Keith Augustine in "The Myth of an Afterlife"

Discussion in 'Consciousness & Science' started by Ian Wardell, Aug 18, 2016.

  1. Ian Wardell

    Ian Wardell New

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    My latest blog entry regarding the arguments made in "The Myth of an Afterlife" that science favours the notion we cease to exist when we die, and that a disembodied soul could not perceive, think, feel, and deliberate.

    An excerpt:

    "[A]re there any alternative hypotheses? Even if materialism should be false, doesn't the fact that mental capacities vary according to the intricacy and condition of one’s brain show that consciousness, or the mind, could not exist without the brain? Specifically, what about Augustine's and Fishman's claim that a disembodied soul or self would not be able to 'perceive, think, feel, and deliberate'?"

    Read more and enjoy here!

    http://ian-wardell.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/keith-augustine-in-myth-of-afterlife.html
     
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  2. Ian Wardell

    Ian Wardell New

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    Umm . . . I'm speechless . . .
     
  3. E.Flowers

    E.Flowers New

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    The archives are full of debates on Augustine, but I doubt that people are really interested in him any longer. There was a particular debate where his portrayal of the Reynolds case was weighted against the words of the MD that was directly involved with the operation... And which made him look quite manipulative. Smithy et al.'s latest book also discredited the argument that he was so adamant in defending by going to the source.
     
  4. Ian Wardell

    Ian Wardell New

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    My blog entry is mostly philosophical. I don't make any mention of any of the evidence for an afterlife. Indeed my whole blog is virtually devoid of any mention of the evidence for an afterlife.

    I was hoping what I said might be of some interest to one or two people. I've read the whole of "the myth of an afterlife". Do people truly have no interest in my thoughts??

    The thing is if the mind-body correlations compel the notion that the brain produces consciousness, then all the evidence for an afterlife is irrelevant since it couldn't possibly mean what it straightforwardly seems to mean. So this claim that the mind-brain correlations prove, or provide extremely strong evidence, that the brain produces the mind, needs to be addressed.

    BTW David Bailey, I'm "Interesting Ian", the guy who used to go on this forum at the old place. I'm not a skeptic!
     
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  5. malf

    malf Member

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    :D
     
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  6. I follow your blog Ian, just haven't gotten around to this post.

    So no worries, you do have fans.
     
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  7. Kamarling

    Kamarling Member

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    This is precisely what confused me. But I'm not sure whether it is the blog post or David's response that is the most confusing. I'll need to read both again to grasp what's being said.
     
  8. Obiwan

    Obiwan Member

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    I remember chatting to Keith Augustine on another blog(or it may have been the previous version of this one). I can't say I was impressed, he didn't seem to have studied much of the material he criticised and came across as a man on a mission to me.
     
  9. Ian Wardell

    Ian Wardell New

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    OK I emailed Keith Augustine. And he's responded. Not sure if he'll approve of me repeating his email here but he did say:


    "f I do reply to your critique, I think I would prefer
    to do so on the Secular Outpost blog or some similar venue"


    Well at least someone is showing an interest if not you guys! :D
     
  10. Ian Wardell

    Ian Wardell New

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    Yes, hope Keith is not likewise confused and thinks I'm supporting his arguments!
     
  11. Ian Thompson

    Ian Thompson Member

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    Ian: don't be put off by strange posters here, namely those who cannot think outside the forum box.

    Public discussion is still needed, even if much has been said before. For example, Augustine's book was reviewed again just today, and (surprisingly) favorably. See http://pelicanist.blogspot.com/2016/08/what-lies-beyond.html.
    No matter what has been said before on this forum, pushing back against bad arguments is very often necessary.
     
  12. Kamarling

    Kamarling Member

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    I said I was confused because I know (Interesting) Ian from way back on the old Skeptiko forum. Yet David B seemed to be responding to Ian as though Ian agreed with Augustine.

    Having read the blog post again, I don't find myself in disagreement with Ian so it must be David's reply that confuses me.
     
  13. Ian Wardell

    Ian Wardell New

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    Review says:

    When critically examined makes no sense?? How so? This is just a bald assertion that has not been substantiated. Nor is it substantiated in the 700 page book itself either -- not anywhere in it. The bottom line is that it is not possible for consciousness to be scientifically explained as science is currently conceived. The fact there is no evidence from neurology is a red herring. There's also no evidence from the internal structure of a prism that the coloured light could exist without the prism. Yeah, but who cares? White light can.

    The author also seems to be insinuating that someone like me "argues" against the notion that consciousness is the product of the brain because of religious convictions? But the motivations for the arguments are an irrelevancy, they have to be addressed on their own terms.


    Yes precisely. So in order for the analogy to apply then likewise the self cannot change. All the authors of this volume define the self as essentially being one's current mind, one's intelligence, memories etc. Which means they don't just reject a "life after death", they also have to reject the notion that we have survived from childhood to adulthood. Or even that we have survived after a few beers! They didn't have to write a 700 page book, just point this out.

    But it seems to me the self is one's inner essence, that which makes me me, that indelible sense of a self which has persisted from childhood to adulthood, despite my beliefs, hopes, dispositions, emotional reactions, memories all being different. None of these constitute the self/soul rather they are properties or attributes of the self/soul. So they can change without the self literally changing i.e we do not go through existential change but mere alterational change (Consider a table. We could paint it a different colour. That's alterational change. It's the same table, but has been altered slightly. But now consider destroying a table, and putting in it's place a table looking identical. That's existential change.)

    In short it's this conception of the self they need to consider (perhaps other conceptions too).
     
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  14. Ian Wardell

    Ian Wardell New

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    Wrote what I said in my previous post as a comment underneath that review. But it has to be approved! So probably won't appear.
     
  15. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I'm not surprised!

    OK - Sorry, I rushed a response here and got completely the wrong end of the stick! Probably a sign of my getting older!

    David
     
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  16. Ian Wardell

    Ian Wardell New

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    The thing is the prism couldn't produce the coloured light all by itself. And the same applies to the brain producing consciousness -- unless it's simply a brute fact about reality.

    We can of course understand how a prism alters light, where as we don't understand how the brain could alter consciousness. But if we introduce something else besides the brain -- a self or soul -- then at least it is conceivable that some expanded physics might be able to explain such an influence.

    Of course Keith and co will insist that the self -- what we are -- is analogically akin to the coloured light rather than the white light. But I simply don't agree. That would mean I will cease to exist tonight since I intend to have a few beers!
     
  17. E.Flowers

    E.Flowers New

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    The reviewer may very well be betraying his own bias by making a direct assertion instead of crediting Augustine for it. A recurrent problem, it seems.

    PS- I love being a 'strange poster' and wish to replace the text in that little box (that says "New") under my name with that epithet.
     
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  18. E.Flowers

    E.Flowers New

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    As experiments like the delayed choice quantum eraser, etc. keep getting more sophisticated, we are nearing a point where we are going to have to question exactly which role the observer has in such systems (is it passive? Are Von Neumann chains real?) since the excuses are running out (measurement devices being an all-time favorite). If it isn't passive, people like KA are going to be having a lot of fun trying to reconcile why epiphenomena that bound to a mass of flesh is able to directly interact with and influence the more intricate fibers of reality.

    Neurology/neuroscience suffer from an isolation that blinds those involved to the interesting developments in other sciences.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2016

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