Intelligent Design

A Progressive Auto-da-fé

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Long time readers know we have occasionally indulged in Sam Harris fricassée in these pages.  See here, here and here for examples.  Harris is one of the leading proponents of the “consciousness is an illusion” school, which means he denies the Primordial Datum – the one thing that everyone (including Sam Harris) knows for a certain fact to be true — that they are aware of their own existence.  That said, we will be the first to admit there is an integrity – of a sort – to Harris’ silliness.  He understands that his materialism precludes, in principle, the existence of immaterial consciousness, and so he denies consciousness exists.  Yes, I know, it is gobsmackingly stupid.  But at least it is an honest sort of stupidity.

Unsurprisingly, Harris is an uber-progressive, but, as Kyle Smith at NR reports, Harris’ integrity has landed him in hot water with his fellow progressives, especially Ezra Klein:

Klein’s site Vox, in a piece by scientists Eric Turkheimer, Kathryn Paige Harden, and Richard E. Nisbett, merely tagged Harris as participating in “pseudoscientific racialist speculation” and peddling “junk science” while being “egregiously wrong morally” and implied he’s on the same side as eugenicists, claiming that the burden of proof is on Harris to demonstrate that he isn’t. The piece was listed as one of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “hatewatch headlines” of the day, right alongside news about neo-Nazis and white supremacists. Klein himself then chimed in with an attack piece saying Harris was carrying on with “America’s most ancient justification for bigotry and racial inequality.” All of this because Harris had a podcast conversation with Charles Murray, the co-author of The Bell Curve, which contains a chapter about race and IQ.

Klein is a high priest of progressivism, and like most such he holds progressive orthodoxies with a blinkered and hidebound dogmatism that would have made Torquemada blush.  Harris allows Murray a platform to express views challenging a progressive orthodoxy?  To the stake!  Fortunately for the rest of us, Klein has no access to a literal stake, so he burns Harris metaphorically in the pages of Vox.  And for a progressive like Harris, that may be almost as painful as the real thing.

 

85 Replies to “A Progressive Auto-da-fé

  1. 1
    mike1962 says:

    When someone uses Southern Poverty Law Center as a source, I just chuckle and go elsewhere.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    As to:

    He (Harris) understands that his materialism precludes, in principle, the existence of immaterial consciousness, and so he denies consciousness exists. Yes, I know, it is gobsmackingly stupid. But at least it is an honest sort of stupidity.

    Harris is far from the only atheistic materialist to honestly admit that “materialism precludes, in principle, the existence of immaterial consciousness”. Here are a few more:

    Ross Douthat Is On Another Erroneous Rampage Against Secularism – Jerry Coyne – December 26, 2013
    Excerpt: “many (but not all) of us accept the notion that our sense of self is a neuronal illusion.”
    Jerry Coyne – Professor of Evolutionary Biology – Atheist
    https://newrepublic.com/article/116047/ross-douthat-wrong-about-secularism-and-ethics

    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

    “There is no self in, around, or as part of anyone’s body. There can’t be. So there really isn’t any enduring self that ever could wake up morning after morning worrying about why it should bother getting out of bed. The self is just another illusion, like the illusion that thought is about stuff or that we carry around plans and purposes that give meaning to what our body does. Every morning’s introspectively fantasized self is a new one, remarkably similar to the one that consciousness ceased fantasizing when we fell sleep sometime the night before. Whatever purpose yesterday’s self thought it contrived to set the alarm last night, today’s newly fictionalized self is not identical to yesterday’s. It’s on its own, having to deal with the whole problem of why to bother getting out of bed all over again.”
    – A.Rosenberg, The Atheist’s Guide to Reality, ch.10

    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, the “what-it-is-like” of experience.,,,
    Who are the Deniers?,,, 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.,,,
    http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2.....s-deniers/

    “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

    “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 behaviour 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 – “The Astonishing Hypothesis” 1994

    Right here on the pages of UD, Bob (and weave) O’Hara and Allan Keith have repeatedly strenuously objected to being called ‘neuronal illusions’, and claimed that, (despite the fact they were shown that many leading atheists themselves claim to be illusions), only a few leading atheistic philosophers hold that they are neuronal illusions instead of real people.

    But I hold that the reason that even more leading atheists do not claim to be illusions is that few leading atheists are brave enough to admit, in public, the self defeating, and insane, fact that their materialistic worldview leads to the conclusion that they do not really exist as real people: ” Nobody wants to stand up there and say, “You know, I’m not really here”.

    Atheistic Materialism – Does Richard Dawkins Exist? – video 37:51 minute mark
    Quote: “It turns out that if every part of you, down to sub-atomic parts, are still what they were when they weren’t in you, in other words every ion,,, every single atom that was in the universe,, that has now become part of your living body, is still what is was originally. It hasn’t undergone what metaphysicians call a ‘substantial change’. So you aren’t Richard Dawkins. You are just carbon and neon and sulfur and oxygen and all these individual atoms still.
    You can spout a philosophy that says scientific materialism, but there aren’t any scientific materialists to pronounce it.,,, That’s why I think they find it kind of embarrassing to talk that way. Nobody wants to stand up there and say, “You know, I’m not really here”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVCnzq2yTCg&t=37m51s

    Bob (and weave) O’Hara and Allan Keith, since they adamantly claim that they really do exist as real people, and that they most certainly are not ‘neuronal illusions’, must believe that their reductive materialism, that they hold to be true as a worldview, must somehow be compatible with immaterial consciousness.

    Yet, the fact of the matter is that people turning into neuronal illusions is a direct consequence of the reductive materialism that undergirds Darwinian thought. As the following article points out, “Consciousness is an illusion because naturalism has no place for it. Whatever is real is reducible to the physical; consciousness is not reducible to the physical; ergo, consciousness does not exist in reality: it is an illusion.”

    Consciousness is an Illusion but Truth is Not? – Maverick Philosopher – 2017
    Excerpt: But here comes Danny (Dennett) the Sophist who asserts that consciousness is an illusion. Well, that is just nonsense,,,
    If consciousness is an illusion, then it is an illusion for consciousness.,,,
    Consciousness is not only presupposed by the distinction between reality and illusion, it is also presupposed by the quest for explanation. For where would explanations reside if not in the minds of conscious beings?
    So I say consciousness cannot be an illusion. One cannot explain it the way Dennett wants to explain it, which involves explaining it away. For details, see Can Consciousness be Explained? Dennett Debunked.
    But if consciousness, per impossibile, were an illusion, why wouldn’t truth also be an illusion? Consciousness is an illusion because naturalism has no place for it. Whatever is real is reducible to the physical; consciousness is not reducible to the physical; ergo, consciousness does not exist in reality: it is an illusion.
    By the same reasoning, truth ought also to be an illusion since there is no place for it in the natural world. Note also that Dennett obviously thinks that truth is objectively valuable and pursuit-worthy. Where locate values in a naturalist scheme?
    Wouldn’t it be more consistent for Dennett to go whole hog and explain away both consciousness and truth? Perhaps he ought to go POMO (post modern). There is no truth; there are only interpretations and perspectives of organisms grubbing for survival. What justifies him in privileging his naturalist narrative? It is one among many.
    I say consciousness and truth are on a par: neither can be explained away. Neither is eliminable. Neither is an illusion. Both are part of what we must presuppose to explain anything.
    Nietzsche had a great insight: No God, no truth. For the POMOs there is neither. For me there is both. For the inconsistent Dennett there is the second but not the first. Again, there is simply no place for truth in a wholly material world.
    For an argument from truth to God, see here.
    http://maverickphilosopher.typ.....s-not.html

    Thus, despite the fact that Bob (and weave) O’Hara and Allan Keith may strongly object to being thought of as neuronal illusions, the fact of the matter is that that conclusion is a direct consequence of the Atheistic materialism that they themselves claim to be the true worldview.

    Moreover, as Wilder Penfield and others have demonstrated, the person of “I” simply is not reducible to brain states:

    A MAP OF THE SOUL – Michael Egnor – June 29, 2017
    Excerpt: Wilder Penfield, an early-twentieth-century neurosurgeon who pioneered seizure surgery, noted that during brain stimulation on awake patients, he was never able to stimulate the mind itself—the sense of “I”—but only fragmented sensations and perceptions and movements and memories. Our core identity cannot be evoked or altered by physical stimulation of the brain.
    Relatedly, Penfield observed that spontaneous electrical discharges in the brain cause involuntary sensations and movements and even emotions, but never abstract reasoning or calculation. There are no “calculus” seizures or “moral” seizures, in which patients involuntarily take second derivatives or ponder mercy.
    Similar observations emerge from Roger Sperry’s famous studies of patients who had undergone surgery to disconnect the hemispheres of the brain. This was done to prevent seizures. The post-operative patients experienced peculiar perceptual and behavioral changes, but they retained unity of personal identity—a unified intellect and will. The changes Sperry discovered in his research (for which he won a Nobel Prize) were so subtle as to pass unnoticed in everyday life.
    In the past decade, British researcher Adrian Owen has found using fMRI imaging that some patients with such severe brain damage that they are considered to be in a persistent vegetative state are actually capable of sophisticated thought. The “comatose” patients’ brain scans show that, in reply to questions by an examiner, the patients are in fact thinking and imagining.
    The woman on the operating table who was talking to me while I removed her frontal lobe had both material and immaterial powers of mind. Our higher brain functions defy precise mapping onto brain tissue, because they are not generated by tissue, as our lower brain functions are.
    Materialism, the view that matter is all that exists, is the premise of much contemporary thinking about what a human being is. Yet evidence from the laboratory, operating room, and clinical experience points to a less fashionable conclusion: Human beings straddle the material and immaterial realms.
    https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2017/06/a-map-of-the-soul

    To get this point across even more clearly, if a person were merely the brain, as materialists hold, then if half of a brain were removed then a ‘person’ should only be ‘half the person’, or at least somewhat less of a ‘person’, as they were before. But that is not the case, the ‘whole person’ stays intact even though the brain suffers severe impairment:

    Removing Half of Brain Improves Young Epileptics’ Lives: – 1997
    Excerpt: “We are awed by the apparent retention of memory and by the retention of the child’s personality and sense of humor,” Dr. Eileen P. G. Vining,,
    Dr. John Freeman, the director of the Johns Hopkins Pediatric Epilepsy Center, said he was dumbfounded at the ability of children to regain speech after losing the half of the brain that is supposedly central to language processing.
    ”It’s fascinating,” Dr. Freeman said. ”The classic lore is that you can’t change language after the age of 2 or 3.”
    But Dr. Freeman’s group has now removed diseased left hemispheres in more than 20 patients, including three 13-year-olds whose ability to speak transferred to the right side of the brain in much the way that Alex’s did.,,,
    http://www.nytimes.com/1997/08.....lives.html

    In further comment from the neuro-surgeons in the John Hopkins study:

    “Despite removal of one hemisphere, the intellect of all but one of the children seems either unchanged or improved. Intellect was only affected in the one child who had remained in a coma, vigil-like state, attributable to peri-operative complications.”

    Further notes along this line:

    Strange but True: When Half a Brain Is Better than a Whole One – May 2007
    Excerpt: Most Hopkins hemispherectomy patients are five to 10 years old. Neurosurgeons have performed the operation on children as young as three months old. Astonishingly, memory and personality develop normally. ,,,
    Another study found that children that underwent hemispherectomies often improved academically once their seizures stopped. “One was champion bowler of her class, one was chess champion of his state, and others are in college doing very nicely,” Freeman says.
    Of course, the operation has its downside: “You can walk, run—some dance or skip—but you lose use of the hand opposite of the hemisphere that was removed. You have little function in that arm and vision on that side is lost,” Freeman says. Remarkably, few other impacts are seen. ,,,
    http://www.scientificamerican......than-whole

    How Removing Half of Someone’s Brain Can Improve Their Life – Oct. 2015
    Excerpt: Next spring, del Peral (who has only half a brain) will graduate from Curry College, where she has made the dean’s list every semester since freshman year.
    http://www.mentalfloss.com/art.....their-life

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    The following study is particularly interesting because it lists many case studies where even more than half a brain is missing from a “whole person”

    Discrepancy Between Cerebral Structure and Cognitive Functioning: A Review – 2017
    Excerpt: The aforementioned student of mathematics had a global IQ of 130 and a verbal IQ of 140 at the age of 25 (Lorber, 1983), but had “virtually no brain” (Lewin 1980, p. 1232).,,,
    This student belonged to the group of patients that Lorber classified as having “extreme
    hydrocephalus,” meaning that more than 90% of their cranium appeared to be filled with cerebrospinal fluid (Lorber, 1983).,,,
    Apart from the above-mentioned student of mathematics, he described a woman with an extreme degree of hydrocephalus showing “virtually no cerebral mantle” who had an IQ of 118, a girl aged 5 who had an IQ of 123 despite extreme hydrocephalus, a 7-year-old boy with gross hydrocephalus and an IQ of 128, another young adult with gross hydrocephalus and a verbal IQ of 144, and a nurse and an English teacher who both led normal lives despite gross hydrocephalus.,,,
    Another interesting case is that of a 44-year-old woman with very gross hydrocephalus described by Masdeu (2008) and Masdeu et al. (2009). She had a global IQ of 98, worked as an administrator for a government agency, and spoke seven languages.,,,
    https://med.virginia.edu/perceptual-studies/wp-content/uploads/sites/360/2017/12/Discrepancy-between-cerebral-structure-and-cognitive-functioning-JNMD.pdf

    Besides “personhood”, there are also many other “abstract” immaterial things that the human mind thinks about that are not reducible to the material states of the brain.

    The Fundamental Difference Between Humans and Nonhuman Animals – Michael Egnor – November 5, 2015
    Excerpt: Human beings have mental powers that include the material mental powers of animals but in addition entail a profoundly different kind of thinking. Human beings think abstractly, and nonhuman animals do not. Human beings have the power to contemplate universals, which are concepts that have no material instantiation. Human beings think about mathematics, literature, art, language, justice, mercy, and an endless library of abstract concepts. Human beings are rational animals.
    Human rationality is not merely a highly evolved kind of animal perception. Human rationality is qualitatively different — ontologically different — from animal perception. Human rationality is different because it is immaterial. Contemplation of universals cannot have material instantiation, because universals themselves are not material and cannot be instantiated in matter.,,,
    It is a radical difference — an immeasurable qualitative difference, not a quantitative difference.
    We are more different from apes than apes are from viruses.,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....00661.html

    The Representation Problem and the Immateriality of the Mind – Michael Egnor – February 5, 2018
    Excerpt: The human mind is a composite of material particular thought and immaterial abstract thought. Interestingly, modern neuroscience supports this view. Perception of particulars maps with precision to brain anatomy, but abstract thought is not mapped in the same way. Material powers of the brain are ordinarily necessary for exercise of abstract thought (e.g., you have to be awake to think about justice), but matter is not sufficient for abstract thought.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2018/02/the-representation-problem-and-the-immateriality-of-the-mind/

    Immaterial “abstract” Mathematics is particularly interesting to think about.

    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

    If our mind, instead of being immaterial as is commonly held, were purely physical as the atheistic materialist holds, then how is it that our mind is even able to think about abstract immaterial concepts such as mathematics in the first place?

    Moreover, if atheistic materialism were true, and mathematics is basically, like consciousness, illusory, then why is it that science itself is so crucially dependent on this immaterial illusory thing of mathematics?

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner – 1960
    Excerpt: ,,certainly it is hard to believe that our reasoning power was brought, by Darwin’s process of natural selection, to the perfection which it seems to possess.,,,
    It is difficult to avoid the impression that a miracle confronts us here, quite comparable in its striking nature to the miracle that the human mind can string a thousand arguments together without getting itself into contradictions, or to the two miracles of the existence of laws of nature and of the human mind’s capacity to divine them.,,,
    The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve. We should be grateful for it and hope that it will remain valid in future research and that it will extend, for better or for worse, to our pleasure, even though perhaps also to our bafflement, to wide branches of learning.”
    https://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc/MathDrama/reading/Wigner.html

    It is extremely ironic that, besides Darwinian evolution already being shown to be mathematically impossible (Sanford, Dembski, Marks, Axe, Behe, Durston etc.. etc..), Darwinian evolution is now also falsified as being a scientific theory since it denies the very reality of the one thing it most needs, i.e. mathematics, in order to be considered scientific in the first place.

    Many times atheists will claim that there is no empirical evidence for the immaterial mind. Yet the fact of the matter is that they, apparently, never looked for any evidence. If they would have looked for evidence for the immaterial mind they certainly would have quickly found it.

    Materialism of the Gaps – Michael Egnor (Neurosurgeon) – January 29, 2009
    Excerpt: The evidence that some aspects of the mind are immaterial is overwhelming. It’s notable that many of the leading neuroscientists — Sherrington, Penfield, Eccles, Libet — were dualists. Dualism of some sort is the most reasonable scientific framework to apply to the mind-brain problem, because, unlike dogmatic materialism, it just follows the evidence.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....15901.html

    Do Conscious Thoughts Cause Behavior? -Roy F. Baumeister, E. J. Masicampo, and Kathleen D. Vohs – 2010
    Excerpt: The evidence for conscious causation of behavior is profound, extensive, adaptive, multifaceted, and empirically strong.
    http://carlsonschool.umn.edu/assets/165663.pdf

    “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

    The Case for the Soul: Quantum Biology – (7:25 minute mark – The Mind is able to modify the brain – Brain Plasticity, and Mindfulness control of DNA expression)
    https://youtu.be/6_xEraQWvgM?t=446

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    To further drive the point home that the entire concept of ‘personhood’ will forever be beyond the scope of reductive materialistic explanations, it is good to remember Gödel’s incompleteness theorems.

    Gödel’s incompleteness theorems can be stated simply as such, “Anything you can draw a circle around cannot explain itself without referring to something outside the circle—something you have to assume but cannot prove”

    “Gödel’s incompleteness theorem (1931), proves that there are limits to what can be ascertained by mathematics. Kurt Gödel (ref. on cite), halted the achievement of a unifying all-encompassing theory of everything in his theorem that: “Anything you can draw a circle around cannot explain itself without referring to something outside the circle—something you have to assume but cannot prove”. Thus, based on the position that an equation cannot prove itself, the constructs are based on assumptions some of which will be unprovable.”
    Cf., Stephen Hawking & Leonard Miodinow, The Grand Design (2010) @ 15-6

    Gödel went on to state this in regards to the implications of his incompleteness theorems for reductive materialism.

    “In materialism all elements behave the same. It is mysterious to think of them as spread out and automatically united. For something to be a whole, it has to have an additional object, say, a soul or a mind.,,, Mind is separate from matter.”
    Kurt Gödel – Hao Wang’s supplemental biography of Gödel, A Logical Journey, MIT Press, 1996. [9.4.12]

    Gödel incompleteness theorems have now been extended to physics and now prove that the reductive materialistic explanations of Darwinian evolution will forever lack the explanatory power to be able to explain why any particular organism may take the basic macroscopic form that it takes:

    Quantum physics problem proved unsolvable: Gödel and Turing enter quantum physics – December 9, 2015
    Excerpt: A mathematical problem underlying fundamental questions in particle and quantum physics is provably unsolvable,,,
    It is the first major problem in physics for which such a fundamental limitation could be proven. The findings are important because they show that even a perfect and complete description of the microscopic properties of a material is not enough to predict its macroscopic behaviour.,,,
    “We knew about the possibility of problems that are undecidable in principle since the works of Turing and Gödel in the 1930s,” added Co-author Professor Michael Wolf from Technical University of Munich. “So far, however, this only concerned the very abstract corners of theoretical computer science and mathematical logic. No one had seriously contemplated this as a possibility right in the heart of theoretical physics before. But our results change this picture. From a more philosophical perspective, they also challenge the reductionists’ point of view, as the insurmountable difficulty lies precisely in the derivation of macroscopic properties from a microscopic description.”
    http://phys.org/news/2015-12-q.....godel.html

    Darwinism vs Biological Form – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyNzNPgjM4w

    That is to say that, in order to explain why any particular organism may take the specific form that it does, it is necessary to go beyond the reductive materialistic explanations of Darwinian evolution and, via Gödel, posit “a soul or a mind”.

    Moreover, positing a soul answers the simple, but profound, question of what is it exactly that keeps the trillions of cells of our material body from disintegrating “precisely for 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

    And to add further empirical evidence to the claim that it must be a ‘soul’ that is keeping our material bodies together “precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer”, advances in Quantum Biology now reveal that there is a transcendent, non-local, i.e. beyond space and time, component to our being that is found in every molecule of our material bodies…

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

    ,,, A transcendent component to our material bodies that is “conserved”. That is to say that it cannot be created nor destroyed,,,,, as Stuart Hameroff states in the following video: “the quantum information,, isn’t destroyed. It can’t be destroyed.,,, it’s possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body. Perhaps indefinitely as a soul.”

    “Let’s say the heart stops beating. The blood stops flowing. The microtubules lose their quantum state. But the quantum information, which is in the microtubules, isn’t destroyed. It can’t be destroyed. It just distributes and dissipates to the universe at large. If a patient is resuscitated, revived, this quantum information can go back into the microtubules and the patient says, “I had a near death experience. I saw a white light. I saw a tunnel. I saw my dead relatives.,,” Now if they’re not revived and the patient dies, then it’s possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body. Perhaps indefinitely as a soul.”
    – Stuart Hameroff – Quantum Entangled Consciousness – Life After Death – video (5:00 minute mark)
    https://youtu.be/jjpEc98o_Oo?t=300

    Thus, as far as empirical evidence and logic, via Godel, is concerned, the Christian Theist is sitting VERY well in his claim that he has a soul. A soul created by God in which the “whole person” can be rationally grounded. Whereas the “neuronal illusion” of the atheist is, once again, at a complete loss to coherently explain why he is should be considered a ‘real person’ instead of a ‘neuronal illusion’ in the first place,, as well the atheists is at a complete loss to coherently explain why any of the preceding evidence that was presented should be found to be as it is:

    Verses

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

    Psalm 139:13
    For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

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

    Matthew 16:26
    For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

    Matthew 22:37
    Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’

  5. 5
    News says:

    It’s sad to see this. Unlike celeb physicist Larry Krauss, one gets the impression that Sam Harris is a nice nerd who just doesn’t get what it means to be a progressive. Being a pure naturalist atheist is one thing; it does not necessarily entail an immediate all-out war with reality.

    But being a progressive does mean waging an all-out war with reality. The progressive tries to force other human beings to be what they are not and cannot be, and turns on everyone in sight when it does not work. That would include turning on Sam Harris, unfortunately.

    There is an instructive recent photo of a confrontation at a coffee shop making the rounds: Why on earth would the yell-ee at a very short distance from the megaphone want anything to do with progressivism? You would think that – as a Starbucks employee – he might well be in principle, a fan, but one wonders what people like him are thinking now. Such doubt will only enrage the progressive more…

    We are lucky if the progressive joins the horde rushing off a cliff into the sea before pushing many others over, as happened so many times in the last century.

  6. 6
    Seversky says:

    Let me say that, as an a/mat, I flatly disagree with Harris and other atheists who describe consciousness as an illusion. In my view it is a model of what is out there, including ourselves, based on sensory data. The model is incomplete because of the limitations of our sensory channels but it is no more an illusion than a map or aerial photograph of some territory. Exactly how it is created from the natural processes in the physical brain is the notorious “hard problem” but all the evidence indicates that it does not exist apart from the brain.

    I have one question: could someone list, say, five or ten beliefs which define conservatism and the same number which, in their view, define progressivism. I just wonder of the dichotomy is as black-and-white as some people think.

  7. 7
    Seversky says:

    You might also be interested in this article which is heavily critical of some of the data Murray relies on in his book.

  8. 8
    Barry Arrington says:

    Sev,

    You might also be interested in this article which is heavily critical of some of the data Murray relies on in his book.

    Just so we are clear here Sev, are you disagreeing with your boy Sam Harris? He says:

    After reading The Bell Curve, though, he came to think that Murray “was probably the most unfairly maligned person in my lifetime” because “the most controversial passages in the book struck me as utterly mainstream with respect to the science.”

  9. 9
    doubter says:

    BA77 at 2: “Moreover, as Wilder Penfield and others have demonstrated, the person of “I” simply is not reducible to brain states”

    I would like to believe that, but Penfield’s work and the split-brain cases don’t involve damage to the brain as extensive as happens in Alzheimer’s. From https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-happens-brain-alzheimers-disease :

    “In Alzheimer’s disease, (neural) damage is widespread, as many neurons stop functioning, lose connections with other neurons, and die. Alzheimer’s disrupts processes vital to neurons and their networks, including communication, metabolism, and repair.

    At first, Alzheimer’s disease typically destroys neurons and their connections in parts of the brain involved in memory, including the entorhinal cortex and hippocampus. It later affects areas in the cerebral cortex responsible for language, reasoning, and social behavior. Eventually, many other areas of the brain are damaged. Over time, a person with Alzheimer’s gradually loses his or her ability to live and function independently. Ultimately, the disease is fatal.”

    It seems that in these cases the brain is damaged so severely that the inner personal “I” really is also badly damaged, as if it really were a function of the physical brain. It’s hard to see how the human sense of self, the inner “I” (to say nothing about the unique personality), in order to stay intact doesn’t require a functioning memory – memories of previous life and also of recent events, ability to communicate through language, and how to behave.

    I wonder if there have been any studies of this aspect of the effects of Alzheimer’s. There are many anecdotal accounts of Alzheimer’s victims progressing to the point where “the person just isn’t there any more”.

  10. 10
    ScuzzaMan says:

    Seversky

    Conservatism and progressivism are not opposites, so the effort would be wasted.

    Conservatism is merely the trailing edge of the progressive-driven Overton Window, and conservatives tomorrow will champion the progressive position in the battles they lose today. That’s conservatism’s purpose; to lose to liberal/progressives while maintaining the illusion of opposition.

    Consiousness may not be an illusion but conservative opposition to progressivism is nothing but illusion.

    It’s turtles all the way down …

  11. 11
    bornagain77 says:

    Well Doubter, Alzheimer’s is indeed a very sad disease, but the evidence you cite is not nearly enough to establish that material mind can generate immaterial mind and immaterial thoughts. Only enough to cast a very faint shadow of “doubt”, as your name directly implies, on the multiple lines of solid evidence I have thus far presented. So to directly counter your fairly weak claim that “I” really is destroyed by Alzheimer’s I will cite the following:

    Do Alzheimer’s, Dementia Prove the Soul Doesn’t Exist? – Tara MacIsaac – September 2, 2014
    Excerpt: Occasionally, just before death, people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia who’ve been completely incoherent for many years will seem to return suddenly to their senses. Their memories, personality, and entire mind—so long shrouded by the disease that loved ones had lost hope of their return—shine forth in a final blaze. This phenomenon is known as terminal lucidity.
    Some say it refutes the philosophical argument that the “soul” is merely a function of the brain.
    The late philosopher Paul Edwards made his “Alzheimer’s Argument Against the Soul” in 1995.,,,
    Batthyany said that Edwards makes an “intuitively compelling” argument. But terminal lucidity may suggest the mind is not destroyed with the brain, Batthyany said.
    If the mind were dependent on parts of the brain for existence, it is hard to see how a whole person—a person who can make connections between this memory and that, a person who can calmly and rationally interact with others and perform coherent actions—could return. If parts of the brain were so badly affected by the disease, one would expect only a fragmented individual to remain.
    https://www.theepochtimes.com/do-alzheimers-dementia-prove-the-soul-doesnt-exist_930465.html

    Alexander Batthyany – Terminal Lucidity: Preliminary Data 2014 – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Et0AwKSWwsw

    One Last Goodbye: The Strange Case of Terminal Lucidity – Nov. 24, 2014
    I’m as sworn to radical rationalism as the next neo-Darwinian materialist. That said, over the years I’ve had to “quarantine,” for lack of a better word, a few anomalous personal experiences that have stubbornly defied my own logical understanding of them.
    Excerpt:,,, terminal lucidity.
    Let’s have a more detailed look at the phenomenon in question. The term was coined only five years ago by German biologist Michael Nahm. His 2009 article in The Journal of Near-Death Studies was the first modern review article on the curious subject of cognitively impaired people becoming clearheaded as their death approaches. According to him, cases of “terminal lucidity” had been recorded for millennia, from accounts by classical scholars such as Hippocrates, Cicero and Plutarch to 19th-century medical luminaries like Benjamin Rush (who wrote the first American treatise on mental illness). It’s just that, apparently, no one had thought to label or conceptualize these elusive incidents in any formal way before.
    Here’s how Nahm defined terminal lucidity in that original article:
    “The (re-)emergence of normal or unusually enhanced mental abilities in dull, unconscious, or mentally ill patients shortly before death, including considerable elevation of mood and spiritual affectation, or the ability to speak in a previously unusual spiritualized and elated manner.”
    The author characterizes terminal lucidity as one of the more common, but lesser known, ELEs (or “end-of-life experiences”). Others on his list include deathbed visions, apparitions, near-death/out-of-body experiences, telepathic impressions, and so on.,,,
    Of 49 case studies of terminal lucidity, the vast majority (84 percent) occurred within a week of death; 43 percent, in fact, transpired the final day of life.
    They divide the phenomenon into two general classes, however. In the first subtype, “the severity of mental derangement improve[s] slowly in conjunction with the decline of bodily vitality.” This occurs in some patients with chronic mental illness when their psychiatric symptoms become less pronounced, or disappear altogether, starting around a month before their deaths. Thus, the lucid periods emerge gradually, like clouds parting. The authors offer three Russian case studies from the 1970s as examples, all schizophrenic patients “without prior lucid intervals, living in seemingly stable psychotic mental states for many years.” One man who’d been completely catatonic for nearly two decades allegedly “became almost normal” before he finally passed away.
    In the second subtype of terminal lucidity, the authors tell us, “full mental clarity can appear quite abruptly and unexpectedly just hours or days before death.” In one study, 70 percent of caretakers in a British nursing home said they’d personally observed people with dementia becoming lucid shortly before their deaths.,,,
    A 92-year-old woman with advanced Alzheimer’s disease, for instance, hadn’t recognized her family for years, but the day before her death, she had a pleasantly bright conversation with them, recalling everyone’s name. She was even aware of her own age and where she’d been living all this time. “Such incidents happen regularly,” write Nahm and Greyson.
    ,,, for cases involving obvious brain damage (such as strokes, tumors, advanced Alzheimer’s disease) that should render the patient all but vegetative, not functioning normally, it’s a genuine medical mystery.
    https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/bering-in-mind/one-last-goodbye-the-strange-case-of-terminal-lucidity/

  12. 12
    groovamos says:

    In my view it [consciousness] is a model of what is out there, including ourselves, based on sensory data.

    I guess love and gratitude for existence, or a sense of identity for that matter, or dreams of any kind of ethereal nature are other than consciousness or maybe unconsciousness. Not being based on sensory “data”.

    I wonder if “sensory data” can be proven to exist. In other words measured, as naturalism would require.

  13. 13

    Good stuff, BA77. Thank you.

  14. 14
    Seversky says:

    Barry Arrington @ 8

    Just so we are clear here Sev, are you disagreeing with your boy Sam Harris? He says:

    After reading The Bell Curve, though, he came to think that Murray “was probably the most unfairly maligned person in my lifetime” because “the most controversial passages in the book struck me as utterly mainstream with respect to the science.”

    Yes, I disagree with Harris about this.

  15. 15
    Seversky says:

    groovamos @ 12

    I guess love and gratitude for existence, or a sense of identity for that matter, or dreams of any kind of ethereal nature are other than consciousness or maybe unconsciousness. Not being based on sensory “data”.

    What makes you think that all those phenomena are not based on sensory data?

  16. 16

    Seversky says “consciousness is a model” as if that is somehow more explanatory or descriptive than “consciousness is a pattern of firing neurons” or “consciousness is an emergent property of chemical interactions”. What is using the map? What is observing and experiencing the map? What makes adjustments to the map, recognizes and corrects errors?

    Conciousness = map/model still means that the experience of top-down, free will oversight is an illusion – the model would be generating a sort of an experiential hallucination that the observer is independent of and observing the map and has top-down oversight.

    Seversky said: “…all the evidence indicates that it does not exist apart from the brain.”

    Let me fix that:

    [Once you discount all the evidence to the contrary,] … all the evidence indicates it does not exist apart from the brain.”

  17. 17
    bornagain77 says:

    As to the materialistic claim that:

    “consciousness is a model”

    1. If consciousness is a model it is merely a imitation of reality.
    2. Consciousness is necessary to perceive reality.
    3. Consciousness can not be a imitation of reality if it is necessary to perceive reality.
    4. Consciousness is not a model.

  18. 18
    EDTA says:

    Seversky @ 6,

    Jonathan Haidt, a sociological researcher, has broken political/social belief in the US down into five or six spectra. Progressives and conservatives are at opposite ends, naturally. (He is, by the way, a self-described secular liberal. That’s significant, for what he has found surprised him.) He has found that progressives only think along 3 of the spectra. Conservatives think along all 5 or 6 of them.

    He once had conservatives take his test, but attempting to pose as liberals. They had no difficulty simulating liberal thought. Then he had liberals attempt to think like conservatives. They were unable to do so. This explains why conservatives view progressives as simple-minded or uneducated, whereas liberals think of conservatives as crazy and dangerous: they simply can’t fully comprehend conservativism.

    Therefore, it appears (from his research anyway) that conservatives are the more intellectually-developed. You can start looking into Haidt’s findings here:

    https://www.edge.org/conversation/what-makes-vote-republican

  19. 19
    john_a_designer says:

    I have been thinking about the differences between the 21st Century secular progressive movement and the early 20th Century version. At least for 20th Century progressive movement (which was just as secular or atheistic as the current version) there was some kind of foundation in natural law, though it was naturalistic/ materialistic version of natural law. For example, the justification for the eugenics movement was that civilization and compassionate Christian morality made the human stock inferior by allowing inferior classes of people to breed. The survival of the fittest effect from Darwinian natural selection, their argument went, would have naturally resulted in humans becoming more and more fit by weeding out the weak and undesirable. Eugenics would correct this by scientifically breeding a better human stock.

    Here is how eugenicist, John H. Bell, justified the movement in 1929:

    The idea of eugenics is perhaps as old as the written history of the human race. The word itself being derived from the Greek eugenos, meaning well-born. The Spartans, as you will recall, practiced a form of eugenics scarcely tolerable to-day; and crude and cruel though it was, it seems to have been the thing that enabled them to develop a remarkably heroic race; the weaklings in their young citizenry were eliminated by putting all children through such physical hardships that only the fit survived. The Romans also made attempts at racial improvement by casting their defective infants into the River Tiber or leaving them upon the mountainside to starve. And so the idea of elimination, by one way or another, of those who were expected to be disqualified for a certain standard of physical and mental perfection, has come down to us through a great space of time, and persists as strongly in the minds of people to-day as it did in the minds of the ancient Spartans and Romans.

    Traces of these earlier efforts to preserve a healthy race may be found in the laws of Lycurgus, and in the present age somewhat similar customs are said to have existed among the South-Sea Islanders and also amongst a tribe of North American Indians, who were distinguished for their intelligence, strength, and physical beauty.

    https://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Justifying_Eugenics_Excerpts_from_John_Hendren_Bell_sThe_Biological_Relationship_of_Eugenics_to_the_Development_of_the_Human_Race_1930

    Of course this also led to a not so subtle forms of racism, which contemporary progressives rightly eschew. Thus Woodrow Wilson, once an icon of progressivism is now viewed with utter disdain. However, paradoxically Margaret Sanger for some reason is still given a free pass.

    The irony is that the “old” secular progressives would have considered so-called transgenderism as abnormal because it was unnatural. They would have sterilized transgender adults. By contrast, contemporary secular progressives argue transgenderism is normal then castrate and mutilate transgender boys and girls.

    Has anyone discovered a transgender gene? Or, is it all environmental? But if it’s environmental that would mean it’s changeable. So what would be morally wrong with using therapy to help transgender people change their orientation? Why is transgenderism now being promoted as an absolute right?

    My point it that at least old progressives, however distorted their thinking may have been, at least tried to make an appeal to “natural law” (again, it was a completely Godless form of natural law.) The so called new progressivism make no appeal to natural law at all. Transgenderism, for example, appears to be a totally made up and artificial idea. I don’t see that this kind of thinking has any rational basis at all, let alone any basis in “settled science.”

  20. 20
    Seversky says:

    William J Murray @ 16

    Seversky says “consciousness is a model” as if that is somehow more explanatory or descriptive than “consciousness is a pattern of firing neurons” or “consciousness is an emergent property of chemical interactions”. What is using the map? What is observing and experiencing the map? What makes adjustments to the map, recognizes and corrects errors?

    Exactly, the model version of consciousness doesn’t solve the hard problem any better than other versions but to me it ties in to what we have learnt about how our senses gather data, ‘encode’ it and transmit it into the brain for further processing.

    The best I can offer is that I don’t see consciousness as an all-or-nothing phenomenon. For example, I am convinced that my cats are conscious but their model is not the same as mine. Their senses are balanced differently. They rely more on smell than vision, for example. On the other hand, they can’t speak as we do, although they find other ways of communicating their needs quite effectively. And I very much doubt that they can reason logically, calculate or think in abstracts the way we can.

    What I wonder I whether consciousness is something that has evolved slowly over time from very simple beginnings into increasingly sophisticated and complex forms of which we are the most recent iteration.

    And the obvious question for dualists is if we can acquire information about the world through extrasensory means why bother going to the trouble and expense of evolving a complex brain and sensory apparatus?

    “[Once you discount all the evidence to the contrary,]

    Such as?

  21. 21
    Seversky says:

    bornagain77 @ 17

    1. If consciousness is a model it is merely a imitation of reality

    No, it is a partial representation of reality based on the limited amount of data our senses are able to acquire about it.

    2. Consciousness is necessary to perceive reality.

    We perceive the model, not reality itself.

    3. Consciousness can not be a imitation of reality if it is necessary to perceive reality.

    On my view, the world we live in on a day-to-day basis is a VR construct something like what we saw in The Matrix. It’s all we have.

    4. Consciousness is not a model.

    I think it is. What is your alternative?

  22. 22
    bornagain77 says:

    One problem with you ‘consciousness is a model’ theory Sev.

    You see Sev, I’m sure that I really exist. But I am not sure that you, as an atheistic materialist, really exist.

    According to ‘your’ atheistic materialism, ‘you’ are just a neuronal illusion. Making all sorts of random noises, pops, whistles, glurbs, burps, and what not, that are all caused, with no rhymne or reason, by the random jostingly of the atoms of ‘your’ brain. (As if there is a real ‘you’ to possess a brain in the first place in ‘your’ atheistic worldview).

    Sev, And herein lies the problem with ‘your’ model of consciousness on atheistic materialism. I have no access to ‘your’ inner subjective awareness. i.e. Access to see if ‘you’ really are in control of ‘your’ thoughts and motions.

    So how am I to know for 100% fact that ‘you’ really exist as a real person and that ‘you’ are not just some type of consciously dead zombie going through the motions of having a personal subjective conscious experience?

    Can ‘you’ scientifically prove to me that ‘you’ really exist?

    If ‘you’ can’t prove it to me, I will have to take ‘your’ atheistic ‘illusion’ model of consciousness at face value and hold ‘you’ to be a consciously dead zombie that is making all sorts of incoherent noises. i.e. pops, whistles, glurbs, burps, and what not,,, and consider all ‘your’ incoherent ramblings as so much background noise that is to be ignored and/or muffled.

    I look forward to reading “your’ peer reviewed paper, with many co-authors no less, proving that ‘you’ really are having a personal subjective conscious experience.. 🙂

  23. 23
    jdk says:

    What a repetitive, stupid argument that ba is enamored of.

  24. 24
    bornagain77 says:

    jdk, for a ‘stupid’ repetitive argument, it sure seems to have ruffled your trollish feathers.

    If it is so stupid why not just ignore it as I do with so many of your incoherent arguments?

    Why even bother responding to a self-evidently ‘stupid’ argument?

    Might I suggest that you have lashed out at me precisely because you know that you can’t coherently answer the argument. And ad hominem is basically all you have got left???

    You see jdk, you can lie to yourself, and you can lie to others, but you can’t lie to the logic behind that argument, nor can you lie to the logic (and/or math) behind any of the other arguments for ID!

    Thus you have apparently resorted to hostile emotion instead of logic since logic is now off the table for you!

    Children act much the same way when they get frustrated.

  25. 25
    Barry Arrington says:

    Sev:

    Such as?

    Seriously? Why do you think they call it a “hard problem” Sev?

  26. 26
    Barry Arrington says:

    Sev,

    Yes, I disagree with Harris about this.

    Well, we have on the one hand, a world famous materialist doctor of cognitive neuroscience who is a progressive with every reason to view Murray skeptically (and in fact did until he bothered to investigate the matter).

    And then we have . . . Sev.

    Whom to believe? That’s a real head-scratcher. I’ll have to get back to you on that.

  27. 27
    Origenes says:

    When one says, with Harris, that “consciousness is an illusion”, one attempts to draw a closed circle around consciousness, while arrogating to oneself a position outside of this circle by which one can judge the ontological status of consciousness.
    However, this cannot be done. No one can step outside of consciousness and attain an detached position from which to judge consciousness. There is simply no such position.

  28. 28
    cornu says:

    Well, we have on the one hand, a world famous materialist doctor of cognitive neuroscience who is a progressive with every reason to view Murray skeptically (and in fact did until he bothered to investigate the matter). …

    I’m sorry… are you lining up alongside “race science” now? US political identity sure makes for some strange bedfellows…

  29. 29
    Barry Arrington says:

    cornu,

    are you lining up alongside “race science” now?

    Do you think uber-progressive Sam Harris is “lining up alongside ‘race science’ now”? If so, that is very odd.

    So it is clear, I don’t have a dog in this fight. The point of the OP is not whether Harris is right or wrong. The point is that progressives like Ezra Klien don’t even want to allow a debate. They don’t want some questions even asked, much less answered. They are thought-fascists. Are you a thought-fascist cornu?

  30. 30
    cornu says:

    You’ll note I’m replying to your post in 26, which is not about Klein’s article…

  31. 31
    Barry Arrington says:

    “Are you a thought-fascist cornu?”

    Wow, not even a denial. OK. The left is growing more and more intolerant of ideas they disagree with. It is, frankly, alarming. Notice cornu’s response was utterly substance-free. Why discuss a question rationally when you can shut the debate down with name-calling and innuendo?

  32. 32
    Seversky says:

    Barry Arrington @ 26

    Well, we have on the one hand, a world famous materialist doctor of cognitive neuroscience who is a progressive with every reason to view Murray skeptically (and in fact did until he bothered to investigate the matter).

    And then we have . . . Sev.

    Whom to believe? That’s a real head-scratcher. I’ll have to get back to you on that.

    Or maybe you shouldn’t believe either of us but read the article I linked to which calls into question at least some of the research on which Murray based his book

  33. 33
    Barry Arrington says:

    Still don’t get it Sev. I don’t have a dog in the fight. This post is about leftist intolerance to certain thoughts. Irony of irony, cornu jumps in to demonstrate.

  34. 34
    Bob O'H says:

    Do you think uber-progressive Sam Harris is “lining up alongside ‘race science’ now”? If so, that is very odd.

    Isn’t that, essentially, he point of Pound’s piece?

  35. 35
    Bob O'H says:

    ba77 @ 22 –

    One problem with you ‘consciousness is a model’ theory Sev.

    You see Sev, I’m sure that I really exist. But I am not sure that you, as an atheistic materialist, really exist.

    It would see to me that that would indicate a problem with your consciousness theory, now Seversky’s.

  36. 36
    bornagain77 says:

    As to:

    Me: One problem with your ‘consciousness is a model’ theory Sev.
    You see Sev, I’m sure that I really exist. But I am not sure that you, as an atheistic materialist, really exist.

    Bob: It would seem to me that that would indicate a problem with your consciousness theory, not Seversky’s.

    So ‘you’, as an Atheist who holds the reductive materialism of Darwinian evolution to be true, really think that it is Christianity that has a problem accounting for personal conscious experience and that atheistic materialism does not?

    In case you are not aware, Christianity holds that the Mind of God preexists everything. Therefore my mind, and the minds of all other people, are certainly not a problem for Christianity to account for.

    The infinite Mind of God is taken as the fundamental entity from which all else is derived.

    Whereas on the other hand, Atheistic Materialism posits that matter and energy have always existed and that everything, including each of our individual minds, are derivative from matter.

    And herein lies the problem for reductive materialists. Nobody has a clue how material particles can give rise to the immaterial mind. In fact, atheists deny, altogether, the reality of the immaterial realm. For the reductive materialist, the only thing that is real are the material particles, and anything not reducible to the material realm is, of necessity, illusory to the reductive materialist.

    It is not that hard to understand Bob.

    Yet, you have repeatedly strenuously objected to being thought of as a neuronal illusion and, I believe you even, humorously, held that it was ‘immoral’, of all things, for me, a Christian, to point out that atheists, according to the reductive materialistic premises of their own Darwinian philosophy, are not really ‘persons’ but are merely neuronal illusions.

    I can, and have, quoted to ‘you’ many leading atheistic philosophers who have taken the premises of the reductive materialistic philosophy to their logical end and have concluded, and proclaimed, for all the world to hear no less, that they are ‘neuronal illusions’.

    No Bob, it is not Christianity that has a problem accounting for personal conscious experience, not in the least, it is a insurmountable problem that rests squarely, whether you choose to acknowledge the irreconcilable problem or not, at the feet of the philosophy of reductive materialism which undergirds Darwinian thought.

    I can’t force you to be honest, or consistent, in your own worldview, but at least I can, for unbiased readers, point out the fatal flaws inherent in your materialistic worldview.

    Of related interest is this article that News just cited in an OP:

    What Does It Mean to Say That Science & Religion Conflict? – M. Anthony Mills – April 16, 2018
    Excerpt: Barr rightly observes that scientific atheists often unwittingly assume,,, reductive materialism, which says all that exists is or is reducible to the material constituents postulated by our most fundamental physical theories.
    As Barr points out, this implies not only that God does not exist — because God is not material — but that ‘you’ do not exist. For ‘you’ are not a material constituent postulated by any of our most fundamental physical theories; at best, you are an aggregate of those constituents, arranged in a particular way. Not just ‘you’, but tables, chairs, countries, countrymen, symphonies, jokes, legal contracts, moral judgments, and acts of courage or cowardice — all of these must be fully explicable in terms of those more fundamental, material constituents. 
    In fact, more problematic for the materialist than the non-existence of persons is the existence of mathematics. Why? Although a committed materialist might be perfectly willing to accept that you do not really exist, he will have a harder time accepting that numbers do not exist. The trouble is that numbers — along with other mathematical entities such as classes, sets, and functions — are indispensable for modern science. And yet — here’s the rub — these “abstract objects” are not material. Thus, one cannot take science as the only sure guide to reality and at the same time discount disbelief in all immaterial realities.
    https://www.realclearreligion.org/articles/2018/04/16/what_does_it_mean_to_say_that_science_and_religion_conflict.html

  37. 37
    Bob O'H says:

    ba77 @ 36 – It’s your philosophy that’s leading you to declare the non-existence of atheistic materialist, not anyone else’s. Why does the pre-existence of the Mind of God mean that the existence of people depends on whether they believe in the existence of this Mind of God?

  38. 38
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    It’s your philosophy that’s leading you to declare the non-existence of atheistic materialist, not anyone else’s.

    Funny, I never heard any of my Sunday school teachers claim that they, or I, was a ‘neuronal illusion’.

    Only from Atheistic Philosophers, and Evolutionary Biologists, have I ever heard such an insane claim.

    Are ‘you’ sure that Christianity leads to the conclusion that people are neuronal illusions? Can ‘you’ elaborate on that claim? Perhaps quote some leading Christian scholars or at least cite some scriptures from the New Testament? Or perhaps work it out from the foundational precepts of Christianity, i.e. John 1:1-4

    Here are a few quotes, again, that drive my claim against atheistic materialism home:

    Ross Douthat Is On Another Erroneous Rampage Against Secularism – Jerry Coyne – December 26, 2013
    Excerpt: “many (but not all) of us accept the notion that our sense of self is a neuronal illusion.”
    Jerry Coyne – Professor of Evolutionary Biology – Atheist
    https://newrepublic.com/article/116047/ross-douthat-wrong-about-secularism-and-ethics

    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

    “There is no self in, around, or as part of anyone’s body. There can’t be. So there really isn’t any enduring self that ever could wake up morning after morning worrying about why it should bother getting out of bed. The self is just another illusion, like the illusion that thought is about stuff or that we carry around plans and purposes that give meaning to what our body does. Every morning’s introspectively fantasized self is a new one, remarkably similar to the one that consciousness ceased fantasizing when we fell sleep sometime the night before. Whatever purpose yesterday’s self thought it contrived to set the alarm last night, today’s newly fictionalized self is not identical to yesterday’s. It’s on its own, having to deal with the whole problem of why to bother getting out of bed all over again.”
    – A.Rosenberg, The Atheist’s Guide to Reality, ch.10

    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, the “what-it-is-like” of experience.,,,
    Who are the Deniers?,,, 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.,,,
    http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2.....s-deniers/

    “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

    “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 behaviour 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 – “The Astonishing Hypothesis” 1994

  39. 39
    Bob O'H says:

    Only from Atheistic Philosophers, and Evolutionary Biologists, have I ever heard such an insane claim.

    You’re the only one on this blog telling people they don’t exist, so go figure.

  40. 40
    bornagain77 says:

    Well Bob, you got a BIG problem. “You” claim, (I have no way of knowing if “you” really exist since I obviously am not “you”), that “you” really do exist as a real person and that “you” are not a neuronal illusion. And yet, “you” hold to a reductive materialistic philosophy which denies the reality of “you” and says “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 behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.” (Francis Crick)

    So which is it Bob? Do “you” really exist as a real person or are “you” “no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.”

    If being consistent in your logic mattered to “you”. “you” should, by virtue of your immaterial free will, rightly choose to immediately reject reductive materialism since it denies the most certain thing that you can possibly know about reality. Namely, the fact that “you” do indeed exist as a real person.

    So which is it Bob? Sanity or insanity? Theism or Reductive materialism? Your choice!

  41. 41
    Bob O'H says:

    And yet, “you” hold to a reductive materialistic philosophy which denies the reality of “you” and says “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 behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.”

    No, I don’t hold to a philosophy like that. I’ve told you this several times. You have repeatedly mis-represent my views.

    But again, you are the only one around here who has claimed that I or Seversky don’t exist. Don’t push your weird views onto other people, especially after they’ve told you that these views don’t represent their views. It makes you appear confused, at best.

  42. 42
    bornagain77 says:

    Well, “Bob”, (if ‘you’ really are in there somewhere), ‘you’ may not ‘personally’ hold to the reductive materialistic philosophy, but the reductive materialistic philosophy of Darwinian evolution, which ‘you’ defend tooth and nail with no caveats for consciousness, implies just that.

    Perhaps you should be a little more explicit in exactly how your personal philosophy differs from the reductive materialistic philosophy that currently dominates American Universities???

    Or is that too much to ask????

    But I’m pretty sure you, i.e. “Bob and weave”, could care less for being consistent in your logic and are just playing games as you usually do so as to avoid dealing forthrightly with the issue.

    As to:

    (you are the only one around here who has claimed that I or Seversky don’t exist.)

    No. I have made it clear time and again that it is reductive materialism that implies that.

    And, many others on UD, including Mr. Arrington, have made this same exact point repeatedly.

    Keep digging your hole though.

    I will use it against you.

  43. 43
    Origenes says:

    Bob (to BA77): You’re the only one on this blog telling people they don’t exist, so go figure.

    Bob, according to materialism, there is no “you.” This is common knowledge around here. Why do you pretend that Bornagain77 is the only one telling you this?

    Science provides clear-cut answers to all of the questions on the list: there is no free will, there is no mind distinct from the brain, there is no soul, no self, no person that supposedly inhabits your body, that endures over its life span, and that might even outlast it.

    [Rosenberg]

  44. 44
    bornagain77 says:

    Origenes, I went to look up your quote and laughed when I found out the subtitle of Rosenberg’s book is “Enjoying Life without Illusions”. 🙂 Now that is FUNNY!

    “Science provides clear-cut answers to all of the questions on the list: there is no free will, there is no mind distinct from the brain, there is no soul, no self, no person that supposedly inhabits your body, that endures over its life span, and that might even outlast it.”
    Alex Rosenberg – The Atheist’s Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life without Illusions
    https://books.google.com/books?id=sqpqeetCs5oC&pg=PA147

  45. 45
    Origenes says:

    Bornagain77 @44

    “Enjoying Life without Illusions”. 🙂 Now that is FUNNY!

    Doing away with illusion is quite a daunting task for any neuronal illusion, to say the least. 🙂

    However, elsewhere neuronal illusion Rosenberg admits that “his” guidance of fellow neuronal illusions is not always rewarding.

    Epicurus wasn’t right when he argued that understanding the nature of reality is by itself enough to make a person happy. Alas, some people do get everything right about the universe and our place in it and remain dissatisfied. Satisfying themselves that science answers all the persistent questions correctly, they are still troubled. You, gentle reader, may be one of these people. Fortunately for such people, Epicurus was almost right. If you still can’t sleep at night, even after accepting science’s answers to the persistent questions, you probably just need one more little thing besides Epicurean detachment. Take a Prozac or your favorite serotonin reuptake inhibitor, and keep taking them till they kick in.

    … Take two of whatever neuropharmacology prescribes. If you don’t feel better in the morning . . . or three weeks from now, switch to another one. Three weeks is often how long it takes serotonin reuptake suppression drugs like Prozac, Wellbutrin, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, or Luvox to kick in. And if one doesn’t work, another one probably will.

  46. 46
    Allan Keith says:

    Bob O’H,

    You’re the only one on this blog telling people they don’t exist, so go figure.

    Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness. We really shouldn’t be making light of BA77’s affliction.

  47. 47
    Seversky says:

    bornagain77 @ 36

    So ‘you’, as an Atheist who holds the reductive materialism of Darwinian evolution to be true, really think that it is Christianity that has a problem accounting for personal conscious experience and that atheistic materialism does not?

    I’ve said many times previously that a/mat faces the hard problem of bridging the explanatory gap between our subjective experience of consciousness and our observation of brain function. There is nothing in Christianity that gets around that.

    In case you are not aware, Christianity holds that the Mind of God preexists everything. Therefore my mind, and the minds of all other people, are certainly not a problem for Christianity to account for.

    The infinite Mind of God is taken as the fundamental entity from which all else is derived.

    Put some evidence for this God on the table, other than the fact that a lot of people believe in such a being, and we can see if it supports your claim. Otherwise all you have is speculation.

    And herein lies the problem for reductive materialists. Nobody has a clue how material particles can give rise to the immaterial mind.

    I know. That’s what I said.

    In fact, atheists deny, altogether, the reality of the immaterial realm. For the reductive materialist, the only thing that is real are the material particles, and anything not reducible to the material realm is, of necessity, illusory to the reductive materialist.

    You should know that some a/mats at least are aware that our understanding of matter has moved a little beyond beyond the idea of minute solar systems made up of miniscule specks of matter.

    I can, and have, quoted to ‘you’ many leading atheistic philosophers who have taken the premises of the reductive materialistic philosophy to their logical end and have concluded, and proclaimed, for all the world to hear no less, that they are ‘neuronal illusions’.

    And it’s also been pointed out that not all a/mats think they are illusions or accept Alex Rosenberg as the official spokesperson for atheism.

  48. 48
    Bob O'H says:

    Allan Keith @ 46 – we shouldn’t make light of mental illness either. I don’t know if ba77 suffers from mental health problems, and if he does then he should have our sympathy.

  49. 49
    Bob O'H says:

    Otigenes @ 43 – a couple of points:
    1. some materialists may think that “we” are an illusion, but not all. There are many strains of materialist thought, just as there are many strains of Christian thought.
    2. ba77 has gone further and claimed that I do not exist. His logic is difficult for me to grasp (unless it’s just street theatre).

  50. 50
    Origenes says:

    Bob O’H @49

    Bob: … some materialists may think that “we” are an illusion, but not all.

    Can you name one or more proponents of the latter group? Do you know of a leading materialist who makes the case that consciousness is real?

  51. 51
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    In case you are not aware, Christianity holds that the Mind of God preexists everything. Therefore my mind, and the minds of all other people, are certainly not a problem for Christianity to account for.

    The infinite Mind of God is taken as the fundamental entity from which all else is derived.

    Put some evidence for this God on the table, other than the fact that a lot of people believe in such a being, and we can see if it supports your claim. Otherwise all you have is speculation.

    Okie Dokie

    Double Slit, Quantum-Electrodynamics, and Christian Theism – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AK9kGpIxMRM

    A Short Survey Of Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness
    Excerpt: Putting all the lines of evidence together the argument for God from consciousness can now be framed like this:
    1. Consciousness either preceded all of material reality or is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality.
    2. If consciousness is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality then consciousness will be found to have no special position within material reality. Whereas conversely, if consciousness precedes material reality then consciousness will be found to have a special position within material reality.
    3. Consciousness is found to have a special, even central, position within material reality.
    4. Therefore, consciousness is found to precede material reality.
    Five intersecting lines of experimental evidence from quantum mechanics that shows that consciousness precedes material reality (Double Slit, Wigner’s Quantum Symmetries, Wheeler’s Delayed Choice, Leggett’s Inequalities, Quantum Zeno effect):
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1G_Fi50ljF5w_XyJHfmSIZsOcPFhgoAZ3PRc_ktY8cFo/edit

    Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness: 5 Experiments – video
    https://youtu.be/t5qphmi8gYE

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

  52. 52
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    not all a/mats think they are illusions or accept Alex Rosenberg as the official spokesperson for atheism.

    So who is the ‘official spokesman’ now? I know you guys immediately called Anthony Flew senile when he finally honestly admitted, (after decades of being one of the, in not THE, leading spokesman for atheism), that atheism was false.
    ,,, Is Richard Dawkins now considered the ‘official spokesman” for atheism? If so:

    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

    Let me guess, anyone who disagrees with Sev, such as Nagel, can never qualify as a leading spokesman for atheism.

    “I have argued patiently against the prevailing form of naturalism, a reductive materialism that purports to capture life and mind through its neo-Darwinian extension.” “…, I find this view antecedently unbelievable—a heroic triumph of ideological theory over common sense”.
    Thomas Nagel – “Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False” – pg.128
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/produ.....rn_si_1_im

    Mind and Cosmos – Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False – Thomas Nagel
    Excerpt: If materialism cannot accommodate consciousness and other mind-related aspects of reality, then we must abandon a purely materialist understanding of nature in general, extending to biology, evolutionary theory, and cosmology. Since minds are features of biological systems that have developed through evolution, the standard materialist version of evolutionary biology is fundamentally incomplete. And the cosmological history that led to the origin of life and the coming into existence of the conditions for evolution cannot be a merely materialist history.
    http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/pro.....9919758.do

  53. 53
    bornagain77 says:

    Bob and Allan Keith now try to attack my mental health, which is ironic since, #1, I can present actual empirical evidence, instead of baseless accusations, that demonstrates that atheists do indeed suffer mentally (and physically) much more than Christians do, and, #2, I’m not the one holding onto the insane worldview that says I am a neuronal illusion:

    Oh well, what can one do when faced with such insanity?

    Can attending church really help you live longer? This study says yes – June 1, 2017
    Excerpt: Specifically, the study says those middle-aged adults who go to church, synagogues, mosques or other houses of worship reduce their mortality risk by 55%. The Plos One journal published the “Church Attendance, Allostatic Load and Mortality in Middle Aged Adults” study May 16.
    “For those who did not attend church at all, they were twice as likely to die prematurely than those who did who attended church at some point over the last year,” Bruce said.
    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/06/02/can-attending-church-really-help-you-live-longer-study-says-yes/364375001/

    Of snakebites and suicide – February 18, 2014
    RESULTS: Religiously unaffiliated subjects had significantly more lifetime suicide attempts and more first-degree relatives who committed suicide than subjects who endorsed a religious affiliation.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....d-suicide/

    “I maintain that whatever else faith may be, it cannot be a delusion.
    The advantageous effect of religious belief and spirituality on mental and physical health is one of the best-kept secrets in psychiatry and medicine generally. If the findings of the huge volume of research on this topic had gone in the opposite direction and it had been found that religion damages your mental health, it would have been front-page news in every newspaper in the land.”
    – Professor Andrew Sims former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists – Is Faith Delusion?: Why religion is good for your health – preface
    “In the majority of studies, religious involvement is correlated with well-being, happiness and life satisfaction; hope and optimism; purpose and meaning in life; higher self-esteem; better adaptation to bereavement; greater social support and less loneliness; lower rates of depression and faster recovery from depression; lower rates of suicide and fewer positive attitudes towards suicide; less anxiety; less psychosis and fewer psychotic tendencies; lower rates of alcohol and drug use and abuse; less delinquency and criminal activity; greater marital stability and satisfaction… We concluded that for the vast majority of people the apparent benefits of devout belief and practice probably outweigh the risks.”
    – Professor Andrew Sims former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists – Is Faith Delusion?: Why religion is good for your health – page 100
    https://books.google.com/books?id=PREdCgAAQBAJ&pg=PA100#v=onepage&q&f=false

    Is Christianity Evil? (Mental Benefits of Christianity – Meta-analysis, 8:24 minute mark) – 2014 video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=dgESPmh-TxY#t=504

  54. 54
    Bob O'H says:

    Bob and Allan Keith now try to attack my mental health

    Just to be clear, I wasn’t attacking your mental health – I was voicing my opposition to people attacking your mental health. I felt that Allan’s comment was inappropriate, and wanted to make that clear.

  55. 55
    Barry Arrington says:

    Allan Keith,

    One more crack like 46 and you will be escorted to the exit. Last warning.

  56. 56

    Thanks for keeping the peace, BA.

    I really think Allen Keith has good intentions (we have had worthwhile exchanges), but emotions sometimes get the best of us. These are serious topics that challenge all of our worldviews. I understand the emotion, but let’s try to keep things civil… even friendly.

  57. 57

    BA77 @ 52: Excellent use of links to support your arguments. The Richard Dawkins pinpoint video citation is new to me. I hadn’t known that he made such a statement. Well done.

  58. 58
    ET says:

    Seversky:

    Put some evidence for this God on the table…

    Put some evidence for materialism on the table or shut up already.

  59. 59
    ET says:

    One more crack like 46 and you will be escorted to the exit.

    Again

  60. 60

    Seversky: The evidence you seek is abundant and easily accessible. You have seen, read, or heard much of it already. You just don’t accept it as true.

    It was enough to convince Isaac Newton, Francis Bacon, Blaise Pascal, G.K. Chesterton, C.S Lewis, and many, many other brilliant minds, so you certainly can’t claim intellectual superiority … at least not credibly.

    Also, belief in God is based on faith, not evidence. Evidence can strengthen our faith and help us be more certain of the truth, but it can never replace faith as the foundation for our belief in God.

    God wants you to place your faith in him, but you choose instead to place your faith in materialism, multiverse theory, etc. for which there is very little evidence, and certainly no empirical evidence.

  61. 61
    Origenes says:

    Bob O’H @

    I repost my question to you:

    Do you know of a leading materialist who makes the case that consciousness is real?

  62. 62
    goodusername says:

    Origenes,

    Do you know of a leading materialist who makes the case that consciousness is real?

    Apparently Sam Harris for one:

    It is surely a sign of our intellectual progress that a discussion of consciousness no longer has to begin with a debate about its existence. To say that consciousness may only seem to exist is to admit its existence in full—for if things seem any way at all, that is consciousness. Even if I happen to be a brain in a vat at this moment—all my memories are false; all my perceptions are of a world that does not exist—the fact that I am having an experience is indisputable (to me, at least). This is all that is required for me (or any other conscious being) to fully establish the reality of consciousness. Consciousness is the one thing in this universe that cannot be an illusion.
    https://samharris.org/the-mystery-of-consciousness/

    Odd thing for “one of the leading proponents of the ‘consciousness is an illusion’ school” to say.

    I haven’t read a whole lot of Harris, but I have seen times where he says that there’s an illusion of self – but he hasn’t meant it in the sense that it doesn’t exist. The illusion is that there’s a single “thing” that’s the self, when it’s more likely to be the result of an emergence of several things in the brain working together. Whether one agrees with Harris or not, I find it odd to interpret that to mean that Harris believes that the self or consciousness aren’t real.

    This seems to be almost identical to what Daniel Dennett is saying. I haven’t read “Consciousness Explained” yet, but I’ve watched a few hours of videos of Dennett talking about the subject, and at no point did I ever get the impression that he doesn’t believe that we’re conscious or that consciousness doesn’t exist. And, in fact, I’ve seen many statements where he asserts that we are, obviously, conscious. Albeit there are times when I’m not sure what he’s saying (I might have to read the book to fully understand him), but like Harris when he speaks of an “illusion” of consciousness he seems to mean it in the sense that there’s an illusion of a single thing rather than several things working together to produce consciousness.

  63. 63
    Origenes says:

    Goodusername @62

    Whether one agrees with Harris or not, I find it odd to interpret that to mean that Harris believes that the self or consciousness aren’t real.

    I do believe that both Harris and Dennett have claimed that self (or consciousness) aren’t real and I strongly suspect that relevant quotes are forthcoming.

    However, let us put that aside for a moment.

    Harris, like Dennett and Rosenberg, argues against the existence of free will — see his book “Free Will.” No free will means, as W J Murray argued, that we are biological automatons, who have but the illusion of making autonomous decisions.

    WJM: There would be no way for a biological automaton to determine whether or not any statement was in fact true or not since all conclusions are driven by chemistry and not metaphysical “truth” values; indeed, a biological automaton reaches conclusion X for exactly the same reason any other reaches conclusion Y; chemistry. If chemistry dictates that 1+1=banana, that is what a “person” will conclude. If chemistry dictates they defend that view to the death and see themselves as a martyr for the computational banana cause, that is exactly what they will do.

    All such a biological automaton has is whatever chemistry generates as what they see, hear, taste, smell, touch, feel, think, and do. If they eat some stale pizza and, through a chaotic cascade of happenstance physical cause and effect, accept Mohammed with great faith and zeal, then no determined atheist can resist – that is what will occur. And they will think it was a logical conclusion, if chemistry says so. They can only be whatever chemistry dictates.

    In my view, denying free will amounts to denying the existence of consciousness. If there is no free will, then consciousness is an irrelevant powerless bystander unable to intervene in occurrences dictated by chemistry.
    Do you agree?

    – – –

  64. 64
    jdk says:

    Good post at 62, GUN. I’m not a Harris fan, but you found a good quote. I also like your remark about the sense of self being the product of a number of separate but related processes. One can think that the self is a unique entity separate from other psychological processes is an illusion without thinking that the sense of self that arises from various process working in an integrated fashion for the benefit of the organism as a whole is an illusion.

    And it’s worth noting that in the Eastern religions understanding that the self is an illusion (which is different than saying consciousness is an illusion) is a goal of spiritual enlightenment.

  65. 65
    bornagain77 says:

    Post 62 and 64 gloss over Grand Canyon type discrepancies.

    One glaring one is, as Origenes pointed out, free will.

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

  66. 66
    Origenes says:

    Goodusername @62, jdk@64

    Goodusername: The illusion is that there’s a single “thing” that’s the self, when it’s more likely to be the result of an emergence of several things in the brain working together.

    jdk: the sense of self being the product of a number of separate but related processes.

    How can the activity of millions of neurons lead to unitary percepts or singular actions?

    (1): Unification of representations takes place.
    (2): Only a simple, unified substance can unify representations.
    Therefore,
    (3) The human soul or mind is a simple unified substance.

    It seems to me that Goodusername and jdk deny the second premise. I would like to see some arguments.

    Plotinus (204/5 – 270 AD):

    It is clear from the following that, if the soul were a body (soma), there could be no perception. . . . If something is going to perceive anything, it must itself be one and must take hold of it (antilambanesthai) in one act, both if several impressions are [perceived] through many sense-organs, or many qualities [are perceived] in one object, or if one senseorgan [perceives] a complex object, for example, a face. For there isn’t one [perception] of the nose, and another of the eyes, but one identical [perception] of all of them together.
    And if one [sense-object] enters through the eyes, and another through the hearing organ, there must be some one thing to which they both go. Otherwise, how could we state that they are different from each other, if the sense-objects did not all come together to one and the same [percipient]? Therefore, this [unified percipient] must be like a center point, and the perceptions coming from all places, like the lines coming from the circumference of the circle, must terminate there. And what takes hold of these must be of this kind, truly one.

  67. 67
    bornagain77 says:

    Of somewhat related note as to jdk’s fascination with Eastern Mysticism, i.e. the escape of pain and suffering by imagining that ‘self is an illusion’.

    Buddhist Retreat
    Why I gave up on finding my religion.
    By John Horgan
    Excerpt: most people are distressed by sensations of unreality, which are quite common and can be induced by drugs, fatigue, trauma, and mental illness as well as by meditation.
    Even if you achieve a blissful acceptance of the illusory nature of your self, this perspective may not transform you into a saintly bodhisattva, brimming with love and compassion for all other creatures. Far from it—and this is where the distance between certain humanistic values and Buddhism becomes most apparent. To someone who sees himself and others as unreal, human suffering and death may appear laughably trivial. This may explain why some Buddhist masters have behaved more like nihilists than saints. Chogyam Trungpa, who helped introduce Tibetan Buddhism to the United States in the 1970s, was a promiscuous drunk and bully, and he died of alcohol-related illness in 1987. Zen lore celebrates the sadistic or masochistic behavior of sages such as Bodhidharma, who is said to have sat in meditation for so long that his legs became gangrenous.
    http://www.slate.com/human-int.....aster.html

    Of related note to that, A while back I looked at the Near Death Experiences (NDEs) of different cultures. Eastern culture NDEs were particularly strange, even horrifying:

    Near-Death Experiences Among Survivors of the 1976 Tangshan Earthquake (Chinese)
    Excerpt: Our subjects reported NDE phemenological items not mentioned, or rarely mentioned in NDE’s reported from other countries: sensations of the world being exterminated or ceasing to exist, a sense of weightlessness, a feeling of being pulled or squeezed, ambivalence about death, a feeling of being a different person, or a different kind of person and unusual scents. The predominant phemenological features in our series were feeling estranged from the body as if it belonged to someone else, unusually vivid thoughts, loss of emotions, unusual bodily sensations, life seeming like a dream, a feeling of dying,,, These are not the same phemenological features most commonly found by researchers in other countries. Greyson (1983) reported the most common phemenological feature of American NDE’s to be a feeling of peace, joy, time stopping, experiencing an unearthly realm of existence, a feeling of cosmic unity, and a out of body experience.
    http://www.newdualism.org/nde-.....-39-48.pdf

    Near-Death Experiences in Thailand:
    Excerpt: The Light seems to be absent in Thai NDEs. So is the profound positive affect found in so many Western NDEs. The most common affect in our collection is negative. Unlike the negative affect in so many Western NDEs (cf. Greyson & Bush, 1992), that found in Thai NDEs (in all but case #11) has two recognizable causes. The first is fear of `going’. The second is horror and fear of hell. It is worth noting that although half of our collection include seeing hell (cases 2,6,7,9,10) and being forced to witness horrific tortures, not one includes the NDEer having been subjected to these torments themselves. (Murphy 99)
    http://www.shaktitechnology.com/thaindes.htm

    Near Death Experience Thailand Asia – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8M5J3zWG5g

    Near-Death Experiences in Thailand: Discussion of case histories By Todd Murphy, 1999:
    Excerpt: We would suggest that the near-constant comparisons with the most frequently reported types of NDEs tends to blind researchers to the features of NDEs which are absent in these NDEs. Tunnels are rare, if not absent. The panoramic Life Review appears to be absent. Instead, our collection shows people reviewing just a few karmically-significant incidents. Perhaps they symbolize behavioral tendencies, the results of which are then experienced as determinative of their rebirths. These incidents are read out to them from a book. There is no Being of Light in these Thai NDEs, although The Buddha does appear in a symbolic form, in case #6. Yama is present during this truncated Life Review, as is the Being of Light during Western life reviews, but Yama is anything but a being of light. In popular Thai depictions, he is shown as a wrathful being, and is most often remembered in Thai culture for his power to condemn one to hell. Some of the functions of Angels and guides are also filled by Yamatoots. They guide, lead tours of hell, and are even seen to grant requests made by the experient.
    http://www.shaktitechnology.com/thaindes.htm

    A Comparative view of Tibetan and Western Near-Death Experiences by Lawrence Epstein University of Washington:
    Excerpt: Episode 5: The OBE systematically stresses the ‘das-log’s discomfiture, pain, disappointment, anger and disillusionment with others and with the moral worth of the world at large. The acquisition of a yid-lus and the ability to travel instantaneously are also found here.
    Episode 6: The ‘das-log, usually accompanied by a supernatural guide, tours bar-do, where he witnesses painful scenes and meets others known to him. They give him messages to take back.
    Episode 7: The ‘das-log witnesses trials in and tours hell. The crimes and punishments of others are explained to him. Tortured souls also ask him to take back messages to the living.
    http://www.case.edu/affil/tibe.....4&amp

    The Japanese find death a depressing experience – From an item by Peter Hadfield in the New Scientist (Nov. 30th 1991)
    Excerpt: A study in Japan shows that even in death the Japanese have an original way of looking at things. Instead of seeing ‘tunnels of light’ or having ‘out of body’ experiences, near-dead patients in Japanese hospitals tend to see rather less romantic images, according to researchers at Kyorin University. According to a report in the Mainichi newspaper, a group of doctors from Kyorin has spent the past year documenting the near-death experiences of 17 patients. They had all been resuscitated from comas caused by heart attacks, strokes, asthma or drug poisoning. All had shown minimal signs of life during the coma. Yoshia Hata, who led the team, said that eight of the 17 recalled ‘dreams’, many featuring rivers or ponds. Five of those patients had dreams which involved fear, pain and suffering. One 50-year-old asthmatic man said he had seen himself wade into a reservoir and do a handstand in the shallows. ‘Then I walked out of the water and took some deep breaths. In the dream, I was repeating this over and over.’ Another patient, a 73-year-old woman with cardiac arrest, saw a cloud filled with dead people. ‘It was a dark, gloomy day. I was chanting sutras. I believed they could be saved if they chanted sutras, so that is what I was telling them to do.’ Most of the group said they had never heard of Near-Death Experiences before.
    http://www.pureinsight.org/node/4

    There is good news though. China on course to become ‘world’s most Christian nation’ within 15 years

    China on course to become ‘world’s most Christian nation’ within 15 years – 19 Apr 2014
    Excerpt: Officially, the People’s Republic of China is an atheist country but that is changing fast as many of its 1.3 billion citizens seek meaning and spiritual comfort that neither communism nor capitalism seem to have supplied.
    Christian congregations in particular have skyrocketed since churches began reopening when Chairman Mao’s death in 1976 signalled the end of the Cultural Revolution.
    Less than four decades later, some believe China is now poised to become not just the world’s number one economy but also its most numerous Christian nation.
    “By my calculations China is destined to become the largest Christian country in the world very soon,” said Fenggang Yang, a professor of sociology at Purdue University and author of Religion in China: Survival and Revival under Communist Rule.
    “It is going to be less than a generation. Not many people are prepared for this dramatic change.”
    China’s Protestant community, which had just one million members in 1949, has already overtaken those of countries more commonly associated with an evangelical boom. In 2010 there were more than 58 million Protestants in China compared to 40 million in Brazil and 36 million in South Africa, according to the Pew Research Centre’s Forum on Religion and Public Life.
    Prof Yang, a leading expert on religion in China, believes that number will swell to around 160 million by 2025. That would likely put China ahead even of the United States, which had around 159 million Protestants in 2010 but whose congregations are in decline.
    By 2030, China’s total Christian population, including Catholics, would exceed 247 million, placing it above Mexico, Brazil and the United States as the largest Christian congregation in the world, he predicted.
    “Mao thought he could eliminate religion. He thought he had accomplished this,” Prof Yang said. “It’s ironic – they didn’t. They actually failed completely.”
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new.....years.html

  68. 68
    jdk says:

    re 66: Origenes writes, as part of a syllogism of sorts,

    (2): Only a simple, unified substance can unify representations. … It seems to me that Goodusername and jdk deny the second premise. I would like to see some arguments.

    True: I don’t believe that is a universally, unobjectionably true premise.

    Also, I don’t think quotes from ancient philosophers are very relevant, as they knew virtually nothing about modern biology of the human body.

    At 67, ba writes, “… as to jdk’s fascination with Eastern Mysticism.”

    As opposed to ba’s fascination with Christianity, QM, out-of-body experiences, etc.?

  69. 69
    Origenes says:

    Goodusername @62

    Goodusername: This seems to be almost identical to what Daniel Dennett is saying. I haven’t read “Consciousness Explained” yet, but I’ve watched a few hours of videos of Dennett talking about the subject, and at no point did I ever get the impression that he doesn’t believe that we’re conscious or that consciousness doesn’t exist. And, in fact, I’ve seen many statements where he asserts that we are, obviously, conscious.

    In an article, titled Is Consciousness an Illusion?, prof. Thomas Nagel reviews a book by Dennett.

    Excerpt:

    … Dennett holds that consciousness is not part of reality in the way the brain is. Rather, it is a particularly salient and convincing user-illusion, an illusion that is indispensable in our dealings with one another and in monitoring and managing ourselves, but an illusion nonetheless.

    Reading this, one wonders how, according to Dennett, an illusion monitors and manages itself.

  70. 70
    Origenes says:

    jdk @68

    jdk: I don’t believe that [(2): Only a simple, unified substance can unify representations.] is a universally, unobjectionably true premise.

    Yet you seem unable to provide an argument as to why this is not “a universally, unobjectionably true premise”.

    jdk: Also, I don’t think quotes from ancient philosophers are very relevant, as they knew virtually nothing about modern biology of the human body.

    That’s weird thing to say, because biology is completely irrelevant to Plotinus’ argument. It is equally valid to make the objection that the ancient did not know about IPhone’s.

  71. 71
    jdk says:

    The integration of sensations of which Plotinus speaks (without knowing anything about the structure or biochemistry of the brain) is accomplished by the brain. How you can say that biology is irrelevant to his argument is beyond me, as he is talking precisely about the integration of sensations into a perception.

    And my argument against the statement “Only a simple, unified substance can unify representations”, (which I think is wrong on more general grounds) is that the brain, which is a very complicated structure, does in fact unify sensations into a unified perception.

    This is Psych 101.

  72. 72
    bornagain77 says:

    jdk, seeing as Eastern religions have a far higher preponderance of negative and hellish NDEs than Christian NDEs, coupled with the fact that NDEs have far more evidence going for them than Darwinian evolution does, I would think, for normal people, that should matter to the ‘illusion of you’ very much.

    But alas, if “you” really are an illusion, as “you” claim to believe from Eastern religions, then I guess not much of anything can ever really matter to “you” since illusions, by definition, are not real and therefore can have no experience of reality ever really matter to them.

    Please let me know if and when “the illusion of you” begins to see the self defeating nature, and sheer absurdity, of your “you are an illusion” worldview.

  73. 73
    Origenes says:

    jdk @71

    jdk: The integration of sensations of which Plotinus speaks (without knowing anything about the structure or biochemistry of the brain) is accomplished by the brain.

    Not conceivably, which is exactly the core of Plotinus’ argument. You have to step up jdk, now it is as if you are unable to understand the problem of ‘many and one’. Perhaps this helps:

    ‘Take a sentence of a dozen words, and take 12 men and tell to each one word. Then stand the men in a row or jam them in a bunch, and let each think of his word as intently as he wills; nowhere will there be a consciousness of the whole sentence.’
    [William James, The Principles of Psychology].

    The brain consists of billions of neurons, and the question is, what contains ‘the whole sentence’, if you will.

    jdk: And my argument against the statement “Only a simple, unified substance can unify representations”, (which I think is wrong on more general grounds) is that the brain, which is a very complicated structure, does in fact unify sensations into a unified perception.

    See above. Merely stating that, even if it is inconceivable, the brain somehow does it is not an argument.

  74. 74
    bornagain77 says:

    Funny,,,, jdk seems to think that modern biology has helped him. If anything, modern biology has exponentially exasperated the ‘problem of unity’ for the reductive materialist and/or atheist.

    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

    picture – What power holds off that moment — precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer?
    http://www.crystalinks.com/obe.lady.jpg

    Whereas the reductive materialist has no clue how to answer the question of “What power holds off that moment — precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer?”, the Christian Theist can appeal directly to quantum biology to support his belief in a transcendent soul that is capable of living past the death of the material body.

    Darwinian Materialism vs Quantum Biology – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHdD2Am1g5Y

    “Let’s say the heart stops beating. The blood stops flowing. The microtubules lose their quantum state. But the quantum information, which is in the microtubules, isn’t destroyed. It can’t be destroyed. It just distributes and dissipates to the universe at large. If a patient is resuscitated, revived, this quantum information can go back into the microtubules and the patient says, “I had a near death experience. I saw a white light. I saw a tunnel. I saw my dead relatives.,,” Now if they’re not revived and the patient dies, then it’s possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body. Perhaps indefinitely as a soul.”
    – Stuart Hameroff – Quantum Entangled Consciousness – Life After Death – video (5:00 minute mark)
    https://youtu.be/jjpEc98o_Oo?t=300

    Verses:

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

    Psalm 139:13
    For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

    Matthew 22:37
    Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’

    Of supplemental related note: Biological “form” is now also shown to forever be beyond the grasp of reductive materialistic explanations:

    Darwinism vs Biological Form – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyNzNPgjM4w

    Quantum physics problem proved unsolvable: Gödel and Turing enter quantum physics – December 9, 2015
    Excerpt: A mathematical problem underlying fundamental questions in particle and quantum physics is provably unsolvable,,,
    It is the first major problem in physics for which such a fundamental limitation could be proven. The findings are important because they show that even a perfect and complete description of the microscopic properties of a material is not enough to predict its macroscopic behaviour.,,,
    “We knew about the possibility of problems that are undecidable in principle since the works of Turing and Gödel in the 1930s,” added Co-author Professor Michael Wolf from Technical University of Munich. “So far, however, this only concerned the very abstract corners of theoretical computer science and mathematical logic. No one had seriously contemplated this as a possibility right in the heart of theoretical physics before. But our results change this picture. From a more philosophical perspective, they also challenge the reductionists’ point of view, as the insurmountable difficulty lies precisely in the derivation of macroscopic properties from a microscopic description.”
    http://phys.org/news/2015-12-q.....godel.html

  75. 75
    goodusername says:

    Origenes,

    A big reason why I haven’t read Dennett’s books on this particular subject is because, while I find the subject interesting, I’m very skeptical that he (or anyone) has actually made much headway on where consciousness comes from, or what it is, etc. Interestingly, there are many debates online from people who have (ostensively) read his books on this that argue amongst themselves over whether Dennett is actually claiming that consciousness is an illusion. Perhaps it comes down to how one defines “self”, “consciousness”, and maybe even “illusion”.

    That’s a problem with these discussions – everyone seems to be mean different things by such words. Same with “free will”. You said that Dennett doesn’t believe in free will, but Dennett himself says he does, and Harris and Dennett have debated on the subject, with Harris arguing against free will and Dennett arguing for. Then again, Dennett is a determinist, so he might mean something different when he says “free will” than you do, as many believe that the two are incompatible.
    (But if determinism is incompatible with free will, then how can one believe that free will exists and believe that God knows the future? The future is only knowable if it’s determined. If it’s not determined, then there is no future to know. But maybe one can then argue what it means for something to be “determined”!)

    If you do any reading or listening of Dennett, there are countless examples of him saying that we’re (obviously) conscious. Even Strawson, in the the earlier thread that attacks Dennett for denying that consciousness exists, says that Dennett would never actually say that he denies that consciousness exists:
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/strawson-attacks-the-great-silliness/
    Actually, after reading the article twice, I still can’t pinpoint anything that Dennett and Strawson disagree on. Their disagreement may be purely semantics.

  76. 76
    jdk says:

    re 73: the quote from James is not very relevant. Twelve men are not connected biologically, and all the parts of the brain which produce each perception are.

    Origenes, I’m wondering how much background you have in the biology of the brain. I used to teach a high school psych class, and there were chapters on the senses, perception, cognition, the parts of the brain and their functions, the biochemistry of neuronal functions, etc. I also took a course in a comparative study of the nervous systems of organisms, from the simplest organisms with light-sensing cells to humans.

    I wonder if you have ever studied any of this, in school or on your own?

    I mention my background not to make the claim that I know more and am therefore right (because I know there are people who know vastly more biology than I do who agree with you philosophically), but to see whether you do have a biology background or whether your thoughts about the inadequacy of the brain to integrate perceptions are primarily philosophical.

  77. 77
    jdk says:

    to GUN: I agree that the issues are embedded in different meanings of key words. For instance does the word “self” refer to an independent non-material entity which informs itself upon the body and integrates mental experiences (which is the meaning held here by many, it seems), or does “self” refer to an organism’s organization of its activities and perceptions into an integrated biological whole that works to meet the needs of the organism as a whole.

    The issues are substantial, but using the same word for different concepts embedded in different metaphysical systems is bound to lead to arguments that are more semantic than substantial.

    Same with “will”, “illusion”, etc.

  78. 78
    Origenes says:

    jdk @76

    jdk: Twelve men are not connected biologically, and all the parts of the brain which produce each perception are.

    Ok, twelve connected parts, which part holds the whole sentence?

    jdk: Origenes, I’m wondering how much background you have in the biology of the brain. I used to teach a high school psych class, and there were chapters on the senses, perception, cognition, the parts of the brain and their functions, the biochemistry of neuronal functions, etc.

    Jdk, are you aware of the fact that “the binding problem”, which we are discussing, poses a formidable problem for the neurosciences today? That experimental work on the binding problem is done in the area of e.g. electrophysiology? Do you know that this has led theorists (e.g. Malsburg, Damasio, Roskies, Barsalou, Treisman, Ghose and Maunsell, Kahneman and many others) to posit hypothesis on binding that fall in two main classes: structural and operational — temporal localization vs hierarchical hypothesis? Do you know that science today does not know how it works? Do you know that all we have is speculation?

    I am asking since you seem to think that the answer is in your school books. Which, again, suggests that you are blissfully unaware of the challenges of the binding problem.

  79. 79
    jdk says:

    Thanks, Origenes: I appreciate that you are familiar with some of the work and authors on this issue, at a level beyond the high school psych I taught.

    I do know that there is much we don’t know, and that most of what we know about what consciousness is and how it works is speculative.

    However, the very brief search I did led me to believe that research being done on the subject involves studying the brain: to dismiss the brain as the source of integration in favor of some non-material unifying mind doesn’t seem justified to me.

  80. 80
    Origenes says:

    jdk: the very brief search I did led me to believe that research being done on the subject involves studying the brain: to dismiss the brain as the source of integration in favor of some non-material unifying mind doesn’t seem justified to me.

    Well, that’s just your opinion isn’t it? It would be good to know why you hold that opinion, since now it just sits there: unsupported and irrational.

    Can you at least tell us at which point you would consider it justified? Plotinus’ argument is as relevant today as it ever was. All the models neuroscience and psychology have come up with have failed.

    “Some non-material unifying mind” is by far the best explanation out there.

    Christopher Viger, Robyn Bluhm and Sharday Mosurinjohn write:

    Our review of the neuroscientific and psychological literatures on the binding problem has revealed three broad classes of proposed solutions: grandmother cells, temporal synchrony, and object files. Unfortunately none of these solutions is adequate on its own. Grandmother cells, at least as a general account of perception, are untenable because of combinatorial explosion. Temporal synchrony and object files both seem to require some prior mechanism relevant to binding. In the case of temporal synchrony, something must establish the synchronous firing rate among the to-be bound processes. Object files also require some kind of mechanism to track objects so that features can be listed in the correct object files. There is a feeling in studying this problem of being a victim of the Greek gods; like poor Tantalus, just as one approaches a solution it recedes.

    [The Achilles of Rationalist Psychology, Chapter 15]

    The writers go on proposing their new theory — a combination of all the others —, which, has not received much traction to date.

  81. 81
    Origenes says:

    Bornagain77 @74

    Thank you for broadening the “binding problem.” The question 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?

    … is extremely relevant to consciousness. What makes a coherent whole of billions of neurons firing? What power makes it coherent? What prevents them from making a complete mess?

  82. 82
    bornagain77 says:

    As to:

    to dismiss the brain as the source of integration in favor of some non-material unifying mind doesn’t seem justified to me.

    Since when did empirical justification matter to a Darwinist? In fact, Darwinists believe all the amazingly intricate complexities of life randomly evolved in spite of all the evidence to the contrary that directly contradicts such a outlandish claim!

    Materialists have no clue where a single neuron of the brain came from.

    “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

    Much less do Darwinists have a clue how the brain integrated into the “beyond belief” complexity that it has:

    The Human Brain Is ‘Beyond Belief’ by Jeffrey P. Tomkins, Ph.D. * – 2017
    Excerpt: The human brain,, is an engineering marvel that evokes comments from researchers like “beyond anything they’d imagined, almost to the point of being beyond belief”1 and “a world we had never imagined.”2,,,
    Perfect Optimization
    The scientists found that at multiple hierarchical levels in the whole brain, nerve cell clusters (ganglion), and even at the individual cell level, the positioning of neural units achieved a goal that human engineers strive for but find difficult to achieve—the perfect minimizing of connection costs among all the system’s components.,,,
    Vast Computational Power
    Researchers discovered that a single synapse is like a computer’s microprocessor containing both memory-storage and information-processing features.,,, Just one synapse alone can contain about 1,000 molecular-scale microprocessor units acting in a quantum computing environment. An average healthy human brain contains some 200 billion nerve cells connected to one another through hundreds of trillions of synapses. To put this in perspective, one of the researchers revealed that the study’s results showed a single human brain has more information processing units than all the computers, routers, and Internet connections on Earth.1,,,
    Phenomenal Processing Speed
    the processing speed of the brain had been greatly underrated. In a new research study, scientists found the brain is 10 times more active than previously believed.6,7,,,
    The large number of dendritic spikes also means the brain has more than 100 times the computational capabilities than was previously believed.,,,
    Petabyte-Level Memory Capacity
    Our new measurements of the brain’s memory capacity increase conservative estimates by a factor of 10 to at least a petabyte, in the same ballpark as the World Wide Web.9,,,
    Optimal Energy Efficiency
    Stanford scientist who is helping develop computer brains for robots calculated that a computer processor functioning with the computational capacity of the human brain would require at least 10 megawatts to operate properly. This is comparable to the output of a small hydroelectric power plant. As amazing as it may seem, the human brain requires only about 10 watts to function.11 ,,,
    Multidimensional Processing
    It is as if the brain reacts to a stimulus by building then razing a tower of multi-dimensional blocks, starting with rods (1D), then planks (2D), then cubes (3D), and then more complex geometries with 4D, 5D, etc. The progression of activity through the brain resembles a multi-dimensional sandcastle that materializes out of the sand and then disintegrates.13
    He also said:
    We found a world that we had never imagined. There are tens of millions of these objects even in a small speck of the brain, up through seven dimensions. In some networks, we even found structures with up to eleven dimensions.13,,,
    Biophoton Brain Communication
    Neurons contain many light-sensitive molecules such as porphyrin rings, flavinic, pyridinic rings, lipid chromophores, and aromatic amino acids. Even the mitochondria machines that produce energy inside cells contain several different light-responsive molecules called chromophores. This research suggests that light channeled by filamentous cellular structures called microtubules plays an important role in helping to coordinate activities in different regions of the brain.,,,
    https://www.icr.org/article/10186

    Nor do Darwinists have a clue how the trillions of cells of the body defy disintegrating towards thermodynamic equilibrium “precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer”.

    If Darwinists were ever concerned with finding the truth, instead of propagating their atheistic religion, they would have found that it is transcendent information, (information which is separate and distinct from matter and energy), that is holding life so far out of thermodynamic equilbrium “precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer”.

    Information is Physical (but not how Rolf Landauer meant) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H35I83y5Uro

    As to justifying the unity of mind over and above the material brain. I will reiterate part of post 2, 3, and 4,,,

    To get this point across even more clearly, if a person were merely the brain, as materialists hold, then if half of a brain were removed then a ‘person’ should only be ‘half the person’, or at least somewhat less of a ‘person’, as they were before. But that is not the case, the ‘whole person’ stays intact even though the brain suffers severe impairment:

    Removing Half of Brain Improves Young Epileptics’ Lives: – 1997
    Excerpt: “We are awed by the apparent retention of memory and by the retention of the child’s personality and sense of humor,” Dr. Eileen P. G. Vining,,
    Dr. John Freeman, the director of the Johns Hopkins Pediatric Epilepsy Center, said he was dumbfounded at the ability of children to regain speech after losing the half of the brain that is supposedly central to language processing.
    ”It’s fascinating,” Dr. Freeman said. ”The classic lore is that you can’t change language after the age of 2 or 3.”
    But Dr. Freeman’s group has now removed diseased left hemispheres in more than 20 patients, including three 13-year-olds whose ability to speak transferred to the right side of the brain in much the way that Alex’s did.,,,
    http://www.nytimes.com/1997/08.....lives.html

    In further comment from the neuro-surgeons in the John Hopkins study:

    “Despite removal of one hemisphere, the intellect of all but one of the children seems either unchanged or improved. Intellect was only affected in the one child who had remained in a coma, vigil-like state, attributable to peri-operative complications.”

    Further notes along this line:

    Strange but True: When Half a Brain Is Better than a Whole One – May 2007
    Excerpt: Most Hopkins hemispherectomy patients are five to 10 years old. Neurosurgeons have performed the operation on children as young as three months old. Astonishingly, memory and personality develop normally. ,,,
    Another study found that children that underwent hemispherectomies often improved academically once their seizures stopped. “One was champion bowler of her class, one was chess champion of his state, and others are in college doing very nicely,” Freeman says.
    Of course, the operation has its downside: “You can walk, run—some dance or skip—but you lose use of the hand opposite of the hemisphere that was removed. You have little function in that arm and vision on that side is lost,” Freeman says. Remarkably, few other impacts are seen. ,,,
    http://www.scientificamerican......than-whole

    How Removing Half of Someone’s Brain Can Improve Their Life – Oct. 2015
    Excerpt: Next spring, del Peral (who has only half a brain) will graduate from Curry College, where she has made the dean’s list every semester since freshman year.
    http://www.mentalfloss.com/art.....their-life

    The following study is particularly interesting because it lists many case studies where even more than half a brain is missing from a “whole person”

    Discrepancy Between Cerebral Structure and Cognitive Functioning: A Review – 2017
    Excerpt: The aforementioned student of mathematics had a global IQ of 130 and a verbal IQ of 140 at the age of 25 (Lorber, 1983), but had “virtually no brain” (Lewin 1980, p. 1232).,,,
    This student belonged to the group of patients that Lorber classified as having “extreme
    hydrocephalus,” meaning that more than 90% of their cranium appeared to be filled with cerebrospinal fluid (Lorber, 1983).,,,
    Apart from the above-mentioned student of mathematics, he described a woman with an extreme degree of hydrocephalus showing “virtually no cerebral mantle” who had an IQ of 118, a girl aged 5 who had an IQ of 123 despite extreme hydrocephalus, a 7-year-old boy with gross hydrocephalus and an IQ of 128, another young adult with gross hydrocephalus and a verbal IQ of 144, and a nurse and an English teacher who both led normal lives despite gross hydrocephalus.,,,
    Another interesting case is that of a 44-year-old woman with very gross hydrocephalus described by Masdeu (2008) and Masdeu et al. (2009). She had a global IQ of 98, worked as an administrator for a government agency, and spoke seven languages.,,,
    https://med.virginia.edu/perceptual-studies/wp-content/uploads/sites/360/2017/12/Discrepancy-between-cerebral-structure-and-cognitive-functioning-JNMD.pdf

    Besides “personhood”, there are also many other “abstract” immaterial things that the human mind thinks about that are not reducible to the material states of the brain.

    The Fundamental Difference Between Humans and Nonhuman Animals – Michael Egnor – November 5, 2015
    Excerpt: Human beings have mental powers that include the material mental powers of animals but in addition entail a profoundly different kind of thinking. Human beings think abstractly, and nonhuman animals do not. Human beings have the power to contemplate universals, which are concepts that have no material instantiation. Human beings think about mathematics, literature, art, language, justice, mercy, and an endless library of abstract concepts. Human beings are rational animals.
    Human rationality is not merely a highly evolved kind of animal perception. Human rationality is qualitatively different — ontologically different — from animal perception. Human rationality is different because it is immaterial. Contemplation of universals cannot have material instantiation, because universals themselves are not material and cannot be instantiated in matter.,,,
    It is a radical difference — an immeasurable qualitative difference, not a quantitative difference.
    We are more different from apes than apes are from viruses.,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....00661.html

    The Representation Problem and the Immateriality of the Mind – Michael Egnor – February 5, 2018
    Excerpt: The human mind is a composite of material particular thought and immaterial abstract thought. Interestingly, modern neuroscience supports this view. Perception of particulars maps with precision to brain anatomy, but abstract thought is not mapped in the same way. Material powers of the brain are ordinarily necessary for exercise of abstract thought (e.g., you have to be awake to think about justice), but matter is not sufficient for abstract thought.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2018/02/the-representation-problem-and-the-immateriality-of-the-mind/

  83. 83
    bornagain77 says:

    Immaterial “abstract” Mathematics is particularly interesting to think about.

    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

    If our mind, instead of being immaterial as is commonly held, were purely physical as the atheistic materialist holds, then how is it that our mind is even able to think about abstract immaterial concepts such as mathematics in the first place?

    Moreover, if atheistic materialism were true, and mathematics is basically, like consciousness, illusory, then why is it that science itself is so crucially dependent on this immaterial illusory thing of mathematics?

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner – 1960
    Excerpt: ,,certainly it is hard to believe that our reasoning power was brought, by Darwin’s process of natural selection, to the perfection which it seems to possess.,,,
    It is difficult to avoid the impression that a miracle confronts us here, quite comparable in its striking nature to the miracle that the human mind can string a thousand arguments together without getting itself into contradictions, or to the two miracles of the existence of laws of nature and of the human mind’s capacity to divine them.,,,
    The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve. We should be grateful for it and hope that it will remain valid in future research and that it will extend, for better or for worse, to our pleasure, even though perhaps also to our bafflement, to wide branches of learning.”
    https://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc/MathDrama/reading/Wigner.html

    It is extremely ironic that, besides Darwinian evolution already being shown to be mathematically impossible (Sanford, Dembski, Marks, Axe, Behe, Durston etc.. etc..), Darwinian evolution is now also falsified as being a scientific theory since it denies the very reality of the one thing it most needs, i.e. mathematics, in order to be considered scientific in the first place.

    Many times atheists will claim that there is no empirical evidence for the immaterial mind. Yet the fact of the matter is that they, apparently, never looked for any evidence. If they would have looked for evidence for the immaterial mind they certainly would have quickly found it.

    Materialism of the Gaps – Michael Egnor (Neurosurgeon) – January 29, 2009
    Excerpt: The evidence that some aspects of the mind are immaterial is overwhelming. It’s notable that many of the leading neuroscientists — Sherrington, Penfield, Eccles, Libet — were dualists. Dualism of some sort is the most reasonable scientific framework to apply to the mind-brain problem, because, unlike dogmatic materialism, it just follows the evidence.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....15901.html

    Do Conscious Thoughts Cause Behavior? -Roy F. Baumeister, E. J. Masicampo, and Kathleen D. Vohs – 2010
    Excerpt: The evidence for conscious causation of behavior is profound, extensive, adaptive, multifaceted, and empirically strong.
    http://carlsonschool.umn.edu/assets/165663.pdf

    “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

    The Case for the Soul: Quantum Biology – (7:25 minute mark – The Mind is able to modify the brain – Brain Plasticity, and Mindfulness control of DNA expression)
    https://youtu.be/6_xEraQWvgM?t=446

    To further drive the point home that the entire concept of ‘personhood’ will forever be beyond the scope of reductive materialistic explanations, it is good to remember Gödel’s incompleteness theorems.

    Gödel’s incompleteness theorems can be stated simply as such, “Anything you can draw a circle around cannot explain itself without referring to something outside the circle—something you have to assume but cannot prove”

    “Gödel’s incompleteness theorem (1931), proves that there are limits to what can be ascertained by mathematics. Kurt Gödel (ref. on cite), halted the achievement of a unifying all-encompassing theory of everything in his theorem that: “Anything you can draw a circle around cannot explain itself without referring to something outside the circle—something you have to assume but cannot prove”. Thus, based on the position that an equation cannot prove itself, the constructs are based on assumptions some of which will be unprovable.”
    Cf., Stephen Hawking & Leonard Miodinow, The Grand Design (2010) @ 15-6

    Gödel went on to state this in regards to the implications of his incompleteness theorems for reductive materialism.

    “In materialism all elements behave the same. It is mysterious to think of them as spread out and automatically united. For something to be a whole, it has to have an additional object, say, a soul or a mind.,,, Mind is separate from matter.”
    Kurt Gödel – Hao Wang’s supplemental biography of Gödel, A Logical Journey, MIT Press, 1996. [9.4.12]

    Gödel incompleteness theorems have now been extended to physics and now prove that the reductive materialistic explanations of Darwinian evolution will forever lack the explanatory power to be able to explain why any particular organism may take the basic macroscopic form that it takes:

    Quantum physics problem proved unsolvable: Gödel and Turing enter quantum physics – December 9, 2015
    Excerpt: A mathematical problem underlying fundamental questions in particle and quantum physics is provably unsolvable,,,
    It is the first major problem in physics for which such a fundamental limitation could be proven. The findings are important because they show that even a perfect and complete description of the microscopic properties of a material is not enough to predict its macroscopic behaviour.,,,
    “We knew about the possibility of problems that are undecidable in principle since the works of Turing and Gödel in the 1930s,” added Co-author Professor Michael Wolf from Technical University of Munich. “So far, however, this only concerned the very abstract corners of theoretical computer science and mathematical logic. No one had seriously contemplated this as a possibility right in the heart of theoretical physics before. But our results change this picture. From a more philosophical perspective, they also challenge the reductionists’ point of view, as the insurmountable difficulty lies precisely in the derivation of macroscopic properties from a microscopic description.”
    http://phys.org/news/2015-12-q.....godel.html

    Darwinism vs Biological Form – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyNzNPgjM4w

    That is to say that, in order to explain why any particular organism may take the specific form that it does, it is necessary to go beyond the reductive materialistic explanations of Darwinian evolution and, via Gödel, posit “a soul or a mind”.

    Moreover, positing a soul answers the simple, but profound, question of what is it exactly that keeps the trillions of cells of our material body from disintegrating into thermodynamic equilibrium “precisely for 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

    And to add further empirical evidence to the claim that it must be a ‘soul’ that is keeping our material bodies together “precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer”, advances in Quantum Biology now reveal that there is a transcendent, non-local, i.e. beyond space and time, component to our being that is found in every molecule of our material bodies…

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

  84. 84
    bornagain77 says:

    ,,, A transcendent component to our material bodies that is “conserved”. That is to say that it cannot be created nor destroyed,,,,, as Stuart Hameroff states in the following video: “the quantum information,, isn’t destroyed. It can’t be destroyed.,,, it’s possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body. Perhaps indefinitely as a soul.”

    “Let’s say the heart stops beating. The blood stops flowing. The microtubules lose their quantum state. But the quantum information, which is in the microtubules, isn’t destroyed. It can’t be destroyed. It just distributes and dissipates to the universe at large. If a patient is resuscitated, revived, this quantum information can go back into the microtubules and the patient says, “I had a near death experience. I saw a white light. I saw a tunnel. I saw my dead relatives.,,” Now if they’re not revived and the patient dies, then it’s possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body. Perhaps indefinitely as a soul.”
    – Stuart Hameroff – Quantum Entangled Consciousness – Life After Death – video (5:00 minute mark)
    https://youtu.be/jjpEc98o_Oo?t=300

    Thus, as far as empirical evidence and logic, via Godel, is concerned, the Christian Theist is sitting VERY well in his claim that he has a soul. A soul created by God in which the “whole person” can be rationally grounded. Whereas the “neuronal illusion” of the atheist is, once again, at a complete loss to coherently explain why he is should be considered a ‘real person’ instead of a ‘neuronal illusion’ in the first place,, as well the atheists is at a complete loss to coherently explain why any of the preceding evidence that was presented should be found to be as it is:

    Verses

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

    Psalm 139:13
    For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

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

    Matthew 16:26
    For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

    Matthew 22:37
    Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’

  85. 85
    Origenes says:

    Goodusername@

    Interestingly, there are many debates online from people who have (ostensively) read his books on this that argue amongst themselves over whether Dennett is actually claiming that consciousness is an illusion. Perhaps it comes down to how one defines “self”, “consciousness”, and maybe even “illusion”.

    What seems important to me, WRT our understanding of these terms, is the kind of properties we ascribe to consciousness (or self):

    *Free will*
    As I have argued, #63, I hold that consciousness must have real (top-down) power of its own — free will. If consciousness is depicted as just a link in a chain of determined events, then things no longer make sense. There would be no way to assess the truth of anything, since assessment would be tainted, just like everything else.

    *Rationality*
    Consciousness must be rational. If consciousness and its rational content comes about by fermions and bosons, which are governed by physical law rather than the rules of logic, then things no longer make sense.
    I’m not sure what Dennett or Strawson has to say on this topic, but Rosenberg, commendably, bites the bullet — according to him thoughts are not about anything.

    *Oneness*
    Consciousness must be one thing — as opposed to many things — see #66 #73.

    That’s a problem with these discussions – everyone seems to be mean different things by such words. Same with “free will”. You said that Dennett doesn’t believe in free will, but Dennett himself says he does, and Harris and Dennett have debated on the subject, with Harris arguing against free will and Dennett arguing for. Then again, Dennett is a determinist, so he might mean something different when he says “free will” than you do, as many believe that the two are incompatible.

    I agree. Moreover, I hold that philosophers who are unable to clearly state their ideas should be best ignored; Dennett being a case in point, but there are many more.

    But if determinism is incompatible with free will, then how can one believe that free will exists and believe that God knows the future?

    Personally I am neutral on whether God knows the future or not. Maybe he does, maybe not.

    The future is only knowable if it’s determined. If it’s not determined, then there is no future to know.

    Sounds perfectly reasonable to me. However, there is one objection to be made: possibly God can exist outside of time. Arguably, from this position, he can see the future even if we make free choices.

    But maybe one can then argue what it means for something to be “determined”!)

    I reject the possibility that everything is determined (including our thoughts and actions) simply because rationality would break down:

    IF the course of my thoughts and actions has been settled/guaranteed by entities beyond my causal reach, then I am not the author of ‘my’ thoughts. Even ‘my’ understanding would not be ‘mine’. Even my will to understanding would not be mine.

    If I must hold belief ‘X’ due to entities beyond my causal control, whether I want it or not, then it cannot be said that I believe ‘X’. And if do not believe ‘X’ I would also do so because it was settled by entities beyond my causal reach.

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