Guest blogging for Manuary at fMh

Check out my post at fMh for Manuary!

A movie about not consciousness

With some software (HT/Matsby) I made a movie about not consciousness:

Discuss.

If McCoy was a physicalist he was right not to trust the transporter

Pondering on those who argue consciousness is purely a physical phenomenon one day, I designed a thought experiment, (but shortly found that it was an elaboration of a thought experiment, proposed by McGinn in 1999 (although I think mine carries more oomph)).

Leonard McCoy, the doctor in the original Star Trek TV series, did not trust the transporter, a device that beamed you from one place to another by splitting you up into your constituent atoms and sending them from here to there in the blink of an eye and reassembling them on the other side. He was very unsettled about being broken down and being put back together (perhaps he had seen the 1950s movie The Fly and had been concerned about the potential for error in such a machine). But there may be a bigger problem than McCoy realized. Continue reading If McCoy was a physicalist he was right not to trust the transporter

Flying Monkeys Illustrate the Evolution of Religion (as I win a bike race against an invisible rider)

To get at the possibility of the evolution of spirituality let’s take a diversion into current attempts by evolutionary biologists to explain the evolution of religion. Pascal Boyer speculates that religion arose as part of evolving human cognitive abilities.

First, the mind evolved to the point it was able to imagine possibilities that do not exist in reality. We can consider counterfactuals. We can combine the stuff of thought in new ways that suggests possible worlds that really have no necessary tie to reality. Continue reading Flying Monkeys Illustrate the Evolution of Religion (as I win a bike race against an invisible rider)

This is your brain on spirituality

Note: For these next few posts I am assuming that evolution by natural selection is true. If you still harbor notions that Mormonism and evolution are incommensurable or that intelligent design has any validity I invite you to revisit some of of the earlier posts on this topic here, here, here, and here. For now we will just stipulate Darwinism’s truth.

This staatement from modern neurobiology sounds unsettling: Spirituality takes place by activating areas in the frontal and temporal lobes and turning down activity in the right parietal lobe. Continue reading This is your brain on spirituality