Psychophysical Harmony

hi guys, i’m new to the forum. Do you know the topic of psychophysical harmony? i came across a video about it and seeing others say the texts it is the best argument for the existence of god. he’s young enough for that i couldn’t find atheist answers so far on the web. do you know him? what do you think? is it really as strong as argument? Do you know any atheists who have discussed this on the internet? thanks for the reply in advance

Hi Ciroio welcome to the forum. I treat such hyperbole with scepticism, as I have seen it enough to know such arguments make unevidenced assumptions and appeals to mystery.

HERE’s a link to the argument in question.

"Roughly, psychophysical harmony consists in the fact that phenomenal
states are correlated with physical states and with one another in strikingly fortunate ways."

Not a very good start, as the fact that nature is favourable to our physical state is explained and evidenced by evolution, and survival of the fittest, this means we would expect to see only life that best matched the environment in which it evolved, and that is precisely what we do see. They’re starting on very shaky ground there.

It gets worse:

“For example, phenomenal states are correlated with behavior and functioning that is justified or rationalized by those very phenomenal states (e.g., pain is correlated with avoidance behavior),”

Again this is already explained perfectly by evolution, we need not add unevidenced deities or inexplicable magic and appeals to mystery, Occam’s razor makes short work of this.

“we argue that psychophysical harmony is strong evidence for theism. Since God has reason to design the psychophysical laws in order to bring about the values realized by psychophysical harmony, theism makes harmony much more likely than it would otherwise be.

Well that didn’t take long, a begging the question fallacy, and a circular reasoning fallacy, not a great surprise though. I’m loathe to read on, but I will give it a try. The unevidenced assumptions are piling up now.

“In our initial presentation of the argument, we rely on two controversial metaphysical assumptions: dualism (roughly, the view that the phenomenal and physical domains are ontologically distinct and co-fundamental) and the causal completeness of the physical (roughly,
the view that every physical event involved in human behavior and brain functioning has a sufficient causal explanation in terms of prior physical events). While these assumptions are convenient for an initial presentation of the argument, we show in §3 that they are ultimately inessential: the argument still works if we accept (or we are open to) alternative views about consciousness, such as dualist interactionism, physicalism, idealism, or Russellian monism.”

So either we have to make unevidenced assumptions, or we have to be suggestible about unevidenced ideas. Again not very compelling at all.

“we draw a parallel between our argument and the argument from cosmological fine-tuning 1 and highlight a potential advantage of our argument, namely, that our argument is not threatened by multiverse hypotheses.”

Fine tuning is an entirely subjective notion anyway, the phrase is a metaphor, sadly scientists have long had a penchant for using such phrases, and they are then misconstrued. The fine tuning argument makes the same sort of unevidenced assumptions as this one.

“For simplicity’s sake, we frame this as an argument for theism, which we can understand as the claim that the universe was created by an all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good being.”

Know they’re using yet another begging the question fallacy, you can’t make unevidenced assumptions about the nature of the thing you’re arguing for, in that argument. Also the objective evidence undoes it obviously, as we observe unnecessary suffering, if living things capable of suffering evolved then that’s fine, as evolution is insentient and therefore indifferent to such suffering, but that such suffering was created deliberately suggests either a being that is not all powerful (thus couldn’t avoid it), or a being that is not all good. Those notions are mutually exclusive with the existence of suffering, unless we accept unnecessary suffering as compatible with being all good. I’d love to hear some arguments for that. Put as simply as I can, an all powerful being need not have including any suffering in its creation, and an all good being would not want to.

Their relies on one accepting mind body dualism for a start, ratty might love that, but I’d need to see some pretty compelling objective evidence that mental phenomena are non-physical, or that the mind and body are distinct and separable. have we ever observed any such intact phenomena independent of a living fully functioning human brain for example? Since they disappear forever when those brains cease to function I’m inclined to disbelieve the claim.

Given dualism, we think that the very existence of consciousness is at least some evidence for theism.”

Then it fails for me, as this (mind body dualism) is not just unsupported by any objective evidence, it contradicts overwhelming objective evidence we have, that all brain functions cease at the physical death of the brain for example, or that the various functions of the brain are impaired when the specific areas of the brain we know they originate from are damaged.

Nothing much new here to be honest, just the same old assumptions and begging the question fallacies, with some pretty obvious circular reasoning thrown in.


Just to save our memebers the arduous chore of actually looking up this pile of verbose toilet paper…yer tis:

I have just read Sheldon’s pithy response and see he has also saved you lazy sods some time.


Welcome, @Ciroio.

@Old_man_shouts_at_cl is spot on, I think; there may not be many other places to go here after @Sheldon’s reply.

I will therefore ask: which God is being inferred by the Harmony argument?

I’m going to suggest that humankind has gotten it wrong on the specifically inferred god thing so far, and that there’s a great committee of supreme beings in the sky. They all exist up there - Thor, Wotan, the Xtian asshole one, Kyle, Spaghetti Monster.

They toy with us by granting the mental faculty to infer their existence but arriving at only a single supreme being as a conclusion, wherein they all have a good laugh and watch us squabble over who’s better.

My mind has obviously been fine tuned by them to finally arrive at this conclusion, therefore they all exist up there.


LOL That’s as far as I got before I decided this circular nonsense is not worth going any further with. Oh Fuk, did we lose another poster because we called them out on nonsense? Damn… I’m going to go back to watching episodes of ‘Between Two Ferns.’ It’s much more entertaining than psychophysical laws. What in the hell is a 'psychophysical law? Are we just inventing shit now?

’ Psychophysical laws attempt to relate the amplitude of a physical stimulus to its perceived magnitude, such as loudness as a function of sound pressure or brightness as a function of luminance. The classic approach to uncovering psychophysical laws was advanced by Fechner (1966) in the mid 18th century (original work published in 1860). Fechner assumed that the just-noticeable-difference (jnd), expressed as the Weber fraction (ΔI /I ), where I is a standard sound intensity and ΔI is the intensity change required for the jnd, produced an equal increment in loudness sensation (ΔL ). Integrating this equation, namely ΔL = ΔI /I , he produced what is known as Fechner’s law: loudness is a logarithmic function of sound intensity (L = log I ).’,as%20a%20function%20of%20luminance.

Back to ‘Between Two Ferns.’

One more point on the board for an Introductions thread!

There, if a member starts in with anything besides a cozy ‘welcome,’ they might be duly swatted with the Follow Simple Instructions Paddle.

Then its on to the open forums where criticism or hyperbole or debate can roll over anyone, like a hand held cylindrical pin with handles on each side.

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Heh, yeah I found that page too. That is where I stopped reading (for others: it is the 2nd sentence). I’m pretty sure that is gobbledygook.

Consider just this phrase:

psychophysical harmony consists in the fact that phenomenal
states are correlated with physical states and with one another




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Everything maybe connected, but this argument and my interest are struggling to mesh at all. So was the author another pretend atheist? It seems odd for an atheist to come here, post another of those risible arguments for theism that everyone should be able to see through, then leave never to be seen again?

Almost as odd as a theist pretending to be an atheist, wtf is that about?

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I read this entire piece in spite of the glaring problems obvious from the start. :roll_eyes:
Multiple issues are apparent, such as shifting burden of proof, fallacy fallacy (some argument is weak which makes mine plausible), equating conceivability with possibility or even probability, claims of possibility as a demonstration of evidence, circular reasoning, assuming likelihood based on a sample of one, irrelevant or inapplicable analogies, straw man, and of course, the absurd assumption(s) that a god is a possibility at all, despite the complete lack of direct evidence of such, as well as other weaknesses.
As much fun as it is to play “what if”, there has to be an intersectional relationship with what we collectively refer to as reality for the game to be functionally relevant. Paint me blind if you will but I don’t see it.

Edit to listen to Strawberry Fields


Like I said… Hey great to see you. Thanks for the post. Welcome to AR! How did you hear about us. (How Did You Hear About Us?) There is a title for a new room. Most forums have a Welcome Room. (Welcome, Tell Us About Yourself) That wouild save some from jumping directly into Debate.

Oo-oo-oo!.. (jumping up and down and clapping excitedly)… Me first! Me first! :smiley::grin::smiley:

Edit to add: @Ciroio Oh, hi, Ciroio. Welcome to the AR. Pleasure to meet you. How’s it hangin’? No, we don’t validate parking. Please flush the toilet after use. Don’t leave dirty dishes in the break room sink. Yadda-yadda-yadda…

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Settle down clown…I already called dibs…
I hope I hope I hope he believes me :shushing_face:
Uh, we’ll put you on the list though!

Edit : big baby always has to be first

Now that’s funny, I had to read that several times before the word clapping stopped looking like clanging. :rofl: :innocent: