Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Materialist Poofery (the "emergent property" did it!)
Uncommon Descent ^ | April 25, 2009 | Barry Arrington

Posted on 04/25/2009 7:33:14 PM PDT by GodGunsGuts

25 April 2009

Materialist Poofery

Barry Arrington

From time to time we see materialists raising the “poof objection” against ID. The poof objection goes something like this: An ID theorist claims that a given organic system (the bacterial flagellum perhaps) is irreducibly complex or that it displays functional complex specified information. In a sneering and condescending tone the materialist dismisses the claim, saying something like “Your claim amounts to nothing more than ‘Poof! the designer did it.’”

I have always thought the poof objection coming from a materialist is particularly ironic, because materialists have “poofery” built into their science at a very basic level. Of course, they don’t use the term “poof.” They use a functional synonym of poof – the word “emergent.”

What do I mean? Consider the hard problem of consciousness. We all believe we are conscious, and consciousness must be accounted for. For the ID theorists, this is easy. The mind is a real phenomenon that cannot be reduced to the properties of the brain. Obviously, this is not so easy for the materialist who, by definition, must come up with a theory that reduces the mind to an epiphenomenon of the electro-chemical processes of the brain. What do they do? They say the mind is an “emergent property” of the brain. Huh? Wazzat? That means that the brain system has properties that cannot be reduced to its individual components. The system is said to “supervene” (I’m not making this up) on its components causing the whole to be greater than the sum of the parts.

And what evidence do we have that “emergence” is a real phenomenon? Absolutely none. Emergence is materialist poofery. Take the mind-brain problem again. The materialist knows that his claim that the mind does not exist is patently absurd. Yet, given his premises it simply cannot exist. So what is a materialist to do? Easy. Poof – the mind is an emergent property of the brain system that otherwise cannot be accounted for on materialist grounds.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: catholic; christian; creation; evolution; goodgodimnutz; intelligentdesign; moralabsolutes; philosophy; science

1 posted on 04/25/2009 7:33:14 PM PDT by GodGunsGuts
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Finny; vladimir998; Coyoteman; allmendream; LeGrande; GunRunner; cacoethes_resipisco; ...

Ping!


2 posted on 04/25/2009 7:34:07 PM PDT by GodGunsGuts
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: GodGunsGuts

You seem fixated with poofting.


3 posted on 04/25/2009 7:40:40 PM PDT by humblegunner (Where my PIE at, fool?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: GodGunsGuts

LOL! Poofery. That is great.


4 posted on 04/25/2009 7:41:34 PM PDT by TenthAmendmentChampion (Be prepared for tough times. FReepmail me to learn about our survival thread!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: GodGunsGuts
Are you a pufda?

5 posted on 04/25/2009 7:41:56 PM PDT by dr_who
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: GodGunsGuts
“Your claim amounts to nothing more than ‘Poof! the designer did it.’”

I have yet to see a materialist provide a really good reason why that's *necessarily* a bad argument.

6 posted on 04/25/2009 7:45:50 PM PDT by Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus (Third Parties are for the weak, fearful, and ineffectual among us.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus

As opposed to materialist poofery, where the brain slowly develops through random processes over millions of years and then “poof!”...out pops the mind shouting HAPPY BIRTHDAY like Frosty the Snowman.


7 posted on 04/25/2009 7:55:12 PM PDT by GodGunsGuts
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus

Is isn’t an argument at all. It is an assertion, that can not be verified, or falsified.

Hence, it is meaningless, and thus a subject for religious studies, rather than a subject for science.

Like the Trinity, you can not do a meaningful and repeatable experiment. Religion has often tried to coopt the method of science.

When St Helen went to the Middle East to look for the True Cross, the city fathers of Jerusalem were well prepared. They happily were able to direct her and her group to the site of the cruxifiction. They dug, and dug up not one, not two, but three crosses. But which cross was the True Cross? A woman was produced that complained of headache. They applied cross number 1 to her. She reported no change. They applied cross number 2 to her. She reported no change. They applied cross number 3 to her. She miraculously reported that her headache was HEALED. So, that settled that, Cross number 3 was accepted as the True Cross, and is still on display in the Vatican. Samples have not been made available for recent scientific testing, since the methods of the 4th Century prove its origin beyond any doubt.

Don’t think it cruel that the Church denies healing to all those people around the world with migrain headaches?


8 posted on 04/25/2009 7:57:14 PM PDT by donmeaker (Invicto)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: GodGunsGuts

It is obvious that some Christians are still sadly lacking in consiousness.


9 posted on 04/25/2009 7:57:59 PM PDT by donmeaker (Invicto)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: donmeaker

Especially the ones who think Genesis and Darwin’s materialist creation myth are compatible!


10 posted on 04/25/2009 8:08:50 PM PDT by GodGunsGuts
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: GodGunsGuts

Or the ones who think that the new and old testament are compatible.


11 posted on 04/25/2009 8:35:40 PM PDT by donmeaker (Invicto)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: humblegunner
"You seem fixated with poofting."

The evos constantly go poofing around here stinking up the place.

12 posted on 04/25/2009 9:07:09 PM PDT by editor-surveyor (The beginning of the O'Bummer administration looks a lot like the end of the Nixon administration)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: GodGunsGuts

Rule #1: No Pooftahs!


13 posted on 04/25/2009 9:09:18 PM PDT by dfwgator (1996 2006 2008 - Good Things Come in Threes)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: GodGunsGuts
First off, this argument starts with a strawman:

The poof objection goes something like this: An ID theorist claims that a given organic system (the bacterial flagellum perhaps) is irreducibly complex or that it displays functional complex specified information. In a sneering and condescending tone the materialist dismisses the claim, saying something like “Your claim amounts to nothing more than ‘Poof! the designer did it.’”

This is not the comeback proponents of the Theory of Evolution, what you seem to call "materialists", use. Instead, it is pointed out that 'irreducible complexity' has been thoroughly debunked through demonstrations and examples of separately evolving subcomponents of so-called irreducible mechanisms (like your aforementioned flagellum).

Additionally, the term 'emergent property' has nothing to do with a lazy attempt to dismiss the question of how a given ability developed. No evolutionary scientist has ever said "Sentience is unexplainable, so it must have just emerged out of nothingness". Feel free to cite a source if you have one. What this article is claiming is a totally incorrect definition of what an emergent property is.

An emergent property really is an ability derived from multiple systems working in concert, performing a task that none of the individual parts could do individually. A simple example would be the ability for you to jump. This is achieved through the cooperative use of muscles and bones. Muscles alone cannot do it - they would have no leverage. And bones certainly could not propel you into the air on their own. Together though, they can accomplish the job - an emergent property.

Now, looking at consciousness - the 'mind', if you will - it is derived from the combined efforts of many different process centers of the brain. These subcomponents, including memory, motor control, reasoning, recognition, and others, all have clear evolutionary histories. As they developed, the tendency for them to work together to enhance the chances of the host population's survival was favored by natural selection. As a result, the members of the population that improved on the 'emergent property' of consciousness were rewarded with a better chance of contributing to the next generation of the species. Apply this principle down through the millennia and it is no mystery how this emergent property developed.

No poofery required.

14 posted on 04/25/2009 9:16:54 PM PDT by Antonello (Oh my God, don't shoot the banana!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: GodGunsGuts

Thanks for the ping!


15 posted on 04/25/2009 9:21:43 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: donmeaker

They aren’t?


16 posted on 04/25/2009 9:26:07 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Antonello

“. These subcomponents, including memory, motor control, reasoning, recognition, and others, all have clear evolutionary histories.”

Enlighen us on the evolutionary history of memory, for a start. Nothing complicated, just a brief description of how evolution produced memory.


17 posted on 04/25/2009 9:35:14 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Antonello
“First off, this argument starts with a strawman:” [excerpt]
Not necessarily.

There are some materialists who do use that line of reasoning, and so addressing that is in no way a strawman.


On the other hand, to say that no materialist uses that line of reasoning is disingenuous.
18 posted on 04/25/2009 9:42:48 PM PDT by Fichori (The only bailout I'm interested in is the one where the entire Democrat party leaves the county)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Antonello

Malarkey. There is not one shred if evidence that demonstrates that consciousness is somehow “generated” by the brain. We know that the brain is involved with consciousness, and that changes in the brain can affect consciousness, but materialists can’t show the brain’s “consciousness generator” in action — or even agree of a working definition of consciousness. In fact, there have been several medically documented cases of people with little or no brain tissue being fully conscious — an impossibility if the brain were nothing more than a consciousness machine.


19 posted on 04/25/2009 9:57:29 PM PDT by B-Chan (Catholic. Monarchist. Texan. Any questions?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: GodGunsGuts

It may be difficult for “materialists” to prove that consciousness is an emergent property of the brain (although, considering how much we can affect consciousness by doing things to the brain, it doesn’t seem farfetched), but that certainly doesn’t lend weight to any other explanation of where it comes from.


20 posted on 04/25/2009 10:15:18 PM PDT by Ha Ha Thats Very Logical
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: B-Chan
there have been several medically documented cases of people with little or no brain tissue being fully conscious

Please, do point me to a medically documented reference to someone who was fully conscious despite having no brain tissue.

21 posted on 04/25/2009 10:16:15 PM PDT by Ha Ha Thats Very Logical
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: count-your-change
Enlighen us on the evolutionary history of memory, for a start. Nothing complicated, just a brief description of how evolution produced memory.

Cephalopods are probably the best subject to use as an example of the evolution of memory. Octopuses and squids, for example, have developed highly specialized, dedicated memory centers that enhance their ability to learn and remember. As a result, they modify their hunting techniques based on past experiences.

What makes them a good study subject is the availability of their close relative, the primitive nautilus. The nautilus, while having a similar albeit simpler brain structure, lacks the dedicated memory centers present in the more developed species of cephalopods. Despite this handicap, it appears the nautilus still has developed a rudimentary capacity for temporally separated short and long term memory (about 1 hour short term, and roughly 6-12 hours long term). This suggests that a very basic ability to recall recent past events developed in ancestral cephalopods. As new species emerged, brains with more pronounced and sophisticated memory centers contributed to their success and therefore became a trait favored by natural selection.

22 posted on 04/25/2009 10:18:42 PM PDT by Antonello (Oh my God, don't shoot the banana!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: Antonello
“. As new species emerged, brains with more pronounced and sophisticated memory centers contributed to their success and therefore became a trait favored by natural selection”

An interesting assertion, but for it to be so it would have to follow that species with greater memory capacity are more successful at survival. That would tend to form an inverted pyramid of life with those having the best memory forming the top layer and so on. Such is not the case.

Comparing the nautilus and squid, why is one having less memory than the other a handicap if both survive and are successful?

23 posted on 04/25/2009 11:11:56 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: count-your-change

I will suggest that the Old Testament was written in Hebrew, and Jews may be considered the experts on the Old, and they don’t think the two are compatible.

I can recommend this excercise to you: Take a weekend with a good translator’s Bible and go through Matthew and actually compare the Greek text of “fulfilled prophesy” to the Old Testament Hebrew words that are referenced.

They normally work pretty well in Greek, but not in Hebrew, which shows that “Matthew” wasn’t Jewish, and was trying to convince Greek speakers ignorant of rabbinical training that there was a Old Testament prophesy.


24 posted on 04/25/2009 11:18:35 PM PDT by donmeaker (Invicto)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: count-your-change

For the same reason that trees don’t have memory.

Species with memory only have an advantage over species with less memory in an environment where memory is favored.

Take the standard Democratic convention. Memory there is not positively correlated with your chances at mating.


25 posted on 04/25/2009 11:22:12 PM PDT by donmeaker (Invicto)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: donmeaker

Trees don’t have memory? Then how do know when to drop their leaves? A silly statement to be sure but no more so than:

“Species with memory only have an advantage over species with less memory in an environment where memory is favored.”


26 posted on 04/25/2009 11:30:29 PM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: GodGunsGuts
This seems less to do with ID vs Evolution than it does with exposing the flaws of materialism.

While any objective thinking person realizes that materialism is total bunk, it does not follow from this that common origin is bunk.

27 posted on 04/25/2009 11:43:23 PM PDT by AndyTheBear
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: count-your-change
An interesting assertion, but for it to be so it would have to follow that species with greater memory capacity are more successful at survival. That would tend to form an inverted pyramid of life with those having the best memory forming the top layer and so on. Such is not the case.

Comparing the nautilus and squid, why is one having less memory than the other a handicap if both survive and are successful?

Short answer:
A species doesn't have to be as successful as possible, or even very successful. It just has to be successful enough to propagate the next generation.

Longer answer:
Brains take energy. The higher the capacity the brain, the more energy it uses. In some cases, a larger brain would consume more energy than it is worth, resulting in a shortage of energy for other, more useful traits. Natural selection doesn't care about the strongest, the smartest, or the fastest. It cares about the fittest for a given situation. If a more developed brain would give a population an edge in survival, then members of that population will likely pass this trait on in larger numbers than those members with a less developed brain. However, if that brain comes at the expense of a physical ability that makes a more necessary contribution to survival in the given environment, the brain will probably lose the evolutionary battle for dominance in the population's development.

Most species of life have little need for highly developed brains, and therefore expending energy on one would be a lethal luxury. Species that sacrifice energy for brainpower have a harder time finding niches to successfully fill. Therefore 'dumber' species that instead have developed other, specialized ways of survival vastly outnumber those whose physical abilities took a back seat to a big brain. On the other hand, brains come in very handy when the environment suffers a significant change. If those mindless, specialized critters lose their niches, they tend to die out and become extinct. A species that can learn another way to survive stands a better chance of at least surviving long enough to fill a newly created niche.

28 posted on 04/26/2009 12:20:36 AM PDT by Antonello (Oh my God, don't shoot the banana!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: Ha Ha Thats Very Logical
The classic case: Lewin, Roger; "Is Your Brain Really Necessary?" Science, 210:1232, 1980.

Many other documented cases exist.

29 posted on 04/26/2009 12:29:41 AM PDT by B-Chan (Catholic. Monarchist. Texan. Any questions?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: donmeaker

First of all “Jews” are not just one group of opinions, even in Jesus’ day what they understood the Hebrew Scriptures to mean was all over the map and still is.

Hence “experts” by what logic? That they don’t think the two are compatible is hardly a surprise, is it?

But it need not take a weekend to find what I believe you have in mind (I trust you’ll correct me if it isn’t an example), Matt.1:23 quote of Isa. 7:14.

“’almah” was rendered by the LXX as “parthenos” in Greek so those translators thought the Hebrew and Greek worked pretty well together as have translators like Lamsa.

Matthew Levi, a Jew, wrote his account in Hebrew so I rather think he would know what the word “almah” was generally understood to mean.


30 posted on 04/26/2009 12:48:50 AM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: Antonello

The longer answer sounds like what is called a just so story.
“Natural selection doesn’t care about the strongest, the smartest, or the fastest. It cares about the fittest for a given situation.”

You’re one funny guy. Natural selection can’t “care” or not care about anything.

And saying that if a thing is helpful it will be passed on but if it isn’t it won’t is the same logic that says we know it’s raining when water falls from the sky, etc.

Thanks anyway.


31 posted on 04/26/2009 1:29:41 AM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: count-your-change
The longer answer sounds like what is called a just so story.
“Natural selection doesn’t care about the strongest, the smartest, or the fastest. It cares about the fittest for a given situation.”

You’re one funny guy. Natural selection can’t “care” or not care about anything.

I apologize for my sloppy terminology. If you prefer, I'm happy to rewrite the sentence as such:

Natural selection doesn't necessarily always favor the strongest, the smartest, or the fastest. Instead it favors the fittest for a given situation.

And saying that if a thing is helpful it will be passed on but if it isn’t it won’t is the same logic that says we know it’s raining when water falls from the sky, etc.

Well, that's the premise behind natural selection. Apparently you accept it as an obvious truth, so I don't have a problem with you pointing it out as such.

Thanks anyway.

You are quite welcome.


32 posted on 04/26/2009 1:52:09 AM PDT by Antonello (Oh my God, don't shoot the banana!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

To: Antonello

No need to apoligize, I had a bit of fun with that but hopefully not over much.

Good night and cheers!


33 posted on 04/26/2009 3:13:09 AM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: donmeaker
Is isn’t an argument at all. It is an assertion, that can not be verified, or falsified.

Hence, it is meaningless, and thus a subject for religious studies, rather than a subject for science.

You missed the point. The greater question at issue is essentially "who died and made science the end all and be all of 'knowledge'?"

I would say that "science" is not superior to any other method - including religious faith - as a means of understanding origins. Science is, by its very nature, limited in its scope and application, and by its own rules, is completely incompetent to speak as to what actually happened "back then." If empiricism is what you're looking for, then you're going to have to basically dump any hopes that science will be able to tell us what happened, origins-wise. All we have to go on, empirically, is forensic evidences - many of which are more supportive of the YEC interpretation of the data than they are the old earth, materialist evolutionary interpretation. As far as true empiricism? Nope, not gonna get it.

This is why I say that NEITHER creationism nor evolution are "science" in the strictly defined sense most widely meant when people use that term. Both camps use faith - I have no problem with admitting and accepting that.

But no, so far as accepting "science" and the scientific method as some sort of unquestionable arbiter of all that is true and right? Nope, I don't buy it and I'm an completely and thoroughly unwilling to grant "science" that authority. And that's speaking AS a practitioner of the scientific method. I know better than the limitations and foibles of science than do these FReepers running around, flapping their yaps about "science", while sitting behind their desks working as accountants or insurance adjusters of whatnot.

34 posted on 04/26/2009 5:42:32 AM PDT by Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus (Third Parties are for the weak, fearful, and ineffectual among us.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: Ha Ha Thats Very Logical
Please, do point me to a medically documented reference to someone who was fully conscious despite having no brain tissue.

Obama.

35 posted on 04/26/2009 5:43:37 AM PDT by Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus (Third Parties are for the weak, fearful, and ineffectual among us.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 21 | View Replies]

To: GodGunsGuts

Okay, materialism is spooty and ID is just way better stuff. What chapter and verse tells us how to make cold fusion work?


36 posted on 04/26/2009 8:58:33 AM PDT by tacticalogic ("Oh bother!" said Pooh, as he chambered his last round.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Antonello

==Instead, it is pointed out that ‘irreducible complexity’ has been thoroughly debunked through demonstrations and examples of separately evolving subcomponents of so-called irreducible mechanisms (like your aforementioned flagellum).

Actually, all of life is based on an irreducible structure, not just bacterial flagellums and blood clotting cascades.


37 posted on 04/26/2009 8:59:24 AM PDT by GodGunsGuts
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Antonello; count-your-change

More evolutionary assumptions and materialist poofery.


38 posted on 04/26/2009 9:01:47 AM PDT by GodGunsGuts
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: GodGunsGuts

You mean like “Poof, The Magic Dragon”?


39 posted on 04/26/2009 9:46:04 AM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus

Evolution uses evidence.

That is why we have all those dug up bones in museums. That is why people do experiments. Darwin himself did experiments, and combined information on how long seeds would remain fertile with information on ocean currents gathered from ship captains all over the world. The results were published by the Royal Society. Given different concentration of species, why would there not be breadfruit plants in North America, but there are breadfruit plants in Tahiti?

Hypothesis: Breadfruit plant seeds would not be able to germinate after immersion in sea water for the length of time needed to reach North America.

Test: Calculate time required for a breadfruit plant to move by ocean currents from Tahiti to North America. Soak a sample of breadfruit plant seeds in sea water (in several of Darwin’s bathtubs, he had a large home). At intervals tale one out and plant it. Record the results of germination. If no germination is recorded after the calculated time, then the hypothesis is confirmed.

That is science. Not quote mining. Not whining about bias.
Predictions, experiments, and most importantly, evidence.


40 posted on 04/26/2009 10:01:05 AM PDT by donmeaker (Invicto)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus

Evolution uses evidence.

That is why we have all those dug up bones in museums. That is why people do experiments. Darwin himself did experiments, and combined information on how long seeds would remain fertile with information on ocean currents gathered from ship captains all over the world. The results were published by the Royal Society. Given different concentration of species, why would there not be breadfruit plants in North America, but there are breadfruit plants in Tahiti?

Hypothesis: Breadfruit plant seeds would not be able to germinate after immersion in sea water for the length of time needed to reach North America.

Test: Calculate time required for a breadfruit plant to move by ocean currents from Tahiti to North America. Soak a sample of breadfruit plant seeds in sea water (in several of Darwin’s bathtubs, he had a large home). At intervals tale one out and plant it. Record the results of germination. If no germination is recorded after the calculated time, then the hypothesis is confirmed.

That is science. Not quote mining. Not whining about bias.
Predictions, experiments, and most importantly, evidence.


41 posted on 04/26/2009 10:01:29 AM PDT by donmeaker (Invicto)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus

I would love to take you up to Las Vegas, and watch you use faith as your method at the craps table.

Just saying...


42 posted on 04/26/2009 10:02:53 AM PDT by donmeaker (Invicto)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus

I wonder, do you have much experience with Dalton’s law of partial pressures? Do you know what happens when a scuba diver comes up from the depths?


43 posted on 04/26/2009 10:05:17 AM PDT by donmeaker (Invicto)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus
But no, so far as accepting "science" and the scientific method as some sort of unquestionable arbiter of all that is true and right? Nope, I don't buy it and I'm an completely and thoroughly unwilling to grant "science" that authority. And that's speaking AS a practitioner of the scientific method. I know better than the limitations and foibles of science than do these FReepers running around, flapping their yaps about "science", while sitting behind their desks working as accountants or insurance adjusters of whatnot.

Speaking as a practicioner of the scientific method, what do you say to the people who submit that the scientific method is irreparably flawed by methodoligical naturalism and should be rejected, but can't say what it should be replaced with?

44 posted on 04/26/2009 10:42:20 AM PDT by tacticalogic ("Oh bother!" said Pooh, as he chambered his last round.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: B-Chan
The classic case: Lewin, Roger; "Is Your Brain Really Necessary?"

Thank you. That's fascinating, I'd never heard of that.

It's not clear from what I can find just how little brain the person had, though. Most descriptions of the case I can find describe the patient as having little to no "cerebral cortex"--I can't tell how much of the rest of his brain the person had.

Also, what there was of the cerebral cortex was a thin layer pressed against the inside of the skull. According to one source, that means the outer layer of the brain, which is most associated with consciousness, may have actually been bigger than in a normal brain.

Anyway, I certainly wouldn't conclude from these cases that the brain is unrelated to consciousness, or that it's been demonstrated that consciousness is not in some way a property of the brain.

45 posted on 04/26/2009 10:42:59 AM PDT by Ha Ha Thats Very Logical
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: GodGunsGuts
They say the mind is an “emergent property” of the brain. Huh? Wazzat?

There's nothing like scientific hand-waving. OK, except for dogmatic empiricism, like, "we know that evolution happened, so..."

46 posted on 04/26/2009 10:50:20 AM PDT by Aquinasfan (When you find "Sola Scriptura" in the Bible, let me know)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Ha Ha Thats Very Logical
It's not clear from what I can find just how little brain the person had, though.

This is what John Lorber, the British neurologist that conducted the studies and examinations written about by Lewin, said about this specific case:

"I can't say whether the mathematics student has a brain weighing 50 grams or 150 grams, but it is clear that it is nowhere near the normal 1.5 kilograms."

47 posted on 04/26/2009 5:13:23 PM PDT by Antonello (Oh my God, don't shoot the banana!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 45 | View Replies]

To: Antonello; B-Chan
"I can't say whether the mathematics student has a brain weighing 50 grams or 150 grams, but it is clear that it is nowhere near the normal 1.5 kilograms."

I read that, but it's still unclear to me exactly what Lorber means by "brain." I see the term used for both the entire brain--brainstem, midbrain, and cortex--and sometimes just for the last. When I read B-Chan's post about "someone who was fully conscious despite having no brain tissue," I thought it meant no brainstem or midbrain either.

Also, from what I've read, it probably makes a difference whether someone is born with so little brain matter, or if the hydrocephalus squeezes their brain into a small space as they get older. In the latter case, it's less surprising that what's left can take over the functions of what gets destroyed.

In any case, it doesn't really say much about whether, evolutionarily speaking, consciousness was an emergent property of the development of the (healthy) human brain.

48 posted on 04/26/2009 6:01:34 PM PDT by Ha Ha Thats Very Logical
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 47 | View Replies]

To: GodGunsGuts
We have current evidence of evolution: the swine flu.

The swine flu has characteristics of both the pig flu and the human flu. It is mostly the swine flu, which generally does not infect humans. It recombined with the human flu and produced this new strain. This is a variant of the Spanish flu of 1918. From what I remember the flu virus has 9 strands of RNA and any combination may be packaged. Since this is an RNA based virus, there is a much higher mutation rate.

Most of the strains come from Asia because a lot of pigs and fowl are grown on farms in close proximity to humans. Strains from all three can recombine. producing a totally new strain.

49 posted on 04/27/2009 6:32:58 PM PDT by Wacka
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson