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The new scientific paradigm? Feelings rule?

In “New scientific paradigm makes ‘feelings’ primary” (Vancouver Sun, reposted February 5, 2012), Doug Todd reports,

Scientist-philosophers such as Australia’s Charles Birch maintain that feelings are the basis of all reality; and that thoughts are “intellectual feelings.” In his groundbreaking and controversial book, Feelings, Birch says history basically amounts to the expression of human feelings — they have produced both the heights and depths of experience, the beauty of a Shakespearean love sonnet as well as the evil of a Hitler or Stalin.

As a biologist, Birch believes everything has subjectivity. Animals are not glorified robots. They have an inner life. They’re on a continuum with humans, and are governed by emotions. Birch, who won the 1990 Templeton Award for Progress in Religion, goes further and maintains that neither are cells and molecules blocks of unfeeling matter. He believes they show minute elements of subjectivity, which makes them unpredictable.

Birch belongs to a small but growing school of thought called “panexperientialism,” which proposes that everything in the universe is constituted of feelings, however subtle.

Look, it’s Friday night here. And we are just telling you. Your toothpick has feelings too. Todd originally posted this in 2006, but thought it worth recycling, due to this interview with a hard materialist.

Here we seek a third way – design

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2 Responses to The new scientific paradigm? Feelings rule?

  1. From the linked article: “Churchland, 68, believes humans are governed entirely by chemicals like oxytocin, which has sometimes been dubbed the “love hormone.” It makes humans feel bonded and attached.”

    Right. Which explains why I love person x and not person y. Oh, no, wait a minute, it doesn’t. Even if we take this at face value, we haven’t explained anything of the kind. Why should the “love hormone” act in the presence of person x and not person y? Hmmm. Well, we might posit that something else in our brain causes the relevant chemical to be present when I see person x and not when I see person y. But then the chemical wouldn’t be the explanation for the love, now would it? Something else behind the scenes is still the underlying cause.

    I see this confusion between “is involved with” and “causes” all the time. No-one doubts that certain feelings, emotions, even thoughts or intents, may be translated into physical reality through some kind of physical mechanism: through certain cells, proteins, signals, chemicals, etc. All of those things may be involved with the feeling, the emotion, the thought. But that doesn’t mean they are the cause.

  2. There is no such thing as feelings.
    There is just thoughts that upon lingering have greater motivational power.
    People are made in the image of God and have god like thoughts.
    Animals have few and unvaried thoughts.

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