Intelligent Design

Materialists Descend Further into Incoherence

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This is the cover from New Scientists magazine for March 31, 2018:

The materialist editor who wrote the text for the cover is deeply confused about at last two things:

  1. He implies that we “know” that inequality is morally wrong in the same way we “know” the earth orbits the sun.  But that is true only if morality is objective and part of that objective morality is that inequality is wrong.  But by definition materialists cannot believe in objective morality, because they reject any transcendent moral code by which to judge moral claims.
  2. Under Darwinist principles inequality is the natural state in the struggle of all against all.  After all, in a world of “survival of the fittest,” the “fittest” are anything but equal.  Why should the editors suggest that inequality, which is inevitable in their worldview, is wrong?

As I have written before, the Christian idea of equality of all men before God is the foundation of the political idea of the equality of all men under the law.  Don’t take my word for it.  Atheist professor Yuval Noah Harari agrees.  In his international bestseller Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Harari wrote:  “The idea of equality is inextricably intertwined with the idea of creation.  The Americans got the idea of equality from Christianity, which argues that every person has a divinely created soul, and that all souls are equal before God.”

This passage comes from a longer passage in which Harari argues that the ideas expressed in the Declaration are so much imaginary drivel.  He writes:

Both the Code of Hammurabi and the American Declaration of Independence claim to outline universal and eternal principles of justice, but according to the Americans all people are equal, whereas according to the Babylonians people are decidedly unequal. The Americans would, of course, say that they are right, and that Hammurabi is wrong. Hammurabi, naturally, would retort that he is right, and that the Americans are wrong.  In fact, they are both wrong.  Hammurabi and the American Founding Fathers alike imagined a reality governed by universal and immutable principles of justice, such as equality or hierarchy.  Yet the only place where such universal principles exist is in the fertile imagination of Sapiens, and in the myths they invent and tell one another. These principles have no objective validity.

It is easy for us to accept that the division of people into ‘superiors’ and ‘commoners’ is a figment of the imagination. Yet the idea that all humans are equal is also a myth.  In what sense do all humans equal one another?  Is there any objective reality, outside the human imagination, in which we are truly equal? . . . According to the science of biology, people were not ‘created’. They have evolved. And they certainly did not evolve to be ‘equal’.  The idea of equality is inextricably intertwined with the idea of creation.  The Americans got the idea of equality from Christianity, which argues that every person has a divinely created soul, and that all souls are equal before God.  However, if we do not believe in the Christian myths about God, creation and souls, what does it mean that all people are ‘equal’?  Evolution is based on difference, not on equality. Every person carries a somewhat different genetic code, and is exposed from birth to different environmental influences.  This leads to the development of different qualities that carry with them different chances of survival.  ‘Created equal’ should therefore be translated into ‘evolved differently’.

Just as people were never created, neither, according to the science of biology, is there a ‘Creator’ who ‘endows’ them with anything. There is only a blind evolutionary process, devoid of any purpose, leading to the birth of individuals. ‘Endowed by their creator’ should be translated simply into ‘born’.

Equally, there are no such things as rights in biology. There are only organs, abilities and characteristics.  Birds do not fly because they have a right to fly, but because they have wings. And it’s not true that these organs, abilities and characteristics are ‘unalienable’.  Many of them undergo constant mutations, and may well be completely lost over time.  The ostrich is a bird that lost its ability to fly. So ‘unalienable rights’ should be translated into ‘mutable characteristics’.

And what are the characteristics that evolved in humans? ‘Life’, certainly. But ‘liberty’? There is no such thing in biology. Just like equality, rights and limited liability companies, liberty is something that people invented and that exists only in their imagination. From a biological viewpoint, it is meaningless to say that humans in democratic societies are free, whereas humans in dictatorships are unfree.

Harari’s analysis is remarkably clear-eyed for a materialist atheist.  He admits that under materialism, human dignity does not exist; universal principles of justice and equality do not exist; human rights do not exist; liberty does not exist.  All of these things are social constructs resulting from entirely contingent physical processes.

Kudos to Harari for acknowledging what he sees when he peers into the abyss.  As for the editors at New Scientists, well, we have their measure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

81 Replies to “Materialists Descend Further into Incoherence

  1. 1
    News says:

    “we “know” that inequality is morally wrong in the same way we “know” the earth orbits the sun”?

    I have a difficult time imagining how a human being could be so confused. There is no “know.”

    A human being “thinks” inequality is wrong. It is not an evolved instinct. It is an abstract judgment.

    Animals have no such concept. The stronger eats, the weaker doesn’t. Trust me, they do not care.

    If you think that’s all there is to know about evolution, you are a Darwinist. But anyway, it has nothing to do with ideas like inequality.

  2. 2
    Bob O'H says:

    Harari’s analysis is remarkably clear-eyed for a materialist atheist. He admits that under materialism, human dignity does not exist; universal principles of justice and equality do not exist; human rights do not exist; liberty does not exist. All of these things are social constructs resulting from entirely contingent physical processes.

    The United States of America is also a social construct. Are you saying that the USA does not exist?

    (that would solve a lot of problems for us Europeans. But Europe is also a social construct, so we don’t exist either. Which solve a lot of problems for the USA. Or would do if it exists)

  3. 3
    Allan Keith says:

    Another thread about objective morality. I can hardly wait.

  4. 4
    LocalMinimum says:

    And, just as evolution produces differences rather than equality, there is no reason to expect that it produces these differences at the same rate. As reproductive isolation made men out of monkeys, or so it is implied, there’s no reason to believe it can’t produce higher orders of men while largely neglecting lesser orders of men.

    However, with a specifically created ancestry and limited genetic plasticity, while you could argue that “devolution” happens at different rates, the maximum difference isn’t arbitrary, and we aren’t to expect that the differences will be primarily along the lines of what separates us from primates: mental reasoning.

    Also, the original pattern remains scattered throughout the whole. Thus, “miscegenation” would tend to bring us closer to Eden, genetically speaking.

  5. 5
    jjcassidy says:

    What we love we place unequal value on. The idea that we love anything suggests that we are filled with preferences for somethings over others.

    Sure, it’s always possible that our affections are out of order for our own good. But the sort of unseen “good” is an ordering of things that benefit us more than we perceive.

    So the only thing that can adjust the first preference is the second preference of what we “should prefer”. I have to wonder if the statement is that we *love* inequality, could that be with the very act of preferring anything, which is an exercise of preference, conscious or not.

    So of course that “faculty” (to call it that) that is involved in ensuring our self-interest would naturally seem to respond to an ordering of things–even people. Our brains evolved to prefer one thing to another, so no wonder it prefers preference itself.

    Evolutionary application on how we socialize does nothing to diminish the role we play as a star in our own minds. The theory would say that the others in your society serve as a buffer against predators and living or dying by our own fitness. But that totally frames the value of other people by their utility to me. As part of our should prefer ordering, we should prefer to do maintenance of our relationships with these people.

    But that doesn’t fully remove the value of myself to myself, and the value of the people who do more to benefit me.

    For years, I’ve found it remarkable that what people would point to as “obvious” equality of beings, is simply, unexamined skepticism against a universal theory of ordering individuals.

    But that’s sort of an Ignorantium: we can’t objectively justify an ordering system, thus no ordering exists. Meanwhile the whole principle of from-the-slime-we-climb survival-of-the-fittest, each creature advancing by the killing fields of failed adaptations behind him or her suggests that there is nonetheless an objective ordering. Or we could not speak of “advantages” in some and not others.

    I think the “Brights” would point out that this ordering is not predictable. But predictable or not an unseen ordering of fitness and “advantages” is not equality. So we just have to go back to the gap between no completely definable ordering and the jump to “equality” and subject it to a modicum of skepticism.

    Again, an ordering we don’t really know that well is not “equality” just because we don’t know what it is. That’s a tighter illustration of the essential Ignorantium. The model would be like taking any number of current mathematical conjectures and simply saying in absence of of solid proof that something continues forever, it must not. Ignorance does not create a fact to the contrary.

    So, I’m wondering how a total lack of ordering is even possible given the idea of natural selection, or even in our social interaction as evolved beings, or beings who perceive things as we do, through this behavior of preference.

    So is the lack of demonstrable ordering the end of it? I think I can see a parallel to Science-stopping to simply rely on our taboo about “equality”. Wouldn’t it be Science that could look at somebody genetic makeup from the moment they are born and determine whether it’s worth that person to live? That kind of information would be definitely instrumental.

    Should we really settle for Equality of the Gaps?

  6. 6
    Barry Arrington says:

    Allan @ 3:

    Another thread about objective morality.

    No, Allan. Read the OP again, this time for comprehension. The thread is not about objective morality. It is about the incoherence of materialist moral claims. The New Scientist cover makes sense only if inequality is objectively immoral. Yet the New Scientist editors, materialists all, deny such a thing exists. Therefore, the cover is incoherent given their own premises.

    Don’t you see Allan. Everyone treats morality as if its prescriptions have objectively binding force. But materialists do so even as they deny that premise.

  7. 7
    ET says:

    Barry, You will love this one- RodW is over on TSZ complaining that he cannot respond to gpuccio in the Ubiquitin system thread. Strange how he was banned well after that thread got started and was rolling along. Now that he is banned he somehow has something to add to the discussion.

    (double face-palm)

  8. 8
    Latemarch says:

    jj@5

    But that’s sort of an Ignorantium: we can’t objectively justify an ordering system, thus no ordering exists. Meanwhile the whole principle of from-the-slime-we-climb survival-of-the-fittest, each creature advancing by the killing fields of failed adaptations behind him or her suggests that there is nonetheless an objective ordering. Or we could not speak of “advantages” in some and not others.

    Interesting that you use “killing fields”. It’s this kind of thinking that leads to just that outcome.

  9. 9

    Pretty much what I would expect from New Scientist. A well-known a/mat rag.

    Also, BA @ 6: Well said.

  10. 10
    es58 says:

    Et@7 I’ll second that

  11. 11
    es58 says:

    Op “There is only a blind evolutionary process, devoid of any purpose, leading to the birth of individuals”

    Actually there are no individuals either, there are just conglomerations of cells that give the illusion of being individuals

  12. 12
    tribune7 says:

    What this proves is de-evolution. By next year, New Scientist will be carrying articles about how much plants crave Brawndo.

  13. 13
    tarmaras says:

    @es58 — to take it even further, there are no conglomerations of cells, but states of possibility until “something” collapses them into definite states.

  14. 14
    LoneCycler says:

    When the editor of New Scientist writes that they “know” inequality is morally wrong what they mean is their “feelings” about it are unsettling. A/mats claim there is no objective morality but they often come across features of society that make them feel uncomfortable. And for a/mats feelings are all they have left. A core concept among a/mats is fair and unfair and the unequal outcomes of people’s lives is clearly unfair.

    Outcomes prove that there is no such thing as fairness or equality. Every individual is unique, and that’s undeniable, full stop. But it doesn’t stop a/mats from claiming that outcomes should be similar, or else that’s evidence of unfairness somewhere in our society. You and I know that each person’s experiences, their talents, the skills they develop, the understanding of the world that comes from their lives, these make true equality impossible. For a/mats its evidence that someone somewhere is making things unfair. They can’t admit this is simply the way the world is, it has to be someone’s fault.

    How can we determine what is right? For a/mats there is the idea that we can think things through on our own or with likeminded individuals and reach a consensus. This ideal of thinking everything through for oneself sounds admirable. And to a certain extent it is. People should think things through. But if there is no God, there are no moral truths, only moral opinions. If God is not in the picture, then good and evil, right and wrong, don’t objectively exist. They are subjective terms that just mean “I like” or “I don’t like.” In this way feelings come to supplant reason, not just moral truths. This has proven dangerous on more than one occasion in human history.

    A/mats are righteous about their feelings, and luxuriate in the fantasy that the unfairness of the world is the reason they fail (or succeed). That way they don’t have to look in the mirror and recognize their own inadequacies. Materialism is the perfect recipe for those who want to live unexamined lives.

    And at root it’s childish. Few and far between is the a/mat that has the fortitude to look into the moral abyss denial of God creates and accept the implications. Most just want to mewl and pout about how unfair it is they don’t get to make the rules. It’s time for a lot of them to grow up.

  15. 15
    Dick says:

    So, we banish religious arguments from our public square, which means we no longer have grounds for thinking that inequality is objectively wrong, which means we no longer have very good grounds for talking about social justice.
    Yet, social justice seems to be the only thing many secular folks want to talk about.

  16. 16

    tarmaras @ 13: Indeed.

    Dick @ 15: Interestingly, some modern a/mats claim that there IS objective morality built into human beings by evolution. It is an absurd idea, of course, but that doesn’t stop a/mats from believing it.

  17. 17
    jjcassidy says:

    Interesting that you use “killing fields”. It’s this kind of thinking that leads to just that outcome.

    All I was trying to illustrate is a thought process that proceeds only from the illustration that we love inequality. We *love* everything unequally, and that can actually be a survival mechanism.

    As long as it is, I cut the whole part of in the vacuum of a rock-solid ordering method, we just get many competing theories of ordering that are simply dismissed, not by a factual equality but a tribal taboo against the horrors of ordering. The criticism that “equality” in the modern world is an essentially Ignorantium argument has been brewing in me for ~2 years.

    I think it illustrates a challenge to devout materialists who have drawn the line that what is not fact can never be good. That the fact, whether a survival pressure or not is always preferable. However, we cannot doubt that taboos against social ordering have been advantageous to avoid the most divisive of theories or personal opinions. Taboos can actually be good practical things, but can’t be solid intellectual analyses.

    They can’t both defend the standard of “Equality” and attack all taboos. In addition, they have to intellectually assent that they cannot proceed in the analysis of the subject the more that they throw up the modern taboo.

    I have been long tasked by devout secularists to come up with a case where a “lie” (construed by materialists) is preferable to the truth. And I wanted to find it apart from a corner case, like a personal exception when somebody is dying. The New Jacobins have decided to completely overturn everybody’s life for “Equality” (and some Fraternity, less on Liberty) and if you don’t side with them, your continuity of life–and thus your preference–is far beneath their concern. Thus it ironically creates a hierarchy in the name of a theory of there being no hierarchies. Summary thinkers like materialists and naturalists (as I find them to be) often cannot see the ironies they create because they are “true believers”. I find myself more of a Empiricist than those who simply turn their back and assume their summaries are stable.

    However, I love the idea that we can now think of “human dignity” as illusion. (Not because I don’t love the concept). Because it means that Marx’s *main* point–that man is alienated from his “dignity” (which doesn’t make any sense in a materialistic/observational stance) as a dialectical “materialist” was not at all sensible in materialistic analysis. Perhaps “atheists” who argue that Marxism is simply a “secular religion” are right after all. There was no basis in the material that Marx claimed in his method. Why would *anybody* be following this man, with his laughably incompetent labor theory of value and is equally central motivating factor to “restore” what we would conclude as an illusion.

    However, I also love that Harari sort of traps himself. If there is no freedom–and we really don’t even know the mechanism of making decisions (because there IS none?), we can’t think of anybody as “incorrect” because that implies “correction” (what does a negating prefix rely on if not the definition of the word it negates?). Carnap would make us skeptical of the meaning of the applied NOT operator, but what is not(x |P(x)=0)? Isn’t that trivially true, for everything given as impossible? If something cannot be the case, the complement of that case must be true in every instance, and therefore is trivial. But his complaint implies that it errors in thought are *correctable*. He wants us to think differently, when it’s not even clear that *he* can think differently.

    Summary thinkers just don’t do self-reference paradox. Dennett may have come to a peace with the idea that his consciousness is nothing, but I don’t find that much different from Buddhists at peace with the idea that they are illusions. The one thing we can typically do in the most exact of analysis, Mathematics, is prove something false by necessary contradiction. Without the necessary building block of perceived contradiction–and contradiction avoidance 2 = 1, and the exact mathematical analysis of anything is out the door! And forget empirical applications of quantitative analysis!

    One of the most definitive ways we prove something contradictory is self-reference. This is how Turing’s Halting problem works. What we do not know is what happens when a Universal Turing Machine computes a TM given the TM’s coding as input. Halting is precisely important, as it’s when the iterative computation process halts, we have an answer. But from the decidability of that case we can start determining the decidability of relative cases, to the point we have Rice’s theorem, that whether a given Turing Machine has non-trivial properties is totally undecidable.

    The things that I have observed that modern materialists have almost entirely swapped is the places of those things that it is not clear how we substantiate with those things that are self-referential nonsense.

  18. 18
    jjcassidy says:

    The United States of America is also a social construct. Are you saying that the USA does not exist?

    Do you know how not to equivocate? Do you know no more analysis than this?

    How do we say the United States “exists”? Does it exist as an undeniable, necessary fact, or is it an agreement in the minds of people?

    If you pretend the United States does not exist, there are people whose interest is in the continuation who will inflict whatever discomfort on you they need given the depth of your challenge to the idea.

    For example, if you go about your day, obeying all the laws of the US, an simply have a penchant for frequently stating “The United States does not exist”, some people will try to enforce the idea by social intimidation. Or they could smirk and say “Well, that’s Bob!” (a small increment of ostracism). If you break it’s laws, however, there are people who will demand that you not do so.

    People outside our country only respect our country so much as we let them know that we intend to defend it.

    It’s curious though. Was there an “ISIS Country”? No one officially recognized it. And also the committment of ISIS to defend the land they claimed as theirs and their jurisdiction on that land actually did nothing to deter us from trying to destroy their power over the land they claimed. So when claimed jurisdictions go to war, the total standing among other jurisdictions and military power come into play. Had ISIS enough military power, we’d be saying their califate was a “real thing” and we had better adjust to their superior force in being able to defend their claim of being a bonified country.

    So the people of America claim a land as jurisdiction. Is there a material fact of ownership of land–or jurisdiction over that land?

    We’d both have to say no, right? So it’s a matter of thinking through what we mean in each case by “exist”. Not a matter of getting a big “Exists” bin and tossing things in and out.

    Analysis is process not summation.

    The interesting thing that remains is that we have a increasing group of mono-focused people who think for a human to insist a prescribed order, against which cases can be made through skepticism, is a hierarchical suppression totally inconsistent with the claims to equality and human decency. And they have developed a pattern of non-necessary insistence on a prefered order of their own to the exclusion of the majority of society, which abuses, counterfeits and erodes the exact values in the older system that it claims for itself. Done mainly as the application of will of one over another.

    If we’ve illustrated anything about the “existence” of the United States it’s that the case that the will for the United States to exist in the people who prefer it is arguably stronger (or at least at an undeterined level of cost to the challenger) than the will of those people who prefer it not to be. Thus expression of preference and will and the dominance of that will is precisely the dynamic which creates a impression of “country” or the practice of the “United States”.

    And we can trade that for a illusive case of nobody pushing around anybody, but it’s implementors pushing around everybody and spouting fabricated nonsense to the contrary that says that it’s totally out of the question for anybody to push around anybody (when that’s the complete fabric of making collective decisions).

    But we’ve established another thing right along beside that. That the “United States” (exists in unity , which is a human resovle of commitment, because material “unity” would ony be an “ibid”) in that that it’s impression (while not complete in contour) is fairly well understood in in the limits of its effect through historical understanding.

    The effect of newspapers kind of demonstrates where the current countries of Europe come from. Basically, anybody in the same rough geographical shape who could read and understand the same newspaper suffered “unification wars” where the actual previously insisted states were “unified” into one. Thus, except for some exceptions like Lichtenstein, the jurisdictions in Europe represent the change of concept from a jurisdiction being the land that one man with an army would defend to being a “people” who identified with each other.

    But whereas the countries of Europe (and in many other places) represent “a people”, we prefer that the focus of America be “concepts” about self-governance and inheriting the people-based impression of the “rights of Man”.

    Social constructs are precisely those things that enough people in a given society, culture, or location will fight to preserve the influence as a structure of thought.

    Look at all you missed under the simplicism of “exists”! What matters less than a binary classification of “exists” or not is understanding of how we can make the claim of existence.

    The United States is not materially true, at all. It’s also not objectively true, if objectivity removes all observers. It’s not naturally true, unless we simply see the human order–any human structuring as arising from our biology as a variation of expression of survival strategies. Human equality is then no less true than any structuring concept we insist for ordering our society.

    “Truth” comes to us from “tree” (think “druid”), thus something that on a practical basis has the soundness of oak. The opposite is “false” (to fail,to fall) or “wrong” (to twist and warp). It’s kind of odd that in adopting these imperfect (pragmatically-based) words, we have gestered pragmaticism out the door. In the sense of the thing we used to take it to describe: human equality could well be “true”.

    But the whole idea of social interaction with each other seems to be to suppress undesireable or problematic thoughts within the tribe. That’s what you tried to do, this is what I’m trying to do in critiquing your sloppy, no-effect challenge.

  19. 19
    Bob O'H says:

    jjcassidy @ 18 – you should turn your ire towards Barry, who’s the one who was implying that anything that is socially constructed doesn’t exist. A curious argument for a lawyer to make, but there you go.

  20. 20
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob (and weave) O’Hara, since you are presenting yourself as someone who can readily discern between what exists and what does not exist, perhaps you can help me figure out how ‘neuronal illusions’ have acquired this refined ability to dictate to others what is real and what is not???

    Basically the atheist claims he is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ (Coyne, Dennett), who has the illusion of free will (Harris), who has illusory perceptions of reality (Hoffman), who, since he has no real time empirical evidence substantiating his grandiose claims, must make up illusory “just so stories” with the illusory, and impotent, ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection (Behe, Gould, Sternberg), so as to ‘explain away’ the appearance (i.e. illusion) of design (Crick, Dawkins), and who must make up illusory meanings and purposes for his life since the reality of the nihilism inherent in his atheistic worldview is too much for him to bear, and who must also hold morality to be subjective and illusory since he has rejected God.

    Bottom line, nothing is real in the atheist’s worldview, least of all, morality, meaning and purposes for life.

  21. 21
    ET says:

    Bob O’H:

    The United States of America is also a social construct.

    By what definition? Social construction

    Clearly you don’t have a clue…

  22. 22
    Bob O'H says:

    ba77 @ 20 – Sorry, can’t help you. You would have to ask someone who thinks that people are “neuronal illusions”.

    ET @ 21 – By that definition, the USA certainly is a social construction. As they write:

    Obvious social constructs include such things as games, language, money, school grades, titles, governments, universities, corporations and other institutions.
    (emphasis added)

  23. 23
    ET says:

    OK so under materialism the USA does not exist- according to Harari

  24. 24
    ET says:

    And I apologize to Bob. Clearly he had a clue and obviously I didn’t- when it comes to social constructs.

  25. 25
    Origenes says:

    Let me see … we have social constructs hallucinated by neuronal illusions and the question is whether those exist or not …
    hmmm …

  26. 26
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob (and weave) O’Hara,

    Since you defend Darwinian evolution, and the materialistic premises therein, then how do you try to ‘bob and weave’ your way out of the direct “neuronal illusion” implications of your worldview?

    “We have so much confidence in our materialist assumptions (which are assumptions, not facts) that something like free will is denied in principle. Maybe it doesn’t exist, but I don’t really know that. Either way, it doesn’t matter because if free will and consciousness are just an illusion, they are the most seamless illusions ever created. Film maker James Cameron wishes he had special effects that good.”
    Matthew D. Lieberman – neuroscientist – materialist – UCLA professor

    “Most people don’t feel identical to their bodies. They feel like they have bodies. They feel like they’re inside the body. And most people feel like they’re inside their heads. Now that sense of being a subject, a locus of consciousness inside the head is an illusion. It makes no neuro-anatomical sense.”
    Sam Harris: The Self is an Illusion

    “What you’re doing is simply instantiating a self: the program run by your neurons which you feel is “you.””
    Jerry Coyne
    https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2015/04/04/eagleton-on-baggini-on-free-will/

    The Confidence of Jerry Coyne – Ross Douthat – January 6, 2014
    Excerpt: then halfway through this peroration, we have as an aside the confession that yes, okay, it’s quite possible given materialist premises that “our sense of self is a neuronal illusion.” At which point the entire edifice suddenly looks terribly wobbly — because who, exactly, is doing all of this forging and shaping and purpose-creating if Jerry Coyne, as I understand him (and I assume he understands himself) quite possibly does not actually exist at all? The theme of his argument is the crucial importance of human agency under eliminative materialism, but if under materialist premises the actual agent is quite possibly a fiction, then who exactly is this I who “reads” and “learns” and “teaches,” and why in the universe’s name should my illusory self believe Coyne’s bold proclamation that his illusory self’s purposes are somehow “real” and worthy of devotion and pursuit? (Let alone that they’re morally significant:,,) Read more here:
    http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.c.....oyne/?_r=0

    “The Astonishing Hypothesis is that “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 behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased: “You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.” This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing.”
    Francis Crick – Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific Search for the Soul (p. 3)

    “The neural circuits in our brain manage the beautifully coordinated and smoothly appropriate behavior of our body. They also produce the entrancing introspective illusion that thoughts really are about stuff in the world. This powerful illusion has been with humanity since language kicked in, as we’ll see. It is the source of at least two other profound myths: that we have purposes that give our actions and lives meaning and that there is a person “in there” steering the body, so to speak.”
    [A.Rosenberg, The Atheist’s Guide To Reality, Ch.9]

    “There is only one sort of stuff, namely, matter-the physical stuff of physics, chemistry, and physiology-and the mind is somehow nothing but a physical phenomenon. In short, the mind is the brain.”
    – Daniel Dennett

    The Consciousness Deniers – Galen Strawson – March 13, 2018
    Excerpt: What is the silliest claim ever made? The competition is fierce, but I think the answer is easy. Some people have denied the existence of consciousness: conscious experience, the subjective character of experience,,,,
    Perhaps it’s not surprising that most Deniers deny that they’re Deniers. “Of course, we agree that consciousness or experience exists,” they say—but when they say this they mean something that specifically excludes qualia.
    Who are the Deniers? I have in mind—at least—those who fully subscribe to something called “philosophical behaviorism” as well as those who fully subscribe to something called “functionalism” in the philosophy of mind. Few have been fully explicit in their denial, but among those who have been, we find Brian Farrell, Paul Feyerabend, Richard Rorty, and the generally admirable Daniel Dennett. Ned Block once remarked that Dennett’s attempt to fit consciousness or “qualia” into his theory of reality “has the relation to qualia that the US Air Force had to so many Vietnamese villages: he destroys qualia in order to save them.”,,,
    This is how philosophers in the twentieth century came to endorse the Denial, the silliest view ever held in the history of human thought. “When I squint just right,” Dennett writes in 2013, “it does sort of seem that consciousness must be something in addition to all the things it does for us and to us, some special private glow or here-I-am-ness that would be absent in any robot… But I’ve learned not to credit the hunch. I think it is a flat-out mistake, a failure of imagination.” His position was summarized in an interview in The New York Times: “The elusive subjective conscious experience—the redness of red, the painfulness of pain—that philosophers call qualia? Sheer illusion.” If he’s right, no one has ever really suffered, in spite of agonizing diseases, mental illness, murder, rape, famine, slavery, bereavement, torture, and genocide. And no one has ever caused anyone else pain.
    This is the Great Silliness. We must hope that it doesn’t spread outside the academy, or convince some future information technologist or roboticist who has great power over our lives.
    http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2.....s-deniers/

    Could Consciousness be an Illusion? June 30, 2014 –
    Excerpt: “I recently participated in a conference which was unusual for a couple of reasons. Firstly it was held in a sailing boat in the Arctic. Secondly the consensus view of the conference was that consciousness is an illusion. This view, ‘illusionism’, is about as far removed from my own perspective in philosophy of mind as it is possible to get. Me the panpsychist, Martine Nida-Rümelin the substance dualist, and David Chalmers who splits his opinion between these two views, formed the official on board opposition to the hard-core reductionist majority. Somehow we managed to avoid being made to walk the plank.”,,
    Illusionism is even less plausible than solipsism: the view that my conscious mind is the only thing that exists.,,,
    http://conscienceandconsciousn.....-illusion/

    At the 23:33 minute mark of the following video, Richard Dawkins agrees with materialistic philosophers who say that:
    “consciousness is an illusion”
    A few minutes later Rowan Williams asks Dawkins ”If consciousness is an illusion…what isn’t?”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWN4cfh1Fac&t=22m57s

    And for a bonus question Bob (and weave), can you prove to me that you really are having a subjective conscious experience and that you are not just a zombie going through the motions of having a subjective conscious experience?:

    “(Daniel) Dennett concludes, ‘nobody is conscious … we are all zombies’.”
    J.W. SCHOOLER & C.A. SCHREIBER – Experience, Meta-consciousness, and the Paradox of Introspection – 2004

    David Chalmers on Consciousness (Descartes, Philosophical Zombies and the Hard Problem) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK1Yo6VbRoo

    Philosophical Zombies – cartoon
    http://existentialcomics.com/comic/11

    Of supplemental note, science, particularly quantum mechanics, is definitely on the side of Theists who hold Mind to be primary and matter to be derivative from consciousness:

    “No, I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”
    Max Planck (1858–1947), the main founder of quantum theory, The Observer, London, January 25, 1931

    “Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.”
    Schroedinger, Erwin. 1984. “General Scientific and Popular Papers,” in Collected Papers, Vol. 4. Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences. Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn, Braunschweig/Wiesbaden. p. 334.

    Albert Einstein vs. Quantum Mechanics and His Own Mind – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxFFtZ301j4

  27. 27
    LocalMinimum says:

    Well, I don’t know ’bout ya’ll, but I know I exist. Therefore, the social constructs emergent from the threads of the illusory traces of your existences that I’ve constructed within my mind are real in some form, should I choose to recognize them.

    Be at ease.

  28. 28
    jjcassidy says:

    From Bornagain77’s post

    “When I squint just right,” Dennett writes in 2013, “it does sort of seem that consciousness must be something in addition to all the things it does for us and to us, some special private glow or here-I-am-ness that would be absent in any robot… But I’ve learned not to credit the hunch. I think it is a flat-out mistake, a failure of imagination.”

    I get a kick out of hyperrealists talking nonsense.

    Dennett has “learned”. Right in the middle of doubting himself, he asserts himself–and that he has done something like learning–but not just that, that learning is something as this illusory self represents it to be, such that it makes a difference whether or not he regards a hunch

    He has learned not to unquestioningly accept himself as a valid term. And that’s what he has through the constancy of awareness, learned.

    In addition, he doubts himself–and not his trained judgment in rejecting hunches. He doesn’t regard the well-known shoals of self-reference–instead he almost uses it as a conditioned reflex to the sensation of having a hunch, to confidently sail in.

    Talk about somebody totally removed from their natural existence.

  29. 29
    Origenes says:

    @ Dennett

    “When I squint just right,” Dennett writes in 2013, “it does sort of seem that consciousness must be something in addition to all the things it does for us and to us …

    “… all the things that consciousness does for us and to us …” suggests that consciousness is something distinct from ‘us’. But isn’t it obvious that consciousness is ‘us’, or rather ‘me’? It doesn’t make much sense to speak of ‘my consciousness’ or ‘my I’, but it certainly does not make any sense to speak of consciousness distinct from “I” or “us”.

    … some special private glow or here-I-am-ness that would be absent in any robot… But I’ve learned not to credit the hunch.

    Who is the “I” in this last sentence? Who has learned not to credit the hunch that he exists?

    I think it is a flat-out mistake, a failure of imagination.”

    Who thinks Dennett? You say “I think”, but who is this “I”? Is this “I” the thing you call “a failure of imagination”? And lastly, whose imagination are you talking about?

  30. 30

    BA77 @ 26: Bob is a man of great faith in unguided natural processes being able to do the impossible… over and over and over again. A/mats now have their own religion, and Bob is clearly on the mission field as he frequents this site… spreading the a/mat anti-gospel.

  31. 31
    Bob O'H says:

    ET @ 23 – no, according to Barry, I’m afraid. He was the one suggesting that anything that is socially constructed doesn’t exist.

    ba77 @ 26 – That’s not my worldview, so again, ask someone who holds that worldview. I also think your determination to use your own moniker for me is childish and slightly annoying. It suggests that you’re not interested in having a mature discussion.

  32. 32
    ET says:

    No, Bob, this is what Barry wrote:

    Harari’s analysis is remarkably clear-eyed for a materialist atheist. He admits that under materialism, human dignity does not exist; universal principles of justice and equality do not exist; human rights do not exist; liberty does not exist. All of these things are social constructs resulting from entirely contingent physical processes.

    Harari’s analysis- not Barry’s

  33. 33
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob (and weave) O’Hara you state:

    “That’s not my worldview, so again, ask someone who holds that worldview. I also think your determination to use your own moniker for me is childish and slightly annoying. It suggests that you’re not interested in having a mature discussion.”

    But alas Bob (and weave) you defend Darwinian evolution, and the materialistic premises therein, (i.e. atheistic materialism), tooth and nail.

    Therefore I have no option but to treat you as if you are in fact a Atheistic materialist who rejects Theism.

    Moreover, your failure to directly answer my questions in 26,,,

    Since you defend Darwinian evolution, and the materialistic premises therein, then how do you try to ‘bob and weave’ your way out of the direct “neuronal illusion” implications of your worldview?

    And for a bonus question Bob (and weave), can you prove to me that you really are having a subjective conscious experience and that you are not just a zombie going through the motions of having a subjective conscious experience?:

    ,, and to state exactly how your supposedly non-atheistic materialism worldview is to be differentiated from atheistic materialism, it to in fact demonstrate the truthfulness of the Bob (and weave) moniker.

    Until you engage the issues honestly instead of playing these stupid ‘bob and weave’ games, your moniker is well deserved.

    Moreover, under atheistic materialism, your ‘slightly annoyed’ reaction to being called out for your disingenuous debating style is merely a illusion of morality.

    Why should I care that your illusory morality is offended. It doesn’t exist!

    I certainly don’t care if I offend your notion of pink unicorns. So it is with your illusory sense of morality.

    To rightfully be offended you would have to reach over and steal from my Christian worldview which holds morality to be objectively real, and which says we should love others as we love ourselves.

    Yet you deny Christianity in particular. Moreover, the way I see it, I am treating you exactly as I would want to be treated. If my argumentation style was as disingenuous as yours is, I certainly hope someone would have the wherewithal to call me out on it.

    It is certainly more loving to correct someone who is clearly being disingenuous to the issues at hand than it is to falsely pretend that his lack of candor is to be respected as a valid viewpoint.

  34. 34
    Bob O'H says:

    ET @ 32 – yes, you’re right. Barry wrote that. Not Hariri. Barry is mis-interpreting what Hariri i saying – I think he hasn’t appreciated the importance of the “in biology” that Hariri uses a few times.

    bs77 – within atheism there are many different beliefs. You are asking me about beliefs that I do not share. Is this really so hard for you to understand?

    You claim to be a Christian. In what way is it loving to be rude and insulting, and to continually misrepresent someone else’s views, when they have repeatedly told you that they are mis-representing them? Is the Golden Rule not a part of (objective) Christian morality?

  35. 35
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob (and weave) thou dost protest too much seeing that you have in fact once again ‘bobbed and weaved’ so as avoid answering the questions honestly.

    Moreover, I hold there can be no essential difference to the ‘neuronal illusion’ problem for atheistic materialists in any worldview that denies the primacy of consciousness in general and the Mind of God in particular. And that to pretend otherwise is to deceive oneself.

    Moreover, as an atheist who does not believe the golden rule to be objectively true, but holds it to be illusory, I would certainly appreciate it if you would refrain from the sheer hypocrisy of you trying to lecture me on how to live by it.

    But alas, since you are just making up morality as you go along, you have no right to be morally offended by my moniker in the first place.

    Embrace your moral illusions man!

  36. 36
    Bob O'H says:

    bs77 –

    Moreover, as an atheist who does not believe the golden rule to be objectively true, but holds it to be illusory,

    No I don’t believe that the Golden Rule is an illusion. Please don’t claim things that aren’t true. It makes it look like you’re being dishonest.

    Please, get it into your head that YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND MY VIEWS, AND YOUR STATEMENTS ABOUT THEM ARE FALSE. Is it really that difficult for you to appreciate that I might have a better idea bout what I believe than you do?

    Or are you deliberately mis-representing my views?

  37. 37
    ET says:

    No, Bob, there isn’t any misinterpretation by Barry. Even Will Provine agrees with Barry’s assessment.

  38. 38
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob (and weave) claims that,,,

    I don’t believe that the Golden Rule is an illusion.

    and also claims that he is does not believe he is a neuronal illusion,,,

    Sorry, can’t help you. You would have to ask someone who thinks that people are “neuronal illusions”.

    Yet Bob (and weave) defends atheistic materialism tooth and nail on these very pages of UD.

    Furthermore, when pressed to defend his views and show how they differentiate in any substantial way from the direct implications of atheistic materialism, he refuses to explain his views clearly, nor does he cite any authority that might explain how it is remotely possible to get ‘real’ morals and ‘real’ persons from a worldview that holds the concepts of morality and personhood to be merely illusions of neurons.

    Bob (and weave), by his refusal to address the issue honestly, once again highlights that his moniker is well deserved.

    It is not on me to make sense out of his incoherent worldview, it is squarely on him to clearly explain, and defend, for all to see, why his worldview does not collapse into sheer insanity. Simply claiming that he does not believe what his worldview clearly entails will not suffice in the least.

    Moreover, for Bob (and weave) to take umbrage to the fact that his worldview entails that he is merely a neuronal illusion and that his morals are illusory is, in fact, for him to tactically admit that the atheistic materialism he defends day in and day out is, in fact, false.

    If atheistic materialism were true, and we are truly just neuronal illusion that have illusions of objective morality, then why should Bob (and weave) be so offended by the suggestion, from leading atheistic philosophers, that those claims within his worldview are actually true? Bob (and weave) reveals his cards in his protestation against the implications of atheistic materialism.

    I hold that he knows that he can’t rationally defend such a insane position and thus resorts to the usual denialism that atheists typically employ to avoid dealing with issues forthrightly.

    But alas, as mentioned previously, denialism is part and parcel for the atheistic materialist. As Galen Starwson notes “Perhaps it’s not surprising that most Deniers deny that they’re Deniers. “Of course, we agree that consciousness or experience exists,” they say—but when they say this they mean something that specifically excludes qualia.

    The Consciousness Deniers – Galen Strawson – March 13, 2018
    Excerpt: What is the silliest claim ever made? The competition is fierce, but I think the answer is easy. Some people have denied the existence of consciousness: conscious experience, the subjective character of experience,,,,
    Perhaps it’s not surprising that most Deniers deny that they’re Deniers. “Of course, we agree that consciousness or experience exists,” they say—but when they say this they mean something that specifically excludes qualia.
    Who are the Deniers? I have in mind—at least—those who fully subscribe to something called “philosophical behaviorism” as well as those who fully subscribe to something called “functionalism” in the philosophy of mind. Few have been fully explicit in their denial, but among those who have been, we find Brian Farrell, Paul Feyerabend, Richard Rorty, and the generally admirable Daniel Dennett. Ned Block once remarked that Dennett’s attempt to fit consciousness or “qualia” into his theory of reality “has the relation to qualia that the US Air Force had to so many Vietnamese villages: he destroys qualia in order to save them.”,,,
    This is how philosophers in the twentieth century came to endorse the Denial, the silliest view ever held in the history of human thought. “When I squint just right,” Dennett writes in 2013, “it does sort of seem that consciousness must be something in addition to all the things it does for us and to us, some special private glow or here-I-am-ness that would be absent in any robot… But I’ve learned not to credit the hunch. I think it is a flat-out mistake, a failure of imagination.” His position was summarized in an interview in The New York Times: “The elusive subjective conscious experience—the redness of red, the painfulness of pain—that philosophers call qualia? Sheer illusion.” If he’s right, no one has ever really suffered, in spite of agonizing diseases, mental illness, murder, rape, famine, slavery, bereavement, torture, and genocide. And no one has ever caused anyone else pain.
    This is the Great Silliness. We must hope that it doesn’t spread outside the academy, or convince some future information technologist or roboticist who has great power over our lives.
    http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2.....s-deniers/

    Thus once again Bob (and weave), I ask you to quit playing games and to honestly answer the questions put forth to you in a clear manner.

    Since you defend Darwinian evolution, and the materialistic premises therein, then how do you try to ‘bob and weave’ your way out of the direct “neuronal illusion” implications of your worldview?

    And for a bonus question Bob (and weave), can you prove to me that you really are having a subjective conscious experience and that you are not just a zombie going through the motions of having a subjective conscious experience?:

    Moreover, once you clear up those ‘illusions’ then you can proceed to clear up the many other illusions that permeate your worldview:

    Basically the atheist claims he is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ (Coyne, Dennett), who has the illusion of free will (Harris), who has illusory perceptions of reality (Hoffman), who, since he has no real time empirical evidence substantiating his grandiose claims, must make up illusory “just so stories” with the illusory, and impotent, ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection (Behe, Gould, Sternberg), so as to ‘explain away’ the appearance (i.e. illusion) of design (Crick, Dawkins), and who must make up illusory meanings and purposes for his life since the reality of the nihilism inherent in his atheistic worldview is too much for him to bear, and who must also hold morality to be subjective and illusory since he has rejected God.

    Bottom line, nothing is real in the atheist’s worldview, least of all, morality, meaning and purposes for life.

  39. 39

    Bob @ 36: What exactly are your beliefs? Maybe that would help all of us understand your positions. Do you embrace a particular worldview? Are you atheist, materialist, agnostic, or some sort of combination of the three?

  40. 40
    Bob O'H says:

    TWSYF @ 39 – FWIW I’m an atheist, but not militant, and also not certain. I’m agnostic in the sense that I don’t view the evidence for any gods as compelling, and thus I conclude that atheism is most likely to be correct.

    I also don’t see any reason to believe that materialism is false, but there are certainly some large gaps in our knowledge (and the brain, and thus consciousness is one).

    I have no problems with saying I (as a conscious being) exist. Even if nobody understands consciousness, it’s clear that people are conscious, and that this is a function of the brain (if you want to believe in a soul, then I would hope it’s clear that the soul has to interact with the material world in some way, and that, I presume, would have to be through the brain).

  41. 41
    bornagain77 says:

    As to:

    “I also don’t see any reason to believe that materialism is false,”

    Hmmm, perhaps the entire field of quantum mechanics can provide you a reason?

    “The most fundamental definition of reality is not matter or energy, but information–and it is the processing of information that lies at the root of all physical, biological, economic, and social phenomena.”
    Vlatko Vedral – Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford, and CQT (Centre for Quantum Technologies) at the National University of Singapore, and a Fellow of Wolfson College – a recognized leader in the field of quantum mechanics.

    “It is operationally impossible to separate Reality and Information”
    (48:35 minute mark)
    “In the beginning was the Word”
    John 1:1 (49:54 minute mark)
    Prof Anton Zeilinger speaks on quantum physics. at UCT
    https://youtu.be/s3ZPWW5NOrw?t=2984

    Albert Einstein vs. Quantum Mechanics and His Own Mind – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxFFtZ301j4

    As to:

    “there are certainly some large gaps in our knowledge (and the brain, and thus consciousness is one).”

    That is putting it mildly, materialists can’t even explain where a single neuron came from, much less consciousness.

    “Complexity Brake” Defies Evolution – August 8, 2012
    Excerpt: Consider a neuronal synapse — the presynaptic terminal has an estimated 1000 distinct proteins. Fully analyzing their possible interactions would take about 2000 years. Or consider the task of fully characterizing the visual cortex of the mouse — about 2 million neurons. Under the extreme assumption that the neurons in these systems can all interact with each other, analyzing the various combinations will take about 10 million years…, even though it is assumed that the underlying technology speeds up by an order of magnitude each year.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....62961.html

    The Half-Truths of Materialist Evolution – DONALD DeMARCO – 02/06/2015
    Excerpt: but I would like to direct attention to the unsupportable notion that the human brain, to focus on a single phenomenon, could possibly have evolved by sheer chance. One of the great stumbling blocks for Darwin and other chance evolutionists is explaining how a multitude of factors simultaneously coalesce to form a unified, functioning system. The human brain could not have evolved as a result of the addition of one factor at a time. Its unity and phantasmagorical complexity defies any explanation that relies on pure chance. It would be an underestimation of the first magnitude to say that today’s neurophysiologists know more about the structure and workings of the brain than did Darwin and his associates.
    Scientists in the field of brain research now inform us that a single human brain contains more molecular-scale switches than all the computers, routers and Internet connections on the entire planet! According to Stephen Smith, a professor of molecular and cellular physiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, the brain’s complexity is staggering, beyond anything his team of researchers had ever imagined, almost to the point of being beyond belief. In the cerebral cortex alone, each neuron has between 1,000 to 10,000 synapses that result, roughly, in a total of 125 trillion synapses, which is about how many stars fill 1,500 Milky Way galaxies!
    A single synapse may contain 1,000 molecular-scale switches. A synapse, simply stated, is the place where a nerve impulse passes from one nerve cell to another.
    Phantasmagorical as this level of unified complexity is, it places us merely at the doorway of the brain’s even deeper mind-boggling organization. Glial cells in the brain assist in neuron speed. These cells outnumber neurons 10 times over, with 860 billion cells. All of this activity is monitored by microglia cells that not only clean up damaged cells but also prune dendrites, forming part of the learning process. The cortex alone contains 100,000 miles of myelin-covered, insulated nerve fibers.
    The process of mapping the brain would indeed be time-consuming. It would entail identifying every synaptic neuron. If it took a mere second to identify each neuron, it would require four billion years to complete the project.
    http://www.ncregister.com/dail.....evolution/

    “Every day we recall the past, perceive the present and imagine the future. How do our brains accomplish these feats? It’s safe to say that nobody really knows.”
    Sebastian Seung – Massachusetts Institute of Technology neuroscientist – “Connectome”:

    “Those centermost processes of the brain with which consciousness is presumably associated are simply not understood. They are so far beyond our comprehension at present that no one I know of has been able even to imagine their nature.”
    Roger Wolcott Sperry – Nobel neurophysiologist
    As quoted in Genius Talk : Conversations with Nobel Scientists and Other Luminaries (1995) by Denis Brian

    “We have at present not even the vaguest idea how to connect the physio-chemical processes with the state of mind.”
    – Eugene Wigner – Nobel prize-winner – Quantum Symmetries

    “Science’s biggest mystery is the nature of consciousness. It is not that we possess bad or imperfect theories of human awareness; we simply have no such theories at all. About all we know about consciousness is that it has something to do with the head, rather than the foot.”
    Nick Herbert – Contemporary physicist

    “No experiment has ever demonstrated the genesis of consciousness from matter. One might as well believe that rabbits emerge from magicians’ hats. Yet this vaporous possibility, this neuro-mythology, has enchanted generations of gullible scientists, in spite of the fact that there is not a shred of direct evidence to support it.”
    – Larry Dossey – Physician and author

    “We regard promissory materialism as superstition without a rational foundation. The more we discover about the brain, the more clearly do we distinguish between the brain events and the mental phenomena, and the more wonderful do both the brain events and mental phenomena become. Promissory materialism is simply a religious belief held by dogmatic materialists who often confuse their religion with their science.”
    – John C. Eccles, The Wonder of Being Human: Our Brain and Our Mind – 1984

    As to:

    “I have no problems with saying I (as a conscious being) exist.”

    Since that is the most certain thing you can know about reality (Descartes), I am glad you at least have enough common sense to acknowledge that the person of Bob O’Hara really exists.

    It is interesting to note that, regardless of materialism undermining biology and much of the physical sciences, there is still a very strong tradition in philosophy that holds that the most concrete thing that a person can know about reality is the fact that they are indeed conscious:

    “Descartes remarks that he can continue to doubt whether he has a body; after all, he only believes he has a body as a result of his perceptual experiences, and so the demon could be deceiving him about this. But he cannot doubt that he has a mind, i.e. that he thinks. So he knows he exists even though he doesn’t know whether or not he has a body.”
    http://cw.routledge.com/textbo.....ualism.pdf

    “Descartes said ‘I think, therefore I am.’ My bet is that God replied, ‘I am, therefore think.'”
    Art Battson – Access Research Group

    As to:

    Even if nobody understands consciousness, it’s clear that people are conscious, and that this is a function of the brain.

    And this is where you go off the rails. Atheists, nor anybody else, (as already referenced) has the slightest clue how consciousness might arise from the brain. Moreover, Near Death Experiences, which have far more evidential support going for them than Darwinian evolution does, supports the claim that consciousness does not need the material brain in order to exist.

    Near-Death Experiences: Putting a Darwinist’s Evidentiary Standards to the Test – Dr. Michael Egnor – October 15, 2012
    Excerpt: Indeed, about 20 percent of NDE’s are corroborated, which means that there are independent ways of checking about the veracity of the experience. The patients knew of things that they could not have known except by extraordinary perception — such as describing details of surgery that they watched while their heart was stopped, etc. Additionally, many NDE’s have a vividness and a sense of intense reality that one does not generally encounter in dreams or hallucinations.,,,
    The most “parsimonious” explanation — the simplest scientific explanation — is that the (Near Death) experience was real. Tens of millions of people have had such experiences. That is tens of millions of more times than we have observed the origin of species , (or the origin of life, or the origin of a protein/gene, or of a molecular machine), which is never.,,,
    The materialist reaction, in short, is unscientific and close-minded. NDE’s show fellows like Coyne at their sneering unscientific irrational worst. Somebody finds a crushed fragment of a fossil and it’s earth-shaking evidence. Tens of million of people have life-changing spiritual experiences and it’s all a big yawn.
    Note: Dr. Egnor is professor and vice-chairman of neurosurgery at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....65301.html

    As to:

    “(if you want to believe in a soul, then I would hope it’s clear that the soul has to interact with the material world in some way, and that, I presume, would have to be through the brain).”

    And so what??? Evidence for the soul, which is what we have with advances in quantum biology, falsifies your Atheistic Materialism.

    Darwinian Materialism vs. Quantum Biology – video
    https://youtu.be/LHdD2Am1g5Y

    Moreover, a ‘soul’ provides a coherent basis for ‘personhood’, for the belief that Bob O’Hara really exists, and which is exactly what the atheistic materialism you defend denies in the first place.

    “You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.”
    George MacDonald – Annals of a Quiet Neighborhood – 1892

  42. 42
    ET says:

    Bob:

    No I don’t believe that the Golden Rule is an illusion.

    Then you can’t be a materialist.

  43. 43
    Charles Birch says:

    Hi Bob,

    Re. your comment at 40, about lack of evidence for God.

    I’ve never really understood what sort of evidence atheists are looking for, and what sort of evidence they would consider a convincing basis for theism.

    Do you have any views on this?

    Charles

  44. 44
    Origenes says:

    Bob O’H: I have no problems with saying I (as a conscious being) exist.

    Do you also have no problems with saying that you make free decisions? Or do you hold, instead, that your thoughts and actions are consequences of physical events?

  45. 45
    gpuccio says:

    Bob O’H at #40:

    I think your position is very respectable.

    Of course I would not say that consciousness is a function of the brain, but rather that it is expressed through the brain, at least in the human state.

    The brain-consciousness interface works in both directions: physical events in neurons become in some way subjective expereinces, and subjective experiences can initiate changes in brain events. The idea of an interface allows space for free will, that IMO is really unrenouncable.

    So, I am perfectly fine with the way you put it:

    “if you want to believe in a soul, then I would hope it’s clear that the soul has to interact with the material world in some way, and that, I presume, would have to be through the brain”

    That’s exactly my idea of an interface.

    Regarding believing in the existence of God, I believe that it’s a choice that must come from the deepest part of each person. It cannot be forced.

    I hope the best for you.

  46. 46
    kurx78 says:

    In defense of Bob
    I’m not really sure if he’s a hardcore a/mat but besides that his responses are interesting, thoughtful and with a scientifical basis.
    If you check the Discovery Institute Facebook page you will find in the coments some of the most bitter, hateful and arrogant materialists you have ever seem.

  47. 47
    bornagain77 says:

    gpuccio as to,

    “if you want to believe in a soul, then I would hope it’s clear that the soul has to interact with the material world in some way, and that, I presume, would have to be through the brain”

    Actually the ‘interface’ of the soul with the body is far more pervasive than just the brain. The ‘quantum interface’ is found in every biological molecule of the human body.

    Darwinian Materialism vs. Quantum Biology – video
    https://youtu.be/LHdD2Am1g5Y

    Jim Al-Khalili, at the 2:30 minute mark of the following video, states,
    “,,and Physicists and Chemists have had a long time to try and get use to it (Quantum Mechanics). Biologists, on the other hand have got off lightly in my view. They are very happy with their balls and sticks models of molecules. The balls are the atoms. The sticks are the bonds between the atoms. And when they can’t build them physically in the lab nowadays they have very powerful computers that will simulate a huge molecule.,, It doesn’t really require much in the way of quantum mechanics in the way to explain it.”
    At the 6:52 minute mark of the video, Jim Al-Khalili goes on to state:
    “To paraphrase, (Erwin Schrödinger in his book “What Is Life”), he says at the molecular level living organisms have a certain order. A structure to them that’s very different from the random thermodynamic jostling of atoms and molecules in inanimate matter of the same complexity. In fact, living matter seems to behave in its order and its structure just like inanimate cooled down to near absolute zero. Where quantum effects play a very important role. There is something special about the structure, about the order, inside a living cell. So Schrodinger speculated that maybe quantum mechanics plays a role in life”.
    Jim Al-Khalili – Quantum biology – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOzCkeTPR3Q

    Whereas the mind, which is basically a property of the soul, has some ‘extra’ interface in the brain.

    The evidence that quantum mechanisms are at play on the macro level of the human brain is revealed by the following. In the following article it is noted that Multielectrode recordings have revealed zero time lag synchronization among remote cerebral cortical areas.

    ,,, zero time lag neuronal synchrony despite long conduction delays – 2008
    Excerpt: Multielectrode recordings have revealed zero time lag synchronization among remote cerebral cortical areas. However, the axonal conduction delays among such distant regions can amount to several tens of milliseconds. It is still unclear which mechanism is giving rise to isochronous discharge of widely distributed neurons, despite such latencies,,,
    Remarkably, synchrony of neuronal activity is not limited to short-range interactions within a cortical patch. Interareal synchronization across cortical regions including interhemispheric areas has been observed in several tasks (7, 9, 11–14).,,,
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....MC2575223/

    The Puzzling Role Of Biophotons In The Brain – Dec. 17, 2010
    Excerpt: It’s certainly true that electrical activity in the brain is synchronised over distances that cannot be easily explained. Electrical signals travel too slowly to do this job, so something else must be at work.,,,
    ,,, It’s a big jump to assume that photons do this job.
    http://www.technologyreview.co.....the-brain/

    Quantum Entangled Consciousness – Life After Death – Stuart Hameroff – video (1:55 minute mark)
    https://youtu.be/jjpEc98o_Oo?t=118

    As well, evidence suggesting that quantum mechanisms are at play on the macro level of the human body itself is also revealed in the following article where it is revealed that a subject perceives a sensory stimulus on the skin at the moment the skin is touched, before the stimulus reaches the brain and before full deliberative consciousness occurs.

    Do Perceptions Happen in Your Brain? – Michael Egnor – December 1, 2015
    Excerpt: The sensory experiments of Benjamin Libet, a neuroscientist at U.C. San Francisco in the mid 20th century, demonstrated that a subject perceives a sensory stimulus on the skin at the moment the skin is touched, before the stimulus reaches the brain and before full deliberative consciousness occurs. Libet was flabbergasted by this result,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....01261.html

    Moreover, although not referenced in the preceding video, such a ‘quantum interface’ of the soul to the body provides a coherent answer to the question of what is it exactly that is keeping our material bodies so far out of thermodynamic equilibrium for ‘precisely a lifetime and not a moment longer’:

    The Unbearable Wholeness of Beings – Stephen L. Talbott – 2010
    Excerpt: Virtually the same collection of molecules exists in the canine cells during the moments immediately before and after death. But after the fateful transition no one will any longer think of genes as being regulated, nor will anyone refer to normal or proper chromosome functioning. No molecules will be said to guide other molecules to specific targets, and no molecules will be carrying signals, which is just as well because there will be no structures recognizing signals. Code, information, and communication, in their biological sense, will have disappeared from the scientist’s vocabulary.
    ,,, the question, rather, is why things don’t fall completely apart — as they do, in fact, at the moment of death. What power holds off that moment — precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer?
    Despite the countless processes going on in the cell, and despite the fact that each process might be expected to “go its own way” according to the myriad factors impinging on it from all directions, the actual result is quite different. Rather than becoming progressively disordered in their mutual relations (as indeed happens after death, when the whole dissolves into separate fragments), the processes hold together in a larger unity.
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....-of-beings

    Then there is now also evidence that substantiates the fact that immaterial information is physically real and is therefore not a ‘metaphor’ or a ’emergent property’ of a material basis, as Atheistic materialists hold that it is:

    Information is physical (but not how Rolf Landauer meant) – video
    https://youtu.be/H35I83y5Uro

    – In discussions about information on UD, 99% of the talk on UD about information comes down to, basically, the sheer impossibility of blind searches to find functional sequences in sequence space. This is all fine and well as far it goes, (since it shows Darwinian mechanisms to be grossly inadequate for the task at hand), but I hold that these usual discussions about information on UD completely miss the bigger picture about information. Namely, that immaterial information is now shown experimentally to be its own distinct physical entity that is separate, and independent, from matter and energy. And more specifically, since this distinct physical entity of immaterial information exists separately, and independently, from matter and energy, then any reductive materialistic (i.e. Darwinian) explanations which claim information is merely a “metaphor”, or which claim that information is merely ’emergent’ from a material basis, are falsified empirically with direct physical evidence.
    That is to say, the fact that immaterial information is now shown experimentally to be a physically real entity that is separate, and independent, from matter and energy changes the entire debate from an argument about whether unguided material processes can ever possibly generate functional information or not, to an empirical observation that immaterial information will never be reducible to any possible reductive materialistic (i.e. Darwinian) explanation, period.
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/how-some-materialists-are-blinded-by-their-faith-commitments/#comment-654931

    All in all, as far as these advances in science are concerned, the Christian Theist is sitting in a much, much, better position than he was just a few short years ago. And the atheistic materialist has been, basically, completely falsified in some of his most foundation presuppositions concerning molecular biology as it relates to information.

    Verse:

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

  48. 48
    Origenes says:

    Bob O’H: I’m an atheist, but not militant, and also not certain. I’m agnostic in the sense that I don’t view the evidence for any gods as compelling, and thus I conclude that atheism is most likely to be correct.

    Your conclusion lacks ground, as W J Murray wrote:

    Even if one doesn’t find that evidence compelling for for a final conclusion that god exists, when one weighs the balance of the evidence for and against god, one should be willing to at least consider whether it is more probable that god (as described above) exists than that god does not exist. Problematically (for the atheist), the view that it is more likely that god exists than not is not any sort of an atheistic position.

    As far as I am aware of there is no anecdotal or testimonial evidence that god does not exist (because lack of experience of a thing isn’t evidence the thing doesn’t exist), very little in the way of logical argument towards that conclusion, and there is a vast array of logical, anecdotal, testimonial and empirical evidence that god (at least as generally described above) does exist.

    Bob O’H: I also don’t see any reason to believe that materialism is false, but there are certainly some large gaps in our knowledge (and the brain, and thus consciousness is one).

    It is intellectually honest to consider the possibility that those gaps are permanent. And if they are, then they are reasons to believe that materialism is false.

    Here is the argument which shows that materialism cannot ground freedom, responsibility, rationality and/or personhood — IOWs it shows that the gaps you are talking about are indeed permanent:

    If materialism is true, then either determinism is true or there are (sporadic) undetermined events.

    1. If determinism is true, then all our actions and thoughts are consequences of events and laws of nature in the remote past before we were born.
    3. We have no control over circumstances that existed in the remote past before we were born, nor do we have any control over the laws of nature.
    4. If A causes B, and we have no control over A, and A is sufficient for B, then we have no control over B.
    Therefore
    5. If determinism is true, then we have no control over our own actions and thoughts.
    Therefore, assuming that rationality requires control,
    6. If determinism is true, we are not rational.

    Regarding undetermined events, here is Van Inwagen, who argues that undetermined events (also) fail to ground freedom, control and rationality:

    “Let us look carefully at the consequences of supposing that human behavior is undetermined …
    Let us suppose that there is a certain current-pulse that is proceeding along one of the neural pathways in Jane’s brain and that it is about to come to a fork. And let us suppose that if it goes to the left, she will make her confession;, and that if it goes to the right, she will remain silent. And let us suppose that it is undetermined which way the pulse goes when it comes to the fork: even an omniscient being with a complete knowledge of the state of Jane’s brain and a complete knowledge of the laws of physics and unlimited powers of calculation could say no more than: ‘The laws and present state of her brain would allow the pulse to go either way; consequently, no prediction of what the pulse will do when it comes to the fork is possible; it might go to the left, and it might go to the right, and that’s all there is to be said.’
    Now let us ask: does Jane have any choice about whether the pulse goes to the left or to the right? If we think about this question for a moment, we shall see that it is very hard to see how she could have any choice about that.
    …There is no way for her to make it go one way rather than the other. Or, at least, there is no way for her to make it go one way rather than the other and leave the ‘choice’ it makes an undetermined event.”
    [Van Inwagen]

  49. 49
    Seversky says:

    bornagain77 @ 41

    As to:

    “I also don’t see any reason to believe that materialism is false,”

    Hmmm, perhaps the entire field of quantum mechanics can provide you a reason?

    Quantum mechanics describes how physical reality behaves at a sub-atomic level. To that extent it is a materialistic theory.

    As for information, perhaps you can find quotes where Vedral and Zeilinger define what they mean by “information”

    As to:

    “there are certainly some large gaps in our knowledge (and the brain, and thus consciousness is one).”

    That is putting it mildly, materialists can’t even explain where a single neuron came from, much less consciousness.

    There’s a lot of things we still can’t explain. But materialism has been a lot more successful than any other approach at whittling down the list of things we can’t explain.
    As for the mind-boggling complexity of the human brain and the staggering numbers of synapses and potential circuits in it, perhaps that might be sufficient to account for the emergence of consciousness. There has to be a reason for maintaining such a very expensive organ.

    As to:

    Even if nobody understands consciousness, it’s clear that people are conscious, and that this is a function of the brain.

    And this is where you go off the rails. Atheists, nor anybody else, (as already referenced) has the slightest clue how consciousness might arise from the brain. Moreover, Near Death Experiences, which have far more evidential support going for them than Darwinian evolution does, supports the claim that consciousness does not need the material brain in order to exist.

    No brain, no consciousness. That could be a clue that one is required for the other.

    As for Near Death Experiences, they appear to be common experiences in the minds of people approaching death, not after. You find verified instances of post-mortem consciousness and you might have a case. Otherwise, NDEs show nothing about the possibility of life after death.

    As to:

    “(if you want to believe in a soul, then I would hope it’s clear that the soul has to interact with the material world in some way, and that, I presume, would have to be through the brain).”

    And so what??? Evidence for the soul, which is what we have with advances in quantum biology, falsifies your Atheistic Materialism.

    I’ve yet to see a clear, agreed definition of what is meant by “soul” so claiming that quantum effects in biology are evidence for it are just wishful thinking at this point.

  50. 50
    Allan Keith says:

    Seversky@49, I also wonder at the idea that some think that quantum mechanics is non-material. It is just material science at the sub-atomic level. The fact that it is not fully understood (and ‘spooky’) does not make it non-material.

  51. 51
    Charles Birch says:

    Hi Seversky,

    Re. your comments about the Near Death Experience:

    I agree with you wholeheartedly that such experiences occur NEAR death, not postmortem; I feel this must always be borne in mind when using NDEs as evidence for the postmortem survival of consciousness.

    (Yes, the experiencer may be ‘clinically dead’ by certain definitions, but that surely means they’re ‘dead-ish’ rather than stone-cold-dead – otherwise their resuscitation would have been impossible.)

    Nevertheless, NDEs are important because, although they do not prove life after death, they DO strongly suggest that the link between the brain and consciousness is much more tenuous than is currently believed.

    One writer on NDEs – I forget who – commented along the following lines: “If, during an episode when brain function has been reduced to the firing of a handful of neurons, a person can have a rich, detailed, and coherent multi-sensory experience which seems ‘realer than real’ – what the heck do we need the rest of the brain for?”

    If we can allow the possibility that consciousness may not be entirely the product of the meat inside our skulls, then we can allow at least the possibility that consciousness is primary and that matter is in some way dependent upon it – which is the conclusion Max Planck arrived at via another direction (physics rather than NDE research).

    I realise that this is about as counterintuitive as it gets. I mean, it’s obvious that the brain is the seat of consciousness, isn’t it? Everyone knows that!

    Yet, with equal conviction about its obviousness, the ancient Egyptians believed consciousness was produced by the heart, which is why they preserved the heart of a mummified Pharaoh in a canopic jar, but threw his brain away. If seriously smart guys like the pyramid builders could get it so wrong, surely that might give us pause to reconsider the received wisdom of our own times?

    Charles

  52. 52
    Charles Birch says:

    Allan Keith @ 50

    I find QM fascinating but as a non-scientist and non-philosopher (I’m just a curious layman) I find some opposing statements about QM very confusing.

    From my bumbling attempts to understand the basics, I had formed the notion that physicists chased the ultrastructure of matter down to subatomic particles – whereupon all the hard particulate ‘stuff’ disappeared, and they were left with nothing more than an ocean of mathematical probability distributions (which, whatever else they are, are not material ‘stuff’).

    One quotation that lodges in my mind is that of astrophysicist Richard C. Henry (whose intriguing essay ‘The Mental Universe’ is often referenced by ba77). He stated ‘I ceased to be a materialist, the moment I realised there was no material’.

    OTOH other commenters, such as yourself, claim that QM describes a subatomic but still material reality.

    I don’t know what to make of this and would be grateful for clarification. Is there a material reality underlying QM, or does all material ‘stuff’ dissolve into waves of probability at that level?

  53. 53
    gpuccio says:

    bornagain77:

    “Actually the ‘interface’ of the soul with the body is far more pervasive than just the brain. The ‘quantum interface’ is found in every biological molecule of the human body.”

    I absolutely agree. I was just focusing on the brain, because it certainly has some very specific function in that interface.

  54. 54
    gpuccio says:

    kurx78:

    “In defense of Bob
    I’m not really sure if he’s a hardcore a/mat but besides that his responses are interesting, thoughtful and with a scientifical basis.”

    Thank you for saying that. I absolutely agree.

    I think that it is our duty to acknowledge the good qualities expressed by interlocutors on the other side. And to see the stimulating aspects in their arguments.

  55. 55
    gpuccio says:

    Seversky:

    “No brain, no consciousness. That could be a clue that one is required for the other.

    As for Near Death Experiences, they appear to be common experiences in the minds of people approaching death, not after. You find verified instances of post-mortem consciousness and you might have a case. Otherwise, NDEs show nothing about the possibility of life after death.”

    Well, it seems that you have some information about the absence of consciousness after death. References, please?

    Let’s say that NDEs are a very reliable set of observable experience at the transition between life and death: you know, most of the people who have NDEs would really die, if they were not reanimated.

    That makes them very interesting, and pertinent to the discussion.

  56. 56
    gpuccio says:

    Allan Keith (and Seversky):

    “Seversky@49, I also wonder at the idea that some think that quantum mechanics is non-material. It is just material science at the sub-atomic level. The fact that it is not fully understood (and ‘spooky’) does not make it non-material.”

    The problem is, again, with the use of ambiguous words.

    “Material” and “physical” have no precise meaning.

    Let’s just say that there is a reality out there, and that we understand some of it. Many other things we don’t understand (for example, consciousness).

    Quantum mechanics is, at present, a very good interface between what we understand and what we don’t understand.

  57. 57
    gpuccio says:

    Charles Birch:

    Very good thoughts. Thank you! 🙂

  58. 58
    Allan Keith says:

    Charles,

    I don’t know what to make of this and would be grateful for clarification. Is there a material reality underlying QM, or does all material ‘stuff’ dissolve into waves of probability at that level?

    I am by no means an expert in QM either. By something being material/physical, I mean that there is a direct causal relationship with physical (solid) matter and that it can be detected/measured, either directly or indirectly. For example, magnetism was once thought to be magical or supernatural. However, we now consider it to be a natural physical phenomenon.

  59. 59
    Origenes says:

    Allan Keith: For example, magnetism was once thought to be magical or supernatural. However, we now consider it to be a natural physical phenomenon.

    Despite that move, magnetic energy remains as magical as ever. Today no one has a clue as to what magnetic energy is. Heck no one even knows what energy is.

    Richard Feynman: There is a fact, or if you wish, a law governing all natural phenomena that are known to date. There is no known exception to this law – it is exact so far as we know. The law is called the conservation of energy. It states that there is a certain quantity, which we call “energy,” that does not change in the manifold changes that nature undergoes. That is a most abstract idea, because it is a mathematical principle; it says there is a numerical quantity which does not change when something happens . . . it is a strange fact that when we calculate some number and when we finish watching nature go through her tricks and calculate the number again, it is the same. It is important to realize that in physics today, we have no knowledge of what energy “is.” We do not have a picture that energy comes in little blobs of a definite amount. It is not that way. It . . . does not tell us the mechanism or the reason for the various formulas.

  60. 60
    Allan Keith says:

    Origene,

    Despite that move, magnetic energy remains as magical as ever. Today no one has a clue as to what magnetic energy is. Heck no one even knows what energy is.

    Yet nobody is seriously suggesting that it is not the result of physics and matter.

  61. 61
    Origenes says:

    Alla,

    Yet nobody is seriously suggesting that it is not the result of physics and matter.

    Quite the opposite; “energy comes from matter” (and matter comes from energy) is not a serious attempt at explaining things.

  62. 62
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky, who is without a doubt an unashamed died in the wool Atheistic Materialist, states:

    Quantum mechanics describes how physical reality behaves at a sub-atomic level. To that extent it is a materialistic theory.

    Simply claiming that quantum theory is a materialistic theory, without one reference, quote, or citation, will not suffice in the least. His baseless claim reminds me of someone claiming to be Napoleon.

    The behavior of physical reality at the sub-atomic level, and even at the macro-level in many cases, is certainly not “materialistic” in its characteristics. In fact, its spooky ‘non-materialistic’, beyond space and time, behavior is exactly what makes Quantum Mechanics so counter-intuitive for so many people.

    …the “paradox” is only a conflict between reality and your feeling of what reality “ought to be.”
    Richard Feynman, in The Feynman Lectures on Physics, vol III, p. 18-9 (1965)

    Here are a few references that falsify materialism from the quantum mechanics perspective:

    “If you go back and look at the premises which underlie materialism, They are all presumptions that were made back in the 17th and 18th century. Those (presumptions) are: reality, locality, causality, continuity, and determinism. All of those concepts were assumed to be self evident. And all of them have been disproved by quantum theory. The last one to fall was locality. (John Bell’s theory of non-locality disproved locality, which has now been proven I think 11 times in 11 different experiments throughout the world.),,, Anyone who says, “Well, I want to believe materialism and I don’t want to believe quantum physics.” Okay then, get rid of your cell phone, along with anything you have with a transistor in it. Get rid of your MRIs, get rid of all those things. Because quantum electro-dynamics is the theory which allows those things. It is the most proven theory in all of science.”
    Dr. Alan Hugenot – Hugenot holds a doctorate of science in mechanical engineering, and has had a successful career in marine engineering, serving on committees that write the ship-building standards for the United States. He studied physics and mechanical engineering at the Oregon Institute of Technology.
    quote taken from 16:35 minute mark of following interview
    Is near-death experience research scientifically respectable? – May 26, 2015
    http://www.skeptiko.com/276-al.....-research/

    “I think that modern physics has definitely decided in favor of Plato. In fact the smallest units of matter are not physical objects in the ordinary sense; they are forms, ideas which can be expressed unambiguously only in mathematical language.”
    Werner Heisenberg – As quoted in The New York Times Book Review (March 8, 1992). – “Uncertainty,” David C. Cassidy’s biography of Werner Heisenberg

    “Information is known to be transcendent of normative physicality because it isn’t bound by space-time limitations, and it changes the properties of a system under analysis just by being present in the observation method (as per delayed-choice & quantum eraser experiments). We know that this information is directly tied to observers. Quantum systems compute virtually infinite potential outcomes, but they do not collapse into physicality until observed (and how they are observed), and it has been demonstrated by experiment that this collapse into what we call physical reality is not bound by space or time; it can retroactively alter historical properties (quantum eraser).
    These scientific experiments unequivocally disprove materialism as any more valid than, say, Classical Physics; it’s okay as a useful tool in many applications, but as a philosophical worldview, it’s simply false; as false as any superstition based upon limited capacity to investigate the nature of reality. While things may apparently operate in a cause and effect, material sequence manner for the most part, science has revealed that without the observer, there simply is no such thing as apparent local realism – there is only nearly infinite information potential that has yet to coalesce into any particular arrangement. IOW, classical cause-and-effect materialism that claims mind to be generated by matter is proven to be a myth just like Apollo pulling the sun through the sky.
    Science has essentially proven that there must have been a sentient first cause (as observer), or must be a sentient sufficient cause (as observer or observers) in a non-physical, superluminal and non-temporal state in order for what we call the “reality” of cause-and-effect physicality to exist.
    Free will, soul, mind, god, whatever you want to call it as creator of the physical universe has been demonstrated by experiment to necessarily exist, and exist in a non-material, non-local state, or else there wouldn’t be a universe, only information and potential.
    The question is: when will materialist atheists simply admit they are wrong, when their own preferred methodology – science – has disproven their worldview as much as it has disproven other myths and superstitions that were based on a lack of information?”
    http://projectavalon.net/forum.....post996164

    Quantum Physics Debunks Materialism – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....i7t6wfpg8g

    The Incompatibility of Physicalism with Physics: A Conversation with Dr. Bruce Gordon – video – 2017
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wk-UO81HmO4

    Divine Action and the World of Science: What Cosmology and Quantum Physics Teach Us about the Role of Providence in Nature – Bruce L. Gordon – 2017
    Excerpt page 295: In light of this realization, the rather startling picture that begins to seem plausible is that preserving and explaining the objective structure of appearances in light of quantum theory requires reviving a type of phenomenalism in which our perception of the physical universe is constituted by sense-data conforming to certain structural constraints, but in which there is no substantial material reality causing these sensory perceptions. This leaves us with an ontology of minds (as immaterial substances) experiencing and generating mental events and processes that, when sensory in nature, have a formal character limned by the fundamental symmetries and structures revealed in “physical” theory. That these structured sensory perceptions are not mostly of our own individual or collective human making points to the falsity of any solipsistic or social constructivist conclusion, but it also implies the need for a transcendent source and ground of our experience. As Robert Adams points out, mere formal structure is ontologically incomplete:
    [A] system of spatiotemporal relationships constituted by sizes, shapes, positions, and changes thereof, is too incomplete, too hollow, as it were, to constitute an ultimately real thing or substance. It is a framework that, by its very nature, needs to be filled in by something less purely formal. It can only be a structure of something of some not merely structural sort. Formally, rich as such a structure may be, it lacks too much of the reality of material thinghood. By itself, it participates in the incompleteness of abstractions. . . .
    [T]he reality of a substance must include something intrinsic and qualitativeover and above any formal or structural features it may possess.117
    When we consider the fact that the structure of reality in fundamental physical theory is merely phenomenological and that this structure itself is hollow and non-qualitative, whereas our experience is not, the metaphysical objectivity and epistemic intersubjectivity of the enstructured qualitative reality of our experience can be seen to be best explained by an occasionalist idealism of the sort advocated by George Berkeley (1685-1753) or Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758). In the metaphysical context of this kind of theistic immaterialism, the vera causa that brings coherent closure to the phenomenological reality we inhabit is always and only agent causation. The necessity of causal sufficiency is met by divine action, for as Plantinga emphasizes:
    [T]he connection between God’s willing that there be light and there being light is necessary in the broadly logical sense: it is necessary in that sense that if God wills that p, p occurs. Insofar as we have a grasp of necessity (and we do have a grasp of necessity), we also have a grasp of causality when it is divine causality that is at issue. I take it this is a point in favor of occasionalism, and in fact it constitutes a very powerful advantage of occasionalism. 118
    http://jbtsonline.org/wp-conte.....ressed.pdf

    Quantum correlations do not imply instant causation – August 12, 2016
    Excerpt: A research team led by a Heriot-Watt scientist has shown that the universe is even weirder than had previously been thought.
    In 2015 the universe was officially proven to be weird. After many decades of research, a series of experiments showed that distant, entangled objects can seemingly interact with each other through what Albert Einstein famously dismissed as “Spooky action at a distance”.
    A new experiment by an international team led by Heriot-Watt’s Dr Alessandro Fedrizzi has now found that the universe is even weirder than that: entangled objects do not cause each other to behave the way they do. (i.e. refutation of pilot waves and/or hidden variables)
    http://phys.org/news/2016-08-q.....ation.html

    Experiment confirms quantum theory weirdness – May 27, 2015
    Excerpt: The bizarre nature of reality as laid out by quantum theory has survived another test, with scientists performing a famous experiment and proving that reality does not exist until it is measured.
    Physicists at The Australian National University (ANU) have conducted John Wheeler’s delayed-choice thought experiment, which involves a moving object that is given the choice to act like a particle or a wave. Wheeler’s experiment then asks – at which point does the object decide?
    Common sense says the object is either wave-like or particle-like, independent of how we measure it. But quantum physics predicts that whether you observe wave like behavior (interference) or particle behavior (no interference) depends only on how it is actually measured at the end of its journey. This is exactly what the ANU team found.
    “It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it,” said Associate Professor Andrew Truscott from the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering.
    Despite the apparent weirdness, the results confirm the validity of quantum theory, which,, has enabled the development of many technologies such as LEDs, lasers and computer chips.
    The ANU team not only succeeded in building the experiment, which seemed nearly impossible when it was proposed in 1978, but reversed Wheeler’s original concept of light beams being bounced by mirrors, and instead used atoms scattered by laser light.
    “Quantum physics’ predictions about interference seem odd enough when applied to light, which seems more like a wave, but to have done the experiment with atoms, which are complicated things that have mass and interact with electric fields and so on, adds to the weirdness,” said Roman Khakimov, PhD student at the Research School of Physics and Engineering.
    http://phys.org/news/2015-05-q.....dness.html

    Seversky then asks:

    As for information, perhaps you can find quotes where Vedral and Zeilinger define what they mean by “information”

    Zeilinger in particular, (the experimentalist), is very specific in what he means by information and has made some fairly startling breakthoughs in quantum mechanics (quantum teleportation and long distance entanglement, Leggett’s inequalities, etc..) by regarding information as fundamental to reality. Here are two references:

    Why the Quantum? It from Bit? A Participatory Universe?
    Excerpt: “In conclusion, it may very well be said that information is the irreducible kernel from which everything else flows. Thence the question why nature appears quantized is simply a consequence of the fact that information itself is quantized by necessity. It might even be fair to observe that the concept that information is fundamental is very old knowledge of humanity, witness for example the beginning of gospel according to John: “In the beginning was the Word.”
    Anton Zeilinger – a leading expert in quantum mechanics
    http://www.metanexus.net/archi.....linger.pdf

    Zeilinger’s principle
    Zeilinger’s principle states that any elementary system carries just one bit of information. This principle was put forward by Austrian physicist Anton Zeilinger in 1999 and subsequently developed by him to derive several aspects of quantum mechanics. Some have reasoned that this principle, in certain ways, links thermodynamics with information theory. [1]
    http://www.eoht.info/page/Zeilinger%27s+principle

  63. 63
    Origenes says:

    //follow up #61 //

    Allan Keith: Yet nobody is seriously suggesting that it is not the result of physics and matter.

    Needless to point out, I hope, that no one knows what matter is. Moreover, as I have argued elsewhere, no one knows what the fundamental laws of physics consist of, by what mechanism they operate and/or where they come from.

  64. 64
    Charles Birch says:

    Allan @ 58

    Thanks for the response.

    As I see it, experimental data on QM is rapidly moving the theory towards some sort of turning point.

    It appears possible that the ‘weirdness’ of QM might ultimately be explained as a material process, or – equally possible – that further experimentation will argue that (as R C Henry has maintained) there is no ‘material stuff’ at all, and that reality is ‘entirely mental’.

    Just as matter and energy were shown by Einstein to be interchangeable, maybe accumulating evidence will show that both matter and energy are simply ways in which consciousness can manifest itself.

    It’s rather like the old geocentric theory of the cosmos. It was ‘obvious’ for millennia that the sun and other celestial bodies revolved around the earth. Everyone could see that obvious ‘truth’ for themselves. Except there were a few glitches that didn’t make sense.

    Then Copernicus proposed a heliocentric theory that took care of the glitches. But it was so counterintuitive and outlandish that few took it seriously, and with the ingenious application of epicycles, geocentrism could be maintained.

    For a while, BOTH theories were valid ways of interpreting the data, but as further evidence became available (Galileo and Kepler), humanity had to accept the unthinkable: the self-evident, long-maintained truth was completely wrong.

    QM seems to be at this crossroads today. My understanding is that the most recent evidence is moving the theory steady AWAY from a materialist interpretation.

    A very good video on this, which chronologically summarises the evidence, is to be found here.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VqULEE7eY8M

    Well worth a look if you’ve not watched it before.

    Charles

  65. 65
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky then states:

    BA77: That is putting it mildly, materialists can’t even explain where a single neuron came from, much less consciousness.

    Sev: There’s a lot of things we still can’t explain. But materialism has been a lot more successful than any other approach at whittling down the list of things we can’t explain.
    As for the mind-boggling complexity of the human brain and the staggering numbers of synapses and potential circuits in it, perhaps that might be sufficient to account for the emergence of consciousness. There has to be a reason for maintaining such a very expensive organ.

    As to this claim in particular:

    There’s a lot of things we still can’t explain. But materialism has been a lot more successful than any other approach at whittling down the list of things we can’t explain.

    That claim is just plain false. In fact, that claim, since he shamelessly invokes ‘materialism of the gaps’, that claim turns the entire “God of the gaps” fallacy on its head.

    First off, modern science was born out of Christian Theism.

    The truth about science and religion By Terry Scambray – August 14, 2014
    Excerpt: In 1925 the renowned philosopher and mathematician, Alfred North Whitehead speaking to scholars at Harvard said that science originated in Christian Europe in the 13th century. Whitehead pointed out that science arose from “the medieval insistence on the rationality of God, conceived as with the personal energy of Jehovah and with the rationality of a Greek philosopher”, from which it follows that human minds created in that image are capable of understanding nature.
    The audience, assuming that science and Christianity are enemies, was astonished.
    http://www.americanthinker.com.....igion.html

    The Threat to the Scientific Method that Explains the Spate of Fraudulent Science Publications – Calvin Beisner | Jul 23, 2014
    Excerpt: It is precisely because modern science has abandoned its foundations in the Biblical worldview (which holds, among other things, that a personal, rational God designed a rational universe to be understood and controlled by rational persons made in His image) and the Biblical ethic (which holds, among other things, that we are obligated to tell the truth even when it inconveniences us) that science is collapsing.
    As such diverse historians and philosophers of science as Alfred North Whitehead, Pierre Duhem, Loren Eiseley, Rodney Stark, and many others have observed,, science—not an occasional flash of insight here and there, but a systematic, programmatic, ongoing way of studying and controlling the world—arose only once in history, and only in one place: medieval Europe, once known as “Christendom,” where that Biblical worldview reigned supreme. That is no accident. Science could not have arisen without that worldview.
    http://townhall.com/columnists...../page/full
    Several other resources backing up this claim are available, such as Thomas Woods, Stanley Jaki, David Linberg, Edward Grant, J.L. Heilbron, and Christopher Dawson.

    Christians – Not the Enlightenment – Invented Modern Science – Chuck Colson – Oct. 2016
    Excerpt: Rodney Stark’s,,, book, “For the Glory of God,,,,
    In Stark’s words, “Christian theology was necessary for the rise of science.” Science only happened in areas whose worldview was shaped by Christianity, that is, Europe. Many civilizations had alchemy; only Europe developed chemistry. Likewise, astrology was practiced everywhere, but only in Europe did it become astronomy.
    That’s because Christianity depicted God as a “rational, responsive, dependable, and omnipotent being” who created a universe with a “rational, lawful, stable” structure. These beliefs uniquely led to “faith in the possibility of science.”
    So why the Columbus myth? Because, as Stark writes, “the claim of an inevitable and bitter warfare between religion and science has, for more than three centuries, been the primary polemical device used in the atheist attack of faith.” Opponents of Christianity have used bogus accounts like the ones I’ve mentioned to not only discredit Christianity, but also position themselves as “liberators” of the human mind and spirit.
    Well, it’s up to us to set the record straight, and Stark’s book is a great place to start. And I think it’s time to tell our neighbors that what everyone thinks they know about Christianity and science is just plain wrong.
    http://www.cnsnews.com/comment.....rn-science

    Moreover science has only progressed is so far as it has adopted principles of Intelligent Design. That is to say, science has only progressed when people, i.e. intelligent agents, have made more and more accurate models of the universe, and have Intelligently Designed better and better scientific instruments so as to test those models to greater and greater levels of accuracy. Materialism had nothing to do with either the forming of the models or the developing of the scientific instruments.

    And let us be VERY clear to the fact that ALL of science, every discipline within science, is dependent on basic Theistic presuppositions about the rational intelligibility of the universe and the ability of our mind to comprehend that rational intelligibility. Modern science was born, and continues to be dependent on, those basic Theistic presuppositions.

    Einstein himself rebuked ‘professional atheists’ on this matter:

    You find it strange that I consider the comprehensibility of the world (to the extent that we are authorized to speak of such a comprehensibility) as a miracle or as an eternal mystery. Well, a priori one should expect a chaotic world which cannot be grasped by the mind in any way. One could (yes one should) expect the world to be subjected to law only to the extent that we order it through our intelligence. Ordering of this kind would be like the alphabetical ordering of the words of a language. By contrast, the kind of order created by Newton’s theory of gravitation, for instance, is wholly different. Even if the axioms of the theory are proposed by man, the success of such a project presupposes a high degree of ordering of the objective world, and this could not be expected a priori. That is the “miracle” which is being constantly reinforced as our knowledge expands.

    There lies the weakness of positivists and professional atheists who are elated because they feel that they have not only successfully rid the world of gods but “bared the miracles”.
    – Einstein
    http://inters.org/Einstein-Letter-Solovine

    It is also interesting to note, that there is no accurate mathematical model of Darwinian evolution to experimentally test against.

    Top Ten Questions and Objections to ‘Introduction to Evolutionary Informatics’ – Robert J. Marks II – June 12, 2017
    Excerpt: “There exists no model successfully describing undirected Darwinian evolution. Hard sciences are built on foundations of mathematics or definitive simulations. Examples include electromagnetics, Newtonian mechanics, geophysics, relativity, thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, optics, and many areas in biology. Those hoping to establish Darwinian evolution as a hard science with a model have either failed or inadvertently cheated. These models contain guidance mechanisms to land the airplane squarely on the target runway despite stochastic wind gusts. Not only can the guiding assistance be specifically identified in each proposed evolution model, its contribution to the success can be measured, in bits, as active information.,,,”,,, “there exists no model successfully describing undirected Darwinian evolution. According to our current understanding, there never will be.,,,”
    https://evolutionnews.org/2017/06/top-ten-questions-and-objections-to-introduction-to-evolutionary-informatics/

    In fact, in so far as Darwinian and/or materialistic presuppositions have influenced scientific research, particularly biology, those materialistic presuppositions have only served to hamper science rather than foster discover:

    “There are five standard tests for a scientific hypothesis. Has anyone observed the phenomenon — in this case, Evolution — as it occurred and recorded it? Could other scientists replicate it? Could any of them come up with a set of facts that, if true, would contradict the theory (Karl Popper’s “falsifiability” tests)? Could scientists make predictions based on it? Did it illuminate hitherto unknown or baffling areas of science? In the case of Evolution… well… no… no… no… no… and no.”
    – Tom Wolfe – The Kingdom of Speech – page 17
    Darwinian Evolution Fails the Five Standard Tests of a Scientific Hypothesis – video
    https://youtu.be/L7f_fyoPybw

    Darwinian evolution is a pseudoscience (Popper and Lakatos) – March 2018
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/coursera-vid-by-darwinism-is-wrong-prof-banned-from-youtube/#comment-655046

    As to Seversky’s claim that materialism has been “whittling down the list” of things we can’t explain, that claim is, again, just plain false.

    Although Theists are often accused of making ‘God of the Gaps’ style arguments, the fact of the matter is that, as science has progressed, it is the Atheist himself who has had to retreat further and further into ‘Materialism/Naturalism of Gaps’ style arguments. i.e. into “Science will figure a materialistic answer out to that mystery someday” style argument.

    To clearly illustrate the ‘materialism of the gaps’ style argument that the materialistic/atheistic philosophy makes, the materialistic and Theistic philosophy make, and have made, several contradictory predictions about what type of scientific evidence we will find.
    These contradictory predictions, and the evidence we have found by modern science, can be tested against one another to see if either materialism or Theism is true.

    Theism compared to Naturalism – Major predictions of each Philosophy – with references
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1vHkCYvFiWiZfMlXHKJwwMJ7SJ0tlqWfH83dJ2OgfP78/edit

    1. Naturalism/Materialism predicted space-time energy-matter always existed. Theism predicted space-time energy-matter were created. Big Bang cosmology now strongly indicates that time-space energy-matter had a sudden creation event approximately 14 billion years ago.

    2. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that the universe is a self sustaining system that is not dependent on anything else for its continued existence. Theism predicted that God upholds this universe in its continued existence. Breakthroughs in quantum mechanics reveal that this universe is dependent on a ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, cause for its continued existence.

    3. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that consciousness is an ‘emergent property’ of material reality and thus should have no particularly special position within material reality. Theism predicts consciousness precedes material reality and therefore, on that presupposition, consciousness should have a ‘special’ position within material reality. Quantum Mechanics reveals that consciousness has a special, even a central, position within material reality. –

    4. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the rate at which time passed was constant everywhere in the universe. Theism predicted God is eternal and is outside of time. – Special Relativity has shown that time, as we understand it, is relative and comes to a complete stop at the speed of light. (Psalm 90:4 – 2 Timothy 1:9) –

    5. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the universe did not have life in mind and that life was ultimately an accident of time and chance. Theism predicted this universe was purposely created by God with man in mind. Scientists find the universe is exquisitely fine-tuned for carbon-based life to exist in this universe. Moreover it is found, when scrutinizing the details of physics and chemistry, that not only is the universe fine-tuned for carbon based life, but is specifically fine-tuned for life like human life (R. Collins, M. Denton).-

    6. Naturalism/Materialism predicted complex life in this universe should be fairly common. Theism predicted the earth is extremely unique in this universe. Statistical analysis of the hundreds of required parameters which enable complex organic life to be possible on earth gives strong indication the earth is extremely unique in this universe (G. Gonzalez; Hugh Ross). –

    7. Naturalism/Materialism predicted it took a very long time for life to develop on earth. Theism predicted life to appear abruptly on earth after water appeared on earth (Genesis 1:10-11). Geochemical evidence from the oldest sedimentary rocks ever found on earth indicates that complex photosynthetic life has existed on earth as long as water has been on the face of earth. –

    8. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the first life to be relatively simple. Theism predicted that God is the source for all life on earth. The simplest life ever found on Earth is far more complex than any machine man has made through concerted effort. (Michael Denton PhD) –

    9. Naturalism/Materialism predicted the gradual unfolding of life would (someday) be self-evident in the fossil record. Theism predicted complex and diverse animal life to appear abruptly in the seas in God’s fifth day of creation. The Cambrian Explosion shows a sudden appearance of many different and completely unique fossils within a very short “geologic resolution time” in the Cambrian seas. –

    10. Naturalism/Materialism predicted there should be numerous transitional fossils found in the fossil record, Theism predicted sudden appearance and rapid diversity within different kinds found in the fossil record. Fossils are consistently characterized by sudden appearance of a group/kind in the fossil record(disparity), then rapid diversity within that group/kind, and then long term stability and even deterioration of variety within the overall group/kind, and within the specific species of the kind, over long periods of time. Of the few dozen or so fossils claimed as transitional, not one is uncontested as a true example of transition between major animal forms out of millions of collected fossils. –

    11. Naturalism/Materialism predicted animal speciation should happen on a somewhat constant basis on earth. Theism predicted man was the last species created on earth – Man (our genus ‘modern homo’ as distinct from the highly controversial ‘early homo’) is the last generally accepted major fossil form to have suddenly appeared in the fossil record. (Tattersall; Luskin)–

    12. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that the separation of human intelligence from animal intelligence ‘is one of degree and not of kind’ (C. Darwin). Theism predicted that we are made in the ‘image of God’- Despite an ‘explosion of research’ in this area over the last four decades, human beings alone are found to ‘mentally dissect the world into a multitude of discrete symbols, and combine and recombine those symbols in their minds to produce hypotheses of alternative possibilities.’ (Tattersall; Schwartz). Moreover, both biological life and the universe itself are found to be ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis.

    13. Naturalism/Materialism predicted much of the DNA code was junk. Theism predicted we are fearfully and wonderfully made – ENCODE research into the DNA has revealed a “biological jungle deeper, denser, and more difficult to penetrate than anyone imagined.”. –

    14. Naturalism/Materialism predicted a extremely beneficial and flexible mutation rate for DNA which was ultimately responsible for all the diversity and complexity of life we see on earth. Theism predicted only God created life on earth – The mutation rate to DNA is overwhelmingly detrimental. Detrimental to such a point that it is seriously questioned whether there are any truly beneficial, information building, mutations whatsoever. (M. Behe; JC Sanford) –

    15. Naturalism/Materialism predicted morality is subjective and illusory. Theism predicted morality is objective and real. Morality is found to be deeply embedded in the genetic responses of humans. As well, morality is found to be deeply embedded in the structure of the universe. Embedded to the point of eliciting physiological responses in humans before humans become aware of the morally troubling situation and even prior to the event even happening.

    16. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that we are merely our material bodies with no transcendent component to our being, and that we die when our material bodies die. Theism predicted that we have minds/souls that are transcendent of our bodies that live past the death of our material bodies. Transcendent, and ‘conserved’, (cannot be created or destroyed), ‘non-local’, (beyond space-time matter-energy), quantum entanglement/information, which is not reducible to matter-energy space-time, is now found in our material bodies on a massive scale (in every DNA and protein molecule).

    As you can see when we remove the artificial imposition of the materialistic philosophy (methodological naturalism), from the scientific method, and look carefully at the predictions of both the materialistic philosophy and the Theistic philosophy, side by side, we find the scientific method is very good at pointing us in the direction of Theism as the true explanation. – In fact modern science is even very good at pointing us to Christianity as the solution to the much sought after ‘theory of everything’

    Copernican Principle, Agent Causality, and Jesus Christ as the “Theory of Everything” – 2018 video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NziDraiPiOw

    That Christianity should provide an empirically backed solution to the much sought out “Theory of Everything”, i.e. a primary reason for why the universe exists, should not really be all that surprising since,

    1. Modern science was born out of the Christian worldview.

    2. The belief that there should even be a unification between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, (i.e. a mathematical theory of everything), does not follow from the math, but is a belief that is born out of Theistic presuppositions (K. Godel, G Chaitin, S. Fuller).

    3. The denial of Agent Causality behind the laws of physics, and in our own personal lives, leads to the catastrophic epistemological failure of science.

    4. Christianity ‘predicts’ that “in him all things were created”

    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

  66. 66
    Allan Keith says:

    Charles,

    Just as matter and energy were shown by Einstein to be interchangeable, maybe accumulating evidence will show that both matter and energy are simply ways in which consciousness can manifest itself.

    I will preface my comment by saying that I am not a physicist, so I may be completely wrong. It is true that matter and energy are interchangeable, but can one exist without the other? To clarify, if the entire universe were devoid of matter, would any energy exist. Or, if there were no energy, would matter exist? I honestly don’t know the answer.

  67. 67
    mike1962 says:

    Allan Keith: For example, magnetism was once thought to be magical or supernatural. However, we now consider it to be a natural physical phenomenon.

    Origenes: Despite that move, magnetic energy remains as magical as ever. Today no one has a clue as to what magnetic energy is. Heck no one even knows what energy is.

    Allen Keith: Yet nobody is seriously suggesting that it is not the result of physics and matter.

    Firstly, Allen Keith is right about “magnetism.” It is a phenomenon with a well understood reductionist explanation. I believe what Origenes was thinking of is electo-magnetism which is quite another matter. It has no empirically supported reductionist explanation and is considered one of the three foundational “forces of nature” along with the electo-weak and strong nuclear “forces” in the Standard Model of physics today.

    Electo-magnetism, which we also call “radio waves”, “light”, “photons”, remains a fundamental force and has particularly non-common-sensical properties demonstrated by the double-slit, delayed-choice, and quantum eraser experiments, among others. Attempts at a reductionist explanation can be found in the various string theories, but to date, after several decades, there is no empirical reason to accept any of them.

    Is electro-magnetism genuinely a fundamental force or is their yet more fundamental forces upon which it is “built?” Nobody knows. And maybe nobody will ever know. There are practical limitations with regards to empirically testing string theories. But then, if we could, we would we be left at the same sort of spot we are now. We would be asking, what “are” the strings? Are they the most fundamental “forces?” And so on.

    Allen Keith demonstrates his faith in science to be able to endlessly uncover what might underlie any particularly phenomenon. But that’s a mere induction. A promissory note based on “dog logic”, if you will. There’s no rational reason to accept it as true or false. In the end, we all have our faith in something to one degree or another.

  68. 68
    bornagain77 says:

    Sev then states:

    No brain, no consciousness. That could be a clue that one is required for the other.

    That is a (dogmatic) presupposition not a finding. Moreover, presupposing consciousness to be derivative from material leads to the catastrophic epistemological failure of science.

    Determinism vs Free Will
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwPER4m2axI

    “In any philosophy of reality that is not ultimately self-defeating or internally contradictory, mind – unlabeled as anything else, matter or spiritual – must be primary. What is “matter” and what is “conceptual” and what is “spiritual” can only be organized from mind. Mind controls what is perceived, how it is perceived, and how those percepts are labeled and organized. Mind must be postulated as the unobserved observer, the uncaused cause simply to avoid a self-negating, self-conflicting worldview. It is the necessary postulate of all necessary postulates, because nothing else can come first. To say anything else comes first requires mind to consider and argue that case and then believe it to be true, demonstrating that without mind, you could not believe that mind is not primary in the first place.”
    – William J. Murray

    “No, I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”
    Max Planck (1858–1947), the main founder of quantum theory, The Observer, London, January 25, 1931

    “Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.”
    Schroedinger, Erwin. 1984. “General Scientific and Popular Papers,” in Collected Papers, Vol. 4. Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences. Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn, Braunschweig/Wiesbaden. p. 334.

    Seversky goes on to claim

    As for Near Death Experiences, they appear to be common experiences in the minds of people approaching death, not after. You find verified instances of post-mortem consciousness and you might have a case. Otherwise, NDEs show nothing about the possibility of life after death.

    More buff and bluster. Several NDEs are recorded of people who awoke in morgues.

    near death experience in morgue – google search
    https://www.google.com/search?ei=PBrGWsaIKcG4tQWpza3QCw&q=near+death+experience+in+morgue&oq=near+death+experience+in+morgue&gs_l=psy-ab.1.0.35i39k1.44823.44823.0.46899.1.1.0.0.0.0.131.131.0j1.1.0….0…1c.1.64.psy-ab..0.1.131….0.O6S4mwNNEBA

    Moreover, people who have NDEs (or out of body experiences) often recall seeing things while they are out of their bodies, things that were later verified, things that could not have possibly be seen from the vicinity of where the body was. And thus this ‘perception from a distance’ directly refutes the materialistic contention that consciousness is merely a product of the material brain.

    Kim Clark Finds the Tennis Shoe and Proves Near Death Experiences Are Real
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPXK2Ls-xzQ

    Michaela’s Amazing NEAR death experience – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTcHWz6UMZ8

    “A recent analysis of several hundred cases showed that 48% of near-death experiencers reported seeing their physical bodies from a different visual perspective. Many of them also reported witnessing events going on in the vicinity of their body, such as the attempts of medical personnel to resuscitate them (Kelly et al., 2007).”
    Kelly, E. W., Greyson, B., & Kelly, E. F. (2007). Unusual experiences near death and related phenomena. In E. F. Kelly, E. W. Kelly, A. Crabtree, A. Gauld, M. Grosso, & B. Greyson, Irreducible mind (pp. 367-421). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

    Life after death? Largest-ever study provides evidence that ‘out of body’ and ‘near-death’ experiences may be real – October 7, 2014
    Excerpt: Dr Sam Parnia, an assistant professor at the State University of New York and a former research fellow at the University of Southampton who led the research, said that he previously (held) that patients who described near-death experiences were only relating hallucinatory events.
    One man, however, gave a “very credible” account of what was going on while doctors and nurses tried to bring him back to life – and says that he felt he was observing his resuscitation from the corner of the room.
    Speaking to The Telegraph about the evidence provided by a 57-year-old social worker Southampton, Dr Parnia said: “We know the brain can’t function when the heart has stopped beating.
    “But in this case, conscious awareness appears to have continued for up to three minutes.
    “The man described everything that had happened in the room, but importantly, he heard two bleeps from a machine that makes a noise at three minute intervals. So we could time how long the experienced lasted for.
    “He seemed very credible and everything that he said had happened to him had actually happened.”
    http://www.independent.co.uk/n.....80195.html

    As well, blind people who have been blind from birth report seeing for the first time when they were out of their material bodies:

    Kenneth Ring and Sharon Cooper (1997) conducted a study of 31 blind people, many of who reported vision during their Near Death Experiences (NDEs). 21 of these people had had an NDE while the remaining 10 had had an out-of-body experience (OBE), but no NDE. It was found that in the NDE sample, about half had been blind from birth. (of note: This ‘anomaly’ is also found for deaf people who can hear sound during their Near Death Experiences(NDEs).)
    http://www.newdualism.org/nde-.....-147-1.pdf

    Blind Woman Can See During Near Death Experience (NDE) – Pim von Lommel – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKyQJDZuMHE

    Seversky then states:

    I’ve yet to see a clear, agreed definition of what is meant by “soul” so claiming that quantum effects in biology are evidence for it are just wishful thinking at this point.

    Seversky, first off if materialism is true, then there is no ‘you’ to ever see anything in the first place, there merely is a neuronal illusion having the illusion of personhood, and who’s perceptions of reality are illusory! (As already referenced in this thread)

    Moreover, the soul, throughout history, (regardless of your refusal to honestly acknowledge the clear definition), has been clearly defined as being that transcendent component of the human body that is capable of living beyond the death of our material bodies.
    In fact,

    16. Naturalism/Materialism predicted that we are merely our material bodies with no transcendent component to our being, and that we die when our material bodies die. Theism predicted that we have minds/souls that are transcendent of our bodies that live past the death of our material bodies. Transcendent, and ‘conserved’, (cannot be created or destroyed), ‘non-local’, (beyond space-time matter-energy), quantum entanglement/information, which is not reducible to matter-energy space-time, is now found in our material bodies on a massive scale (in every DNA and protein molecule).

    Darwinian Materialism vs. Quantum Biology – video
    https://youtu.be/LHdD2Am1g5Y

    Of supplemental note:

    In the following study, materialistic researchers who had a bias against Near Death Experiences being real, set out to prove that they were ‘false memories’ by setting up a clever questionnaire that could differentiate which memories a person had were real and which memories a person had were merely imaginary.
    They did not expect the “more real than real” results they got: to quote the headline

    ‘Afterlife’ feels ‘even more real than real,’ researcher says – Wed April 10, 2013
    Excerpt: “If you use this questionnaire … if the memory is real, it’s richer, and if the memory is recent, it’s richer,” he said.
    The coma scientists weren’t expecting what the tests revealed.
    “To our surprise, NDEs were much richer than any imagined event or any real event of these coma survivors,” Laureys reported.
    The memories of these experiences beat all other memories, hands down, for their vivid sense of reality. “The difference was so vast,” he said with a sense of astonishment.
    Even if the patient had the experience a long time ago, its memory was as rich “as though it was yesterday,” Laureys said.
    http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/09/.....periences/

  69. 69
    ET says:

    Seversky:

    But materialism has been a lot more successful than any other approach at whittling down the list of things we can’t explain.

    Examples please. You made this type of nonsensical claims before referring to medicine and you have never supported it.

  70. 70
    Origenes says:

    Mike1962: Firstly, Allen Keith is right about “magnetism.” It is a phenomenon with a well understood reductionist explanation.

    How far does that “well understood reductionist explanation” reach?

    Wiki: Magnetic fields and electric fields are interrelated, and are both components of the electromagnetic force, one of the four fundamental forces of nature.

    Mike1962:I believe what Origenes was thinking of is electo-magnetism which is quite another matter.

    Is it?

  71. 71
    bornagain77 says:

    Every time scientists make a mathematical model of a physical phenomena, be it magnatism or whatever, they are certainly not using something that yields to a reductionist explanation:

    An Interview with David Berlinski – Jonathan Witt
    Berlinski: There is no argument against religion that is not also an argument against mathematics. Mathematicians are capable of grasping a world of objects that lies beyond space and time….
    Interviewer:… Come again(?) …
    Berlinski: No need to come again: I got to where I was going the first time. The number four, after all, did not come into existence at a particular time, and it is not going to go out of existence at another time. It is neither here nor there. Nonetheless we are in some sense able to grasp the number by a faculty of our minds. Mathematical intuition is utterly mysterious. So for that matter is the fact that mathematical objects such as a Lie Group or a differentiable manifold have the power to interact with elementary particles or accelerating forces. But these are precisely the claims that theologians have always made as well – that human beings are capable by an exercise of their devotional abilities to come to some understanding of the deity; and the deity, although beyond space and time, is capable of interacting with material objects.
    http://tofspot.blogspot.com/20.....-here.html

    Mario Livio, or the Poverty of Atheist Philosophy: A Review of “Is God a Mathematician?”
    Excerpt: In short, Wigner committed a treason against science. He didn’t, in an Einsteinian fashion, just declare a personal faith in a God that had only marginal relevance to his scientific studies. He went farther than that: he implied that science was impossible and inexplicable without accepting a higher reality, transcending the mind of man and its capabilities for reasoning and experimentation. The short and ostensibly innocent article faced some really violent reactions; some objected to the conclusions in it, others to the premises, and still others refused to even deal with it, pretending it had never been written. But Wigner remained right about one thing: Despite the many attempts, no one could give a rational explanation for what Wigner described as the “uncanny ability of mathematics to describe and predict accurately the physical world.”
    http://americanvision.org/4333.....ematician/

    As to Maxwell and Faraday in particular:

    MAXWELL AND FARADAY – with audio
    Excerpt: Maxwell set the theoretical foundations of electric field theory in 1873. He says at the outset of his treatise, “Before I began the study of electricity I resolved to read no mathematics on the subject until I had first read [Faraday].”
    That’s an innocent enough remark until you follow it through. You see, Faraday’s pioneering work had made little sense to mathematicians. So Maxwell, a great mathematician himself, systematically went back and climbed inside Faraday’s head. There he found a great garden of delights. Here’s what he said about the experience:
    I found that … Faraday’s methods … begin with the whole and arrive at the parts by analysis, while the ordinary mathematical methods were founded on the principle of beginning with the parts and building up the whole by synthesis.
    http://www.uh.edu/engines/epi905.htm

  72. 72
    Charles Birch says:

    Allan @ 66

    That’s an interesting question! I don’t know the answer to it either! (Are there any physicists on the Forum who could help out?)

    Maybe one take on it is this: matter can be thought of as ‘frozen’ energy, and energy can be thought of as ‘unfrozen’ matter. So if there’s matter there must by default be energy – even if this energy only exists ‘in potentia’. And where there’s energy there must by default be matter, even if it’s ‘in potentia’. Does that make any sort of sense?

    Another equally interesting question is: can either matter or energy exist in the absence of consciousness, and vice-versa?

    For example, here’s a thought experiment. Imagine earth to be the only locus of life in the universe (and it might be, for all we know). Now remove all life from the planet – there is now nothing that has consciousness in the universe. What does the universe now consist of?

    Well, there can be no sensation of light or colour; no sounds, no smells, no sensations; no flavours. The universe would ‘look’ like nothing, because there is nothing to experience it. If the current QM experiments indicate what they appear to indicate, the whole universe would just be a roiling sea of mathematical probability distributions; an ocean of potential waiting for a consciousness to actualise it.

    I drive myself nuts with this sort of thing on a regular basis; when my brain really starts to hurt I lie back on the sofa with the latest Dan Brown!

    Charles

  73. 73
    ET says:

    E=mc^2- according to Einstein means that matter and energy are different manifestations of the same thing. Matter cannot exist without energy. Matter is composed of subatomic particles tat have some type of energy.

    Some talk of photons being without mass but still having momentum. But photons come from something, so to me that is a stretch.

  74. 74
    LocalMinimum says:

    I will pick a nit or two.

    Firstly, magnetism describes force, not energy. Closely related: energy is an integral of a displacement against a force, or a function of position within a force field. It doesn’t harm Origenes’ point; but it will draw winces from physicists.

    I’d also vote that Origene’s reference to magnetism works just fine, as magnetism as observed pretty well directly reflects on some fundamental force we take axiomatically. It serves as a synecdoche for electro-magnetic; or electro-weak, even.

  75. 75
    Charles Birch says:

    ET @ 73

    “E=mc^2- according to Einstein means that matter and energy are different manifestations of the same thing”

    Yes, that’s how I, as a layperson, always understood it.

    So the question now is: “are matter, energy and *consciousness* different manifestations of the same thing?

    (Discuss on three sides of graph paper and hand in by Friday!)

    Charles

  76. 76
    bornagain77 says:

    Of related note:

    Quantum Mechanics, Special Relativity, General Relativity and Christianity
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKggH8jO0pk

  77. 77
    mike1962 says:

    Mike1962: Firstly, Allen Keith is right about “magnetism.” It is a phenomenon with a well understood reductionist explanation.

    Origenes: How far does that “well understood reductionist explanation” reach?

    To the arrangement of electrons. Electrons are currently thought to be elementary, that is, non-reducible according to the Standard Model. So magnetism is at least explicable in reductionist terms of at least one level deeper: to the arrangement of electrons. Electro-magnetism is not. It is fundamental.

    Wiki: Magnetic fields and electric fields are interrelated, and are both components of the electromagnetic force, one of the four fundamental forces of nature.

    A lot of things are interrelated. But electo-magnetism (despite its name) is neither magnetism (a field produced by electrons in a certain configuration) nor electricity (electrons in motion.) Electro-magnetism is more fundamental than either of them.

    Mike1962: I believe what Origenes was thinking of is electo-magnetism which is quite another matter.

    Origenes: Is it?

    As far as I understand the Standard Model, it is.

  78. 78
    mike1962 says:

    To continue, often people do refer to electric fields and magnetic fields as being electro-magnetic fields. They are very much related, and form what’s called fundamental interactions. But electromagnetism proper is neither a magnetic field nor an electric field. At the heart of it is photons which can be thought of as a oscillating electric and magnetic fields, and yet it is neither, per se.

  79. 79
    mike1962 says:

    The EDIT timeout is pretty short these days.

    Anyway, from Wikipedia: The electromagnetic force usually exhibits electromagnetic fields such as electric fields, magnetic fields and light, and is one of the four fundamental interactions (commonly called forces) in nature. The other three fundamental interactions are the strong interaction, the weak interaction and gravitation.

    Perhaps I wasn’t clear. When I say “electo-magnetism” I mean the electo-magnetic force which underlies the magnetic and electric fields and also photons.

  80. 80
    Origenes says:

    Mike1962 @

    So magnetism is at least explicable in reductionist terms of at least one level deeper: to the arrangement of electrons.

    Thanks for the information Mike. My simple point still stands, as I think you would agree: the so-called “reductionist” and “de-mystifying” explanations, which Allan Keith referred to, are only skin-deep. We do not know what energy, matter and physical laws are.
    The “physical” world is as magical as it ever was, perhaps even more so.

  81. 81
    mike1962 says:

    Origenes, yes I agree

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