How and Why: questions for scientists and philosophers?

The late John Davison often remarked that science could only answer “how” questions, not “why”. It seems to me philosophers, perhaps I’m really thinking of philosophers of religion rather than in general, attempt to find answers to “why” questions without always having a firm grasp on how reality works. Perhaps this is why there is so much talking past each other when the explanatory power of science vs other ways of knowing enters a discussion.

I’ve not been particularly motivated to read the anti-religious output of the “Gnu” atheists. I’ve not read Dawkins’ The God Delusion or any of Sam Harris’ output. I did read God is Not Great because someone lent me a copy which I found an entertaining polemic against some sacred cows (not the least being Mother Theresa) but I doubt I would have considered buying Jerry Coyne’s Faith vs. Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible as I have no need of such arguments being already convinced that no religious dogma has ever yet provided an answer to a “how” question.

But my eye was caught by a post at Uncommon Descent perhaps hopefully entitled “Feser Demolishes Coyne“. I’ve mentioned Edward Feser before (he teaches religious studies at Pasadena City College in California). He’s an outspoken right-wing Catholic blogger with a loyal following and a seemingly intense dislike of Jerry Coyne. The article applauded by Barry Arrington at Uncommon Descent is published at “First Things” (America’s Most Influential Journal of Religion & Public Life ). Feser writes confidently and pejoritavely, finishing with a final barb:

For considered as an omnibus of concrete examples of elementary logical fallacies, Faith versus Fact is invaluable.

By Feser’s standards, the review is brief. Feser lambasts Coyne for choosing to direct his fire on the poster child of anti-science and anti-evolution, US-style Creationism, complains that Coyne defines science too broadly and that Coyne equivocates on the description scientism by embracing it. So I bought the book.

Regarding Feser’s complaint that Coyne focuses on US Creationism, in his first chapter, Coyne goes to some length to explain why he is most concerned with the US and Creationism. Creationism is rife in the US where he teaches, it is anti-evolution, a discipline that he teaches and holds dear and it is the area of scientific/religious conflict that he is familiar with.

As to defining science, Coyne writes (p 39):

In fact, I see science, conceived broadly, as any endeavour that tries to find the truth about nature using the tools of reason, observation and experiment.

Seems reasonable to me. A scientific approach is starting with some observation, some phenomenon, and moving through “that’s interesting” to “what’s going on” to hypothesis testing. But surviving everyday life relies on accepting and working with the regularities we find in the real world around us. Water won’t run uphill without a source of energy, and water running downhill can produce large and useful amounts of energy.

As to the charge of scientism, Coyne tackles this in some detail (according to Kindle, Coyne uses the word 43 times in the book). He points out “scientism” is invariably a pejorative term used to denigrate the idea of scientific endeavour as the only way to know anything about the external world. He demonstrates the equivocal meaning of scientism by suggesting four shades of meaning and embraces the first – that science is “the sole source of reliable facts about the universe.” By that definition, Coyne cheerfully admits:

…most of my colleagues and I are  indeed guilty of scientism. But in that sense scientism is a virtue -the virtue of holding convictions with a tenacity proportional to the evidence supporting them.

I propose Feser’s review as evidence supporting my hypothesis that scientists concern themselves with how things really are and religious philosophers seem to ignore reality when clinging on to their rationalisations of why things are how they assume them to be.

Incidentally, I find Coyne’s book well-written and not at all polemical as might be expected if one assumed Feser’s review was at all accurate.

 

319 Replies to “How and Why: questions for scientists and philosophers?”

  1. CharlieM CharlieM
    Ignored
    says:

    keiths:
    CharlieM,

    Here’s a case for you to consider:

    That story makes perfect sense from a physicalist perspective. How do you explain it?

    I’ve mentioned before the maxim at the Temple of Apollo at Delphi,”Know Thyself”; this is good advice, but none of us really know ourselves to any extent and as to what we are capable of.

    In the above case we have no idea what was in the mind of Alex before, during and after the periods in question. For all we know he has always had these urges but under normal circumstances he was able to keep them in check. We can see that the brain tumor and his behaviour are connected. What I do not do is assume that I can be certain of the causal connection between them.

    We can view human development as a progression of attributes. Firstly, we are built up from physical sustance so we have this in common with the lifeless mineral world. Secondly, our growth gives us a plant-like component, and thirdly, we become sentient like animals. Lastly, we develop rational self-conscious awareness and this makes us distinctly human. Ideally these features of our development should be in balance but in the above case the second attribute has become overactive in the domain of the third element which has its seat in the nervous system. The nervous system is not known for its power of regeneration but tumors are. We do know that the fourth element, our thought life, can determine which connections are made in our nervous system. Do we know enough about the interactions of these intermeshing domains to know why the imbalance happened? Do we have sufficient understanding of the relationships to say that the growth of a brain tumor was just an unfortunate, random accident? I don’t think we do.

    As Plato has Socrates say in the allegory of the charioteer with two horses:

    …the human charioteer drives his in a pair; and one of them is noble and of noble breed, and the other is ignoble and of ignoble breed; and the driving of them of necessity gives a great deal of trouble to him.

    Life is a struggle between controlling our selfish desires which is not always easy and just pleasing ourselves regardless of the consequences. Letting go and just following the path that you are on is usually a lot easier than taking control and doing the right thing. How hard it would have been for Alex to curb his desires only he knows. And likewise only he knows if he has had such desires previously but was able to control them.

    We know that his change of behaviour was linked to the brain tumor in the same way that we know that taking alcohol changes ones behaviour. But no one would get away with drunk driving by claiming that, “It wasn’t my fault, the alcohol caused it”.

  2. CharlieM CharlieM
    Ignored
    says:

    Alan Fox:
    I see Feser is continuing to bash Jerry Coyne at his blog.

    I thought I’d post a comment and ask this question that must either be too naïve to be worth responding to or so devastating that everyone is avoiding it.

    Assume EAAN is true, assume Aquinas was right, Craig’s Kalam cosmological argument is true…

    How do derive your attributes? Which manifestation, which version, of God to you pick?

    link

    In times gone by and also in certain cultures of the present, individuals did not or do not have the luxury of picking and choosing. You were born into your religion. Just as the parents of an individual makes certain choices for them until they are mature and free enough to make their own choices, so in todays modern secular culture we have attained the individual freedom to choose for ourselves which moral authority to follow, if any.

    I would not criticise any person for choosing which religion they chose to follow. I would, however, take issue with any of their actions which harmed others if they used their religion to justify it. I don’t criticise Cat Stevens for taking up Islam, in fact if by doing so he has improved morally then surely it is a good thing. Anyone who believes that God is absolute should know that their idea will only be a very limited view of Gods nature.

    Ghandi said:

    Quoting again from experience, a new birth, a change of heart, is perfectly possible in any one of the great faiths. I know I am now treading on thin ice. But I do not apologise, in closing this part of my subject, for saying that the frightful outrage that is just going on in Europe, perhaps shows that the message of Jesus of Nazareth the Son of Peace, has been little understood in Europe and that light upon it may have to be thrown from the East.

    and:

    I can detect no inconsistency in declaring that I can, without in anyway whatsoever impairing the dignity of Hinduism, pay equal homage to the best of Islam, Christianity, Zoroastrianism and Judaism.

    For anyone has read “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee”, by Dee Brown, it is not hard to decide who is behaving more in keeping with the Christian message, and it is not supposed Christians.

    The “God” you pick is of less importance than the way you live your life.

  3. Kantian Naturalist Kantian Naturalist
    Ignored
    says:

    Critical Rationalist,

    I think that Critical Rationalist makes a very important point here (even though I am, I will admit, not a Popperian): foundationalism relies on a very subtle misunderstanding of how justifications work.

    Here’s how I would put the point, coming out of the pragmatist tradition (esp. Sellars and Frederick Will).

    The appeal to foundations (whether the sense-data of the empiricist or the self-evident truths of the rationalist) is motivated by a need to seize one of the horns of Agrippa’s Trilemma. The Trilemma, which was advanced as an argument for skepticism in antiquity, goes as follows:

    For any claim C, one can give a reason R1 for C. But one can always treat R as its own claim for which some further reason, R2, is required. Either R2 is justified by C, or R2 is “self-evident”, or the chain of reasons can be extended infinitely.

    But if R2 is justified by C, then we reason in a circle and have no justification at all. And if R2 is ‘self-evident’, then one can always assert that C is self-evident, in which case we have no justification at all. Finally, if the chain of reasons is extended infinitely, then an infinite process has no beginning and therefore we can have no justification at all.

    Therefore, we can have no justifications for any of our claims, and knowledge is impossible.

    There have been many attempts to refute Agrippa’s Trilemma, and most of them depend on trying to show that there are irrefutably self-evident truths, either of the senses or of reason. All of these attempts fail. The reason why they fail is that Agrippa’s Trilemma begins by assimilating all justificatory strategies to those used in deductive arguments. I’ll call this assumption (following Frederick Will) “deductivism”. The real flaw in deductivism is that deductive arguments are valid in formal domains. They are arguments of logical structure alone. This means that material content — linguistic senses and references fixed by physical and social environments — plays no role.

    And while that is perfectly acceptable in strictly formal, deductive arguments, the way we actually live out our lives in the space of reasons is as an embodied, social, political, and historical space. In those conditions, semantic externalism is necessarily true: the meaning of our concepts is shot through with how they are used in navigating social and physical environments. To pick up on Wittgenstein’s point in the Philosophical Investigations, natural languages are not formal languages.

    In other words, if (1) the semantics of natural and formal languages are fundamentally different and (2) there’s no way to cleanly and decisively separate semantics and epistemology, then (3) the structure of justification in natural languages will be different from that in formal languages, and hence (4) there is no reason to assume that the structure of justification in natural languages, as used by embodied and social beings embedded in historically contingent and evolving communities, will be “deductivist”. But since (5) Agrippa’s Trilemma only works if one assumes deductivism, then (6) Agrippa’s Trilemma ceases to be a threat once we recognize the fundamental distinction between natural and formal languages. And that means that pragmatists do not need to chose between foundationalism, circularity, or the infinite regress — we can simply opt out of that entire problematic.

  4. CharlieM CharlieM
    Ignored
    says:

    There is short article in New Scientist dated 6 Feb 2016, called “Why Did We Evolve Language?” by Mark Pagel, evolutionary biologist at the University of Reading, UK.

    In order to answer this question he begins by explaining some of the necessary requirements:

    Our language skills didn’t come for free. Humans had to evolve complex brain circuits and sophisticated machinery in order to speak, and spend precious years teaching their children. Why pay that price?

    He then tells us why individual traits on their own cannot be the cause of our aquisition of language.

    Many people attribute our linguistic skills to our large brains, ability to make complex hand gestures, distinctive vocal tracts and the gene FOXP2, which gives us the fine-tuned control of our facial muscles. But on their own, these traits, do not explain why we evolved language. There are animals with larger brains, gesturing is widespread among primates and some bird species can imitate human speech without our descended larynx or our particular version of FOXP2.

    He explains that society functions through the channel of language.

    We take the complexity of our social behaviour for granted, but all these actions rest on the ability to negotiate, bargain, reach agreements and hold people to them. This requires a conduit-like a modern USB cable-to carry complex information back and forth between individuals. Language is that conduit.

    And so human society is the reason why we have language.

    All these complicated social acts require more than the grunts, chirrups, odours, colours and roars of the rest of the animal kingdom. They tell us why we and we alone have language: our particular brand of sociality could not exist without it.

    Maybe this is the reason why scientists shouldn’t concern themselves with “why” questions. Pagel is saying that the reason we evolved language is so that we could have human social interactions. So much for naturalistic evolution being without any aims or goals.

  5. Flint
    Ignored
    says:

    CharlieM: Maybe this is the reason why scientists shouldn’t concern themselves with “why” questions. Pagel is saying that the reason we evolved language is so that we could have human social interactions. So much for naturalistic evolution being without any aims or goals.

    Not sure I get your point here. OK, let’s assume that language developed because (1) we had the mental capacity and structure to support it; and (2) it was incredibly useful, permitting levels of coordination and cooperation far beyond anything that had ever existed. And I suppose that there could be a feedback process here – those best at language thrived, passing along the most linguistic capability.

    But nonetheless, I don’t want to confuse natural evolution with social evolution. Societies have goals. Nature does not. Social goals are met, or not, using the natural abilities that just happened to evolve. As a society, we couldn’t just go out and evolve ourselves some trait we lack. Purifying selection (selective breeding) might emphasize and highlight some capability, but it can’t create it.

    (The reason we have goldfish and not some other colors is because certain carp already had the genes for the gold color, and breeders selected for it. You can’t select for what you ain’t got.

  6. petrushka
    Ignored
    says:

    Breeders occasionally come across mutations. They’re called “sports”.

    Hairless cats, and so forth.

  7. Flint
    Ignored
    says:

    petrushka:
    Breeders occasionally come across mutations. They’re called “sports”.

    Hairless cats, and so forth.

    Quite so. If nature doesn’t provide a mutation, breeders can’t select for it. Presumably every gene we have was a mutation once upon a time.

  8. keiths keiths
    Ignored
    says:

    CharlieM:

    In the above case we have no idea what was in the mind of Alex before, during and after the periods in question. For all we know he has always had these urges but under normal circumstances he was able to keep them in check.

    Why would it matter? Either way, the tumor had a profound impact on Alex’s behavior. If a tumor makes the difference between a) acting on pedophilic desires, alienating everyone and landing yourself in jail vs b) living a normal, socially acceptable life, then your proposed “spiritual ego” isn’t calling the shots.

    We know that his change of behaviour was linked to the brain tumor in the same way that we know that taking alcohol changes ones behaviour.

    Which is another strike against your “spiritual ego” idea. Why should the presence of alcohol in the physical brain affect the decisions your non-physical ego makes?

    Everywhere you look, the evidence is against your spiritual ego idea. Why continue to believe it?

  9. CharlieM CharlieM
    Ignored
    says:

    Flint:

    The reason we have goldfish and not some other colors is because certain carp already had the genes for the gold color, and breeders selected for it. You can’t select for what you ain’t got.

    But we humans have got all the necessary equipment.

    Large brains, the ability to make use of our hands for all sorts of complex tasks, distinctive vocal tracts, fine-tuned control of our facial muscles, the ability to control the movement of our larynx and mouth parts in order to produce a miriad of sounds, the hearing apparatus to receive those sounds and the thinking capacity to interpret those sounds.

    We have got so much that we can say to nature, “You have nurtured us and given us the various attributes neccessary for us to free ourselves from you, now we have the ability take over the selecting from here”

    Do you think that all the features that must come together and be in place to give us the human qualities of self-awareness, rational thought, willing and feeling, can be compared to one single feature which is just one aspect of the whole form of a fish.

    Compare the summarized history of the two forms, human and fish, as you no doubt would agree must have taken place if evolution means anything:

    First the fish – Beginning of life, single celled organism, water dwelling multicellular organism ending in the form we see as a fish today.

    Now the human – Beginning of life, single celled organism, water dwelling multicellular organism, amphibious creature which can move out of the water into the air above, an air-breathing crawling creature that has little control of its own internal temperature. Then we move on to a creature that supports its weight on its limbs and has a greater degree of internal temperature control. Further development gives rise to bipedalism where the upper limbs are freed from the job of bodily support and can be used for more creative tasks. The brain has even more freedom from earthly gravity being encased in what could be described as an enclosed exoskeleton and floating in cerebro-spinal fluid. Think about the human form, how the limbs allow for the greatest physical movement, the thorax becoming more fixed and more exoskeleton-like, and finally the head where the brain is kept as still as possible and independent of all the external movement going on outside. Within one individual form we can see the progression from physical forces to spiritual forces. Anybody who sees only separate chance changes in form will not even concern themselves with thinking about these things. But the fact is that only by keeping the brain as static as possible physically can this allow us to become so dynamic mentally. And the most dynamic mental activity is pure thinking which is a spiritual process. We keep our bodies toned by performing physical exercise we keep our minds toned by performing mental exercise. Of course our normal everyday thinking is not purely spiritual because it is always infused with feeling and willing. Pure thinking is a very rare beast.

    Human evolution goes through the same progression as fish evolution and then takes it much further.

  10. CharlieM CharlieM
    Ignored
    says:

    keiths:
    CharlieM:

    Why would it matter? Either way, the tumor had a profound impact on Alex’s behavior.If a tumor makes the difference between a) acting on pedophilic desires, alienating everyone and landing yourself in jail vs b) living a normal, socially acceptable life, then your proposed “spiritual ego” isn’t calling the shots.

    Obviously the tumor has made it more difficult to overcome temptation. But that is what Plato’s allegory is all about. If the spiritual ego was in total control then we would be perfect beings and would have no need to go through this earthly life.

    Which is another strike against your “spiritual ego” idea. Why should the presence of alcohol in the physical brain affect the decisions your non-physical ego makes?

    Everywhere you look, the evidence is against your spiritual ego idea.Why continue to believe it?

    It is only a strike against your inaccurate idea of the spiritual ego. Think of the physical body as a mirror through which the ego experiences the world. Alcohol clouds the mirror.

    The spiritual ego acts out of its own inner being. If we act out of a desire to satisfy our hunger for an external object then this ego is not the instigator of our action, we are following our lower passions.

  11. Flint
    Ignored
    says:

    CharlieM:Human evolution goes through the same progression as fish evolution and then takes it much further.

    I’ve never understood this sort of assertion. Humans, tunafish, and amoebas have all been evolving exactly the same amount of time, which is the elapsed time from the LUCA to the present. You can’t say that any one is “more evolved” than the other. They are simply different.

    Or are you simply saying “because I am human, I hereby decree that human differences represent superiorities, so there!” And as a corollary, those things an amoeba can do that we can’t somehow aren’t important, or don’t count. This might help you feel superior, but not everyone has such a puerile need.

  12. keiths keiths
    Ignored
    says:

    CharlieM:

    Obviously the tumor has made it more difficult to overcome temptation. But that is what Plato’s allegory is all about. If the spiritual ego was in total control then we would be perfect beings and would have no need to go through this earthly life.

    You’re stuck between a rock and a hard place.

    If the tumor makes it harder for the spiritual ego to overcome temptation, then you have to explain why a physical tumor is an impediment to a non-physical, spiritual ego.

    Alternatively, you could argue that both the urge and the restraint come from the physical brain, but then what role does the spiritual ego play? Why invoke a spiritual entity when the physical entity alone is explanatorily sufficient?

    This dilemma presents itself again and again as you examine the evidence for and against the existence of a spiritual ego/soul. The physicalist explanation makes sense; the spiritualist explanation doesn’t.

    Think of the physical body as a mirror through which the ego experiences the world. Alcohol clouds the mirror.

    Alcohol doesn’t merely cloud the mirror. It affects a person’s judgment.

    Suppose a person gets drunk at a holiday party and starts hitting on the boss’s son or daughter — something he or she would never do when sober, due to good judgment.

    The dilemma arises again: If the good judgment is due to the spiritual ego, then why is it affected by alcohol in the physical brain? Conversely, if the good judgment is a function of the physical brain, then what role does the spiritual ego play?

    What does the spiritual ego do, exactly?

  13. CharlieM CharlieM
    Ignored
    says:

    Flint,

    Flint,
    Surely you can see that according to the theory of evolution humans have been through a fish-like existence, but it cannot be said that fish have gone through a human-like existence?

  14. keiths keiths
    Ignored
    says:

    CharlieM,

    From an old comment of mine at UD:

    Further evidence that the will is embodied is an article entitled “Drowning Mr. M”, from the spring 2005 issue of Scientific American Mind magazine, Volume 16, Number 1. It’s available online at sciammind.com, but unfortunately you have to pay for it (I subscribe to the print version).

    The article begins:
    “The summer heat is oppressive. Mr. M, seated beside his pool, looks at the cold water. “What could be better than a refreshing dip?” he thinks. He dives headfirst into the water and takes a couple of powerful strokes. Then, suddenly, he stops. He exhales, sinks to the bottom and simply stares straight ahead. “I’m drowning,” he realizes, strangely unperturbed. He knows that a few strong kicks would bring him back to the surface. But he can’t quite bring himself to do so.”

    “As luck would have it, his daughter has been watching from inside the house. She runs out and dives in the pool to save him. The sight of his daughter shakes Mr. M from his apathy, and just as she reaches him he propels himself upward, breaking the surface and gasping for air. Later he tells his family, ‘I don’t know what was wrong with me. I just didn’t want to swim anymore.’”

    “What was happening in Mr. M’s brain as he came within seconds of drowning? How could he so abruptly lose all desire to act, even to save his own life?”

    The article goes on to say that Mr. M suffers from PAP syndrome, with the French acronym translating to “loss of psychic autoactivation”. PAP syndrome involves damage to the brain’s limbic loop.

    More from the article:
    “Within only a few weeks after the pool incident, Mr. M’s personality underwent a drastic change. The normally active and energetic man became increasingly passive and apathetic. He spent entire days in bed yet felt neither boredom nor impatience. His family had to remind him constantly to carry out the most basic activities: ‘Come to dinner! Get dressed! Take a shower!’… Mr. M’s wife said her husband would have starved to death had she not intervened. Yet he never complained of hunger… Incredibly, PAP patients do experience hunger and pain. They simply lack the will to react.”

    You might ask: If their will is impaired, how can PAP patients respond when prompted? It turns out that the will to respond to a verbal command involves other brain pathways which bypass the damaged area.

    So not only does the will appear to be a physical phenomenon; its unity also appears to be illusory.

  15. CharlieM CharlieM
    Ignored
    says:

    keiths:
    CharlieM,

    From an old comment of mine at UD:

    This is the problem with the modern conception of a person as a machine. There is a symptom and associated with it is some damaged part of the body. So just like in a machine the damage is judged to be the cause of the symptom. But we are not machines, we are living, thinking, feeling, beings. And it is not our brains or any part of them that has a will, we have a will. Look around and you will see roads, railways, telephone masts, cities and aircraft flying overhead; theses things are all there because of human will, people making decisions. Brains don’t choose to act or not to act, individuals do.

    Look at this excerpt from the article:

    “A special neural network called the limbic loop drives our decisions about whether or not to act on external or internal stimuli. Sensory information travels to various parts of the brains limbic system. Here the data are evaluated on an emotional level, and assessments move through the basal ganglia to the congulate gyrus. From there, assessments land in the frontal lobe, which makes a determination. The basal ganglia structures act as an on/off switch-they determine if the frontal lobe is to be activated or not.”

    What do they mean by, “Here the data are evaluated on an emotional level? What or who is experiencing the emotions?. And have they witnessed assessments moving about and alighting here and there? Which part of the frontal lobe makes the determination? Do the individual neurons get together and make a group decision based on the assessments raining down on them?

    This case is like a having a TV remote with a flat battery. The TV may not function as it should via the remote so in one sense we can say that the faulty remote was causing the lack of function. But that does not preclude the person pushing the buttons.

    Now, not only does it take a certain amount of will power to carry out an action, it also takes will power to refrain from acting. Mr M said, “I just didn’t want to swim anymore”. In other words he made a conscious decision to refrain from swimming. Of course at the same time he must have decided to hold his breath. To me this shows a lack of judgement in making choices, but he definitely was making choices.

  16. keiths keiths
    Ignored
    says:

    CharlieM:

    But we are not machines, we are living, thinking, feeling, beings.

    The two are not incompatible.

    And it is not our brains or any part of them that has a will, we have a will.

    We have wills because our brains implement that function. When the relevant parts of the brain malfunction, the will is impaired.

    This case is like a having a TV remote with a flat battery. The TV may not function as it should via the remote so in one sense we can say that the faulty remote was causing the lack of function. But that does not preclude the person pushing the buttons.

    Your analogy doesn’t fit. The person pushing the buttons will say, “I was trying to turn on the TV, but it wouldn’t come on.” The will to turn on the TV is there, but there is a malfunction in the downstream causal chain.

    By contrast, Mr. M says “I don’t know what was wrong with me. I just didn’t want to swim anymore.” The will to swim — and survive — was gone.

    It’s clear that you want us to have a spiritual, non-physical component, but the evidence simply isn’t there. Why not accept reality as it is instead of demanding that it conform to your wishes?

  17. Kantian Naturalist Kantian Naturalist
    Ignored
    says:

    keiths: It’s clear that you want us to have a spiritual, non-physical component, but the evidence simply isn’t there. Why not accept reality as it is instead of demanding that it conform to your wishes?

    It’s not clear how to continue having a reasonable discussion with someone who prefers to take comfort in a mere possibility than base one’s thinking on evidence about actual reality. But one’s understanding of what is and is not real should not be based on one’s fears and hopes. We should fear and hope based on what is and is not real, not the other way around.

  18. CharlieM CharlieM
    Ignored
    says:

    Keiths,
    Do you think it takes a certain amount of will power to hold your breath?

  19. keiths keiths
    Ignored
    says:

    CharlieM,

    Read this again:

    “Within only a few weeks after the pool incident, Mr. M’s personality underwent a drastic change. The normally active and energetic man became increasingly passive and apathetic. He spent entire days in bed yet felt neither boredom nor impatience. His family had to remind him constantly to carry out the most basic activities: ‘Come to dinner! Get dressed! Take a shower!’… Mr. M’s wife said her husband would have starved to death had she not intervened. Yet he never complained of hunger… Incredibly, PAP patients do experience hunger and pain. They simply lack the will to react.”

    Explain to us how Mr. M’s “spiritual ego” — a purportedly non-physical entity — was so dramatically affected by mere tumors in the physical brain.

    The evidence is clear. Why fight so hard against it?

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