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Nature Wouldn’t Have Done It That Way

My hard copy of Commentary came in the mail today, and I am reading David Gelernter’s fabulous The Closing of the Scientific Mind (already noticed here by the News Desk).

As I was reading Gelernter’s discussion of the zombie thought experiment among philosophers of mind, I thought about a possible new response to one of the classic objections to ID theory – the God Would Not Have Done it That Way objection. Let me explain.

In the zombie thought experiment we are supposed to imagine a person (let’s call him Fred) who looks and acts exactly like a fully conscious human being. Fred eats, drinks, converses, laughs, cries, etc. exactly like a human being, but he is in fact a biological robot with no subjective consciousness at all. The point of the thought experiment is that I can experience only my own consciousness. Therefore, I can be certain only of my own consciousness. I have to take
Fred’s word for his consciousness, and if Fred is in fact a robot programed to lie to me and tell me he is conscious, there is no way I could know he is lying. Here’s the kicker. With respect to any particular person, everyone else in the world may in fact be a zombie Fred, and if they were that person would never be able to know. I may assume that everyone else is conscious, but I cannot know it. I can experience my own consciousness but no other person’s.

Gelernter points out that from an outside observer’s perspective, a fully conscious, self-aware person cannot be distinguished from a zombie Fred. They behave exactly alike. Here is where it gets interesting. If a conscious person and a zombie behave exactly alike, consciousness does not confer a survival advantage on the conscious person. It follows that consciousness is invisible to natural selection, which selects for only those traits that provide a survival advantage. And from this it follows that consciousness cannot be accounted for as the product of natural selection. Nature would not have done it that way.

Where does this get us? It is hard to say. At the very least, it seems to me that the next time an anti-ID person employs the “God would not have done it that way” argument, I can respond with “And nature wouldn’t have either so where does that leave us?” response.

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30 Responses to Nature Wouldn’t Have Done It That Way

  1. F/N:

    Let us observe a key point:

    DG: software cannot exist without digital computers, just as minds cannot exist without brains.

    We KNOW no such thing.

    And a good place to look for a candidate is to look at the evident contingency of the material cosmos we observe and its fine tuned physics that sets a basis for C-chemistry, cell based aqueous medium life.

    Down that line, even through a multiverse speculation, arguably lies the need for an awesomely powerful designing mind that is a necessary, non-contingent (and so also eternal) being. This has not been eliminated by reason, but dismissed implicitly by ideology.

    So, we KNOW no such thing as has been confidently asserted, and we would be better served if we were to refrain from a priori, implicit and question-begging impositions of materialism.

    But then, this has been pointed out ever so many times, just it is unfashionable at the moment.

    One thing about fashions, they are bound to change.

    Let us just hope this one does not do fatal damage before it goes out. (Evolutionary materialism — apart from being irretrievably self referentially incoherent and absurd — is inherently amoral and opens the door to nihilism, as Plato pointed out in The Laws Bk X 2350 years ago, by way of warning.)

    Those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to relive its worst chapters.

    KF

  2. BA: Yes, the issue of invisibility to the magical powers of chance variation less culling out of varieties by non-foresighted differential reproductive success is a relevant one. Grand cumulative accidents on that scale, are the substantial equivalent of magic — not even miracles. KF

  3. PS:

    A clip from the previous thread that should also be relevant:

    ___________

    >> here is a clip that reveals the clinging to absurdity at the heart of the self-referentially incoherent evolutionary materialist project to demolish our self-aware consciousness:

    DG: Your subjective, conscious experience is just as real as the tree outside your window or the photons striking your retina—even though you alone feel it. Many philosophers and scientists today tend to dismiss the subjective and focus wholly on an objective, third-person reality—a reality that would be just the same if men had no minds. They treat subjective reality as a footnote, or they ignore it, or they announce that, actually, it doesn’t even exist . . . . The present problem originated at the intersection of artificial intelligence and philosophy of mind—in the question of what consciousness and mental states are all about, how they work, and what it would mean for a robot to have them. It has roots that stretch back to the behaviorism of the early 20th century, but the advent of computing lit the fuse of an intellectual crisis that blasted off in the 1960s and has been gaining altitude ever since..

    1 –> Start with a basic point: a rock has no dreams. Obvious. Nobody home there.

    2 –> Next, such a rock thus cannot be fooled that it has dreams, i.e. it has no consciousness and cannot be mistaken that it has.

    3 –> Now, even if we are in part mistaken as to what we are, we do have dreams, and this means we cannot be mistaken on the brute fact that we are conscious; it is self-evident. Though, of course, we may and do err about what we are, believe etc.

    4 –> So, when we see men in lab coats trying to saw off the branch on which they too must sit, we need to ask, why such patent folly.

    5 –> To which the answer comes back, the Lewontinian a priori commitment to absolute materialism, suitably disguised as a mere methodological constraint. Question-begging on steroids.

    6 –> Where also such an a priori must int eh end seek to explain rational thought and self-aware thinking, reasoning and other conscious activity as a byproduct of material blind forces utterly irrelevant to truth, reason and warrant, etc. Blind chance and mechanical necessity from hydrogen to you, and accidents of conditioning ever since. Ending in fatal self undermining by simply asking: but what about YOU, too?

    7 –> Nor, is there good reason to infer that such consciousness reduces to mere computations limited by GIGO. For, first, we have no good reason to imagine that incrementally filtered noise can write what would be the most sophisticated software ever seen. That is absurd, and yet it seems to be an article of materialist faith, one that any questioning of is going to be assailed viciously by those who seem threatened by the simple notion that serious minded persons may differ with their materialist ideology.

    8 –> But also, the notion that self aware consciousness is a delusion is utterly self refuting. Who is perceiving and asserting such to be a delusion? An imaginary ghost in the machine? Noise on steroids?

    9 –> Worse, once the premise is introduced that a major aspect of mind is generally delusional, there are no firewalls, so we find ourselves facing an infinite regress of Plato’s cave delusional worlds. Which utterly destroys the project of reasoned discourse and objective analysis of evidence, i.e. science itself.

    Maybe, it is time to walk away from the mess and start afresh. >>
    ________________

    Time to think again.

    KF

  4. F/N 2: Another striking point:

    Science needs reasoned argument and constant skepticism [critical awareness] and open-mindedness.

    KF

  5. So evolutionists are zombies?

  6. I like the zombie argument. It’s not unlike the beauty argument. There is no survival value in being passionately preoccupied with music and the arts for their own sake and yet here we are doing just that. In a way, the beauty argument is an argument for consciousness because beauty is not a physical property of the universe. How can we sense something that is not physical? This calls for the existence of a separate spiritual realm, which is just as real as the physical realm.

  7. kairosfocus @1:

    Let us observe a key point:

    DG: software cannot exist without digital computers, just as minds cannot exist without brains.

    We KNOW no such thing.

    I strongly disagree with this. We do know it even if software is not sufficient to have a mind. And I’m saying this from the point of view of a card-carrying dualist. There is an incredible amount of complex software in the brain, without which there could be no mind.

    I am a true dualist in the full sense of the word and I’m proud of it. I believe it is necessary to have both spirit and brain in order to have a mind. It is required, though.

    The brain is needed in order to compute causality (reason), detect temporal correlations (recognize patterns) and form memories. The spirit is needed for general motivation (likes and dislikes). That’s in addition to the innate pain/pleasure, appetitive/aversive motivational mechanisms that all animals have.

    Disembodied consciousness makes no sense from my perspective.

  8. BA @ OP:

    the next time an anti-ID person employs the “God would not have done it that way” argument, I can respond with “And nature wouldn’t have either…”

    This is a great response. In fact, if materialist nature was all there was, there would be no living things to begin with since OOL is so far out of its reach. But I like your line of reasoning.

    KF: Before reading the DG article, I was unfamiliar with computationalism and its analogy that minds are to brains as software is to computers. DG goes on to explain why this analogy view of the mind is “fatally flawed.” You and he both have good arguments for why computationalism does not account for consciousness.
    Joe: Evolutionist = Zombie? Don’t know. Still trying to figure out if Fred is a zombie or a robot!

    Mapou: A disembodied consciousness may make no sense but I wouldn’t rule it out.

    P2

  9. I’ve never seen anyone argue that consciousness was selected for (although such people may exist). Rather, it’s usually seen as a result or byproduct of other things that were selected for.

    No one believes that every trait of every organism needs to be selected for in order to exist. Most features don’t exist as independent entities but, rather, are shaped by other parts of the organism. Many features exist at all only as a side effect of other features, such as the human chin.

    I’m not sure if consciousness alone has any survival benefit, but it may exist as a side effect or byproduct of us being highly intelligent and highly social, and other mental traits.

  10. Or somewhat related interest: One thing that I find particularly interesting, as well as crushing against the reductive materialism of neo-Darwinism, it is now found that mental states can have a pronounced ‘epigenetic effect’ on gene expression. i.e. even our thoughts and feelings can ‘epigenetically’ control the gene expression of our bodies:

    Genie In Your Genes – video
    http://www.genieinyourgenes.com/ggtrailer.html

    Upgrade Your Brain
    Excerpt: The Research; In his book The Genie in Your Genes (Elite Books, 2009), researcher Dawson Church, PhD, explains the relationship between thought and belief patterns and the expression of healing- or disease-related genes. “Your body reads your mind,” Church says. “Science is discovering that while we may have a fixed set of genes in our chromosomes, which of those genes is active has a great deal to do with our subjective experiences, and how we process them.”
    One recent study conducted at Ohio University demonstrates vividly the effect of mental stress on healing. Researchers gave married couples small suction blisters on their skin, after which they were instructed to discuss either a neutral topic or a topic of dispute for half an hour. Researchers then monitored the production of three wound-repair proteins in the subjects’ bodies for the next several weeks, and found that the blisters healed 40 percent slower in those who’d had especially sarcastic, argumentative conversations than those who’d had neutral ones.
    http://experiencelife.com/arti.....our-brain/

    and these studies appear to be solid, as is noted by this confirming evidence:

    Anxiety May Shorten Your Cell Life – July 12, 2012
    Excerpt: These studies had the advantage of large data sets involving thousands of participants.
    If the correlations remain robust in similar studies, it would indicate that mental states and lifestyle choices can produce epigenetic effects on our genes.
    http://crev.info/2012/07/anxie.....cell-life/

    Scientists Finally Show How Your Thoughts Can Cause Specific Molecular Changes To Your Genes, – December 10, 2013
    Excerpt: “To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper that shows rapid alterations in gene expression within subjects associated with mindfulness meditation practice,” says study author Richard J. Davidson, founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds and the William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
    “Most interestingly, the changes were observed in genes that are the current targets of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs,” says Perla Kaliman, first author of the article and a researcher at the Institute of Biomedical Research of Barcelona, Spain (IIBB-CSIC-IDIBAPS), where the molecular analyses were conducted.,,,
    the researchers say, there was no difference in the tested genes between the two groups of people at the start of the study. The observed effects were seen only in the meditators following mindfulness practice. In addition, several other DNA-modifying genes showed no differences between groups, suggesting that the mindfulness practice specifically affected certain regulatory pathways.
    http://www.tunedbody.com/scien.....ges-genes/

  11. Of related interest:

    How those marital rows can be bad for your health by JENNY HOPE – December 2005
    Excerpt: Married couples who constantly argue risk damaging their health, according to a study.
    It found that marital rows can prolong the time it takes the body to heal itself after an injury.
    One argument alone can slow this process by a day.
    And the study claims that when married couples feel consistently hostile towards one another, the delay in the healing process can be doubled.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/hea.....ealth.html

    Negative Thoughts Linked to Physical Health Issues – Dr. Caroline Leaf – (Part 1 of 3) – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYgr1rTEf_w

    The Healing Power of Positive Words By Linda Wasmer Andrews – Jun 08, 2012
    Excerpt: When researchers analyzed the autobiographies of famous deceased psychologists, they found that those who used lots of active positive words (such as lively, enthusiastic, happy) tended to outlive their other colleagues.
    Within this category of words, the biggest boost came from humor-related terms (such as laugh, funny, giggle), which were associated with living six years longer, on average. In contrast, passive positive words (such as peaceful, calm, relaxed) and negative words (such as worried, angry, lonely) didn’t affect longevity.
    http://health.yahoo.net/expert.....tive-words

    The health benefits of happiness – Mark Easton – 2006
    Excerpt: “It’s not just that if you’re physically well you’re likely to be happy but actually the opposite way round,” said Dr Cox.
    (Extensive studies show that) “If you are happy you are (much more) likely in the future to have less in the way of physical illness than those who are unhappy”.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/pro.....924180.stm

    Are Religious People Happier Than Atheists? – 2000
    Excerpt: there does indeed appear to be a link between religion and happiness. Several studies have been done, but to give an example, one study found that the more frequently people attended religious events, the happier they were; 47% of people who attended several types a week reported that they were ‘very happy’, as opposed to 28% who attended less than monthly.
    http://generallythinking.com/a.....-atheists/

    Atheism and health
    Excerpt: A meta-analysis of all studies, both published and unpublished, relating to religious involvement and longevity was carried out in 2000. Forty-two studies were included, involving some 126,000 subjects. Active religious involvement increased the chance of living longer by some 29%, and participation in public religious practices, such as church attendance, increased the chance of living longer by 43%.[4][5]
    http://www.conservapedia.com/Atheism_and_health

    Verses, Quote, and Music:

    Psalm 16:11
    You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

    Luke 22:69
    But from now on the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God.”

    “The only human emotion I could feel was pure, unrelenting, unconditional love. Take the unconditional love a mother has for a child and amplify it a thousand fold, then multiply exponentially. The result of your equation would be as a grain of sand is to all the beaches in the world. So, too, is the comparison between the love we experience on earth to what I felt during my experience. This love is so strong, that words like “love” make the description seem obscene. It was the most powerful and compelling feeling. But, it was so much more. I felt the presence of angels. I felt the presence of joyous souls, and they described to me a hundred lifetimes worth of knowledge about our divinity. Simultaneous to the deliverance of this knowledge, I knew I was in the presence of God. I never wanted to leave, never.”
    - Judeo-Christian Near Death Experience testimony

    I Want to know what love is – Foreigner – music
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loWXMtjUZWM

  12. gun: you make a good case for why Darwinists have such trouble explaining consciousness. It’s not like our chin or our tonsils. And declaring ourselves to be highly intelligent seems rather subjective.

  13. goodusername you stated:

    “I’ve never seen anyone argue that consciousness was selected for (although such people may exist).”

    Actually:

    Why No One (Can) Believe Atheism/Naturalism to be True – video
    Excerpt: “Since we are creatures of natural selection, we cannot totally trust our senses. Evolution only passes on traits that help a species survive, and not concerned with preserving traits that tell a species what is actually true about life.”
    Richard Dawkins – quoted from “The God Delusion”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4QFsKevTXs

    Scientific Peer Review is in Trouble: From Medical Science to Darwinism – Mike Keas – October 10, 2012
    Excerpt: “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/

    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

    Should You Trust the Monkey Mind? – Joe Carter
    Excerpt: Evolutionary naturalism assumes that our noetic equipment developed as it did because it had some survival value or reproductive advantage. Unguided evolution does not select for belief except insofar as the belief improves the chances of survival. The truth of a belief is irrelevant, as long as it produces an evolutionary advantage. This equipment could have developed at least four different kinds of belief that are compatible with evolutionary naturalism, none of which necessarily produce true and trustworthy cognitive faculties.
    http://www.firstthings.com/ont.....onkey-mind

    Alvin Plantinga – Evolutionary Argument against Naturalism – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r34AIo-xBh8

    Content and Natural Selection – Alvin Plantinga – 2011
    http://www.andrewmbailey.com/a.....ection.pdf

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner – 1960
    Excerpt: certainly it is hard to believe that our reasoning power was brought, by Darwin’s process of natural selection, to the perfection which it seems to possess.,,,
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc.....igner.html

  14. I’m not sure if consciousness alone has any survival benefit, but it may exist as a side effect or byproduct of us being highly intelligent and highly social, and other mental traits.

    First of all, consciousness should have been deselected by natural selection because it is a hindrance to survival. It forces the organism to pay a lot of attention to things that are not beneficial to survival (music and the arts).

    Second, the idea that consciousness is a by-product of intelligence has as much science in it as chicken feather voodoo. Atheists need to stop being so darn superstitious.

  15. Piltdown2,

    gun: you make a good case for why Darwinists have such trouble explaining consciousness. It’s not like our chin or our tonsils. And declaring ourselves to be highly intelligent seems rather subjective.

    There are certainly added difficulties in investigating mental features rather than anatomical features, like the chin. But I think they are analogous in ways: Just as with anatomical features, mental features don’t exist wholly independently of each other.
    There seems to be a relationship, for instance, between our abilities of language, mathematics, and music. But it is much more difficult to examine such things than the chin – we can’t dissect our music ability. :-)

  16. Of related interest:

    Appraising the brain’s energy budget:
    Excerpt: In the average adult human, the brain represents about 2% of the body weight. Remarkably, despite its relatively small size, the brain accounts for about 20% of the oxygen and, hence, calories consumed by the body. This high rate of metabolism is remarkably constant despite widely varying mental and motoric activity. The metabolic activity of the brain is remarkably constant over time.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/99/16/10237.full

    THE EFFECT OF MENTAL ARITHMETIC ON CEREBRAL CIRCULATION AND METABOLISM
    Excerpt: Although Lennox considered the performance of mental arithmetic as “mental work”, it is not immediately apparent what the nature of that work in the physical sense might be if, indeed, there be any. If no work or energy transformation is involved in the process of thought, then it is not surprising that cerebral oxygen consumption is unaltered during mental arithmetic.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....4-0127.pdf

    Does Thinking Really Hard Burn More Calories? – By Ferris Jabr – July 2012
    Excerpt: Unlike physical exercise, mental workouts probably do not demand significantly more energy than usual. Believing we have drained our brains, however, may be enough to induce weariness,,,
    Although the average adult human brain weighs about 1.4 kilograms, only 2 percent of total body weight, it demands 20 percent of our resting metabolic rate (RMR)—the total amount of energy our bodies expend in one very lazy day of no activity.,,,
    —Resting metabolic rate: 1300 kilocalories, or kcal, the kind used in nutrition
    —1,300 kcal over 24 hours = 54.16 kcal per hour = 15.04 gram calories per second
    —15.04 gram calories/sec = 62.93 joules/sec = about 63 watts
    —20 percent of 63 watts = 12.6 watts
    So a typical adult human brain runs on around 12 watts—a fifth of the power required by a standard 60 watt lightbulb. Compared with most other organs, the brain is greedy; pitted against man-made electronics, it is astoundingly efficient.
    http://www.scientificamerican......d-calories

    Scaling of Brain Metabolism with a Fixed Energy Budget per Neuron:
    Excerpt: This suggests that the energy budget of the whole brain per neuron is fixed across species and brain sizes,
    http://www.plosone.org/article.....ne.0017514

    Scaling of Brain Metabolism and Blood Flow in Relation to Capillary and Neural Scaling – 2011
    Excerpt: Brain is one of the most energy demanding organs in mammals, and its total metabolic rate scales with brain volume raised to a power of around 5/6. This value is significantly higher than the more common exponent 3/4 (Quarter Power Scaling) relating whole body resting metabolism with body mass and several other physiological variables in animals and plants.,,,
    Moreover, cerebral metabolic, hemodynamic, and microvascular variables scale with allometric exponents that are simple multiples of 1/6, rather than 1/4, which suggests that brain metabolism is more similar to the metabolism of aerobic than resting body. Relation of these findings to brain functional imaging studies involving the link between cerebral metabolism and blood flow is also discussed.,,
    General Discussion Excerpt:
    ,,It should be underlined that both CBF and CMR scale with brain volume with the exponent about 1/4 which is significantly different from the exponent 1/4 relating whole body resting specific metabolism with body volume [1], [2], [3]. Instead, the cerebral exponent 1/6 is closer to an exponent,, characterizing maximal body specific metabolic rate and specific cardiac output in strenuous exercise [43], [44]. In this sense, the brain metabolism and its hemodynamics resemble more the metabolism and circulation of exercised muscles than other resting organs, which is in line with the empirical evidence that brain is an energy expensive organ [10], [17], [18]. This may also suggest that there exists a common plan for the design of microcirculatory system in different parts of the mammalian body that uses the same optimization principles [45].,,
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....MC3203885/

    The preceding experiments are very unexpected to materialists since materialists hold that ‘mind’ is merely a ‘emergent property’ of the physical processes of a material brain. But why should ‘thought’ which is presupposed to be result of, and subservient to, the material processes of the brain constrain the material brain to operate at such a constant and optimal metabolic rate whereas the rest of body fluctuates in its metabolic activity? The most parsimonious explanation for such a optimal constraint on the brain’s metabolic activity is that the material brain was designed, first and foremost, to house the mind and give the mind the most favorable metabolic environment possible at all times. Moreover the brain, in terms of almost unbelievable complexity, is shown to have more switches than all the computers on earth put together,

    Human brain has more switches than all computers on Earth – November 2010
    Excerpt: They found that the brain’s complexity is beyond anything they’d imagined, almost to the point of being beyond belief, says Stephen Smith, a professor of molecular and cellular physiology and senior author of the paper describing the study: …One synapse, by itself, is more like a microprocessor–with both memory-storage and information-processing elements–than a mere on/off switch. In fact, one synapse may contain on the order of 1,000 molecular-scale switches. A single human brain has more switches than all the computers and routers and Internet connections on Earth.
    http://news.cnet.com/8301-2708.....2-247.html

    I ain’t got enough faith to be an atheist!
    Frank Turek

  17. gun: I certainly agree with you that there is a relationship between mathematics and music, and believe that mental abilities and diversity make life interesting. But thinking anecdotally, it seems many of the most creative and brilliant geniuses have some of the shortest life spans or suffer from debilitating diseases (Mozart, Poe, Hawking, Belushi, etc – again, just anecdotal).

  18. Mapou:

    Do we KNOW — warranted true belief — that minds CANNOT — there are no exceptions that exist or are possible — exist without brains?

    Or, is it that we have a popular and enforced assumption of materialism that leads many to assert that which they cannot know. In this case, you have to show that an immaterial mind is such a contradiction in terms that it collapses in absurdity. That is what cannot . . . impossibility . . . demands.

    We simply know no such thing, we have no such inherent self contradiction that makes an immaterial mind comparable to a square circle.

    And, as I pointed out in comment no 1, arguably:

    a good place to look for a candidate [mind beyond matter] is to look at the evident contingency of the material cosmos we observe and its fine tuned physics that sets a basis for C-chemistry, cell based aqueous medium life.

    Down that line, even through a multiverse speculation, arguably lies the need for an awesomely powerful designing mind that is a necessary, non-contingent (and so also eternal) being. This has not been eliminated by reason, but dismissed implicitly by ideology.

    So, we KNOW no such thing as has been confidently asserted, and we would be better served if we were to refrain from a priori, implicit and question-begging impositions of materialism.

    The contingency of matter, generally conceded, eliminates it as a necessary being.

    And yet the logic of contingency and cause, leads to the implication that if a credibly contingent observed cosmos exists [try E = m*c^2 and the cosmological expansion pointing to a Big Bang origin event for size on that . . . ], a necessary being is ultimately responsible. Such a being has no beginning, no end, and cannot not exist, similar to how the truth in 2 + 3 = 5 cannot fail, had no beginning and has no end.

    Mind, eternal mind that is purposeful, deeply knowledgeable, highly skilled and powerful, fills that bill.

    Indeed, the only serious candidate.

    Whether or not that catches cross-ways in ever so many gullets.

    KF

  19. COMMENTARY?? YUCK.
    Anyways.
    Arguing about what God would of done was also a fallacy of Darwin.
    God created but then the fall distorted creation greatly. We originally had no immune system and so on.
    All physical life was changed by the fall.
    To figure out things the Christian model must be used. Human intelligence on investigation would take forever to compute options.
    Id can correct things but YEC must advance them.

  20. I have to say, Barry’s OP slogan seems surprisingly effective at a glance. ‘Nature wouldn’t have done it that way.’

    I like it. Well done.

  21. Mapou (#7) writes:

    “I strongly disagree with this (i.e. that minds can exist without brains)….There is an incredible amount of complex software in the brain, without which there could be no mind.”

    It may be true that humans are instances of mind/body substance dualism, but it doesn’t follow from that that minds cannot exist apart from bodies. After all, if God exists would He not be a mind without a physical body?

  22. Dick @21:

    Mapou (#7) writes:

    “I strongly disagree with this (i.e. that minds can exist without brains)….There is an incredible amount of complex software in the brain, without which there could be no mind.”

    It may be true that humans are instances of mind/body substance dualism, but it doesn’t follow from that that minds cannot exist apart from bodies. After all, if God exists would He not be a mind without a physical body?

    I am probably the only Christian in the world who does not believe this and I haven’t seen any argument that will chay mind. I don’t think such an argument exists. I am a true dualist through and through.

    There is no such thing as life without a physical body in my view. There is no doubt in my mind that God’s body is physical even if it’s not made of ordinary matter (electrons, protons, neutrons, etc.). The word spirit that Christians love to throw around as proof that God is not physical is really a non-descript word that is often translated as ‘wind’.

    To repeat, I believe that God and angels have “spirit” bodies only in the sense that their bodies are not made of ordinary matter (dust) like humans. They also have a “non-physical spirit” in them that is distinct from their bodies. The same is true of humans. That spirit is what gives them and us consciousness and identities; it is non-physical, i.e., it can neither be created nor destroyed. It just is.

    Jesus once said that there was a violent war in heaven, apparently between Lucifer and his angels on one side and God and his angels on the other. By definition, a war has casualties, i.e., deaths. If angels and demons can die, it follows that they are physical in my opinion.

  23. Correction @22:

    I am probably the only Christian in the world who does not believe this and I haven’t seen any argument that will change my mind.

  24. Mapou
    there was a war but no death. People never cease to exist either.
    The bible clearly teaches we are souls. If and when we die our thinking soul goes elsewhere and has no need of a brain. Yet we are the same person.
    Jesus brain was irrelevant to his intelligence as a God except in one thing.
    The most important thing in our head that affects our thinking is our memory.
    Jesus was, I think, restricted by his memory and so we are too.
    Baby’s, retarded people, autism spectrum, depressions, phobias, elderly etc are all entirely the result of interference with the triggering mechanism of the memory. The memory is fine but the failure is the triggering mechanism.
    Its impossible for our soul to have its thinking ability interfered with.
    Its only the memory or rather what happens when we get drunk.
    Thats why all AI is unrelated to intelligence. Its only about memory search engines. Robots will never be smart.

  25. You crack me up, Byers. You make things up in your mind and assume they are true. It is not true that the Bible teaches that we are souls. Genesis clearly teaches that we are made of the dust of the earth. Other scriptures teach that a spirit inhabits the body. Jesus himself said that the eye is the window of the soul (spirit). Why would a spirit need a window if it does not need a body? Have you ever asked yourself this question?

    If our spirit doesn’t need a body, why do we cling to it so hard? And why did God create a body for us? Just for grins and giggles? I don’t think so. Our bodies are so important, God will bring them back at the resurrection and, as Paul wrote, the chosen ones will have their old bodies transformed into incorruptible (i.e., immortal) ones.

    Wake up, Byers. Don’t let your traditions and your church doctrines become your truth. Search and you shall find. But don’t ever stop. We must search always. Don’t assume you already know all you need to know. You don’t.

  26. I don’t understand this argument at all.

    Natural selection operates on what exists not on what could be imagined to exist. Consciousness is either the cause of of much of our behaviour or a by-product of the cause of that behaviour. As far as we know there is no way in practice of having a human that exhibits this behaviour without consciousness. If it possible then natural selection has not stumbled up on it and there is no reason to assume it is a more efficient method than consciousness.

  27. If zombie is identical to consciousness for all interactions with the world then it does not follow that “consciousness” is not selected for in isolation unless the person proposing that “consciousness” is not selected for also equally proposes that “zombie” would not be selected for too.

    Thus if “consciousness” and “zombie” are not selected for by nature then we should be able to do simple tests with “unconsciousness” and “un-zombie” people and given that “consciousness” and “zombie” are functionally equivalent then “unconscious” people should be functionally equally “un-zombie” (though that doesn’t actually really matter).

    I suggest a suite of simple tests are run using conscious and unconscious people and from that we should see a pattern to the survival value of being conscious/zombie or unconscious/unzombie.

    e.g. Test 1) put a conscious and an unconscious person into a room. Have an animal enter the room. See which person is able to track and hunt the animal.

    Test 2) Have a conscious and an unconscious person swing from a tree-top. Measure how far they can travel as a ground track.

    etc etc.

  28. 27,, Decartes just did a face palm! :)

    http://i.stack.imgur.com/jiFfM.jpg

  29. Bornagain77, I know – Barry’s argument is retarded. If we have conscious people then they are fit enough and if we have zombies then they are fit enough. They are not mutually exclusive.

  30. Lincoln Phipps, contrary to what you may believe, assuming the premise that there is actually a ‘you’ to believe anything to be true, materialistic atheism, your preferred philosophy, is ‘not even wrong’ as to beginning to explain consciousness:

    The Waning of Materialism Edited by Robert C. Koons and George Bealer
    Description: Twenty-three philosophers examine the doctrine of materialism and find it wanting. The case against materialism comprises arguments from conscious experience, from the unity and identity of the person, from intentionality, mental causation, and knowledge. The contributors include leaders in the fields of philosophy of mind, metaphysics, ontology, and epistemology, who respond ably to the most recent versions and defenses of materialism. The modal arguments of Kripke and Chalmers, Jackson’s knowledge argument, Kim’s exclusion problem, and Burge’s anti-individualism all play a part in the building of a powerful cumulative case against the materialist research program. Several papers address the implications of contemporary brain and cognitive research (the psychophysics of color perception, blindsight, and the effects of commissurotomies), adding a posteriori arguments to the classical a priori critique of reductionism. All of the current versions of materialism–reductive and non-reductive, functionalist, eliminativist, and new wave materialism–come under sustained and trenchant attack.
    http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/.....0199556199

    “No, I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”
    Max Planck (1858–1947), the originator of quantum theory, The Observer, London, January 25, 1931

    etc.. etc..

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