Intelligent Design Mind Naturalism

If you are not a p-zombie, you should not be a materialist either

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But don’t tell neuroscientist Michael Graziano, who has set his sights on figuring out consciousness from a materialist perspective. Let it be a surprise:

A p-zombie (a philosophical zombie, as distinguished from the kind that sells movies) is identical to a human being but has no first-person (subjective) experience. It’s a meat robot, so to speak, that is indistinguishable in behavior from a human being. Thus, my p-zombie would look exactly like me, walk like me, talk like me, write blog posts like me, etc.. It would do exactly as I do but it would not have an “I” like me. It would feel nothing and think nothing. It would have no “I” at all. To borrow a concept from philosopher Thomas Nagel, there would be nothing it is like to be a p-zombie.

I’m not concerned here to argue whether a p-zombie is practically possible but rather whether it is conceptually possible. Specifically, does a p-zombie break any physical laws of science?

If a p-zombie is conceptually possible—that is, if it does not violate any scientific principles—then it is reasonable to conclude that whatever gives us first-person subjective experience must be something that is not physical, as the term is understood scientifically. If p-zombies, who lack consciousness, are conceptually consistent with physical science, then consciousness is something outside the purview of physical science.

Michael Egnor, “Neuroscientist Michael Graziano should meet the p-zombie” at Mind Matters News

Here is a selection of Dr. Egnor’s articles on consciousness:

In one sense, consciousness IS an illusion. We have no knowledge of the processes of our consciousness, only of the objects of its attention, whether they are physical, emotional, or abstract

Does Your Brain Construct Your Conscious Reality? Part I A reply to computational neuroscientist Anil Seth’s recent TED talk

and

Does Your Brain Construct Your Conscious Reality? Part II In a word, no. Your brain doesn’t “think”; YOU think, using your brain

4 Replies to “If you are not a p-zombie, you should not be a materialist either

  1. 1
    vmahuna says:

    There are human beings who are born without a sense of fear, and I forget the general term (Sociopath?). They make good heroes in the army because they quite literally are not afraid to die. Something about having to ride the tallest roller coaster in the world to get the same tingle as smelling a rose or hugging a baby. They also cannot understand fear or love in other people and so have no empathy, although they can learn to fake it. However, they also make REALLY talented murderers because they have no fear of getting caught and executed.

  2. 2
    gpuccio says:

    Vmahuna:

    Yes, but they still have subjective experiences. Maybe not subjective experiences we can appreciate, but subjective experiences just the same.

    I think that the important point here is not the type or quality of subjective expereinces, but the existence of subjective experiences, of any possible type.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Of related interest to Vmahuna’s comment at 1.

    People who do not believe in the reality of free will and/or the reality of the soul tend to be less moral and more psychopathic than people who do believe in the reality of free will and/or the reality of the soul:

    Can we choose not to believe in free will? – July 10, 2018
    Excerpt: A recent study showed that it is possible to diminish people’s belief in free will by simply making them read a science article suggesting that everything is predetermined. This made the participants’ less willing to donate to charitable causes (compared to a control group). This was only observed in non-religious participants, however. …
    It may therefore be unsurprising that some studies have shown that people who believe in free will are more likely to have positive life outcomes – such as happiness, academic success and better work performance.,,
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/can-we-choose-not-to-believe-in-free-will/

    Scientists say free will probably doesn’t exist, but urge: “Don’t stop believing!”
    By Jesse Bering – April 6, 2010
    Excerpt: One of the most striking findings to emerge recently in the science of free will is that when people believe—or are led to believe—that free will is just an illusion, they tend to become more antisocial.,,,
    Participants who’d been randomly assigned to the deterministic condition, for example, were less likely than those from the other two groups to give money to a homeless person, or to allow a classmate to use their cellular phone.,,,
    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/bering-in-mind/scientists-say-free-will-probably-doesnt-exist-but-urge-dont-stop-believing/

    A scientific case for conceptual dualism: The problem of consciousness and the opposing domains hypothesis. – Anthony I. Jack – 2013
    Excerpt page 18: we predicted that psychopaths would not be able to perceive the problem of consciousness.,,
    In a series of five experiments (Jack, in preparation), we found a highly replicable and robust negative correlation (r~-0.34) between belief in dualism and the primary psychopathic trait of callous affect7.
    Page 24: Clearly these findings fit well with the hypothesis (Robbins and Jack, 2006) that psychopaths can’t see the problem of consciousness8. Taking these finding together with other work on dehumanization and the anti-social effects of denying the soul and free will, they present a powerful picture. When we see persons, that is, when we see others as fellow humans, then our percept is of something essentially non-physical nature. This feature of our psychology appears to be relevant to a number of other philosophical issues, including the tension between utilitarian principles and deontological concerns about harming persons (Jack et al., accepted), the question of whether God exists (Jack et al., under review-b), and the problem of free will9.
    http://tonyjack.org/files/2013.....281%29.pdf

    As the following article succinctly states, “a naturalistic view of the mind is positively correlated with the primary psychopathic trait of callousness.”

    Why Don’t Psychopaths Believe in Dualism?
    The Role of Opposing Brain Networks Anthony Jack (Case Western Reserve University, Cognitive Science, Cleveland, OH
    In a theoretical paper linking the attribution of phenomenal consciousness to moral cognition, Robbins and Jack (Philosophical Studies, 2006) predicted that psychopaths would not perceive the problem of consciousness. New experimental evidence is presented which supports this claim: in a group of undergraduates it was found that support for a naturalistic view of the mind is positively correlated with the primary psychopathic trait of callousness.
    http://www.sonoran-sunsets.com/goinggreen.html

    also of note: Not so surprisingly, the vast majority of mass shooters are atheists

    Atheists and psychological factors related to mass shooters
    Excerpt: John Stott in his 2018 Daily Caller article entitled What Is The Religion Of Mass Public Shooters? wrote:
    “Just 16 percent have any type of religious affiliation at the time of their attacks, with a slight majority of those being Muslims.
    Over just over 20 years from the beginning of January 1998 through today, there have been 69 killers committing 66 mass public shootings in the United States where at least four people have been killed. Of those attacks, just four have been identified as Christians, with just three clearly regular churchgoers. With 70 percent of Americans identifying themselves as Christians and over 33 percent going to church at least once a week, those numbers are a long way away from the 48 or 23 we would respectively expect.[30]”
    https://www.conservapedia.com/List_of_atheist_shooters_and_serial_killers#Atheists_and_psychological_factors_related_to_mass_shooters

    Also not so surprisingly, (and directly contrary to the claims from atheists here on UD that they are just as moral as people who believe in God), religious students are found to be more ‘moral’ than atheists or agnostics:

    Religious students more ‘moral’ than atheists or agnostics – study – March 2015
    Excerpt: The study of 10,200 students and 250 teachers from 68 UK schools took place between February 2013 and June 2014 and is the largest of its kind. Researchers used surveys, moral dilemma tests and interviews.
    The religious students scored higher on the moral dilemma tests and within the religious group, those who practised their religion scored more highly than those who did not. Girls also scored higher than boys when faced with moral dilemmas.,,,
    The report takes as its starting point the growing consensus in Britain that virtues such as honesty, self-control, fairness, gratitude and respect, which contribute to good moral character, are part of the solution to many of the challenges facing society today.
    http://www.christiantoday.com/...../49315.htm

    Also of note, although atheists may prefer to deny the reality of free will and/or the reality of the soul, science itself could care less what atheists prefer to believe.

    A Famous Argument Against Free Will Has Been Debunked
    For decades, a landmark brain study fed speculation about whether we control our own actions. It seems to have made a classic mistake.
    BAHAR GHOLIPOUR – SEP 10, 2019
    Excerpt: In a new study under review for publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Schurger and two Princeton researchers repeated a version of Libet’s experiment. To avoid unintentionally cherry-picking brain noise, they included a control condition in which people didn’t move at all. An artificial-intelligence classifier allowed them to find at what point brain activity in the two conditions diverged. If Libet was right, that should have happened at 500 milliseconds before the movement. But the algorithm couldn’t tell any difference until about only 150 milliseconds before the movement, the time people reported making decisions in Libet’s original experiment.
    In other words, people’s subjective experience of a decision—what Libet’s study seemed to suggest was just an illusion—appeared to match the actual moment their brains showed them making a decision.
    When Schurger first proposed the neural-noise explanation, in 2012, the paper didn’t get much outside attention, but it did create a buzz in neuroscience. Schurger received awards for overturning a long-standing idea. “It showed the Bereitschaftspotential may not be what we thought it was. That maybe it’s in some sense artifactual, related to how we analyze our data,” says Uri Maoz, a computational neuroscientist at Chapman University.
    For a paradigm shift, the work met minimal resistance. Schurger appeared to have unearthed a classic scientific mistake, so subtle that no one had noticed it and no amount of replication studies could have solved it, unless they started testing for causality.
    https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2019/09/free-will-bereitschaftspotential/597736/

    Sept 2019: Neuroscientific and Quantum Evidence for free will
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/did-the-neural-pattern-that-showed-that-there-is-no-free-will-turn-out-to-be-noise/#comment-683977

    “The implication of finding ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, and ‘conserved’, quantum information in molecular biology on such a massive scale, in every important biomolecule in our bodies, is fairly, and pleasantly, obvious.
    That pleasant implication, of course, being the fact that we now have very strong empirical evidence suggesting that we do indeed have an eternal soul that is capable of living beyond the death of our material bodies.”
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/have-we-been-wrong-about-dna-bonds-all-these-years/#comment-684359

    Verse:

    Mark 8:37
    Is anything worth more than your soul?

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Here is a dramatic personal testimony of a Christian of the psychopathic behavior that was inherent in his prior atheistic materialism before he became a Christian:

    Why I Am a Christian (David Wood, Former Atheist) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DakEcY7Z5GU

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