Cosmology Intelligent Design Mind Naturalism

Jerry Coyne berates panpsychists and tackles the hard problem of consciousness

Spread the love

Jerry Coyne berates panpsychists and tackles the hard problem of consciousness, surging in bravely:

Panpsychism is the theory—or rather, a hypothesis, since there’s not a shred of evidence supporting it—that every bit of matter in the Universe is conscious in some way. Given the lack of evidence, though, that atoms, rocks, and buckets of water are conscious, we must ask why this crazy hypothesis was proposed, and why it’s undergoing a bit of a resurgence.

I believe it’s because of the “hard problem of consciousness.” That is, so far we don’t understand how the material workings of the brain and body produce the sensations (“qualia”) that consciousness comprises. Now I’m confident that we will one day understand this, but that day is a long way off…

Jerry Coyne, “Panpsychism makes a sneaky return” at Why evolution is true

If we one day understand it, chances are, we won’t be materialists and Darwinists like Jerry Coyne. Also:

One of the philosophers who dines out on his theories of panpsychism is Philip Goff of Durham University, whom we’ve encountered several times before. He’s published a number of articles on panpsychism, and I’ve criticized every one I’ve seen. (Goff has a thin skin, and tries to respond on this site, but he has his own website for that.)

Jerry Coyne, “Panpsychism makes a sneaky return” at Why evolution is true

So did Coyne not give Goff the right of reply? Apparently, he would need a beaker of antacid to read the guy’s book…

Here is a more clued-in critique of panpsychism from Michael Egnor: Why materialism fails as a science-based philosophy: I don’t believe that either panpsychism or cosmopsychism is true. But I have some sympathy with people who hold those views.

And as for the human mind, Coyne puts a lot of faith in “”emergent properties of the brain.”

Along those lines, consider the work of four researchers whose work sheds light on the reality of the mind The brain can be cut in half, but the intellect and will cannot, says Michael Egnor. The intellect and will are metaphysically simple.

See also: A cautious defense of panpsychism (everything is conscious) as an alternative to naturalist despair of the whole field of consciousness

What great physicists have said about immateriality and consciousness

and

You are conscious but so is your coffee mug. Materialists have a solution to the problem of consciousness, and it may startle you.

2 Replies to “Jerry Coyne berates panpsychists and tackles the hard problem of consciousness

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    Maybe it’s more accurate to envisage the brain as two cross-linked brains like the “twin HAL-9000s” in 2001. And it’s not as iff cutting the connections between the two halves has no effect:

    What are the risks of a corpus callosotomy?
    Serious problems are uncommon with a corpus callosotomy, but there are risks, including:

    Risks associated with surgery, including infection, bleeding, and allergic reaction to anesthesia
    Swelling in the brain
    Lack of awareness of one side of the body
    Loss of coordination
    Problems with speech, such as stuttering
    Increase in partial seizures (occurring on one side of the brain)
    Stroke

    And they are not the only effects

    Symptoms Of Split-Brain Syndrome
    Many patients with split-brain syndrome retain intact memory and social skills. Split-brain patients also maintain motor skills that were learned before the onset of their condition and require both sides of the body; examples include walking, swimming, and biking. They can also learn new tasks that involve either parallel or mirrored movements of their fingers or hands. They cannot, however, learn to perform new tasks that require interdependent movement of each hand, such as learning to play the piano, where both hands must work together to produce the desired music. Eye movements also remain coordinated.

    Since information cannot be directly shared between the two hemispheres, split-brain patients display unusual behaviours, particularly concerning speech and object recognition. For instance, when blindfolded a split-brain patient may not be able to name a familiar object that is held in the left hand, because information for the sense of touch is relayed from the left side of the body to the right hemisphere, which typically has a weak language centre. Without an intact corpus callosum, a person cannot access verbal information in the left hemisphere as long as the object remains in the left hand. For the same reason, the patient may have difficulty using the left hand to execute verbal commands; the inability to respond to commands with motor activity is a form of apraxia. To compensate for deficiencies in touch recognition by the left hand and left-hand apraxia, the patient (still blindfolded) may hold the object in the right hand, which relays information to the left hemisphere, providing access to the patient’s dominant verbal bank and enabling him to speak the name of the object. Upon hearing the name of a given object, the patient may also use the left hand to retrieve it; this presumably is because auditory information is processed by both hemispheres. The diffuse nature by which sounds and smells are processed across the brain appears to underlie other problems experienced by split-brain patients. For example, patients are unable to name odours presented to the right nostril, though the left hand can point out the source. Some symptoms of chronic disconnection can improve with time.

  2. 2
    polistra says:

    Conversely, brains can be partly merged while the awarenesses remain separate. Conjoined twins who share a cranial cavity have completely separate me’s. Each can go to sleep without affecting the other, and each can think without affecting the other. They seem to have a ‘curtain’ that can be opened, but they choose not to open it.

Leave a Reply