Split-brain patients and the dire implications for the soul, continued

It’s time to start a continuation thread for Split-brain patients and the dire implications for the soul, because the original thread is being affected by a software bug. Only the final page of comments is affected.

Moderators, could one of you move all of the comments (except for the metacomments) from the final page to here? Also, could you inform Sriskandarajah by email about this new thread, in case he has bookmarked the old one? Thanks.

Our prejudices: Implicit associations

We all have biases that we should try to be aware of. Our implicit prejudices may be at odds with our explicit attitudes. One problem when discussing issues such as racism and sexism especially is that surprisingly many people seem to think that such things have been largely dealt with in the 20th Century and are now of minimal importance.

https://implicit.harvard.edu has several tests designed to measure our implicit biases. As with any scientific test, there could be issues with methodology etc and, in addition to discussion of implicit biases (e.g. the psychology of them, how they affect our skepticism), that also seems an appropriate topic for discussion here.

What is the moral calculus of atheists

There are a number of professed atheists in this forum. I was curious as to what sort of moral imperative atheists are beholden to when presumably no one is looking.  Speaking as a theist, I am constantly cognizant that there is a God who considers what I do and is aware of what I do, even though that awareness on my part may not always result in the moral behavior which I aspire to.  But let’s take a fairly mundane example — say theft.  We’re talking about blatant theft in a context where one could plausibly or even likely get away with it.  I affirm to you that as a Christian, or more relevantly possibly, as a theist, I would never do that.  Possibly it has just as much to do with my consideration for the feelings and rights of  some other individual, who has “legal” possession of said items, as it has to do with my awareness of an omniscient creator who is aware of what I’m doing and who would presumably not bless me if I violated his laws.  I mean,  I care about the rights of other people.  And, considering other moral tableaus, those of a sexual nature for example — I would personally never consider going to a prostitute for example, in that I feel empathy for that person, and how they are degrading themselves in the sight of God, and how I would not want to contribute to their degradation, so that my own human lust would never result in me victimizing another human being in that way.  So in summary,  there are all sorts of constraints on my personal behavior that stem directly from my belief in God,  and I am honestly curious about the inner life of professed atheists in such matters.  In other words, do atheists for example, in such junctures of moral decision, only consider whether they can get away with it, i.e escape the detection of human authorities?  I am just honestly curious about the inner life of atheists in such matters.

The Double-Blind Newcombian Placebo Paradox

Here’s something I slopped together recently. I’m not really familiar with the literature on any of this, so maybe it’s all pretty well known (or well known to be confused).  Anyhow, comments are welcome, and I apologize in advance for my usual pile of typos, grammatical  errors, and other miscellaneous blunders.



Johnny Woulda, 45, has had chronic tendonitis in both of his elbows since he was about 30.  He’s always been told that there’s no help for it except rest and steroid injections, but the rest hasn’t worked, and he’s afraid the injections will be worse for him than the elbow pain.  He takes a bus to work every day and one day he sees a poster that says “Do you have tendonitis? We are testing a new non-steroidal oral drug, and if you are an otherwise healthy male between the ages of 18 and 48 you could earn $100 by taking part in our clinical trial.”  The drug company, Montrezl, is interested in testing the effectiveness of their experimental product, Elbowftra©.  Based on their tests on chimpanzees, which have no belief one way or the other whether they are being given a real drug, they believe that Elbowftra© drug would have at least a 50% effectiveness rate on humans people—higher if the person is credulous (the sort of person now spending a ton of money on herbal remedies).  The FDA has assured Montrezl that if they can confirm that at least 30% more human volunteers are cured by Elbowftra© than are cured by a sugar pill placebo, as determined by blind reviewers, they should have no problem getting their drug approved.  On the other hand, if there’s not much difference between Ebowftra’s effectiveness and that of a placebo, there isn’t much hope.

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