Non-Prescriptive Laws

lawsSome suggest that the material logic of the world presupposes the prior mental logic of a creator. I suggest the inverse. It is the material logic that constrains our mental logic, and that we are improperly projecting this emergent mental logic back onto material logic.

Is there any reason to suppose that mind is prior to matter? I believe not.

Another way to state this is that our mental logic is merely descriptive (not prescriptive) of the material logic of our universe.

I intend to nudge you towards this conclusion with a succession of examples.

  1. First consider the Law of Reciprocity. This law describes how healthy societies find cohesion when a critical level of altruism is reached among its constituents. However, its descriptive power does not in any way imply that societies will actualize cohesion based on altruism. Note that this law can also be prescriptive (normative) in the form of the Golden Rule and the like, but this prescriptive notion lies in an entirely different realm than does the descriptive formulation.
  2. Now ponder the Law of Diminishing Returns. This law is an inductive generalization from our economic interactions. This law does not constrain economics, nor is prior to it, but rather economic phenomena restrict our formulation of economic laws. This is another soft example since, conceivably, we may uncover conditions in which the law does not hold.
  3. Now consider the Law of Gravitation. Newton’s inverse square law of gravity works just fine when we take the minivan to the store. However it breaks down at velocities approaching the speed of light. The law of gravitation was not prior to gravitation. It does not restrict gravity. Instead, our testing of gravity has allowed us to inductively construct an imperfect law that yet has pragmatic value.
  4. Now let’s look at an example of a physical law for which we have not yet encountered a counter-example, though a counter-example remains logically possible. The First Law of Thermodynamics, sometimes call “conservation of energy”, states that energy can be transformed but cannot be created or destroyed. We did not discover this law under a rock, but rather generalized it out of careful inductive observation. This law seems to have held up very consistently, but the mental concept of energy conservation does not constrain the physical world; rather, the physical world informs our mental formulation of the law. It may well be that the physical world cannot exist in any other form other than as it is, but it does not follow that a mental representation had to exist in some mind prior to the physical reality.
  5. I now want to take this one step further and apply this same concept to Laws of Mathematics and Logic. Mathematics and logic were not discovered outside human experience, but emerged from it. There is definitely a very high status of reliability that humans have placed on the consistency of mathematics and logic, and it may well be that there cannot be another mode of existence in which the mathematics and logic we experience are of any other form. However, even here we cannot say these laws are anything but descriptive, formulated through inductive exploration.

I hope this progression has convinced you that there are no prescriptive laws that exist independent of the mental abstraction of perceived material patterns. Comments are much appreciated.


10 thoughts on “Non-Prescriptive Laws

  1. Beniemarm says:

    Lots of guys write about this issue but you said really true words.

    • tekcip says:

      You said “through inductive exploration”
      INDUCTION is formal logical error.
      You have no certainty because you can’t be everywhere at the same time. .

      • Correct only on one count. Induction, by definition, does not yield rational absolute certainty. Theists pretend they have absolute certainty. They don’t.
        However, to say induction is a “formal logical error” is like saying stealing 2nd base is illegal in football. When you’re playing baseball, stealing 2nd is fine.
        When doing science, you’d better be employing induction.

        • tekcip says:

          How about proving ” “THEIST have no absolute certainty”.
          Will you use induction for proof? You can’t do that because it will not give you anything absolute, RIGHT?
          Put your proof in a syllogism using true premises. An impossible task based on your worldview.

          Response from Phil

          Correct. I don’t have absolute certainty that you don’t have absolute certainty. But you claim you do. Now all you have to do is prove it. For you see, the burden of proof is on the person making the claim. Go for it, Buddy. Or are you just playing make-believe?

        • tekcip says:

          Your the one who wrote we don’t have certainty, it is your burden to prove. Where is your syllogism?
          If i wrote you proof, you couldn’t be certain that i was certain because you have no avenue to certainity

          Response from Phil

          How do you know that? Do you know it in absolute certainty? If so, enlighten us as to how you acquired this absolute certainty. If not, confess you don’t and stop playing make-believe.

          [Presuppositionalists are like children on the playground claiming their daddy created English, then when you doubt their claims in English, they claim you are borrowing your worldview from their daddy. ;) Here is a closer look at their nonsense -> ]

        • tekcip says:

          Are you absolutely sure that there are “NO ABSOLUTES”.
          If so. you have established there are absolutes.
          You have refuted yourself by you own words.

          You are like a person breathing air, while trying to prove that air doesn’t exist.

        • Haha, I’m certain that you have no access to absolute knowledge to the degree that logic has been inductively demonstrated to work with regularity. It’s not absolute, but as inductively close as one can get. Now, tell me, how’s logic been working out for you? ;)

          You won’t understand this since you are an idiot following a Sye Ten Bruggencate script [ ] in which my assertions will be necessarily absolute rather than induction-based as I’ve clearly stated, but do you best, huh? ;)

          This is a beautiful example of the immaturity of presuppositionalists. ;)
          Their daddy invented logic (they say so), so we can’t use logic to demonstrate that their daddy is imaginary. :) Then they smile smugly to themselves and wallow in the certainty that their imaginary daddy is real since they feel he is real. Playground fools. It’s like a child telling you that, unless you can demonstrate without demonstrating that Pooh Bear is not real, he is real since Pooh Bear is the author of demonstration.

          I’d suggest you grow up, but your idiocy is the best thing for rationality that has come around in a long time. The contrast between your stupidity and rationality is highly salient. And you and your clueless friends wonder why millions of intelligent young people are leaving your dogma. (It must be Satan, right?) ;)

        • tekcip says:

          HA!HA! back at you! I notice that you avoided ” ARE YOU CERTAIN THERE IS NOTHING CERTAIN? If so you have been refuted.
          You DO KNOW things for certain but your WORLDVIEW of a chance random universe can’t support certainty. You don’t have the preconditions for intelligence. Science is not even possible with your WORLDVIEW. Science is based on uniformity which is lacking on your worldview.If you Practice SCIENCE i will claim you as a CHRISTIAN CONVERT!

        • Science. An excellent concept. Learn something about it.

          1. Science does not deal in absolutes. Get over it.

          2. Science is based on induction and Bayesian statistics. Learn something.

          3. Science, based on methodological naturalism, looks for answers in the natural world rather than the supernatural because…well…look that their respective track records of claims turning out to be true. Confess your ignorance.

          4. Science (and I) fully accept and appreciate order in the universe. You can’t fail to know this. You are a liar.

          Face it. You are an idiot and a liar. You know nothing about science and logic, and you certainly do not reflect the Christian spirit. Whatever you are, you are not a scientist, a logician, nor a Christian.

          Any further idiotic comments by this juvenile troll (which seems highly inevitable) will be deleted.

          (If Jesus were real, can you imagine how proud he would be of the mendacity and ignorance of tekcip? ;) )

  2. Stella says:

    Lately I incline toward the following, but I express it knowing that I am constantly coming up more complete answers for myself as I gain more experience. More significant figures, if you will. But the potential (the 0’s) go on forever. Meaning I admit that I do not know The Complete Answer.

    Ok so you said
    “Some suggest that the material logic of the world presupposes the prior mental logic of a creator. I suggest the inverse. It is the material logic that constrains our mental logic, and that we are improperly projecting this emergent mental logic back onto material logic.”

    I looked up “constrains” to make sure I am using the defintion I think I am.
    1. To compel by physical, moral, or circumstantial force; oblige: felt constrained to object. See Synonyms at force.
    2. To keep within close bounds; confine: a life that had been constrained by habit to the same few activities and friends.

    To compel or to restrict. Reminds me of a laser beam: compelled=pushed/shot out, and restricted=within parallel lines. (I’ve noticed that the term ‘projection’ analogizes very well between every technical use of the word). But you say that the mental logic projects back onto the material logic. But how can it project onto something that was not already there? You say you have taken the inverse of the “leading idea”. I would argue this technique to say that taking anything’s inverse will lead to no stabler a platform. From what I can tell so far, it seems that we must forget the extremes of the pendulum swing, paused with total potential, and focus on the bottom of the swing in full kenetic power.

    What I mean is that perhaps the mental and material are co-created. They become manefest at the same time of conception. We ask questions like “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” to provoke though on God, if by “God” we mean The All/The Absolute/Whateveryoucallit, and not some archetype granted soveriegnty by a person or people (ex: the god or gods of any given ‘holy’ text).

    But if the Absolute exists even outside the bound of the speed of light, the our chicken and egg are the same thing, as outside time, everything become simultaneous, showing the separartion of cause and effect to be an illusion. They are the same and synchronicitous (er…I think I made that word up…you get me). :) It follows that everything has a connection/relationship we tend to define as “meaning”. So things like astrology and numerology are actually valid in some way. We can know this simply because they exist-they are connected to something and have a use. But these things are also taken out of context and debased and used as Magic 8 balls or something, which strikes my intuition as pretty ridiculous. Context is just as important as content. Ah- and those two concepts are an example of the co-creation model.

    I don’t pretend to fully understand it.

    Perhaps I am being [dirty rotten] irrelevant here, since we in human form exist inside the bounds of time. Then again, we are all experiencing a piece of infinity now, with some moments more rich with infinity than others. Perhaps astral projection, dreaming, and hallucinating with the use of drugs are examples of creating and accumulating this richness…

    Thanks for reading this hypothesis. And thank you for creating this site. Truly amazing.

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