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Mandy, it sounds as if you have found a good link. Also, Eternal Word Television Network is a very good source. You can get it on your computer. I am glad that you are asking questions and searching. StephenB
Stephen, I think that you are 90% agreeing with me and my teachers, I'm probably not explaining it well. The quip about Ghosts is more about the mass media view that after death that the spirit leaves the body and after a few adventures ends up in Heaven and Hell. Doing a quick bit of research, there is much discussion around how much of what I think of the subjective me is in the soul and how much is part of the body. The catechism I quoted above is quiet on it and so is the Bible. mandy
----Hi Mandy: You wrote, "When you die you soul separates from the body and there is no “you” until you are raised from the dead on judgement day." According to "Sacred" tradition," (consistent with Scripture) the soul does separate from body after after death, and an incomplete you (soul only) will be judged immediately and will survive in one of three "states of existence." (Heaven, Hell, Purgatory). (For non Catholics, of course, there are only two options) From now on, there will always be a "you." There are no discrete intervals in which you exist, don't exist, and then exist again. After the last judgment, there will only be heaven and hell, bodies and souls will be reunited, and you will, once again, live in one of two "states of existence"(purgatory will become non-existent) in composite form [a soul united to either with a glorified body or a degraded body. According to this same tradition, the soul is the life of the body, and it includes the faculties (not parts) of your immaterial intellect and will. It is much more than a spark. In fact, the soul cannot disintegrate at all because it is immaterial and is not, therefore, made of up parts. That is one reason why it will live forever. Only those things that are composed of matter and have parts can disintegrate or die. I can't imagine why your teachers brought up this thing about "ghosts and spirits floating around." Perhaps they were trying to dramatize the point that "states of existence" are different than "locations" or "places." In that case, their point would be valid. Even so, based on some of your other reports, I have doubts about the way they are explaining things or even if they are getting it right. StephenB
I asked my friend google and he came up with: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p1s2c1p6.htm Sorry, I don't know how to do links. But this pretty strongly says that the body and soul are needed for the complete person. The reason I am going down this track is that I think that dualism has a lot of issues that cannot be explained just by treating the brain as a radio receiver. mandy
Stephen, thanks for the replies. Sorry, I was unclear, yes we need the body and the soul to exist, but the soul is more like the spark of our existence and grace rather than containing our personality. You quotes indicate that we consist of the physical and the spiritual but it does not state that we have a personality without the body. My point was that my reading of the bible indicates (and the priests and nuns taught) that there are no ghosts or spirits floating around. When you die you soul separates from the body and there is no "you" until you are raised from the dead on judgement day. mandy
Hey, is there any way that I can listen to the broadcast now? I missed it. :( Domoman
-----Mandy: "If you read the Bible and according to tradition Jesus went bodily up to heaven, so did Mary." According to tradition, it was both body and soul. StephenB
Hi Mandy: The Bible states emphatically that humans are composed of body, soul, and spirit, just as the eternal God is a unity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That is what it means to be made in “the image and likeness of God.” That is also the official teaching of the Catholic Church, which holds that the body puts us in touch with the physical world, the mind puts us in touch with the conceptual world, and the spirit puts us in touch with God. Here are two quick examples from Scripture: “I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:23).” “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow (body), and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).” If you were taught that the Catholic Church teaches something else, you are well-warranted to suspect that something is wrong. You may have to do rescue your teachers from their own folly. You obviously have an inquiring mind, and it is serving you well. Keep asking questions until things begin to make sense. Begin with this book: “Theology and Sanity,” by Frank J. Sheed. Also, keep the Universal Catechism close by. StephenB
Sotto Voce, I'm not sure if you quite understand the implications of determinism. Well, it would depend though, I suppose, on whether you hold to hard determinism (humans have no free will) or soft determinism (everything is caused but humans still have free will). Even soft determinism, though, may have problems. But I'll just focus with hard determinism. Imagine a person contemplating suicide by jumping over a cliff. In a world view where the man has free will, he can contemplate and decide whether or not to end his life. In a hard deterministic world view the man is literally forced to either end his life (such as if somebody pushed him off without his choosing), or not to end his life (such as if somebody dragged him away from the cliff's edge without his choosing). He does not have control of whether he ends his life or not, he doesn't rationalize, but his actions are determined by natural causation. That's not to say that at times in life people do not choose to do something because they want to. But they could also choose not do something, even if they wanted to do it. You may want to call your girlfriend because you enjoy talking to her, but I wouldn't say you HAD to call her. If hard determinism is true however, you had no choice, and HAD to call her. That's the difference, essentially. Domoman
Hi, longtime lurker for my first post. One thing confuses me about dualism. I am no theologian but I learnt at School (Our Lady of the Sacred Heart) that according to the Bible that the personality does belong with the brain. I learnt that ghosts and spirits are just pagan notions that got picked up along the way (kind of like Christmas Trees and Easter eggs). If you read the Bible and according to tradition Jesus went bodily up to heaven, so did Mary. The Rapture etc all involves real physical bodies not souls. If I'm wrong can somebody point me to the part of the Bible that has the personality being able to exist separately to the body? mandy
Hi Folks, Barry has started a new thread on compatibilism, so let's move this particular discussion there and leave this thread open for other topics related to those raised on the radio show. ribczynski
Rib: Pardon, but the comments you have made rather come across as "straining at a gnat, while swallowing a camel." First, you are passionately arguing a position, and are plainly implying that you think your claims are true, and are supported by evidence, which you think the other side cannot reasonably explain. But, then, that puts you in a quandary when you go on to argue [# 8 supra]:
Even if the world is deterministic, people still shape their futures by the decisions they make. Those who continue to strive achieve better outcomes than those who just give up. True, the choice you make about whether to give up or keep striving is also determined in a deterministic world, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no difference between choosing one way or the other . . .
Now, here are some issues: 1 --> If the world -- and especially the deliverances/acts of our minds within it -- are predetermined by the sort of forces evolutionary materialists appeal to, then we are only subjectively making choices and judgements. 2 --> In short, on such a worldview, forces beyond our ken are driving and controlling the stream of subjective consciousness, including such aspects as we perceive as reasoned argument. 3 --> And, such reasoned argument requires decisions as to . . .
++ what is factually well-warranted, ++ what constitutes the set of material facts for a given issue, ++ what is a good logical consequent to such facts, ++ what are the live option alternative explanations of the facts ++ which of these is the best current explanation, why ++ and more . . .
4 --> but, if these are determined such that our chain of reasoning is wholly the product of forces that are irrelevant to the connexions of ground-consequent but instead trace to cause-effect, then we fall afoul of the dilemma Reppert recently summarised as follows:
. . . let us suppose that brain state A, which is token identical to the thought that all men are mortal, and brain state B, which is token identical to the thought that Socrates is a man, together cause the belief that Socrates is mortal. It isn’t enough for rational inference that these events be those beliefs, it is also necessary that the causal transaction be in virtue of the content of those thoughts. If anything not in space and time makes these thoughts the thoughts that they are, and if naturalism is true, then the propositional content is irrelevant to the causal transaction that produces the conclusion, and we do not have a case of rational inference. In rational inference, as Lewis puts it, one thought causes another thought not by being, but by being seen to be, the ground for it. But causal transactions in the brain occur in virtue of the brain’s being in a particular type of state that is relevant to physical causal transactions.
5 --> That is, your argument is self-referential and incoherent. That is a strong sign indeed -- a reductio, no less -- that something is very wrong with it. Wrong in ways tat are materially similar to the following issues on Crick's 1994 astonishing hypothesis:
CRICK, 1994: "You," your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules . . . Phil Johnson, 1995: [Sir Francis should be willing to preface his writings and even scientific publications thusly: ] "I, Francis Crick, my opinions and my science, and even the thoughts expressed in this book, consist of nothing more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules." [ . . . . ] “[t]he plausibility of materialistic determinism requires that an implicit exception be made for the theorist.”
6 --> In that context, do you not see that it makes a lot of sense to take as a common sense given that we experience ourselves as having minds that are able at least some of the time to think and reason and judge and decide for reasons of truth and logic, not mere causal driving forces beyond our ken? 7 --> Moreover, in that context, would it not then further seem that a puzzle triggered by the physical distortion of a key organ of perception, storage and processing would be better seen as effects of massive disturbance to a system triggering distorted responses [I gather, often followed by a later period of adjustment] rather than any "proof" of a result that lands us in a morass of self-referential incoherence? Especially as, multiple personality disorders are known to occur in people with normal -- unsplit -- brains? 8 --> I note, for instance, from Wiki:
A patient with a split brain, when shown an image in his or her left visual field (that is, the left half of what both eyes see), will be unable to name what he or she has seen. This is because the speech-control center is in the left side of the brain in most people, and the image from the left visual field is sent only to the right side of the brain. (Those with the speech control center in the right side will experience similar symptoms when an image is presented in the right visual field.) Since communication between the two sides of the brain is inhibited, the patient cannot name what the right side of the brain is seeing. The person can, however, pick up and show recognition of an object (one within the left overall visual field) with their right hand, since that hand is controlled by the left side of the brain.
9 --> Similarly, a study of a case in point notes:
Patients described in previous reports who have undergone corpus callostomy for control of seizures have been left hemisphere dominant for language. To determine the hemispheric localisation (and possible coexistence) of language and traditional right hemisphere skills in reversed dominance, the first right hemisphere dominant corpus callostomy patient was studied. Localisation of callosal functions was also investigated, as MRI showed 1.5 cm of spared callosal body. The patient, KO, a 15 year old girl with familial left handedness, underwent two stage callosotomy in 1988. Lateralised visually presented stimuli requiring same or different comparisons between visual fields showed chance performance. Oral naming and reading showed better performance by the right hemisphere than the left, whereas both hemispheres were proficient in auditory comprehension. Active voice syntax was above chance only in the right hemisphere. Face recognition was significantly better in the right hemisphere than in the left. Tasks requiring tactile comparisons between hands showed above chance performance except in the instance in which the non-dominant right hand was stimulated first in a point localisation task between hands. This case showed hemispheric coexistence of language and traditional right hemispheric skills in a corpus callosotomy patient with reversed language dominance. Tactile transfer was localised to the mid-posterior callosal body.
10 --> These seem consistent with disruptions to an I/O front-end processor that functions as a storage unit, coupled with implications for a system architecture premised on proper functioning of that interface element. 11 --> This study published in Nature in 1983 (i.e. it should have long since been a part of the baloanced overall view) also provides a due balance that highlights that the splitting effects above are often produced by artificial lab settings, which would be exactly the sort of non-adapted to situation that would confuse an interface in a cybernetic system with adaptation capacity:
Surgical sectioning of the corpus callosum in epileptic patients has provided a unique opportunity to study separately the competence and processing capacities of the two cerebral hemispheres, each of which is able to perceive, think, memorize and learn independently and essentially outside the realm of awareness of the other1?4. While research has focused on this 'disconnection syndrome', split-brain patients nonetheless behave as unified individuals in their normal environment, and the present study investigated this aspect of their behaviour in an experimental setting. The two hemispheres of a callosotomized patient were simultaneously presented with information associated with conflicting responses, and the subject was requested to produce a single response. In all combinations of hemisphere stimulation and hand responding, the subject was capable of perfect accuracy, suggesting that he could integrate and resolve the conflicting information before the production of his response, and that his two disconnected hemispheres were simultaneously aiming at the same goal.
12 --> Observe that, again: he could integrate and resolve the conflicting information before the production of his response. That is, the overall evidence on split brains is consistent with people functioning as integrated wholes even in the face of severe and traumatic distortion to normal functioning of the mind-brain system [however ontologically constituted], through the severing of normal communication between brain halves. 13 --> Rib, this strongly suggests that there is another side to the story than you have presented so far . . . _________ Whatever the challenges on specifics, we should not resort to a "cure" that is manifestly worse than the problem. And, we need to hear the other side of the scientifically credible facts before we make up our minds, too . . . GEM of TKI kairosfocus
I'm sorry Sotto, I would like to agree with you, but I have been pre-determined not to. The mechanism that saved your car from the tree defeats your argument with me. Clive Hayden
Clive, Just because I believe that your current philosophical position is determined by the past history of the universe doesn't mean I must believe it is immutable. I don't know why you think predetermined (in a microphysical sense) opinions are less susceptible to change than opinions arrived at by the exercise of libertarian free will. I hope my arguments here will be a link in a (deterministic!) causal chain that leads you to reconsider your opinion.
By strict determinism, Christians, ID advocates, evolutionists, etc., couldn’t have been otherwise.
I disagree with this. I'm not a Christian, but if I had been born into a Christian family, I would probably be one. Given different causal antecedents, such as exposure to different arguments and a different social milieu, I could have had different opinions. I don't think any of this conflicts with determinism. What a determinist rejects is the idea that the same causal antecedents could produce different results. If everything about my past history is kept constant - my upbringing, my education, what I've read, the arguments I've encountered - that fixes my current beliefs. But when we usually consider questions like "Could things have been otherwise?" we don't hold all causal antecedents constant. Consider this: There's a torrential storm where I live. I go out after the storm and I notice that a large tree has collapsed right next to my car, but fortunately my car is undamaged. I say with relief, "That could have been so much worse." What does that mean? Does it mean that there was some aspect of the tree's collapse that was undetermined by physical law? No. It means that had the causal conditions been slightly different, the tree would have fallen on my car. The fact that we comfortably use this sort of counterfactual language even when we're dealing with purely mechanistic systems suggests that whether or not I "could have done otherwise" has very little to do with libertarian free will. Sotto Voce
Sotto Voce: You say: "I can feel thirsty, love my girlfriend and harbor desires even if causal determinism is true." Just to be precise, if causal determinism is true, you "can" nothing. You just feel thirsty, love the girlfriend which happened to be there, and harbor the desires which you must harbor, and nothing else. You are totally passive. You will probably answer this post, but you could never do differently. And the things you will say are in theory already computable, or may have random variations which do not in any way depend on you. Well, I am waiting for your insignificant, compulsive answer anyway. After all, I do believe in free will. gpuccio
And by the way rib, I have read Bukowski, he doesn't impress me like Chesterton or Lewis, and I don't appreciate being called "smarmy". http://www.antievolution.org/cgi-bin/ikonboard/ikonboard.cgi?act=ST;f=14;t=5735;st=4110#entry130780 Stop the rhetoric or you will not stay around. Clive Hayden
Here is the book Orthodoxy for you rib. http://www.cse.dmu.ac.uk/~mward/gkc/books/ortho14.txt Clive Hayden
What point are you arguing rib? Do you think you can stem the tide of anyone else's predetermined viewpoints? By strict determinism, Christians, ID advocates, evolutionists, etc., couldn't have been otherwise. To "argue"--which is determined--against other determinations seems to me like nonsense. And yes, from determinism, we are part of the machinery of determined events, and it makes no difference how wide the prison of determinism is. "I have remarked that the materialist, like the madman, is in prison; in the prison of one thought. These people seemed to think it singularly inspiring to keep on saying that the prison was very large. The size of this scientific universe gave one no novelty, no relief. The cosmos went on for ever, but not in its wildest constellation could there be anything really interesting; anything, for instance, such as forgiveness or free will. The grandeur or infinity of the secret of its cosmos added nothing to it. It was like telling a prisoner in Reading gaol that he would be glad to hear that the gaol now covered half the county. The warder would have nothing to show the man except more and more long corridors of stone lit by ghastly lights and empty of all that is human. So these expanders of the universe had nothing to show us except more and more infinite corridors of space lit by ghastly suns and empty of all that is divine." G.K. Chesterton, "The Ethics of Elfland," from Orthodoxy You should read that chapter in particular rib, it will help explain why compatabilism is false. Clive Hayden
If free will is an illusion what is the point of posting? What is the point of any effort or endeavor? Everything has been determined eons ago. Your fate is sealed.
I really don't understand this argument. I don't think the full libertarian conception of free will is tenable, but I have no problem explaining the point of my endeavors. I pour myself a glass of water because I'm thirsty. I call my girlfriend because I enjoy talking to her. I write this post because I want to respond to tribune7's argument. All of these seem like perfectly good explanations of my actions, and as far as I can see none of them assume that I have libertarian free will. I can feel thirsty, love my girlfriend and harbor desires even if causal determinism is true. Sotto Voce
Tribune, Even if the world is deterministic, people still shape their futures by the decisions they make. Those who continue to strive achieve better outcomes than those who just give up. True, the choice you make about whether to give up or keep striving is also determined in a deterministic world, but that doesn't mean that there's no difference between choosing one way or the other. In practice, you'll find that life is more pleasant when you continue to strive, and so you will choose to do so. And yes, that choice will be determined. Cool, huh? To put it differently, your efforts -- whether you choose to abandon them or redouble them -- remain part of the causal chain. You can't just "opt out" by giving up. Whether you give up or try even harder, you remain part of the clockwork. You can't escape. Incidentally, I am a compatibilist, meaning that I see no conflict between determinism and free will -- or to borrow Dan Dennett's phrase, between determinism and "the kind of free will worth wanting". But that's a huge topic. I recommend Dennett's book Freedom Evolves for a lucid and entertaining defense of the compatibilist position. ribczynski
If free will is an illusion what is the point of posting? What is the point of any effort or endeavor? Everything has been determined eons ago. Your fate is sealed. tribune7
Hi Barry, I enjoyed speaking with you and Denyse today on your radio show -- it's much more pleasant than debating by text. I wish we'd had more time, because there were a few points I wanted to add: 1. I mentioned that the problem of qualia is a problem for dualists as well as materialists, just shifted slightly: materialists have to explain how the brain gives rise to subjective experiences (including qualia), and dualists have to explain how the soul can give rise to those same subjective experiences (not to mention that they violate the spirit of Occam's razor by proposing the existence of a soul simply to explain this subjectivity). You replied that I was asking you to explain an infinite regress, but I don't understand what you meant by that. Could you elaborate? In any case, if asking you how the soul gives rise to qualia leads to an infinite regress, hadn't you already placed the same burden on me by asking how the brain gives rise to qualia? 2. You brought up the "brain as radio receiver" metaphor to explain why physical damage to the brain can affect a person's behavior even if the mind or soul is a separate, immaterial entity. DaveScot used that metaphor on another thread, and I replied as follows:
Dave, There are some serious problems with that metaphor. The most obvious is that in reality, information flows both ways between body and mind. The broadcast station/radio receiver metaphor represents the information as flowing only one way. We can correct the flaw in the metaphor by stipulating that the receiver is really a two-way radio that can transmit as well as receive, and that the broadcast station is really a base station with two-way capability. If we adopt the modified metaphor, another question arises: which functions are performed by the base station (soul), and which by the radio (brain and body)? The naive view (held by a surprising number of people who are unfamiliar with the findings of modern neuroscience) is that all of the “interesting” stuff — thinking, feeling, remembering, deciding — is carried out by the soul, and that the body (including the brain) has only two main functions: passing information to the soul, and carrying out the commands issued by the soul. Naive though it is, many people cling to this idea because it allows them to believe in a soul that survives death while retaining all of a person’s essential characteristics: memories, temperament, cognitive abilities, etc. In reality, of course, the brain isn’t nearly as passive as the radio metaphor would suggest. Evidence shows that the brain is intimately involved with (and possibly fully responsible for) all of the characteristics mentioned above. For example, the temperament, personality, cognitive abilities and memories of an Alzheimer’s patient may be damaged to the point that the person bears no resemblance to his former self. To a materialist, this makes sense. Alzheimer’s damages the brain, and when the brain is damaged, the person is damaged. The naive dualist has a much harder time explaining how these faculties can be so seriously damaged if they are wholly (or even primarily) carried out by the soul and not the brain.
Even stronger evidence against the dualist position is provided by split-brain patients. There is a procedure, the corpus callosotomy, that disconnects the two hemispheres so that epileptic seizures cannot spread from one to the other. The hemispheres are only disconnected; neither is removed. This operation contains the seizures, dramatically improving the patient's quality of life, but it also severs the path through which the hemispheres normally communicate. The results are fascinating, and they're not very friendly to the dualist position: a. In experiments with split-brain patients, it’s possible to pass information to one hemisphere but not the other. The left hemisphere literally doesn’t know what the right hemisphere knows, and vice-versa. If there were a single, immaterial mind, it would know what both hemispheres know. Clearly, this doesn’t happen. As a dualist, how do you explain this? Surely the immaterial mind doesn't split in two at the moment the corpus callosum is cut, does it? These fascinating videos of a split-brain patient demonstrate the phenomenon: video 1 video 2 b. The left hemisphere controls the right half of the body, and vice-versa. When the connection between the two is cut, this results in bizarre behaviors indicating the presence of two “wills” in the same skull. One patient was seen to pick up a cigarette with her right hand and place it in her mouth. Her left hand plucked it out and threw it away before the right hand could light it. In another case, a man attacked his wife with one arm while defending her with the other. If a single immaterial mind were running the show, this would not happen. How do you explain this within the dualist framework? 3. Denyse, you brought up a) the placebo effect and b) Jeffrey Schwartz's treatment of obsessive-complsive disorder via focused attention as examples of phenomena that support the existence of an immaterial mind or soul. I replied that materialism has no difficulty with these, because if mental events are physical events in the brain, it's no surprise that they can have effects on other parts of the brain or on the body. Indeed (and I didn't mention this on the show) dualists have the harder problem of explaining how an ethereal mind or soul can manipulate the physical body. For materialists, this problem doesn't exist: of course matter in the brain can interact with other matter in the brain or in the body. You were about to respond when we hit the final commercial break. What were you going to say? 4. You also stated that if free will is an illusion, there's no point in having democratic governments -- we might as well use the farm as our model for governance. Could you explain what you mean by this and why you believe it? ribczynski
Hey, maybe I am speaking out of turn, but to me this means that we should start podcasting here at UD. We have a pretty good idea what our readers/potential listeners want to hear about. The main thing these days is finding donors, to get started. Do you remembr the theory that ID sympathizers are rich? Okay, you remember that theory. Now forget it. Not true. Certainly not true here where I live. If you can help us develop media that work for intelligent design, we are in your debt. If you read and attend, we are in your debt. We are always in the debt of all intelligent readers, and - I hope shortly - intelligent listeners and viewers as well. Sure, videocasts. Why not? If you prefer to listen to Wolf Blitzer freak out on CNN, that's fine, but there is no technical reason why you must do so. O'Leary
The program was worthwhile and I am sure it illuminated the minds of uncommitted observers. It was edifying to hear Barry and Denyse knock materialist objections out of the park without even working up a sweat. Fortunately, an intelligent caller took up the cause for materialism, presented his best argument, and dramatized the point that he had no argument. Against Barry’s and Denyse’s arguments for subjective experience, “qualia,” the “placebo effect,” and mind-induced psychotherapy, he offered no credible response. His only defense was to argue that the mind depends on the brain for its operations, as if we didn’t know that already. Obviously, this point is meaningless. As Barry pointed out, the radio depends on electricity to broadcast musical sound waves. So what? Does that mean that the music is reducible to the electricity? StephenB
BTW, Apollos, thank you. It was a fun show. Barry Arrington
Did you enjoy my little dance? Barry Arrington
Great job on the radio today, Barry and Denyse. I listened to what I could, but trying to draw a 56k stream through a 46k connection leaves many gaps and I had to keep stopping and starting the broadcast. It's always nice to put a voice to some text. The two of you come across very well. Barry, I noticed you stayed clear of speculation on Job's leviathan. I can't say I blame you, but I'll admit I would have enjoyed hearing you take a stab at it. :D Apollos

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