169 Replies to “A Jealous God: Science’s Crusade Against Religion

  1. 1
    vpr says:

    I’ve been waiting for this one for a while now, any good reviews out yet?

  2. 2
    David Heddle says:

    I don’t know anything about the book, but I hate the title. It perpetuates the myth that science is warring against religion, as if God’s creation could possibly be at war with the gospel. Science is not at war with religion, and even the most atheistic scientists, in their role as scientists, do nothing about which the religious need fear, at least not in the sense that uncovering scientific truth can damage Christianity. Along the same lines, we should welcome and not fear archeological research in the Holy Land.

    If the gist is that applied science is potentially harmful to mankind, then that is manifestly true. But that is not what the title has me expecting.

    I fear the “war” is the other way around–that is the aggressors are more often than not misguided Christians who view science as threatening rather than as it should be viewed: as part of God’s general revelation.

    At the very least, for the title to make any sense, it should be Scientists’ Crusade not Science’s Crusade–although I would still disagree with it.

    But I’ll read the book, just to find out what the author has to say.

  3. 3
    JeffK says:

    I am confused by the relevance of this book to Mooney’s book. Mooney’s book is about Republican’s uses and attacks on science. From the title this book seems to pit science against religion. But unless you make the leap that religion is the same as Republican (which is dubious to me) i don’t get it.

  4. 4
    DaveScot says:

    “Science is not at war with religion, and even the most atheistic scientists, in their role as scientists, do nothing about which the religious need fear, at least not in the sense that uncovering scientific truth can damage Christianity.”

    Tell that to the victims of Nazi scientists uncovering biological truths using live human subjects.

    You astound me sometimes, Heddle.

  5. 5
    jaredl says:

    Mr. Heddle claims “Science is not at war with religion, and even the most atheistic scientists, in their role as scientists, do nothing about which the religious need fear, at least not in the sense that uncovering scientific truth can damage Christianity.”

    This claim is trivially true – that there are regularities in our environment certainly does not damage any known religious claims. To publish these regularities likewise has no religious significance.

    However, if applied materialistic (atheistic) philosophy is the sole source of valid knowledge, then war has indeed been declared, by the materialists – this is a religious war, and an ideological war, on both sides. If not, then there would be no issue over intelligent design.

    There are many witnesses who can testify by virtue of their own firsthand experience that materialist philosophy is founded upon ontologically and epistemically false premises. Not only that, but the data collected from our environment bespeak intelligent action once we adopt a simple and self-evident axiom: intelligent agency may reliably be distinguished from material agency in a limited subset of phenomena. This premise is a repudiation of materialism.

  6. 6
    DaveScot says:

    Only two reviewer comments I could find:

    This book shows how science has now become a religion of its own–an often fanatical one at that–furiously preaching atheism, punishing dissenters, dictating how and what to think, and subtly inserting its worldviews in everything from education to entertainment.

    A fascinating account of how medical science has abused human rights and acted as a major political force in this country. There’s loads of gems here I never knew before–how racist the population-control movement was, the terrible things scientists used to do to living fetuses, the way they still abuse blacks and the poor in the developing world–all under the pretense of being so “liberal.” I especially was shocked at California’s Prop 71 to raise billions for stem-cell research. She shows what a fraud it was, how bad for the poor and exposes the clowns in Hollywood for their support. She does a great job showing how medical science raises expectations for cures, then never delivers–but they still make lots of money, It’s really good. She’s not sticking up for religion so much–at least not Christianity. It’s more of a decency-ethics case.

  7. 7
    testerschoice says:

    Jaredl,
    You say:
    “There are many witnesses who can testify by virtue of their own firsthand experience that materialist philosophy is founded upon ontologically and epistemically false premises”

    Can you point out the false premises?

  8. 8
    DaveScot says:

    Scientists in general need to be kept on a tight leash. Atheist scientists hold no moral absolutes and there’s no telling what they’ll do in the name of scientific discovery. Christian scientists as well will do unspeakable, completely unChristlike things to animal subjects that just makes me want to put the heartless SOB’s in a cage and do the same things to them so they can see how it feels. Christ, son of God or not, set an example we should all try to live by and he never caused any living thing any pain – all he did was help and heal.

  9. 9
    PjB says:

    I haven’t read the book and probably won’t since my reading list is already into 2007. However, I do have a couple of comments. First of all, anyone who thinks that atheists can’t hurt anyone is woefully ignorant of history. I need give only one example. The mass murders in Soviet Russia under Stalin. How about two? The poverty and lack of freedoms of the Cubans under Castro?

    Human nature is the real problem in all cases of abuse of authority. If evil people possess political power, whether that power is in a religion or in a secular party, organization or civil entity, then those people will commit evil against others. I grow weary of hearing about this group or that group being the cause of all evil in society. Evil people are attracted to power and the opportunities of lavish abuse that goes with it. If that power is in a church, then evil people will be attracted to the power structures of the church. If that power is in a civil entity, then evil people will be attracted to the power structures of the government.

    Atheists in control will be no better than theists, unless they have a radical change of heart that only God can give.

  10. 10
    PjB says:

    Follow on to previous:

    Also, I hasten to add that any theist that hasn’t had such a radical change of nature will be just as bad as an atheist.

  11. 11
    SteveB says:

    “You astound me sometimes, Heddle.”

    Actually DaveScot, yours is the astounding comment. Yes, the majority opinion in scientific circles is one of philosophical naturalism, which generally takes a position somewhere between patronizing and hostile vis a vis spiritual/religious world views and the people who hold them. There are many aspects of this prevailing world view that I don’t like, and that I disagree with–sometimes vehemently.

    And yes, there have been cases in which people have been abused in the name of “science” (the The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment comes to mind). But these have been isolated cases, and universally condemned both by scientists and the culture as a whole when illuminated. For you to suggest that the broad brush of “Nazi scientists uncovering biological truths using live human subjects” applies to all of the modern scientific enterprise is riduculous.

  12. 12
    jaredl says:

    The false premises are: “Matter is all there is,” and “Intelligence is reducible to matter.”

  13. 13
    testerschoice says:

    Jaredl,
    Can you please point out how you would go about proving that:
    a. Matter is not all there is.
    b. Intelligence is not reducible to just matter.

  14. 14
    jaredl says:

    … I am well aware of the fact that #2 is a direct implication of #1. Thanks!

  15. 15
    Bombadill says:

    Jaredl,

    You can start with the human conscious with all of it’s metaphysical realities. Unless you want to suggest that the physical/material somehow magically produced that which is immaterial and metaphysical. If you do suggest that, then you have quite a few obstacles to overcome: altruism, first-person perspective, etc…

  16. 16
    MGD says:

    Testischoice, two tasks for you:
    1. define “matter”
    2. Define “define”

  17. 17
    Bombadill says:

    Sorry, my comment was directed at Taster’s Choice, not Jaredl.

  18. 18
  19. 19
    jaredl says:

    “Intelligent agency may reliably be distinguished from material agency in a limited subset of phenomena.”

    It follows that intelligence is not reducible to matter, and hence matter is not all that exists.

  20. 20
    testerschoice says:

    Bombadill,
    What is immaterial and metaphysical about consciousness? Everyday neuroscientists correlate activity in the brain with thought processes. Tools such as EEG, fMRI, and intracranial recording electrode arrays have established very well that thoughts, perceptions, and emotions can be localized to physical structures. This is true not only in humans, experiments on rats, chimps, cats, and rabbits have verified this too. A cursury search of pubmed for this will turn up the evidence you need.

    The way I see it, the burden of proof is on you to show that thoughts have an immaterial basis.

    ps. My handle is testerschoice, not the coffee.

  21. 21
    testerschoice says:

    Jaredl,
    It only follows if you assume that the statement is true.

  22. 22
    Bombadill says:

    tester, neuroscientists have also demonstrated that physically deceased humans who were subsequently revived, recounted lucid detailed conscious experiences when there was zero brain activity during their death state. Further, neuroscientists have stimulated parts of the brain to produce a physical reaction, while the patient used his or her other physical faculties to prevent the reaction. The patients responded, “I didn’t do that, you did that to me.” Tell me, who or what is the “I” that patients are referring to here? Surely not something that can be reduced to the physical apparatus.

    Neurological stimulation just as much demonstrates that the brain is simply the physical apparatus for the “mind” or “person”. Much like a radio is the physical apparatus for radio waves. The burden also lies with you to demonstrate the the panoply of human emotion and reasoning with all of it’s subtlties is reducible to a lump of flesh in the skull.

  23. 23
  24. 24
  25. 25
  26. 26
    testerschoice says:

    Bombadill,
    If you could provide me a citation for the death state study it would be much appreciated. As for the stimulation of specific regions, I have seen them performed many times and have witnessed the phenomna you describe. However, it does not prove your point. An example is somebody with Parkinsons or even Autism, where they may not want to do what their nervous system is doing, but it happens nonetheless. The separation of “I” from the observed the behavior is due in part to the fact that intention is compartmentalized (as much as compartementalization happens in the brain) from action. If you stimulate the motor cortex you can elicit movements from somebody that they would not be in control of (actually depending on degree they can resist). Likewise, you can stimulate areas that deal with intention (this happens with Autism) and the person will feel what you are doing. People have burst out laughing for no apparent reason and felt like a million bucks with the right stimulus.

    These kinds of things happen often in brain surgery, where the patient must be awake to provide feedback to the doctor.

    Lastly, you should check out the work done on HM and other patients with temporal lobectomies if you want to see the relationship between a “lump of flesh” and behavior. In the case of HM, he had anterograde amnesia and mild retrograde amnesia. His memories were clearly situated in some material body, since he has yet to regain those memories or learn new things. Another example of the correlation between “I” and the brain is the case of Phineas Gage, a man that recieved an accidental frontal lobectomy and lived. After the incident, he became irritable and socially maladjusted.

  27. 27
    MGD says:

    “irritable and socially maladjusted.”

    Must be a lot of brain damage on the internet.

  28. 28
    testerschoice says:

    MGD just made my day.

  29. 29
    Bombadill says:

    I will do that – it was detailed by J.P. Moreland in a book called “The Case For A Creator”. I’ll get the reference to the experiments and post it here when I do.

    The examples you cite reinforce the notion that the brain is simply the physical apparatus. There’s no question that when regions are damaged or manipulated, there are lasting results in behavior, etc… Similarly, if a physical radio is manipulated, the output from the apparatus changes (albeit a limited analogy, but achieves the point). I contend that it can just as well be argued that the physical apparatus cannot account for the metaphysical expressions, even though the physical may be manipulated and thus channel the immaterial in different directions. It’s an extrapolation to say that the immaterial originates or proceeds FROM the apparatus ultimately.

  30. 30
    testerschoice says:

    Bombadill,
    It is an extrapolation to say the brain is like a radio. Where are the signals it receives coming from? How does it act as a receiver? All neuroscience says is that the thoughts occur in our brain. So far, the evidence points directly towards that. You have no evidence that the brain is acting as a radio besides your assertion that it cannot account for metaphysical expressions like “I”. What makes you think an immaterial thing can account for metaphysical expressions?

  31. 31
    testerschoice says:

    Bombadill,
    Sorry for the double post, but “The Case for the Creator” was written by Lee Strobel. I have “The Case for Christ” sitting on my bookshelf, Strobel’s research does not impress me. And from the cursury glance I took at who is mentioned in his book, I do not see any neuroscientists consulted.

  32. 32
    Bombadill says:

    tester, Lee Strobel serves simply as the interviewer in The Case For A Creator. Every chapter is an interview with an expert in a particular field of study (and Strobel approaches each interviewer as Devil’s advocate – with objections). One of the chapters is an interview with J.P. Moreland (phD), whom most would not question as an authority on human consciousness. And he is very specific about the studies he mentions. Again, I will get you the information.

    And my position is not to deny that thoughts occur in the brain. My position is that the sum of human consciousness with it’s panoply of emotion, reasoning, first-person perspective, altruism, etc… cannot be reduced to originating from a purely physical organ.

  33. 33
    testerschoice says:

    Bombadill,
    Thank you for correcting me. I just looked up any publications J.P. Moreland has done that would show me he has done research on the brain, and I found none besides some philosophical papers. Also, you still have not justified your position that the brain is incapable unto itself of producing “I”. If you could show me evidence that demonstrates the brain by itself cannot support a sense of “I” that would be most appreciated.

  34. 34
    Charliecrs says:

    Guys this reminds of something i read once about the brain or lack therof in this case and sure enough a qucik google search brought up alink. Check it out. Any thoughts on the matter while we’re still talking about it ?

    http://www.rense.com/general42/brain.htm

    Charlie

  35. 35
    Benjii says:

    This is as weird as one previous post stating how one can emulate the cambrian explosion within one’s own home.

  36. 36
    mtgcsharpguy says:

    Charliecrs, that’s a pretty amazing story. It makes you wonder if “matter” really is the home of the “mind”!

    The best part of that article IMO is, “But extensive investigation of the brain has turned up the surprising fact that memory is not located in any one area or in a specific substrate. As one eminent neurologist put it, ‘memory is everywhere in the brain and nowhere.'”

  37. 37
    jboze3131 says:

    since memories, thoughts, desires, morals, etc. clearly take up no physical space- it seems theres little choice to the matter that mind isnt merely physical- that the brain is the car and the mind is the driver of sorts.

    like many have said- a doctor could tell you more about your brain than you could by studying it with instruments and such, but no one on earth could ever see your thoughts or dreams, desires, etc. because they hold no physical value- they weigh nothing, theyre not composed of matter in any sense that one could show, they dont take up any space, etc. its amazing in general, and this story and others ive read like it are just fascinating.

    i dont think well ever be able to convince most people that mind can be reduced to brain, because it just doesnt seem possible that matterless objects working in a physical realm (thoughts in the brain) would lend to this idea (the idea that mind is just matter and brain.)

  38. 38
    crandaddy says:

    That “No-Brainer” article is very interesting. I did a google search on John Lorber and found this:

    http://flatrock.org.nz/topics/.....essary.htm

    You may also want to visit the personal website of Dr. Sheldrake:

    http://www.sheldrake.org

    David

  39. 39
    Gumpngreen says:

    Dembski actually discusses this subject in his book Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science and Theology starting with page 214. The original article that this other article probably referenced is “Is Your Brain Really Necessary?” by Roger Lewin; Science, 12/12/1980.

  40. 40
    bevets says:

    I read her chapter on the Scopes trial. It did not have any startling revelations, however it was quite articulate.

  41. 41
    johnnyb says:

    testerschoice:

    “If you could show me evidence that demonstrates the brain by itself cannot support a sense of “I” that would be most appreciated.”

    If you could show me evidence that demonstrates _any_ mechanistic system can support a sense of _anything_ it would be most appreciated. As a computer programmer, I recognize that mechanistic properties are incapable in principle of supporting any notion of “sense” or “awareness”, except perhaps unless you were to make an explicit choice for pantheism.

    If you want a good listen on the subject, here is Alvin Plantiga’s “Against Materialism” lecture:

    http://maclaurin.org/mp3s/the_.....t_2002.mp3

    It doesn’t have _my_ favorite argument against materialism (that “choice” is non-existent in a materialistic world, and therefore our thoughts would be meaningless, because they would be forced by the environment, and not made by choice), but it is a good listen nonetheless.

  42. 42
    taciturnus says:

    Besides choice, there is the more general problem that material processes are not in themselves meaningful, that is, they do not point beyond themselves. The flow of electrons in a computer’s CPU means “2+2=4” because we say it does… absent a human interpreter, a flow of electrons is a flow of electrons and nothing more.

    You may have noticed that in all the neurological experiments cited by testerschoice, meaning is never at issue. “People have burst out laughing for no apparent reason and felt like a million bucks with the right stimulus” may have purely material explanations because they are not, in themselves, meaningful. It isn’t news that such states can be artificially induced, anyway, as people have been doing it for many years with nitrous oxide and morphine.

    What neuroscientists have never done (as far as I know) is artificially stimulate essentially meaningful experiences, like artificially stimulating someone to think “2+2=4” or “a triangle is a three-sided polygon”, or “force equals mass times acceleration.” The reason is that “2+2=4” is a non-material meaning that can be signed by an infinite variety of material configurations. “2+2=4” can be signed by the written characters “2”,”+”,”=”, and “4”, or the flow of electrons in a computer, or by an abacus, or by using your fingers or wooden blocks, etc. When you think “2+2=4” and a scientist observes a particular electrical pattern in your head, what makes that electrical pattern and the written characters “2+2=4” both mean the same thing? Is it that very electrical pattern itself? It can’t be… it has to be something that transcends both the electrical pattern, the written characters, the abacus, and everything other material thing that might mean “2+2=4″… a non-material “I”.

    There is also the problem of the will, which also involes meaning. Neuroscientists can electrically stimulate the brain to move a limb against the will of the patient. This, again, is nothing new. Galvani was able to make frog’s legs jump with electrical stimulation in the 18th century, leading many to conclude that life was nothing but electrified flesh, including Mary Shelley who used it as the basis for “Frankenstein”. But if the materialist philosophy is correct, the will itself is nothing but electrified flesh, so scientists should be able to electrically manipulate the will. The result of the experiment should not be “You moved my leg against my will” but “I will to move my leg”, the latter being the result of electrical stimulation which the patient mistakes for his own will. As far as I know, this never happens. There is always a separation between the will and intellect of the patient (the substance of the “I”) and what scientists are able to manipulate. They can overpower the will and intellect with material stimulation, but not manipulate the will and intellect itself…

  43. 43
    DaveScot says:

    re No Brain

    Incredible! And here neurosurgeons have been so careful in removing brain tumors and even describing some as inoperable when all along all they had to do was cut out the whole brain. This will revolutionize brain surgery!

    Or maybe not. Please tell me you guys don’t really believe any of that crap.

  44. 44
    Gumpngreen says:

    From the article posted by crandaddy:

    “Lorber himself acknowledges that the “Virtually no brain” claim was hyperbolic: “As to the question “Is your brain really necessary?”Lorber admits that it is only half serious. “You have to be dramatic in order to make people listen,”” So Lorber used the tongue-in-cheek hyperbole to shock the medical community. He didn’t intend it as a strict scientific claim.”

  45. 45
    mtgcsharpguy says:

    “So Lorber used the tongue-in-cheek hyperbole to shock the medical community. He didn’t intend it as a strict scientific claim.””

    Of course not. I’m sure *no one* took the title of the article as being literal.

  46. 46
    jboze3131 says:

    researching the subject- there are some critics who question if the brain scans at the time (the technology at the time) could show what lorber claimed…but lorber answered these questions. he said, surely there was no way to see if the one man (the high IQ math whiz) had 500grams or 1000 but he surely had nowhere near 1.5 kg of brain tissue. that, and his credentials seem to be solid- he wasnt on the fringe or anything.

    there have been other studies of this and related issues that have shown similar results to what lorber claimed. in humans and other animals (theyre doing study on cats one article mentioned).

  47. 47
    Benjii says:

    The brain is more complex than any computer ever made by the hand of man.

  48. 48
    jboze3131 says:

    very true. i think the only way man will ever be able to make anything even ‘close’ to it is by using already present biological parts found in nature. even then, it wont equal the power and complexity of the human brain or get anywhere near it, and it would still leave us with the problem of being unable to make anything close to it from scratch.

  49. 49
    testerschoice says:

    taciturnus and johnnyb,
    I appreciate your thorough treatment of what I posted. However, I guess we have reached an impasse. You maintain that a mechanistic explanation cannot exist for the things like meaning, dreams, and emotion. While meaning and abstract thought are most definitely not well defined in neuroscience, there has been some interesting work with dreams. In one experiment rats were given a task of going through a maze to locate a target. The rats were implanted with a microelectrode array that recorded from a part of the hippocampus where neurons fired depending on location. Thus, scientists could decode the location of rat based on the patterns of neural activity. Interestingly, when the rats went to sleep, these patterns were replayed over again. The study I link below looks at this in humans, using cerebral blood flow as a measure of neural activity (their correlation has been proven in previous studies beyond a reasonable doubt).

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/en.....query_hl=1

    So I think that there is evidence for these seemingly abstract concepts (such as place) having a neural basis. The reason I think we have reached an impasse is because neither of us can fully justify our positions that meaning or things like “I” have a neural basis. Until you show me peer reviewed published evidence that the brain can act as a transceiver or that there is no possible mechanistic explanation of thought we are stuck here. 🙁

  50. 50
    taciturnus says:

    testerschoice,

    You may be right that we have reached an impasse, but I think the reason is that the kind of evidence you are looking for is, in the nature of things, impossible.

    As I mentioned in post #42, ideas like “2+2=4” cannot be purely material or they would not be susceptible of being coded under a variety of material configurations. This is a pre-scientific point. Science assumes that, when you think “2+2=4” and I think “2+2=4”, we are thinking the same thing even though our brains are materially distinct. If science didn’t assume this, scientists would not be able to communicate and science itself would be impossible. Of course, there is no way for science to prove the assumptions that allow it to function. Put simply, science has no way of penetrating the “I” that is the foundation of science itself. As soon as he begins thinking and investigating, the scientist implicitly assumes he possesses an “I” that transcends the material phenomena he is investigating.

    The rat experiment doesn’t show anything either way because rats don’t have an abstract notion of “place” (at least, we have no reason to think they do.) It takes the immaterial “I” of the scientist (which a rat doesn’t have) to associate the materially diverse phenomena of rat neural activity and a physical place under the abstract meaning of “place”. The rat itself merely responds to stimuli. Yes, a certain location may be encoded in the rat’s brain by a specific neural pattern, the way a location may be encoded in the memory of a computer. But the rat doesn’t know this. It’s behavior can be satisfactorily explained without granting the rat any self-aware knowledge of “place”, just as we can explain the workings of a computer without positing self-aware knowledge to a computer. The behavior of the scientist conducting the experiment, however, cannot be explained without granting the scientist a self-aware knowledge of “place” that transcends both the neural workings of the rat brain and the physical location that is associated with that pattern. In other words, for the experiment to be conducted at all, it is implicitly assumed that the scientist has an “I” that transcends the experiment itself and all of which it is composed.

  51. 51
    dodgingcars says:

    It seems that to some, truth can only be found in peer reviewed journals. 🙂

  52. 52
    mtgcsharpguy says:

    “It seems that to some, truth can only be found in peer reviewed journals.”

    Very true. Although peer-reviewed journals themselves often contain speculative conclusions. We should *never* base decisions on peer-reviewed journals, but rather on the objective evidence they hopefully portray.

  53. 53
    DaveScot says:

    “rats don’t have an abstract notion of “place” (at least, we have no reason to think they do.) It takes the immaterial “I” of the scientist (which a rat doesn’t have)”

    What is this nonsense? Certainly every mammal knows “I” from “not I”. So do birds.

  54. 54
    jboze3131 says:

    davescot-

    are you arguing that a rat has thoughts and feelings and could recognize a series of landmarks and thus use the landmarks as a map of sorts to finds its way from point A to point B? theres no empirical evidence thats the case, and i highly doubt its possible. well, heck- theres no way a rat has these notions and ideas. a rat definitely doesnt have a sense of “I” as its being used here.

    a rat doesnt “think” of its own self and base that thought on any goals or anything of the sort in any sense- it merely reacts to the environment.

  55. 55
    mtgcsharpguy says:

    I agree. A rat doesn’t have the ability to project on itself, like we do. A rat cannot look at itself and think, “I have legs. I have a face. I have teeth. Wow, I am this furry little thing.”

    So, JBoze, I agree with you – a rat has no sense of “I”.

  56. 56
    cambion says:

    “are you arguing that a rat has thoughts and feelings and could recognize a series of landmarks and thus use the landmarks as a map of sorts to finds its way from point A to point B? theres no empirical evidence thats the case, and i highly doubt its possible. ”

    jboze3131,

    My cat never fails to remember where his food is. Right after he wakes up, he goes immediately to his dish. He does not wander randomly until he finds it. I would definitely call this ’empirical evidence.’

  57. 57
    jboze3131 says:

    your cat is working off basic memory. hes not looking around thinking- okay…theres the bathroom. now i go ten feet to the right, take a left after that…move past that big plant, make my way thru the living room (remembering to watch out of the couch that is in the way), then make my way to the dish.

    your cat isnt thinking in a sense of “I” am at this location and i need to go thru these steps to get from one point to another. hes not actively plotting his course to any point. hes not thinking to himself- maybe ill make a u turn today and take a different route or planning the route beforehand.

  58. 58
    jboze3131 says:

    thats why said thoughts and feelings- the cat isnt thinking to himself (theres that rug, which lets me know i need to turn in 5 feet). stuff like that. hes working off memory and instincts, not a sense of “I” and how that “I” is related to the environment around him.

  59. 59
    DaveScot says:

    You people are obviously not naturalists. I suggest you pipe down and listen. I’ve raised many different species of birds and mammals as pets. Let me assure you in no uncertain terms they most assuredly can learn quite a few things, they have different personalities from one to another individual, they most definitely know pain and pleasure, work and play, and if you look into their eyes you’ll see part of yourself in them – if you’ve got the gift. Maybe God doesn’t give the gift to everyone. Whatever’s special in us is in them too. They’re as much God’s creatures as you are. Maybe more. They’re innocent. We ain’t.

  60. 60
    DaveScot says:

    My cats knock on the door when they want to come in. Tap, tap, tap. The duck, much younger than the cats, observing the cats being granted entry upon knocking, started to knock on the door too, hoping to come inside. The poor bird isn’t bright enough to know why the cats get let in and he has to stay outside. He still knocks though. He doesn’t have any other ducks for company and is seeking someone to talk with. He’ll sit and gab with you all day long. My cats will also politely tap you on the shoulder when they want something. I had a cardinal I raised from a nestling that knew each individual in my household and interacted differently with everyone. He also recognized strangers and put on an elaborate mating song/dance in the hope of finding a mate. He’d given up on all of us that lived in the same house – we were no longer potential mates, just friends.

  61. 61
    testerschoice says:

    Jboze,
    Firstly, how do you know what a rat or any other animal for that matter thinks? Can you talk to them? Secondly, your assertions have no basis, as DaveScot has pointed out. There have been a multitude of experiments showing that animals (especially mammal, but birds too, even spiders) are capable of not only recognizing patterns and extrapolating from them but also communicating this to others of the same species. Check out the work done on this: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/en.....query_hl=1

    Everyday labs around the world perform experiments on animals that test their ability to remember landmarks and follow patterns. Check out the Morris water maze task. In fact, if you analyze the actual signals recorded one can see that they DO correspond to landmarks in the environment. Here is just one of the citations for that:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/en.....query_hl=4

    Thus, before you make assertions about what animals do or do not think, read up on the literature.

  62. 62
    jboze3131 says:

    this is still in no way having a sense of “I” in the manner were speaking of.

  63. 63
    DaveScot says:

    My cats can tell time but evidently haven’t mastered daylight savings time. You can set your watch by them expecting breakfast at 7am. They’ll be knocking on the door if outside or tapping you on the shoulder if they’re inside. Daylight savings time throws them off. It never occured to me to see how long it takes them to figure out feeding time changes by an hour twice a year. I’ll have to do that. They do adjust but I’m not sure how long it takes. They haven’t figured out weekends either. They have figured out the sound of my footsteps from my wife’s. That’s because one of us won’t get mad about being woken up at 7am and the other will be looking to kick some furry asses. They now understand the words “get out” and line up at the back door upon hearing the phrase.

    In my experience animals can learn the meaning of as many of my sounds and gestures as I can learn of theirs. Who’s the smarter one? Sometimes I wonder. I once told someone that I taught my duck to recognize his name. At night, when he’s out of sight nesting and I call his name he’ll answer. If I don’t call his name he won’t answer. I thought I taught him to recognize his name. A friend of mine told me the duck taught me to say his name by remaining silent until I said it. It’s all a matter of perspective.

  64. 64
    DaveScot says:

    About the only real difference I can find between humans and the rest of the animal kingdom is that animals don’t know the difference between good and evil. I’m not convinced that all humans know the difference either but I’m think they do and just choose to ignore it.

  65. 65
  66. 66
    jboze3131 says:

    wait. is that a joke? i didnt think you were a christian. itd seem odd for a non christian to have jesus as a hero and role model. for if he isnt the son of god (as would be the view of a non-christian), hes surely not a man to be looked up to in any fashion…let alone as a role model.

    sort of related, but sort of not…i always wondered about satanists. satan comes from the bible- wouldnt that, in an odd way, make them bible believers (which means they should believe in jesus, and that hes the son of god) ? i think satanists have to be high on the list of the most confused people out there. 🙂

  67. 67
  68. 68
    MGD says:

    Try these books by Mortimer Adler:
    “The difference of man and the difference it makes”
    “Intellect”

  69. 69
    DaveScot says:

    “hes surely not a man to be looked up to in any fashion”

    Why on earth not? He preached love, forgiveness, charity and he practiced what he preached. What’s not to like about that?

  70. 70
    jboze3131 says:

    davescot-

    i meant…i dont think you can really admire him if you dont think hes the son of god (the son and also god in human form). because, what we know of what he said comes from the bible…and he clearly said he was god in human form. if you accept his teachings (as passed on via the bible) and hes a hero and a role model to you- youd have to accept that he also said he was god come to earth. if hes not god, then hes a liar (well, a liar or just plain loony)…and i dont think a liar or lunactic would make for a good role model.

    thats what i meant- not that his message was in any way something that shouldnt be followed- id agree with that and go further to say that its the most profound message of all time. which is why the name is known the world round.

  71. 71
    DaveScot says:

    Evidently some of us have fallen farther from grace than others.

    According to the bible God gave us seed bearing herbs to eat as meat. His idea of a perfect world is one where there’s no death and destruction. His promise is to restore perfection to the world where the lion shall eat straw as an oxen. He probably wants us to move in that direction on our own recognizance. That’s just a guess on my part but I’m usually right.

  72. 72
    DaveScot says:

    Boze

    “dont think you can really admire him if you dont think hes the son of god”

    You’re presuming to tell me who I can and can’t admire? Piss off.

  73. 73
    jboze3131 says:

    geez davescot- relax. youre acting as if i attacked you somehow.

    i never presumed to tell you who to admire. i wouldnt tell anyone what to do or not to do with their own opinions. i was giving my own personal opinion and trying to figure out your view. if you dont think jesus was the son of god, then i assume youd have to agere that hed be a liar. if you want to admire and have as your role model someone you think a liar, thats fine with me. but i was just inquiring as to how youd make sense of the dilemma there.

    it should have been clear when i said i dont “THINK” (in this context, it was clearly my personal opinion on the matter of two conflicting ideas) you could fit the two opposing ideas together very well.

  74. 74
    Charliecrs says:

    So many off topics, which ones to answer ?, let see….

    1) As far as pets go – I’ve never owned one so i cant give any personal insights on the issue.
    I have heard from TV news / documentaries that pets are more intelligent than we give em credit for. They may have their own “I” senses that tells who or what they are or what they are supposed to do in their daily lives. For example like Pets who wait for their masters or bark before they come home. Pets that get lost at some faraway place that mysteriously come back home. Pets that can detect oncoming seizure’s or heart attacks before they happen etc.

    They may indeed need their own “I” senses just to get by in their “world” [ might even be requirement for survival ?]. Now comparing their’s to ours is the hard part. Since we hold ourselves as a “higher being ” than those lowly cats and dogs its hard for us to compare ourselves to those low -vermin /tic infested animals. Regardless unless we invent some kind of “MAGICK PET TRASALTOR” we [in general & those of us who never owned pets ] may never know the truth. We cant go about asking pets , you pet whats up ?…. ya know who ya are ?. do my darn homework etc, go to work, etc…..
    Its like asking, how may licks does it take to get to the center of a tootise pop ? sadly the world may never know:(….

    Key difference being those TV reports also said that pet owners are quick to jump in and say that pets are smart, they know their place ,can speak & have kids, start a 401k [ya get meh drift ] etc. etc. etc. So in short the answer and conclusion to my point that i have been drawing out thus far is, stay FAR AWAY, FAR FAR FAR AWAY FROM DaveScot & cambion [ i.e – pet owners ] on this issue. Trust me its good for every1’s health that way lol.

    2.) About Jesus…

    Now while it maybe true that most people who like or admire Jesus maybe Christian, there maybe non Christian people who like him for the good works he’s reported to have done. Fine by me i say, either way this is a dead issue like the one up top cus if this continue we are gona end up asking if Jesus is Jesus’s real name or maybe we should call him his native name Yeshu ?. or call God by his actuall Hebrew name, Why not call Jerusalem, Yerushalayim?, etc. Just please stop the Madness!!!

    3.) Now as much as i like talking about God or religion [which i have no probs with ], Wasn’t this thread about Pam Winnick’s new book, A Jealous God: Science’s Crusade Against Religion ?. Anyone have comments on it ?.

    4.) If we don’t stop getting so side tracked i think Mr. Dembski will probably start deleting all these side comments which would be sad since we’ve all invested somuch time on it….

    Charlie

  75. 75
    johnnyb says:

    testerschoice –

    I disagree with you and also with the people who responded to you.

    My disagreement with those who responded to you is simply that, while I agree that rats probably have less of a “self” than we do, I don’t see it playing at all into the current question, and am happy to put rats and humans on the same playing field for the present discussion.

    What you have shown, again, is that the are corralaries of consciousness, and the brain is _involved_ in thought. Noone doubts this. I don’t know about others on this board, but I personally have no doubt that memory is stored within the brain. I have no doubt that when deciding between two alternatives, that the logical thinking occurs within the brain. I have no doubt that when there is pain, there is a direct linking to specific neural circuits.

    None of this, however, expresses anything other than mechanistic ideas. And, as I pointed out, mechanistic programs don’t “feel” they only “do”. They also don’t make choices. I can construct a computer program to do any of the mechanistic things you are speaking of. I can program visual detection circuits, natural language algorithms, logic circuits, memory circuits, and decision circuits — I can even randomize them to make them appear as if they were based on choice. I can even wire pain circuits which notify the processor that something bad is occurring.

    However, NONE of these things will actually make my created program/machine _feel_ or _choose_.

    This is the flaw of the Turing Test. It is metaphysically and philosophically flawed. The reason we value life is not because of some sort of interface function that it performs, but because life feels and chooses. This is an absolute disconnect from material processes — matter in motion.

    I suggest that you listen to the link that I sent. He covers the neurological corrolaries of mind fairly well, especially in the question-and-answer period.

  76. 76
    DaveScot says:

    “then i assume youd have to agere that hed be a liar”

    Only if you believe the bible is an unvarnished true historical account.

  77. 77
    taciturnus says:

    Davescot,

    Re-read my post #50. All the behaviors you have described for your animals can be accounted for by a stimulus-response mechanism that need not invoke a self-aware “I”. They are all variations on Pavlov’s dog responding to the stimulation of a bell before being fed. Animals are very good at picking up these environmental cues and can be conditioned by them even though we don’t intend it, leading us to naively conclude that they can think like we do. For example:

    Davescot: “They [Dave’s cats]have figured out the sound of my footsteps from my wife’s. That’s because one of us won’t get mad about being woken up at 7am and the other will be looking to kick some furry asses. ”

    or

    testerschoice: “Everyday labs around the world perform experiments on animals that test their ability to remember landmarks and follow patterns. Check out the Morris water maze task. In fact, if you analyze the actual signals recorded one can see that they DO correspond to landmarks in the environment.”

    These are both classic cases of conditioned responses.

    Of course, SOME human behavior can be explained by conditioned response. There was a time when psychologists naively believed that ALL human behavior could be similarly accounted for by stimulus-response conditioning (B.F. Skinner, for example). They abandoned this years ago when it became clear that certain human-specific behaviors – scientific investigation, for example – cannot be explained on a stimulus response model. Simply put, you can explain the behavior of a rat in a maze or a duck responding to its name without granting the animal any self-awareness (an “I”). There is no way to explain the scientific behavior of humans in this manner.

    To have an abstract notion of “place” requires more than merely responding to place-oriented stimuli. It means being able to use “place” as a notional symbol, which we prove we can do by pointing to a place, writing the address of a place, speaking the location of a place, etc. We can refer to the same place in these materially diverse manners because we can have a notion of “place” abstracted from any particular material medium. The self-aware “I” is the seat of this capability, and it is the reason we can do science at all.

    Periodically there are cases where psychologists are fooled into thinking an animal has abstract knowledge. There was the famous case of the horse who could apparently do arithmetic, tapping out sums with its hoofs. It turns out that the horse was responding to subtle cues from its trainer, cues of which even the trainer was unaware.

    Here are some other human behaviors – behaviors that indicate that human beings transcend the mechanism of stimulus response and have a self-aware “I” – that I wonder if anyone has seen paralleled in the animal world:

    1) Like an animal, human beings respond to their names. But, because they are self-aware, they can also choose to not respond to their name, or arbitrarily choose a different name to respond to altogether. Has anyone ever experienced their cat waking up one day and deciding to be called Fluffy instead of Ralph?

    2) All animals, including humans, have an aversion to fire and naturally flee it. But humans can also transcend the fleeing response through their intellect and will (the “I”) and turn it to their own purposes. Has anyone experienced an animal overcoming its aversion to fire and using it for its own purposes?

    3) Humans, like animals, can find their way through a maze and remember landmarks and patterns. But a human can abstract the notion of “maze” itself and invent a general algorithm for solving mazes – for instance, putting your hand on a wall and never taking it off while you walk through the maze (too bad Jack Nicholson didn’t know this in The Shining.) Has anyone ever seen an animal show that it has learned such a generalized algorithm? Or, has anyone ever seen an animal leave a trail of bread crumbs or pebbles so it can find its way out of a maze?

    Dave T.

  78. 78
    DaveScot says:

    johnnyb

    Consciousness may exist on different scales in time and space. Ours appears to arise from a collection of individual brain cells in communication with each other. The individual cells, even though they are each a part of a conscious whole, probably aren’t aware of the larger consciousness they form. Life on earth, taken as a whole, is also a collection of individual cells in communication with each other. The scale is just larger and the communication speed slower. We as individuals, even though we might each be a part of a larger conscious whole, probably wouldn’t be aware of it, just like individual neurons aren’t aware.

  79. 79
    DaveScot says:

    “All the behaviors you have described for your animals can be accounted for by a stimulus-response mechanism that need not invoke a self-aware “I”.”

    In the same manner that evolution can be accounted for by a random mutation mechanism. 😉

    “All animals, including humans, have an aversion to fire and naturally flee it.”

    That’s a wive’s tale. Many flying insects are so attracted to the light of a fire they’ll incinerate themselves. Fish don’t fear fire. None of my animals are afraid of controlled fires.

    “Has anyone experienced an animal overcoming its aversion to fire and using it for its own purposes?”

    Certainly. Haven’t you ever seen a dog or cat sleeping near a fireplace for the warmth? Cats even seem to enjoy watching flames in a fireplace presumably for the same reason I enjoy watching it.

    “Has anyone ever seen an animal show that it has learned such a generalized algorithm?”

    Sure. Cats can get pretty creative in exploiting natural cover to improve the hunt. I’ve some that learned how to hunt mockingbirds in the backyard. The mockingbirds would perch on the wooden fence and scan the yard for cats. If they espied any cats they raise an alarm and harass it. These birds will actually divebomb a cat from the cat’s blindside to drive it away. I watched it happen many times. Eventually one of my cats discovered that if he slept at the base of the fence the birds couldn’t see him down there. The bird would then land in the yard and the cat would pounce. There’s not many mockingbirds in my immediate neighborhood anymore and the cats can rest unmolested wherever they want.

    You’re giving individual humans far more credit than they are due. We spent hundreds of thousands of years without knowing how to control fire or use tools beyond sticks and stones. Humans are born ignorant and unless someone teaches them they pretty much die ignorant too.

  80. 80
    cambion says:

    I wasn’t trying to say that house cats have the same sort of self-aware sense of the self that we as humans do. I do, however, think they have a complex mapping of the outside world stored within their brains. You can do a lot without resorting to “I” statements.

    Cat’s mapping:

    man’s footsteps -> food -> good
    woman’s footsteps -> angry -> bad

    You don’t need:

    “I” hear man’s footsteps -> “I” get food -> “I” feel good
    “I” hear woman’s footsteps -> “I” get swatted -> “I” feel bad

    I think you can have a large degree of “intellect” without self-awareness.

    I would also guess this all has a lot to do with the subject / object duality. Our mapping separates us from the outside world, whereas the cat’s makes no such distinction. I think it’s interesting that much of humanity’s spiritual urges (Buddhism for example) seek to overcome this distinction.

    ((Please keep in mind that this is all just conjecture))

  81. 81
    DaveScot says:

    “Or, has anyone ever seen an animal leave a trail of bread crumbs or pebbles so it can find its way out of a maze?”

    Sure.

    Ants make and follow trails. Bees can abstractly communicate the location of a remote source of nectar to other bees. Dogs piss on things to mark the extent of their territory.

    Cats claw marks into trees as high as they can stretch. Other cats will come along, compare the height of the marks to how high they can reach, and use that to determine the chances of winning a fight over the marked territory. If the scratch marks are a lot higher than they’re able to make they know it’s a much bigger cat’s territory they’re trespassing on.

    When humans make marks to communicate to other humans it really isn’t different in kind from what other animals do, it’s different only in degree.

  82. 82
    taciturnus says:

    Dave,

    Do you really see no distinction between the way humans use fire and animals do?

    “None of my animals are afraid of controlled fires.”

    So they get up and stoke the fire themselves? And they understand the fire enough to start it and control it? Or do they just sit near it because it is something warm? Do they use fire as a weapon the way humans do? Does your cat heat up its own dinner?

    “You’re giving individual humans far more credit than they are due. We spent hundreds of thousands of years without knowing how to control fire or use tools beyond sticks and stones. Humans are born ignorant and unless someone teaches them they pretty much die ignorant too. ”

    And yet now we can control fire to the extent that it can propel us to the moon and we use tools like backhoes and digital computers. This is another distinctive feature of humanity: culture. Man can discover the causal principles of the world, technically master the world through them, then pass the knowledge on to future generations. I suspect that cat culture is pretty much the same as it was 1,000 years ago. I’d be willing to bet that cat culture will be the same 10 years from now despite the contributions of your own feline friend. Why is that? Might it be because cats can’t learn the way human beings can? You dismiss the human ability to learn but its the very reason we have a culture and cats don’t.

    I have a question: If human beings are born ignorant and die ignorant unless someone teaches them, how did human beings ever learn anything at all? Who taught the first man to control fire?

    Dave T.

  83. 83
    taciturnus says:

    “Ants make and follow trails. Bees can abstractly communicate the location of a remote source of nectar to other bees. Dogs piss on things to mark the extent of their territory.”

    So you have seen ants and bees put in a maze and mark their way out, and dogs mark a maze with piss so they can find their way out?

  84. 84
    MGD says:

    “Who taught the first man to control fire?”

    Prometheus?

  85. 85
    Bombadill says:

    Testing 1 2 7. I have not been able to post all day. What gives!?

  86. 86
    Bombadill says:

    The Penfield Experiment (Renowned father of modern neurosurgery):

    “Penfield would stimulate electrically the proper motor cortex of conscious patients and challenge them to keep one hand from moving when the current was applied. The patient would seize this hand with the other hand and struggle to hold it still. Thus one hand under the control of the the electrical current and the other hand under the control of the patient’s mind fought against each other. Penfield risked the explanation that the patient had not only a physical brain that was stimulated to action but also a nonphysical reality that interacted with the brain.”

    John C. Eccles (Neurophysiologist and Nobel Laureate):

    “I am constrained to believe that there is what we might call a supernatural origin of my unique self-conscious mind or my unique selfhood or soul.”

  87. 87
    jaredl says:

    Isn’t it simply induction on a sample of size one to postulate the existence of the “I” in another human’s mind? Isn’t that a fallacy itself?

  88. 88
    Bombadill says:

    Suggesting that propositions can be reduced to matter in the brain is like suggesting that the number 7 weighs 5 lbs.

  89. 89
    jaredl says:

    What are you talking about, B?

  90. 90
    mtgcsharpguy says:

    There is no such thing as the “supernatural” – only that which we cannot *yet* comprehend. Every explanation certainly has a scientific explanation, it just hasn’t been discovered yet.

    Quantum physics is one such example.

  91. 91
    jboze3131 says:

    no one can say that there is no supernatural. its too convenient to say- oh, gosh, its just something that science hasnt figured out yet, but it will someday. thats too easy- you can use that excuse with everything, and its much like the god-of-the-gaps argument others would have such a problem with.

    that and its absurd to think that science is the only way to truth and knowledge, that science is the be all and end all of the universe.

    to say there is no supernatural with any certainty is to proclaim that the universe somehow spit itself into existence, formed bonds between atoms, created the laws of the universe, created life, formed planets, etc. everything we know of human experience tells us that these sorts of acts are never the result of blind, unguided accidents…so the evidence surely doesnt lend itself to the idea that you, or anyone else, can say with any amount of certainty that this is the case. the evidence, from our own experience, points to a guided, purposeful nature within the universe.

  92. 92
    jboze3131 says:

    then again- you might be saying no supernatural in the sense that you think god would be part of nature, thus not supernatural. no idea. if thats the case, and you werent saying that there is proof of what i said above, then thats a different story.

    i only mention that because i think you might have been one of the people before that said you believe in god but consider god to be part of nature. or maybe that was some others and not you??

  93. 93
    testerschoice says:

    Bombadill,
    While I admire Eccles work (in fact my research centers around a part of anatomy he did much of his early work in), I have to say that I disagree with his statement. It is not because Eccles was lying, but that the knowledge simply did not exist at the time (1970s) for him to draw the conclusions he was making. Something that you do not mention in your quote is that this was his personal/philosophical opinion, not his scientific opinion. In fact, if one looks at his papers later in life, he clearly states that the brain/mind problem is material. http://www.pubmedcentral.gov/a.....id=1502142
    He utilizes quantum mechanical effects as part of the basis for consciousness (a hypothesis I have not seen substantially proven yet). While he does stop short of discussing self-consciouness, he does not discount it as being explainable by the mechanisms he has posited. Instead he says that it is just unique to humans, something which has been questioned by work on primates.

    As for the Penfield experiment, how does that disprove what I have previously stated on the matter? I stated previously that intention is separate from generation. Cortical motor control is divided into two regions, the primary motor cortex and premotor cortex. The primary motor cortex deals with the control of motor neurons in the spinal cord to generate movements. It receives inputs from the premotor cortex that deals with the planning of those movements. The premotor cortex recieves inputs from the frontal cortex and sensory association cortices, where it is suspected that intentionality lies. If Penfield is stimulating the proper motor cortex, then how would that interfere with intentionality? There is some ambiguity, I have never heard the term proper motor cortex, and it is not found in the literature. I am assuming they are refering to primary motor cortex since Penfield is most known for his work on motor humonculi (internal representations of the body) in primary motor cortex. Penfield’s experiments do not contradict what I have said so far.

    Now, as for the point that propositions cannot be reduced to matter. I again return you to the examples given of human subjects undergoing fMRI studies and the correlation of neural activity with thoughts and perceptions. There is a great journal just for this, NeuroImage. http://www.sciencedirect.com/s.....57daca9586
    Check it out, every couple weeks another action packed adventure of correlating activity in the brain with behavior.

  94. 94
    testerschoice says:

    Jboze,
    Quantum mechanics goes against human experience, is it wrong because of that? Besides, the same criticism you make rejecting an argument against the supernatural can be leveled at your rejection of a mechanistic basis for “I”. Just because you cannot imagine how it could be true (without any further study of the matter) does not make it untrue. It only means you need to do more experiments and observations to see if your model bears out.

    And if you are saying that atoms cannot form bonds without a designer, well then I know a lot of chemists who want to have a word with you.

  95. 95
    Lurker says:

    “I have a question: If human beings are born ignorant and die ignorant unless someone teaches them, how did human beings ever learn anything at all? Who taught the first man to control fire?”

    A similar question is ‘Where did language come from?’. We all know language must be taught (see Chinese Room @ Wikipedia). A computer can’t tell the difference between these two code snippets: ‘L x W = Area’ and ‘Pi x D = Circ’ because everything is just symbols. You and I know what each statement means because we have understanding while a computer only has syntax.

  96. 96
    jboze3131 says:

    the bonds that exist in atoms, i mean. the very nature of the bonds. the laws that make them possible.

    and no one is saying ‘i cant imagine how it could’ thus, a designer. everything we know from human experience tells us that a guided process, intelligence, purpose, etc. are needed for the things i mentioned. only in this realm of study can anyone posit that a purposeless, meaningless, unguided process can do what its claimed to have done. in any other field of study- the scientist would be laughed out of the room if he claimed the same thing. a fact that doesnt make much sense- if in any other field, this theory would be a joke…why in bioevo is it considered, by some, to be the only game in town?

    as for the “I” discussed- thoughts are not material things. brain activity can be shown with certain behaviors, but thats not the same as brain activity showing thoughts themselves- because thoughts are intangible, theyre not made of anything that we know of…and its unlikely that well ever find that theyre made of anything. you can posit that thoughts are imaginary- that its all an illusion, that its just brain activity, but showing parts of the brain lighting up during certain activities isnt the same thing at all. thoughts cannot possibly be reduced to matter and brain. if that were the case- we should see a future where scientists can read our thoughts and we will hook ourselves into each others feelings. you can never know what i feel at any given time- i might experience feelings that are so distinctly different from you, that if you could feel them yourself, it might seem like a totally different reality. you could never possibly measure that. how would you reduce such a concept to matter? what shape could it possibly take? if someone has ten times more knowledge than someone else, will there be a material difference in the brain? it surely wont weigh ten times as much, and it wont consist of any different cells or connections than the other brain.

    from what weve seen thru science- thoughts themselves, not the brain activities you speak of, are non-material, thus cannot be dealt with in a naturalistic manner of science. what you mention is the activity the brain goes thru (as the car) as the driver (the mind) is still unseen. the car emits energy, it makes motion- which you can detect, but the underlying mind (the driver) cannot be seen and you cannot measure these things (yet)…ive little doubt anyone will ever be able to do so.

  97. 97
    Lurker says:

    What makes atoms bond? Did they teach themselves or are they following previously ‘written’ instructions? Show me a computer with a blank hard drive that can teach itself and I’ll believe an atom can teach itself what to bond to and what to resist. I say the instructions were given prior.

  98. 98
    testerschoice says:

    Jboze,
    Again with the assertions. I have provided evidence to back up my points, while the best you can do is continue to make your assertion that “thoughts are not material things” and “thoughts are intangible”. Can you even back up these points beyond just stating them? Put your money where your mouth is and DEMONSTRATE WHY brain activity cannot generate thoughts. Repeating your point over and over is not evidence. I am open to the idea that the brain is not the only thing neccesary for thought, but my research and experience in the field show no evidence for why I should favor that hypothesis over say the quantum model or the pink unicorn theory of consciouness. Thoughts are the activity in the brain, that is what scientists have seen. Not only has neural activity been correlated with behaviors (and reported thoughts in human subjects) but it has also been shown to be causitive as well. In fact, the philosphical dialog by Eccles that you reference talks about this very point.

    The publications and evidence I have posted have refuted most examples you have brought up to support your position. I am starting to wonder if your position is based more on dogma and less on observation and experiment.

  99. 99
    jboze3131 says:

    the fact that we even talk about the laws of physics, the laws of the universe- in any other field, wed automatically consider those things intelligently and purposely guided mechanisms/actions/creations.

    the fact that the universe came from nothing at one point and even formed these laws says a lot to me. i keep coming abck to the fact that in no other field of study would this be allowed…and it seems its only allowed in this field, because too many people want to proclaim that man is the end-all of all the universe…that the cosmos (im sorry, the Cosmos) is truly all there ever was, is, and ever will be. very narrow minded view to me- not to mention uttlery depressing and devoid of any meaning or value. and they want to proclaim more knowledge than we can ever possibly truly have (egos maybe?) and that this means the death of god (the end of rules maybe?)

    these issues have such profound philosophical and worldview implications, tho many will deny even this, that you have to take it all with a grain of sand in my view. and the side that wants to reduce all of life, consciousness, etc. is the side that has the burden to prove it. since, in our own experience, the things being discussed are, in any other field, always purposeless guided processes in which we know that a designer or intellingent agent creating was involved at one point.

  100. 100
    Bombadill says:

    I have considerable evidence I’ve been trying post here all day and have not been able to. Evidently the commenting system on this site blocks certain words or characters or something because I’ve tried repeatedly to type it in and post it… frustrating. Ah well.

  101. 101
    jboze3131 says:

    tester- youve pointed to no evidence that THOUGHT themselves are material and are reduced to brain.

    youve merely shown that behaviors use certain parts of the brain. as i said- the mind (the driver) needs the physical brain (the car) to express itself in the world we live in. youve simply shown that the car is being used by the mind. nothing youve posted to shows actual thoughts- they show how certain parts of the brain are used by certain areas of the mind. again- youve never pointed to evidence of thoughts, just the reactions in the brains to them.

    thats the same thing as showing that dopamine can make you happier- but all youre doing is showing that a brain chemical is used to ilicit feelings (feelings we dont see and cant show to be material in any way.) you cant show thoughts themselves…youre only showing the mind working on the brain, using it to express these immaterial thoughts to the outside world. a feeling of happiness isnt the same as ‘im happy, and this is why…’

  102. 102
    testerschoice says:

    Lurker,
    Please, read a textbook on QM or analytic chemistry before you make assertions that are foolish. Bonding of atoms is due to the electronic (by electronic I mean electrons) structure of atoms. It is an emergent property of matter. There is no reason to assume a designer over any other possiblity. Check out the anthropic principle and fine-tuning of physical constants and you will see what I mean. Basically, of course life and chemistry as we know it will develop in a universe that is conducive to it. If the universe were not, we would not be here to say otherwise.

  103. 103
    jboze3131 says:

    also- youve never shown any evidence that thoughts ARE material. if each thought itself is material, each one a different particular entity- we should be able to count the number of thoughts someone has. we should be able to measure raw knowledge, or the amount of raw information in a brain (as one could do by showing how much ram a computer has). we cannot do that. we cannot identify thoughts themselves, only the workings of thebrain that express the thoughts to the physical world. ive not shown that thought are immaterial- but no one has shown that thoughts are, indeed material, which leaves us with the idea that thoughts ARE immaterial and intangible.

  104. 104
    jboze3131 says:

    bombadill- ive noticed that often times it has nothing to do with whats posted or the words in a post. sometimes, on my own site, wordpress puts certain things into moderation for no known reason. sometimes the same person can post 10 times and all but 1 will go thru, and the 1 that wont go thru includes no banned words, ips, etc.

    weird.

  105. 105
    jboze3131 says:

    tester- youre still left with the dilemma of why bonds depend on electrons and the various forces they depend on.

    unguided processes anywhere else in the world, wouldnt lead to self organization like this…positing that matter itself was created somehow (sorry, it wasnt created, it merely emerged from nothing) and that the matters properties automatically lead to the bonding of atoms together. youre still left with major problems in showing why and how this all came about. the world we know tells us that such bonds would have to be formed by laws and laws are written by intelligent agents. the laws themselves contain information content, which we know always comes from an agent that writes the program needed to do these things.

  106. 106
    testerschoice says:

    Jboze,
    Guess what, the activity is the thoughts. Lets look at the evidence, brain activity correlates and has been shown as the cause of behaviors. Behaviors are the expression of thoughts. You say that brain activity is not the thoughts themselves, well PROVE IT! The burden of proof is on your shoulders to show that brain activity is not thoughts. Your hypothesis requires the extra information (namely that something besides neural activity is causing thoughts), thus it is your responsiblity to prove it. From where I stand, there is no evidence for that assertion.

  107. 107
    testerschoice says:

    Jboze,
    As far as bonding goes, I am not a chemist or a physicist so I will leave it to somebody else to debate that. I know the limits of my knowledge. (hint hint)

  108. 108
    jboze3131 says:

    how do you gather that the burden is on me? we know thoughts themselves are immaterial. we cant see thoughts, we can show them on brain scans, we cant weigh them, they take up no space, etc. so, we come to the conclusion that theyre immaterial entities existing somehow in time and space.

    brain activity can show up on scans as related to behaviors, but youre not seeing the thoughts themselves. if brain activity, which one can view, ARE thoughts thmselves, why cant we measure thought? why cant we show in different brains who has more of them…who holds more raw knowledge?? why cant we even read the thoughts somehow.

    you havent shown that neural activity indeed equals thoughts themselves. since we cant measure thoughts, since we cant control thoughts, since we cant label them individually or measure them individually- the conclusion from what we know of everything else in the world is that thoughts are immaterial and the brain is merely the tool used to express them. if what we know from everything else on earth tells us this must be the cause, we must go with this under you and others who share this view prove otherwise.

    the brain lighting up here and using energy over there- those arent the thoughts themselves, its merely the brain being used by the mind to express internall and externally the thoughts themselves. if brain equals thoughts- where are memories stored? are memories even stored at all? the visions you can conjure up in your minds eye (complete with smells, sounds, sights, etc) where are they stored in the brain? can we somehow remove these memories from the brain? where is the minds eye itself located?

  109. 109
    testerschoice says:

    Jboze,
    You are not seeing your assertions, so I will point them out. Prove these.
    “we know thoughts themselves are immaterial”
    “since we cant measure thoughts”

    “we cant see thoughts, we can show them on brain scans, we cant weigh them, they take up no space, etc. so, we come to the conclusion that theyre immaterial entities existing somehow in time and space.”
    We can, and we do. Neural activity can be recorded, and happens in space (across a cells membrane) and time (as a varying signal).

    “why cant we measure thought”
    We do, and if you read the links I posted you would see this.

    “the conclusion from what we know of everything else in the world is that thoughts are immaterial and the brain is merely the tool used to express them.”
    Prove this, please. Do not just assert it, prove it!

    “if what we know from everything else on earth tells us this”
    Such as?

    “the brain lighting up here and using energy over there- those arent the thoughts themselves, its merely the brain being used by the mind to express internall and externally the thoughts themselves. if brain equals thoughts- where are memories stored? are memories even stored at all? the visions you can conjure up in your minds eye (complete with smells, sounds, sights, etc) where are they stored in the brain? can we somehow remove these memories from the brain? where is the minds eye itself located?”
    Listen, refer to my post #26 for the memory part. Read up on long-term potentiation at synapses. As for the “minds eye”, I suggest you look up occipital lobe in google or a textbook.

    Show me your mind! I am asserting that the brain is the mind. If you want to argue it is something external or not part of the brain, I suggest you get cracking on the evidence for that.

    You point is like saying, “I throw a light switch and the light goes on. I follow the wire from the switch to the light. I use a ammeter to measure the current in the wire when I throw the switch and the light goes on. However, all of that is the effect of space donkey’s using energy fields to turn on the light!”

  110. 110
    Lurker says:

    If everything is physical then everything can be boiled down to a number, graph, chart, etc. You can’t do that with thoughts. You can record brain scans all day long and you’ll never know what the person was thinking. Just as the researchers at the sleep clinics. Do you think they can tell you what the person was dreaming about – even in very broad terms? You can look at my brain scan and you’ll never know if I’m in pain or if I’m feeling good – or both.

  111. 111
    testerschoice says:

    Lurker,
    It’s a shame you used the pain example.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/en.....uery_hl=13

    As for dreams, refer to post #49.

  112. 112
    cambion says:

    This debate reminds me of a book I read a couple years ago:

    Frank Vertosick. The Genius Within: The Intelligence of Every Living Thing. Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obi.....4?v=glance

    One of his basic theses is that Darwinian adaptation molds a genome to reflect environment in much the same way as neurological processes mold the human brain to reflect its environment (i.e. alleles that are not as fit as some others die out, novel benficial alleles are promoted; while neurons send out axons in all directions, but those axons that receive stimilus are kept around). Thus, the cellular networks of proteins within a bacteria are of a similar nature as the neuronal networks within our brains. Both of these networks encaptulate an “intelligence” in this sense defined as a fit to the environment, one sort of workable solution for being alive. Anyway, I thought it was interesting, you might want to give it a read…

  113. 113
    testerschoice says:

    Cambion,
    My father actually bought me that book! I have only read bits and pieces, but what I read sounded interesting. Right now my classwork and research occupy most of my reading time. 🙁

  114. 114
    jboze3131 says:

    testers- your links didnt show THOUGHTS themselves. they showed certain areas of the brain activating during certain behaviors. no one could argue that those brain activations themselves are thoughts.

    youre merely showing certain parts of the physical apparatus being used to express thoughts. youre not showing, in any way, that these brain activities in themselves are the thoughts.

    as for pain you mention…were not talking about emotional pain in that sense. no brain scan can tell you what mood you currently have. because you cant, in any known way, measure mood. you COULD hook a person to a brain scan all day and the researcher wouldnt be able to, via the scans, tell you a single thought youhad…nor a single feeling or emotion you had during that entire day. which leads us to believe that thoughts and emotions themselves are material. you keep linking to studies showing brain activity during certain behaviors, but thats not mind, those arent thoughts. its almost as if you want the mind to work WITHOUT the brain, which surely isnt going to happen. the brain is merely the organ used in this physical world to express the thoughts and emotions (both of which you have yet to link to studies that show we can measure thoughts. you keep linking to stuff that shows we can measure brain activity. a response in the brain isnt the same as a thought of the color red or the taste of something. a neural event doesnt equal a goal or an aspiration. if it did, we should be able to read the exact goal and emotion, dream, fear, etc.) a scan might be able to show that the brain is reacting to a certain internal fear, but that scan cannot label the fear and tell you what it consists of.

    you seem to want the mind to work on its down outside of the brain. you want the driver (the mind) to walk instead of drive the car (the brain). of course thats not going to happen. youve still yet to show how brain activity itself equals a tangible thought that we can point to, label, measure, etc.

  115. 115
    Lurker says:

    A researcher can stimulate my nerves in such a way as to duplicate severe pain in my arm. No guarantee that I’ll feel pain severely or even at all. I may even enjoy it! How can a researcher tell if it’s ‘feel good’ pain or ‘hurts bad’ pain by looking at a chart/scan? They can’t.

  116. 116
    testerschoice says:

    Jboze,
    We are going around in circles. Answer my questions in post #109. Until you do, your points are not supported. They are assertions.

    m*h_bar governs the universe.

  117. 117
  118. 118
    jboze3131 says:

    tester- what you said in 109 is that brain activity can be recorded. brain activity is the same as thoughts? YOU prove THAT.

    brain activity in a certain area doesnt equal the color red or the scent of something, or remembering how something tastes.

    you still have to show that the brain activity involved is actually the thoughts im speaking of. brain activity is just that- the brain acting in certain areas…the mind couldnt possibly express iself in this world without the brain could it? so, youre showing nothing when it comes to thoughts themselves.

    if these scans actually showed THOUGHTS, the scans should be able to read these thoughts, label them, count them, measure them…etc. they cant. the activity itself isnt the thought- its the mind working thru the brain to express the immaterial thoughts. youve yet to show that brain cells firing are the thoughts themselves.

  119. 119
    testerschoice says:

    Jboze,
    “if these scans actually showed THOUGHTS, the scans should be able to read these thoughts, label them, count them, measure them…etc. they cant. the activity itself isnt the thought- its the mind working thru the brain to express the immaterial thoughts. youve yet to show that brain cells firing are the thoughts themselves.”
    Brain cells firing in response to specific images.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/en.....uery_hl=15

    The model I am working under is that the activity in the brain corresponds to thoughts. The model you are working under is that the brain activity is somehow influenced by the mind to cause thoughts. You have yet to show how the “mind” affects brain activity. Until you do, your point is an assumption.

    I have demonstrated a correlation and causation between what people report as their thoughts and brain activity. You have not shown either a correlation or causation between the “mind” and brain activity. Until you do, I am going to have to assume you are talking out of your ass.

  120. 120
    testerschoice says:

    Jboze,
    Sorry, correction.
    Your idea is that the mind has thoughts and the mind causes activity in the brain to execute those thoughts. Either way, my previous statement holds, just wanted to make sure I am not misrepresenting your opinion.

  121. 121
    mtgcsharpguy says:

    Wow, 120 comments!!!!!!!!!!!

  122. 122
    mtgcsharpguy says:

    testerschoice: “I have demonstrated a correlation and causation between what people report as their thoughts and brain activity.”

    No you haven’t. You’ve produced speculation. Nothing more. Even the most notable neurologists will admit that different neronets are excited by the same stimuli. There’s no agreed upon mapping of neronet-to-stimuli pathways as the brain reacts very differently to the same situations. So, your argument doesn’t hold, I’m afraid. It looks as though you are just talking out of your azz!

  123. 123
    mtgcsharpguy says:

    Jeesh, evne your referenced “peer-reviewed” journal states my case: “How such a robust, high-level representation is achieved by neurons in the human brain is still unclear.”

    Of course it’s unclear. Like biochemistry, the more we learn, the more we realize it’s way too complicated to be explained away by current science!

  124. 124
    testerschoice says:

    mtgcsharpguy,
    You are right, we still have not fully explained how the all the processing is done in the brain. However, the partial explanation I have given is infinitely better than your idea that the mind is separate from the brain and affects it through some?? mechanism since you have close to NO evidence to back up your claims. Until you provide evidence for a mind separate from the brain, I will continue to call it an assertion without basis.

    Secondly, it’s neuronet, not neronet. Before you call someone as ass, learn to actually make your point intelligently. Also, your point is plain wrong, their are a mutlitude of pathways that go from “neuronet to stimuli”. Study the visual system (or any sensory system for that matter) and you will see networks of neurons that process stimuli and extract features, from lines to shapes to objects. Read up on the microcircuitry of the occipital lobe, and you will see exactly what I am saying.

  125. 125
    cambion says:

    testerschoice: ‘From what we’ve seen in neuroscience research, we can explain what we perceive as mind as an emergent property of a large group of well coordinated neurons.”

    jboze3131: ‘Yes, but it’s possible there is more to it, in the form of a non-physical mind that interacts with our physical brain.’

    ((I apologize if anyone feels miscontrued.))

    To me, this is very reminiscent of evolution vs. ID. The latter in both cases is definitely possible, but requires an additional parameter which science has no direct observational evidence for. Thus, science takes the former as provisionally true, unless evidence of the latter arises.

    I would encourage all the ID proponents to get cracking on the research. There’s a lot of interesting stuff that could be done. A couple of examples:

    If evolution was front-loaded with the information required for the formation of much of what appears to be truely novel, then one would hypothesize the genes required to from some putatively designed structure to be present in organisms that lack this structure, but are simply tucked away in the genome’s “junk” DNA.

    If a designer (possibly a transcendent one) is continually injecting information into the evolving biosphere what would it look like? One obvious answer is that the genes coding for a putatively designed structure (like the bacterial flagellum) should appear all at once all together in the phylogeny of life. This would be a much stronger demonstration than apparent IC.

    Someone should be doing this stuff. I’m surprised I don’t hear about anyone attempting it.

  126. 126
    testerschoice says:

    Cambion,
    I think you have characterized my point well. I also agree with your point about doing more research on the subject. If you are going to posit a mind/brain connection where the mind is separate from the brain, there needs to be more research to justify it.

  127. 127
    anteater says:

    “If the universe were not, we would not be here to say otherwise.”

    That seems circular.

  128. 128
    testerschoice says:

    Anteater,
    That is the point. It shows why the fine tuning argument is fundamentally flawed.

  129. 129
    Lurker says:

    “That is the point. It shows why the fine tuning argument is fundamentally flawed.”

    No. You’re putting the cart before the horse. The probability of drawing 1 number (any number) out of 10^200 is 100%. The probability of drawing the *correct* number is 1 in 10^200. Our universe is that correct number, any old universe won’t do.

  130. 130
    taciturnus says:

    Testerschoice,

    I know you are already responding to several people, so I’ll understand if you do want to respond to me as well.

    I was wondering if you could expand on what you mean by this statement from post #119:

    “The model I am working under is that the activity in the brain corresponds to thoughts.”

    This sounds like it implies that thoughts are something separate from the brain to which brain activity maps. That’s what I get from the word “corresponds”. If I understand your position correctly, there are no such things as thoughts separate from the brain. Brain activity IS thought. Or, more accurately, thought is brain activity since not all activities of the brain are thoughts. Would your position be more accurately characterized as:

    “The model I am working under is that thought is brain activity.”

    Cheers,
    Dave T.

  131. 131
    testerschoice says:

    Taciturnus,
    “The model I am working under is that thought is brain activity.”
    That is the model I am working under, yes.

  132. 132
    testerschoice says:

    Lurker,
    It does not matter what the probability of it is. If the universe was started with any other combination of constants it would (probably) not result in a universe like our own, and thus we would not be around to know otherwise. Again, I recommend you check out the weak-antropic principle.

    It is like saying if somebody wins the lottery, they must be cheating (analogous to fine-tuning) because the probabiliy of guessing and getting it right is so low.

  133. 133
    taciturnus says:

    Testerschoice,

    So when I think of a number, “5” for example, the “5” I think is the brain activity itself, not something beyond the brain activity that corresponds to that activity?

    Dave t.

  134. 134
    testerschoice says:

    Taciturnus,
    Yes, that is the idea. While neuroscientists have not been able to map every concept to specific patterns of activity at the cellular level, every week a new paper is out from a group that has mapped types of thought to specific populations of cells or areas in the brain. If you want to posit that something beyond the brain activity is neccesary for thought, you have to demonstrate that. So far, nobody has experimentally.

  135. 135
  136. 136
    taciturnus says:

    Testerschoice,

    I don’t doubt what you write about the researches of neuroscientists, or that there is no experimental evidence for a non-material mind.

    But I am puzzled about something: If the “5” I think is nothing but my own brain activity, and the “5” you think is nothing but your brain activity, then it follows that the “5” you think and the “5” I think are different things since our brains are materially different. We are talking about two different things when you speak of “5” and I speak of “5”. I wonder how we are to communicate at all since I don’t experience your brain activity and you dont’t experience mine.

  137. 137
    Bombadill says:

    Study Published in “Resuscitation” in 2001, by Physician Sam Parnia and Peter Fenwick, Neuropsychiatrist of The Instititute of Psychiatry – London:

  138. 138
    Bombadill says:

    (quote) Study of sixty three heart attack victims who were declared clinically dead but later revived and interviewed, reported having well structured, lucid thought processes with memory formation and reasoning, durin the time that their brains were not functioning. (end quote)

  139. 139
    Bombadill says:

    YAY! It finally let me post part of what I wanted to post!!!

    *Dances jig of glee

  140. 140
    testerschoice says:

    Taciturnus,
    When we grow up and learn language, we learn how to correlate our internal representation of objects with words spoken to us. We also learn how to communicate our internal representation of objects through speech that others can understand. It does not matter if we have different internal representations objects, since we have a universal (language) way of sharing those representations.

  141. 141
    taciturnus says:

    Testerschoice,

    When I asked this question earlier:

    “So when I think of a number, “5″ for example, the “5″ I think is the brain activity itself, not something beyond the brain activity that corresponds to that activity?”

    and you agreed, we may have misunderstood each other. I thought you to be saying that there is not a “5” beyond my brain activity to which that brain activity corresponds. If I understand your last reply, your position is actually that when I think “5”, my brain activity itself is not actually “5”, it is only a representation of “5”, and the “5” that it represents is independent of both our brains, which is why communication is possible. Is this correct?

    Dave T.

  142. 142
    DaveScot says:

    Bombadil

    Is it not possible that the resuscitated patients formed false memories after the fact?

    I’ve been unconscious due to brain concussion and I’ve not only no memories of when I was unconcious but I’ve no memory of being pitched over the handlebars of my motorcycle and landing on my head either. One might expect that flying through the air like that would be a memorable experience but noooooooooooooo…

  143. 143
    MGD says:

    “If the universe were not, we would not be here to say otherwise.”
    “That is the point. It shows why the fine tuning argument is fundamentally flawed.”

    http://leaderu.com/offices/bil.....arrow.html

  144. 144
    testerschoice says:

    Bombadill,
    That was an interesting paper by Parnia et al in Resuscitation, and a later one in 2002. Firstly, of the 63 patients sampled only 4 had NDE (near death experiences). Of those 4, no evidence could be provided that neural activity shut down during the experience since the patients were not hooked up to EEGs or any other kind of neural activity recording device. However in the cases where patients have had cardiac arrest while their brain activity could be monitored the EEG went flatline after several seconds. Activity only returned much later, and slowly. Of the sample of 63, around 88% had no memories or recollection about the experience. This would make sense if their EEGs had gone to flatline.

    It is also important to note that the authors say their sample is too small to test for significance with respect to correlating physiological parameters to the NDE.

    I think that it is an interesting phenomenon and should be researched further. However, it is not conclusive proof for an immaterial mind. Due to the low frequency of NDEs and recordings of brain activity during cardiac arrest, the sample sizes are just too small. Along with that, no mention is made of EEG recordings of patients while they have NDEs.

  145. 145
    testerschoice says:

    DaveScot,
    “I’ve no memory of being pitched over the handlebars of my motorcycle and landing on my head either. One might expect that flying through the air like that would be a memorable experience but noooooooooooooo…”
    Actually, it is the norm that people do not remember events surrounding a traumatic brain injury.

  146. 146
    DaveScot says:

    SteveB

    “For you to suggest that the broad brush of “Nazi scientists uncovering biological truths using live human subjects” applies to all of the modern scientific enterprise is riduculous.”

    I didn’t suggest that. That’s because for the large part modern scientific enterprise has been kept on a tight leash by the non-scientist moral majority. Incidents like Nazi medical research are what inspire the leash holders to closely monitor the amount of slack in it.

  147. 147
    avocationist says:

    Dave,

    “I’ve been unconscious due to brain concussion and I’ve not only no memories of when I was unconcious but I’ve no memory of being pitched over the handlebars of my motorcycle and landing on my head either. One might expect that flying through the air like that would be a memorable experience but noooooooooooooo… ”

    My guess is that you never stopped breathing. I think you have to actually be going throught he dying process in order for those inner senses to kick in. Try looking up right temporal lobe stuff.

  148. 148
    DaveScot says:

    Try imagining that the brain creates false memories to fill in the blanks. It’s not rocket science.

  149. 149
    jboze3131 says:

    there are many cases of people losing consciousness and unexplained things happening. a woman i read about a few days ago started a site because she had an injury- was brain dead for nearly 10 mins…yet she drew a picture of the saw they used to open her cranium, as well as the sound it made when her signs were showing no brain activity at all. other cases where people have drawn pictures of the tools in the room, what happened to them from doctors and nurses while out ofit, how many people in the room- sometimes objects in other rooms, peering down on their own bodies.

    there are a lot of things that defy reasonable explanation out there, and its unlikely that the skeptics approach (to shrug it off and say that it must have been memories from before losing consciousness, or memories from after, etc) always adds up with all of these cases. some of them, sure- its likely someone saw a tool before they went out totally or when they woke up…but some of the cases amaze the doctors who cant explain the situations at all.

  150. 150
    crandaddy says:

    “That’s because for the large part modern scientific enterprise has been kept on a tight leash by the non-scientist moral majority. Incidents like Nazi medical research are what inspire the leash holders to closely monitor the amount of slack in it.”

    I shudder to think what would happen if the majority lost its morality. How low can humanity sink? I think the Nazis gave us a good idea.

    David

  151. 151
    pmob1 says:

    testerschoice,

    RE: Post 20

    You have pointed out that the burden of proof is on others “to show that thoughts have an immaterial basis.”

    I do not see why you would bother to contest the burden of proof or how this could be relevant to your thesis. As you say, thoughts are no more than material brain events, to include emotions, beliefs, “problems,” “proofs” and so forth. Some members of this forum contend that self, conscience and thoughts are immaterial but you say that these metaphysics are themselves nothing more than neurotransmissions specific to operational life forms. We can indeed weigh them on our instruments; else they do not exist.

    But your behaviorism is also nothing more or less than a series of brain-states that might be shared through language. In other words, “behaviorism,” “psychologism,” “materialism” and “reductionism” have no station outside the cranial membrane: they are material brain-events. “Behaviorism” is ultimately no different than “faith,” “avarice,” “pre-wakefulness” or “mild indifference.” More to the point, “behaviorism” is ultimately equivalent to the “immaterialism” so popular in this forum. Each consists of neural events and has no other being. True, one might distinguish variant details in the neural data, but these are of no consequence. They signify nothing but themselves!

    Therefore I do not understand your apparent concern with assigning a “burden of proof” as if you apprehended some standard, some proof-standard, above and beyond brain-states. You appeal to “proof” as if some system, outside and apart from our brain states, could “settle” some difference between us. It sounds suspiciously like the scientific system of evidence, inductions and laws. But surely, you would acknowledge that these “proofs”are no more than ephemeral bio-electrical events. Whence this disembodied “proof” and wherefore any “burden?”

    sd

  152. 152
    DaveScot says:

    Maybe she wasn’t really braindead.

    Maybe the moon landing was faked.

    Maybe aliens travel trillions of miles to earth to conduct anal probing experiments on abducted humans.

    Maybe witches really can fly on a broom.

    Maybe I don’t have much time for paranormal claptrap.

  153. 153
    jboze3131 says:

    you sound like ID opponents who shrug it off as nonsense without a glance over.

    if someone has no brain activity (nothing shows up on an EEG), i assure you theyre considered brain dead.

  154. 154
    DaveScot says:

    “you sound like ID opponents who shrug it off as nonsense without a glance over”

    Most things that are given pseudo-science labels really deserve them. ID is the exception that proves the rule.

  155. 155
    DaveScot says:

    “if someone has no brain activity (nothing shows up on an EEG), i assure you theyre considered brain dead”

    I’ve seen enough electronic malfunctions and operator error to easily explain a few cases of apparent brain death when there wasn’t any. But for the sake of argument let’s say the machines and their operators performed flawlessly. Let’s also say the memories are real. The logical conclusion is that what we consider “brain-dead” really isn’t and there’s activity not detectable by current methodology. This is by far a conclusion more reasonable than postulating some kind of supernatural spiritual essence that continues sensory experience and recording in the absence of functional sensory apparatus.

    Have you seen the movie “21 Grams”? You’d like it. Try to keep in mind it’s fiction while you watch it.

  156. 156
    DaveScot says:

    Brain chemistry doesn’t cease when characteristic brain electrical waves go flat. Brain waves are indicative of loss of ability to physically interact with reality. Brain chemistry is probably what records sensory experience. For instance, recent experiments which disable certain protein activity in the brain block the formation of long term memory but impair no other brain functions. Electrical activity may be simply indicative of post-processing of the real-time and recorded data streams for actionable responses.

    Being considered clinically “brain-dead” is more likely just an expedient excuse to facilitate disconnecting patients from expensive life-support machinery based upon statistical evidence that brain-dead patients, especially those that have been brain-dead for hours or days, never (or close enough to never) recover consciousness. Triage is a lousy job but someone has to do it.

  157. 157
    jboze3131 says:

    “This is by far a conclusion more reasonable than postulating some kind of supernatural spiritual essence that continues sensory experience and recording in the absence of functional sensory apparatus.”
    —————

    well, for me the designer would be God…and if life ended with your natural death, then that’s no God worth having.

    being a christian and knowing the evidence of the miracles and reserrection of christ, id find it easier to side with the ‘supernatural’ period, and this sort of thing seems to mirror that sort of realm to some degree.

    even if the designer, in your opinion, isnt god- if life ended at death, then i wouldnt even care to posit about the designer or his design, because hed be worthless beyond imagination.

  158. 158
    jboze3131 says:

    oops. noticed a mistake. make that resurrection.

  159. 159
    testerschoice says:

    Jboze,
    Ah, now I see why you were so fervent in your position. If you are wrong, your life has no meaning. That sucks.

  160. 160
    jboze3131 says:

    how do you gather tester? im not fervent in my position at all…

    the fact is, if your the result of a blind unguided process- none of our lives have any meaning, as even provine from cornell admits.

    so, we can now argue that you want life to have no purpose, then you can act accordingly, which is why you see things the way you do, right?

  161. 161
    testerschoice says:

    Jboze,
    “you want life to have no purpose”
    I do not want that, but I acknowledge it as a possibility. This is no different then my acknowledging that life may have a purpose (divine or otherwise), or that the mind may be immaterial. All I am doing right now is investigating and waiting for the evidence to come in. That determines where I place my bets.

  162. 162
    jboze3131 says:

    yeah. and the same goes for me. and from my pov, the evidence – all of it taken together points to purpose and design. science, philosophy, religion, etc. using them all together, i see a purpose to life, meaning and a reason for being here.

    if, on the other hand, the designer killed you off and that was that- i wouldnt even care to wonder about his design. why would i? so i can learn more about it, die, then never find out the ultimate truths to life? i believe the designer is the god of the bible- so i think there is purpose to life.

    to those who think the designer is a purposeless being/god whatever- i dont understand why they care to study it at all. just as i dont get why militant atheists like dawkins wastes time with his study of the issue, when he thinks hell die one day and never truly find out any ultimate truth…and even if he thinks hes got some ultimate truth- so what? hell die and thatll be it for him forever, so why bother? why not drink and be merry , for tomorrow we die?

    im going with the evidence as well, and from the rhetoric itself i see one side ahead (the ID side). when one side attacks, distorts, lies about the other- you know that that side probably has some issues, that theyre not really totally solid with their so-called evidence. when one side is calm and cordial, you see that chances are- they have a better grip on things for 1. and 2. they have a more open minded view of allowing evidence to come in, and not demanding it fit a certain preconceived notion of what is and what isnt true science, what is and what isnt evidence that should be allowed, etc.

  163. 163
    testerschoice says:

    Jboze,
    I know why Dawkin’s (and myself for that matter) do science. We both are uncertain about our fate after we die, there may be no grand truths revealed. It then makes sense to dedicate your life to finding them, since it is possibly our only chance. What reason do you have to find them in life if you believe they will be revealed in their totality when you die?

    As for rhetoric, from my perspective that is all the ID community has. Evolution can stand on the mountains of evidence that has been aquired over the last 150 years. ID just has sparse (if any) publications and quote mining (Dawkin’s supports ID LOL!!). Honestly, we may never know who is right, and evolution may never be able to convince people like you. No matter how much evidence is presented against ID, for people like you, Dembski, Behe, Johnson it is a matter of importance beyond the material realm, but in the spiritual realm. To believe in evolution is to surrender your faith. I ask you, is there anyway you could ever believe (in the scientific sense) evolution?

    PS. “they have a more open minded view of allowing evidence to come in, and not demanding it fit a certain preconceived notion of what is and what isnt true science, what is and what isnt evidence that should be allowed, etc.”
    Thanks for the rhetorical argument.

  164. 164
    jboze3131 says:

    you continue to put words in my mouth. thanks! i wasnt aware that it was all about the spiritual realm for behe, dembski, johnson, and even myself. clearly ken miller is a christian, so “bel;ieving” in evolution isnt in any way surrendering ones faith.

    if there is no god, no one will ever find out the biggest answers in life. theres no chance that man will ever find these answers himself on earth…unless we can build time machines to travel back to the start of it all…even then, its unlikely that would tell us all we want to know. no god means no chance of ever truly knowing. its just not possible, so why bother, when any reasonable person knows without god there will be barriers and limits no man will ever be able to get around?

    mountains of evidence? sorry, but when the leading lights have a handful of their most prized “transitions” (horses and whales mainly), and not even all darwinists agree that these transitional sequences hold up- i would hardly call that a mountain of evidence. the total of all ‘hominid’ fossils would barely fill the back of a small pickup truck (as history channels recent ape to man series explained), yet we have mountains of evidence of human evolution? come on!

    the fact is- common decent and common designer could both be equally likely from the evidence…in my view common design wins out tho. if ID has no evidence to stand on, please explain to us the step by step process that lead to the bacterial flagella. explain why, in the lab, species limits is the rule when it comes to fruit flies and e coli, even tho weve sped up mutation rates to the poiint where we should have already seen some major changes. if intelligent agents speeding up the mutation rates cannot accomplish this, how does unguided, purposeless processes in nature do it and do it a thousand times as big? a reasonable explanation as to why the fossil record shows stasis and so many body forms appear with no links before it. your mountain is a molehill.

    and it doesnt make sense to say- this is science, anything outside of it is bunk and not worth looking at. while, at the same time, science daily tackles issues of the supernatural realm (they claim that they cannot study god, but natl geographic channel runs programs daily attacking god and “disproving” his existence.) they claim that they cannot go into the realm to study hauntings, spirits, ghosts, esp, etc. yet they constantly claim theyve debunked all of this stuff…its a complete contradiction and its closed minded and way too narrow for science overall.

  165. 165
    testerschoice says:

    Jboze,
    “you continue to put words in my mouth. thanks! i wasnt aware that it was all about the spiritual realm for behe, dembski, johnson, and even myself. clearly ken miller is a christian, so “bel;ieving” in evolution isnt in any way surrendering ones faith.”

    You said: “i believe the designer is the god of the bible- so i think there is purpose to life.” Please rectify this, do you want to renounce this quote? Ken Miller clearly has resolve the issue for himself somehow, hey, notice how he is not on my list! Also, I never it it was “all about the spiritual realm”, merely that it had importance in that.

    “if there is no god, no one will ever find out the biggest answers in life. theres no chance that man will ever find these answers himself on earth…unless we can build time machines to travel back to the start of it all…even then, its unlikely that would tell us all we want to know. no god means no chance of ever truly knowing. its just not possible, so why bother, when any reasonable person knows without god there will be barriers and limits no man will ever be able to get around?”

    I would rather have an approximation of the answer than no answer at all. It is nice to know the IDists have a defeatist mentality in the face of actual questions about reality.

    “mountains of evidence? sorry, but when the leading lights have a handful of their most prized “transitions” (horses and whales mainly), and not even all darwinists agree that these transitional sequences hold up- i would hardly call that a mountain of evidence. the total of all ‘hominid’ fossils would barely fill the back of a small pickup truck (as history channels recent ape to man series explained), yet we have mountains of evidence of human evolution? come on!”

    A pickup truck of hominid fossils is infinitely more than NO positive evidence for ID. Especially your specific interpretation which requires the existence of the Christian God. Why is their no active research into the mechanisms for how ID is executed? Answer that question please, because Behe sure did not know.

    “the fact is- common decent and common designer could both be equally likely from the evidence…in my view common design wins out tho. if ID has no evidence to stand on, please explain to us the step by step process that lead to the bacterial flagella. explain why, in the lab, species limits is the rule when it comes to fruit flies and e coli, even tho weve sped up mutation rates to the poiint where we should have already seen some major changes. if intelligent agents speeding up the mutation rates cannot accomplish this, how does unguided, purposeless processes in nature do it and do it a thousand times as big?”

    Check out Behe’s testimony on the subject. For a bacterial colony that is several powers of ten below the population size in a ton of dirt and using only point mutations, they will evolve a functional disulfide bond in 20,000 years. Considering that is a very conservative estimate and life has been around for approximatly 3.5 billion years the odds are not so bad.

    “a reasonable explanation as to why the fossil record shows stasis and so many body forms appear with no links before it. your mountain is a molehill.”

    Oh no, you caught us, we cannot explain the step by step mechanisms for bacterial flegella evolution. And this is evidence for ID how? How is the LACK OF KNOWLEDGE evidence for intelligent design? Again, you have no evidence for design besides theoretical models (something which IDists scoff at when biologists do the same).

    “and it doesnt make sense to say- this is science, anything outside of it is bunk and not worth looking at. while, at the same time, science daily tackles issues of the supernatural realm (they claim that they cannot study god, but natl geographic channel runs programs daily attacking god and “disproving” his existence.) they claim that they cannot go into the realm to study hauntings, spirits, ghosts, esp, etc. yet they constantly claim theyve debunked all of this stuff…its a complete contradiction and its closed minded and way too narrow for science overall. ”

    It makes perfect sense, that is why science has actually answered questions about the universe and things like astrology have done nothing. Science can go in and investigate phenomena that are called spiritual and have observable and quantifiable (read material) manifestations.

    Also, could you please use proper capitalization and not write in sentence fragments every paragraph. I usually do not bring this up with people on the internet, but you are gratuitous.

  166. 166
    jboze3131 says:

    “Also, could you please use proper capitalization and not write in sentence fragments every paragraph. I usually do not bring this up with people on the internet, but you are gratuitous.”

    id rather not.

    you can continue to claim id has no positive evidence behind it, but thats BS and you know it.

    “I would rather have an approximation of the answer than no answer at all. It is nice to know the IDists have a defeatist mentality in the face of actual questions about reality. ”

    youre still putting words into my mouth. that part of my comment clearly had nothing to do with ID, it had to do with philosophy.

    i see you have turned the mountain of evidence into the molehill i said it was…its okay tho, because you claim there is positive ID evidence, which as i said, is bogus.

    as for your comments on science- science proclaims it CANNOT examine the supernatural. if the supernatural does, indeed, exist (in any of the forms i mentioned), then science would have to admit it cannot study it. if god came down and had lunch with richard dawkins- and dawkins agreed that god was supernatural, he would have to admit that he couldnt possibly study god, no matter how many lunches they had together. if science cannot deal with the supernatural and if the supernatural does exist- science would just label it natural. either that or most would deny the evidence and claim there has to be some naturalistic explanation to it. that is the very definition of closed minded.

  167. 167
    jboze3131 says:

    i should also point out that the entire mud to man evolution scenario is nothing but a theoretical narrative. its surely no empirical in any sense. and ID does, indeed, have more than a “lack of knowledge” on the BF. youre trying to claim ID is some sort of god of the gaps argument, but that doesnt hold up under the evidence thats been put forth, the papers/books written, etc.

    you cannot show any possible step by step process that would create an IC system. darwin himself said that if one could not do this for all systems we find, it would falsify his theory. you cant do it, others cant do it either- miller, who seems to think hes done it, doesnt even understand IC, considering he seems to think a mousetrap, tie clip, and paper weight serve the same purpose…even if this stipulation wasnt in place, he still hasnt shown a thing in regards to the BF. not to mention a cpl other examples of IC that have no step by step explanation. how long (i think its been 7 or 8 yrs so far) before we consider the theory that you claim is supported by a mountain of evidence falsified as darwin pointed out?

  168. 168
    testerschoice says:

    Jboze,
    “youre trying to claim ID is some sort of god of the gaps argument, but that doesnt hold up under the evidence thats been put forth, the papers/books written, etc.”

    You say this, then you go on the say this:

    “you cannot show any possible step by step process that would create an IC system. darwin himself said that if one could not do this for all systems we find, it would falsify his theory. you cant do it, others cant do it either- miller, who seems to think hes done it, doesnt even understand IC, considering he seems to think a mousetrap, tie clip, and paper weight serve the same purpose…even if this stipulation wasnt in place, he still hasnt shown a thing in regards to the BF. not to mention a cpl other examples of IC that have no step by step explanation. how long (i think its been 7 or 8 yrs so far) before we consider the theory that you claim is supported by a mountain of evidence falsified as darwin pointed out?”

    The irony of this is deafening.

  169. 169
    jboze3131 says:

    umm ok? you clearly havent read behes book. youre not making sense. ID is a positive argument, tho you deny this. you claim ID is simply “we don’t know! it must be designed’ the end” not so.

    and i merely pointed out that no reasonable step by step process to evolve the BF has come about. darwin said such a situation would totally falsify his theory. his theory still stands with you and many others…why is that the case? we can come out with some off the wall ideas such as P.E. but that doesn’t make the situation any better.

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