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Author Topic:   C.S. Lewis on materialistic thoughts
jcgirl92
Inactive Member


Message 1 of 43 (25190)
12-01-2002 9:55 PM


Thought this was interesting...
‘If the solar system was brought about by an accidental collision, then the appearance of organic life on this planet was also an accident, and the whole evolution of Man was an accident too. If so, then all our present thoughts are mere accidents the accidental by-product of the movement of atoms. And this holds for the thoughts of the materialists and astronomers as well as for anyone else’s. But if their thoughts i.e. of materialism and astronomy are merely accidental by-products, why should we believe them to be true? I see no reason for believing that one accident should be able to give me a correct account of all the other accidents. It’s like expecting that the accidental shape taken by the splash when you upset a milkjug should give you a correct account of how the jug was made and why it was upset.’
C.S. Lewis (1898—1963), The Business of Heaven,
Fount Paperbacks, U.K., p. 97, 1984.

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Syamsu 
Suspended Member (Idle past 5705 days)
Posts: 1914
From: amsterdam
Joined: 05-19-2002


Message 2 of 43 (25219)
12-02-2002 5:50 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by jcgirl92
12-01-2002 9:55 PM


It's true that evolutionists sure put a lot of emphasis on accident. I think they need to give a scientific definition of accident when they put so much emphasis on it within science.
regards,
Mohammad Nor Syamsu

This message is a reply to:
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Minnemooseus
Inactive Member


Message 3 of 43 (195267)
03-29-2005 5:34 PM


Bumping a very old inactive topic
Just bumbled upon this topic in the "ol' topic database".
This one never went anywhere, but C.S. Lewis is coming up at the "Who to believe , Ham or Ross?" topic, so I thought I'd bump it. Sylas has posted a nice (POTM time?) message there.
Moose

Professor, geology, Whatsamatta U
Evolution - Changes in the environment, caused by the interactions of the components of the environment.
"Do not meddle in the affairs of cats, for they are subtle and will piss on your computer." - Bruce Graham

  
crashfrog
Member (Idle past 1582 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 4 of 43 (195270)
03-29-2005 5:36 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by jcgirl92
12-01-2002 9:55 PM


Its like expecting that the accidental shape taken by the splash when you upset a milkjug should give you a correct account of how the jug was made and why it was upset.
Didn't I see them do that on CSI?

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gnojek
Inactive Member


Message 5 of 43 (195317)
03-29-2005 8:39 PM


I guess I'm still learning all the strange practices on this ,essage board.
O well, despite the thread being a few years old, I'll just say that the solar system did not come about by an accidental collision, whatever accident means in this context.
Long story short, there are things called nebulae and in a lot of these there is star formation going on. All the gasses and dust floating around gets pretty close and some of it coalesces into "piles" so to speak. Collections of things tend toward the shapes of disks in space. The huge disk of matter continues to fall toward the middle, so much so that the middle starts to glow with incandescence. Then one day it just can't take it anymore and a fusion reaction kicks off, the birth of the star. There is still a lot of stuff floating around in chunks. The chunks keep banging into each other and sticking. Soon larger and larger chunks form, especially in regions where orbits tend to be pretty stable. These large chunks continue to sweep out regions in the "minefield" and continue to grow. They keep getting pelted with material until they are the size of the planets we see today.
Sp planets are the result of many many many collisions, but the solar system as a whole is not the result of one collision.

  
Mr. Gotti
Inactive Member


Message 6 of 43 (195410)
03-30-2005 10:48 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by jcgirl92
12-01-2002 9:55 PM


accidental thought
Is there a difference between accident and random? Anyway, why couldn't it be pure chance that we were put in a position to do our best to avoid accidents. It does not mean more accidents won't happen. Just throwing out an example, I'm driving to work, I see car A stop at an intersection for apparently no reason. There's no stop sign/crosswalk etc... Car B, which was in an adjacent lane but a few yards behind car A, kept on going, not thinking about why car A was stopped - or not really having time to do much about it if he was. A kid emerges running from car A into the path of car B. Sadly, an accident happens. Turns out car B just had no clue, he was a new driver and had never encountered a situation like that before. In fact, perhaps I'm a new driver myself and I had never seen that happen before. Ten years later, I find myself in a similar situation to the driver of car B. I furiously apply the brakes. A kid emerges from car A, runs in front of me and crosses the street safely. An accident 10 years earlier allows him to carry on with his life and have more thoughts...perhaps his close call will be one of them...

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pink sasquatch
Member (Idle past 6137 days)
Posts: 1567
Joined: 06-10-2004


Message 7 of 43 (195531)
03-30-2005 5:44 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by jcgirl92
12-01-2002 9:55 PM


no crying over...
It’s like expecting that the accidental shape taken by the splash when you upset a milkjug should give you a correct account of how the jug was made and why it was upset.
The splash could give you some information about the jug and the spilling; though ole C.S. apparently didn't see this, and perhaps this is why he didn't trust "materialistic" science.
For example, if the splash extends all the way across the room, one could surmise that the jug didn't tip over with a mild bump from a miscalculated reach-for-the-salt.
If "milkspillogy" was a field of scientific inquiry with an extensive amount of work done on the nature of milk-spilling, there would be no reason that someone (with way too much time on their hands) couldn't predict at least a range of possible jug shapes and the velocity of spilling, which could lead to some predictions of the manufacture of jug and the reason for spilling.
The recreated account(s) wouldn't be "correct" in the sense of "proven"; but that's the reason for scientific tentativity...
The whole C.S. line of thought reminds me of the short argument I had with DestinyLab recently over one of their comments - there appears to exist a fairly common claim that God's creation is self-evident, but if humans happen to come across evidence that disputes some human account of God's creation, the evidence must necessarily be seen as human error rather than a part of the creation (with the human account of creation being unerring).
I guess what follows is a point I've seen jar try to make: Why should we trust a human account of God's creation more than the content of the creation itself?
Or, to put is to C.S. Lewis, why don't you trust the evidence produced by "materialists", when, after all, God created the "material"?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by jcgirl92, posted 12-01-2002 9:55 PM jcgirl92 has not replied

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paisano
Member (Idle past 6537 days)
Posts: 459
From: USA
Joined: 05-07-2004


Message 8 of 43 (195534)
03-30-2005 6:17 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by pink sasquatch
03-30-2005 5:44 PM


Re: no crying over...
Well the empirical evidence is that probability and stochastic processes are going on all over the universe,at all levels, in living and nonliving matter and in energy, and have been for billions of years. Whether one wants to call these "accidents" or not isn't really a scientific issue. But they are clearly happening.
It appears Einstein was wrong, not only does God play dice, but he has Avogadro's number of casinos per mole of substance.
Can Christian theology be reconciled with this fact ? I've always thought so. But at least in the US, anti-evolutionism seems even to be creeping into Catholicism of late. Maybe the (next?) Pope needs to crack down on this ?

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sidelined
Member (Idle past 6023 days)
Posts: 3435
From: Edmonton Alberta Canada
Joined: 08-30-2003


Message 9 of 43 (195593)
03-30-2005 11:08 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by jcgirl92
12-01-2002 9:55 PM


jcgirl92
If the solar system was brought about by an accidental collision...etc
Amazing how much misunderstanding can be prevalent in one passage isn't it? First off the solar system was "formed" through the interaction of forces prevalent in matter as well as the other phenomena listed here. Accidental in this passage implies without rules and as a quick study of probability theory shows there actually are rules to randomness and not the directionless misunderstanding of laws that C.S. Lewis could have cared less to have rectified since it would conflict with his desire for the world to be otherwise.
C.S Lewis was no scientist.
This message has been edited by sidelined, Wed, 2005-03-30 09:09 PM

And since you know you cannot see yourself,
so well as by reflection, I, your glass,
will modestly discover to yourself,
that of yourself which you yet know not of

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Loudmouth
Inactive Member


Message 10 of 43 (195829)
03-31-2005 5:13 PM


The problem that Lewis runs into is the use of "accident". Accident, as used in english, means that there was an uninteded outcome. For instance, "I accidently spilled the milk" suggests that I was not intending to spill the milk.
The universe is quite different. There is no "intention" in anything that the universal laws do. This is the distinction between random and accident. Randomness is the absence of intention, or the absence of a goal oriented system. Are lottery numbers accidental, or are they random? Is the characteristics of a solar system accidental, or is it random? I would argue that random is a much more accurate term.
From the CS Lewis quote:
quote:
I see no reason for believing that one accident should be able to give me a correct account of all the other accidents. It’s like expecting that the accidental shape taken by the splash when you upset a milkjug should give you a correct account of how the jug was made and why it was upset.’
But you can give an account if a process is random. For instance, if two dice are randomly rolled, then you should be able to predict the total of the two dice will be 7 more than any other number over 10,000 rolls.
Moving to the milkjug, it is the contention of many IDers and others that they can detect information from the random shape of the milk on the floor. THey claim that the analogous milk spillage is designed. How can we tell the difference between an intentionally spilled milk jug and an accidentally spilled milk jug? I don't see a way to do it.

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Hangdawg13
Member (Idle past 866 days)
Posts: 1189
From: Texas
Joined: 05-30-2004


Message 11 of 43 (196009)
04-01-2005 10:39 AM


Just for the record, C.S. Lewis had no problem with evolution or the Genesis creation story and he did trust the mainstream science.
I think you've all missed his point. His point really has nothing to do with evolution or science or spilled milk, but the philosophy of the search for truth.
Here I think C.S. Lewis is saying that it just seems a bit odd that an unintended chain of natural cause and effects of unknown length should result in an intentional search for truth that actually finds truth. It is a part of the mystery of consciousness.
At what point did this chain of cause and effects become "intentional" and if it wasn't "intentional" from the beginning what basis do we have for believing what we believe to be true is true?
This message has been edited by Hangdawg13, 04-01-2005 10:48 AM

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crashfrog
Member (Idle past 1582 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 12 of 43 (196010)
04-01-2005 11:07 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by Hangdawg13
04-01-2005 10:39 AM


Here I think C.S. Lewis is saying that it just seems a bit odd that an unintended chain of natural cause and effects of unknown length should result in an intentional search for truth that actually finds truth. It is a part of the mystery of consciousness.
I don't really find it that odd or mysterious. If the universe exists, and is really real, then obviously that reality would be able to be symbolically represented, and that's all we're doing.
At what point did this chain of cause and effects become "intentional" and if it wasn't "intentional" from the beginning what basis do we have for believing what we believe to be true is true?
Well, getting back to the point that science is tentative, we don't actually know that what we think is true is true. Lewis proceeds from the erroneous assumption that we're capable of knowing the ultimate, real truth of the universe. In a universe where solipcism cannot be refuted, we simply don't know if that's the case.
In the meantime, while Lewis tries to bake our noodles with philosophical uselessness, we're over here trying to make our VCR's work.

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Phat
Member
Posts: 18456
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.0


Message 13 of 43 (196034)
04-01-2005 1:11 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by pink sasquatch
03-30-2005 5:44 PM


Re: no crying over...
I guess what follows is a point I've seen jar try to make: Why should we trust a human account of God's creation more than the content of the creation itself?
Because one of the biggest and most dangerous lies that humanity confronts is the lie that we do not need God.
With all due apologies to atheists, I think that the quirk in human thought that dares to suggest that you can explain creation without a creator is as insulting as going to an art museaum and attempting to explain a great painting with no mention or concern of the artist.
This message has been edited by Phatboy, 04-01-2005 11:12 AM

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crashfrog
Member (Idle past 1582 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 14 of 43 (196065)
04-01-2005 3:29 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by Phat
04-01-2005 1:11 PM


With all due apologies to atheists, I think that the quirk in human thought that dares to suggest that you can explain creation without a creator is as insulting as going to an art museaum and attempting to explain a great painting with no mention or concern of the artist.
If I go over to my sister's house, I can observe an artist create art.
Where can I go to see God in the act of creating Creation?

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Monk
Member (Idle past 4039 days)
Posts: 782
From: Kansas, USA
Joined: 02-25-2005


Message 15 of 43 (196081)
04-01-2005 4:20 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by Phat
04-01-2005 1:11 PM


Re: no crying over...
phatboy writes:
With all due apologies to atheists, I think that the quirk in human thought that dares to suggest that you can explain creation without a creator is as insulting as going to an art museaum and attempting to explain a great painting with no mention or concern of the artist.
You raise an interesting point and I'll accept your challenge that a great painting could be explained without reference to the artist.
Suppose it is possible to examine that painting up close and in great detail so as to obscure the larger meaning and beauty obtained by viewing the portrait at a greater distance.
Consider the possibility as a hypothetical consisting of a society of beings who marvel at the construction of the painting, its size, shape, the selection of color, consistency of canvas, type of frame, examination of individual brush strokes, etc.
Much speculation exists regarding how the painting came to be but without firm evidence, it is a useless exercise.
All of this leading up to, over time, a science being developed that strides to explain how the portrait exists but not necessarily why it exists. Certain characteristics of the portrait can most assuredly be shown to be, at best, random occurrences. Characteristics such as the combination of canvas, color, and brush stroke. There are infinite combinations of these three characteristics, the selection of any one combination must be, according to our hypothetical society, random.
Further examination would reveal that some of the random elements do contain a certain logic or reason for being. It might appear that certain colors naturally fit better than others.
There does not need to be an artist to show that some colors tend to be more harmonious than others. This is simply the natural selection of color.
This message has been edited by Monk, Fri, 04-01-2005 08:08 PM

My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind. ---Albert Einstein

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