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Vid: Is the brain the boss of the mind?

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Here’s a vid from Scientific American, “Free Will: Is Your Brain the Boss of You?”:

Michael Gazzaniga, director of the SAGE Center for the Study of Mind at the University of California, Santa Barbara, is at the forefront of the research into free will, and its implications in courtroom trials and in the expectations of different societies. His thoughts and proclamations are captured in an engaging video called Free Will, created by Joseph LeDoux, a well-known expert on the emotional brain at New York University. The video is the second in a series he is putting together with director Alexis Gambis called My Mind’s Eye. (The first episode featured Ned Block on the mind-body problem.) They have given Scientific American the chance to post these videos first, on our site.

Vid:

How Free Is Your Will? An interview with Michael Gazzaniga from Imaginal Disc on Vimeo.

Let us know what you think.

PS: The “mind-body problem” is a lot like the “hard problem of consciousness.” Reality isn’t what accepted theories need, and it’s a problem.

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Hat tip: Stephanie West Allen at Brains on Purpose

35 Replies to “Vid: Is the brain the boss of the mind?

  1. 1
    Robert Byers says:

    Whats with the music stuff?
    Anyways its all missing the big point as I see it.
    We don’t have minds. We only are souls and the great thinking goes on there. Immaterial operations.
    the mind , I think, is just a priority memories organized thing.
    The bible always presents our minds as a minor point in our thinking.’
    its soul , heart, mind.
    YES our memory machine runs all our material being. moving our arms and vision is all about a memory operation.
    Its been the error of not seeing the memory as the great mecahanical operation between our soul/memories/and body.
    healing could come better by accepting gods word on human thinking boundaries.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Split-brain studies don’t offer the foundation for inferring that the brain is deterministic that the Dr. in the video thinks it does:

    Here is a first person account of the split-brain experiment in which the person in the experiment testifies to knowing that his free will was not being followed:

    Quote: “BTW, with regards to your citation of the split-brain experiments (and people who suffer from that due to injury, etc). I was involved in one of those split-brain experiments myself. (Which is possible by temporarily numbing the corpus callosum.) And believe me, it was the damnedest thing. The thing is, even though different parts of my brain were acting as if they had no knowledge of “each other”, behind it all was still “me”, consciously experiencing the strange disconnection.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-460565

    Needless to say, it is a non sequitur to infer that since you can produce a situation in which your free will is not being followed, and you know it is not being followed, then you have no free will to be followed. On the contrary, it merely proves you have a free will that is not being followed since your subjective self is aware of the disconnect between its will and the bodies actions.

    Along this line, In the following videos, although the girl in the videos was written off as hopelessly retarded by everyone who saw her, reveal that there was/is indeed a gentle intelligence, a “me”, a “soul’, within the girl that was/is trapped within her body. And that that “me” was/is unable to express herself properly to others because of her neurological disorder.

    Severely Handicapped Girl Suddenly Expresses Intelligence At Age 11 – very moving video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNZVV4Ciccg

    Carly’s Café – Experience Autism Through Carly’s Eyes – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmDGvquzn2k

    Hemispherectomies go even further in clarifying the issue. If the mind of a person were merely the brain, as materialists hold, then if half of a brain were removed 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:

    Miracle Of Mind-Brain Recovery Following Hemispherectomies – Dr. Ben Carson – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zBrY77mBNg

    Dr. Gary Mathern – What Can You Do With Half A Brain? – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrKijBx_hAw

    Removing Half of Brain Improves Young Epileptics’ Lives:
    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; 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.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/1997/08.....lives.html

    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

    Quantum Mechanics goes even further in clarifying the free will issue. In the following experiment, the claim that past material states determine future conscious choices (determinism) is directly falsified by the fact that present conscious choices are, in fact, effecting past material states:

    Quantum physics mimics spooky action into the past – April 23, 2012
    http://phys.org/news/2012-04-q.....ction.html

    In other words, if my conscious choices really are just merely the result of whatever state the material particles in my brain happen to be in in the past (deterministic) how in blue blazes are my present choices instantaneously effecting the state of material particles into the past? This experiment is simply impossible for any coherent materialistic explanation!

    Of note: since our free will choices figure so prominently in how reality is actually found to be constructed in our understanding of quantum mechanics, I think a Christian perspective on just how important our choices are in this temporal life, in regards to our eternal destiny, is very fitting:

    “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell.”
    – C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce

    Verse and Music:

    Deuteronomy 30:19
    This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live

    Kutless- Never Too Late
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIKQbqawdF8

  3. 3
    awstar says:

    Let us know what you think.

    PS: The “mind-body problem” is a lot like the “hard problem of consciousness.” Reality isn’t what accepted theories need, and it’s a problem.

    I didn’t watch the video — I guess my brain overrode my free will and chose not to watch.

    RB said:

    The bible always presents our minds as a minor point in our thinking.’
    its soul , heart, mind.

    I suspect that the mind serves as a differentiator (judge) between what the brain is signaling as to what is happening real time (sensation); what we remember of the consequences of that happening before (memory); and what our “hearts” (biblically speaking, the seat of our desires) would like our bodies to do about the sensations we are sensing.

    If I see a bowl of ice cream but have never eaten ice cream I have no memory of what it tastes like. If someone persuades me to taste it by saying it tastes good, I remember what tasting good is like (brain function) and that my “heart” likes the sensation of eating stuff that tastes good (soul function), and if I trust the one who is telling me that it tastes good (brain function) my mind decides (soul function) to go ahead and taste it because it wants to satisfy the desires of the heart (soul function) and there doesn’t appear to be unwanted consequences that would trump the desires of my heart (brain function).

    So it is the desires of my heart (soul function) that rule my mind, but my mind can decide that avoiding the consequences (as memories stored in the brain) is better for me than giving into the desires of my heart.

    If God should harden my heart, then He would force my mind to decide to do what my heart wants even though my brain tells me I will regret it.

    If I have the Spirit of God dwelling in me, I am free to actually choose either what my heart desires, what the world says I ought to do, or what God desires. Without the Spirit of God dwelling in me, I am a slave to both the desires of my heart and the traditions of the world; And both are often contrary to the desires of God. But if God’s Spirit dwells within me to give me the knowledge of God, then I am free to choose His desires for me; which are always in my best interest because He loves me and gave Himself for me.

  4. 4
    Axel says:

    ‘Reality isn’t what accepted theories need, and it’s a problem.’

    At first I thought that was a hilariously wry understatement. But it is anything but funny, when the putative brains of the world, certainly those with the formal authority, doggedly insist on making 2 + 2 anything but 4, because it doesn’t figure on their personal wish-list.

  5. 5
    Axel says:

    Your concluding paragraph is particularly beautifully expressed, awstar.

  6. 6
    Vishnu says:

    The brain is more than a mere “memory machine.” It provides the functionality of logical thought, the basis of various talents and abilities individuals have, determines our personalities, and is very active in the choices “we” make. We are not merely spirits in a rowboat. The interplay between consciousness and the brain is deep and profound. If you don’t accept this, then get sloppy drunk and see how your personality and thought processes change.

  7. 7
    kairosfocus says:

    “There’s a biologic machine in charge . . . ”

    Whoops, GIGO trouble and the problem that neural network processing is about blind cause effect computational chains not genuine insightful, ground-consequent meaningful rational contemplation and responsible decision.

    Ideology drives science and influences society (including plausibility structures) and it matters.

    Matters immensely.

    What is a man profited if he gains the world but loses his very self in the process?

    KF

    PS: Getting drunk lowers inhibitions. Inhibitions impose prudential blocks on impulses that would otherwise tend to drive behaviour. There is a world of difference between such and a case of inner transformation and purification. The old term for this was spiritual growth through sanctification. (Argh! a crucifix, horrors say the vampires with their aversion. Actually yes. Sanctification carries a price: deny self, take up patibulum and follow one who knew full well his path led straight to Golgotha at the hands of corrupt elites of various stripes, but then onwards to a tomb with the stone rolled away.)

  8. 8
    Vishnu says:

    KF: PS: Getting drunk lowers inhibitions.

    It does a lot more that than. It affects intelligence, judgement, foresight, because of it’s effect on the frontal lobes, where those mental faculties are primarily processed. The area of the brain associated with emotion are less affected, and so the more alcohol one consumes the more the frontal lobes are effectively put the sleep, leaving the person increasing more emotional in an irrational way, effectively causing a personality change.

    Point is, the brain is not merely some “memory machine”. The interplay between consciousness (which is not caused by the brain) and the brain is deep and profound. Every aspect of human personality and experience is shaped, and limited and enabled by the brain. However, the brain does not “generate consciousness.” One might say the brain is the “demiurge” of a human construction, the interface between whatever consciousness is, and the spacetime universe.

  9. 9
    bornagain77 says:

    “For this is the will of God,
    that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men–
    as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of
    God.”
    –1 Peter 2:15-16

  10. 10
    Axel says:

    awstar, the word, ‘freedom’, of course, is grotesquely misunderstood in the modern world, which harbours little or no restriction on the kind of freedom they view as true freedom, namely, what we call, ‘licence’.

    ‘Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.’
    Matthew 11:29

    Yoke? Rest? To recast Ben Hogan’s comment on Jack Niklaus’ game: ‘That is an association of words with which the World is not familiar.

  11. 11
    Acartia_bogart says:

    RB, since the ID crowd is always harping on about evidence, where is the evidence for the soul? And, keep in mind, the bible is not evidence.

    However, there is plenty of evidence that altering the physical and chemical nature of the brain (both materialist aspects) can change everything about us. There are plenty of examples of a person’s entire personality and the way they behave being changed as the result of a stroke or other injuries to the brain. Or are you saying that our personality is not part of our soul?

  12. 12
    OldArmy94 says:

    Clearly, the biological processes are interrelated to the functioning of the mind. But, just as clearly, the mind is the unseen force that commands the brain’s functions. It is similar to how a conductor leads an orchestra. If the first chair violinist refuses to play according to the direction of the conductor, then the symphony suffers. No matter the intent of the conductor, the musicians must do their part for the plan to unfold in harmony.

    One reason, among many, that I accept the claims of Christianity is that it is an intelligent faith that acknowledges the role of both the mind AND brain. Long before an understanding of how the brain actually functioned, Scripture told us that we are to be rational, reasoned beings who are not slaves to emotion.

  13. 13
    awstar says:

    A-B said:

    where is the evidence for the soul? And, keep in mind, the bible is not evidence.

    The Bible is so evidence of the soul. It is historical data. You are free to choose to ignore the evidence, call it weak evidence, unconvincing evidence, contrary evidence, or stupid evidence, but you cannot deny that it is evidence, because for 3500 years it has been presented as evidence and still stands as the best explanation for the soul.

    Besides, scripture is written by souls through the spirit. It’s very existence is evidence of the soul. It’s an effect that requires a cause and the only cause that has been suggested thus far that is reasonable is the existence of the soul. Language is evidence of the soul, logic is evidence of the soul, sense of right and wrong is evidence of the soul, justice is evidence of the soul, truth, beauty and goodness is evidence of a soul, philosophy is evidence of the soul. In fact the Bible even has a reasonable explanation of why you say “where is the evidence for the soul.”

    You might as well say “where is the evidence I exist — and don’t use the fact that I’m standing right in front of you as evidence.

  14. 14
    bornagain77 says:

    “The failure of evolutionary naturalism to provide a form of transcendent self-understanding that does not undermine our confidence in our natural faculties should not lead us to abandon the search for transcendent self-understanding. There is no reason to allow our confidence in the objective truth of our moral beliefs, or for that matter our confidence in the objective truth of our mathematical or scientific reasoning, to depend on whether this is consistent with the assumption that those capacities are the product of natural selection. Given how speculative evolutionary explanations of human mental faculties are, they seem too weak a ground for putting into question the most basic forms of thought. Our confidence in the truth of propositions that seem evident on reflection should not be shaken so easily (and, I would add, cannot be shaken on these sorts of grounds without a kind of false consciousness).”
    ~ Thomas Nagel, Mind and Cosmos (2012) Oxford University Press

    =============
    What is it like to be a bat? – Thomas Nagel – 1974
    http://organizations.utep.edu/.....el_bat.pdf

    With ‘biological sunscreen,’ mantis shrimp see the reef in a whole different light – July 3, 2014
    Excerpt: In an unexpected discovery, researchers have found that the complex eyes of mantis shrimp are equipped with optics that generate ultraviolet (UV) color vision. Mantis shrimp’s six UV photoreceptors pick up on different colors within the UV spectrum based on filters made from an ingredient other animals depend on as built-in biological sunscreen, according to research reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on July 3.
    “The mantis shrimp visual system contains six types of photoreceptors functioning completely outside the visual range of humans,” says Michael Bok of the University of Maryland Baltimore County. “Surprisingly, they produce their six UV photoreceptors using only two types of visual pigments by pairing one visual pigment with one of four UV filters. The UV filters block certain wavelengths of light from reaching the photoreceptors, chromatically shifting their sensitivity.”
    The filters are composed of so-called mycosporine-like amino acids (or MAAs), which are commonly found in the skin or exoskeleton of marine organisms, where they absorb damaging UV rays. They do the same thing in mantis shrimp eyes, but for an entirely novel purpose. ,,,
    Despite the new discovery, the researchers say, it’s still tough to imagine the reef as mantis shrimp see it. “The way their eyes are built and how visual information is processed in their brains is so fundamentally different [from] humans that is very difficult to conceptualize what the world actually looks like to them,” Bok says.
    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_.....062614.php

  15. 15
    OldArmy94 says:

    Just as evidence for intelligent design is gathered from our daily experience, the evidence for the soul is also gathered in such a manner. As has been said before, dead things stay dead. Why is that? What animates their structure? We can break it into biochemical pieces, but that still does not explain why LIFE is LIVING.

    By the way, awstar, that was a devastatingly effective and poignant response to the claim that the Bible is not evidence.

  16. 16
    Acartia_bogart says:

    Awstar:

    The Bible is so evidence of the soul.

    I can accept the bible as evidence,although often weak, of historic fact. But the bible as evidence of the soul is as valid as Star Wars as evidence of the Force.

  17. 17
    bornagain77 says:

    Acartia_bogart, it seems readily apparent that you have a severe bias in how you look at the evidence that is driven primarily by your disdain for anything to do with God. If you could bring yourself to set aside your philosophical bias and look at the evidence fairly, perhaps you could begin to see how untenable the atheist’s position actually is. Let me illustrate. Whereas it is impossible for naturalism to explain how consciousness arises from a material basis, as these leading atheists themselves admit,

    But the hard problem of consciousness is so hard that I can’t even imagine what kind of empirical findings would satisfactorily solve it. In fact, I don’t even know what kind of discovery would get us to first base, not to mention a home run.’
    David Barash – Materialist/Atheist Darwinian Psychologist

    ‘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

    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

    ,,, Whereas it is impossible for naturalism to explain how consciousness arises from a material basis, on the other hand, the Theist has a fairly easy time showing that it impossible for consciousness to be reduced to a material basis. One simple way of demonstrating that the mind is not the same thing as the brain comes from utilizing the ‘Law Of Identity’ to separate properties of the mind from properties of the brain:

    Mind-Body Dualism – Is the Mind Purely a Function of the Brain? by Michael Egnor
    Conclusion: Strict materialism predicts that mental function will always correlate with brain function, because mental function is the same thing as brain function. Dualism predicts that mental function and brain function won’t always correlate, because mental function isn’t the same thing as brain function. The Cambridge findings are more consistent with the dualist prediction than with the strict materialist prediction.
    http://www.godandscience.org/e.....alism.html

    Six reasons why you should believe in non-physical minds – podcast and summary (Law of Identity: 6 properties of mind that are not identical to properties of the brain, thus the mind is not the brain)
    http://winteryknight.wordpress.....cal-minds/

    The Mind and Materialist Superstition – Six “conditions of mind” that are irreconcilable with materialism: Michael Egnor, professor of neurosurgery at SUNY, Stony Brook
    Excerpt: Intentionality,,, Qualia,,, Persistence of Self-Identity,,, Restricted Access,,, Incorrigibility,,, Free Will,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....super.html

    Alvin Plantinga has a humorous way of getting this ‘Law of Identity’ point across:

    Alvin Plantinga and the Modal Argument (for the existence of the mind/soul) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOTn_wRwDE0

    Moreover, there is direct empirical evidence from quantum mechanics (Leggett’s Inequality) that consciousness precedes material reality.

    Alain Aspect and Anton Zeilinger by Richard Conn Henry – Professor of Physics – John Hopkins University
    Excerpt: Why do people cling with such ferocity to belief in a mind-independent reality? It is surely because if there is no such reality, then ultimately (as far as we can know) mind alone exists. And if mind is not a product of real matter, but rather is the creator of the “illusion” of material reality (which has, in fact, despite the materialists, been known to be the case, since the discovery of quantum mechanics in 1925), then a theistic view of our existence becomes the only rational alternative to solipsism (solipsism is the philosophical idea that only one’s own mind is sure to exist). (Dr. Henry’s referenced experiment and paper – “An experimental test of non-local realism” by S. Gröblacher et. al., Nature 446, 871, April 2007 – “To be or not to be local” by Alain Aspect, Nature 446, 866, April 2007 (Leggett’s Inequality: Verified to 80 orders of magnitude)
    http://henry.pha.jhu.edu/aspect.html

    As well, our minds utilize transcendent objects all the time, such as the very information we write, and the mathematics we reference, on these blogs.

    “One of the things I do in my classes, to get this idea across to students, is I hold up two computer disks. One is loaded with software, and the other one is blank. And I ask them, ‘what is the difference in mass between these two computer disks, as a result of the difference in the information content that they posses’? And of course the answer is, ‘Zero! None! There is no difference as a result of the information. And that’s because information is a mass-less quantity. Now, if information is not a material entity, then how can any materialistic explanation account for its origin? How can any material cause explain it’s origin?
    And this is the real and fundamental problem that the presence of information in biology has posed. It creates a fundamental challenge to the materialistic, evolutionary scenarios because information is a different kind of entity that matter and energy cannot produce.
    In the nineteenth century we thought that there were two fundamental entities in science; matter, and energy. At the beginning of the twenty first century, we now recognize that there’s a third fundamental entity; and its ‘information’. It’s not reducible to matter. It’s not reducible to energy. But it’s still a very important thing that is real; we buy it, we sell it, we send it down wires.
    Now, what do we make of the fact, that information is present at the very root of all biological function? In biology, we have matter, we have energy, but we also have this third, very important entity; information. I think the biology of the information age, poses a fundamental challenge to any materialistic approach to the origin of life.”
    -Dr. Stephen C. Meyer earned his Ph.D. in the History and Philosophy of science from Cambridge University for a dissertation on the history of origin-of-life biology and the methodology of the historical sciences.

    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

    Moreover, as if all that was not bad enough for those who prefer atheism to be true, it is impossible to live consistently within the atheistic worldview:

    The Heretic – Who is Thomas Nagel and why are so many of his fellow academics condemning him? – March 25, 2013
    Excerpt:,,,Fortunately, materialism is never translated into life as it’s lived. As colleagues and friends, husbands and mothers, wives and fathers, sons and daughters, materialists never put their money where their mouth is. Nobody thinks his daughter is just molecules in motion and nothing but; nobody thinks the Holocaust was evil, but only in a relative, provisional sense. A materialist who lived his life according to his professed convictions—understanding himself to have no moral agency at all, seeing his friends and enemies and family as genetically determined robots—wouldn’t just be a materialist: He’d be a psychopath.
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/.....tml?page=3

    So AB, despite your preference for atheism to be true, the plain fact of the matter is that materialism dissolves into absurdity when trying to explain our conscious existence.

    Supplemental note:

    Is Metaphysical Naturalism Viable? – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzS_CQnmoLQ

  18. 18
    Acartia_bogart says:

    BA77:

    So AB, despite your preference for atheism to be true, the plain fact of the matter is that materialism dissolves into absurdity when trying to explain our conscious existence.

    Again, you equate not knowing with proof of god. One does not mean the other.

    I am not opposed to religion. I would not even be upset if god was proven to exist. My point is that you can use the bible as evidence for some things, because they can be examined through other lines of inquiry, and not for others. For example, there is independent evidence for many of the events described in the bible, sometimes in different chronologic order, but evidence none the less. I even think that there is enough independent evidence to suggest strongly that a person who we call Jesus existed, that he was a rabbi and a carpenter. Things like this can be investigated, and independent evidence will either be found or not found. Obviously, not finding independent evidence does not prove that something didn’t exist/occur.

    But certain things from the bible must be taken on faith simply because their accuracy cannot be examined through independent evidence. That Jesus was the son of god is one of these. That Mary was a virgin is another. That we have an eternal soul is another.

  19. 19
    bornagain77 says:

    AB you state:

    “Again, you equate not knowing with proof of god. One does not mean the other.”

    Completely incorrect! My inference to God is based on what I do know, not on what I don’t know.

    As is my inference that materialism is absurd based on what I do know.

    In fact the MOST SURE thing anyone can know about reality is the fact that they are conscious. That is what makes the ‘hard problem’ so devastating for atheists:

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

    a bit more in-depth look at the ‘hard problem’ is here:

    The impossible Problem of Consciousness – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FglKcWBKEu8

  20. 20
    awstar says:

    But certain things from the bible must be taken on faith simply because their accuracy cannot be examined through independent evidence. That Jesus was the son of god is one of these. That Mary was a virgin is another. That we have an eternal soul is another.

    You are correct in that certain things from the bible must be taken on faith. But the key is “faith in what” or in the case of the bible “faith in whom”

    Abraham believed God and God called him righteous.

    Jesus couldn’t do miracles in certain towns because of their unbelief.

    What is your faith in? The Word of God? The gospel of grace? Your own understanding? The traditions of man? philosophy? vain deceit? It matters where your faith is based, not whether or not you have faith.

    A person who builds his house on solid rock will do better than one who builds on shifting sand, even if they both believe that they made the right choice. It’s not what they believe that counts, it’s the object of their faith that matters.

    The bible has proven over and over again over thousands of years, in thousands and thousands of transformed souls, that it is worthy to be believed. That I suggest is empirical evidence.

  21. 21
    Vishnu says:

    As David Chalmber (adroitly) explains:

    Consciousness is fundamental.

    Some people don’t seem to “see” that.

    I wonder if they are philosophical zombies.

  22. 22
    Robert Byers says:

    Vishnu
    I am confident the mind is just memory organization. I am confident the brain is hust a memory machine.
    All you said fits in what memory gives us.
    Personality and talents are just memorized things . the power of the memory is the flaw in thinking about human intelligence.
    Our souls are the only thing existing. the heart is just priority conclusions and the mind priority memories.
    All soul/body connections come thorough the middleman of memory.
    when jesus came here he was trapped by his human memory. tHats why he had to relearn wisdom as a kid. he couldn’t remember as he knew as part of the trinioty.

  23. 23
    Robert Byers says:

    Acartia bogart
    may iD/YEC continue to demand evidence for unlikely things as evolutionary biology.
    the evidence for the soul, besides the bible, should simply be that there is only ONE of us. not weird controlling OTHER things in us.our head that make who we are.
    Our soul is all we are. nothing else.
    However since our soul is so connected to the memory machines/mind/brain then its only those memories that change and so personality etc etc.
    Noot our soul. our soul is not shown by our personality very much. Our personality etc is from influences and this memorized.
    It should be that changing the memories changes our personality.
    Our soul is not male or female even.

  24. 24
    Mapou says:

    Vishnu:

    The brain is more than a mere “memory machine.” It provides the functionality of logical thought, the basis of various talents and abilities individuals have, determines our personalities, and is very active in the choices “we” make. We are not merely spirits in a rowboat. The interplay between consciousness and the brain is deep and profound. If you don’t accept this, then get sloppy drunk and see how your personality and thought processes change.

    I agree. The brain does all the work. Intelligence is in the brain. The spirit only directs certain choices, such as likes and dislikes. For example, we love music and the arts, not because the brain loves beauty but because the spirit does. I believe that the spirit tells the brain what to focus on. Without a brain or some other form of matter there can be no consciousness, IMO. The brain is what the spirit is conscious of. Consciousness requires a knower and a known.

  25. 25
    anthropic says:

    AB

    “But certain things from the bible must be taken on faith simply because their accuracy cannot be examined through independent evidence. That Jesus was the son of god is one of these. That Mary was a virgin is another. That we have an eternal soul is another.”

    I think you make a reasonable point, AB. We have more evidence of some biblical claims than others, particularly claims that are difficult to verify empirically.

    However, one of the central claims that bears on Jesus being the Son of God and the existence of the soul is very strongly backed empirically. The resurrection narrative is now accepted by the vast majority of New Testament scholars as being very early (i.e., not a later legend)and firmly believed by the disciples, all of whom proclaimed the risen Christ at great personal cost to themselves. Indeed, not one of them renounced this belief even when facing death.

  26. 26
    Querius says:

    AB,

    I’m convinced that even if I could provide irrefutable evidence of the existence of God, and the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, it would not convince anyone who was not already *willing* to believe. A person’s will is the key.

    If you are willing, why don’t you try an experiment. Try praying to God with honesty, sincerity, and openness, and see what happens.

    “Dear God, I honestly don’t even know if you exist, but if you do, I’d like to get right with you and have you in my life. I’d also like to know if Jesus really is your son, the manifestation of you in a human being and if what Jesus promised is really true. Please show me in some way that I will know. Thank you. Amen.”

    You will need to persist to prove to yourself that you really mean it. It might take several days.

    Are you willing to try?

    -Q

  27. 27
    OldArmy94 says:

    Below are Jesus’ words regarding signs and “proof” of His authority and Sonship of God:

    MATTHEW 16-
    The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven.

    He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away.

    LUKE 16-
    He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

    “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

    “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

    “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

  28. 28
    Acartia_bogart says:

    Querius:

    If you are willing, why don’t you try an experiment. Try praying to God with honesty, sincerity, and openness, and see what happens.

    I realize that you are sincere about this request, but I don’t see how doing this would accomplish anything other than possibly delude myself into a belief that there is still no evidence for. The mind is a strange thing. It is well known that if a person repeatedly tells themselves something that they know to be false, they can actually convince themselves that it is not false.

  29. 29
    Axel says:

    I strongly suspect, Humph, that Querius has in mind a confirmation from God far more impressive and less equivocal than mere thoughts in your mind.

    It would be likely to be affective, in a ‘multi-media’ kind of way. However, I suspect that, if you can’t conceive of a love you could not ascribe to some chemical action in your world-view, then you would not want to risk conversion.

  30. 30
    Robert Byers says:

    Mapou
    its unlikely to say the spirit just prompts a brain machine.
    We are not fivided up in our being. We are one. A soul. Thats it.
    Beauty does not exist. its just a accuracy in a inaccuracte world. Music does not exist as a separate thing from anything that touches our heart.
    music is just mimicking our tones of voices as Herbert Spencer said.
    our soul is meshed to our memory machine. this memory is the only thinf, i think, we call our brain. It controls our body. tHe meshing however goes both ways and causes problems.

  31. 31
    Querius says:

    Well put, Axel!

    As has become plainly clear, AB is either afraid or unwilling to try a direct, neutral experiment without prejudice, preferring instead to scoff at us from the sidelines.

    As you noticed from my sample prayer above, there is no presumption that God exists.

    It’s like being unwilling to knock on someone’s door to see whether anyone’s home, preferring instead to throw rocks at the windows.

    The offer is still open, AB. Knock on the Door.

    -Q

  32. 32
    Vishnu says:

    AB: I realize that you are sincere about this request, but I don’t see how doing this would accomplish anything other than possibly delude myself into a belief that there is still no evidence for.

    One could say that about anything. Including so-called empirical experiments. For some reason you give a tacit nod to your ability to reason properly, as if that isn’t as suspect as anything else you might do. That could all filled with delusion too. Why then so afraid of the “God experiment”? I guess one can have a preference for one delusion over another. What are you really afraid of?

  33. 33
    bornagain77 says:

    Why We Can’t Yet Build True Artificial Intelligence, Explained In One Sentence – July 9, 2014
    “We don’t yet understand how brains work, so we can’t build one.”,,,
    [IBM’s “Jeopardy!”-winning supercomputer] Watson is basically a text search algorithm connected to a database just like Google search. It doesn’t understand what it’s reading. In fact, “read” is the wrong word. It’s not reading anything because it’s not comprehending anything. Watson is finding text without having a clue as to what the text means. In that sense, there’s no intelligence there. It’s clever, it’s impressive, but it’s absolutely vacuous.
    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/.....ntentstory

    =============

    “But the hard problem of consciousness is so hard that I can’t even imagine what kind of empirical findings would satisfactorily solve it. In fact, I don’t even know what kind of discovery would get us to first base, not to mention a home run.”
    David Barash – Materialist/Atheist Darwinian Psychologist

    ‘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

    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

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

    a bit more in-depth look at the ‘hard problem’ is here:

    The impossible Problem of Consciousness – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FglKcWBKEu8

    The Theist has a ready answer to the ‘hard problem’

    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 a central, position within material reality.
    4. Therefore, consciousness is found to precede material reality.
    Four intersecting lines of experimental evidence from quantum mechanics that shows that consciousness precedes material reality (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

  34. 34
    Querius says:

    Vishnu@32,

    What are you really afraid of?

    Well put!

    Sometimes it’s the hardest thing just to be honest with oneself—in anything. It’s a good place to start though.

    So, how about it, Acartia_bogart?

    -Q

  35. 35
    Querius says:

    Hmmm. Acartia_bogart seems to have disappeared. A pity.

    -Q

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