Friday Roundup

I apologize for not getting on with my summary of Caputo…will try and get back on track soon…

  • It looks like this guy didn’t get the memo about science clashing with a belief in the soul.  I doubt he’s scientifically inclined…oh, wait, he’s the “Chief Scientific Officer of Advanced Cell Technology and an Adjunct Professor at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.”
  • Oh no, this guy didn’t get the memo regarding science clashing with a belief in an objective morality either.  Like Bernard said, it must be another person not “scientifically inclined”…oh, wait, he has his “Ph.D. in biochemistry from the City University of New York, where he also holds a bachelor’s of science degree in chemistry. In addition to publishing more than 200 scientific publications in genetics, epidemiology, the environment and other areas…”  And on it goes…
  • Wait, there’s more…I guess Chalmers also didn’t get the memo either that “science” is equivalent to materialism (which is basically what Burk, Bernard, and JP are really arguing when asserting that “science” clashes with beliefs in an after-life or objective morality).  And Chalmers is hardly a “believer.”
  • I don’t know about the “modern” part, but they certainly invented the “hard” part.
  • This may be the most honest assessment of where we are politically…

“First of all, I’m not negative towards the science of consciousness. I have been very involved in conferences with the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness, Toward a Science of Consciousness, and so on. What I’m skeptical of are certain reductionist approaches to the problem of consciousness, about developing a theory of consciousness in wholly physical terms. I think that’s probably not going to work out. But I’m very much open to scientific non-reductive approaches to consciousness, which take consciousness to be something fundamental and primitive and develop theoretical principles about it. I think there’s a lot of that happening right now. The talk I’m doing tomorrow can be viewed as a contribution to that project – consciousness collapsing wave functions. The work of someone like Tononi is also interesting. He very much sees his work as a non-reductive approach. So what we have got out of the science of consciousness in recent years, as I see it, is basically a non-reductive science. It doesn’t try to reduce consciousness to the brain. It’s finding interesting correlations between consciousness and the brain, and ultimately we want to figure out the fundamental principles that align those correlations. It is early days for doing that, but someone like Tononi is putting forward some hypotheses, and maybe there are others. So I suppose the distinctive pessimism I have would be just directed at reductionist approaches. I think one shouldn’t identify science with materialism. Those are two very different things.”

Two very different things indeed…which I noticed no one wanted to address.  I guess it’s just much easier to say “Science” is on my side—sort of like saying,  the “Bible” is on my side.  Never mind it’s a conversation stopper by people obsessed with control.
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8 Responses to Friday Roundup

  1. RonH says:

    You need to drop your pathetic and fallacious appeals to authority, Darrell. Chalmers clearly isn't up to speed on the science of consciousness. Nor is your usual lapdog Nagel.

    (I wonder what it is like to be a lapdog…?)


  2. Hi Darrell

    I agree entirely. Science and materialism should not be confused and are not the same things at all. You and I are of a mind here.



  3. Darrell says:


    I'm happy you feel that way, but it is certainly hard to see from the way you argue your points. In my mind, you confuse the two all the time. Perhaps I read you incorrectly. Something that would be helpful, in the future, is to keep the two in mind (materialism and science)and to think about which one is in play when making one's case for something.


  4. Burk says:

    Note how your first linker says “Yet, the current scientific paradigm doesn't recognize this spiritual dimension of life. … As I sit here in my office surrounded by piles of scientific books, I can't find a single reference to the soul, or any notion of an immaterial, eternal essence that occupies our being.”

    There is a reason for that.. because it is not scientific- not part of science. If he has some extracurricular musings on the subject, that is his right as a regular person. But when it comes to scholarship and the scientific corpus.. souls, spirits, .. are not there. They have nothing to do with it.

    This is why your continued insistence of no conflict, based on the existence of people with conflicting beliefs, does not wash.

    This person's citation of the observer effects in quantum mechanics are old hat. They are part of the Copenhagen interpretation, which is losing favor in the field, in part because the focus on an observer didn't make any sense.


  5. Darrell says:

    Hi Burk,

    “This is why your continued insistence of no conflict, based on the existence of people with conflicting beliefs, does not wash.”

    You are not reading him correctly. He is noting, as I am, that the conflict is with materialism, not science. People of science do exist that disagree with your philosophical naturalism.

    He is speaking against your philosophy, which is not the same as “science”. Like Bernard, you want to equate the two.


  6. Darrell says:


    Also, there is another reason all those books don't reference souls an such. Like Miller noted, most scientists are smart enough to know such matters fall outside their areas of expertise and tools of inquiry. But that certainly doesn't mean belief in a soul clashes with science.

    That would be like my not finding the theory of evolution anywhere in Tolstoy and therefore concluding evolution wasn't true.


  7. Burk says:

    Areas of expertise? That is a laugh. The reason science doesn't deal with this is that it is * no one's * area of expertise.. the subject doesn't exist in any scholarly way that would allow actual expertise to exist. Like having evidence or logic behind it. Or are the Vatican's exorcists the experts in this case?

    That is why there is conflict.. the scientific corpus is silent because there is no there there. And to suppose some kind of “super-there”, which is at the same time real and effectual on reality, yet beyond science, is a contradiction.


  8. Darrell says:

    Said the philosophical naturalist/materialist…


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