Home » Intelligent Design » Heresy Against the Church of Darwin Must be Stamped Out!

Heresy Against the Church of Darwin Must be Stamped Out!

Tomás de Torquemada (1420 – 1498) was the first Grand Inquisitor of the Spanish Inquisition.  Steven Pinker has appointed himself as the Grand Inquisitor of the Church of Saint Charles the Bearded.

As reported in these pages (see here and here), atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel’s book Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False has caused quite a stir.  The New Republic reports that Pinker has taken to cyberspace to stir up the Darwinist mob against Nagel.  Every whiff of heresy against the true faith must be ruthlessly stamped out.  Torquemada had his Auto-da-fé.  Pinker has his Twitter account.

Irony alert.  We can be certain that Pinker is horrified by and wholly condemns Torquemada’s efforts to persecute and silence perceived heretics from the Christian faith.  Yet he does not hesitate to strike at the slightest whiff of heresy against his secular faith.

  • Delicious
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • RSS Feed

109 Responses to Heresy Against the Church of Darwin Must be Stamped Out!

  1. There’s nothing quite so funny as atheists behaving exactly like theists. That they’re completely unaware of it only adds to the irony.

  2. 2
    Kantian Naturalist

    Simon Blackburn:

    There is charm to reading a philosopher who confesses to finding things bewildering. But I regret the appearance of this book. It will only bring comfort to creationists and fans of “intelligent design”, who will not be too bothered about the difference between their divine architect and Nagel’s natural providence. It will give ammunition to those triumphalist scientists who pronounce that philosophy is best pensioned off. If there were a philosophical Vatican, the book would be a good candidate for going on to the Index.

    Also: an opinion essay by a New Republic columnist is poorly introduced by “New Republic reports __,” since “New Republic reports” implies that this is an work of journalism about Nagel’s impact — but it’s not, it’s Wieseltier’s monthly column.

  3. Related Note:

    One might wonder how this kind of thing will impact the ‘atheism is not a religion’ position?

    http://www.washingtontimes.com.....go-global/

  4. I think if I were to design a church of chance-worship, I’d have the altar constructed to display a great arrangement of smoke and mirrors.
    Illumination would be dim and artificial and would be provided by an arrangement of Bunsen burners to support the scientific aspirations.

    Behind this altar would be a large closed red curtain embroided with gold lettering “Believe! All through Random Mutation And Natural Selection”.

    And, of course, the man behind the curtain – revealed only on special occasions: a great painting of the Saint of the Galapagos surrounded by fearful symbols of his legacy.

    Below the painting, an inscription in Roman letters and borrowed from Shakespeare: “Let not sorrow die, though I am dead.”

  5. 5
    CentralScrutinizer

    There’s nothing quite so funny as atheists behaving exactly like theists. That they’re completely unaware of it only adds to the irony.

    …and comedy.

  6. The papal inquisition was really something. The inquisitors would come into town, go to the local priest, and have him announce a special assembly that all should attend. Attendance was not mandatory but you can imagine that not attending might actually bring you to the attention of the inquisitors.

    The inquisitors would then deliver a sermon and call on all in attendance to confess now to heretical beliefs, noting that it would go easier for folks who confessed earlier rather than later. Many people did take advantage of this, but the inquisitors were interested not only in gaining confession on heretical beliefs, but also in getting names of people who might also be heretics–like not believing that wine transformed into blood during the Christian mass.

    If one was suspected of heresy, one could be hauled before the inquisition and imprisoned. The inquisition never told the accused what exactly he was accused of having done, or by whom. Imprisonment could last months or even years while one awaited trial. One was most likely tortured: the inquisition could torture one so long as no blood was drawn. A favorite was strappado, where one’s hands were bound behind the back and lifted slowly. Often both shoulders would get broken.

    Before trial, one had to list all the people who might have mortal hatred of them. The inquisition realized that some people might name their enemies as heretics to get rid of them. They also realized that one might say anything under torture. So, if you were able to name a person who mortally hated you and that person had in fact been the accuser, you would be released.

    In trial, the accused was allowed to have a lawyer, but lawyers were not eager to step up because to represent a heretic meant the end of your career.

    To be guilty of heresy was to be turned over to secular authorities, who would then burn the condemned at a stake.

    All this to say that I think Steven Pinker is exactly like an inquisitor, and tweeting opinions is just like the inquisition.

  7. 7
    Kantian Naturalist

    My sentiments exactly, LarTanner.

    Also worth noting: Wieseltier doesn’t mention that Pinker’s tweet refers to the Leiter and Weisberg review in The Nation, which raises some pretty serious issues with Nagel’s book. One is, of course, quite free to engage with the substance of those criticisms on Nagel’s behalf — but Wieseltier is an intellectual lightweight, and he wouldn’t presume to try.

  8. 8
    Kantian Naturalist

    If Darwinism entailed atheism, then that would be a problem for teaching Darwinism in public schools — but it doesn’t, so it’s not.

  9. I keep saying it, and I’ll do so until they answer, how can non-intelligence give rise to intelligence? How can effects be greater than their causes, in a cause and effect universe?

  10. ” Saint Charles the Bearded ” :)

    Did anybody else notice he looks like Santa?

  11. 11
    Kantian Naturalist

    Andre, why you think that “intelligence” is “greater than” “non-intelligence”?

  12. 12

    Yes, LarTanner, being dissed on Twitter is not as physically calamitous to the victim as being subjected to a medieval auto-da-fé. If you have any more stunning nuggets of scintillating perspicuity, by all means drop them on us. I know I’m breathless with anticipation.

    BTW, you and KN were conspicuous in your absence from the combox attached to my last post.

  13. The dirt-did-it religion must defend itself against all attacks by the non-believers, just like like any other religion. But why is their religion being taught in our schools, which is against our laws? Should we sit on our rear ends and allow the government to indoctrinate our children and impose their state religion on all of us?

    I propose that we choose a week of the year for widespread civil disobedience on this issue. All parents who object to the Darwinian creed being taught in schools should keep their children at home during that entire week. The message should simply be: “No religion in our schools.”

    Let us reverse the table on the Church of Darwin.

  14. Let me add that it is not up to the courts or the politicians to decide what is and what is not religion. It is up to us, the people. This should be decided at the ballot box, not the courtroom. We live in a democracy, after all. Anything else is dictatorship. Just saying.

  15. Barry,

    being dissed on Twitter is not as physically calamitous to the victim as being subjected to a medieval auto-da-fé

    I admire your gift for understatement. Really.

    The question remains as to what exactly is inquisition-like about what Pinker did.

    Is it that he publicly criticized another atheist? If so, since when were atheists prohibited from doing this?

    Is it that he used a snarky tone? If so, when were atheists prohibited from certain tonal expressions?

    Heresy is uniquely religious phenomenon, and Christianity was especially concerned with it. Early episcopal and papal inquisitions targeted the Cathars and Waldensians, mass movements which themselves arose in response to earlier failures in church reform.

    So, just as I wonder how inquisition applies to Pinker, so too do I wonder how heresy applies to modern atheism.

    I don’t mean to be conspicuously absent from any post. I honestly had no idea my presence was expected or desired. The fact is that I’m busy with my business, my dissertation, my wife and children, and several other activities besides–such as taxes.

    It doesn’t seem to me like UD is generating much new content, so my interest here has waned. Maybe I’ve missed the latest refinements in ID theory (or whatever it is). I’d find them more interesting, in any case.

  16. Kantian Naturalist:

    If Darwinism entailed atheism, then that would be a problem for teaching Darwinism in public schools — but it doesn’t, so it’s not.

    This is nonsense. Of course, Darwinism entails atheism. Who are you kidding? That was the goal from the beginning. Despite their vehement denials, evolutionists are hellbent on imposing their religion (a system of beliefs) that does away with a creator God. Pointing to a handful of brain-dead Darwinian theists as proof that Darwinism does not deny God is not going to cut it. And insisting that evolution is not about the origin of life is a gutless excuse. Any theory of life that has no beginning is not a theory. It is a religion. And a very superstitious one at that.

  17. 17

    LarTanner: “Heresy is uniquely religious phenomenon”

    Nonsense. Every dictionary I consulted disagrees with you.

    Random House Dictionary:“any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs, customs, etc”

    World English Dictionary: “any opinion or belief that is or is thought to be contrary to official or established theory; belief in or adherence to unorthodox opinion”

    You seem to have a case of the hyper-literal bug today, Lar. Let me spell it out for you. The point of the OP is not that anyone is going to burn at the stake for questioning the Darwinist party line. The point is that Darwinism is a species of orthodoxy, and people like Pinker are analogous to people like Torquemada in the sense that they enforce the orthodoxy and persecute in varying degrees those who transgress by deviating from the orthodoxy.

    “Analogous” is the key word there. I made a kind of analogy you see. I did not mean to suggest that Pinker is exactly like Torquemada. Sorry to throw you off.

    In case you (and Nick) are struggling with other aspects of the analogy, let me clear them up too. I do not think that Charles Darwin is really a saint or that he started a church or that Origin of Species is literally a sacred text. Again, sorry.

  18. 18

    You’re equating Twitter comments to Torquemada? Really????? Listen to yourselves! I facebook posts = Hitler!

  19. 19

    Nick, I didn’t mean to give you palpitations. Sorry. Calm down. Take a few deep breaths. Read my response to Lar at 17.

  20. Barry,

    I am talking about history, not lexicography. Concern over heresy, identification of heretics, actions against heretical beliefs: these were all mechanisms that Christianity used in great measure.

    Maybe there is a Darwinist orthodoxy and party line. What do you think is the official expression of the creed? is there a specific sentence or reference you would cite?

    I know, for example, if I want to show someone an example of a Christian creed, I can point them to a specific, locatable text, and even specific words/passages that articulate the sponsored beliefs.

    I look forward to your citation of the credal statement of orthodox Darwinians.

  21. 21
    Kantian Naturalist

    I’m utterly unable to see how Pinker’s endorsement of Leiter and Weisberg’s criticisms is in any way analogous to any sort of enforcement of orthodoxy or persecution to any degree. Wiseltier is just showing even less critical judgment than usual to suggest otherwise. To do that, he would firstly need to show that the Leiter and Weisberg criticisms are without merit, and he hasn’t come even close to showing that. He merely sneers.

    And, for that matter, no one else here has even come close to showing that the Leiter and Weisberg review lacks merit. To do that, one would need to do at least the following two things: (i) read Mind and Cosmos; (ii) read Leiter and Weisberg’s review.

    As far as this particular topic is concerned, I don’t see a point of carrying on a conversation with anyone here who hasn’t done those two things.

  22. 22

    Lar @ 20. You persist in your error that heresy is a uniquely Christian (or even religious) phenomenon. I can’t help you when you persist in your error after correction. Sorry.

  23. 23
    Kantian Naturalist

    Mapou,

    Of course, Darwinism entails atheism. Who are you kidding? That was the goal from the beginning. Despite their vehement denials, evolutionists are hellbent on imposing their religion (a system of beliefs) that does away with a creator God. Pointing to a handful of brain-dead Darwinian theists as proof that Darwinism does not deny God is not going to cut it. And insisting that evolution is not about the origin of life is a gutless excuse. Any theory of life that has no beginning is not a theory. It is a religion. And a very superstitious one at that.

    I’ve rarely come across a post at Uncommon Descent I disagree with as strongly as this one. So, congratulations!

    In order for Darwinism to entail atheism, it would have to be the case that one cannot believe in God without also being rationally committed to the distinct and separate creation of different species.

  24. 24

    Matzke,

    You ran the mouthpiece for an organization that deliberately sought to ruin the careers and livelihoods of qualified scientists. This was done without even a second thought about driving someone out of a field that they had dedicated their lives to, and it was done on the flimsiest of reasoning, without any scientific confirmation whatsoever. Michael Behe comes to mind. He proposed a concept of irreducible complexity. In response, your side produced a tie clip and years upon years of sneering remarks. Yet the concept of irreducible complexity can be demonstrated in biology in a way that you cannot refute in any way whatsoever. So instead of feigned outrage over Barry’s article, why don’t you man-up and give Behe a call. Apologize for umpteen years of grief your side has targeted at the man who was correct all along.

  25. KN

    The answer is in your question…. look for it…. and I’m not being cryptic see if you can spot it.

  26. 26
    Kantian Naturalist

    Humor me, Andre. I’m stupid.

  27. Of related note: Atheists like to point to the Spanish inquisition and witch hunts, etc.. etc.. to try to say that atheism is better than Christianity. Yet atheists forget to ‘look in the mirror’ at the exponentially worse horror that was visited upon mankind in atheistic regimes: This following video and article are very clear as to pointing the extremely different ‘degrees of evil’ we are dealing with in atheistic and Christian cultures:

    “Christian” Atrocities compared to Atheists Atrocities – Dinesh D’Souza – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmrRC6zD4Zk

    If You Thought Religion was a Bad Idea … Check Out Atheism – Kirk Durston – June 2012
    Excerpt: To summarize why purely atheistic societies are so dangerous, they not only killed for the cause of advancing a purely atheistic society, but their moral guardrail has no grounds. Thus, extraordinary democide can result, because a portable, hand carried moral guardrail is no guardrail at all.
    http://powertochange.com/wp-co.....s-2012.pdf

    The unmitigated horror visited upon man, by state sponsored atheism, would be hard to exaggerate,,, Here’s what happens when Atheists/evolutionists/non-Christians take control of Government:

    “169,202,000 Murdered: Summary and Conclusions [20th Century Democide]
    I BACKGROUND
    2. The New Concept of Democide [Definition of Democide]
    3. Over 133,147,000 Murdered: Pre-Twentieth Century Democide
    II 128,168,000 VICTIMS: THE DEKA-MEGAMURDERERS
    4. 61,911,000 Murdered: The Soviet Gulag State
    5. 35,236,000 Murdered: The Communist Chinese Ant Hill
    6. 20,946,000 Murdered: The Nazi Genocide State
    7. 10,214,000 Murdered: The Depraved Nationalist Regime
    III 19,178,000 VICTIMS: THE LESSER MEGA-MURDERERS
    8. 5,964,000 Murdered: Japan’s Savage Military
    9. 2,035,000 Murdered: The Khmer Rouge Hell State
    10. 1,883,000 Murdered: Turkey’s Genocidal Purges
    11. 1,670,000 Murdered: The Vietnamese War State
    12. 1,585,000 Murdered: Poland’s Ethnic Cleansing
    13. 1,503,000 Murdered: The Pakistani Cutthroat State
    14. 1,072,000 Murdered: Tito’s Slaughterhouse
    IV 4,145,000 VICTIMS: SUSPECTED MEGAMURDERERS
    15. 1,663,000 Murdered? Orwellian North Korea
    16. 1,417,000 Murdered? Barbarous Mexico
    17. 1,066,000 Murdered? Feudal Russia”

    This is, in reality, probably just a drop in the bucket. Who knows how many undocumented murders there were. It also doesn’t count all the millions of abortions from around the world.
    http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/NOTE1.HTM

    “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. . . . Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
    (Source: John Adams, The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Charles Francis Adams, editor (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co. 1854), Vol. IX, p. 229, October 11, 1798.)

  28. 28

    UB, your point at 24 is well taken. At his perch at NCSE Matzek spent years doing everything in his power to stifle dissent from Darwinism. For him of all people to feign outrage at the suggestion that Darwinists have an orthodoxy that they defend by persecuting dissenters is ironic in the extreme.

    KN, your outrage is noted. Get over it. That Darwinists persecute their opponents and try to ruin the careers of dissenters is well documented.

  29. KN

    Don’t be so hard on yourself…. Tell me when last did a rock tell you what it was thinking about? Now how did that rock that never told you how it felt even decide to be your great great great great grandaddy? Help me to see how such an illogical religion works please?

  30. KN:

    I’ve rarely come across a post at Uncommon Descent I disagree with as strongly as this one. So, congratulations!

    Glad to be of service.

    In order for Darwinism to entail atheism, it would have to be the case that one cannot believe in God without also being rationally committed to the distinct and separate creation of different species.

    It is certainly possible that there are gods (we among them) who are neither knowledgeable nor powerful enough to design and create the kinds of complex living organisms that we observe. Egyptian gods could change water into blood and sticks into serpents but that’s a far cry from creating life on earth. Those of us who believe in a creator God (the big Kahuna who created everything) do so because the alternative is to join the dirt-did-it religion, aka the nothing-did-it religion.

    Some of us don’t think that being scientific means parking one’s brain in a closet. Given a choice between the religions of Cretins (Darwinism) and Voodoo, I would choose Voodoo.

  31. An example of a Darwin doubter being persecuted….

    Ben Carson

  32. And much like in totalitarian regimes, atheists in this country, where they are in positions of power to get away with it, have persecuted anyone who dares not toe the neo-Darwinian party line:

    i.e. Though the evidence against neo-Darwinian evolution is overwhelming to the point of rendering Darwinian explanations ludicrous through and through, anyone who dares question the sufficiency of Darwinism to explain the unfathomed integrated complexity being found in life in the classroom (or lab) is persecuted, as the following clearly points out:

    EXPELLED – Starring Ben Stein – Part 1 of 10 – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIZAAh_6OXg

    Slaughter of Dissidents – Book
    “If folks liked Ben Stein’s movie “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed,” they will be blown away by “Slaughter of the Dissidents.” – Russ Miller
    http://www.amazon.com/Slaughte.....0981873405

    Origins – Slaughter of the Dissidents with Dr. Jerry Bergman – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6rzaM_BxBk

    On the Fundamental Difference Between Darwin-Inspired and Intelligent Design-Inspired Lawsuits – September 2011
    Excerpt: Darwin lobby litigation: In every Darwin-inspired case listed above, the Darwin lobby sought to shut down free speech, stopping people from talking about non-evolutionary views, and seeking to restrict freedom of intellectual inquiry.
    ID movement litigation: Seeks to expand intellectual inquiry and free speech rights to talk about non-evolutionary views.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....50451.html

    “Evolution is the only ‘scientific theory’ that needs lawyers to protect it!”
    Author Unknown

    Ironically,,

    Intelligent Design Supporter Expelled from Civil Liberties Organization – podcast – January 2013
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....1_00-08_00

    Casey Luskin points out that the following anti-ID philosopher even goes so far as to publish a paper saying that the bullying tactics of neo-Darwinists, which all who have questioned Darwinism on the internet can testify to, are justified since many ID proponents are Christian!:

    Anti-ID Philosopher: “Ad hominem” Arguments “Justified” When Attacking Intelligent Design Proponents – Casey Luskin – June 4, 2012
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....60381.html

    Here is an atheist professor who openly proselytizes his religion in his classroom (Of note they took down the video of him proselytizing atheism through Darwinism to his students personally):

    Dr. Will Provine – EXPELLED – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MpJ5dHtmNtU

    “Proselytizing for Darwin’s God in the Classroom” (from 2008): John G. West – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEajEwzYwHg

    Intelligent Design’s Implications Don’t Discredit Its Scientific Merit: Opposing Views, Part 3 – (Several Quotes from secular humanists who support Darwinism) – podcast
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....2_26-08_00

    Evolution Is Religion–Not Science by Henry Morris, Ph.D.
    Excerpt: Evolution is promoted by its practitioners as more than mere science. Evolution is promulgated as an ideology, a secular religion—a full-fledged alternative to Christianity, with meaning and morality,,, Evolution is a religion. This was true of evolution in the beginning, and it is true of evolution still today.
    Darwinian atheist Michael Ruse – Prominent Philosopher

  33. 33
    CentralScrutinizer

    Mapou: Egyptian gods could change water into blood and sticks into serpents but that’s a far cry from creating life on earth.

    Whoa…

    I’d be interested in knowing how an intelligent entity (Egyptian “god”) could turn a stick into a serpent without a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of all activity going on within cells and the DNA replication system, etc.

  34. I recall Dawkins saying that Anthony Flew had comitted apostasy when he abandoned his atheism. The fact that Flew adopted a doctrine that was contrary to the established atheistic doctrine, would suggest he was a heretic. Flew was heavily castigated by the atheistic community when he renounced his atheism.

  35. CentralScrutinizer:

    I’d be interested in knowing how an intelligent entity (Egyptian “god”) could turn a stick into a serpent without a comprehensive knowledge and understanding of all activity going on within cells and the DNA replication system, etc.

    Well, duplication is not the same as creation. It doesn’t necessarily require an understanding of the object to be duplicated. All you need is a duplicator. Besides, one can certainly duplicate a Mona Lisa but the tour de force is to create the Mona Lisa in the first place. That requires a different set of talents.

    But you knew all that, right? After all, you are the central scrutinizer. :-D

  36. “In the last few years I have seen a saddening progression at several institutions. I have witnessed unfair treatment upon scientists that do not accept macroevolutionary arguments and for their having signed the above-referenced statement regarding the examination of Darwinism. (Dissent from Darwinism list)(I will comment no further regarding the specifics of the actions taken upon the skeptics; I love and honor my colleagues too much for that.) I never thought that science would have evolved like this. I deeply value the academy; teaching, professing and research in the university are my privileges and joys… ”
    Professor James M. Tour – one of the ten most cited chemists in the world
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....evolution/

  37. It’s been said that atheist regimes could accomplish more murder and mayhem on a quiet afternoon than the inquisition could accomplish in its entire 300 year history. BA’s notes above back this up.

    And besides, the right or wrong of flaming someone literally versus flaming them verbally ultimately comes down to opinion in the atheist worldview.

    If they really believe we are nothing but opinionated language apes in an indifferent universe why all the emotion over the long gone inquisition?

    ,

  38. 38
    Kantian Naturalist

    That rocks are not sentient doesn’t really answer the question, “in what sense of ‘greater than’ is ‘intelligence’ greater than ‘non-intelligence’?”

    As for the much-vexed question of the relation between science and metaphysics, I’m inclined towards a pragmatist philosophy of science and a scientific metaphysics.

    A scientific theory contains a set of ontological claims — just, whatever must exist in order for the theory to be true. Taken in that sense, evolutionary theory is committed to the existence of populations of organisms. Is it committed to much more than that? Possibly, though I remain to be convinced.

    Certainly it is not committed to materialism. Meaning, there is nothing in evolutionary theory which says that organisms must be reducible to matter (though just what “reducible to” means is itself actually quite problematic, as the Leiter and Weisberg review of Nagel indicates).

  39. Darwinism, at least as the word is often used, does not entail atheism. (Similarly, ID does not entail theism.)

    It is of course true that a great many have found the materialist creation myth to be compatible with their atheistic beliefs — remember Dawkins’ comment about evolution allowing the atheist to be “intellectually fulfilled.”

    Part of the problem comes in defining “Darwinism.”

    Certainly at the level of “slight-successive-changes-leads-to-new-species” it does not entail atheism. At the farther end of the spectrum, namely, the idea that “life itself and all the subsequent development and diversity of life on Earth came about through purely natural and material processes,” is much closer, but it still does not quite entail atheism.

    There is a final sense, however, in which it might. Specifically, there are a great many supporters of Darwinism/evolution who hold to the affirmative view that: (i) the physical and the material is all there is, and (ii) everything, essentially all processes that we see, are just a manifestation of purely natural evolution in action over different periods of time.

    In this strongest sense of materialism, it would seem to entail atheism.

    So the challenge, then, becomes determining if a person’s particular use of the words “Darwinism” or “evolution” includes this far end of the spectrum, the end where everything is asserted as just matter and energy in mindless motion.

  40. KN,

    All of this reminds me of a recent article about possible ‘fossils found in a meteorite’, and the statement that was made about those who were skeptical ofg it.

    “The skeptical response to that article, The Journal of Cosmology’s editors wrote, caused them to reminisce about “totalitarian states and theocracies, where defenders of the faith, and Grand Inquisitors, armed with their Bibles, threatened, tortured, and killed those who challenged prevailing dogma.” The Journal’s editorial statement was posted by David Dobbs for the Neuron Culture blog at Wired.”

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetw.....038;f=1007

  41. It’s funny that Pinker would rail against Nagel so hard since Pinker agrees with Plantinga’s basic premise that evolution cannot account for our ability to perceive truth:

    Scientific Peer Review is in Trouble: From Medical Science to Darwinism – Mike Keas – October 10, 2012
    Excerpt: Survival is all that matters on evolutionary naturalism. Our evolving brains are more likely to give us useful fictions that promote survival rather than the truth about reality. Thus evolutionary naturalism undermines all rationality (including confidence in science itself). Renown philosopher Alvin Plantinga has argued against naturalism in this way (summary of that argument is linked on the site:).
    Or, if your short on time and patience to grasp Plantinga’s nuanced argument, see if you can digest this thought from evolutionary cognitive psychologist Steve Pinker, who baldly states:
    “Our brains are shaped for fitness, not for truth; sometimes the truth is adaptive, sometimes it is not.”
    Steven Pinker, evolutionary cognitive psychologist, How the Mind Works (W.W. Norton, 1997), p. 305.
    http://blogs.christianpost.com.....ism-12421/

    i.e. if Pinker, as he himself has acknowledged, cannot be certain that he can know the truth for certain (if he even grants that there is a ‘truth’ to be known for certain) why does he pretend that his perception of any truth that there may be is better than Nagel’s perception?,, Pinker is not the only evolutionary psychologist to note this problem for Darwinism:

    Evolutionists Are Now Saying Their Thinking is Flawed (But Evolution is Still a Fact) – Cornelius Hunter – May 2012
    Excerpt: But the point here is that these “researchers” are making an assertion (human reasoning evolved and is flawed) which undermines their very argument. If human reasoning evolved and is flawed, then how can we know that evolution is a fact, much less any particular details of said evolutionary process that they think they understand via their “research”?
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....their.html

    The following interview is sadly comical as a evolutionary psychologist realizes that neo-Darwinism can offer no guarantee that our faculties of reasoning will correspond to the truth, not even for the truth that he is purporting to give in the interview, (which begs the question of how was he able to come to that particular truthful realization, in the first place, if neo-Darwinian evolution were actually true?);

    Evolutionary guru: Don’t believe everything you think – October 2011
    Interviewer: You could be deceiving yourself about that.(?)
    Evolutionary Psychologist: Absolutely.
    http://www.newscientist.com/ar.....think.html

    Compared to the outlandish claim of Pinker is defending, that matter can become ‘conscious’,,,

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

    Neuroscientist: “The Most Seamless Illusions Ever Created” – April 2012
    Excerpt: We have so much confidence in our materialist assumptions (which are assumptions, not facts) that something like free will is denied in principle. Maybe it doesn’t exist, but I don’t really know that. Either way, it doesn’t matter because if free will and consciousness are just an illusion, they are the most seamless illusions ever created. Film maker James Cameron wishes he had special effects that good.
    Matthew D. Lieberman – neuroscientist – materialist – UCLA professor

    David Chalmers on Consciousness (‘Zombie’ argument for consciousness) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK1Yo6VbRoo

    ,, Nagel’s claim is fairly mild:

    Nagel Asks, Is the World Really Knowable? – Joshua Youngkin – October 26, 2012
    Excerpt: science even at its best could never offer a complete picture of the world. That is, science as science will necessarily lack the vocabulary to capture and express the myriad private worlds of subjective, conscious experience. To take Nagel’s famous example, science could tell you everything you want to know about bats except what it is like to be a bat, to “see” via echolocation. Similarly, brain scientists could in principle learn every objective fact about your brain and how it works yet they wouldn’t by virtue of this knowledge know what sugar tastes like to you.
    In the final chapter of the book, Nagel sums the matter up this way:
    “In attempting to understand consciousness as a biological phenomenon, it is too easy to forget how radical is the difference between the subjective and the objective, and to fall into the error of thinking about the mental in terms taken from our ideas of physical events and processes.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....65761.html

    And indeed the fact that we are conscious is the most sure thing we can know about ourselves. In fact, there is a very strong tradition in philosophy that holds that the most concrete thing that you can know about reality is the fact that you are indeed conscious:

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

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

    And it is fairly strange to note how Decartes’ old argument has now been played out in modern cosmology:

    BRUCE GORDON: Hawking’s irrational arguments – October 2010
    Excerpt: What is worse, multiplying without limit the opportunities for any event to happen in the context of a multiverse – where it is alleged that anything can spontaneously jump into existence without cause – produces a situation in which no absurdity is beyond the pale. For instance, we find multiverse cosmologists debating the “Boltzmann Brain” problem: In the most “reasonable” models for a multiverse, it is immeasurably more likely that our consciousness is associated with a brain that has spontaneously fluctuated into existence in the quantum vacuum than it is that we have parents and exist in an orderly universe with a 13.7 billion-year history. This is absurd. The multiverse hypothesis is therefore falsified because it renders false what we know to be true about ourselves. Clearly, embracing the multiverse idea entails a nihilistic irrationality that destroys the very possibility of science.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com.....arguments/

    Yet despite the fact that Pinker has ZERO scientific evidence that material can become conscious, there are many lines of evidence that consciousness precedes, and effects, material. The following recent experiment is perhaps the most unambiguous as to communicating that fact:

    Here’s a recent variation of Wheeler’s Delayed Choice experiment, which highlights the ability of the conscious observer to effect ‘spooky action into the past’, thus further solidifying consciousness’s centrality in reality. Furthermore in the following experiment, the claim that past material states determine future conscious choices (determinism) is falsified by the fact that present conscious choices effect past material states:

    Quantum physics mimics spooky action into the past – April 23, 2012
    Excerpt: The authors experimentally realized a “Gedankenexperiment” called “delayed-choice entanglement swapping”, formulated by Asher Peres in the year 2000. Two pairs of entangled photons are produced, and one photon from each pair is sent to a party called Victor. Of the two remaining photons, one photon is sent to the party Alice and one is sent to the party Bob. Victor can now choose between two kinds of measurements. If he decides to measure his two photons in a way such that they are forced to be in an entangled state, then also Alice’s and Bob’s photon pair becomes entangled. If Victor chooses to measure his particles individually, Alice’s and Bob’s photon pair ends up in a separable state. Modern quantum optics technology allowed the team to delay Victor’s choice and measurement with respect to the measurements which Alice and Bob perform on their photons. “We found that whether Alice’s and Bob’s photons are entangled and show quantum correlations or are separable and show classical correlations can be decided after they have been measured”, explains Xiao-song Ma, lead author of the study.
    According to the famous words of Albert Einstein, the effects of quantum entanglement appear as “spooky action at a distance”. The recent experiment has gone one remarkable step further. “Within a naïve classical world view, quantum mechanics can even mimic an influence of future actions on past events”, says Anton Zeilinger.
    http://phys.org/news/2012-04-q.....ction.html

    In other words, if my conscious choices really are just merely the result of whatever state the material particles in my brain happen to be in in the past (deterministic) how in blue blazes are my choices instantaneously effecting the state of material particles into the past?,,,

    Moreover, due to advances in science, the argument for God from consciousness can now be framed like this:

    1. Consciousness either preceded all of material reality or is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality.
    2. If consciousness is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality then consciousness will be found to have no special position within material reality. Whereas conversely, if consciousness precedes material reality then consciousness will be found to have a special position within material reality.
    3. Consciousness is found to have a special, even central, position within material reality.
    4. Therefore, consciousness is found to precede material reality.

    Four intersecting lines of experimental evidence from quantum mechanics that shows that consciousness precedes material reality (Wigner’s Quantum Symmetries, Wheeler’s Delayed Choice, Leggett’s Inequalities, Quantum Zeno effect):
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1G_Fi50ljF5w_XyJHfmSIZsOcPFhgoAZ3PRc_ktY8cFo/edit

  42. 42
    Kantian Naturalist

    In re: Eric Anderson @ 39

    OK, that’s a bit helpful — thank you.

    I had only the first and second senses in mind — the third sense is not, in my view, a proper part of evolutionary theory, since materialism is a metaphysical view. While there are materialists who are enthusiastic supporters of evolutionary theory — Dawkins being the most notorious — I see materialism as a separate issue.

    I think that evolutionary theory is in much better shape than design theory, but I’m neither a materialist nor a theist. In fact, I think that something like Nagel’s “natural teleology” is closer to the truth. But I also think he made some mistakes in his book, and Leiter and Weisberg were right to call him out on them.

    I also think that Nagel would have been on firmer ground if he’d realized that Schelling and Peirce got there long before he did — but, like most analytic philosophers of his generation, he probably doesn’t think that anything written before he started grad school is worth reading.

  43. Serious question for BA77 and anyone else interested:

    BA77 said @41:

    Yet despite the fact that Pinker has ZERO scientific evidence that material can become conscious, there are many lines of evidence that consciousness precedes, and effects, material.

    Just curious, is this idea that the material cannot become conscious applicable to human beings as intelligent agents, or only to the First Mover/deity/God?

    In other words, does the arrangement of our parts of our physical beings produce consciousness or does our consciousness exist separate and apart from, and perhaps more long term, than our bodies?

    If the latter, is then our consciousness something that was not created by God — did it exist and will it continue to exist separately from the creation of our bodies? Or was it created by God, and if so, out of what?

  44. Eric:

    Genesis 2:7
    And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

    This following video interview of a Harvard Neurosurgeon, who had a Near Death Experience (NDE), is very interesting. His NDE was rather unique from typical NDEs in that he had completely lost brain wave function for 7 days while the rest of his body was on life support. As such he had what can be termed a ‘pure consciousness’ NDE that was dramatically different from the ‘typical’ Judeo-Christian NDEs of going through a tunnel to a higher heavenly dimension, seeing departed relatives, and having a life review. His NDE featured his ‘consciousness’ going outside the confines of space/time, matter/energy altogether to experience ‘non-locally’ what he termed ‘the Core’, i.e to experience God. It is also interesting to note that he retained a ‘finite sense of self-identity’, as Theism would hold, and did not blend into the infinite consciousness/omniscience of God, as pantheism would hold.

    A Conversation with Near Death Experiencer Neurosurgeon Eben Alexander III, M.D. with Steve Paulson (Interviewer) – video
    http://www.btci.org/bioethics/...../vid3.html

    A neurosurgeon confronts the non-material nature of consciousness – December 2011
    Excerpted quote: To me one thing that has emerged from my experience and from very rigorous analysis of that experience over several years, talking it over with others that I respect in neuroscience, and really trying to come up with an answer, is that consciousness outside of the brain is a fact. It’s an established fact. And of course, that was a hard place for me to get, coming from being a card-toting reductive materialist over decades. It was very difficult to get to knowing that consciousness, that there’s a soul of us that is not dependent on the brain.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ciousness/

    Here is a ‘typical’ NDE where the consciousness remains with the soul:

    Near Death Experience – The Tunnel, The Light, The Life Review – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4200200/

    “I was in a body, and the only way that I can describe it was a body of energy, or of light. And this body had a form. It had a head, it had arms and it had legs. And it was like it was made out of light. And it was everything that was me. All of my memories, my consciousness, everything.”,,, “And then this vehicle formed itself around me. Vehicle is the only thing, or tube, or something, but it was a mode of transportation that’s for sure! And it formed around me. And there was no one in it with me. I was in it alone. But I knew there were other people ahead of me and behind me. What they were doing I don’t know, but there were people ahead of me and people behind me, but I was alone in my particular conveyance. And I could see out of it. And it went at a tremendously, horrifically, rapid rate of speed. But it wasn’t unpleasant. It was beautiful in fact. I was reclining in this thing, I wasn’t sitting straight up, but I wasn’t lying down either. I was sitting back. And it was just so fast. I can’t even begin to tell you where it went or whatever it was just fast!” –
    Vicki’s NDE – Blind since birth – quote taken from first part of the following video

    Near Death Experience Tunnel – Speed Of Light – Turin Shroud – video
    http://www.vimeo.com/18371644

    As well, the brain has a very unique type of non-local quantum entanglement (being more ‘spread out’) that is markedly different than the rest of the body, thus giving a Dr. Eben Alexander’s ‘pure consciousness’ NDE a completely viable mechanism as to explaining its difference from ‘typical’ NDE’s of consciousness staying with the soul:

    Quantum Entangled Consciousness (Permanence of Quantum Information)- Life After Death – Stuart Hameroff – video
    https://vimeo.com/39982578

    “Wolf Singer Director of the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research (Frankfurt) has found evidence of simultaneous oscillations in separate areas of the cortex, accurately synchronized in phase as well as frequency. He suggests that the oscillations are synchronized from some common source, but the actual source has never been located.”
    James J. Hurtak, Ph.D.

    Brain ‘entanglement’ could explain memories – January 2010
    Excerpt: In both cases, the researchers noticed that the voltage of the electrical signal in groups of neurons separated by up to 10 millimetres sometimes rose and fell with exactly the same rhythm. These patterns of activity, dubbed “coherence potentials”, often started in one set of neurons, only to be mimicked or “cloned” by others milliseconds later. They were also much more complicated than the simple phase-locked oscillations and always matched each other in amplitude as well as in frequency. (Perfect clones) “The precision with which these new sites pick up on the activity of the initiating group is quite astounding – they are perfect clones,” says Plen
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-399098

    Whereas ‘normal’ quantum entanglement for the rest of the body/soul is much ‘tighter’ than the quantum entanglement in the brain:

    Quantum entanglement between the electron clouds of nucleic acids in DNA – Elisabeth Rieper, Janet Anders and Vlatko Vedral – February 2011
    http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxi.....4053v2.pdf

    Coherent Intrachain energy migration at room temperature – Elisabetta Collini and Gregory Scholes – University of Toronto – Science, 323, (2009), pp. 369-73
    Excerpt: The authors conducted an experiment to observe quantum coherence dynamics in relation to energy transfer. The experiment, conducted at room temperature, examined chain conformations, such as those found in the proteins of living cells. Neighbouring molecules along the backbone of a protein chain were seen to have coherent energy transfer. Where this happens quantum decoherence (the underlying tendency to loss of coherence due to interaction with the environment) is able to be resisted, and the evolution of the system remains entangled as a single quantum state.
    http://www.scimednet.org/quant.....d-protein/

    Footnote:

    Heaven Is Real: A Doctor’s Experience With the Afterlife – Dr. Eben Alexander – Oct 8, 2012
    Excerpt: One of the few places I didn’t have trouble getting my story across was a place I’d seen fairly little of before my experience: church. The first time I entered a church after my coma, I saw everything with fresh eyes. The colors of the stained-glass windows recalled the luminous beauty of the landscapes I’d seen in the world above. The deep bass notes of the organ reminded me of how thoughts and emotions in that world are like waves that move through you. And, most important, a painting of Jesus breaking bread with his disciples evoked the message that lay at the very heart of my journey: that we are loved and accepted unconditionally by a God even more grand and unfathomably glorious than the one I’d learned of as a child in Sunday school.
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/n.....-with-the-

  45. 45

    I recently saw on youtube this Mr Pinker.
    First he had this thing about Jews being not only superior in intelligence but that this was from genetics. A superior race.
    This from obscure Jewish peasants from Europe coming to a english civilization. He’s even from my country! If Montreal is Canadian!!
    Then i saw a few other things about his ideas on brains and language etc
    Leaving aside the racial stuff the whole thing about this person is endless speculation on how things work but not evidence or testing to prove things so.
    Having him comment on evolution is only a gain for creationists.
    This guy is a joke and I don’t usually say thius about the bad guys.
    His hair however might be case for evolution by mutations if you ever saw him.

    This gentleman he’s attacking by the way is part of a constant stream of evolutionists , JUMPING SHIP, from a sinking boat!
    Its as if everyone smells something wrong with old man Darwin!
    I predict this will increase. Maybe Mr Pinker will soon join.
    Who needs him!!

  46. Eric, it is probably worthwhile to note that the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’, reported in many Near Death Experiences(NDEs), is also corroborated by Special Relativity when considering the optical effects for traveling at the speed of light. Please compare the similarity of the optical effect, noted at the 3:22 minute mark of the following video, when the 3-Dimensional world ‘folds and collapses’ into a tunnel shape around the direction of travel as a ‘hypothetical’ observer moves towards the ‘higher dimension’ of the speed of light, with the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ reported in very many Near Death Experiences: (Of note: This following video was made by two Australian University Physics Professors with a supercomputer.)

    Approaching The Speed Of Light – Optical Effects – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5733303/

    As well ‘eternity’ is corroborated by special relativity:

    Albert Einstein – Special Relativity – Insight Into Eternity – ‘thought experiment’ video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/6545941/

    “The laws of relativity have changed timeless existence from a theological claim to a physical reality. Light, you see, is outside of time, a fact of nature proven in thousands of experiments at hundreds of universities. I don’t pretend to know how tomorrow can exist simultaneously with today and yesterday. But at the speed of light they actually and rigorously do. Time does not pass.”
    Richard Swenson – More Than Meets The Eye, Chpt. 12

    ‘In the ‘spirit world,,, instantly, there was no sense of time. See, everything on earth is related to time. You got up this morning, you are going to go to bed tonight. Something is new, it will get old. Something is born, it’s going to die. Everything on the physical plane is relative to time, but everything in the spiritual plane is relative to eternity. Instantly I was in total consciousness and awareness of eternity, and you and I as we live in this earth cannot even comprehend it, because everything that we have here is filled within the veil of the temporal life. In the spirit life that is more real than anything else and it is awesome. Eternity as a concept is awesome. There is no such thing as time. I knew that whatever happened was going to go on and on.’
    Mickey Robinson – Near Death Experience testimony

    ‘When you die, you enter eternity. It feels like you were always there, and you will always be there. You realize that existence on Earth is only just a brief instant.’
    Dr. Ken Ring – has extensively studied Near Death Experiences

    ‘Earthly time has no meaning in the spirit realm. There is no concept of before or after. Everything – past, present, future – exists simultaneously.’ –
    Kimberly Clark Sharp – NDE Experiencer

    Note

    The ‘Top Down’ Theistic Structure Of The Universe and Of The Human Body
    Excerpt: i.e. Hypothetically traveling at the speed of light in this universe would be, because of time dilation, instantaneous travel for the person going at the speed of light. This is because time does not pass for them at the speed of light, yet, and this is a very big ‘yet’ to take note of, this ‘timeless’ travel is still not instantaneous and transcendent of our temporal framework of time as quantum teleportation and entanglement are, i.e. Speed of light travel, to our temporal frame of reference of time, is still not completely transcendent of our temporal time framework since light appears to take time to travel from our temporal perspective. Yet, in quantum teleportation of information, the ‘time not passing’, i.e. ‘eternal’, framework is not only achieved in the speed of light framework/dimension, but is also ‘instantaneously’ achieved in our lower temporal framework. That is to say, the instantaneous teleportation/travel of quantum information is instantaneous to both the temporal and speed of light frameworks, not just the speed of light framework. Information teleportation/travel is not limited by time, nor space, in any way, shape or form, in any frame of reference, as light is seemingly limited to us in this temporal framework. Thus ‘pure transcendent information’ (in quantum teleportaion experiments) is shown to be timeless (eternal) and completely transcendent of all material frameworks. Moreover, concluding from all lines of evidence we now have (many of which I have not specifically listed here); transcendent, eternal, infinite information is indeed real and the framework in which ‘It’ resides is the primary reality (highest dimension) that can exist, (in so far as our limited perception of a primary reality, highest dimension, can be discerned).
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NhA4hiQnYiyCTiqG5GelcSJjy69e1DT3OHpqlx6rACs/edit

    Verse, quote, and music:

    John 3:12
    I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?

    “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
    William Shakespeare – Hamlet

    Breathe – Michael W. Smith
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-0EgzOWkvc

  47. 47
    William J Murray

    Or was it created by God, and if so, out of what?

    What did God have available at the time to make individuated consciousness out of? What did god have available to make anything out of? Unless something other than god existed, there was only one “thing” at hand.

    Which would account for god being “omniscient” and “omnipresent”.

  48. As to this verse I quoted:

    Genesis 2:7
    And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

    It is interesting to note:

    Schematic illustration – experimental setup that found the human body, especially the face, emits visible light in small quantities that vary during the day. B is one fo the test subjects. The other images show the weak emissions of visible light during totally dark conditions. The chart corresponds to the images and shows how the emissions varied during the day. The last image (I) is an infrared image of the subject showing heat emissions.
    http://i.livescience.com/image.....1296086873
    Article
    http://www.livescience.com/779.....light.html

    Exodus 34:29-30:
    “Moses didn’t realize as he came back down the mountain with the tablets that his face glowed from being in the presence of God. Because of this radiance upon his face, Aaron and the people of Israel were afraid to come near him.”

    Shroud of Turin – The Historical Trail
    2004: Another result of the restoration was the discovery of the Shroud’s double face image. Italian scientists, Giulio Fanti and Roberto Maggiolio of Padova University were able to analyze scans of the backside of the Shroud after it was removed from the backing cloth. This had never been done before. The previous backing cloth had been attached since 1534 as part of the restoration following the fire of 1532. Examining the scans revealed faint superficial images of the face and hands. The image occurs only on the top surface of the fibers, similar to the front side of the Shroud but there is no coloring of the threads in between.
    http://shroud2000.com/FastFacts.html

    Matthew 17:1-2
    After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.

    Notes:

    Cellular Communication through Light
    Excerpt: Information transfer is a life principle. On a cellular level we generally assume that molecules are carriers of information, yet there is evidence for non-molecular information transfer due to endogenous coherent light. This light is ultra-weak, is emitted by many organisms, including humans and is conventionally described as biophoton emission.
    http://www.plosone.org/article.....ne.0005086

    Are humans really beings of light?
    Excerpt: “We now know, today, that man is essentially a being of light.”,,, “There are about 100,000 chemical reactions happening in every cell each second. The chemical reaction can only happen if the molecule which is reacting is excited by a photon… Once the photon has excited a reaction it returns to the field and is available for more reactions… We are swimming in an ocean of light.”
    http://viewzone2.com/dna.html

    Scientists say Turin Shroud is supernatural – December 2011
    Excerpt: After years of work trying to replicate the colouring on the shroud, a similar image has been created by the scientists.
    However, they only managed the effect by scorching equivalent linen material with high-intensity ultra violet lasers, undermining the arguments of other research, they say, which claims the Turin Shroud is a medieval hoax.
    Such technology, say researchers from the National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (Enea), was far beyond the capability of medieval forgers, whom most experts have credited with making the famous relic.
    “The results show that a short and intense burst of UV directional radiation can colour a linen cloth so as to reproduce many of the peculiar characteristics of the body image on the Shroud of Turin,” they said.
    And in case there was any doubt about the preternatural degree of energy needed to make such distinct marks, the Enea report spells it out: “This degree of power cannot be reproduced by any normal UV source built to date.”
    http://www.independent.co.uk/n.....79512.html

    Music:

    Empty (Empty Cross Empty Tomb) with Dan Haseltine Matt Hammitt (Music Inspired by The Story)
    http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=F22MCCNU

  49. Eric Anderson:

    Just curious, is this idea that the material cannot become conscious applicable to human beings as intelligent agents, or only to the First Mover/deity/God?

    It must be a universal law. Otherwise we would need one or more laws within it to account for all the exceptions, laws within laws. Too complicated, in my opinion. There is a much better argument than complexity for believing in the impossibility of materialism to account for consciousness.

    In other words, does the arrangement of our parts of our physical beings produce consciousness or does our consciousness exist separate and apart from, and perhaps more long term, than our bodies?

    It pays to take a deeper look at the issues. Even if we do not know exactly what consciousness is, we can still understand a few of its fundamental principles. For example, we can know that consciousness requires two things: a subject and an object, i.e., a knower and a known. The two are complementary opposites by definition. In humans, we can conjecture that certain brain states are the known. Consciousness is something else altogether. Right away, we can see an insurmountable problem with this duality: By definition, the knower cannot be known and the known cannot know. We are forever forbidden to know the knower directly. We can only known what is known. However, since the two are opposites, knowing one is knowing the other. We can know everything about the consciousness just by figuring out the nature of the known. If this sounds convoluted, don’t worry about it. It’s not all that important.

    If the latter, is then our consciousness something that was not created by God — did it exist and will it continue to exist separately from the creation of our bodies? Or was it created by God, and if so, out of what?

    The way I see it, there are two realms, the physical and the spiritual. The first can be created or destroyed and can change. The the second, by contrast, can neither be created nor destroyed and neither can it change. The first realm consists of physical matter and the second consists of all kinds of spirits or consciousnesses. How do I know this? I know because we have already established that consciousness requires a duality. If something as fundamental as consciousness requires a duality, everything else does.

    So, to return to the first question, am I saying that God must have a physical body? Absolutely. And the same is true for all conscious entities. Of course, it does not have to be made of any known particle but there can be no doubt about its physical nature. Are animals conscious? I seriously doubt it. Our future robots will appear much more conscious than animals, to the point of fooling many, but it will be an illusion nonetheless.

  50. WJM @47:

    What did God have available at the time to make individuated consciousness out of? What did god have available to make anything out of? Unless something other than god existed, there was only one “thing” at hand.

    Just to be clear, are you suggesting that our individual human consciousness was created at the same time the universe was? If it was later, there would be plenty of stuff for it to be made of (as well as all the other stuff we don’t know about) . . .

  51. Mapou @49:

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    The way I see it, there are two realms, the physical and the spiritual. The first can be created or destroyed and can change. The the second, by contrast, can neither be created nor destroyed and neither can it change.

    So it sounds like you would argue that consciousness is, in some sense at least, an eternal reality, something that always existed and will always exist.

    So, to return to the first question, am I saying that God must have a physical body? Absolutely. And the same is true for all conscious entities.

    We’ve had some fun discussions on this issue before on this site. :)

    But are you suggesting that when I lose my physical body I also lose my consciousness, or are you suggesting that my soul/spirit body is also in some sense composed of matter?

  52. KN @42:

    I had only the first and second senses in mind — the third sense is not, in my view, a proper part of evolutionary theory, since materialism is a metaphysical view. While there are materialists who are enthusiastic supporters of evolutionary theory — Dawkins being the most notorious — I see materialism as a separate issue.

    You are right that they can be logically separated — and should be.

    The difficulty keeping them apart seems to come from two camps: (i) the committed materialists who look to evolutionary theory as their creation-origins narrative to support their a priori conviction that there is nothing beyond the physical and the material; and (ii) the convinced evolutionists who (mistakenly) think that a purely natural origins story proves there is nothing beyond the physical and the material.

    There is of course a larger practical and social dimension. Namely, the fact that essentially all mainstream religious traditions have a creation-origins narrative that tells of the conscious activity of a creator. To the extent a purely natural and material origins story is correct, it can thus be seen to be in direct conflict with the traditional creation-origins narratives. You are right, that a purely natural and material origins story does not prove that the natural and the material is all there is. But as a practical matter for many people (on either side of the aisle) such a naturalistic story would largely put the creator out of a job, so to speak, or at least relegate the creator to a seemingly irrelevant, distant, uninvolved entity.

    So perhaps I should add a third camp that has trouble keeping them separate: (iii) the skeptics of evolution/Darwinism who (mistakenly) think that a purely natural origins story proves there is nothing beyond the physical and the material.

    The practical result of all of this is that it is extremely common in the press, in books, in popular discussions, and occasionally even in scientific papers to conflate an evolutionary/Darwininan storyline with materialism, and it is a bit challenging to have to constantly remind people that the former does not necessarily entail the latter.

    All that said, I agree with you that it is important to keep evolutionary theory/Darwinism distinct from materialism and we should continue to do so.

  53. Eric @51:

    So it sounds like you would argue that consciousness is, in some sense at least, an eternal reality, something that always existed and will always exist.

    Yes, in some sense. The caveat is that time makes sense only in the physical realm where things can change. The physical realm does have a beginning and so does everything in it. According to Isaiah, the Yahweh deity of the old testament claimed that there was no greater god than Yahweh before he showed up and there will be none greater after. This implies that he has a physical beginning. After all, he calls himself, the ancient of days.

    But are you suggesting that when I lose my physical body I also lose my consciousness,

    Certainly. Unless someone has the power to resurrect your brain or entire body and cause your spirit to re-inhabit it, this is it. Eternal unconscious oblivion. Kind of sad to think about.

    or are you suggesting that my soul/spirit body is also in some sense composed of matter?

    The human spirit is made of something but it is certainly not physical matter. We established this by virtue of the duality of consciousness. I would call spiritual matter the opposite of physical matter. However, not all spirits are conscious. I believe that there must be all kinds of spirits that fulfill all sorts of functions vital to the meaning and properties of physical matter.

  54. KN

    Science is easy here is how it works….

    What causes what? What did I observe and can I repeat it?

    That is it……

  55. Mapou @51:

    Unless someone has the power to resurrect your brain or entire body and cause your spirit to re-inhabit it, this is it. Eternal unconscious oblivion. Kind of sad to think about.

    I dunno, sounds pretty suspicious to me. Also, seems to contradict the NDE experiences BA77 keeps telling us about. Also, seems to contradict your first statement about consciousness always existing. That is unless you meant it had always existed before now, but will cease to exist when I die (lose my body)? But in that case why would something that existed before I was born cease to exist when I die?

    Not sure this is all quite fitting together . . .

  56. Eric @55:

    I dunno, sounds pretty suspicious to me. Also, seems to contradict the NDE experiences BA77 keeps telling us about. Also, seems to contradict your first statement about consciousness always existing. That is unless you meant it had always existed before now, but will cease to exist when I die (lose my body)? But in that case why would something that existed before I was born cease to exist when I die?

    I misspoke earlier, which explains the confusion. I should have said that the spirit (the knower) exists always, not consciousness. Consciousness is really a process that is experienced only when the spirit is interacting with its physical counterpart in the brain. I can’t talk much about NDE because I don’t know much about it. I do not believe in consciousness without a physical brain. So, in my opinion, if NDE is true, it must be due to some kind of interaction with the brain.

  57. Mapou as to:

    I do not believe in consciousness without a physical brain. So, in my opinion, if NDE is true, it must be due to some kind of interaction with the brain.

    Do you believe in sight without physical eyes?

    One of the more fascinating branches of Near Death Studies have been the studies of people who were born blind who have had NDE’s, who could see for the first time in their life during their NDE. This simply has no explanation within the materialistic framework, whereas, in the theistic framework, this is expected:

    Blind Woman Can See During Near Death Experience (NDE) – Pim von Lommel – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3994599/

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

    “How came the Bodies of Animals to be contrived with so much Art…. Was the Eye contrived without skill in Opticks, and the Ear without Knowledge of Sounds?” -
    Sir Isaac Newton

    Moreover, if the consciousness (mind) of a person were merely the result of extremely complex processes of the brain, as materialists hold, then if half of a brain were removed a ‘person’ should only be ‘half the person’, or at least somewhat less of a ‘person’, as they were before, but that is not the case. The ‘whole person’ stays intact even though the brain suffers severe impairment:

    Miracle Of Mind-Brain Recovery Following Hemispherectomies – Dr. Ben Carson – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3994585/

    Removing Half of Brain Improves Young Epileptics’ Lives:
    Excerpt: “We are awed by the apparent retention of memory and by the retention of the child’s personality and sense of humor,” Dr. Eileen P. G. Vining; In further comment from the neuro-surgeons in the John Hopkins study: “Despite removal of one hemisphere, the intellect of all but one of the children seems either unchanged or improved. Intellect was only affected in the one child who had remained in a coma, vigil-like state, attributable to peri-operative complications.”
    http://www.nytimes.com/1997/08.....lives.html

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

    Are Humans merely Turing Machines?
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1cvQeiN7DqBC0Z3PG6wo5N5qbsGGI3YliVBKwf7yJ_RU/edit

    Note:

    Case for the Existence of the Soul – JP Moreland, PhD – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?f.....xpM#t=277s

  58. As well, it is interesting to point out how utterly absurd the naturalist’s position becomes if pressed to explain ‘traits of consciousness’:

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

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

  59. corrected link:

    Case for the Existence of the Soul – (Argument from Divisibility) – JP Moreland, PhD- video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....ge#t=2304s

  60. 60
    William J Murray

    Eric,

    In my view:

    Humans souls, the pure “observer” in each of us, is an aspect or particle of god enshrouded (so to speak) in mind and body. God doesn’t “create souls”; God is the source of soul, or the eternal home of soul, just as the ocean is the source of the wave. Each wave is identifiable, but it is still part of the ocean.

    I consider consciousness and soul to be two different things, in this sense: when you ask me when human consciousness is created, my answer is “at all times”, because consciousness is what occurs when the soul uses mind to interpret or process both observations and its own creative will, or choosing that which it focuses its observation on.

    So, in this respect, I agree with Mapou that without mind, there is no “consciousness” that corresponds to human consciousness. There may be something that would more accurately correspond to what we call “the subconscious”. But I think that perspective of god is immune to understanding by individualized observers within god.

    Where I differ in opinion from Mapou is that I don’t think that human consciousness is obliterated at death. I think that it is the conscious observer that creates vehicles (a body of some sort) for its activities, and that upon death we simply assume a different kind of vehicle in a different kind of world – what we call the spiritual world.

    I think soul is the ghost in the machine; universal mind is the operating system we all share (logical principles, objective good, mathematics, etc); individual mind is software that runs on the operating system; and the body (and world it operates in) is, essentially, a holographic representation of self and other generated by the software (or collective software) acting in the universal body of god (psychoplasm).

    That’s the best way I can currently describe my view on “consciousness”.

  61. 61
    Kantian Naturalist

    In re: Eric Anderson @ 52

    The practical result of all of this is that it is extremely common in the press, in books, in popular discussions, and occasionally even in scientific papers to conflate an evolutionary/Darwininan storyline with materialism, and it is a bit challenging to have to constantly remind people that the former does not necessarily entail the latter.

    I would have said “extremely frustrating and quite boring” instead of “a bit challenging,” but apart from that difference in emphasis, we’re in agreement on this particular point.

  62. BA77 @57:

    Do you believe in sight without physical eyes?

    Yes, of course. Seeing is not made possible by the eye. The eye is just a window. Seeing is accomplished by the visual cortex. During experiments that use electrical probes to directly stimulate the visual cortex of blind subjects, they reported seeing flashes of colors. But there is no need for such experiments to conclude that we can see without our eyes. When we dream, we see images with our eyes closed.

    I believe it takes two things for consciousness to exist, a knower and a known. The knower cannot be known and the known cannot know. The logic of this is undeniable, in my opinion. The known consists of certain brain states and the knower is the spirit. There is no way to have consciousness without the two together.

  63. Bur alas Mapou, the ‘spirit/soul’ of man is conscious without a material/temporal brain,,,

    A Reply to Shermer Medical Evidence for NDEs (Near Death Experiences) – Pim van Lommel
    Excerpt: For decades, extensive research has been done to localize memories (information) inside the brain, so far without success.,,,,So we need a functioning brain to receive our consciousness into our waking consciousness. And as soon as the function of brain has been lost, like in clinical death or in brain death, with iso-electricity on the EEG, memories and consciousness do still exist, but the reception ability is lost. People can experience their consciousness outside their body, with the possibility of perception out and above their body, with identity, and with heightened awareness, attention, well-structured thought processes, memories and emotions. And they also can experience their consciousness in a dimension where past, present and future exist at the same moment, without time and space, and can be experienced as soon as attention has been directed to it (life review and preview), and even sometimes they come in contact with the “fields of consciousness” of deceased relatives. And later they can experience their conscious return into their body.
    http://www.nderf.org/vonlommel.....sponse.htm

  64. BA77 @63

    I am sorry but I don’t believe in any of that stuff. Those NDE experiments suffer from what is known as confirmation bias and wishful interpretations. The adult brain is highly complex and can play tricks on people. It is possible that the spirit, in leaving the brain, might try to attach itself to other brains and might be conscious of things other than what’s in the original brain. But that would still require a brain.

  65. Mapou, as far as the integrity of NDE evidence is concerned, I think Dr. Egnor nailed it:

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

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

    The Day I Died – Part 4 of 6 – The Extremely ‘Monitored’ Near Death Experience of Pam Reynolds – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4045560

    The following is on par with Pam Reynolds Near Death Experience. In the following video, Dr. Lloyd Rudy, a pioneer of cardiac surgery, tells stories of two patients who came back to life after being declared dead, and what they told him.

    Famous Cardiac Surgeon’s Stories of Near Death Experiences in Surgery
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JL1oDuvQR08

    Dr. Jeffrey Long: Just how strong is the evidence for a afterlife? – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mptGAc3XWPs

    The Scientific Evidence for Near Death Experiences – Dr Jeffrey Long – Melvin Morse M.D. – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4454627

    Mapou, methinks you need a paradigm shift :)

  66. 66
    William J Murray

    Mapou said:

    I am sorry but I don’t believe in any of that stuff.

    Unfortunately, this is the very foundation of a priori biases. Note that after saying you don’t believe in the proposition, you wave away evidence with sweeping dismissals and condescension – the very same habit that plagues materialists that “don’t believe in any of that stuff.”

    There is, IMO, overwhelming evidence available that consciousness survives death.

  67. Finally someone mentioned Anthony Flew. If Nagel was older they would have leveled the same “Alzheimer’s” charge. If you are very smart and a Philosopher you are welcome in the ND club, as long as you agree with everything they claim.

  68. 68
    Kantian Naturalist

    Finally someone mentioned Anthony Flew. If Nagel was older they would have leveled the same “Alzheimer’s” charge. If you are very smart and a Philosopher you are welcome in the ND club, as long as you agree with everything they claim.

    Nagel isn’t that much younger than Flew was when There Is a God was published. The difference is that Flew’s entire epistemology was grounded in a pretty demanding evidentialism, whereas Nagel has always been the sort of philosopher for whom intuitions counted for more than theories. (At one point — I think this is from the introduction to his Mortal Questions — Nagel says that if a theory conflicts with some deeply held intuition, then it’s more likely that the theory is wrong than that the intuition is false. I was shocked when I read that.)

    Flew came to think that intelligent design (indeed, deism) was probably true because of the evidence with which he was confronted. In particular, he came to think that there is probably no purely materialistic theory to abiogenesis. Nagel, on the other hand, just doesn’t see how materialism could be true — it conflicts with his intuitions about the very nature of consciousness and value.

    My main source of perplexity about the whole Nagel thing is this: what he says in Mind and Cosmos is fully consistent with the anti-reductionist arguments he developed in the 1970s that made him famous. It’s not as if there’s been any change of heart or moment of conversion. So the ‘outrage’ looks under-motivated, to say the least. What I believe has happened is that Nagel’s book is being reviewed by scientists and by philosophers of science, rather than by philosophers of mind. (I find it interesting that the one review I’ve come across by a philosopher of mind, Alva Noe, is considerably more charitable than the others have been.)

  69. Murray:

    Unfortunately, this is the very foundation of a priori biases. Note that after saying you don’t believe in the proposition, you wave away evidence with sweeping dismissals and condescension – the very same habit that plagues materialists that “don’t believe in any of that stuff.”

    There is, IMO, overwhelming evidence available that consciousness survives death.

    I provided reasoned arguments for my stance. You apparently dismissed them as being irrelevant. But that’s not my problem if you choose to erect your own mental block.

    All I know is that, before anybody can convince me of the possibility of consciousness without a body, he or she would first need to provide a logical argument against my contention that consciousness requires a knower and a known and that the two are complementary opposites.

    Anything else is hand waving, from my perspective.

  70. Mapou All I know is that, before anybody can convince me of the possibility of consciousness without a body, (…)

    Maybe you are right. How about the possibility of a spiritual body? Doesn’t that solve the problem? :)

  71. 71
    William J Murray

    Mapau:

    I’m not arguing against the logical requirement; I’m arguing that the logical requirement doesn’t necessarily require a physical brain.

  72. 72
    William J Murray

    Mapau,

    You see, you went farther than just your logical argument – which I agree with. Consciousness requires a knower and a known in complimentary existence.

    However, you went beyond that, to this:

    The known consists of certain brain states and the knower is the spirit. There is no way to have consciousness without the two together.

    You have asserted that “the known” can only be “brain states”. This is not a necessary logial premise nor is it a necessary logical conclusion. It is simply an assertion, on your part, that “brain states” are the only way a “known” can exist for the knower.

    I have no need to provide an argument against what is no more than a bald assertion on your part – unless, of course, you can support your assertion that only “brain states” can be known by the knower.

  73. Murray:

    You have asserted that “the known” can only be “brain states”. This is not a necessary logial premise nor is it a necessary logical conclusion. It is simply an assertion, on your part, that “brain states” are the only way a “known” can exist for the knower.

    OK, I agree that “brain states” may not be the correct choice of words. Maybe “special physical states” is better. All I know is that both knower and the known must exist and the two are opposites by definition. If the knower is spiritual, then the known is necessarily physical and vice versa. So in order to be conscious, a spirit needs to interact with some type of physical matter. You may disagree, of course, in which case you will have to provide counter arguments.

  74. but, like most analytic philosophers of his generation, he probably doesn’t think that anything written before he started grad school is worth reading.

    I hear that’s how Kant felt as well. ;)

  75. What is it that we are conscious of?

    Assuming we retain consciousness after death, what then are we conscious of?

  76. Mapou: All I know is that both knower and the known must exist and the two are opposites by definition. If the knower is spiritual, then the known is necessarily physical and vice versa.

    I’m not sure I follow. Let’s assume the knower is spiritual. We can know our sensations, thoughts, math, believes, desires etc. So those are part of the ‘known’, right? Are you saying that sensations, thoughts etc. are necessarily physical in order for a spiritual knower to consciously know them?

  77. Mapou @49:

    The way I see it, there are two realms, the physical and the spiritual. The first can be created or destroyed and can change. The the second, by contrast, can neither be created nor destroyed and neither can it change.

    I disagree. Scripture speaks of a new world. Also, when people are born again what are they born into?

  78. Mapou, your view appears self-contradictory.

    Of God is physical, why is there any need for a spiritual “realm.”

    p.s. “God is Spirit.”

  79. BA77:

    Do you believe in sight without physical eyes?

    I do.

    In fact, how many different words in NT Greek are translated “see.”

  80. Mapou, your reasoning precludes self reflection. That is, if the knower can only know its opposite – spirit can only know matter and vice versa – it can never know itself.

  81. “Know Thyself” – Socrates

  82. Box @80, that was a very astute insight!

  83. A new verb- “Pinkered”- to be the subject of a verbal or written lashing full of virotrol, ad hominems and intolerance:

    “Thomas Nagel wrote against materialism and was Pinkered for his efforts.”

  84. 84
    Kantian Naturalist

    In re: 74 — what vile slander! :)

    (I’m assuming you’re aware that Kant was deeply knowledgeable about the history of philosophy.)

  85. Box @80:

    Mapou, your reasoning precludes self reflection. That is, if the knower can only know its opposite – spirit can only know matter and vice versa – it can never know itself.

    That’s right and that is a Christian doctrine, by the way. The spirit can only be known indirectly, that is, by its fruits. This is why God cannot know if we are faithful unless we are tested. Yep. There are things that even God cannot know.

    Know thyself does not mean knowing your spirit directly. It just means knowing your own capabilities. Each spirit has its own talent which is manifested in the person’s behavior.

    As an aside, I often see atheists getting mad at God (go figure) and accuse him of creating evil when he made Lucifer. In my opinion, spirits can be neither created nor destroyed. God can only create physical stuff. Our spirits, including Lucifer’s, are our own. So yes, even Lucifer has a physical body. Sure, his body consists of a different type of matter than normal matter but, whatever it is, it is physical. I see no way around it.

  86. Hi KN!

    My knowledge of Kant is very limited. But would it be wrong to say that he rejected the method and the philosophy of the pre-moderns? Did he think of them as uncritical?

    Now I think there’s no doubt that Kant was influenced by Hume and sought an answer to Hume’s skepticism. But why did Kant not find an answer to Hume in those who had preceded Hume?

    Did he not look?

  87. Mapou,

    So it’s possible that God’s “physical body” is composed of “spiritual matter”?

  88. Mapou “There are things that even God cannot know.”

    I’m pretty sure God and you will have a nice laugh about that particular comment when you are in His presence:

    In The Presence Of Almighty God – The NDE of Mickey Robinson – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4045544

  89. As an aside, I often see atheists getting mad at God (go figure) and accuse him of creating evil when he made Lucifer.

    Atheists are not mad at God. They are mad at their mommy or their daddy, or at themselves.

  90. BA77,

    Can you please explain why you are not in God’s presence right now?

    Do you have to be at some physical place and time to be in God’s presence?

  91. Box @76:

    Me:
    All I know is that both knower and the known must exist and the two are opposites by definition. If the knower is spiritual, then the known is necessarily physical and vice versa.

    Box:

    I’m not sure I follow. Let’s assume the knower is spiritual. We can know our sensations, thoughts, math, believes, desires etc. So those are part of the ‘known’, right? Are you saying that sensations, thoughts etc. are necessarily physical in order for a spiritual knower to consciously know them?

    Not really. Sensations, thoughts, etc. are conscious phenomena. So, they require both a knower and a known. They cannot exist separately. There is something physical and there is something spiritual and the two together give rise to the sensation. This is why our robots cannot be conscious unless we figure out the exact nature of the brain states that spirits interact with. Then we must somehow coerce a spirit to inhabit the robot’s brain. That’s not going to happen.

    So, in a sense, we do feel a little bit of our spirits via our sensations. But it is an indirect knowledge.

  92. Mung:

    So it’s possible that God’s “physical body” is composed of “spiritual matter”?

    It depends on what your definition of “is” is. LOL.

  93. Well Mung, I’ve heard of people having deep ‘spiritual experience’ where they have felt God’s love very intensely while here on this earth, but I have never heard of anyone having anything close to what Near Death Experiencers typically describe for being in the presence of God? ,,, Perhaps you know differently?

  94. BA77:

    Mapou “There are things that even God cannot know.”

    I’m pretty sure God and you will have a nice laugh about that particular comment when you are in His presence:

    Can a God that knows everything have regrets? The book of Genesis teaches us that God regretted creating man.

    In my opinion, the doctrine of the omnipotent/omniscient God is an evil one. But you know me. I always tell it like I see it.

  95. Well Mapou, much like your reasoning for not believing in NDE’s, I find your reasoning faulty here as well.

    Psalm 139:16
    Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

  96. Mapou: Sensations, thoughts, etc. are conscious phenomena. So, they require both a knower and a known. They cannot exist separately. There is something physical and there is something spiritual and the two together give rise to the sensation.

    Mapou, you have constructed a very original and novel concept of consciousness. However your connection between spirit and matter is far from obvious and it runs into insurmountable trouble when ‘knower’ and ‘known’ are the one and the same: during self-reflection – the essence of consciousness.

  97. BA77:

    Well Mung, I’ve heard of people having deep ‘spiritual experience’ where they have felt God’s love very intensely while here on this earth, but I have never heard of anyone having anything close to what Near Death Experiencers typically describe for being in the presence of God? ,,, Perhaps you know differently?

    Maybe I’ve had a near death experience and maybe I haven’t. How would I know? How would YOU know?

    You seem to be entirely focused on the death of the body. But what did Paul preach? There is no “Gospel of NDE.”

    Are you seriously proclaiming that we, as Christians, cannot have a more intense experience of God than a non-Christian?

    And yes, I know differently.

  98. BA77,

    Can you please explain why you are not in God’s presence right now?

    Do you have to be at some physical place and time to be in God’s presence?

  99. If it is any help, I ran across someone who had a problem with God’ omniscience because of free will. It was pointed out to him that knowing beforehand what someone will freely choose in no way compromises either omniscience or free will. If you disagree please tell me exactly how foreknowledge of a freely chosen action compromises that action.

  100. Mung, do you disagree that there are different degrees of ‘being in God’s presence’ as are noted in spiritual experiences and NDEs? Exactly what are trying to get at? Of course I hold God to be Omnipresent and thus we are each always ‘in His presence’ wherever we are at, but why would you question that premise since you know I’m a theist? Its pretty doggone clear what I’m talking about!

    139:8-10
    If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

    Well I’m off to bed, night.

  101. 101
    William J Murray

    If the knower is spiritual, then the known is necessarily physical and vice versa.

    (1) Unless the knower and the known are both spiritual, but just two distinct, different spiritual things;

    (2) Unless knower and known are two different physical things;

    (3) Unless there are more states of existence than just “physical” and “spiritual”.

  102. BA77,

    God is omnipresent and thus all of us, even non-Christians, even those not experiencing a NDE, are in his presence.

    Right?

    So what does an NDE have to tell us, if anything, about what it means to be in God’s presence?

    Did Jesus need to be near death to experience God?

  103. Mung @78:

    P.S. “God is love.”

  104. Mung @102:

    “God is omnipresent . . .”

    In what sense?

  105. Box @96:

    Mapou, you have constructed a very original and novel concept of consciousness. However your connection between spirit and matter is far from obvious and it runs into insurmountable trouble when ‘knower’ and ‘known’ are the one and the same: during self-reflection – the essence of consciousness.

    One of the problems in this discussion has to do with the shifting definitions that we use. I don’t ever see knower and known being the same. They are opposites by definition. And I don’t see the self as being the knower within the context of self-reflection. One can only reflect on the knowledge that happens to exist in the brain’s memory and is accessible to the spirit. One key is to remember that our memories reside in the brain.

  106. Me:

    If the knower is spiritual, then the known is necessarily physical and vice versa.

    Murray @101:

    (1) Unless the knower and the known are both spiritual, but just two distinct, different spiritual things;

    (2) Unless knower and known are two different physical things;

    (3) Unless there are more states of existence than just “physical” and “spiritual”.

    In my opinion, knower and known cannot be made of the same substance because one is unchanging and the other one is not. Also, there can only be two opposite and complementary realms, the spiritual and the physical. Why? Because otherwise we run into an infinite regress. Why? Because, in one realm there are the creator spirits and in the other, the created particles. If the creators of the physical universe (PU) are not changeless and not separate from the PU, the PU can never come into existence. If the PU exists without a spiritual realm (the materialist hypothesis), then it must not have a beginning, hence the infinite regress.

    Of course, we can dismiss the materialist nonsense about the universe creating itself out of nothing. That’s not even wrong.

  107. 107
    Kantian Naturalist

    In re: Mung @ 86

    My knowledge of Kant is very limited. But would it be wrong to say that he rejected the method and the philosophy of the pre-moderns? Did he think of them as uncritical?

    Now I think there’s no doubt that Kant was influenced by Hume and sought an answer to Hume’s skepticism. But why did Kant not find an answer to Hume in those who had preceded Hume?

    Did he not look?

    Well, yes — that’s right — Kant did think of the pre-moderns as “uncritical”. All I meant above is that Kant was thoroughly knowledgeable about ancient, medieval, and early modern philosophy — not that he endorsed any particular positions or methods.

    I think it’s fair to say that Kant thought that Hume’s challenge to traditional metaphysics was substantial enough that there was no response to it that could be found in previous philosophers. Kant regarded Hume as a genuine revolutionary — he thought that Hume had posed an entirely new problem that hadn’t been asked before, by anyone.

    Here, in a nutshell, is the problem: is there a priori knowledge of causation? Hume contends that (i) all a priori knowledge only tells us about “relations of ideas” (what we today call “analytic statements”), and (ii) all causal knowledge is grounded in experience. Here’s why.

    Hume proposes a conceptual test for the a priori: if the negation of an assertion is a contradiction, then the assertion is necessarily true (and hence a priori); if the negation of an assertion is not a contradiction, then the assertion is not necessarily true (and hence not a priori). But, he then reasons, the negation of any particular causal claim is just false, not contradictory — hence all particular causal claims are a posteriori, hence there is no a priori knowledge of cause and effect.

    Kant’s “critical philosophy” is intended to do several different things, more or less all at once: it’s intended to rescue metaphysics from “skepticism”, but also to resolve all the disputes among metaphysicians. He takes aim at both skeptics and dogmatists alike, and is no more sympathetic to materialism (e.g. La Mettrie, d’Holbach) than to spiritualism (e.g. Sweedenborg). And Kant ends the Critique with a very short gloss on the history of philosophy, in which he suggests how his system can resolve the various debates inherited from antiquity, e.g. between Platonism and Epicureanism.

    In particular, I have a suspicion that Kant was particularly concerned with refuting Spinoza. Spinoza is rarely mentioned in Kant’s work, but I have a particular interpretation of Kant — and of the history of modern philosophy — according to which Spinoza, along with Hume, is the real target of the Critique.

  108. I think it is disgusting that Pinker has been torturing people. I thank your cool headed and rational article for pointing out this injustice against humanity.

  109. 109
    William J Murray

    In my opinion, knower and known cannot be made of the same substance because one is unchanging and the other one is not.

    You are free to hold any opinion you want, but an opinion does not a necessary and exclusive logical conclusion make.

    Also, there can only be two opposite and complementary realms, the spiritual and the physical. Why? Because otherwise we run into an infinite regress. Why? Because, in one realm there are the creator spirits and in the other, the created particles.

    Your conclusions do not follow from your premise. There could be one creator god that created several realms of varying degrees of physicality. Thus there would be a limited structure (non-infinite regress), one creator, and the capacity for human consciousness to survive death.

Leave a Reply