Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Unity of Consciousness and the Split-Brain Syndrome

An excellent paper on why split-brain cases don't show to separate streams of consciousness. http://www.philosophy.ox.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/2757/split-brain_web.pdf. I talked about split brain patient cases before presenting reasons why it doesn't show two separate streams of consciousness well there is more reasons as well.

Split–brain cases do not show the results we would expect if two fully independent, separate streams of consciousness were being generated by callosotomy; subjects can for instance continue to operate both halves of their bodies in unity and perform sometimes highly complex tasks. The evidence, therefore is more compatible with phenomenal unity without joint access (thus, the side of the brain responsible for speech cannot access the contents of that which is seen by the right side of the brain, even though both are contained within a single stream of subjective consciousness). This conclusion is also more parsimonious; and since the two–separate–streams hypothesis is (unlike dualism) an empirical one (instead of metaphysical), considerations of parsimony apply. Therefore, split–brain cases pose no serious difficulty to phenomenal unity, and thus in turn pose no serious difficulty towards dualism.

See also several other papers from Tim Bayne, including an important one with David Chalmers titled ‘What is the Unity of Consciousness?’ as well as from Torin Alter.

Incidentally, subjects born without a corpus callosum altogether, as well as those with agenesis of the corpus callosum, do not experience even the relatively mild symptoms which callosotomy patients do.

What we have here is one subject with a fragmented brain, not the sudden appearance of two ‘persons’ in one skull as some argue. Peter Ellis’ paper, ‘The Decider System Model: A Defense of the Cartesian Theatre’ is also of important relevance both to those interested in criticism of Dennett’s theories as well as the import of callosotomy experiments to philosophy of mind.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Rebuttal to physicist Sean Carroll article "We don't have immortal souls"

I like to rebut the most important points in the article. Here is the link to the article http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/2011/05/23/physics-and-the-immortality-of-the-soul/#more-6819

He mentions Sean- "Claims that some form of consciousness persists after our bodies die and decay into their constituent atoms face one huge, insuperable obstacle: the laws of physics underlying everyday life are completely understood, and there’s no way within those laws to allow for the information stored in our brains to persist after we die. If you claim that some form of soul persists beyond death, what particles is that soul made of? What forces are holding it together? How does it interact with ordinary matter"?

Leo- The laws of physics don't cover the whole of reality. Consciousness has an objective and subjective nature too it I think so its made of a different type of matter that is dual with the ordinary matter we have.

Sean- "Everything we know about quantum field theory (QFT) says that there aren’t any sensible answers to these questions. Of course, everything we know about quantum field theory could be wrong. Also, the Moon could be made of green cheese.

Leo- QFT opens the door that there can be souls.


Sean- Even if you don’t believe that human beings are “simply” collections of atoms evolving and interacting according to rules laid down in the Standard Model of particle physics, most people would grudgingly admit that atoms are part of who we are. If it’s really nothing but atoms and the known forces, there is clearly no way for the soul to survive death. Believing in life after death, to put it mildly, requires physics beyond the Standard Model. Most importantly, we need some way for that “new physics” to interact with the atoms that we do have.

Leo- The standard model of physics is known to be wrong. This is why physicists are looking for a unified theory of physics. Atoms (matter) are dual with the soul. No one who thinks a soul maybe true says that the soul is nothing but atoms and the known forces.


Sean- How is the spirit energy supposed to interact with us? Here is the equation that tells us how electrons behave in the everyday world:

[it's the Dirac equation.] . . . As far as every experiment ever done is concerned, this equation is the correct description of how electrons behave at everyday energies. It’s not a complete description; we haven’t included the weak nuclear force, or couplings to hypothetical particles like the Higgs boson. But that’s okay, since those are only important at high energies and/or short distances, very far from the regime of relevance to the human brain. If you believe in an immaterial soul that interacts with our bodies, you need to believe that this equation is not right, even at everyday energies. There needs to be a new term (at minimum) on the right, representing how the soul interacts with electrons. . .

Leo- This is assuming that because we cannot find a soul in a laboratory that it must mean it doesn't exist.

Sean- . . Nobody ever asks these questions out loud, possibly because of how silly they sound. Once you start asking them, the choice you are faced with becomes clear: either overthrow everything we think we have learned about modern physics, or distrust the stew of religious accounts/unreliable testimony/wishful thinking that makes people believe in the possibility of life after death. It’s not a difficult decision, as scientific theory-choice goes.

Indeed! Those who specify the existence of souls and afterlives in this scientific era must do more than issue fuzzy-minded gobbledygook. They must specify more precisely what they’re talking about, and how it’s supposed to work. If we’re supposed to survive after death, what part of us survives, and how? And what is this soul, exactly? We’re no longer in the Middle Ages, so theologians who make empirical claims must be empirically specific. There are biological questions as well. The first ones that occurs to me are these: where, exactly, in the human lineage did the soul emerge? (Or do other species have souls?) Was it put into that lineage by God, or did it evolve? If instilled by God, when? And where in our body does it reside? If we retain our memories and personalities in the afterlife, how do they exist without neurons?

Leo- Nowhere does he mention parallel universes and how they can shade light on these questions, nor does he mention how the observer our consciousness seems to be able to collapse the wave function in quantum mechanics. Neither does he mention the fact that atoms are made of mostly empty space. Also neither does he mention that particle appear to be in supposition two places at once. Also that particles can be entangled at large distances across space (Quantum Entanglement). If he did mention these his argument would be far more weaker. The soul is a duplicate of the physical body it vibrates that a higher frequency at death. The soul uses ESP and Telepathy as some of its spiritual senses (opposite of the physical senses).


Sean- Very roughly speaking, when most people think about an immaterial soul that persists after death, they have in mind some sort of blob of spirit energy that takes up residence near our brain, and drives around our body like a soccer mom driving an SUV. The questions are these: what form does that spirit energy take, and how does it interact with our ordinary atoms? Not only is new physics required, but dramatically new physics. Within QFT, there can’t be a new collection of “spirit particles” and “spirit forces” that interact with our regular atoms, because we would have detected them in existing experiments. Ockham’s razor is not on your side here, since you have to posit a completely new realm of reality obeying very different rules than the ones we know.

- Yes and quantum physics strongly indicate a hidden reality that can have very different rules than the ones we know.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Compiled list of spiritual/afterlife songs

I'll wait for you by Joe Nichols



Heaven by Bryan Adams



Ordinary Miracle by Sarah McLachlan



Temporary Home by Carrie Underwood



Who you'd be today by Kenny Chesney



When I get Where I am going by Brad Paisley



Tears in Heaven by Eric Clapton



See you on the otherside by Ozzy Osbourne



I miss you by Blink 182



Heaven by Warrant



When I see you again by Emerson Drive



Forever by Vertical Horizon



Heaven by Live



I saw God today



Meatloaf all coming back to me now



What a wonderful world by Louis Armstrong



Without you by Motley Crue



Crossroads by Bone Thugs N Harmony



Sissy's song by Alan Jackson


I Believe by Brooks N Dunn



God only cries by Diamond Rio



You'll be in my heart by Phil Collins



Take a look through my eyes by Phil Collins



Parellel Universe by Red Hot Chili Peppers



The Otherside by Aerosmith



If you came back from heaven by Lorrie Morgan



Nothing takes the place of you by Toussaint McCall



New Soul by Yael Naim



Unchained Melody by the Righteous Brothers



Immortality by Celine Dion featuring the Bee Gees



The Highway man by the Highway Men



Love me by Collin Raye



I will not say Goodbye by Danny Gokey



Dixie Lullaby by Pat Green



Whiskey Lullaby by Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss