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Title: The Sacred Cosmos: Christian Faith and the Challenge of Naturalism


1
The Sacred Cosmos Christian Faith and the
Challenge of Naturalism
  • 4. Human Nature Embodied Self and Transcendent
    Soul, Part 1

Sunday, January 31, 2010 10 to 1050 am, in the
Parlor Presenter David Monyak
2
Primary Reference
  • The Sacred Cosmos Christian Faith and the
    Challenge of Naturalism, Terrence L. Nichols,
    Brazos Press, 2003. (Reissued Jan 2009 by Wipf
    and Stock)

3
Primary Reference
  • The Sacred Cosmos Christian Faith and the
    Challenge of Naturalism, Terrence L. Nichols,
    Brazos Press, 2003. (Reissued Jan 2009 by Wipf
    and Stock)

4
Dr. Terrence Nichols is Professor of Theology at
the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul
Academic History Ph.D. - Marquette
University B.A. - University of Minnesota
5
The Sacred Cosmos Christian Faith and the
Challenge of Naturalism
  • Jan 3. God and Nature
  • Jan 10 Origins Creation and Big Bang
  • Jan 24 Evolution The Journey into God
  • Jan 31 Human Nature Embodied Self and
    Transcendent Soul, Part 1
  • Feb 7 Human Nature Embodied Self and
    Transcendent Soul, Part 2. Conclusion A Sacred
    Cosmos

6
  • O God, you made us in your own image and
    redeemed us through Jesus your Son Look with
    compassion on the whole human family take away
    the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts
    break down the walls that separate us unite us
    in bonds of love and work through our struggle
    and confusion to accomplish your purposes on
    earth that, in your good time, all nations and
    races may serve you in harmony around your
    heavenly throne through Jesus Christ our Lord.
  • For the Human Family, Book of Common Prayer, p.
    815

7
This Week 4. Human Nature Embodied Self and
Transcendent Soul, Part 1
8
Introduction Naturalism
9
Introduction The Challenge of Naturalism
  • Naturalism is the philosophical theory about
    reality that declares
  • nature is all that exists,
  • there is no reality that is greater than and
    independent of nature,
  • there cannot be any hope of an afterlife, nor any
    means to really transcend our natural condition.

10
Introduction Can Naturalism Explain the World?
  • How well can Naturalism actually explain the
    world and humanity?
  • We have been considering naturalistic versus
    Christian explanations for
  • the origin of the universe (Jan 10)
  • evolution (Jan 24)
  • human nature (today).

11
What is a Human Being?
12
What is a Human Being? Do We Have Souls?
  • We can distinguish two primary perspectives on
    the human person
  • 1. Dualism we are beings composed of a body
    and a soul
  • body material and mortal
  • soul non-material can survive the death of the
    body
  • 2. Monism we are psychosomatic unities
  • A single, purely material being, with a thinking
    brain

13
What is a Human Being? Do We Have Souls?
  • Christianity, Judaism and Islam have
    traditionally affirmed that we have an immortal
    soul that
  • survives after the death of our body
  • that will someday be reunited to a new
    resurrected body
  • Modern science however holds we are psychosomatic
    unities, single purely material beings.

14
What is a Human Being? A Psychosomatic Unity
  • There are two camps in the view we are
    psychosomatic unities
  • 1. Reductionism
  • there is nothing in the person that cannot be
    explained by physics, chemistry, and biology
  • since physics, chemistry, and biology are largely
    deterministic, free will is suspect, an illusion

15
What is a Human Being? A Psychosomatic Unity
  • There are two camps in the view we are
    psychosomatic unities
  • 2. Emergentism
  • Complex systems like the human brain, develop
    qualitatively new properties, properties of the
    whole
  • In particular a consciousness with true freedom
    of action.
  • Such emergent properties are causally
    effective they can influence and change their
    component parts (top-down causality)

16
What is a Human Being? A Psychosomatic Unity
  • Note you can be a Christian and still believe we
    are psychosomatic unities, without a soul.
  • We profess in the Creed not a doctrine of an
    immortal soul, but a doctrine of the resurrection
    of the dead.

17
What is a Human Being? Outline
  • Review biblical and historical views of the
    nature of human beings.
  • Review modern views of human nature, including
  • modern sciences account of the evolution of
    human beings
  • results from neuroscience
  • Review problems with the view that we are
    psychosomatic unities
  • problems with the Reductionist view
  • problems with the Emergentist view (in Part 2)
  • Lastly look at how we might view ourselves as
    beings with both a body and soul in the 21st
    century (in Part 2)

18
Biblical and Historical Views
19
Biblical, Historical Views Ancient Israel
  • The general consensus of modern scholars is that
    the Hebrews thought of the human being as a
    totality, a psychosomatic unity.
  • There was no separated soul to carry the
    personality after death.
  • There could be no person without the body
  • The only hope for immortality was the
    resurrection of the whole person, such as in the
    book of Daniel.

20
Biblical, Historical Views Ancient Israel
  • Nichols notes he disagrees with this modern
    consensus, and sides with Old Testament scholar
    James Barr, who writes
  • it seems probable that in certain contexts the
    nephesh is not, as much present opinion favors, a
    unity of body and soul.... It is rather, in these
    contexts, a superior controlling center which
    accompanies, expresses, and directs the existence
    of that totality, and one which, especially,
    provides life to the whole

nephesh Hebrew for living being (breathing
creature). In the Greek Septuagint, nephesh is
mostly translated as psyche (psyche in English
breath, spirit, life, soul)
21
Biblical, Historical Views New Testament
  • The general consensus of modern scholars the New
    Testament view is that the human person is a
    psychosomatic unity, a unity of soul, body,
    flesh, which together constitute the whole man.
  • The New Testament teaches the resurrection of the
    body as the hope for a future life
  • Jesus teachings (Matthew. 2223-33 and parallel
    passages),
  • Paul (1 Cor. 15 and elsewhere)

22
Biblical, Historical Views New Testament
  • Nichols again disagrees with this consensus and
    makes a case New Testament views are more
    diverse.
  • He again quotes James Barr (The Garden of Eden
    and the Hope for Immortality)
  • The New Testament certainly says little directly
    and specifically about the immortality of the
    soul but it has a reasonable degree of mention
    of immortality, and it certainly has an awareness
    that things of the body and things of the soul
    could take different directions.

23
Biblical, Historical Views Christian Tradition
  • In early Christian tradition, the survival of a
    soul after death seems to have been presumed.
  • The early Christian apologist Justin Martyr wrote
    in his Dialogue with Trypho that after death, the
    souls of the righteous go to some better place,
    and the souls of the wicked to some worse
    place, to await judgment.

Justin Martyr 100-165 AD (martyred in Rome under
the Emperor Marcus Aurelius)
24
Biblical, Historical Views Christian Tradition
Justin Martyr
  • Justin notes that the soul is not naturally
    immortal (as in the Greek philosophy Platonism)
  • Rather, God gives the soul life
  • the soul shares in life, when God wants it to
    live.

Justin Martyr 100-165 AD (martyred in Rome under
the Emperor Marcus Aurelius
25
Biblical, Historical Views Christian Tradition
Augustine
  • Augustine wrote that the human being is a
    rational soul using a body and was convinced of
    the immortality of the soul.
  • The powers of reason and understanding are
    present in the soul from infancy, and awaken and
    develop as the child ages.

Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 AD
26
Biblical, Historical Views Christian Tradition
Augustine
  • Augustine argued everything God made is good,
    including the body.
  • The corruptible body is a load on the soul (as
    written in the book of Wisdom 915), but that is
    only because of the sin of Adam ( original
    sin)
  • The soul is weighed down not by the body as
    such, but by the body such as it has become as a
    consequence of sin and its punishment

Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 AD
27
Biblical, Historical Views Christian Tradition
Augustine
  • Augustine never solved the problem of how the
    soul was related to the body.
  • The soul, he thought, was a substance, yet the
    body was also a substance. And yet the human
    being was a single composite substance.
  • He realized that this caused philosophical
    problems, but he could not resolve them.

Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 AD
28
Biblical, Historical Views Christian Tradition
Aquinas
  • Thomas Aquinas argued that the human person was a
    unitary substance, a unitary being, composed of
    two principles
  • 1. the soul
  • 2. the matter of the body.
  • The person was a soul-body composite, in which
    the matter of the body was formed or organized
    by the soul.

Thomas Aquinas, 1224-1274 AD
29
Biblical, Historical Views Christian Tradition
Aquinas
  • Aquinas felt the soul was the Aristotelian form
    of the body.
  • The soul or form was the dynamic internal
    organizing principle for the body.
  • The soul or form contained within it a final end
    or goal which the organism strives to fulfill.
  • In the case of a human, this intrinsic end or
    goal was to know and love God.
  • Without the soul or form informing the body,
    the body would have no form or organization of
    its own.
  • This form could exist on its own, apart from the
    body.

Thomas Aquinas, 1224-1274 AD
30
Biblical, Historical Views Christian Tradition
Aquinas
  • Aquinas did not think that the human soul was
    created at conception.
  • He suggested the developing embryo first had a
    simple plant soul, then an animal soul, and only
    in the last months, after the brain had been
    formed, a fully human soul.
  • Aquinas opposed abortion because it interfere
    with Gods will that an embryo become a human
    person, killing it before God could give it a
    human soul.

Thomas Aquinas, 1224-1274 AD
31
Biblical, Historical Views Christian Tradition
Protestant Thought
  • John Calvin taught that the soul was immortal
  • there can be no question that man consists of
    a body and a soul meaning by a soul, an immortal
    though created essence, which is his nobler part.
  • The Westminister Confession, following Calvin,
    affirms that the soul is immortal, is judged
    immediately upon death, and goes to heaven or
    hell, there to await the resurrection of the body

John Calvin, 1509-1564
32
Biblical, Historical Views Christian Tradition
Protestant Thought
  • Lutheran confessional documents say little about
    the state after death.
  • Luther does suggest, in the Smalcald articles,
    that the saints in heaven might pray for us
    (article 2).

Martin Luther, 1483-1546
33
Modern Views
34
Modern Views Rene Descartes
  • Modern conceptions of the human person are
    usually said to begin with Rene Descartes.
  • Descartes rejected Aquinass Aristotelian view of
    form and final cause, and embraced the new atomic
    and mechanistic theory of matter.

Rene Descartes, 1596-1650
35
Modern Views Rene Descartes
  • The body, he said, was governed by simple
    mechanical principles.
  • The mind however, could make free decisions, and
    so was not governed by mechanical or physical
    principles.
  • The mind therefore must be an immaterial
    substance, free and immortal.

Rene Descartes, 1596-1650
36
Modern Views Rene Descartes
  • There are two substances, in the human being
  • 1. the material body, characterized by extension
    in space, a res extensa (extended thing),
  • 2. a mind, which is not extended in space, but
    which thinks, a res cogitans (thinking thing).
  • This is Cartesian mind-body dualism

Rene Descartes, 1596-1650
37
Modern Views Problem with Mind-Body Dualism
  • The great problem faced by any such mind-body
    dualism is
  • How does the substance of the mind interact with
    the substance of the body?
  • That is How can the immaterial mind affect the
    material body?
  • Decartes suggested there was a connection in the
    pineal gland.
  • Somehow, the mind affected the pineal gland,
    which in turn affected the body.

38
Modern Views Problem with Mind-Body Dualism
  • A later follower of Descartes, Nicholas
    Malebranche, suggested the only connection
    between the soul and the body was God.
  • When the soul decided to do something, God caused
    the body to do it.
  • Every occasion was caused by God, hence this idea
    was known as occasionalism.

39
Modern Views Twentieth Century
  • Descartess dualism, which separated the mind and
    the body, lasted down to the late twentieth
    century, when it lost credibility
  • Evidence from modern science seemed to support
    the view we are psychosomatic unities, pure
    material unitary beings
  • 1. Evolutionary science showed human beings
    emerged by degrees from primate ancestors.
  • We different from animals only in degree, not in
    kind.
  • 2. Modern neuroscience strongly reinforced the
    scientific conviction that the mind has its roots
    in the brain.

40
The Evolution of Human Beings
41
Evolution of Human Beings 18 to 12 Million Years
Ago
  • 18 to 12 million years ago (Middle Miocene
    geological Epoch) the basic anatomical form of
    large hominids ( biological family that includes
    extinct and extant human beings, chimpanzees,
    gorillas, and orangutans) first appears in Africa.

42
Evolution of Human Beings 8 to 5 Million Years Ago
  • 8 to 5 million years ago (Late Miocene geological
    Epoch) tree-loving, apelike animals with long
    arms and legs abound in east Africa.

43
Evolution of Human Beings 6 to 5 Million Years Ago
  • 6 to 5 million years ago (during Late Miocene
    geological Epoch) chimpanzees (our closest
    living relative) diverge from the common ancestor
    shared with the line from which human beings will
    rise.

44
Evolution of Human Beings 5 to 3 Million Years Ago
  • 5 to 3 million years ago African climate becomes
    drier. More open savannas encourage endurance,
    high mobility, bipedalism.
  • Several pre-human species identified from this
    period in East Africa
  • Ardipithecus ramidus (4.5 million years ago)
  • Australopithecus anamensis (4.2 to 4 million
    years ago)
  • Australopithecus afarensis (3.5 to 3 million
    years ago)

45
Evolution of Human Beings 5 to 3 Million Years Ago
The Australopithecus afarensis creature
discovered in 1974 named Lucy lived 3.18
million years ago
46
Evolution of Human Beings 5 to 3 Million Years Ago
  • 3.5 million years ago two Australopithecus
    afarensis creatures walked over a layer of soft
    volcanic ash in what is modern day Tanzania,
    leaving footprints that hardened and were
    preserved.

47
Evolution of Human Beings 5 to 3 Million Years Ago
  • They walked upright, with a rolling, slow-moving
    gait, hips swiveling at every step

48
Evolution of Human Beings 3 to 2 Million Years Ago
  • 3 to 2 million years ago Australopithecus
    afarensis) diverges into several new species
  • Australopithecus africanus
  • Australopithecus robustus
  • Homo habilis (handy person), the first stone
    toolmaker

49
Evolution of Human Beings 3 to 2 Million Years Ago
  • 3 to 2 million years ago Homo habilis
  • About 4 feet, 3 inches
  • Brain 600-700 cc (modern humans 1200 cc)
  • Used a stone hammer to shear sharp stone flakes
    off from stone cobbles
  • Carried the tools around so that the stone flakes
    could be manufactured when and where they were
    needed (to butcher a freshly killed animal)

50
Evolution of Human Beings 2 million to 500,000
years ago
  • About 2 million years ago the earth enters the
    Pleistocene geological Epoch, the last ice age,
    and begins a long period of continued climatic
    fluctuations between warmer and cooler
    conditions.
  • At 780,000 years, the earths magnetic field
    abruptly reversed, causing greater variations in
    weather patterns.

51
Evolution of Human Beings 2 million to 500,000
years ago
  • About 2 million years ago, a new human species
    appears, Homo erectus (earliest forms also called
    Homo ergaster)
  • Brain 775 to 1300 cc (modern humans 1200 cc)
  • About 5 and a half feet tall.
  • Larynx structure suggests Homo erectus not have
    the ability to produce a great variety of sounds.

52
Evolution of Human Beings 2 million to 500,000
years ago
  • Body of Homo erectus is remarkably modern in
    appearance skull and jaw more primitive.
  • Stone toolmaking much more sophisticated
    Acheulian hand axes developed

12 year old Homo erectus boy
53
Evolution of Human Beings 2 million to 500,000
years ago
  • At some point, Homo erectus learned to
    domesticate fire.

54
Evolution of Human Beings 2 million to 500,000
years ago
  • Also, at some point between 1.5 million to
    500,000 years ago, Homo erectus followed mass
    migrations of mammals from Africa and colonized
    Europe and Asia

55
Evolution of Human Beings 2 million to 500,000
years ago
56
Evolution of Human Beings 500,000 to 100,000
years ago
  • About 400,000 to 300,000 years ago a more
    advanced human form appears in Europe, arising
    from Homo erectus and foreshadowing the later
    Homo neanderthalensis (the Neanderthals)

57
Evolution of Human Beings 500,000 to 100,000
years ago
  • About 300,000 to 200,000 years ago Homo
    neanderthalensis (the Neanderthals) appears in
    Europe.
  • Brain 1100 to 1200 cc (modern humans 1200 cc)
  • First to make composite tools (e.g. stone spears
    on wooden shafts)

58
Evolution of Human Beings 500,000 to 100,000
years ago
  • The Neanderthals were felt to have speech,
    although they were not as articulate as modern
    humans.
  • They were skilled hunters, using clubs and
    spears, pursuing game of every size.

59
Evolution of Human Beings 500,000 to 100,000
years ago
  • The Neanderthals buried their dead, although
    there is no evidence of accompanying grave goods.
  • The Neanderthals died out about 30,000 years ago,
    unable to compete with the influx of modern
    humans Homo sapiens sapiens
  • DNA extracted from a Neanderthals thigh bone
    showed sufficient differences with modern human
    DNA to conclude the two species could not
    interbreed.

60
Evolution of Human Beings 500,000 to 100,000
years ago
  • Meanwhile, in East Africa Homo erectus was
    evolving
  • About 200,000 years ago a new species, an
    archaic form of Homo sapiens arose.
  • 120,000 to 100,000 years ago modern humans, Homo
    sapiens sapiens appeared in East Africa, and soon
    after began to spread into Europe and Asia.

61
Evolution of Human Beings 100,000 to 15,000 years
ago
  • Over the next 85,000 years, Homo sapiens sapiens,
    spread to every continent of the world,
    culminating with their colonization of the
    Americas about 15,000 years ago.

62
Evolution of Human Beings 100,000 to 15,000 years
ago
  • Around 60,000 to 50,000 years ago, Homo sapiens
    sapiens appears to have had an aha moment, with
    a sudden flowering of tool technology, art and
    symbolic thinking.
  • The Homo sapiens sapiens in Europe called
    Cro-Magnons were making personal ornaments such
    as necklaces by 40,000 to 30,000 years ago.

63
Evolution of Human Beings 100,000 to 15,000 years
ago
  • Cro-Magnon paintings dating to 31,000 years ago
    were found in the Grotte de Chauvet cave in SE
    France in 1994.
  • Human art was global by 25,000 years ago
  • At a 28,000-year-old site of in Russia, three
    individuals have been found buried dressed in
    clothing sewn with more than three thousand ivory
    beads. In addition, they had carved pendants,
    bracelets, and shell necklaces buried with them.
  • This burial of the dead with grave goods suggests
    a belief in afterlife.

64
Cro-Magnon Art in the Grotte de Chauvet cave
65
Cro-Magnon Art in the Grotte de Chauvet cave
66
Cro-Magnon Art in the Grotte de Chauvet cave
67
Evolution of Human Beings Summary
  • The human evolutionary process is usually viewed
    as supporting the view we are psychosomatic
    unities, have emerged gradually from primate
    ancestors, differing from them only in degree,
    not in kind.
  • However one can also read it as a process guided
    by God with the creation at some point of a human
    soul, the source of the religious consciousness
    exhibited by early humans and all modern cultures.

68
Neuroscience
69
Neuroscience Mind and Brain
  • A connection between the mind and brain has
    always been appreciated a knock on the head
    makes that clear.
  • Modern neurosciences however has re-enforced that
    connection with an enormous expansion of
    knowledge.
  • Many functions can be localized to a particular
    area of the brain
  • the ability to understand speech
  • the ability to recognize faces
  • the ability to voluntarily move a particular part
    of the body

70
Neuroscience Mind and Brain
  • Brain damage can dramatically alter emotions,
    social and moral behavior
  • Case of Phineas Gage
  • in 1848, an exploding charge sent a tamping iron
    through the front part of his brain, entering his
    left cheek and exiting through the top of his
    head.
  • he remained conscious, however afterwards his
    personality changed.
  • He had been efficient and capable, but now became
    feckless and irresponsible, and his likes and
    dislikes, his aspirations, his ethics and morals
    were altered
  • The brain deterioration caused by Alzheimers
    disease can have profound effects on a persons
    personality.

71
Neuroscience Mind and Brain
  • Most neuroscientists believe that all mental
    events are directly explainable by brain
    processes.
  • Neuroscientist Michael Arbib writes
  • Mind has properties (self-consciousness, wonder,
    emotion, reason) that make it seem more than
    merely material. ... Nonetheless, I believe
    that all of this can be explained in terms of the
    physical processes of the brain.

72
Reductionistic Naturalism
73
Reductionistic Naturalism Definition
  • One response to the psychosomatic unity of the
    person is Reductionistic Naturalism
  • Reductionistic naturalists believe that the
    person can be completely explained by the action
    of her parts.
  • The human person is fully the product of his or
    her genes, chemistry, and physics.
  • There is no soul or vital force or anything in
    the person.

74
Reductionistic Naturalism We Are Neural Nets
  • Francis Crick writes in his book, The Astonishing
    Hypothesis
  • The Astonishing Hypothesis is that 'You', your
    joys and your sorrows, your memories and your
    ambitions, your sense of personal identity and
    free will, are in fact no more than the behavior
    of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their
    associated molecules.

Francis Crick, 1916-2004, Co-discoverer of DNA
75
Reductionistic Naturalism We Are Neural Nets
  • Crick maintains
  • There is no real I behind the eyes of a person,
    only sophisticated neural nets which determine
    our behavior
  • I is an illusion
  • Free will is an illusion
  • Crick is contemptuous of philosophy and
    especially of religion the only satisfactory
    method of explanation is natural science
  • The aim of science is to explain all aspects of
    the behavior of our brains, including those of
    musicians, mystics, and mathematicians.

76
Reductionistic Naturalism We Are Neural Nets
  • A corollary of Cricks position is that we should
    be able to construct thinking machines that are
    also conscious.

77
Emergentism
78
Emergentism Definition
  • The other response to the psychosomatic unity of
    the person is Emergentism
  • Emergentists agree with reductionists that the
    action of the parts of the human affects the
    whole.
  • They agree that there is no immaterial soul, and
    therefore that humans only differ from animals by
    degree.

79
Emergentism Definition
  • But emergentists hold there are unique properties
    that emerge at the level of the whole, properties
    that are not predicable of the parts.
  • These new emergent properties (such as
    consciousness) can be sources of causation they
    can effect their parts and their environment in a
    top-down causality.

80
Emergentism Definition
  • Ian Barbour writes
  • I take emergence to be the claim that in
    evolutionary history and in the development of
    the individual organism, there occur forms of
    order and levels of activity that are genuinely
    new and qualitatively different. A stronger
    version of emergence is the thesis that events at
    the higher levels are not determined by events at
    lower levels and are themselves causally effective

81
Emergentism Consciousness
  • Consciousness cannot simply be reduced to the
    brain or to its parts.
  • In philosophical language, mental events are said
    to supervene on physical events but are not
    identical with them.
  • That is they depend on the physical events of
    the brain but also transcend those events.

82
Emergentism Causally Effective
  • Emergent properties, especially consciousness,
    can effect causal changes in the neuronal
    networks of the brain, and can therefore initiate
    free decisions.
  • Nobel laureate Roger Sperry writes
  • As a brain scientist, I now believe in the causal
    reality of conscious mental powers as emergent
    properties of brain activity and consider
    subjective belief to be a potent cognitive force
    which, above any other, shapes the course of
    human affairs and events in the world.

83
Emergentism Emergentism and Christianity
  • There are many emergentist who are Christian.
  • They believe emergentism can preserve what is
    most preciously human the subjective aspect of
    our consciousness, our freedom, our sense of
    moral responsibility, our sense of being in
    relation with God.
  • There is no immortal soul, so for an emergentist,
    our only hope for an afterlife is a belief in
    bodily resurrection.

84
Criticism of Reductionistic Naturalism
85
Criticism of Reductionism There is No I?
  • Can we really think of ourselves as nothing but
    neural networks that respond in a deterministic
    fashion to whatever stimuli are presented to us?
  • Is it really true, as Crick writes
  • I do not decide it is the neuronal networks
    in my brain that react, as they have been
    programmed to do.

86
Criticism of Reductionism Free Will
  • Free will is the freedom to choose and to act
  • freedom from external constraint
  • freedom from internal constraint
  • We cannot live without daily making decisions,
    and it seems that the belief in free will is
    implied in the very act of our deliberation in
    making decisions.

87
Criticism of Reductionism Can One Idea Lead To
Another?
  • The whole process of argument, in philosophy,
    law, and natural science, presumes that one idea
    leads to another, and so causes it.
  • Doctrine of mental causation
  • Yet if every idea is correlated with a particular
    state of a neural network, and that state is
    caused by a previous state of the same network,
    it is hard to see how ideas can cause other
    ideas.

88
Criticism of Reductionism Loss of Moral
Responsibility
  • If free will is an illusion, it logically means
    there cannot be moral responsibility.
  • No person has the freedom to do other than what
    he or she in fact does.
  • Thus those who have sexually abused children in
    their care are not culpable, for they could not
    have done otherwise.

89
Criticism of Reductionism Problem of Qualia
  • It is not clear that Reductionism can explain the
    problem of qualia.
  • Qualia are the subjective, experienced contents
    of consciousness.
  • Example everyone is able to picture things in
    their minds, say a familiar face, a landscape, or
    a simple object, like a red bowling ball.
  • But there is no screen in the brain on which such
    an image appears. The data encoding for an image
    of a red bowling ball might exist in the brain.
    But where does the mental image exist?

90
Criticism of Reductionism Problem of Qualia
  • A computer can store the data encoding for an
    image of a red bowling ball, but cannot produce
    the actual image without projecting it on a
    screen.
  • So how can we imagine visual images in our
    minds?
  • What we experience, and the physical network that
    encodes it in the brain seem to be entirely
    different, not just by degree but in kind.

91
Criticism of Reductionism Problem of Qualia
  • To put it another way how is it that I
    experience an image, when (according to the
    Reductionist like Crick) there is no I to see
    the image?

92
Criticism of Reductionism Hard Problem of
Consciousness
  • The problem of qualia is part of what has been
    called the hard problem of consciousness
  • How do physical processes in the brain give rise
    to subjective experience?
  • Why are these physical processes accompanied by
    conscious experience at all?

93
Criticism of Reductionism Hard Problem of
Consciousness
  • A thought experiment proposed by philosopher
    David Chalmers
  • Suppose that Mary, a neuroscientist, knows
    everything about the brain processes responsible
    for color.
  • But also suppose Mary has lived in a black and
    white room all her life, and has never
    experienced color.
  • She knows all about the physical and neural
    processes responsible for color, but she has
    never had the subjective experience of color.
  • It follows there are facts about conscious
    experience that cannot be deduced from physical
    facts about the functioning of the brain.
  • Reductionist naturalism, therefore, cannot
    explain subjective, conscious experience.

94
Next Time (Feb 7) 5. Human Nature Embodied Self
and Transcendent Soul, Part 2. Conclusion A
Sacred Cosmos
95
Sources of Graphics Used in This Series
  • Dark Energy Dark Matter The Dark Side of the
    Universe, Sean Carroll, The Teaching Company
  • Cosmology The History and Nature of Our
    Universe, Mark Whittle, The Teaching Company
  • Understanding the Universe An Introduction to
    Astronomy, 2nd Edition, Alex Filippenko, The
    Teaching Company
  • Human Prehistory and the First Civilizations,
    Brian M. Fagan, The Teaching Company
  • Biology The Science of Life, Stephen Nowicki,
    The Teaching Company Understanding Genetics DNA,
    Genes, and Their Real-World Applications, David
    Sadava, The Teaching Company
  • Evolution, Douglas J Futuyma, Sinauer Associates
  • History of Christian Theology, Phillip Cary, The
    Teaching Company
  • Wikipedia
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day
  • HubbleSite
  • Millennium Simulation Project
  • The Equations, Icons of Knowledge, Sander Bais,
    Harvard University Press, 2005
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