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Materialism is a pretty old philosophy that many atheists hang their hats on. I question if it is as strong of a view as many say it is. I'll post some recent comments, one made by a member on another site, and let those serve as the topic of this thread...

Posted by Diogenes:
All that comes to mind is that we know matter and energy exist and that they are sufficient to explain all natural phenomena we are aware of. So, but for a desire of the believer in the supernatural to explain the supernatural, what else is necessary to explain the universe? Perhaps another way to put it is, since matter and energy explain it all, why suppose there is something else to discover?'

Posted by William (not William's own view but he may've been quoting someone else):
Materialist: Claiming the planet has an intelligent mind and there is a cosmic mind (whether the planetary, Lunar, asteroid and cometary minds make that up or are part of it or separate, are supernatural claim. Or (semantic dickering aside) unvalidated. What you call 'M- Philo, by which I suppose you mean Materialist Philosophy (which isn't philosophy but the scientific results of study which has not revealed a Mind behind natural process) appears to be (on evidence) correct. Apart from juggling with terminology, what evidence (as distinct from unvalidated hypotheses) do you have for any minds other than animal ones?
[emphasis added to point to relevant parts}

For debate...
What's your analysis of the above quotes or of materialism in general? Is it proven? It is the most likely explanation for all the natural world?
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I don't accept the view of materialism because it is an absolute view. Such a view would require knowledge of all things in the Universe, which we don't have. I can at least accept that materialism applies to everything that scientists have explained, but that again does not mean that there are unknown things (yet to be discovered) that materialism would not explain. Besides bringing up what we don't know yet, I think there are also things that we do know about that have not been explained in terms of materialism, like consciousness and the Universe before the big bang. There's also other modes of existence like things created by the mind and computers such as, mental imagery, virtual reality, hallucinations, etc all of which do not exist physically but they can be experienced nonetheless.

All that comes to mind is that we know matter and energy exist and that they are sufficient to explain all natural phenomena we are aware of.
I would say this is false. Everything that we're aware of can not be said to be made of matter. I cited a few examples earlier in the thread. In fact, if we accept the concept of strong emergence, we can even say that non-matter things may emerge from matter. In other words, matter was a starting point, but it evolved or transitioned into something else at a higher level. Here's an explanation on strong emergence from philosopher David Chalmers:

We can say that a high-level phenomenon is strongly emergent with respect to a low-level domain when the high-level phenomenon arises from the low-level domain, but truths concerning that phenomenon are not deducible even in principle from truths in thelow-level domain.1

As just defined, cases of strong emergence will likely also be cases of weak emergence (although this depends on just how ‘unexpected’ is understood).

The question that immediately arises, then, is: are there strongly emergent phenomena? My own view is that the answer to this question is yes. I think there is exactly one clear case of a strongly emergent phenomenon, and that is the phenomenon of consciousness. We can say that a system is conscious when there is something it is like to be that system; that is, when there is something it feels like from the system’s own perspective. It is a key fact about nature that it contains conscious systems; I am one such. And there is reason to believe that the facts about consciousness are not deducible from any number of physical facts.
Source: Strong and Weak Emergence
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posted by Diogenes — “matter and energy exist and that they are sufficient to explain all natural phenomena”


Well . . . immediate “dark matter” and “dark energy” come to mind. We know these exist from their gravity, or something like them exist. But we don’t really know what they are.
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Perhaps one of the problems is that Materialist Philosophy regards consciousness as a "phenomena" and Supernatural Philosophy regards it as "supernatural"?
For the materialist aspect, I can agree with consciousness being a phenomenon. However, that answers little to nothing as it is too vague since phenomenon can be anything that is observable. What I'd want to know is if consciousness is a substance, or is it an activity, or is it both, or neither, etc.

As for the supernatural part, I don't believe that consciousness and the soul are the same thing. Following in your strategy that you've explained on other threads, I also find it unhelpful to conflate the two. The concept of the soul comes with a lot of theological baggage, whereas it's better if we keep it as simple as reasonably possible (w/out unnecessary baggage). The religious concept of the soul seems to involve it being a separate body from the physical body. It seems to have certain mental and sensory functions of its own.
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Well . . . immediate “dark matter” and “dark energy” come to mind. We know these exist from their gravity, or something like them exist. But we don’t really know what they are.
Interestingly, we don't even know what matter is.

This may seem bizarre, but it turns out that physics is confined to telling us about the behaviour of matter. For example, matter has mass and charge, properties which are entirely characterised in terms of behaviour – attraction, repulsion and resistance to acceleration. Physics tells us nothing about what philosophers like to call “the intrinsic nature of matter”, how matter is in and of itself.

It turns out, then, that there is a huge hole in our scientific world view – physics leaves us completely in the dark about what matter really is.
Source: TheConversation

Perhaps "matter" only appears physical in the same way that an object in a virtual reality environment might appear physical all while the latter is based on simulation that tricks the brain (don't you also have a sense of physical contact in dreams?). Here are some interesting articles on "virtual touching":

While virtual reality may feel real in many ways, there are still a few of our senses that it just can’t reach, preventing that full immersion experience. One of them is a sense of touch — you can pick up an object in VR, but you can’t feel it in your actual hand.

That is, unless you’re wearing a special glove that can make you feel something. Created by scientists at Cornell University, this prototype glove acts as a stretchable skin sensor that monitors the movements of the fingers and creates the feeling of touching something.
Source: GT

A longer version on the above topic of "virtual touch":
The integration of touch into VR is in the early stages of research development (Stone 2001, 2019) often implied through visual or audio, and unsurprisingly, there are few studies focused on the contribution of touch to these general VR benefits.

Touch is integrated or implied in different ways in VR. One approach is to use the virtual hand metaphor, where optical sensors reflect the movement of the hand or map to a visualisation of the hand in VR (Pietroszek 2018). Here, touch illusion relying on visuals and sound is thought to increase immersion. Various digital artefacts being developed also convey touch to enrich VR experiences including gloves (e.g. HaptX, Gu et al. 2016); enhanced controllers through attached vibrotactile motors (e.g. Lee et al. 2019) or mechanically actuators enabling users to feel the shape of virtual objects (Benko et al. 2016); tactile sensations on the hand using mid-air tactile stimulation (Pittera et al. 2019); ‘plasters’ using SMA technology (shape-memory alloys) “recreating the perception of a touch sensation on the forearm (e.g. gentle touch, caressing, clenching or tapping)” (Muthukumarana et al. 2020 p.3); or a full-body haptic suit deploying electrical muscle stimulation (EMS). With such devices, touch is discussed in terms of ‘re-creating touch’ or ‘touch illusions’ (Muthukumarana et al. 2019), the focus of development being on the system or device and what this can achieve in terms of physiological response and/or user interpretation of physical sensation. Thus, VR systems often try to “replicate touch sensations in the most sensitive part of our body, the hands” (Cranny-Francis 2013) or the feet (e.g. Rovers and van Essen 2006), which highlights three challenges for VR. Firstly, the notion of replication gives rise to tension between the opportunities VR brings to experience a ‘touch’ which may be at odds with our everyday touch experiences (e.g. pressing a button on the controller to poke something or stroke something). Secondly, it brings attention to touching versus being touched-controllers, for example, enable the act of ‘touching’ in some way, while a sense of being touched, especially across the body, is not easily enabled. Thirdly, it highlights a focus on body parts—primarily the hands—as a locus of touch in VR.
Source: Price, S., Jewitt, C. & Yiannoutsou, N. Conceptualising touch in VR. Virtual Reality 25, 863–877 (2021).

Who is to say that the Universe isn't also a simulation that appears physical?! The Matrix!!
Keanu Reeves Mirror GIF
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Perhaps "matter" only appears physical in the same way that an object in a virtual reality environment might appear physical


And what Einstein criticized as “spooky action at a distance” . . . actually seems to be the case. If one particle has “up” spin, the other has “down” spin.

And the state only seems to gel into definite when observed, which has always seemed strange to me.
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and that movie has gotten people thinking about some interesting ideas! :p
I agree. I remember people were fascinated with it when it first came out. I was more into the special effects back then but as I time passed, I began to realize how good the storyline was. Sparks a lot of What ifs questions about our reality. Perhaps religion is an attempt to point to the other side, Zion?!
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