Bi-Weekly Report: The Mind and Consciousness

A few weeks ago, Weekend Fisher did a blog entry about the rational mind being a natural phenomenon:

This paragraph seems to be the major motivator for her entry:

Here is why I think it matters: if you visit the atheist forums on the internet, you will meet so many ex-Christians who were (once, long ago) totally sold on the idea that either the Bible was infallible or the earth was 10,000 years old (or both). My argument here is not meant for those Christians who believe that the Bible is infallible or the earth is 10,000 years old. It is meant for those Christians who engage in and largely accept scientific findings as honestly derived and trustworthy. Young earthers are at risk of being picked off by atheist snipers because they believe things that are increasingly difficult to defend. In the same way I believe that insisting on a supernatural explanation for consciousness will become increasingly difficult to defend. And it’s probably a peripheral issue, hardly worth risking your faith for it. I expect that all Christians -- and all people of good conscience -- want the truth of a matter.
I showed this to Stan on Atheism-Analyzed, and he wrote a reply to that:

Since then, there have been two more articles done:

Here is an excerpt from Stan’s latest reply:

And the list of processes contains just these attempts to “see” a thought (the first seven are just tests for the contents of a thought):
1. “Tools like Rorschach tests”, et. al. These tools are tests not for the physical capture of a thought, but for analyzing the contents of thoughts. This applies to the first six items listed as well.
2. Brain Scans. These scans do not show thoughts or mind; they show increased blood flow. The additional nutrients being shuttled to actively functioning parts of the brain, and nothing more. What the neurons are doing is entirely and completely unknown, even thought they are reacting to a question or issue. And how that neuronic activity translates into a mind is a layer beyond the neuronal unknown, and which is completely untouched by any scan of any blood flow Or even of bioelectric discharge monitoring.
3. Taking visual signals being transmitted to the brain and reconstituting them outside the skull into visual images is not the observation of a brain function, and is not a mental image. It is more akin to stealing cable signal from your neighbor, not stealing his actual pixels. Visual imaging signals are not thoughts. 
This is a compelling topic that has been touched on by Christian apologists in the past:

In addition, here is an article from New Humanist on the subject: 

Enjoy, and have a blessed day!!!


im-skeptical said…
Stan's rebuttal is lacking in substance. It amounts to "Nuh-uh. Thought is not physical." He presents no convincing logical argument or evidence on his side of the question to substantiate his claims.

He fails to grasp the significance of the argument about the biologically directed function of the digestive system. He makes a straw man of physical examination of brain function as being attempts to "see" thoughts in the brain. It should be noted that thoughts are not physical objects that can be examined (as Stan is desperately trying to show), but that does not in any way imply that they are not physical in nature. Mental activity is a function - it's not an object that you can place under a microscope.

The New Humanist article also presents a straw man case against reductionism. It pretends that physicalists want to a brain to a person, or that they want to explain all the complexity of human language, emotions, social interactions, etc. strictly in terms of neural function. But this simply isn't true. The reality is much more complex than theists would like to make it out to be, and you can't just say that neuroscience fails to provide all the answers when nobody claims that in the first place. See the rebuttal to that article here. And "God did it" is just another simplistic answer that doesn't comport with reality.
im-skeptical said…
correction: physicalists want to equate a brain to a person
JBsptfn said…
I don't think you read the other articles. Stan and WF are working this out. And, who said anything about God doing it? Why these little unneccessary jabs against Theists?
im-skeptical said…
And, who said anything about God doing it? Why these little unneccessary jabs against Theists?
- It's only a jab if you see it that way. The fact is that that's exactly what Stan believes, and it's why he refuses to accept any science that conflicts with that belief. You know, like evolution and thermodynamics. And that's why he is so intent on "Fighting off Philosophical Materialism", despite everything that science teaches us.

Stan said…
IM Skeptical,
Still lying as usual I see. Let me correct you yet again. I know it won't take, because once you concoct a lie, you cannot be disabused of it and you continue to spread it ad nauseum. Which is why you are banned from commenting at so many sites - how many would that be by now?

As I have told you so many times, I not only accept and use the second law of thermodynamics, I have derived it myself from the conservation of energy principle, and put it on my blog. Your response: [crickets].

And again as I have told you so many times, any enterprise which produces propositions and postulates which cannot be reproduced and cannot be falsified, does not produce either objective knowledge, nor does it rise to the standards of empirical science. It is purely opinion which is made into Ideological dogma. Your response: [Crickets]

However, you never fail to respond to CLAIMS NOT EVER MADE, such as "Goddidit", another false claim, one that I have never made, and you know that I never made it, but you continue to lie about it.

I have, however, put up the challenge to prove evolution is both valid and true using empirical replicable and falsifiable data, or disciplined Aristotelian deduction which is grounded in first principles, both valid and true, and passes Reductio Ad Absurdum. Your response: [Crickets]

The same goes for my challenge to prove Atheism is True and Valid; your response: [Crickets]

So, IMS, you are both a fraud and a liar and likely mentally ill; you have no education in science or the philosophy of science; yet you present yourself as the last word in science knowledge and truth; but a demonstrably large percentage of what you say is either blatantly false, or purely ideological Scientism - the false belief in "science" papers as universal Truth in however you choose to use your impoverished understanding of it. You are not skeptical of any obviously false scientific claim if it supports your current falsehoods.

I really don't understand why anyone would allow you to sully their site, when they are seeking to have a reasoned and reasonable conversation. You exist purely to crap all over someone else's house.

Have a good day,
Stan said…
I'll leave with this illumination of two blatant Scientism assertions you made just above:

1. " The reality is much more complex than theists would like to make it out to be,..."

A statement with overtones of possessing completely hidden but superior knowledge: meaningless, yet arrogant Scientism.

2. " And that's why he is so intent on "Fighting off Philosophical Materialism", despite everything that science teaches us."

Science says nothing regarding Philosophical Materialism, because it cannot. Science is not philosophically materialist - it is functionally materialist, because physical entities are the only subjects amenable to physical testing. It could not address the subject of the limit of existence being totally mass/energy even if someone were intent on doing so, because it cannot be proved that mass/energy is all that exists by using technology and techniques which are limited to mass/energy.

Philosophical Materialism is a failure as a philosophy because it is internally non-coherent: it cannot be proved or disproved under its own limitations. Further it is a blatant Category Error.

This is all old, cold soup and you have heard it all before. Your response: [yep: Crickets]. Instead, you persist in your lies and frauds. It's who you are.

im-skeptical said…

I don't wish to drag down this blog with an ongoing skirmish between the two of us. We were discussing some of these things when you decided you didn't want to hear from me anymore. You can always invite me back to your blog if you'd like to debate these questions further.
Weekend Fisher said…
Thanks for the link.

Re: the last link. As much as I believe the mind works naturally, I still would not want people designing public policy around their own specific ideas of what to do with that, and remaking everybody else into their own image.

Has everybody either read the book or watched the old film A Clockwork Orange? For anyone not familiar, it's "the problem of evil" meets "the people who think they can solve it with reconditioning". (Has to be on the shortlist for best dystopian film ever. And trigger warnings for just about anything you would ever want a trigger warning for.)

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF
JBsptfn said…
Stan doesn't seem to want you at his site. He said that you hardly rise to a status of a troll.
im-skeptical said…
Maybe that has something to do with those crickets he keeps harping about. I'm still willing to debate with him.

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