Mind Neuroscience News

2014: The naturalist theory of consciousness was as successful as ever.

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A similar level of success is expected in 2015.

Another grand theory to explain consciousness flickered briefly before joining its throng of predecessors.

Sam Harris allowed us to know why consciousness does not feel like a self Yes it does; it is how we know we are selves:

Sam Harris, whom we last wrote about here, where he complained about being defamed, gave an interview with philosopher Gary Gutting at the New York Times on “Sam Harris’s Vanishing Self.”

Well, that should take care of the defamation problem.

How can a vanishing self complain of defamation?

A Princeton prof attempted to explain consciousness too. Hush, we may be hearing answers now. (Nope.)

There was, of course, a continued push for consciousness as a fourth state of matter, which raises the key question: Would we give up naturalism to solve the hard problem of consciousness? Apparently not.

Too bad really because the great physicists knew that consciousness is immaterial. But orthodoxy may be more important to naturalists than understanding.

See also: Can we talk? Human language as the business end of consciousness

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45 Replies to “2014: The naturalist theory of consciousness was as successful as ever.

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    OT: John Cleese: The most important question is “Is there an afterlife?” – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRH043H0sgw

    Actually, as a Christian, I would put that question second to the question of, ‘Did Jesus really die on a cross and then rise again, and is He really who He said He is?’

    “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
    – C.S. Lewis – Mere Christianity, pages 40-41

    Historians and critics hostile to Christianity often provide some of the best testimony in support of the facts surrounding Jesus’s resurrection (since they are in fact giving testimony against their inclination to try to do otherwise)!

    “One of the most certain facts of history is that Jesus was crucified on orders of the Roman prefect of Judea, Pontius Pilate.”
    Skeptic, Bart Ehrman, Jesus Interrupted (2008) pg. 162

    “The historian… cannot justifiably deny the empty tomb”, because using standard historical criteria, “the evidence is firm and plausible enough to necessitate the conclusion that the tomb was indeed found empty.”
    Michael Grant, Jesus: An Historian’s Review of the Gospels (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1992), p. 176.

    “It may be taken as historically certain that Peter and the disciples had experiences after Jesus’ death in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ.”
    (Gerd Lüdemann – Skeptical historian (and atheist), What Really Happened to Jesus?, trans. John Bowden (Louisville, Kent.: Westminster John Knox Press, 1995), p. 8.)

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    OT: News you might like this:

    Defying textbook science, study finds new role for proteins – January 1, 2015
    Excerpt: Open any introductory biology textbook and one of the first things you’ll learn is that our DNA spells out the instructions for making proteins, tiny machines that do much of the work in our body’s cells. Results from a study published on Jan. 2 in Science defy textbook science, showing for the first time that the building blocks of a protein, called amino acids, can be assembled without blueprints – DNA and an intermediate template called messenger RNA (mRNA). A team of researchers has observed a case in which another protein specifies which amino acids are added.
    “This surprising discovery reflects how incomplete our understanding of biology is,” says first author Peter Shen, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in biochemistry at the University of Utah.,,,
    “We caught Rqc2 in the act,” says Frost. “But the idea was so far-fetched. The onus was on us to prove it.”
    It took extensive biochemical analysis to validate their hypothesis. New RNA sequencing techniques showed that the Rqc2/ribosome complex had the potential to add amino acids to stalled proteins because it also bound tRNAs,
    http://phys.org/news/2015-01-d.....teins.html

  3. 3
    Seversky says:

    bornagain77 @ 1

    “It may be taken as historically certain that Peter and the disciples had experiences after Jesus’ death in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ.”
    (Gerd Lüdemann – Skeptical historian (and atheist), What Really Happened to Jesus?, trans. John Bowden (Louisville, Kent.: Westminster John Knox Press, 1995), p. 8.)

    This would be the same Gerd Ludemann about whom William Lane Craig wrote as follows:

    Gerd Lüdemann’s provocative hypothesis that early Christian belief in Jesus’ resurrection was the product of hallucinatory experiences originally induced by guilt-complexes in Peter and Paul is assessed and contrasted with the traditional resurrection hypothesis in terms of the usual standards of hypothesis testing: explanatory power, explanatory scope, plausibility, ad hoc-ness, accord with accepted beliefs, and superiority to rival hypotheses.

    Gerd Lüdemann has become one of the most prominent and sharpest critics of the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus.

    [My emphases]

    I’m glad to see you continue to faithfully represent the views of the people you are quoting.

  4. 4
    Mapou says:

    If you got 15 minutes of your time to waste, then listen to this know-it-all materialist nerd explain that the secret of consciousness is that there is no secret of consciousness.

    Steve Grand on Consciousness

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky, I did not claim that Gerd Lüdemann thought the experiences were real. In fact I emphasized that he was an atheist giving hostile testimony about Christianity. That he admits to one of the ‘minimal facts’ about the resurrection of Jesus and tries to explain it away with a desperate appeal to ‘mass hallucination’ is clearly a point of favor as to veracity of the historical evidence, since he had to go to such extreme measures to try to deny the weight of the historical evidence.

    Here is a excellent interview that gets this ‘hostile witness’ approach to verifying the veracity of the resurrection across very well:

    Dr. Gary Habermas : The “Minimal Facts” Approach to Jesus’ Resurrection – May 2014
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ew47Ky2B71U

  6. 6
    Dionisio says:

    Seversky

    Please, would you mind to explain why you answered a question posted @30 but did not answer two questions posted @29 (all addressed to you) in the thread pointed to by the following link?

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-539400

  7. 7
    Dionisio says:

    Seversky,

    Please, would you mind to explain why you answered a question posted @30 but did not answer two questions posted @29 (all addressed to you) in the thread pointed to by the following link?

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-539400

  8. 8
    Dionisio says:

    Seversky:

    Please, would you mind to explain why you answered a question posted @30 but did not answer two questions posted @29 (all addressed to you) in the thread pointed to by the following link?

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-539400

  9. 9
    Dionisio says:

    Seversky,

    I have repeated this question in order to increase the odds that you won’t miss it. 🙂

    Please, would you mind to explain why you answered a question posted @30 but did not answer two questions posted @29 (all addressed to you) in the thread pointed to by the following link?

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-539400

  10. 10
    Seversky says:

    Dionisio @ 6,7,8 and 9

    I am no more bound to answer any questions than you or anyone else here. That said, I agree I should have supported my claim and I apologize for not doing so.

    The answer to your first question is that the comment from you that I quoted;

    Well, there are some folks out there who have decided for everybody else to tell our kids in public school textbooks that it’s a known fact that it all happened by the power of the magic formula RV+NS+T=E!

    in both tone an content, sounded exactly like what I would expect from an ID/C critic of evolution.

    As for the second question, my claim was founded on the results of survey of over 900 high school biology teachers published in 2011:

    Teaching creationism in public schools has consistently been ruled unconstitutional in federal courts, but according to a national survey of more than 900 public high school biology teachers, it continues to flourish in the nation’s classrooms.

    Researchers found that only 28 percent of biology teachers consistently follow the recommendations of the National Research Council to describe straightforwardly the evidence for evolution and explain the ways in which it is a unifying theme in all of biology. At the other extreme, 13 percent explicitly advocate creationism, and spend at least an hour of class time presenting it in a positive light.

    That leaves what the authors call “the cautious 60 percent,” who avoid controversy by endorsing neither evolution nor its unscientific alternatives. In various ways, they compromise.

    The survey, published in the Jan. 28 issue of Science, found that some avoid intellectual commitment by explaining that they teach evolution only because state examinations require it, and that students do not need to “believe” in it. Others treat evolution as if it applied only on a molecular level, avoiding any discussion of the evolution of species. And a large number claim that students are free to choose evolution or creationism based on their own beliefs.

    I found it disgraceful that 13% per cent of those teachers openly advocated Christian creationism in the science classroom. Those teachers should be disciplined or at least removed from their posts for being in breach both of their contracts of employment and their duties to their students.

    What I found even more infuriating though, particularly in view of sustained Christian attempts to portray themselves as an oppressed minority, was the 60% of teachers who avoided mentioning evolution at all. Comments from some made it clear they feared intimidation from parents and students and felt they could expect no support from the local educational administration. They were on their own and so they sensibly kept their heads down. Who are the oppressed here?

  11. 11
    rvb8 says:

    I can give you one case Dionisio. John Freshwater of Mt Vernon City was accused of branding children with crosses, willfully keeping religious teaching materials and a bible visible in his science class, and constantly denigrating Darwin’s theory.

    He is one, this court case took years, with Freshwater’s crackpot lawyer trying to get it to the supreme court. Luckily like all such cases (except Scopes) religion lost.

    This case is extremely well documented by the Columbus Dispatch, and covered brilliantly by Richard B. Hoppe at Pandas’. Not a whisper here however.

    As I said this is one case of small town efforts to undermine evolution, at the touch of your mouse, if you’re truly curious there are many others. Are you truly curious?

  12. 12
    Dionisio says:

    #10 Seversky

    Thank you for responding.

    Happy New Year!

    I am no more bound to answer any questions than you or anyone else here.

    Agree. However, I like to be reminded about any question I might have left unanswered unintentionally. Hence sometimes I may remind others too, in case they simply forgot or missed seeing the questions.

    I agree I should have supported my claim and I apologize for not doing so.

    No problem. That might have happened to me too. 🙂

    In my first reading of your post #10 I’m having a little problem trying to relate your answers to my questions. But you don’t have to do anything about this yet. Usually I need quite some time in order to digest what I read. C’est la vie! 🙂

    Here’s the originally referred post with your comments and my questions.

    #29 Dionisio

    #28 Seversky

    Then you’ll be happy to know that there are a few so-called science teachers who are failing in their duty to their students by teaching them in the science classroom that the theory of evolution is wrong and Christian creationism is right, the world was created by God out of nothing in six days flat.

    [Q1] Can you provide the source of that information?

    BTW, [Q2] how do you know I’ll be happy to know that?

    I’ll read your post #10 carefully again, to see if I can “connect the dots” and understand it better. I’ll try to comment on this later.

    Just keep in mind that the main question was really Q2.

    However, if you want to help me with this, would you mind telling me which part of your post #10 correspond to your answer to my Q1 and which part tries to answer my Q2? Thank you.

  13. 13
    Dionisio says:

    #11 rvb8

    Thank you for commenting on this too. You may want to read my related post #12.

    As you may see, your comments seem to relate to the question labeled as Q1. The nature of Q2 does not allow you to answer it, because it’s very personal (subjective). Only Seversky can answer it.

    Happy New Year!

    🙂

  14. 14
    Dionisio says:

    Seversky and rvb8

    please, keep in mind that the term “Christians” have been overused and abused through history, specially these days. I have relatives and friends who are very active in politics and/or other social issues, appearing as very intransigent “Christians”, but perhaps they can’t describe in few words the bottom line of the Christian faith. Hence sometimes they might act in ways that contradict true Christianity. Perhaps I have made that same mistake sometimes too.
    Appearances are deceiving. If I’m in Christ, I should submit to the authorities, as long as I’m not put in a position to do something against God’s will. If some schools are teaching as “fact” something that is not a proven fact or at least that proof can’t be easily produced by those who claim it, it is not my prerogative to do something against that. All I can do is send my kids to another school or teach them at home. However, I can openly express my opinion on the subject when required to do so. Well, so far.
    I believe that the true Christian church was created by its leader, Christ, but not to be part of any earthly government or impose rules on any society in this world. Christians must be spiritual light and salt in the society. We are supposed to love God with all our strength and mind, and love our neighbors as we love ourselves. True Christians are sinful humans like everyone else, but they strongly believe that their faith in the effect of Christ’s redemptive death on the cross and His resurrection, have saved them spiritually forever. We want to share that good news with everyone else around us, so that others may find the same source of true joy too.
    Do you see what I mean? Thank you.
    PS. What I just wrote may give you a hint about my question labeled Q2. 🙂

  15. 15
    rvb8 says:

    “Can you provide the source of that information?” Your question to Seversky after he asserted that many science teachers were teaching creationism instead of good science. I gave you a well documented answer showing a charlatan doing just that, and you reply, I’ll paraphrase; “I don’t like you to answer questions not directed at you.” Really?

    Is this how ID works? Information, answers, and relevant details, must only be provided to the person whom directly requests them? No wonder you’ve achieved nought.

    “Only Seversky can answer it.” Change ‘Seversky’ for ‘God’ and I believe we have summed up the entirety of the ID research programme.

  16. 16
    Dionisio says:

    #15 rvb8

    In what post # did I write that?

  17. 17
    Dionisio says:

    @15 rvb8

    In what post # did I write that?

  18. 18
    Dionisio says:

    rvb8 @15

    In what post # did I write that?

  19. 19
    Dionisio says:

    rvb8

    In what post # did I write that?

    I want to see if it was a mistake I made, in which case I must correct it and apologize for it. But first I want to see the exact text.

  20. 20
    rvb8 says:

    Post No 29, at the link you provide above, four times here, at posts 6,7,8,& 9.

    Incidentally Seversky answered this question by providing ample evidence of deceitful religious science teachers trying to rig the game in favour of myths.

  21. 21
    Dionisio says:

    #15 rvb8

    …and you reply, I’ll paraphrase; “I don’t like you to answer questions not directed at you.” Really?

    In what post # did I write that to you? I don’t see it in #29. It must have been another post?

    I want to see if it was a mistake I made, in which case I must correct it and apologize for it. But first I want to see the exact text.

  22. 22
    Dionisio says:

    @15 rvb8

    …and you reply, I’ll paraphrase; “I don’t like you to answer questions not directed at you.” Really?

    In what post # did I write that to you? I don’t see it in #29. It must have been another post?

    I want to see if it was a mistake I made, in which case I must correct it and apologize for it. But first I want to see the exact text.

  23. 23
    Dionisio says:

    rvb8 @15

    …and you reply, I’ll paraphrase; “I don’t like you to answer questions not directed at you.” Really?

    In what post # did I write that to you? I don’t see it in #29. It must have been another post?

    I want to see if it was a mistake I made, in which case I must correct it and apologize for it. But first I want to see the exact text.

  24. 24
    Dionisio says:

    rvb8

    …and you reply, I’ll paraphrase; “I don’t like you to answer questions not directed at you.” Really?

    In what post # did I write that to you? I don’t see it in #29. It must have been another post?

    I want to see if it was a mistake I made, in which case I must correct it and apologize for it. But first I want to see the exact text.

  25. 25
    hrun0815 says:

    Dionisio, I believe that at some point you were asking about etiquette of forum discussions.

    As you probably know, it is bad form to spam s forum by repeating the same post multiple times. My kids do the same thing in real life, but they are not yet school-aged, so it is more forgivable but equally annoying.

  26. 26
    Dionisio says:

    #25 hrun0815

    Say what?

  27. 27
    Dionisio says:

    #25 hrun0815

    Look who’s talking!

    🙂

  28. 28
    Dionisio says:

    #25 hrun0815

    What, don’t like your own medicine?

    🙂

  29. 29
    Dionisio says:

    #25 hrun0815

    The blog administrator and the thread moderator can screen out my posts.

    But I appreciate your wax-loaded advice.

    🙂

  30. 30
    Dionisio says:

    #25 hrun0815

    Having fun yet?

    🙂

  31. 31
    Dionisio says:

    #25 hrun0815

    I believe that at some point you were asking about etiquette of forum discussions.

    Still am. But apparently some of you don’t understand that polite language.

    This is just to help you understand how bad your own medicine tastes.

    Got it now?

  32. 32
    Dionisio says:

    @25 hrun0815

    I believe that at some point you were asking about etiquette of forum discussions.

    Still am. But apparently some of you don’t understand that polite language.

    This is just to help you understand how bad your own medicine tastes.

    Got it now?

  33. 33
    Dionisio says:

    hrun0815 @25

    I believe that at some point you were asking about etiquette of forum discussions.

    Still am. But apparently some of you don’t understand that polite language.

    This is just to help you understand how bad your own medicine tastes.

    Got it now?

  34. 34
    Dionisio says:

    #25 hrun0815

    I believe that at some point you were asking about etiquette of forum discussions.

    Still am. But apparently some of you don’t understand that polite language.

    This is just to help you and your comrades along with your fellow travelers to understand how bad your own medicine tastes.

    Got it now?

  35. 35
    Dionisio says:

    #25 hrun0815

    I believe that at some point you were asking about etiquette of forum discussions.

    Still am. But apparently some of you don’t understand that polite language.

    This is just to help you and your comrades along with your fellow travelers to understand how bad your own medicine tastes.

    Maybe you’ll finally realize that it’s better to get serious.

    It would be more pleasant.

    Got it now?

  36. 36
    hrun0815 says:

    Got it now?

    No. Sorry. And it turns out the reposting the same post will not help.

    Maybe you’ll finally realize that it’s better to get serious.

    The irony. It’s string with this one.

  37. 37
    Dionisio says:

    rvb8

    Please, don’t forget to answer my question @24.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-539969

    Thank you.

  38. 38
    Dionisio says:

    rvb8

    You keep referring to a text that allegedly I wrote, but have not produced any link to an associated post or simply the post # and the thread name. Either way is fine. But try to document your claim. That should help.

    Thanks.

  39. 39
    Dionisio says:

    hrun0815

    You may want to consider giving a hand to your buddy rvb8 with finding a post that he keeps referring to?
    I can’t help with that. I don’t know how to search for a given text within this blog. Otherwise, I would gladly share the information.

  40. 40
    rvb8 says:

    You deny writing on, Dec 21st 2014 at the blog entitled, “Mystery at the Heart of Life” at post No 7, that some folks want to instill in our youth the lies of RV+NS+T=E ? (By the way, what is RV? Do you mean RM, Random Mutation? And what is T, your invention?) At post No 28 of the same title Seversky said; then you’ll be happy to know that a whole bunch of christian PUBLIC school teachers defy evolution and teach, ‘God didit.’ (This is called paraphrasing, it means you take the words of the speaker, retain the meaning, but economise on the wording; understand?) At post No29 of the same entry you ask the two questions I and Seversky answered here.

    At post No 24 here, just above, entitled, ‘2014: The naturalist theory of consciousness was as successful as ever’, you ask me “In what post did I write that to you?” Answer: You never wrote that to me, that is why I used the word, ‘paraphrase’. Do you understand ‘subtlety’, and ‘meaning’, or are you another ‘one glove fits all’ fundamentalist, multiple poster, simpleton.

    Why do you post plurally, a psychologist would assess you as not confidant. When confronted with your disingenuousness you take fright and hide behind the Lord Jesus Christ; am I right?

    Dog bless.

  41. 41
    Dionisio says:

    #40 rvb8

    Ok, if I never wrote that to you, can you show what is exactly the text I wrote, that you used it as the base for your paraphrasing exercise?

    Your paraphrasing doesn’t tell me much in this case, because that’s your subjective interpretation of what I wrote. I keep asking you to produce the original document that you paraphrased.

    How many times will I have to repeat my question before you understand it or you confess that you have finally realized that your paraphrasing wasn’t accurate enough to have been used to support your claims?

    Why is it so difficult for you to produce the original text that you have tried to paraphrase?

    Don’t you realize that the doubtful accuracy of your subjective interpretation of the original text can only be clarified if you show the original text?

    Why can’t you point to the original text that I wrote?

    Is it that you don’t want to show that your interpretation of that text was far from accurate?

    If someone writes that I’ll be happy to know something, and I ask how does that someone knows that I’ll be happy to know that something, the interlocutor should explain what he meant by what he wrote, unless he doesn’t care about being understood accurately.

    I can ask my questions as many times as I deem it nnecessary until I get an understandable answer, unless something keeps me from asking. In cases like this, where the interlocutor seems to have problems understanding the request (or seems to ignore it), it’s fine to repeat the question, as a reminder. I may keep reminding you about this when I see you posting in any thread within this blog, under your pseudonym rvb8.

    Please, try once more. Thanks.

  42. 42
    Dionisio says:

    #40 rvb8

    You deny writing on, Dec 21st 2014 at the blog entitled, “Mystery at the Heart of Life” at post No 7, that some folks want to instill in our youth the lies of RV+NS+T=E ?

    Before I answer your questions referring to specific text, please, would you mind quoting the text that I wrote?
    Do you have problems quoting text for reference?
    Is it a technical difficulty associated with the device you use to write your comments on? Or is it an intentional action in order to hide a subtle agenda to introduce doubt and confusion? Or is it simply a matter of style? Or is it another reason?

  43. 43
    Dionisio says:

    hrun0815

    Don’t you want to help your comrade rvb8 with searching for a missing text he apparently can’t find?

    🙂

  44. 44
    Dionisio says:

    rvb8

    Here’s a hint to facilitate your ‘difficult’ search:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-539940

    You may want to review my posts # 12 and 13 in this thread. Maybe next time you’ll try and read it more carefully so that you can understand it.

    However, if you don’t understand it well, please, quote the text you don’t understand and ask me what is that you don’t understand and will try my best to clarify it for you or correct it if it is a mistake (I make many of them daily).

    Would this work for you?

    BTW, let me know when you find the text you paraphrased.

    Thanks.

    🙂

  45. 45
    Dionisio says:

    rvb8 and hrun0815

    Since you seem so willing to assist one another, you may want to consider giving a little help to your comrade Seversky with responding my post #12 in this thread:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-539940

    If you see him around, please, would you mind reminding him about this?

    Thanks.

    🙂

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