A Rationalist's Argument for God 

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"Re: COMMUNICATION ERROR": E-mail correspondence with Atheist Experience host, Tracie Harris, after the episode, #738.

ME: Dec. 5, 2011: 6.24

Hi. This is Andrew from Bethlehem, PA. I called yesterday. I watched the playback, and I admit didn't go over well -- but neither did you. The "communication error" though, addressed during the call, involves, in part, the poor feedback on the phone lines. But, further, I was trying to be congenial, while your show's hosts were being combative. As you probably know, there are very few "yes" and "no" answers in reality. So for the hosts to expect them with the complex questions that involve God-issues, is kind of under-achieving, if not ridiculous.

I support what your show tries to do -- have open debate and to present atheism in a positive light. But that attempt is undermined if you're going to continue ganging up on callers. You'll win over very few theists in this manner. As it is, very few theists probably have good debating skills (since we typically go on faith, rather than argumentative support). So it would be a good practice for your show to follow what's known in debating as the "principle of charity" -- listening to a caller's replies with an open-mind, rather than rejecting them as not being what you want to hear.

Thanks

 

TRACIE HARRIS FROM THE ATHEIST EXPERIENCE SHOW:
Dec. 5, 2011: 10:25

Hi Andrew:

I don't know if this helps, but yesterday, from the audience perspective, here is what happened:

Caller: "I believe there is a type of orange juice that doesn't come from an orange."
Host: "Have you ever seen orange juice that doesn't come from an orange?"
Caller: "Well, we have apples--and they make apple juice. And there are other fruits that--"
Host: "I'm not asking about other fruit. You said you believe in orange juice that doesn't come from oranges. I don't know of any such orange juice--do you?"
Caller: "Not all juices come from oranges. And we have artificial drink mixes--"
Host: "I don't care about artificial mixes, that's not orange juice. I'm only aware of orange juice that comes from oranges--what other orange juice doesn't come from oranges that you're aware of?"
Caller: "My claim that there can be orange-less orange-juice is logically consistent."
Host: "I don't care if it's logically consistent--I'm trying to figure out if it's real and why you believe it.

And so on.

-th

 

ME: Dec. 6, 2011: 5:32

Hi Tracie. I think I understand the communications error now: people weren't listening. Actually, I answered all of the questions. In fact, I answered the first "yes" and "no" answer twice. I was about to answer the question: "how can you tell a delusion from reality?" when I was nonsensically hung up upon before I could complete the answer. But between these simple answers, I was making a more complete answer which was this: I possess such an orange, and so do all other people who are acquainted with orange juice. I was arguing from the orange's perspective, which we all have. This is what your analogy misses. So your analogy would be more correct as follows:

Caller: "I believe there is a type of orange juice that doesn't come from an orange."
Host: "Have you ever seen orange juice that doesn't come from an orange?"
Caller: "Sure, in fact the very juice we drink doesn't seem to come from an orange."
eHost: "I'm not asking about the problem with your own juice. You said you believe in orange juice that doesn't come from oranges. I don't know of any such orange juice--do you?"
Caller: "We all experience the same juice. There's no more evidence that it's produced from oranges, than that the orange is just a physical medium for the juice"
Host: "I don't care if the juice is produced or is simply stored in the orange, I just want yes or no answers. I'm only aware of orange juice that comes from oranges--what other orange juice doesn't come from oranges that you're aware of?"
Caller: "My claim that there can be orange-less orange-juice is logically consistent."
Host: "I don't care if it's logically consistent--I'm trying to figure out if it's real and why you believe it.
Caller: :I believe it because we all experience such a juice, and we in fact require this juice to experience anything at all. Since orangeness isn't how the juice appears to us, and since the juice can't be shared first-hand by others in the physical world, than that juice appears to be something more than what a mere physical orange can provide...."

Here's where I was hung up upon:

Caller (continued): "So if we all have the same experience of juiceness, how can it be a delusion? A thought shared by all wouldn't be a delusion by definition."

Thanks for your time. I don't know why this point was ignored, especially since I repeated it many times. I hope your show improves in the future, especially if its purpose is to spread open-mindedness.

 

TRACIE HARRIS: Dec. 6, 2011 13:32

>There's no more evidence that it's produced from oranges, than that the orange is just a physical medium for the juice"

Incorrect. Asserting you believe what you can observe is reasonable. Asserting you believe there is more there than you can observe is irrational. Trying to say that acknowledging the observable is no more rational/irrational than believing in things you've never observed and cannot demonstrate is ridiculous.

This is no different than saying "there is no more evidence that when we die our existence ends than that it does on for eternity."

What happens at death is observable. All measurable function ceases. If someone then asserts that humans go on in some magical unseen way--there is no evidence or observation to support that. While it may be true that death is not the end, there is no evidence or reason to reasonably believe it does.

And your point about the brain is the same. The brain is the only observed cause of mental function we label as "mind." There is no other observed cause of mental function. There is no evidence or observation of anything using the brain to produce mind in the way you believe it does. So, it is reasonable to say that based on observed data to date, mental function is produced by brains. When you claim there is something else there producing it--we want to see as much evidence for your "something else"--your magical, ineffable orange--that you claim is there, just as plainly as a brain is demonstrated to us (and you). Where is your evidence?

Claiming what happens is what you observe is rational. Claiming that there is more there than meets the eye, where there is zero evidence or observation to support that belief, is not rational. Where is your evidence?

-th


13:41

I guess if this helps, I can boil it down to: What has convinced you to doubt that brains can cause mental function, and that another mechanism, as yet undiscovered, is required to produce mental function?

We aren't aware of any evidence for such a thing or any observation that requires something "more than brain" to be invoked as a cause of mental function. Do you know of such a thing? Can you demonstrate it? That's what we're asking for when we say 'evidence.' We're not interested in claims or arguments. What is it you have become aware of, that researchers have failed as yet to demonstrate with regard to mental function?

-th

 

ME: Dec. 7, 2011 8:27

Hi. "Asserting you believe what you can observe is reasonable. Asserting you believe there is more there than you can observe is irrational.'

That's my point. Neuroscientists can't observe the brain producing thought either. According to your point-of-view, though, we're completely controlled by our synapses, which will determine what we do and say. So we're robots. According to my point-of-view, our purposes and meanings of things set off our synapses, which mean we act freely. So we have responsiblity for our actions.

"All measurable function ceases"

That's correct: all "measurable" function ceases. But how do you measure a meaning or a purpose -- the most relevant aspects of thought? How about out of body experiences in which the "measurableness" of consciousness simply leaves the body? Look up Dr. Sam Parnia.

"Where is your evidence?"

But my own evidence for the non-physicality of "mind" is my own brain. It's not just an opinion. Since my experience in regards to meaning and purpose is hardly unique (i.e,. that I can't publicly display their contents physically), then their non-physicality is observable by all who possess meanings and purposes. This is all said during the show, but my replies were ignored -- without counterproof.

"What has convinced you to doubt that brains can cause mental function, and that another mechanism, as yet undiscovered, is required to produce mental function?"

Because not everything is necessarily physical. The complexity of the mind seems more than can be explained by adaptation alone.

"We're not interested in claims or arguments"

This was my point at the beginning of the call: most atheists tend to be physicalists. Thanks for acknowleding this is the case with you and your show. Thanks also for indirectly acknowledging that I was, in fact, answering the questions.

Overall, the episode was an example of why there would always be a communication gap between believers and non-believers if either side is intolerant. It's also in large part a verification gap: Believers accept a coherence theory of truth, while you seem to want a simple physical correspondence for all things. Please keep this in mind in the future if you wish to win supporters to your cause. I hope you win support for "open-mindedness" because I understand things are bad with mixing church and state in Texas, which I agree with you: shouldn't be the case. But the intolerance displayed by your hosts was unwarranted, and may enflame such a problem, rather than quell it.

Have a good day.

 

TRACIE HARRIS: Dec. 7, 2011 13:27

Hello again, Andrew:

>>"Asserting you believe what you can observe is reasonable. Asserting you believe there is more there than you can observe is irrational.'
>That's my point. Neuroscientists can't observe the brain producing thought either."

Where did you get this idea? Not only can they do it, they’ve done it. They even demonstrated that your thoughts originate as unconscious impulses before awareness is recorded:

http://exploringthemind.com/the-mind/brain-scans-can-reveal-your-decisions-7-seconds-before-you-decide

But it’s sad to me that you’d need the snapshot a neuroscientist can offer, with so much observable evidence of the brain’s connection to generating thinking:

1. When the brain is sufficiently damaged, thinking and reasoning become impaired.
2. When the brain chemistry is adjusted, we can observe “sane” people have crazy mental experiences while “insane” people can have their thinking adjusted to make them functional again in society.
3. Brains have been mapped by studying damaged brains and scans, in order to be able to tell us specifically which areas of the brain are related to which parts of our thinking—emotion, impulse control, addictive thinking, depression, logic, and so on.

No one needs to be a neurologist to see the brain is the only demonstrated mechanism connected to thinking. There is no other.

"According to your point-of-view, though, we're completely controlled by our synapses, which will determine what we do and say. So we're robots. According to my point-of-view, our purposes and meanings of things set off our synapses, which mean we act freely. So we have responsiblity for our actions."

That is completely irrelevant. If it’s true, it’s true. What any reality “means,” does nothing to change the truth value of the reality.

"All measurable function ceases
    That's correct: all "measurable" function ceases. But how do you measure a meaning or a purpose -- the most relevant aspects of thought?"

Once a person is brain dead, please supply evidence that any meaning or purpose they had while alive continues to exist.

"How about out of body experiences in which the "measurableness" of consciousness simply leaves the body? Look up Dr. Sam Parnia."

This Sam Parnia?

http://www.prunderground.com/dr-sam-parnia-claims-near-death-experience-probably-an-illusion/004376/

The guy quoted here: “Like I said, if I was to base everything on the knowledge that I have currently of neuroscience, then the easiest explanation is that this is probably an illusion.”

I should also note another statement in the article: “While Parnia’s position regarding the validity of the NDE phenomena stands in contrast to most other near death experience researchers…”

He does not represent the consensus view of his field of study. Other experts in his field do not agree that data should be interpreted as unorthodox, and even his quote above begrudgingly has to agree. So, whatever “evidence” he has is in contrast to all of the other evidence, and even he admits that the evidence to date would lead one to have to assert NDE is illusory.

"Where is your evidence?"
    But my own evidence for the non-physicality of "mind" is my own brain. It's not just an opinion. Since my experience in regards to meaning and purpose is hardly unique (i.e,. that I can't publicly display their contents physically), then their non-physicality is observable by all who possess meanings and purposes. This is all said during the show, but my replies were ignored -- without counterproof."

You are right--it's not an opinion, it's actually a false statement--as it is one not supported by any evidence to correlate it to reality. I don’t see where you’ve demonstrated that your “thoughts” are not the result of neurological activity? All the evidence to date points to the idea that it is physical and is all contained in the brain. And again, if your thoughts are not the product of a brain, why does screwing with brain chemistry or causing brain damage demonstrably change capacity to think? How can we map brains? Do you think that the areas that respond to pleasure, for example, are just something researchers made up—and they don’t really know which parts of the brain light up when a body experiences pleasure?

It seems like you’re just saying that since you “feel like” your thoughts are nonphysical, you're just going to keep on believing and asserting that your thoughts aren’t the product of your brain. As Jeff noted, you can only do so much to demonstrate the Earth is spherical; and after that, if people want to form a Flat Earth Society anyway—there’s nothing further to say.

"What has convinced you to doubt that brains can cause mental function, and that another mechanism, as yet undiscovered, is required to produce mental function?"
    Because not everything is necessarily physical. The complexity of the mind seems more than can be explained by adaptation alone."

There are a long line of Neuro and Cognitive scientists who don’t agree with what you just claimed about the mind, in the least. And it’s my view, they’re a lot more informed on what a mind and brain can do, than you (or I): Antonio Demasio, Francis Crick, Christof Koch, Steven Pinker, and many, many more.

You might want to read “Consciousness Explained” or even “How the Mind Works” if you have an honest interest in whence mind.

"We're not interested in claims or arguments
     This was my point at the beginning of the call: most atheists tend to be physicalists. Thanks for acknowleding this is the case with you and your show. Thanks also for indirectly acknowledging that I was, in fact, answering the questions."

You weren’t answering the questions. You were dodging them. To now say you understood we were asking for physical evidence, and still failed to supply it, should not be confused with me saying you answered the question. Saying “I don’t have any evidence for what I'm claiming” is the answer. But as Jeff said, at that point, we have nothing to discuss, because if you can’t back up your beliefs with any justifications outside of “well, I just feel…”—especially when you’re contradicting the actual demonstrated evidence and conclusions—then, as Matt said, your view that your beliefs are true in spite of zero evidence to support them, and in the face of actual evidence that contradicts them, is not distinguishable from delusion.

I can say “Zeus makes thunder and lightning.” And you can say “No, it’s atmospheric situations that cause it.” And I can say “No, lightning is just too awesome to come from an atmospheric event. I have seen lightning, so I know what it means to me; and it's too awesome. So, while an atmospheric event may play a role, I think the atmosphere is just something Zeus uses to make lightning.” That’s literally what you’re asking me to believe.

"Overall, the episode was an example of why there would always be a communication gap between believers and non-believers if either side is intolerant."

This had nothing to do with intolerance. You can justify your beliefs or you can’t. If you can't, then there is no reason for anyone to give them a second thought. But saying that your views are of no import if you can't demonstrate they correspond to reality, is not intolerance. You're still as welcome to hold your views as anyone else. Nobody is stopping you.

"It's also in large part a verification gap: Believers accept a coherence theory of truth, while you seem to want a simple physical correspondence for all things".

Yes, as far as my “theory of truth,” you are exactly correct. I adhere to the “Correspondence Theory of Truth.” If a claim fails to correspond to any demonstrated reality—there is zero basis to assert it’s “true.” If you make a claim, but can’t show that it corresponds to reality, then it is "veridically worthless," to quote Sagan. And I agree with that assessment.

"Please keep this in mind in the future if you wish to win supporters to your cause".

I wish you could see our viewer mail. No need to worry about our lack of support, we’re doing fine.

"I hope you win support for "open-mindedness" because I understand things are bad with mixing church and state in Texas, which I agree with you: shouldn't be the case. But the intolerance displayed by your hosts was unwarranted, and may enflame such a problem, rather than quell it."

Nobody was intolerant. Nobody is allowed to ramble on about their beliefs without offering reasonable justification. That’s our format. And while there is always some debate about how much air time to give a caller versus a host, you really got a huge chunk of time devoted to your call, and were liberally allowed to give your views on the air. Rejecting unjustified claims that conflict with current evidence is not “intolerant”— it’s just reasonable.

-th

 

ME: Dec. 8, 2011

Hi Tracie. The brain scan article is interesting. But would the micro pattern be the end result of a thought process prior to an action, or the origin of the process? Given the article, that's difficult to say.. It doesn't give much more info on the process than that -- depending on how they define "consciousness." Deciding which button to press isn't exactly consciousness at its fullest potential. Given this data -- as well as your numerical list concerning brain damage, brain mapping and chemicals -- the brain may still just as likely be a channel for thought as much as you say it's the originator of thought. So there's not much settled by this article. It may just as well be how thought commonsensically "appears" to us: that it's our purposes and personal meanings -- whether conscious or not -- that cause synapses to fire off.

"why does screwing with brain chemistry or causing brain damage demonstrably change capacity to think?"

Brain channelling may be altered, affecting how we mentally picture reality.

"No one needs to be a neurologist to see the brain is the only demonstrated mechanism connected to thinking. There is no other."

How about will? What area of the brain solely controls this process, if any? Do you know?

"What any reality “means,” does nothing to change the truth value of the reality."

But if there's no reality to free thought, why bother to discuss anything? Everyone would be pre-programmed anyway.

"Once a person is brain dead, please supply evidence that any meaning or purpose they had while alive continues to exist."

Seems to me you're asking for physical evidence again. If you want evidence of the non-physical nature of thought, though, I suggest looking at your own thoughts. Can you offer the contents of your thoughts for others to experience the same as you do in regards to purpose and meaning? Obviously, not -- because neither can anyone else. There's nothing sensory to offer to others besides a thought's measurability and what parts of the brain "light up."

"While Parnia’s position regarding the validity of the NDE phenomena stands in contrast to most other near death experience researchers he continues to push forward"

You're correct here. I guess I should've cited "most other NDE researchers." I never looked much into the research myself because my position has predominently been that it's question begging for one to ask of another physical evidence about a metaphysical claim anyway, since the question itself concerns physicality. All I'm saying by mentioning Parnia is that if you want physical research of a "mind" beyond the brain: NDE research is the place to go.

"it is one not supported by any evidence to correlate it to reality"

"False" according to physical correspendence again? Can you even physically prove that all of reality is physical? If not, then I must respectfully say that according to your own standards of evidence, your whole verification method is simply your opinion -- what your show seems to accuse others of..

"you can only do so much to demonstrate the Earth is spherical; and after that, if people want to form a Flat Earth Society anyway—there’s nothing further to say"

So I guess non-physicalists are doomed to be delusional, according to you, in the same manner that fundamentalists claim that non-believers are doomed to Hell? I hope that's not what you mean to say here.

"You might want to read “Consciousness Explained” or even “How the Mind Works” if you have an honest interest in whence mind."

Thanks for the suggestion. I'll look them up. Let me ask you in advance, though: Do any one of these books explain what specific chemical reactions caused consciousness to "emerge"? That's the one I'll read first.

"You weren’t answering the questions. You were dodging them"

I have to disagree here. The whole last fifteen minutes of the call was my answering their questions. I don't believe I asked any myself. It seemed to me they were dodging my answers. As I said, I answered the first yes and no answer twice: "No, I couldn't physically prove a mind without a brain," and then Matt was still complaining I wasn't answering the question. Huh? I then said I experience the non-physical nature of thought, tho, in my own thought processes just as they do, such as in purposes and personal meanings. This answer they rejected for no known reason to me.

"is not distinguishable from delusion"

So anyone is delusional who has a purpose for doing something, yet concludes they can't physically display that purpose to others? If everyone is so deluded, then would it still be a delusion?

"That’s literally what you’re asking me to believe"

Consciousness is too "awesome" for science to fully harness and explain. Thunder and lightning -- not so much. So this doesn't seem to me a sufficient analogy. Sure, we can say: science hasn't explained consciousness yet, but it will -- but this may be simply dismissed as wishful thinking. I believe the relevant question is: What is it about consciousness that makes it so indiscernible?

"You can justify your beliefs or you can’t"

I can't justify them physically, no. But you haven't stated why you reject "coherence theory" alone, besides that being your personal opinion. Again, I ask: Can you physically prove that all of reality is physical? If you can do this, then that would be a good reason for me to change my views.

"I wish you could see our viewer mail. No need to worry about our lack of support"

... but don't these viewers already agree with you? I meant to say you're likely not to win any over many new converts -- unless they had doubts to begin with.

Well, good luck with the show. Sorry if my choice of the word "intolerant" was a poor choice of words. But the basic quesiton for me is this: would you or your show totally reject any view as unreasonble that isn't physically provable, simply because it's not of a physical nature? Would you be open to these possibilities? Just asking.

Thanks for your consideration on these matters.

 

TRACIE HARRIS: (no reply until 12/11)

>the brain may still just as likely be a channel

There is no evidence that leads neuroscientists to believe this. And you have presented nothing to provide me any insight into why you have come to believe this. And you have given me no reason to believe it. There is zero demonstration that an agent prior to the brain’s activity exists. There is only evidence the brain is involved in thought. Where are you getting the "extra" bit you keep adamantly adding without virtue of any demonstration you can share?

We additionally have bionic capacity now where electrodes in the brain can control limbs and computer commands by reading these impulses that the brain generates. You claim the brain is not generating these impulses, and is just a conduit. This is the last time I’m going to ask for what has been repeatedly requested:

Where is your evidence it’s Zeus creating the lightning bolts and not atmospheric conditions? Unless you can provide the evidence to turn neuro-science on its head, don’t bother writing me back. I’m not interested in your feelings or thoughts on this if there is no reason to suspect they align with reality.

>Brain channelling may be altered, affecting how we mentally picture reality.

You are making this up. This is pure conjecture. Where is your evidence this is the case?

>How about will? What area of the brain solely controls this process, if any? Do you know?

What are you calling will? I’ve provided you the study showing impulse to act precedes conscious motivation. That actually is a great model of will to act, unless you just flatly refuse to consider it as such. If you've already decided a brain *can't* do what you see it apparently doing.

>But if there's no reality to free thought, why bother to discuss anything? Everyone would be pre-programmed anyway.

You seem to believe that if we’re biological entities this somehow undermines our capacity to be whatever we are. I don’t know why you think this, but it’s up to you what “meaning” you derive.

How is your suggestion that we’re all being driven by an undetectable puppet master not exactly what you just described? The reality is, if our minds are biological entities, we are still, every bit, whatever we are. Make of that what you wish. I do not think my cat is a conduit for some spirit driver, but my cat seems to enjoy life. How is that difficult to understand? In the end, though, AGAIN, whatever implications you make of reality do not negate whatever IS reality. I don't care what sort of angst reality inspires in you. That's 100 percent your choice. I only care what reality *is*.

>>"Once a person is brain dead, please supply evidence that any meaning or purpose they had while alive continues to exist."
>Seems to me you're asking for physical evidence again. If you want evidence of the non-physical nature of thought, though, suggest looking at your own thoughts.

The only "look" at thoughts I have seen are brain impulses, shown by neurologists. What other types of thoughts are you aware of that the rest of us are not?

>Can you offer the contents of your thoughts for others to experience the same as you do in regards to purpose and meaning?

First of all, if my brain's function of mind was limited to my personal experience, that would not be a demonstration of a non-physical driver, anymore than the fact I can't feel a dog's pain means that pain isn't a physical response. But in fact, if I lose a hand, I can transmit a command to a bionic hand that makes it move—based on my brain’s instructions. This shows that brain impulses can be “interpreted” and received in meaningful ways, even by a mechanical hand, because neurologists have figured out how to "read" that "thought." If you’re asking of neurology can read minds, no, we’re not there yet.

If you’re saying it’s never going to happen, please explain how you know this, when, AGAIN, we seem to be heading in that direction.

>All I'm saying by mentioning Parnia is that if you want physical research of a "mind" beyond the brain: NDE research is the place to go.

If the research was compelling, neuroscience would adjust its view and say that brains are not the source of NDE. As it is, you might want to read up on Stephen LeBarge’s research. He had to demonstrate Lucid Dreaming was a real phenomena. He was able to communicate with dreaming subjects, and proved that they had experiences that matched NDE—although attempts to show it was anything beyond a lucid dream, failed. The people weren’t “really” walking around the lab out of their bodies, and their reports confirmed this. It was merely lucid dreaming. And I should note as well, that again, he was mapping brain activity and voluntary eye movement to “talk” to people in their dreams and to show they knew when they’d entered dreams and what was going on in the dreams. He also showed that dreaming of, for example, playing tennis, maps far more closely to actually playing tennis, than just visualizing the activity in a waking moment. Again, it seems NDE is illusory.

>"False" according to physical correspendence again?

I’m afraid I’m just about done here. Unless you can demonstrate some other reality that is not physical, I have no idea what that reality is or what it even would be. I don’t know what you’re trying to describe, but if you can’t demonstrate some other reality—and only keep insisting it’s there, that’s the very definition of “delusional.” I still have not the slightest idea what has convinced you. You are every bit as delusional as the man insisting Zeus is using the atmosphere to generate lightning. You're arguing the exact same argument structure.

The only last thing I want to point out is this:

>Consciousness is too "awesome" for science to fully harness and explain. Thunder and lightning -- not so much.

Show me how you know Zeus isn't making lightning. Why do you reject that claim and assert that such a phenomena can be purely physical? Why would you just stop at the atmosphere, and reject that atmosphere is merely the conduit of Zeus to hurl his bolts? Why are you so hung up on the physical? This is what I'm dealing with in every one of your replies. This is exactly what you're telling me in 100 different ways. It's the same argument over and over. "I can't believe it's just the atmosphere. It has to be Zeus." If you can *hear* the way this sounds, then know this is exactly what you sound like.

You have not shown any alternate realities exist, and you are claiming one such alternate reality as a cause for other things. This is extremely premature, since things that do not exist cannot be the cause of other things. So, before you say an alternate reality causes anything--you must show there is an alternate reality that can be used as a potential cause for any effect. In what way does it exist, and how do you propose demonstrating you're not just making this up? Consider Zeus and the lightning as your springboard, and think about what it would take for someone to get you to accept Zeus is actually the cause behind the bolts, and that the atmosphere we can measure is his mere conduit. What would convince you it's Zeus in action and that the person asserting such a thing is *not* delusional?

-th

 

ME: December 16, 2011

Hi. Funny that you would mention "lucid dreaming" because I mention the same thing 22 minutes into the program, #738 -- drowned out by the host, of course. There's also just as credible scientific findings that lucid dreaming takes us into other dimensions, thus demonstrating the mind can take us beyond our physical bodies. OBE are generally discussed as NDE's, the latter standing for "near death experiences." Fortunately, just because we dream, it doesn't mean we're "near death" during those moments. LaBerge's research has a number of presumptions: 1) all OBEs are just variations of lucid dreaming, 2) OBE' take place while we're still conscious, yet not utiliizing our senses, etc. -- none of which are proven. Furthermore, the most predomient article I found on LaBerge and his research on the internet, http://www.lucidity.com/NL32.OBEandLD.html, allow for the possibility of minds beyond the body:

"Spiritual teachings tell us that we have a reality beyond that of this world. The OBE may not be, as it is easily interpreted, a literal separation of the soul from the crude physical body, but it is an indication of the vastness of the potential that lies wholly within our minds. The worlds we create in dreams and OBEs are as real as this one, and yet hold  infinitely more variety."

As for the rest:

"There is no evidence that leads neuroscientists to believe this"

The point being is that it's just as credible for consciousness to be channelled, as it is produced. There is zero physical evidence of consciousness being produced either. As for Zeus, if you're asking whether a God-like being is beyond space-time shooting out lightning bolts from the palm of his hand, then I would ask how can such an action take place beyond space-time. But if all you mean is that "Zeus" is just a God-like consciousness that's the foundation of everything, producing the physical in the same way that we come up with the thoughts of things, then I would say this is consistent with not only logic, as well as all religious thought, but with all known knowledge of the world, as well.

"We additionally have bionic capacity now where electrodes in the brain can control limbs and computer commands by reading these impulses that the brain generates"

Do we have bionic decision-making, and bionic will, as well? "Will" is the thought that would cause the impulse to move a limb, etc. In your example, the hand was severed, not the impulse, nor the thought preceding it. The neurologist reads the impulse that would generate the hand, but not the purpose and/or meaning of the user for what she wants the hand to pick up. The latter is what's understood as consciousness, not our impulses.

You keep limiting consciousness to impulses, which would make us nothing more than automatons. But your conclusion is simply because you're ignoring the preceding thought prior to the impulse. You may ask me to prove that we're not mere machines, but I can experience my own freedom of thought, as well as you can. Also: if this is all there is, then why isn't it possible for neuroscience ever to produce a "brain" that is in every way human?. You may say that science hasn't achieved this "yet," but how is this in any way different than "wishful thinking" -- especially since neuroscientists have been claiming this possibilty since the science began, with meager results?

"The only "look" at thoughts I have seen are brain impulses, shown by neurologists. What other types of thoughts are you aware of that the rest of us are not?"

You don't experience your own thoughts? What do they physically look, hear,taste, feel, or smell like? I have to admit: that, for myself, the only experience of thoughts I have are their contents, not their "physicality."

"an undetectable puppet master"

There may be a "masterful" being, but we're not puppets because we have free-will.

"must show there is an alternate reality that can be used as a potential cause for any effect"

That reality would be our thoughts prior to impulses, which you yourself experience, yet you doubt their reality. Wouldn't it be just as much a delusion to doubt the very reality you daily experience?

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, no pun intended.

 


TRACIE HARRIS (December 19, 2011):


Andrew:

There is no evidence that Lucid Dreaming inserts people into other dimensions.

I can't prove a disembodied mind doesn't create the brain impulses that only appear to be the seat of thinking. What evidence would "prove" it's not the "magic" you believe it is?

I can't prove Zeus doesn't use atmospheric situations to create lightning bolts. I can't prove they're not initiated by unseen magic before the measurable effects kick in.

But neither is reasonable or supported by evidence.

Believe whatever you like. There is no law that says you have to care if your beliefs are likely to be true or not. So, have fun with your imagination.Believe whatever insanity you like. But if you insist on believing more than what the evidence supports, that's an unjustified belief.

Enjoy the Matrix.

-th

 


MY PERSONAL CONCLUSION:

So, after I counterclaimed all of her specifics, both her correspondence and my call into the show demonstrated the following: the Atheist Experience show question-beggingly expects physical evidence for metaphysical claims. This is what I stated was the case, concerning atheism, at the beginning of my call: it falls back on physicalism: a positive claim. The hosts denied this was a common view among atheists, and yet supported the view themselves, contradictorily. It's also impossible to physically prove that physicalism is correct: an inconsistency.

Thanks Atheist Experience.

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