objective, then there is no justification for holding to it on the basis of man’s limited experience, whereas if universality is subjective (internal to man’s thinking) then it is arbitrarily imposed by man’s mind on his experience without warrant.**

    I assume by logic you are referring by what you believe to be universal, invariant principles, and I therefore think that you cannot separate such a discussion from a discussion of teleology.

  28. But more importantly, the assumption in your comment – I think – that is interesting to me is the assumption that discussions of logic can be had independently of discussions of (or discussions that are ultimately going to involve) teleology — and by that I mean considerations of a purposive “plan” in which everything adheres.

    You\’re probably right about the intent of the author using the phrase \”logical complentarity.\” The conceptual confusions that underlie the colloquial use (logic=unquestionably true/rational) might, however, contribute to the awful argument that is advanced. This is a psychological claim that I offer only as an hypothesis.

    I think the burden of proof would lie with the one showing the assumption is false in a particular case. On the surface of it, it seems, the logical issues are prior to the question of whether a particular relationship is teleological or not. Logic would govern the putative \”purposive \’plan\’ itself. And, God or nature\’s coming up with it and defending it, as well.

    I think what you are doing in your replying is moving between levels of discussion. One might argue that rationality itself is embedded within a larger teleology. But, until the relevance for the analysis of the argument is defended, I see no reason or need to take a stand on it. A stronger version of this might be that the significance (and limits) of rationality is determined by an evolutionary \”teleology\” (i.e. it was selected for a particular function that tells us its \”meaning.\”) Either \”teleological account\” may be true, but relevance needs to be demonstrated for the particular claims that are being analysed.

    On the analysis of this argument (sex-function argument) the logic is separate from the question of teleology. Even granting the assumption that there is some being that designed penises for the delivery of semen to vaginas, it is irrelevant to the question of whether using a penis for gratification in any of the full plurality of possible other uses is \”unnatural\” in any significant sense, or more importantly immoral.

    More specifically for the quoted text above, the fact that people can expose themselves to physical harm and sickness by non-vaginal intercourse, and the fact that we have chosen to impose analogical naming schemes on our electrical connectors, do not, I think, provide much evidence for the teleological claim, or the moral claim that seems to hang on it. That, it seems to me, is the core of the original point.

  29. Owen, I realize your discussion is not directed at me, but I cannot let your last post go by without comment.

    The first thing it brings to mind is a quote from Nietzsche:

    “The most perfidious way of harming a cause consists of defending it deliberately with faulty arguments.”

    You are guilty of at least two logical fallacies. The first is the straw-man. The position you call materialism, and the claims you credit to it, does not exist. There are a large number of positions concerning the relationship between the mind and body. I believe you were attempting to refer to a position know as Eliminativism, which states that the mind is identical to the brain. However, the various metaphysical claims that you further attribute to it are completely false.

    The second fallacy is the false dichotomy. You say: “If the laws of science, the laws of logic, and the laws of morality are not seen as expressions of the unchanging mind of God, then the notion of universal and absolute “laws” or the concept of order in the contingent, changing world of matter makes no sense whatsoever.”

    I don’t even know where to begin with this view. I believe it could only come about because you have a total ignorance of contemporary metaphysics. May I suggest the following book: “The Oxford Handbook of Metaphysics” edited by Michael L. Loux and Dean W. Zimmerman. Zimmerman is a strongly committed Christian. The articles are high level, but I believe you will find the material illuminating.

    For a good overview of the various positions concerning the relationship of the mind and brain, I will recommend “The Philosophy of Mind” by Jaegwon Kim.

  30. Well you’re right. You don’t even know where to begin with this view.

  31. Also –
    Your Nietzsche quote is right on the money. Along with this one:

    “Thus do the gods justify the life of man: they themselves live it – the only satisfactory theodicy!”

    Moments of semi-clarity from a very angry, confused and sad man.

    I’m up too late. Good night.

  32. Your sarcastic response does not do anything to address the logical problems in your argument. You then proceed to commit another fallacy—the ad hominem against Nietzsche. Thanks though, for showing us all how not to argue for your point on a site dedicated to the logical analysis of arguments.

    Your view makes an enormous number of metaphysical assumptions. Pointing out each of them would take a semester worth of discussion. I tried to be nice and simply suggest a single book that I thought would help point out these assumptions. However, you chose to be nasty. I will not respond in kind.

    Here are the highlights of the problems with each of your points.

    “Now, this (this dispersion of loose, isolated, random, and discreet material) is in fact what the world is unless it adheres within the purposive/providential mind of God.”

    Why? Why is “physical stuff” (matter and energy) limited to being loose, isolated, random, and discreet if it doesn’t adhere (whatever that means) to the providential mind of God? This point already seems to presuppose the existence of God. Are you assuming that God is the source of causation?

    “If the laws of science, the laws of logic, and the laws of morality are not seen as expressions of the unchanging mind of God, then the notion of universal and absolute “laws” or the concept of order in the contingent, changing world of matter makes no sense whatsoever.”

    If God’s mind is unchanging, then how is it possible for contingent, changing things to adhere to it? In philosophy many now describe laws as things that are able to sustain counterfactuals. Counterfactuals seem to make perfect sense without positing any conception of God (or mind of God). There also appears to be a confusion in modality. It appears that you are attempting to claim that if God is not necessary, then it is not possible for anything to be necessary. In logical notation where ‘N’ = necessary, ‘P’ = possible, ‘~’ = not, g = God, ‘>’ = the conditional if, then, and ‘B’ = Beta, which is standing in for anything, we get [(~Ng) > (~PNB)]. Even the generalized form of this argument, which would replace the ‘g’ with the variable ‘x’, is not a postulate in modal logic. Therefore, it is not a valid inference. Running through some possible world scenarios will also show that the inference is invalid. Also, the laws in logic are seen as being analytic, while those in science and morality (if there are any) are not typically thought of in this way.

    “In what way could anything be truly universal and law abiding when every event is isolated and random?”

    Why is every event isolated and random? Once again, are you assuming some specific conception of causation?

    “If universality is supposed to be objective, then there is no justification for holding to it on the basis of man’s limited experience, whereas if universality is subjective (internal to man’s thinking) then it is arbitrarily imposed by man’s mind on his experience without warrant.”

    Huh? Is this supposed be some type of argument against Kant (or Kantian positions) concerning ethics or is this some type of an argument against nominalism? Why couldn’t I believe that universality (of whatever it is supposed to be referring to) is objective but that I do not have any direct access to it (my knowledge is limited). You mention justification and warrant, these are epistemological concepts. I think the reason I’m having trouble understanding this point is because you have confused and/or conflated metaphysical and epistemological problems.

  33. Matt,
    We’re gonna quickly descend into pages and pages of response here if we go statement-for-statement… which will then, possibly fizzle, should one of us lose heart or interest, and then have proved a waist of each other’s time. I’m wanting to try to avoid that. But I’m also wanting to avoid being brief to the point of dismissive. I’ll try to tight-wire between the two extremes.

    Actually, I didn’t mean my comment sarcastically, nor intend an ad-homey on Nietzsche. I was confirming that your quote from him was sound advice, and then offering another favorite quote of my own, which I feel is also quite insightful.

    Anyhow –
    (just to make this a little less confusing, I’m gonna **bold** my responses)

    “Your view makes an enormous number of metaphysical assumptions.”

    **So does yours.**

    “However, you chose to be nasty. I will not respond in kind.”

    **No nastiness was intended man.**

    “Why? Why is “physical stuff” (matter and energy) limited to being loose, isolated, random, and discreet if it doesn’t adhere (whatever that means) to the providential mind of God?”

    **Just a point here, I said “adhere within”. Perhaps misreading is your confusion here. Or perhaps that doesn’t clear up anything for you. Nonetheless, “within”.**

    “This point already seems to presuppose the existence of God.”

    **True.**

    “Are you assuming that God is the source of causation?”

    **God is the source of all, Matt.**

    “If God’s mind is unchanging, then how is it possible for contingent, changing things to adhere to it?”

    **Again Matt, adhere ‘within’ it. And to answer your question. I believe you’re misunderstanding the statement you pull the question from. Look again.**

    “In philosophy many now describe laws as things that are able to sustain counterfactuals.”

    **What laws?**

    “Why is every event isolated and random?”

    **Well, how do you have access to the unities that would make them not so? (This is the same question as my last).**

  34. I agree that the discussion necessary would take pages. That is why I recommended a book, in which you can take your own time to look over. I offered the point-by-point response because your “one-liner” reply strongly suggested that you believed I didn’t know what I was talking about. So I thought I’d demonstrate that I did have a clue and that I did know where to begin.

    Just a few of the important points:

    1)
    “‘Your view makes an enormous number of metaphysical assumptions.’

    So does yours.”

    What view? I was not arguing for any view. I was only offering criticisms of the argument you gave for yours.

    2)
    Yes, I understood that it was supposed to be ‘adhere within’. I was not using my ‘adhere’ to mean physically sticking to. I realized that ‘adhere within’ is a metaphor for what is going on in the mind of God. However, being a metaphor the concept needs further explanation. My actual point was meant to be more complex. If God’s mind is never changing and everything that has ever been and ever will be adheres within it, then how does anything change? It would seem that God’s mind would need to change in order for anything else to change.

    3)
    Maybe we can avoid all the confusing metaphysics if we simplify the argument. As far as I can tell, your argument broken down into its primary premises looks like this:

    a) God is the source of everything;
    b) God has a purpose for the things that He is the source of (a plan);
    c) If something has a purpose, then that something has a teleology (the definition of teleology);
    d) If God is the source of everything, then everything has a teleology;
    e) If something has a teleology, then it cannot be discussed apart from its teleology.
    f) If everything has a teleology, then nothing can be discussed apart from its teleology.
    Therefore, nothing can be discussed apart from its teleology.

    I have set your argument up so that it is valid (or at least so it appears valid). The remaining question is whether or not it is sound. If anyone of the premises is false, then the argument isn’t sound. (c) appears to be a tautology so it seems necessarily true. (d) seems to follow from (a), (b), and (c) so its truth would follow from those premises. (a) and (b) are both important premises in your argument and are not obviously true. In order to make your argument work you would need to provide arguments for both (a) and (b).

    Let’s say, however, that you are able to provide convincing arguments for both (a) and (b), you would still need to provide an argument for (e). (f) would follow from the truth of (e). I don’t understand why (e) is true though. Every human has a heart; can we not discuss humans apart from their hearts? Every physical thing in the universe is composed of quarks; can we not talk about physical things without mentioning their subatomic structure? A hammer has a purpose (that we give it), can I not discuss something, like its craftsmanship, without referencing its purpose?

    That’s all the important stuff I wanted to discuss.

  35. Sorry Matt, regarding the first comment, I only meant to imply that ‘any’ view makes metaphysical assumptions, and thus even if unexpressed – as you say – yours would/does too.

    On your second point, I’m not sure that I can go with you on affirming that God’s unchanging mind necessarily implies an unchanging universe. It’s been said that **to will a change is not necessarily to have a change of will,** and I think there’s something to that. So I can’t agree with your supposition on this point. But then again neither do I know for sure that it’s necessary to hold that God’s mind is unchanging. That’s a huge discussion. The important point, I think, in reply to you on this is that I don’t think the dilemma which you pose is necessarily a dilemma.

    On your third point, I appreciate your attempt to formalize the argument, but I would say the following. When you say that “maybe we can avoid the confusing metaphysics if we simplify the argument,” my initial notion would be to reply that possibly can notice something important even before doing so, which is that in disputing, we’re already positing and assuming much about metaphysics, such as the existence of an invariant rational framework that we assume that both of our minds – and of course the universe – correspond to. Now that, to me, is interesting, because it obviously imposes a general unity (and a number of smaller unities) on reality that we simply won’t find “empirically,” as any empirical investigation (in fact just about any activity I can think of) would naturally presuppose them.

    So I don’t think we can avoid all the “confusing metaphysics” by simplifying the argument. Or at least I should say that I think it’s prior (and more interesting) to note the metaphysical assumptions in place in our having any dispute whatsoever, including this one.

    And to try to ‘bring it back’ a bit here…

    Now what any of this has to do with teleology per se is going to be determined by how broadly one conceives of teleology’s definition. That is, one may insist that the universe having a rational arrangement that is presupposed in all of man’s interaction with it is unrelated to any questions of teleology in the purpose/function/clockwork sense, but that would merely be an assertion, and certainly not non-controversial.

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