What is consciousness? The soul vs the quantum state of particles in human brain

Recently, I have come across the 2 popular views of what consciousness is.
The spiritual or religious view that seems to rely on something immaterial, like the belief in the soul that lives on or continues to exist somewhere in the universe  after the human body ceases to live and stops functioning.

This view is a very old view but what I found surprising when I researched this subject is that it predates Judeo-Christian scriptures (bible). The origin of the belief of the immortality of the soul (that is supposed to be responsible for our consciousness or self-awareness) seems to have originated in ancient Egypt and Babylon known for the pagan, religious practices.

That view was later explored by many philosophers, including Plato. Many scholars agree that the immortality of the soul was not taught by Jesus and his apostles but later found its way into the teaching of Catholic and others churches of Christendom because of the attempts to unify the many religions by Constantine in the 4th century apparently for the greater good of the Great Roman Empire.

The second view seems to be relatively new due to the recent discoveries in physics, especially quantum mechanics. The majority supporting it view human consciousness as a product of human brain due to the subparticles, like protons, neutrons and electrons that form the many different quantum states in human body and human brain.

Generally, this view seems to be held by the majority of materialists, which excludes an Intelligent Designer or God as creators of human consciousness.

For more info on both views, please read this article:
http://nautil.us/issue/47/consciousness/roger-penrose-on-why-consciousness-does-not-compute

However, my personal view (if it matters to anyone) I thought was a bit unorthodox, because I don’t believe in the existence of the soul (immortal or not) and yet I believe that humans were designed and created  by God.

So,  to explain my view, I found the quantum consciousness explanation quite satisfying… for now.

Yet, just yesterday, I found that others, or at least one, Phillip Cunningham, known as BA77 at UD has  been able to reconcile both the view of quantum information that is responsible for quantum consciousness and the existence of the immortal soul.

Here is his video:

BTW: I respect Phillip Cunninghman very much. We share similar beliefs.

The existence of an immortal soul that survives human death is one of the things we absolutely disagree on. The respect still remains…

46 thoughts on “What is consciousness? The soul vs the quantum state of particles in human brain”

  1. Neil Rickert

    I watched the video. I actually enjoyed watching it.

    I am truly amazed at how many ways that BA77 can be wrong. It’s no wonder that people call him “batshit 77”.

  2. Kantian NaturalistKantian Naturalist

    This view is a very old view but what I found surprising when I researched this subject is that it predates Judeo-Christian scriptures (bible). The origin of the belief of the immortality of the soul (that is supposed to be responsible for our consciousness or self-awareness) seems to have originated in ancient Egypt and Babylon known for the pagan, religious practices.

    As far as I know, the Egyptians believed that a part of the soul — the ka — does survive death and is judged. But I don’t know if they thought that the ka retains any memories of its life on Earth.

    Jews (even today) believe that the soul “sleeps” inside the corpse until it is resurrected when the Messiah arrives. This is why orthodox Jews oppose cremation.

    Most ancient Greeks thought that the life-force or psuche lingers in Hades, but very few of them retain any knowledge of their life on Earth or any self-awareness. The cult of Orpheus, however, taught that the souls retain their memories of having been living persons. Some scholars have suggested that Orphic mysteries were an influence on Plato.

    That view was later explored by many philosophers, including Plato. Many scholars agree that the immortality of the soul was not taught by Jesus and his apostles but later found its way into the teaching of Catholic and others churches of Christendom because of the attempts to unify the many religions by Constantine in the 4th century apparently for the greater good of the Great Roman Empire.

    Plato does suggest that the soul is immortal, but it’s inserted into weird places in his dialogues. The most well-known is the Myth of Er in Book X of Republic. But Plato is completely clear that this is a myth that could be adopted on pragmatic grounds, and not something that should be taken to be true.

    So far as I know, the doctrine of the immortality of the soul really kicks into high gear when Marsilio Ficino uses Platonic and Neoplatonic concepts to battle against the entrenched Aristotelian orthodoxy of the time. In Aristotelian terms, the soul and body aren’t really separable, since they are related as form and content of the same thing, the human person. Thomists did argue that there is a part of the soul that survives death, but I confess that I find such arguments rely on a theory of concepts that I find unacceptable.

    As for the question, “what is consciousness?” — I have no idea.

  3. Kantian NaturalistKantian Naturalist

    By the way, if there is a scientific theory of consciousness (which I frankly doubt), it’s almost certainly not going to involve quantum mechanics. That’s like saying the Mona Lisa is enigmatic because each drop of paint contains a tiny amount of enigmatic-ness.

  4. Flint

    I’ve always viewed consciousness as a process, what the brain does. I see no qualitative difference between consciousness and, say, running. In both cases, cells suitable for the purpose are working in concert to produce an end product. I suppose the same could be said for processes like breathing or digesting. I’ve never understood why one of these physical processes would be extracted from the processes of human life, and assigned such puzzling mystical speculations.

  5. keithskeiths

    J-Mac:

    BTW: I respect Phillip Cunninghman very much. We share similar beliefs.

    There’s a lot of bad judgment packed into that short remark:

    a. You respect BA77, of all people.
    b. You respect people who hold beliefs similar to yours.

  6. Robert Byers

    Any scholar who argues Jesus didn’t teach the souls eternity is just plain stupid. i don’t define folks much like that but this time…
    The soul concept was from creation and so it would be , or should be, in many people groups. the bible reveals it more accurately.
    Denying the soul requires the “brain machine” to exist in one state while processing data from another part of its state. So where is the real being?
    Actually they could do a better job if they embraced that the brain was just a giant memory machine and so segregated memory operations would give a impression of someone in charge.
    Justr like the way a intelligent adult knows its safe to cross a bridge but a phobia(memory) won’t let them. A conflicting conclusion from the memory.
    they are not there yet though.

  7. RumraketRumraket

    Batshit77 of relativistic quantum-turin-shroud biophotonic-laser-light fame?

    Thus regardless of whatever you may think of his math or whatever, the empirical evidence itself tells us, much contrary to materialistic thought, that humans are emitting ‘biological laser light’. Obviously this readily implies a ‘quantum mechanism’ is in place to explain how the ‘quantum’ image formed on the Shroud. The only outstanding question left is what caused the extreme intensity and synchronicity of the burst of ‘biological laser light’ from the body of Christ so as to form the image on the Shroud.

    Needless to say, the resurrection of Christ from death answers that outstanding question nicely!

    Ladies and gentlemen, I rest my case.

  8. J-Mac Post author

    keiths:
    J-Mac:

    There’s a lot of bad judgment packed into that short remark:

    a. You respect BA77, of all people.
    b. You respect people who hold beliefs similar to yours.

    I respect BA77 for the work he has been doing, which I personally believe is the search for the truth…

    I respect ALL people whether we we hold similar beliefs or not…
    However, I have had a hard time, (in the past, not so much now) showing respect to people who deliberately spread misinformation in order to deceive people into believing their preconceived ideas… I try to respect them as human beings, I don’t respect their actions…

    Now, my understanding of the two main world views (Atheism vs Theism) has grown to the point that it doesn’t affect me as much anymore because I know now WHY some people choose not to pursue the truth and believe lies…

  9. J-Mac Post author

    Robert Byers,

    Robert,

    Have you had a chance to investigate the issue of the immortal soul on your own?
    Have you looked at the arguments of the scholars on both sides of the issue?
    Calling them stupid because you don’t agree with their findings is not really wise…
    You do believe that the bible teaches the truth, don’t you?

    If Judeo-Christian religions teach that “conscious existence” or soul lives on after death, then it’s definitely not scriptual…

    Eccl 9:5 and 10

    5 “For the living know they will die; but the dead do not know anything, nor have they any longer a reward, for their memory is forgotten.”

    10 “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol where you are going.”

    Sheol is often translated as hell or gave…

  10. OMagain

    J-Mac: Have you looked at the arguments of the scholars on both sides of the issue?

    If only there was a way to settle such arguments on the basis of what’s actually true!

    In science arguments generally resolve themselves as new data becomes available. I pity you poor bastards, I really do.

  11. vjtorley

    Hi J-Mac,

    You can quote passages in the Bible for and against the immortality of the soul.

    For: 2 Corinthians 5:8, Philippians 1:23, Luke 23:43, Luke 16:19-31, Revelation 6:9-10.

    Against: Job 7:9-10, Job 10:20-22, Job 14:1-2, 20-21, Ecclesiastes 3:20-21, Ecclesiastes 9:5-6.

    There are also passages that lend support to the “soul-sleep” view – e.g. 1 Samuel 28:15, 1 Corinthians 15:6, 18, 51 and 1 Thessalonians 4:14.

    I’ve seen attempts to reconcile these passages, from various theological perspectives. All it proves to me is that the Bible is not a self-interpreting book.

    In the time of Christ, many Jews believed in the immortality of the soul, although many didn’t. Jesus appears to have accepted the doctrine, judging from his words in Luke 23:43 and his parable of the rich man and Lazarus. Of course, JWs (who, like Seventh Day Adventists and Christadelphians, deny the immortality of the soul) have their own way of explaining these passages!

  12. keithskeiths

    vjtorley,

    I’ve seen attempts to reconcile these passages, from various theological perspectives. All it proves to me is that the Bible is not a self-interpreting book.

    I can think of a better explanation: the Bible contradicts itself.

  13. keithskeiths

    And even the account you cite in Luke is contradicted by the one in Matthew. In Luke, one criminal mocks Jesus and the other defends him. In Matthew, they both mock Jesus.

    Luke 23:39-43, NIV:

    One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

    But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

    Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

    Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

    Matthew 27:38-44, NIV:

    Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

    [Emphasis added]

  14. PatrickPatrick

    J-Mac: Now, my understanding of the two main world views (Atheism vs Theism) has grown to the point that it doesn’t affect me as much anymore because I know now WHY some people choose not to pursue the truth and believe lies…

    It is often because people were indoctrinated in religion before the age where they could apply critical thinking.

  15. PatrickPatrick

    vjtorley:

    I’ve seen attempts to reconcile these passages, from various theological perspectives. All it proves to me is that the Bible is not a self-interpretingconsistent book.

    Fixed that for you.

  16. vjtorley

    Hi keiths,

    Yes, I was aware of that passage in Matthew 27, too. Mark also agrees with Matthew: “Those who were crucified with him also reviled him.” (Mark 15:32)

    My point was simply that it would be odd for an evangelist to ascribe belief in the soul’s immortality of the soul to Jesus if he was known to hold an opposing view. (There’s also Luke’s parable of the rich man and Lazarus.)

    There is also Jesus’s statement on the resurrection of the dead, in Matthew 22:31-32 and Mark 12:26-27: “And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.” To my mind, the argument Jesus used works equally well against the annihilationist view that the soul dies when you die. All Christians would agree that when he spoke, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob hadn’t yet been resurrected. So unless Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were alive somewhere, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would have been a God of the dead.

    The Pharisees (whose views on the resurrection largely coincided with those of Jesus) appear to have believed in the immortality of the soul, too.

    On balance, the evidence suggests that Jesus probably believed in the immortality of the soul, although one could perhaps argue that he might have accepted the view that the soul sleeps (but does not die) after the death of the body.

  17. petrushka

    Doesn’t pass Occam’s Razor.There are more parsimonious explanations of how Brains work.

  18. Neil Rickert

    vjtorley: Getting back to the article on Roger Penrose, what does everyone think of his theory of consciousness?

    I think it’s wrong.

    I agree that it is not a matter of computation. But I don’t agree with Penrose’s argument.

  19. Kantian NaturalistKantian Naturalist

    Neil Rickert: I think it’s wrong.

    I agree that it is not a matter of computation.But I don’t agree with Penrose’s argument.

    Yeah, the Penrose idea has always seemed crazy to me. It relies on way too much unproven assumptions.

  20. Robert Byers

    J-Mac:
    Robert Byers,

    Robert,

    Have you had a chance to investigate the issue of the immortal soul on your own?
    Have you looked at the arguments of the scholars on both sides of the issue?
    Calling them stupid because you don’t agree with their findings is not really wise…
    You do believe that the bible teaches the truth, don’t you?

    If Judeo-Christian religions teach that “conscious existence” or soul lives on after death, then it’s definitely not scriptual…

    Eccl 9:5 and 10

    5 “For the living know they will die; but the dead do not know anything, nor have they any longer a reward, for their memory is forgotten.”

    10 “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol where you are going.”

    Sheol is often translated as hell or gave…

    I said they were stupid who said jesus did not teach the souls eternal existence.
    Its the roaring claim of the bible that the soul continues in existence after death. in fact the resurrection would make no sense without the soul still existing while the body doesn’t.
    A million verses support this. these few selected are not saying what you think they are saying.

  21. AcartiaAcartia

    petrushka: Doesn’t pass Occam’s Razor.There are more parsimonious explanations of how Brains work.

    Listening to batshit77 makes me want to draw Occam’s Razor across my wrists.

  22. Erik

    Neil Rickert: I think it’s wrong.

    I agree that it is not a matter of computation. But I don’t agree with Penrose’s argument.

    So it’s not a matter of computation. What is it then? A matter of agreement or of “I think…”? Why is Penrose wrong?

    How about Michael Graziano’s theory? https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/06/how-consciousness-evolved/485558/

    The Attention Schema Theory (AST), developed over the past five years, may be able to answer those questions. The theory suggests that consciousness arises as a solution to one of the most fundamental problems facing any nervous system: Too much information constantly flows in to be fully processed. The brain evolved increasingly sophisticated mechanisms for deeply processing a few select signals at the expense of others, and in the AST, consciousness is the ultimate result of that evolutionary sequence.[…]

    Covert attention isn’t intangible. It has a physical basis, but that physical basis lies in the microscopic details of neurons, synapses, and signals. The brain has no need to know those details. The attention schema is therefore strategically vague. It depicts covert attention in a physically incoherent way, as a non-physical essence. And this, according to the theory, is the origin of consciousness.[…]

    When I think about evolution, I’m reminded of Teddy Roosevelt’s famous quote, “Do what you can with what you have where you are.” Evolution is the master of that kind of opportunism. Fins become feet. Gill arches become jaws. And self-models become models of others. In the AST, the attention schema first evolved as a model of one’s own covert attention. But once the basic mechanism was in place, according to the theory, it was further adapted to model the attentional states of others, to allow for social prediction. Not only could the brain attribute consciousness to itself, it began to attribute consciousness to others.

    Wrong or right and why?

  23. keithskeiths

    Vincent,

    Do you accept that the accounts are contradictory? In our earlier discussion, you seemed reluctant to give up the notion of Biblical inerrancy. And above, you interpreted the conflicting Biblical views of the soul as evidence not of the Bible’s internal inconsistency, which would be the straightforward conclusion, but of the fact that it is not “self-interpreting”.

    The Bible was written by a variety of people whose views, knowledge and perspectives differed, so it’s not surprising to see conflicts and contradictions in it. It’s not like there was a celestial Editor overseeing the process.

  24. vjtorley

    Hi keiths,

    I can’t say whether the Biblical accounts are contradictory without knowing what the intentions of the authors were. For instance, are the gloomy passages in Ecclesiastes 3 & 9 and Job 7, 10 & 14 intended to rule out the possibility of life after death, or are they merely declaring that as far as we know (i.e. as far as the human author knew, back then), this life is all there is? Was the sleep metaphor for death used because dead bodies are inert and motionless, or because the Biblical authors were rejecting the notion of a disembodied consciousness? I don’t know, and neither do you. That’s why I don’t think we can infer that the Bible contradicts itself on the subject of death. All we can say is that it doesn’t offer a single picture, and that there’s no straightforward interpretation of the Bible which any sincere and prayerful Christian can figure out by themselves, that would resolve the difficulties of reconciling the different pictures offered.

  25. Neil Rickert

    Erik: So it’s not a matter of computation. What is it then?

    Computation is something that you do with data.

    There isn’t any data to begin with. So the primary job for the brain is getting data. This requires establishing standards (measuring standards, measuring conventions, or whatever you want to call them).

    This ought to be trivially obvious. But apparently nobody can see it. One might say that it is hidden in plain view.

    In ordinary life, we seem to be drowning in data. So everybody is taking that for granted, without asking where the data comes from.

    Thus the conventional wisdom is that learning amounts to finding patterns in the data. But, as I see it, learning has to involve inventing ways of getting data, inventing measuring conventions or categorization conventions.

    Why is Penrose wrong?

    He is making the same mistake as everybody else. He takes for granted that there is lots of data. And then he has a ridiculous argument for non-computational ways of doing that data processing.

    How about Michael Graziano’s theory?

    You quote him as saying “Too much information constantly flows in to be fully processed.” That’s the same basic mistake that almost everybody is making.

  26. Erik

    Neil Rickert: In ordinary life, we seem to be drowning in data. So everybody is taking that for granted, without asking where the data comes from.

    My own analysis of consciousness would note the same thing: Why is there data and what’s the need to process it? To say “data” (“signal” in Graziano’s case) presupposes something that registers and processes it, namely consciousness, and if the origin or emergence of consciousness is to be explained, particularly by evolutionary means, it must not be presupposed.

    Neil Rickert: You quote him as saying “Too much information constantly flows in to be fully processed.” That’s the same basic mistake that almost everybody is making.

    Good start, but surely you can spot more mistakes.

  27. J-Mac Post author

    vjtorley:
    Hi J-Mac,

    You can quote passages in the Bible for and against the immortality of the soul.

    For: 2 Corinthians 5:8, Philippians 1:23, Luke 23:43, Luke 16:19-31, Revelation 6:9-10.

    Against: Job 7:9-10, Job 10:20-22, Job 14:1-2, 20-21, Ecclesiastes 3:20-21, Ecclesiastes 9:5-6.

    There are also passages that lend support to the “soul-sleep” view – e.g. 1 Samuel 28:15, 1 Corinthians 15:6, 18, 51 and 1 Thessalonians 4:14.

    I’ve seen attempts to reconcile these passages, from various theological perspectives. All it proves to me is that the Bible is not a self-interpreting book.

    In the time of Christ, many Jews believed in the immortality of the soul, although many didn’t. Jesus appears to have accepted the doctrine, judging from his words in Luke 23:43 and his parable of the rich man and Lazarus. Of course, JWs (who, like Seventh Day Adventists and Christadelphians, deny the immortality of the soul) have their own way of explaining these passages!

    Thanks VJtorley,
    Do you happen to have any links to those interpretations by the minorities of Christianity other than to Wikipedia? I can’t seem to find much on the soul other than on wiki…
    Thanks, J-mac

  28. vjtorley

    Hi everyone,

    I’ll just say a few things about Penrose and Graziano.

    Penrose: His (and Hameroff’s) theory certainly merits consideration if you think you have good grounds for believing (as John Searle does) that consciousness is not a computational process. (And if you’re going to say it is a computational process, then you need to provide a robust definition of “computational.”)

    I’m particularly interested in this passage from the article: “Then in 2013, scientists in Japan announced that they had detected vibrations in microtubules, which, according to Penrose and Hameroff, seemed to show that the brain is not too warm and noisy for delicate quantum activity, and launched a new round of debate about the Orch-OR theory.” That certainly sounds like a promising area of research, and if it’s right, it refutes Tegmark’s criticisms of the theory.

    Although Penrose is coy on the subject, I think anything who believes in libertarian free will has to incorporate quantum mechanics into their theory of consciousness, as a necessary (but not sufficient) condition for free will. It’s not sufficient because randomness does not guarantee freedom; however, I would argue that randomness plus top-down constraints can do so.

    Regarding Graziano: Here, we are offered an explicitly computational theory of consciousness, and a quite detailed one at that. That’s one thing I liked about his work, when I first came across it while doing my Ph.D. research.

    One problem with Graziano’s theory of consciousness, in my opinion, is that it suffers from a surfeit of marker events in its history of how consciousness evolved on Earth.Did consciousness appear with the advent of:
    (a) selective signal enhancement in certain lineages of animals, 700 million years ago,
    (b) the vertebrate tectum (a centralized controller for attention that could coordinate among all senses), 520 million years ago,
    (c) the reptilian wulst, 300 to 350 million years ago,
    (d) the cortex (which is capable of covert attention by using an attention schema – “a constantly updated set of information that describes what covert attention is doing moment-by-moment and what its consequences are”), about 200 million years ago, or
    (e) language, some 70,000-plus years ago?

    Graziano apparently favors (d) (or is it (c)?), but I’ve read scientists who defend (b) or even (e). At any rate, Graziano’s view that consciousness arises as the by-product of an attention-monitoring device in our heads is a plausible one. We are, however, still left with one question which Thomas Nagel would certainly raise: given that the operations of an attention-monitoring device in our heads can be adequately described in the third person, how does such a device generate first-person experiences? Something to think about.

  29. John HarshmanJohn Harshman

    vjtorley: I would argue that randomness plus top-down constraints can [produce libertarian free will].

    If you would argue that, here is a good spot to start.

  30. Kantian NaturalistKantian Naturalist

    vjtorley: One problem with Graziano’s theory of consciousness, in my opinion, is that it suffers from a surfeit of marker events in its history of how consciousness evolved on Earth.Did consciousness appear with the advent of:
    (a) selective signal enhancement in certain lineages of animals, 700 million years ago,
    (b) the vertebrate tectum (a centralized controller for attention that could coordinate among all senses), 520 million years ago,
    (c) the reptilian wulst, 300 to 350 million years ago,
    (d) the cortex (which is capable of covert attention by using an attention schema – “a constantly updated set of information that describes what covert attention is doing moment-by-moment and what its consequences are”), about 200 million years ago, or
    (e) language, some 70,000-plus years ago?

    I don’t see that as a problem. There are very likely to be different kinds of consciousness, with different events marking transitions between those kinds. I’d be happier with many more stages between (d) and (e).

    We are, however, still left with one question which Thomas Nagel would certainly raise: given that the operations of an attention-monitoring device in our heads can be adequately described in the third person, how does such a device generate first-person experiences? Something to think about.

    I partly disagree with Nagel about this: I think that our attribution of mental states to ourselves is just like our attribution of mental states to others. Our awareness of our thoughts, feelings, desires, beliefs etc is just like our awareness of those in others (at least in a reasonable range of ‘normal’ cases).

    There’s still the question of the fact of awareness itself, or what some philosophers have been tempted to call “qualia”. I don’t think we’ll ever have a satisfactory causal explanation of awareness.

  31. petrushka

    Acartia: Listening to batshit77 makes me want to draw Occam’s Razor across my wrists.

    My doctor always said, if it hurts when you do that, then stop doing that.

  32. Kantian NaturalistKantian Naturalist

    Put otherwise: what Graziano is talking about (I gather) is something like, “how well can a cognitive system model itself as part of the system that it is modeling?” I think that’s a really interesting question, and an important one in cognitive science. And in some sense, that’s relevant to what philosophers care about when they talk about consciousness. But it’s not an explanation of the sheer fact of awareness itself or ‘pure awareness’.

  33. Robert Byers

    keiths:
    Vincent,

    Do you accept that the accounts are contradictory?In our earlier discussion, you seemed reluctant to give up the notion of Biblical inerrancy.And above, you interpreted the conflicting Biblical views of the soul as evidence not of the Bible’s internal inconsistency, which would be the straightforward conclusion, but of the fact that it is not “self-interpreting”.

    The Bible was written by a variety of people whose views, knowledge and perspectives differed, so it’s not surprising to see conflicts and contradictions in it.It’s not like there was a celestial Editor overseeing the process.

    AMEN. Thats the great great point.
    if the bible ws written by so many authors, over so many centuries, in so many cultural changes then the bible should EASILY be shown to contradict ityself on a million or so points.
    Yet it never contradicts itself, if you pay attention, as it wouldn’t if written by Gods insight and merely using a human copier.
    The bible is kicking consistent aboiut the afterlife. Any verses suggesting otherwise have not been read properly.
    AMEN however to your equation of criticism. The bible is consistent so much as to be easily seen as not coming from mankind.

  34. keithskeiths

    vjtorley:

    I would argue that randomness plus top-down constraints can [produce libertarian free will].

    John:

    If you would argue that, here is a good spot to start.

    Vincent laid out his argument here.

    I wasn’t persuaded, but I couldn’t voice my objections in that thread, having been banned from UD. Perhaps I’ll do so here.

  35. John HarshmanJohn Harshman

    keiths,
    I looked at Vince’s argument. Or rather, I looked for Vince’s argument but didn’t find one. First random events happen and then you choose among them. But no mention of just how you choose, which would be the free will bit. The relevant part is left out.

  36. PatrickPatrick

    Robert Byers:
    if the bible ws written by so many authors, over so many centuries, in so many cultural changes then the bible should EASILY be shown to contradict ityself on a million or so points.
    Yet it never contradicts itself
    . . . .

    Yes, it does. If you disagree, please address the hundreds of contradictions documented in the linked page.

  37. vjtorley

    Hi John Harshman,

    Regarding how you choose, you might like to have a look at my post here: http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/coynes-latest-defense-of-determinism-why-it-fails/

    See especially this part:

    Choices are holistic events in the brain, which constrain not only the spatial pattern but also the temporal pattern of neuronal firings in the brain, leaving them random at the micro-level, but imposing a distinctive pattern at the macro-level, which varies with the choice being made. A choice, I would suggest, is not typically made at a point in time; rather, it usually occurs over a segment of time – for instance, the length of time taken to perform a deliberate bodily movement (which may be seconds, minutes or even hours in some cases).

    Finally, it may be asked how the brain could possess the ability to “discard” (or veto) an ensemble of micro-level states in the brain which does not correspond to the desired macro-level pattern – just as I did when I kept the columns of digits whose sum was 1, and eliminated the rest. The scientific answer is that a combination of feedback and feed-forward processes is known to regulate our voluntary movements, and that the brain continually makes minor adjustments to the motor impulses associated with these movements, even as it executes them. [See also here.] Exactly how it aggregates signals in different regions and rules out the ones it doesn’t want is a question I’ll leave to scientists who study the brain. All that concerns us here is that the aggregation of signals is known to occur in the brain, in connection with motor tasks, so the question of mechanism is a purely academic one.

    Hope that helps. Sorry for my brief response.

  38. John HarshmanJohn Harshman

    vjtorley: See especially this part

    That sounds exactly like compatibilist free will. I can’t tell how you think you have turned it into libertarian free will.

  39. Kantian NaturalistKantian Naturalist

    I believe this is also relevant: The Mathematics of Mind-Time by Karl Friston. Three sample passages to whet your appetite:

    “Conscious processing is about inferring the causes of sensory states, and thereby navigating the world to elude surprises. While natural selection performs inference by selecting among different creatures, consciousness performs inference by selecting among different states of the same creature (in particular, its brain). There is a vast amount of anatomical and physiological evidence in support of this notion. If one regards the brain as a self-evidencing organ of inference, almost every one of its anatomical and physiological aspects seems geared to minimise surprise. For example, our brains represent where something is and what something is in different areas. This makes sense, because knowing what something is does not generally tell you where it is and vice versa. This sort of internalisation of the causal structure of the world ‘out there’ reflects the fact that to predict one’s own states you must have an internal model of how such sensations are generated.”

    “What distinguishes conscious and non-conscious creatures is the way they make inferences about action and time. This part of my argument rests upon the reciprocal relationship between the system and the world. The world acts on the system to provide the sensory impressions that form the basis of inference. Meanwhile, the system acts upon the world to change the flow of sensations to fit with the model of the world it has discerned. This is just another description of the cycle of action and perception; for example, we look, we see, and we infer where to look next.”

    “The proposal on offer here is that the mind comes into being when self-evidencing has a temporal thickness or counterfactual depth, which grounds the inferences it can make about the consequences of future actions. There’s no real reason for minds to exist; they appear to do so simply because existence itself is the end-point of a process of reasoning. Consciousness, I’d contend, is nothing grander than inference about my future.”

  40. J-Mac Post author

    vjtorley,

    Both Hameroff and Cunnignham believe in eternal soul because of the law of quantum mechanics called “…the conservation of quantum information which means that information cannot be created nor destroyed.”

    I have spent the last few days trying to explain it in terms of non-existence of the eternal soul and I thought I was onto something but I have since discarded it…

    Here are the quotes from Cunningham’s video and docs:

    “What is information? – animated video (May 2016)
    Quote: “If information is not (physically) real then neither are we”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AvIOzVJMCM

    Although the preceding is certainly very strong evidence for the physical reality of immaterial information,the coup de grace for demonstrating that immaterial information is its own distinct physical entity, separate from matter and energy, is Quantum Teleportation:

    Quantum Teleportation Enters the Real World – September 19, 2016
    Excerpt: Two separate teams of scientists have taken quantum teleportation from the lab into the real world.
    Researchers working in Calgary, Canada and Hefei, China, used existing fiber optics networks to transmit small units of information across cities via quantum entanglement — Einstein’s “spooky action at a distance.”,,,
    This isn’t teleportation in the “Star Trek” sense — the photons aren’t disappearing from one place and appearing in another. Instead, it’s the information that’s being teleported through quantum entanglement.,,,
    ,,, it is only the information that gets teleported from one place to another.
    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2016/09/19/quantum-teleportation-enters-real-world/#.V-HqWNEoDtR

    Moreover, this physically real quantum information which is shown to have, contrary to Landauer’s assertion, an existence that is separate from matter and energy, is also found to be ‘conserved’. That is to say, ‘the conservation of quantum information means that information cannot be created nor destroyed.’

    Quantum no-hiding theorem experimentally confirmed for first time
    Excerpt: In the classical world, information can be copied and deleted at will. In the quantum world, however, the conservation of quantum information means that information cannot be created nor destroyed. This concept stems from two fundamental theorems of quantum mechanics: the no-cloning theorem and the no-deleting theorem. A third and related theorem, called the no-hiding theorem, addresses information loss in the quantum world. According to the no-hiding theorem, if information is missing from one system (which may happen when the system interacts with the environment), then the information is simply residing somewhere else in the Universe; in other words, the missing information cannot be hidden in the correlations between a system and its environment.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/2011-03-quantum-no-hiding-theorem-experimentally.html

    Quantum no-deleting theorem
    Excerpt: A stronger version of the no-cloning theorem and the no-deleting theorem provide permanence to quantum information. To create a copy one must import the information from some part of the universe and to delete a state one needs to export it to another part of the universe where it will continue to exist.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_no-deleting_theorem#Consequence

    As well this physically real quantum information, which cannot be created or destroyed, is also now found in molecular biology on a massive scale. In every DNA and protein molecule:

    “What happens is this classical information (of DNA) is embedded, sandwiched, into the quantum information (of DNA). And most likely this classical information is never accessed because it is inside all the quantum information. You can only access the quantum information or the electron clouds and the protons. So mathematically you can describe that as a quantum/classical state.”
    Elisabeth Rieper – Classical and Quantum Information in DNA – video (Longitudinal Quantum Information resides along the entire length of DNA discussed at the 19:30 minute mark; at 24:00 minute mark Dr Rieper remarks that practically the whole DNA molecule can be viewed as quantum information with classical information embedded within it)
    https://youtu.be/2nqHOnVTxJE?t=1176

    Quantum coherent-like state observed in a biological protein for the first time – October 13, 2015
    Excerpt: If you take certain atoms and make them almost as cold as they possibly can be, the atoms will fuse into a collective low-energy quantum state called a Bose-Einstein condensate. In 1968 physicist Herbert Fröhlich predicted that a similar process at a much higher temperature could concentrate all of the vibrational energy in a biological protein into its lowest-frequency vibrational mode. Now scientists in Sweden and Germany have the first experimental evidence of such so-called Fröhlich condensation (in proteins).,,,
    The real-world support for Fröhlich’s theory (for proteins) took so long to obtain because of the technical challenges of the experiment, Katona said.
    http://phys.org/news/2015-10-quantum-coherent-like-state-biological-protein.html

    Quantum criticality in a wide range of important biomolecules
    Excerpt: “Most of the molecules taking part actively in biochemical processes are tuned exactly to the transition point and are critical conductors,” they say.
    That’s a discovery that is as important as it is unexpected. “These findings suggest an entirely new and universal mechanism of conductance in biology very different from the one used in electrical circuits.”
    The permutations of possible energy levels of biomolecules is huge so the possibility of finding even one that is in the quantum critical state by accident is mind-bogglingly small and, to all intents and purposes, impossible.,, of the order of 10^-50 of possible small biomolecules and even less for proteins,”,,,
    “what exactly is the advantage that criticality confers?”
    https://medium.com/the-physics-arxiv-blog/the-origin-of-life-and-the-hidden-role-of-quantum-criticality-ca4707924552

    Besides providing direct empirical falsification of Landauer’s claim, and neo-Darwinian claims in general, claims that say immaterial information does not exist apart from its representation on a physical medium, the implication of finding ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, and ‘conserved’, quantum information in molecular biology on such a massive scale, in every DNA and protein molecule, is fairly, and pleasantly, obvious.
    That pleasant implication, or course, being the fact that we now have very strong physical evidence directly implying that we do indeed have an eternal soul that lives beyond the death of our material bodies.
    In the following video Stuart Hameroff states ‘it’s possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body. Perhaps indefinitely as a soul.”

    “Let’s say the heart stops beating. The blood stops flowing. The microtubules lose their quantum state. But the quantum information, which is in the microtubules, isn’t destroyed. It can’t be destroyed. It just distributes and dissipates to the universe at large. If a patient is resuscitated, revived, this quantum information can go back into the microtubules and the patient says, “I had a near death experience. I saw a white light. I saw a tunnel. I saw my dead relatives.,,” Now if they’re not revived and the patient dies, then it’s possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body. Perhaps indefinitely as a soul.”
    – Stuart Hameroff – Quantum Entangled Consciousness – Life After Death – video (5:00 minute mark)

    https://youtu.be/jjpEc98o_Oo?t=300

    I think there is a logical explanation that incorporates the conservation of quantum information that could be responsible for human consciousness and free will as faculties of human brain whether in microtubules or somewhere else, (since that information cannot be created nor destroyed) without including the eternal soul.

    Do you have any thoughts? Anybody?

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