Sunday, November 18, 2012

Prominent Scientists Claim to Discover Our Soul


See the following articles:
Recently a number of articles, like those above, have appeared which express the opinion of two prominent physical scientists that claim to have proved the existence of a soul which survives our physical death. They define the soul as information and show that quantum entanglement demonstrates that information carried by a particle can remain accessible even after its extinction.
The phenomenon of Quantum Entanglement is used as evidence of the existence of information carried by a particle, entangled with another, even after the particle is absorbed. For the sake of argument, I will assume that the interpretation placed on such experiments is correct, that in fact information carried by physical matter is preserved even after that matter is converted to energy and so could be loosely said to be annihilated.
This of course says nothing much about consciousness and its survival after physical death, but it does provide support for a possible connection of such a subjective hypothesis to objective science.
I myself find the argument that our consciousness cannot be a property of physical matter convincing of the non-material nature of consciousness and therefore our soul. I believe that I can prove that statement by proving that there is no possibility of an objective way to detect the existence of consciousness.
I maintain that all physical properties, including any emergent physical properties, must necessarily be physically, objectively detectable. Some have argued against that proposition, saying that emergent properties need only be subjectively detectable. However that definition essentially defines, with no justification, all subjectivity and all subjective experiences, which are based on our consciousness and include consciousness, as emergent properties. If that definition is accepted, then emergent properties can include non-physical properties and no one can possibly prove objectively that non-physical properties, however they are brought about, arise out of matter.
All the science which studies our brains and their function and relates it to our subjective experiences only shows correlates of brain action to subjective experiences. Correlation is no proof of causation and therefore no current observations show any causation of consciousness, that is we have no idea what causes consciousness. It is impossible and will always remain impossible to prove objectively that any particular physical phenomena are the causes of consciousness. The justifications of this statement are in my Kindle book.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Evolution and The Mind of God


I believe an intelligent, loving God created a completely law-governed Universe, enabling us to enjoy discovering and understanding those laws, using our knowledge to improve our lives, exploring their consequences, and thus participate with Him in His creation process.
Intelligent design proponents, use gaps in Darwinian theory as evidence for a God of gaps. But why would God, creating a Universe according to, logical, discoverable laws, insert gaps indicating His participation?
Do they claim that not even an omnipotent creator can create such wonder, based solely on laws? Do they know the Mind of God?
Why would He need gaps for us to appreciate how intelligent His creation is? Why not let us continue closing those gaps, to understand how great a creator He must be, who can create such wonder and complexity, based on discoverable laws?
Philosophical materialists premise that if all gaps close, then no need for God. For intelligent design proponents this premise must be the source of their fear. But that premise, that if I understand all the steps of a process, I understand the reason for it, is patently false.
Their approach is like that of a cave man, who jumping across time turns scientist, then using reductionism, analyzes a DVD of Beethoven’s fifth and the laws that govern, but never appreciates the music nor the composer.
The big questions are about subjective issues, about the question "Why?" and so cannot be answered through reductionism, which only answers the question "How?"
Reductionism inevitably leads to the holy grail of physics - an equation for the Theory of Everything.
So why is that not a satisfactory answer to the big questions? Because those very questions are about the subjective "Why?" requiring subjective explanations. Bluntly put, studying the mechanics of my foot does not help me understand why I stubbed my toe.
We want to know the nature and totality of discoverable reality, the source of that reality, why we are alive, our lives’ purpose, is there a greater reality, and so on, questions science is not equipped to answer.
Materialists posit such questions as unanswerable. If true, then life makes no sense - a defeatist proposition - for how can we continue discovering if we close our minds to possibilities other than reductionist ones?
For materialists, God also leaves an unanswerable question - why does God exist? True. So ultimately the choice is between the reductionist answer - explaining everything in terms of an equation - or an answer at the highest level, explaining everything, including that equation, in terms of God.
The difference between these possibilities is profound, because the first is closed to further questions - you cannot ask “Whence the equation?” -  whereas the second is quite open to unlimited further questioning of His plan. The second can explain many of the big questions - the first one has not a chance.
Which one would you pick?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Barbara Walters 20/20 ABC Special on Heaven


On July 6, 2012, the ABC program special on Heaven and Hell attempted to present the topic in an unbiased way, but I believe failed badly in that respect. The topic is quite deep, but it was presented shallowly, which made justice to the topic impossible. Granting the limitation of time and its consequent shallowness, the presentation was still biased on the side of atheism.
For example, on near death experiences, the presentation of a few experiencers limited their contribution to only their perception of the reality of their experiences of heaven. Then to counter that was the testimony of a purported brain researcher whose only contribution was to assert that she had explained these experiences in terms of the actions of a dying brain.
If Barbara Walters had probed her a little further, she would have no doubt found the usual false arguments based on implied false assumptions, which non-believers in the reality of these experiences always put forward. Not one, of the many counter opinions, based on credible research of near death experiences, and showing that they cannot be explained medically, was even mentioned.
The American Atheist president, Ellen Johnson, was only asked if there is a Heaven, or Hell, to which she obviously replied that there was not and that we were not alive before our birth and we will not live after our deaths. What else could we have expected! Similarly, the geneticist Dean Hammer talked about a “God gene” that proved nothing about Heaven or spirituality. In fact if anything, it raised important questions of how and why could such a gene be created by evolution. An obvious further question could be asked if the presence of such an unlikely gene might indicate our creator’s hand to push us to explore such topics.
The most common implied and false premise, in this and similar cases, is that correlation (or association) of brain activity with the attendant human experience implies its causation. Scientists know that they must avoid such a false premise in all their work, unfortunately many do not observe this caution when discussing subjective issues.
As one example of how such a premise can lead to serious error, Wikipedia quotes the initial false conclusion of a drug trial. (See:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correlation_does_not_imply_causation)
A further false argument, often based on that premise, is that if by a magnetic or probing action of the brain we can induce some aspect of a near death experience, then that experience must not be real. As a simple example of how false such a premise is, consider the fact that all our experiences, whether real or imagined, are correlated with some action of our brains. Therefore if by probing the brain, whether magnetically or some other way, I cause a person to sense a presence behind them, or to see a light, I would be ridiculed if I concluded that therefore all such sensations, when not induced by brain probing, were not real.
I have not seen a credible argument by any atheists, which is not based on demolishing a straw man, that there is no reality outside of the physical world. On the contrary, in my Kindle book “A Scientist;s God” I have presented arguments that our experiences prove we are more than matter. I invite anyone who thinks they have a credible argument explaining NDEs, in physical terms only, to post their opinions here.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Fundamentalist’s Beliefs And Science

We examine here the question whether it is possible to reconcile the belief by some Christians that the creation of Adam and Eve, our first parents, occurred some 6,000 years ago, whereas many scientists show that numerous life forms already existed 3.5 billion years ago and homininae existed around 5 million years ago.
If a reconciliation is possible, then both statements must be true.
It is generally assumed that Adam and Eve were conscious beings experiencing full subjectivity like us. However if all their predecessors were not conscious beings, then there is no conflict between the two views. Adam and Eve are the first conscious beings.
Consciousness has not been shown to be necessary for evolution of life, nor has its purpose been explained by evolution. If we believe, as I show in my book, that consciousness and all our subjective experiences are proof of our non-material nature, the existence of our soul, then we should be able to accept the possibility that the bible story describes a simplistic picture of the start of conscious beings on earth, although I do not mean to imply that I believe in the reality of such a possibility.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

About Consciousness

The confusion which reigns supreme on the subject of consciousness is due to the fact that nobody has an objective valid definition of consciousness, or indeed any subjective human experience, and nobody can have one, as I hope to explain. As a result of this impossibility of defining consciousness, people talk about things that are not really consciousness or a subjective experience - just the physical phenomena, such as brain waves, brain responses to stimuli etc., which may be correlates of consciousness, but cannot be consciousness itself because correlation does not imply causation. That is an obvious and accepted principle of good science, that some scientists in the field of consciousness seem to regularly ignore.
To understand clearly the place of consciousness in science, we must distinguish between objective science and subjective science. Objective science involves itself exclusively with the rules governing the behavior of matter. Subjective science deals with the personal, individual experiences of each human being.
All objective phenomena must be detectable and measurable entirely by material means. This implies that experiments to detect any property of matter must be possible to perform using material means only and not having to rely on the truth of reporting a human experience. This means that consciousness and all of our subjective experiences cannot be material properties because if they were they would be detectable by physical means, and not just through their correlation with physical phenomena.
For example, in physics a magnetic field, though invisible, is absolutely correlated with the current in a wire. The magnetic field can be independently detected by its properties of inducing a current in a wire. The magnetic field is therefore detectable physically. Its definition is easily expressed in terms of its properties. It can be detected and is defined entirely by its physical properties. There is nothing beyond those physical properties in a magnetic field. Anything that has those detectable physical properties is by definition a magnetic field. Therefore physical instruments can detect a magnetic field through its properties and any person can repeat such detection to confirm its validity.
Nothing of that nature is possible concerning consciousness. Consciousness, being a human experience, is by definition a subjective. The only possible verification of any subjective experience is by the experiencer. You cannot verify my experience, because only I experience it and I cannot verify yours because only you experience it. Therefore we cannot provide an objective definition of consciousness.
Subjective experiences are by definition the experience of an individual and no individual can testify objectively to any experience of another. It is a reasonable belief that we all experience certain subjectivities in similar ways, but that is a belief, not an objective fact. Objectively I cannot even prove that any of you reading this are subjective beings, experiencing all that I experience, rather than zombies, acting in every way like a subjective being, but not experiencing anything.
And that is the core of the matter of consciousness. To say that the definition of the experience of the color red is the activation of certain parts of the brain, is incorrect. All that can be said is that whatever this “red” experience is, the respective parts of the brain are activated during that experience in those subjects we have tested. Again, any such observations of brain activity signify only the correlation of a reported experience (subjective) and the objective detection of brain activation, and not a detection of the experience itself, which can never be detected, because it is only experienced by the individual.
That is also the reason we can never come up with the definition of consciousness. To say that our consciousness is an illusion, as some physicalists would have it, is an unreasonable, self-inconsistent and circular proposition which can never be objectively proved. It demands a definition of “illusion” which is also a subjective and so has no possibility of an objective definition. In addition, an illusion refers to a person’s conscious experience and therefore relies on consciousness, the very word that is being defined! No material object can experience an illusion, only conscious beings can experience an illusion and whether consciousness is an illusion or real can never be tested objectively because there is no objective way of testing for consciousness. Here I assume that illusions are subjective experiences of physical events that can be objectively tested for their veracity. So for example if one moment I see an object in the hands of a magician and the next moment I do not see it, leading me to conclude that it has disappeared, I see an illusion whose lack of veracity can be physically tested. 
If anyone believes such illusion statements about consciousness, they should consider how they would respond to the doctor telling them that the pain they feel in their back is an illusion! I know what I experience, but I cannot define it and neither can you, whose experience may be quite different from mine. 
The only explanation of the mind-body problem, which can explain all the numerous experiences in the field which are now being reported, is that the mind is the seat of our consciousness, it is the real us, and is quite different from the body and a separate non-material entity, an entity which can only experience the physical world using the physical brain and body as its instrument.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Rationality And Belief In God - Article In Nature


An interesting article, titled “Thinking can undermine religious faith, study finds” appeared in the LA Times on April 26. It is about an article in Nature, published the same day titled “Is rationality the enemy of religion?” authored by Psychologists Will Gervais and Ara Norenzayan, which reports a study of the correlation between people who are good at thinking through correctly certain math type problems and their religious convictions.
Both articles have provocative and misleading headlines, most probably purposefully. Most headlines are provocative on purpose so as to grab the maximum number of readers. However the content of the LA Times article is also misleading. The authors of the study quite clearly state that the correlation is just that - a correlation, not any indication of a causation. However the LA Times article implies causation - that the ability to think logically makes logical thinkers non-believers.
Analytical thinkers in objective matters and a belief in God and spirituality, which is a subjective matter, may well be negatively correlated. I can think of at least one reason why that might be and it does not imply that analytical thinking leads to disbelief.
Good analytical thinkers are more likely to be scientists. Scientists deal with objective matters only and can quite easily be very biased against all subjective matters, because subjectivity can invalidate scientific experiments, masking or polluting discoveries.  
Objective matters deal with well-defined phenomena and are not about the experiences of people. Subjective matters deal with the experiences of people. This distinction is almost always ignored in all discussions of faith in God, or our spirituality, a completely subjective matter. This lack of distinction is itself indicative of a shortage of analytical thinking ability when subjective matters are involved.
A bias against the subjective in scientists is quite evident in the pronouncements and writings of such people as Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking. When a great scientist like Hawking seems to make fundamental reasoning errors in the subjective field, we have to wonder why.
Consider the very likely possibility that the reason for the discovered correlation is that analytical thinking, on the problems of the existence of God and spirituality, a clear subjective topic, is negatively correlated with analytical skills in thinking about objective materialistic, well defined problems.
Therefore it is quite possible that those who are good at the objective analytical thinking are less likely to be good at the subjective. They could even be not so good at objective but “out of the box” analytical thinking. That would explain the results described in the Nature article and would not be any indicator of the causality implied in the LA Times article.

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Scientist's God: New Arguments for the Existence of God and Our Soul. A scientist’s personal exploration





March 29, 2012

Undeniable Proof Of The Existence Of God And Our Spirituality.

A scientist with more than 50 years experience in science and in thinking about the subject, has just published the Kindle book “A Scientist’s God,” in which he claims to prove beyond reasonable doubt that God exists and that we are spiritual beings. Proofs use only science and logic applied to life’s experience.

A number of books, articles, and TV programs have recently featured prominent scientists proclaiming that a belief in God is unscientific or worse. This book points out their errors in logic and assumptions, which are often not stated, but simply implied. The book is not about any particular religion. Its goal is to show how wrong some scientists, such as Richard Dawkins and Nobel Laureate Herbert A. Hauptman, are when they deride with disdain and ridicule a belief in God and our spiritual nature. The book is intended for those who have been swayed by such pronouncements to disbelieve and for anyone who would like to understand how science is compatible with a belief in God and our spiritual nature.

Using new logical arguments and science it clearly shows that a belief in God is not only compatible with, but is even supported by methods of science and that arguments for a belief in God are convincing beyond reasonable doubt. It proves that our subjectivity and consciousness are conclusive evidence of a non-material soul. That evolution, the Big Bang and even possible multiverse theories, may be reasonable explanations of the methods of creation used by an intelligent God. It also explains possible reasons why God would choose such methods of creation. It shows how unreasonable it is for us to use gaps in our understanding of these science theories as proofs of a “God of the gaps.”

In analogy with the scientific method, by using various models of reality, it explores the various difficult questions and apparent contradictions associated with belief in a loving personal God. It ends with a cyber world model of another reality which provides possible answers to all the perplexing questions about life and shows how unrealistic it is to believe that there is no ultimate reality higher than that of this world.

The book makes a clear distinction between objective and subjective truth, a distinction that seems to have been ignored in recent discussions of this topic. This enables the writer to come to the final conclusion that believers and disbelievers are really both believers in a creator of all reality, but believers claim it is an intelligent, purposeful, and all powerful creator God, whereas disbelievers claim, often only by implication, that it is an unintelligent, purposeless, dumb “machine.” Both tenets are based on belief.

The book points out that believers in God can answer our important subjective questions and millions of otherwise unexplained human experiences, whereas believers in a dumb machine do not have a chance!

Published as a Kindle book, it may be borrowed, or purchased at the Amazon Kindle store.

Web and blog page: http://www.ascientistsgod.com
ISBN: 978-0-9854202-0-8

If after reading the book you would like to express your opinion, ask a question, or exchange ideas about the topics in the book, I invite you to post these here.
I look forward to your comments.
Jerzy Lewak