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On consciousness, Tegmark gets one thing right, says Rob Sheldon

“States of matter are immaterial abstractions, just like consciousness.”

microtubules relate to consciousness?/© James Steidl, Fotolia

Physicist Rob Sheldon responds to “’Quiet revolution’ in theoretical physics: Consciousness is a state of matter?” (Max Tegmark’s (yet another) proposal to explain consciousness according to current science theory):

Tegmark gets one thing right–states of matter are immaterial abstractions, just like consciousness. After all, the atoms in H2^0 are the same in vapor, liquid and ice, it is just that they behave differently with some extra energy needed to move them from one state to another. It also takes extra energy to move them, say, from my desk to my mouth, but I don’t usually say that this is because there are two matter states of my cup. So it isn’t an “intrinsic” property of water to be in one state or another, because if I take liquid water and heat it up in my pressure cooker to the critical point, it is both liquid and vapor at the same time and in the same way.

So what is this thing, this “state of matter”? It’s a human language abstraction that helps abbreviate a lot of long-winded explanation. Sort of like saying that you are in a state of aggravation by philologically inept physicists. It conveys an abstraction, an idea. Something that people pay money for when it is in a novel, but the US Government declines to pay for in a science experiment.

So what did Tegmark just say when he said “Consciousness is a state of matter”? He just said, “Consciousness is something people are consciously conscious of.”

As Dufflepuds would say, “So true, so true, Boss.”

But this is not what Penrose was saying about his microtubules.

Sheldon then directs our attention to a recent article, “Discovery of Quantum Vibrations in ‘Microtubules’ Inside Brain Neurons Supports Controversial Theory of Consciousness,” which is about a quite different theory, that has recently received some evidence in support:

The theory, called “orchestrated objective reduction” (‘Orch OR’), was first put forward in the mid-1990s by eminent mathematical physicist Sir Roger Penrose, FRS, Mathematical Institute and Wadham College, University of Oxford, and prominent anesthesiologist Stuart Hameroff, MD, Anesthesiology, Psychology and Center for Consciousness Studies, The University of Arizona, Tucson. They suggested that quantum vibrational computations in microtubules were “orchestrated” (“Orch”) by synaptic inputs and memory stored in microtubules, and terminated by Penrose “objective reduction” (‘OR’), hence “Orch OR.” Microtubules are major components of the cell structural skeleton.

Orch OR was harshly criticized from its inception, as the brain was considered too “warm, wet, and noisy” for seemingly delicate quantum processes.. However, evidence has now shown warm quantum coherence in plant photosynthesis, bird brain navigation, our sense of smell, and brain microtubules. The recent discovery of warm temperature quantum vibrations in microtubules inside brain neurons by the research group led by Anirban Bandyopadhyay, PhD, at the National Institute of Material Sciences in Tsukuba, Japan (and now at MIT), corroborates the pair’s theory and suggests that EEG rhythms also derive from deeper level microtubule vibrations. In addition, work from the laboratory of Roderick G. Eckenhoff, MD, at the University of Pennsylvania, suggests that anesthesia, which selectively erases consciousness while sparing non-conscious brain activities, acts via microtubules in brain neurons.

“The origin of consciousness reflects our place in the universe, the nature of our existence. Did consciousness evolve from complex computations among brain neurons, as most scientists assert? Or has consciousness, in some sense, been here all along, as spiritual approaches maintain?” ask Hameroff and Penrose in the current review. “This opens a potential Pandora’s Box, but our theory accommodates both these views, suggesting consciousness derives from quantum vibrations in microtubules, protein polymers inside brain neurons, which both govern neuronal and synaptic function, and connect brain processes to self-organizing processes in the fine scale, ‘proto-conscious’ quantum structure of reality.”

The Penrose-Hameroff theory has the advantage that it seems to be trying to explain what processes mediate consciousness rather than what exactly it is or where precisely it is located. In short, it takes its subject seriously enough to point the way to possible research. Sheldon continues,

Tegmark’s “states of matter” thing, is just a comparison of thermal energy to binding energy of matter. It is a local phenomenon, and by itself, has no information content. It is what produces frost-flowers on the window, but cannot produce the words “Go back to bed, its too cold.”

Penrose, on the other hand, is saying that the QM wavefunction of a microtubule is bigger than its atoms, so that it becomes some sort of larger QM object, connecting one cell to another, perhaps one half of the brain to other, or even one person to another. This coherent QM wavefunction can then carry information in ways that electro-magnetism and atoms cannot, so that there is a global coherence to the universe that violates materialism, that violates atomism, that violates Darwinism.

Well why can’t we call that a “state of matter”? Because it precisely is the opposite of matter. That’s really what QM means — particles acting as waves, discrete objects acting as one, coherent globalism over discrete individualism. And what does this coherence mean? It means you are part of a bigger picture, you are a cog in a machine, you are part of a design.

I’m not even sure if Penrose would admit to that.

See also: Popular science writer sort of gets it about the multiverse scam

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15 Responses to On consciousness, Tegmark gets one thing right, says Rob Sheldon

  1. Consciousness is something scientists have struggled to understand. How can such a great force and power cone from matter. To me consciousness makes sense if our universe is really immaterial. Ive asked myself this question a lot, what is everything made of? Atoms, ok. Well what are those made of, then you get to small subatomic particles and you then ask yourself then whats that made of? Nothing really exists in a sense of how the mainstream views it.

  2. Niels Bohr presumably analyzed it to perfection:

    ‘There is no quantum world. There is only an abstract quantum physical description. It is wrong to think that the task of physics is to find out how nature is. Physics concerns what we can say about nature…’; and,

    ‘We must be clear that when it comes to atoms, language can be used only as in poetry. The poet, too, is not nearly so concerned with describing facts as with creating images and establishing mental connections.’

  3. In terms of QM theory, we haven’t advanced much in 80 years, have we? ‘Monkey see; monkey no can do.’

  4. Dr. Sheldon, many times you are a breath a fresh air and clarity!

  5. as to the unexpected finding of ‘quantum vibrations in microtubules’, here is another unexpected place they recently picked up ‘vibrations’

    Symphony of Life, Revealed: New Imaging Technique Captures Vibrations of Proteins, Tiny Motions Critical to Human Life – Jan. 16, 2014
    Excerpt: To observe the protein vibrations, Markelz’ team relied on an interesting characteristic of proteins: The fact that they vibrate at the same frequency as the light they absorb.
    This is analogous to the way wine glasses tremble and shatter when a singer hits exactly the right note. Markelz explained: Wine glasses vibrate because they are absorbing the energy of sound waves, and the shape of a glass determines what pitches of sound it can absorb. Similarly, proteins with different structures will absorb and vibrate in response to light of different frequencies.
    So, to study vibrations in lysozyme, Markelz and her colleagues exposed a sample to light of different frequencies and polarizations, and measured the types of light the protein absorbed.
    This technique, , allowed the team to identify which sections of the protein vibrated under normal biological conditions. The researchers were also able to see that the vibrations endured over time, challenging existing assumptions.
    “If you tap on a bell, it rings for some time, and with a sound that is specific to the bell. This is how the proteins behave,” Markelz said. “Many scientists have previously thought a protein is more like a wet sponge than a bell: If you tap on a wet sponge, you don’t get any sustained sound.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....084838.htm

  6. Like I was saying nohing exists as objects but as abstract infromation. Why would atoms follow laws? Because they want to? No because there programed to, like code on a computer or objects in a video game. Thats why chemicals react with each other because there programed to!

  7. As to this comment from Dr. Sheldon:

    Penrose, on the other hand, is saying that the QM wavefunction of a microtubule is bigger than its atoms, so that it becomes some sort of larger QM object, connecting one cell to another, perhaps one half of the brain to other, or even one person to another. This coherent QM wavefunction can then carry information in ways that electro-magnetism and atoms cannot, so that there is a global coherence to the universe that violates materialism, that violates atomism, that violates Darwinism.

    As to ‘connecting one cell to another, perhaps one half of the brain to other’, here Hameroff suggests microtubule quantum vibrations can provide a coherent answer to EEG “beat frequencies”.

    Discovery of quantum vibrations in ‘microtubules’ corroborates theory of consciousness – Thursday, January 16, 2014
    Excerpt: An important new facet of the theory is introduced. Microtubule quantum vibrations (e.g. in megahertz) appear to interfere and produce much slower EEG “beat frequencies.” Despite a century of clinical use, the underlying origins of EEG rhythms have remained a mystery.
    http://esciencenews.com/articl.....sciousness

    It is important to note that EEGs are a ‘summation of the synchronous activity’ of the brain cells

    Electroencephalography
    Excerpt: EEG measures voltage fluctuations resulting from ionic current flows within the neurons of the brain.,,,
    EEG activity,,, always reflects the summation of the synchronous activity of thousands or millions of neurons that have similar spatial orientation,,
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E.....G_activity

    That’s pretty good as far as it goes in showing the entire brain is ‘mysteriously synchronized’, but as to ‘connecting one cell to another, perhaps one half of the brain to other’ it is a bit weak. So to go further, in this following video Hameroff speaks about the two hemispheres of the brain being ‘quantumly’ connected:

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

    The only direct evidence I could find to back up Hameroff’s claim (and my search was nowhere near exhaustive) for quantum entanglement across the brain was here, but the entanglement was only up to 10 millimeters and was not across hemispheres:

    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

    The only indirect evidence I could find for Hameroff’s claim for both hemispheres are ‘quantumly’ correlated (and again my search was not exhaustive) was here:

    “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.

    and here:

    Unexplained communication between brain hemispheres without corpus callosum – October 21, 2011
    Excerpt: Neuroscientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have made a puzzling finding: people born without a corpus callosum (which links the two hemispheres of the brain) — a condition called agenesis of the corpus callosum, or AgCC — still show remarkably normal communication across the gap between the two halves of their brains.,,,
    Neuroscientists baffled:
    “This was a real surprise,” says Tyszka. “We expected to see a lot less coupling between the left and right brain in this group — after all, they are missing about 200 million connections that would normally be there. How do they manage to have normal communication between the left and right sides of the brain without the corpus callosum?”
    http://www.kurzweilai.net/unex.....s-callosum

    Thus as far as I can tell, we do have direct evidence of ‘non-local’ quantum entanglement in the brain up to 10 millimeters, but only have indirect evidence for quantum entanglement beyond that range so that we may say, definitively, ‘the two hemispheres are entangled quantumly’.

    And although, I do enjoy very much the feisty way Hameroff has defended his, and Penrose’s, Orch-OR model against materialists/atheists,,

    Stuart Hameroff defends Orch-OR theory at TSC 2010 – Pt 1 of 2
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAVQjMf2fEQ
    Part 2 of 2
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ed9nZXrOaMk

    Being the skunk at an atheist convention – Hameroff – 2006
    Excerpt: In November 2006 I was invited to a meeting at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California called “Beyond Belief”. Other speakers and attendees were predominantly atheists, and harshly critical of the notion of spirituality. They included Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Patricia Churchland, Steven Weinberg (the least venal), Neil deGrasse Tyson and others who collectively vilified creationists and religious warriors. But the speakers also ragged on the notion of any purpose or meaning to existence, heaped ridicule on the very possibility of a God-like entity (and those who believed in such an entity), declared that scientists and philosophers should set society’s moral and ethical standards, and called for a billion dollar public relations campaign to convince the public God does not exist.
    Near the end of the first day came my turn to speak. I began by saying that the conference to that point had been like the Spanish Inquisition in reverse – the scientists were burning the believers. And while I had no particular interest in organized religion, I did believe there could be a scientific account for spirituality.
    After pointing out faulty assumptions in conventional brain models for consciousness and summarizing the Penrose-Hameroff theory, I laid out my plausibility argument for scientific, secular spirituality, suggesting cosmic connections and influence in our conscious thoughts occurred via quantum interactions in microtubules. I closed with a slide of the DNA molecule which emphasized it’s internal core where quantum effects rule, suggesting a Penrose non-computable influence in genetic mutations and evolution (aimed at Dawkins in the form of a quantum-based intelligent design).
    At the end a few people clapped loudly, but most sat in steely silence. The moderator and conference organizer Roger Bingham said I had enraged nearly everyone in the room. Indeed, I had raised a stink, and felt (happily) like the skunk at an atheist convention.
    http://www.quantumconsciousness.org/skunk.htm

    And although I very much enjoyed the fiesty, “Galileo”, way in which Hameroff defended his model against the “atheists’ inquisition”, I have to say that Hameroff’s model fall’s short of finding complete agreement with quantum mechanics, and thus his model falls short of truly explaining consciousness to the quantum level. The primary reason why I think Hameroff model falls short of finding complete agreement with quantum theory is primarily because of his pantheistic metaphysical view of reality. A metaphysical view of reality in which consciousness, for him, is somehow co-terminus with material reality at the Planck scale. Something he calls ‘proto-consciousness’ at the fine (Planck) scale.

    Discovery of quantum vibrations in ‘microtubules’ corroborates theory of consciousness – Thursday, January 16, 2014
    Excerpt: Did consciousness evolve from complex computations among brain neurons, as most scientists assert? Or has consciousness, in some sense, been here all along, as spiritual approaches maintain?” ask Hameroff and Penrose in the current review. “This opens a potential Pandora’s Box, but our theory accommodates both these views, suggesting consciousness derives from quantum vibrations in microtubules, protein polymers inside brain neurons, which both govern neuronal and synaptic function, and connect brain processes to self-organizing processes in the fine scale, ‘proto-conscious’ quantum structure of reality.”
    http://esciencenews.com/articl.....sciousness

  8. But contrary to Hameroff’s Pantheistic metaphysics in which consciousness is a part of material reality (and things pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and magically ‘self-organize’), the fact of the matter is that several lines of evidence from quantum mechanics now indicate what we have intuitively known all along. Mainly, the ‘intuitive fact’ that consciousness demands a perspective that stands completely outside the material order, even outside the fine (Planck) structure of the universe. Although there are many ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, lines of evidence from quantum mechanics that back this ‘intuitive’ fact up, the most compelling line of evidence from quantum mechanics is the violation of Leggett’s Inequality (falsification of Realism). Professor Henry puts the startling results from Leggett’s Inequality this way:

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

    And then, of course, there is the small problem for Hameroff, and all other Pantheists, of coherently explaining the origin of the entire universe in the first place,,,

    Which of the 4 Worldviews best explains the origin of the universe? – Stephen Meyer on John Ankerberg – video – November 4, 2011
    http://www.lightsource.com/min.....22384.html

    Supplemental notes:

    Looking Beyond Space and Time to Cope With Quantum Theory – (Oct. 28, 2012)
    Excerpt: To derive their inequality, which sets up a measurement of entanglement between four particles, the researchers considered what behaviours are possible for four particles that are connected by influences that stay hidden and that travel at some arbitrary finite speed.
    Mathematically (and mind-bogglingly), these constraints define an 80-dimensional object. The testable hidden influence inequality is the boundary of the shadow this 80-dimensional shape casts in 44 dimensions. The researchers showed that quantum predictions can lie outside this boundary, which means they are going against one of the assumptions. Outside the boundary, either the influences can’t stay hidden, or they must have infinite speed.,,,
    The remaining option is to accept that (quantum) influences must be infinitely fast,,,
    “Our result gives weight to the idea that quantum correlations somehow arise from outside spacetime, in the sense that no story in space and time can describe them,” says Nicolas Gisin, Professor at the University of Geneva, Switzerland,,,
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....142217.htm

    What Does Quantum Physics Have to Do with Free Will? – By Antoine Suarez – July 22, 2013
    Excerpt: What is more, recent experiments are bringing to light that the experimenter’s free will and consciousness should be considered axioms (founding principles) of standard quantum physics theory. So for instance, in experiments involving “entanglement” (the phenomenon Einstein called “spooky action at a distance”), to conclude that quantum correlations of two particles are nonlocal (i.e. cannot be explained by signals traveling at velocity less than or equal to the speed of light), it is crucial to assume that the experimenter can make free choices, and is not constrained in what orientation he/she sets the measuring devices.
    To understand these implications it is crucial to be aware that quantum physics is not only a description of the material and visible world around us, but also speaks about non-material influences coming from outside the space-time.,,,
    https://www.bigquestionsonline.com/content/what-does-quantum-physics-have-do-free-will

    As to ‘observational evidence’, 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 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

    Verse and Music:

    Genesis 1
    In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

    Starry Night – Chris August HD – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilPKhJiR53c

    Also of interest is the problem that Tegmark is running into in trying to model consciousness and information ‘locally’, i.e. within space time:

    Why Physicists Are Saying Consciousness Is A State Of Matter, Like a Solid, A Liquid Or A Gas Jan 16, 2014
    Excerpt: Interestingly, the new approach to consciousness has come from outside the physics community, principally from neuroscientists such as Giulio Tononi at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
    In 2008, Tononi proposed that a system demonstrating consciousness must have two specific traits. First, the system must be able to store and process large amounts of information. In other words consciousness is essentially a phenomenon of information.
    And second, this information must be integrated in a unified whole so that it is impossible to divide into independent parts. That reflects the experience that each instance of consciousness is a unified whole that cannot be decomposed into separate components.
    Both of these traits can be specified mathematically allowing physicists like Tegmark to reason about them for the first time. He begins by outlining the basic properties that a conscious system must have.,,,
    Tegmark points out that any information stored in a special network known as a Hopfield neural net automatically has this error-correcting facility. However, he calculates that a Hopfield net about the size of the human brain with 10^11 neurons, can only store 37 bits of integrated information.
    “This leaves us with an integration paradox: why does the information content of our conscious experience appear to be vastly larger than 37 bits?” asks Tegmark.
    That’s a question that many scientists might end up pondering in detail. For Tegmark, this paradox suggests that his mathematical formulation of consciousness is missing a vital ingredient. “This strongly implies that the integration principle must be supplemented by at least one additional principle,” he says. Suggestions please in the comments section!
    https://medium.com/the-physics-arxiv-blog/5e7ed624986d

  9. We just have to take O’Leary’s word as to what Sheldon says given we don’t have a link to where he says all of this.

    I see bornagain77 is on a roll with the quantum stuff again. As usual he forgets that quantum mechanics is all naturalism.

  10. Lincoln Phipps, in case you don’t know, labeling Quantum Mechanics as Naturalism does not make it so. In science you have to lay out the empirical evidence for why you think a certain proposition is true. In this case your proposition that Quantum Mechanics supports Naturalism. Yet you never honestly address the evidence. You just declare your personal opinion to be true. Why is this? Do you think that science is decided by your personal decree? You are gravely, and sadly, mistaken if you think so!

    Quantum Physics Debunks Materialism – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....i7t6wfpg8g

    “We are told dogmatically that Evolution is an established fact; but we are never told who has established it, and by what means. We are told, often enough, that the doctrine is founded upon evidence, and that indeed this evidence ‘is henceforward above all verification, as well as being immune from any subsequent contradiction by experience;’ but we are left entirely in the dark on the crucial question wherein, precisely, this evidence consists.”
    Smith, Wolfgang (1988)
    Teilhardism and the New Religion: A Thorough Analysis of The Teachings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

  11. bornagain77,

    in science the assumption is naturalism. As quantum mechanics seems to be quite well open to investigation by technology then QM is thus part of the assumption of naturalism.

    You posting Youtubes with bizarre opening claims that “Materialism has been dead for decades now (…)” presume that people who claim that fully understand the matter in this universe. You do not. You do not understand all there is to know about matter. No one does.

    Scientists have barely scratched the surface on matter (or the scope of naturalism) but slapped over that ignorance in lieu of understanding are the posters for Quantum Woo and Creationism that function as cheap a façade to scientific knowledge.

  12. Lincoln Phipps, so, since you can ‘assume’ naturalism as true for science, you don’t actually have to prove naturalism is true by science? HMMM, ever here of having your cake and eating it too? Mr Phipps, I hate to be the one to inform you, but assuming Naturalism as ‘the scientific worldview’, (i.e. methodological naturalism), as atheist do, is, regardless of what you may believe, is no longer a logically defensible position, since Plantinga has rigorously shown that Naturalism sows its own seeds of destruction from within.

    Philosopher Sticks Up for God – 2011
    Excerpt: Theism, with its vision of an orderly universe superintended by a God who created rational-minded creatures in his own image, “is vastly more hospitable to science than naturalism,” with its random process of natural selection, he (Plantinga) writes. “Indeed, it is theism, not naturalism, that deserves to be called ‘the scientific worldview.’”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12.....wanted=all

    Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism by Alvin Plantinga – video
    https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL80CAECC36901BCEE

    “Refuting Naturalism by Citing our own Consciousness” Dr. Alvin Plantinga – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r34AIo-xBh8

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

    Perhaps you would, instead of expressing your own atheistic opinion as if it were an irrefutable fact, like to actually explain how naturalism can possible ground the ‘consequent reasoning’ inherent in science?

    Sam Harris’s Free Will: The Medial Pre-Frontal Cortex Did It – Martin Cothran – November 9, 2012
    Excerpt: There is something ironic about the position of thinkers like Harris on issues like this: they claim that their position is the result of the irresistible necessity of logic (in fact, they pride themselves on their logic). Their belief is the consequent, in a ground/consequent relation between their evidence and their conclusion. But their very stated position is that any mental state — including their position on this issue — is the effect of a physical, not logical cause.
    By their own logic, it isn’t logic that demands their assent to the claim that free will is an illusion, but the prior chemical state of their brains. The only condition under which we could possibly find their argument convincing is if they are not true. The claim that free will is an illusion requires the possibility that minds have the freedom to assent to a logical argument, a freedom denied by the claim itself. It is an assent that must, in order to remain logical and not physiological, presume a perspective outside the physical order.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....66221.html

  13. ‘… random process of natural selection?’

    That random thinggy makes the very foundations of science so unpredictable. My aunt was unravelling an old Fair Isle pullover, thinking of using the wool to make something else.

    But blow me down, if she didn’t find, when she finished and looked down…. it had already made another pullover, random chance being like it is, and all that.

    And the durndest thing is randomness – we won’t say,’heedlessness’ since that would predicate the ‘M’ word – ‘randomness’ is an antonym of ‘design(edness)’. It’s not fair that it wants to have its cake and eat it, is it?

  14. I wonder what the ‘take’ of stout Cortez is on non-locality, Phil?

    I love this. It’s classic!

    ‘You posting Youtubes with bizarre opening claims that “Materialism has been dead for decades now (…)” presume that people who claim that fully understand the matter in this universe. You do not. You do not understand all there is to know about matter. No one does.

    Scientists have barely scratched the surface on matter (or the scope of naturalism) but slapped over that ignorance in lieu of understanding are the posters for Quantum Woo and Creationism that function as cheap a façade to scientific knowledge.’

    This is what I was talking about the other day. QM causes endless confusion to the likes of LP, simply because they, a priori, cannot/will not distinguish between what is an incomprehensible paradox and just one of a whole mess of puzzles (as Elvis would say), the fabled ‘promissory note’ will clear up in rag-time, once its naturalist Issuers get up a head of steam.

    Far from the surface of matter having been barely scratched, it’s the fact of matter’s limits have been very closely approached, if not, indeed, reached, that is causing the green Mr Lincoln to flail his arms about, blethering on in such a fevered state of incomprehension.

  15. Axel@14 observed

    This is what I was talking about the other day. QM causes endless confusion to the likes of LP, simply because they, a priori, cannot/will not distinguish between what is an incomprehensible paradox and just one of a whole mess of puzzles . . .

    Far from the surface of matter having been barely scratched, it’s the fact of matter’s limits have been very closely approached, if not, indeed, reached, that is causing the green Mr Lincoln to flail his arms about, blethering on in such a fevered state of incomprehension.

    Lol! As I wrote in previous posts:

    Tennyson does Phipps

    Logic to right of him,
    Facts to left of him,
    Common language in front of him
    Volley’d and thunder’d;
    Storm’d at with shot and shell,
    Boldly he rode and well,
    Into the jaws of humiliation,
    Into the blog from Hell
    Rode the words, six hundred.

    It was bold and glorious, but was it debate or was it simply butchery?

    While horse and hero fell,
    He that had fought so well
    Came thro’ the jaws of humiliation,
    Back from the blog from Hell,
    But with all that was left from his valiant charge,
    Tattered, bloody, and broken, the failed arguments,
    He turns with . . . and charges once again.

    Moral: IMHO, LP would do better by thoughtfully considering both the arguments and the evidence presented rather than simply responding like an ArgueBot(tm) powered by something like ELIZA or equivalent. ;-)

    -Q

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