Monday, January 22, 2007

Pinker the Stinker

Unafortunadamente, creo todos que dice aqui.

Yes, I believe everything Pinker says here. I think NDEs are no more evidence for LAD than schizophrenic episodes. I think consciousness is extinguished with death. I think that the radio analogy does not work, because the core signal can be altered by tampering with the brain, whereas the core signal cannot be altered by tampering with a radio. Therefore, it seems logical that the brain creates conscious experience. Every single thing we learn about the brain points to this conclusion. No number of amazing spiritual experiences adds up to an iota of a reason to believe otherwise, without tangible evidence. There is none, never has been any, and I think it's safe to say there never will be any. Long after our deaths, the materialist position will be the only viable position left as new information accumulates. Only the ignorant or the uneducated will still believe that spiritual experiences argue for a transcendent soul. By the turn of the century I predict that it will be effectively proven (in the same way that the non-existence of Zeus has been effectively proven to all reasonable people) that there is no human soul.

1 comment:

upinVermont said...

Yeah... ok, but this is no different than Carrier. That fact is this: If you are going to assert that there is no such thing as a soul (whatever that means to you) then you are making a leap into metaphysical naturalism -- a belief system. Hard Atheism is a belief system.

There *is*, in fact, small but telling evidence that some element of consciousness might be non-local and it is coming from studies by neuroscientists publishing in competent peer reviewed journals.

Admittedly, the evidence isn't as mountainous as the countervailing view but this is to be expected. Remember, there has been practically *no* experiments with the stated aim of identifying the source of consciousness. Neuroscience, rightly or wrongly, takes the source of consciousness to be a given -- the brain. What they have been studying is the topography of the brain. This is a different kettle of fish. The few experiments intended to isolate the nature or source of consciousness tell a different story.

Pinker's conclusion is the same as Carrier's, but what any of it has to do with the source of consciousness is beyond me. His argument seems to be, ultimately, with Xtian theology. Fine. Trash Xtian theology if you want, but this has nothing to do with the "hard problem". Here is one of the experiments that have been brought to my attention:

-Correlations between brain electrical activities of two spatially separated human subjects, J. Wackermann, C. Seiter, H. Keibel, and H. Walach, Neuroscience Letters, 336, 60-64 (2003)