Friday, June 22, 2018

Trump's War on breathing

One continual themes since the resistance began (since Russia took over the presidency) is Trump's war on EPA. That is no joke, we can quantify how many lives Trump's lattest scheme will end. That scheme being the repeal of Major Obama era carbon emissions rules. "The Environmental Protection agency announced on Tuesday that Scott Pruitt, the Chief of the agency, had signed a measure to repeal President Barack Obama's signature policy to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants...." [1]

The Clean Air Task Force (CATF) has studied the effects of fine particle emissions from power plants since the year 2000. These are empirical scientific epidemiological studies. There are now 7,500 deaths each year from power plant emissions. [2] This may sound like a lot but its actually down by 50% from the time before the Obama regs,

In 2000, 2004 and again in 2010, the Clean Air Task Force issued studies based on work by Abt Associates quantifying the deaths and other adverse health affects attributable to the fine particle air pollution resulting from power plant emissions. Using the most recent emissions data, in this 2014 study, CATF examines the continued progress towards cleaning up one of the nation's leading sources of air pollution. This latest report finds that over 7,500 deaths each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. power plants. This represents a dramatic reduction in power plant health impacts from the previous studies....Our 2004 study showed that power plant impacts exceeded 24,000 deaths a year, but by 2010 that had been reduced to roughly 13,000 deaths due to the impact that state and federal actions were beginning to have. The updated study shows that strong regulations that require stringent emission controls can have a dramatic impact in reducing air pollution across the country, saving lives, and avoiding a host of other adverse health impacts. The study also shows regrettably that some areas of the country still suffer from unnecessary levels of pollution from power plants that could be cleaned up with the application of proven emission control technologies.[3]
The 2004 study showed 24,000 deaths a year, I show above its down to 7,500, that's 17,000 lives a year saved by the regs![4] Market forces are moving us away from Coal. There is no question this will be, power plants are closing and the large industry is committed to it. Coal Fired energy in US has fallen from 51% in 2008 to 30% in 2016. [5] The market story creates a complex issue. The question becomes how much, how soon? We can retard the drift away from coal as Trump is trying to do,or we can facilitate moving to more healthy sources of energy that furnish employment.  Neither candidate in the election had the presence of mind to say that. The shift has meant 80% less sulfur dioxide, 64% less nitrogen oxide, 34% less carbon dioxide [6] For those who don't know those things are  not good to breath.

Those who are oppose to saving lives will always argue jobs. the Trade-off, jobs vs breathing. Jobs will always win, We see this in the election. of Trump. The Koch brothers (Charles and David sons of Fred C.) and other billionaires have orchestrated a huge grass roots campaign that started long before the election,It was working overtime during Obama's time as the rightful  president. That movement produced the bedrock of Trump's support.[7]

It involved a massive public relations campaign taking over local news broadcasting across the country plus grass roots ralleys. They fomented the lie that science is undecided about climate change [8]and since climate change can't be proven to be caused by humans the greatest risk is in disturbing our wonderful life style which allows the K boys and Trump to get richer. They fostered the image among these grass roots types that science and climate change and pollution are just fancy ideas by egg heads or the cultural elite who can afford to control their so corralled "carbon foot prints," ":whatever that is" (nudge nudge).Trump's second  phase of EPA destruction has been replaced by anti-EPA people  Trump has put in charge of the agency,

The old time administrators are angry and depressed and some long time officials retired or were fired by Trump. they were then dismissed as "disgruntled" but they report the agency is being destroyed from  within,[9] "Scott Pruitt, a fierce defender of fossil fuels, is on a crusade to gut the environmental agency he now leads..They can now toast Scott Pruitt in coal country, perhaps with plastic flutes of toxic rain. Tuesday brought what New Yorker writer Jane Mayer has called the “triumph of the anti-environmental movement.” It’s a triumph you can watch on Wednesday’s installment of PBS’ Frontline." (see fn 8) [10]Pruitt was not merely a critique of the EPA he advocated eliminating it and now he has his chance.

It's not just limited to power plants, in April OP ED published "Trump's War On EPA Continues in which we said,

U.S. automakers may not have to reach fuel efficiency standards that were set during President Obama's administration, as the Environmental Protection Agency says it's reopening a review of the rules.President Trump is expected to make that announcement Wednesday in meetings with auto industry executives and workers in Michigan.In Washington, a senior White House official said the president wants to "set standards that are technologically feasible, economically feasible and allow the auto industry to grow and create jobs."The Obama-era rules stemmed from an agreement the government reached with major vehicles in the summer of 2011, setting carbon dioxide emissions targets for passenger cars and light trucks that were equivalent to the industry's fleet of achieving an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by the 2025 model year.The reopening of the rules review comes after a request from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, an industry group that represents both domestic and foreign automakers. The group's request came last month, after the confirmation of Scott Pruitt as EPA administrator. [read More] [11]
Studies show the situation is even more alarming with auto emissions than with power plants. The new MIT study puts auto emission deaths at 50,000/yr [12] including powerboats and other sources it goes up to to 200,000/yr! [13]

Of course the big counter argument will always be jobs, supposedly breathing costs us jobs. There two levels of argument, the more abstract level asserts that economic efficiency equals job growth and anything that costs profits is inefficient. The pragmatic level merely asserts that clean energy cant sustain employment, both are totally wrong. Energy fro solar will employ 79 times the labor force of coal. [14] The entire renewable energy industry is more labor intensive than fossil fuel technology. Wind energy alone already employs 75,000 workers in the U.S. [15]

John Kenneth "Ken" Galbraith, in The New Industrial State, [16] tells us that the bench mark economic efficiency is not written in stone but can be measured anyway we choose to measure it. We choose to measure it in terms of profit margin because those who own the means of production want it that way. They don't value human life so they don't consider that 200,000 as anything but Collateral damage. Economic efficiency could me measured in terms of our ability to supply vital resources to those who need them. As log as we allow those who put profits over lives our efforts to support a vital economy will be negated, We might have jobs but those we seek to support will die of cancer caused by the jobs we do to support them. We need to endure government regulation as long as the wonders of production don't care who they kill to get richer. We need to vote in a government that will regulate pollution.

Republican Senators* at (844) 241-1141 


[1] Lisa Friedman and Brad Plumer, "E.P.A. Announces Repeal of Major Obama-Era Carbon Emissions Rule," New  York Times, (OCT. 9, 2017) on line ed.
(accessed 10/11/17)

[2] Clean Air Task Force, Clean Air Task Force 114 State Street 6th Floor Boston, MA 02109 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Belief, Evidence, and world view

Image result for mind and cosmos

Some mavens of materialism make some pretty strident and triumphalist sounding statements, but when we examine them more  closely they are not so scary. Taken for example an article by  Bobby Azarian in Huff Post:

As more of the natural world is described objectively and empirically, belief in the existence of anything that defies current scientific explanation is fading at a faster rate than ever before. The majority of college-educated individuals no longer accept the supernatural and magical accounts of physical processes given by religious holy books. Nor do they believe in the actuality of mystical realms beyond life that offer eternal bliss or infinite punishment for the “souls” of righteous or evil men.[1]

The same article goes on to contradict this triumphalist view by saying many nuero scientists have embraced the hard problem and we are nowhere near solving it. The article also speaks of Integrated Information Theory (IIT)—put forth by neuroscientists Giulio Tononi and Christof Koch offers a scientific framework in which spiritual understanding can be addressed alongside more objective issues."It simply reveals an underlying harmony in nature, and a sweeping mental presence that isn’t confined to biological systems."[2] What that statement really says is that college educated people no longer resort to magic and spiritualism to explain  natural processes, So mo on thinks God is opening a door in the sky to send rain through but explanation has not been  popular for some time, Like before the time of Christ. Basing understanding of natural processes through scientific education  has been  going on on a broad scale since the 17th century.

We find that major aspects of the topic such neuroscience of free will, are bear no consensus of opinon,

The field remains highly controversial. There is no consensus among researchers about the significance of findings [free will], their meaning, or what conclusions may be drawn. The precise role of consciousness in decision making therefore remains unclear.
Thinkers like Daniel Dennett or Alfred Mele consider the language used by researchers. They explain that "free will" means many different things to different people (e.g. some notions of free will are dualistic
, some not). Dennett insists that many important and common conceptions of "free will" are compatible with the emerging evidence from neuroscience.[3][a][b][c][d]

No consensus among researchers? not the situation we were led to believe was the case. A certain Phl papers survey told us huge majority of thinkers agree. That survey gave us  no stats for science, and the philosophers of mind only had near 60% belief   Physicalism which means a whopping 40% might just believe in God and refuse the idea of mind reducible to brain function, If it was ascendant dried as those who quote phil papers want us to believe then all aspects of nuero scoence should have consensus for reduictionism.

On Monday I quoted evidence to the effect that there is no empirical evidence proving reduction from mind to brain, but I also have evidence posavotvley disputing the possibility,

Some empirical data supports claim:

            There are, however, empirical data that imply that brain is not necessary to mind. One such datum is the humble amoeba. They swim; they find food they learn, they multiply, all without brains or brain cell connections.[4]  Various theories are proposed but none really answer the issue. Stuart Mameroff (anesthetist from University of Arizona) and Roger Penrose, Mathematician form Cambridge, raise the theory that small protein structures called microtubules found in cells throughout the body. The problem is they don’t cause any problem with consciousness when damaged.[5] Nevertheless, the amoeba is a mystery in terms of how it works with no brain cells. That leads to the recognition of a larger issue the irreducealbity raises the question of consciousness as a basic property of nature. Like electromagnetism, there was a time when scientists tried to explain that in terms of other known phenomena, when they could not do so they concluded that it was a basic property and opened up a branch of science and the electromagnetic spectrum.[6] David Chalmers and others have suggested the same solution for consciousness.

The late Sir John Eccles, a neuroscientist who won the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1963 for his work on brain cell connections (synapses) and was considered by many to be one of the greatest neuroscientists of the twentieth century, was perhaps the most distinguished scientist who argued in favor of such a separation between mind, consciousness and the brain. He argued that the unity of conscious experience was provided by the mind and not by the machinery of the brain. His view was that the mind itself played an active role in selecting and integrating brain cell activity and molded it into a unified whole. He considered it a mistake to think that the brain did everything and that conscious experiences were simply a reflection of brain activities, which he described as a common philosophical view:

'If that were so, our conscious selves would be no more than passive spectators of the performances carried out by the neuronal machinery of the brain. Our beliefs that we can really make decisions and that we have some control over our actions would be nothing but illusions.[7]

Top Down Causation
confirming irreducibility

            Or downward causation, as seen in last chapter: “Top-down causation refers to the effects on components of organized systems that cannot be fully analyzed in terms of component-level behavior but instead requires reference to the higher-level system itself.” [8]

*problem of binding

            There is a problem with understanding what it is that binds together the unity of a conscious experience. We have many different kinds of conscious faculty at work in the process of being conscious, symbolic thinking, literal thinking, sense of temporal, sense of reality, and physical perceptions. Somehow it all gets brought together into one coherent sense of perceptions. How are the individual aspects, such as color, form, the temporal, and united into a coherent whole experience? Unification of experience is not achieved anatomically. There is “no privileged places of structures in the brain where everything comes together…either for the visual system by itself or for sensory system as a whole ” [9] McDougall took it as something that physicalilsm can’t explain.[10] Dennett and Kinsbourne recognize the phenomena marking top down causation and acknowledge it, they spin it as undermining unity.[11] The old approach was to assume there must be an anatomical center for binding. Without finding one the assumption was that it couldn’t be explained. Modern explanations of unity are based upon a functional approach.

The essential concept common to all of them is  that  oscillatory electrical activity in widely distributed neural populations can be rapidly and reversibly synchronized in the gamma band of frequencies (roughly 30-70 Hz) thereby providing a possible mechanism for binding.” (von der Malsburg 1995). A great deal of sophisticated experimental and theoretical work over the past 20 years demonstrates that mechanisms do exist in the nervous system and they work in relation to the normal perceptual synthesis. Indeed Searl’s doctrine of biological naturalism has now crystallized neurophysiologically in the form of a family of global workspace theories, all of which make the central claim that conscious experience occurs specifically and only with large scale patters of gamma band oscillatory activity linking widely separated areas of the brain. [12]

In other words if consciousness was reducible to brain chemistry there should be an anatomical center in the brain that works to produce the binding effect. Yet the evidence indicates that binding mechanisms must be understood as functions of various areas outside either the brain (nervous  system) or  in different parts of the brain which means it can’t be reduced to just a physical apparatus but is systemic and that is indicative of top down causation.

* Projective activity in perceptual process

            Our brains act as a sort of “word generating virtual reality system.”[12] That is the brain is constantly projecting and updating a model of the perceptual environment and our relation to it. Top down cross modal sensory interactions have been recognized as the rule rather than the exception, in perceptions, as several studies indicate (A.K. Engle et al, 2001; Shimojo and Shams 2001). [13] Evidence indicates that the ultimate source of projective activity may originate outside the brain. A great deal of knowledge is put into action for use in understanding language and in writing. Some researchers have advanced the view that the fundamental form of projective activity is dreaming.[14]

*Semantic or intentional content; word meaning and other form of representation.

This has been dealt with traditionally through reductionism. Representations were said to work by resembling things they represent. This was disproved by Goodman and Heil (1981). [15] In cognitive psychology there is a rule of thumb that meanings are not to be conceived as intrinsic to words, they are defined by the functional role they play in a sentence.  The major approach to the problem used now is connectionism, from dynamic systems theory. The meaning of a given response such as settling of a network into one of its attracters or firing of a volley of spikes by a neuron in the visual cortex is identified with the aspect in the environment that produces the response. This account can’t deal with abstract things or non existent things. There’s nothing in the environment to trigger it. Responses do not qualify as representations nor signs as symbols. “That something,” as Searl so effectively argued (in 1992) “is precisely what matters.”[16]

*problem of Intentionality

            Intentionality is the ability of representational forms to be about things, to reflect meaning and to be about events and states of affairs in the world. [17]  The problem of intentionality has plagued both psychologists and philosophers. Intentionality is inherently three ways, involving the user, symbols, and things symbolized. Searl tells us that intentionality of langue is secondary and derives from the intrinsic intentionality of the mind. “Intentionality can’t be obtained from any kind of physical system including brains.”[18]

*The Humunculus Problem

            The Homunculus was a medieval concept about human reproduction. The male was said to have in him little men just like him with all the basic stuff that makes him work that’s how new men get born. In this topic it’s the idea that we need in the mind another mind or brain like structure to make the mind work. The problem is it keeps requiring ever more little structures to make each one before it work; in endless regression of systems. Kelly and Kelly et al site Dennett’s attempt to solve the homunculus problem in the form of less and less smart homunculi until the bottom level corresponding to heard ware level end the recursion so it’s not infinite. (Dennett 1978)[19] Searl (1992) responds that there has to be something outside the bottom level that knows what lower level compositions mean. Cognitive models can’t function without a homunculus because they lack minds, as Kelly tells us.[20]

No homunculus problem, however, is posed by the structure of our conscious experience itself. The efforts of Dennett and others to claim that there is such a problem, and to use that to ridicule any residue of dualism, rely upon the deeply flawed metaphor of the Cartesian theater a place where mental contents get displayed and I pop in separately to view them. Descartes himself, James, Searl and others all have this right: conscious experience comes to us whole and undivided, with the qualitative feels, phenomenological content, unity, and subjective point of view all built in, intrinsic features. I and my experience cannot be separated in this way. [21]

Analysis and Conclusion
When confronted with the challenge to prove that science is the only valid form of knowledge--with scientific data only--of course they responded with philosophical arguments and logic. Naturally they never tried to offer one single piece of evidence from science, and when I put up the post defending religious experience with 300 studies they just poo pooed and said it wasn't science. So science is the only valid knowledge, but you can't prove that with science, and when it supports religion it's not science. Of course the real problem is its impossible to really tell people why we believe in God. No one actually comes to believe because of some fact or argument. It's so ultra foolish to expect scientific proof because belief is a world view, it's not based upon any one fact, but upon thousands of fact, upon the way we look at ourselves and the world. It's important to make God arguments, not to prove the existence of God, but because you can't say "I have reasons, they are supported by lots of things and deal and junk and stuff." God arguments help us to focus on detailed reasons that support belief, but they are not meant to prove anything.

The real problem is, on the one hand, the believer really doesn't have a single cogent provable reason for belief, on the other hand, the atheist doesn't understand the nature of world views. Atheists don't understand their own unbelief. They can't get it that they are touting an ideology. They think all the have to do is say "it's the absence of a belief" and that's suppose to make it real simple and clear it of any ideological connotations. But its' not that simple. Belief is a world view.It's foundational, that is is serves as the basis for everything else you think and the ways you view the world. You can't just take out the centerpiece of a world view and not replace it with something. Its' absurd to say "atheism is just the absence of a belief" there is no such thing. The absence of a belief is the presence of unbelief and that is an ideology. This is what Derrida teaches us: absence is presence and presence is absence. It's easy to be a skeptic all you have to do is just keep doubting things and demeaning that no evidence is of any value until it lines up with the ideology. But they have a very clear ideology to fill in the blank left by God and it is based upon reductionism. Nothing short of absolute scientific proof will do because the absence of the foundation requires the presence of a replacement foundation.


[1] Bobby Azarian, "Nueroscoence's  new Consciousnesses Theory is Spiritual"" Huff Post b'og (Dec 6,2017)

[2] Ibid.

[3] "Nuroscience of Free will," Wikipedia

[a] Henrik Walter (2001). "Chapter 1: Free will: Challenges, arguments, and theories". Neurophilosophy of free will: From libertarian illusions to a concept of natural autonomy (Cynthia Klohr translation of German 1999 ed.). MIT Press. p. 1. ISBN 9780262265034.
Jump up

[b]7^ John Martin Fischer; Robert Kane; Derk Perebom; Manuel Vargas (2007). "A brief introduction to some terms and concepts". Four Views on Free Will. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-1405134866.

[c]^  Smith, Kerri (2011). "Neuroscience vs philosophy: Taking aim at free will". Nature. 477 (7362): 23–5. doi:10.1038/477023a. PMID 21886139.

[d]^ Daniel C. Dennett (2014). "Chapter VIII: Tools for thinking about free will". Intuition Pumps And Other Tools for Thinking. W. W. Norton & Company. p. 355. ISBN 9780393348781.

4] Science Research Foundation, “Science at the horizon of life,” independent charitable organization in UK 2007-2012. On-line resource, UFL:  visisted 5/2/12
[5] ibid
[6] ibid
[7] ibid
[8] Mary Anne Meyers, “Top Down Causation, an Integrating Theme…” Templeton Foundation Symposium, Op cit. (no page number listed).
[9] Edward F. Kelley and Emily Williams Kelley, et al, Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century. Boulder, New York, Toronto: Rowman and Littlefield Publishing Inc, 2007/2010, 37.
[10] Ibid. 38, referring to W.McDougall, Proceedings of scientific physical research 25, 11-29. (1911/1961)..
[11] ibid. 38 refers to Dennette and kinsbourne in Consciousness Explained. (op cit) 183-247
[12] ibid, sites C.Von der Malsburg, “Binding In Models of Perception and Brain Function.” Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 5, 520-526. also sited Crick 94; Dehaene and Naccache,  2001; Edelmon and Tononi, 2000; Engle, Fries and Singer 2001; W.J. Freeman 2000, and others.

Engle, Fries, Singer cited in Pub Med: See comment in PubMed Commons below
 2001 Oct;2(10):704-16.


Classical theories of sensory processing view the brain as a passive, stimulus-driven device. By contrast, more recent approaches emphasize the constructive nature of perception, viewing it as an active and highly selective process. Indeed, there is ample evidence that the processing of stimuli is controlled by top-down influences that strongly shape the intrinsic dynamics of thalamocortical networks and constantly create predictions about forthcoming sensory events. We discuss recent experiments indicating that such predictions might be embodied in the temporal structure of both stimulus-evoked and ongoing activity, and that synchronous oscillations are particularly important in this process. Coherence among subthreshold membrane potential fluctuations could be exploited to express selective functional relationships during states of expectancy or attention, and these dynamic patterns could allow the grouping and selection of distributed neuronal responses for further processing.

[13] ibid
[14] ibid, 40, he sites A.K. Engle et al, 2001; Shimojo and Shams 2001;
[15] ibid,  41-42 sites Rodolfo Llina’s and Pare’ 1996 Llina’s and Ribary, 1994.
[16] Ibid, 42 see Heil 1981
[17] ibid, 43 see Searl 1992
[18] ibid
[19] ibid, see also studies, puccetti 1989; Dupuy 2000 discussion of issue form opposing points of view).
[20] Ibid see Dennett 1978 and Searl 1992)
[21] ibid
[22] ibid, 44

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Expertise vs. Climate of Opinion: My answer to Rayan M


Source: Scientists data from Pew Research Center for the People & the Press survey, conducted in May and June 2009; (see below fn 17)

In Academic circles, of which I used to aspire, we had something called "climate of opinion." I was  first introduced to this phrase by a professor who advised me to use it for a paper I delivered at a conference it was an academically hip way of saying "this is just appeal to popularity" in  somewhat more respectful way.Last week  Ryan M came to "Skeptical's" defense with the following argument:[1]

Indeed. If we followed Joe's standards, then we 'd need to accept that there is no evidence for human made climate change since there exists some 'experts' who disagree that such evidence exists. According to the old Philpapers survey of philosophers, among philosophers of mind we find that 61% of respondents accept physicalism and 59% accept naturalism. Or consider the philosophers of cognitive science where we find 76% of respondents accept physicalism and 85% accept naturalism.
Are such people 'experts'? I think so, so we have plenty of experts disagreeing with Joe. If we left philosophy and headed over to the sciences, then I'd bet we find a greater consensus among relevant experts that physicalism about the mental is true. Sure, Joe can cite people who claim such people are wrong, but this doesn't justify rejecting the majority.
Playing a citation game is boring and useless.[2]
Ryan, in all fairness, is not arguing that truth lies with the majority opinion,He's assuming that my argument was that because I have some support that justifies a counter view. What  he is missing is that I am cognizant of the reason for the differences. Nevertheless I have been confronted with some atheists arguing that because the majority of philosophical specialists support naturalism belief in God is not valid. These atheists were primarily on CARM years ago.

First let's consider the idea that we should be awed by the fact (?) that the majority in a given field agree on  a view and that should shut us up?  Of course his implication that I was assuming that any support is proof for my view or that I would hold out agaisnt global warming if just one guy agrees against it, Obviously not true since I've written blog pieces defending global warming with the idea that man is the trigger. I actually use the 97% to put it over so in that case I was pulling a move similar to the one he is doing here. The difference is I actually researched the reasons for the 97% (scientists  who agree man is causing global worming) and I  found why they say that. I saw which scientists  are in the 97% (97% of scientists who study climate  not 97% of all scientists but of climatologists). I use the 97% as a short hand for political rhetoric but not without foot noting the details and limits.

Here we are given no idea what constitutes these percentages (except they are philosophers of mind and cognitive science). He asserts they are experts because of what they study,I don't deny that except that it is not supported because we can;'t be  sure of human knowledge at this point. I read his survey a  long time ago (if memory serves I believe David Chalmers was part of that survey and research effort). I don't remember how detailed they are but I'll assuming for the sake of argument that they are all professional philosophers. Even so how does that make them experts on Neuro science? Are philosophers usually trained in nuero science? I had a professor at Perkins who studied at Oxford with John Rawls he said "I am trained in getting my sentences in order." He does study nuero science as an mature he admits:"I really know noting about it," I bet the bulk of Ryan's philosophers have no actual training in nuero science.

 Now in all fairness to  Ryan his groups are philosophers of mind an philosophers of cognitive science. I do assume they have had a lot of exposure to the kind of materiel  a neuroscience resercher would be exposed to. Does that mean they have any real expertise? Their expertise,like my professor from Oxford, is in how to reflect the party line, and getting their sentences in order. I studied Philosophy of science, probably not too well. I know how much of the curriculum exposed me to actual science it was not much in terms of the data pertaining to scientific fact, more so in terms of methodology. I found myself in a seminar class with a biology Ph.D candidate he knew so much more about scoence than anyone I was in class with (and me who knew the least) it was not funny. So how much expertise should we assume these guys have? I am sure they are up on the literature. Does that they know for a fact there is no God? I think that means they don't have the knowledge of neuo sciences that Raymond Talis does, or any of the researchers I quoted.

Even assuming they are on a par with my nuero experts what does that really mean they know? First of all it probably means that most of them accept the bait and switch Chalmer's talks about without questioning it. If he's right about that, he says they do. They equate conciseness with brain function with real basis in doing so, then assume they study consciousness. Chalmers tells us this leaes an explanatory gap,such that claim to to expertise in question of reduceability of mind to brain function isnot acute. There are no real experts, [3] If Dennitt is the standard Of their knowledge I am not intimidated,(see the article in Negations debunking Dennett,[4]They study brain function and call it consciousness, So they are not even studying consciousness the just assume it;s all settled.

Secondly, there is no empirical evidence proving redueability.Both sciences and the general public have come to accept the idea that the mind is dependent upon the brain and that we can reduce mental activity to some specific aspect of the brain upon which it is dependent and by which it is produced. Within this assumption neuroimaging studies are given special credence. These kinds of studies are given special credence probably because the tangibility of their subject matter and the empirical data produced creates the illusion of “proof.”[5] Yet EEG and MRI both have resolution problems and can’t really pin point exactly where neural activity is located.” In short, neuroimaging studies may not be as objective as some would like to think. There are still large gaps between observation and interpretation – gaps that are ‘filled’ by theoretical or methodological assumptions.”[6] Learning is not hard wired but is the result of “Plasticity.” This plasticity is what allows us the flexibility to learn in new situations. This means that most of our neocortex is involved in higher level psychological processes such as learning from experiences.[7] Our brains are developed by new experiences including skills acquisition.[8] Exercise and mediation can change the brain.[9]

            Classical psychological reductionism assumes the mind is essentially the brain. Mental behaviors are explained totally in terms of brain function. Mental states are merely reduced to brain states.

But while it may be true that certain psychological processes are contingent on some neurophysiological activity, we cannot necessarily say that psychological processes reduce to ‘nothing but’ that activity. Why not? – Because much of the time we are not dealing with cause and effect, as many neuroscientists seem to think, but rather two different and non-equivalent kinds of description. One describes mechanism, the other contains meaning. Understanding the physical mechanisms of a clock, for example, tells us nothing about the culturally constructed meaning of time. In a similar vein, understanding the physiological mechanisms underlying the human blink, tells us nothing about the meaning inherent in a human wink (Gergen, 2010). Human meaning often transcends its underlying mechanisms. But how does it do this?[10]

Reducing mind to brain confuses mechanism with meaning.[11]

            Raymond Tallis was a professor of Geriatric medicine at University of Manchester, and researcher, who retired in 2006 to devote himself to philosophy and writing. Tallis denounces what he calls “neurohype,”  “the claims made on behalf of neuroscience in areas outside those in which it has any kind of explanatory power….”[12]

The fundamental assumption is that we are our brains and this, I will argue presently, is not true. But this is not the only reason why neuroscience does not tell us what human beings “really” are: it does not even tell us how the brain works, how bits of the brain work, or (even if you accept the dubious assumption that human living could be parcelled up into a number of discrete functions) which bit of the brain is responsible for which function. The rationale for thinking of the kind – “This bit of the brain houses that bit of us...” – is mind-numbingly simplistic.[13]

Specifically Tallis has refernce to experiments where the brain is scanned while the subject does some activity and the differences are attributed to some structure in that part of the brain. Tallis is highly skeptical of this method.

Why is this fallacious? First, when it is stated that a particular part of the brain lights up in response to a particular stimulus, this is not the whole story. Much more of the brain is already active or lit up; all that can be observed is the additional activity associated with the stimulus. Minor changes noted diffusely are also overlooked. Secondly, the additional activity can be identified only by a process of averaging the results of subtractions after the stimulus has been given repeatedly: variations in the response to successive stimuli are ironed out. Finally, and most importantly, the experiments look at the response to very simple stimuli – for example, a picture of the face of a loved one compared with that of the face of one who is not loved. But, as I have pointed out elsewhere (for the benefit of Martians), romantic love is not like a response to a stimulus. It is not even a single enduring state, like being cold. It encompasses many things, including not feeling in love at that moment; hunger, indifference, delight; wanting to be kind, wanting to impress; worrying over the logistics of meetings; lust, awe, surprise; imagining conversations, events; speculating what the loved one is doing when one is not there; and so on. (The most sophisticated neural imaging, by the way, cannot even distinguish between physical pain and the pain of social rejection: they seem to “light up” the same areas!)[14]

Hal Pashler’s study, University of California, San Diego is discussed in an an editorial in New Scientist, he is quoted as saying  “In most of the studies that linked brain regions to feelings including social rejection, neuroticism and jealousy, researchers … used a method that inflates the strength of the link between a brain region and the emotion of behaviour.”[15]

Let's do some analysis on those stats,

*61% of respondents accept physicalism and 59% accept naturalism.
*philosophers of cognitive science where we find 76% of respondents accept physicalism and 85% accept naturalism. 

61% are physicalists but only 59% are naturalists. That means about 3% are physicalists who believe  in God (or some equivalent "higher power," "ground of being," or what have you).  Now do we really know that this 59% equates to atheists? Not necessarily, because there's good evidence that the answer to that question would be determined by how the question is asked Research scientists look a lot more like believers when asked about liberal God concepts such as process theology or ground of being rather than when asked about big-man-in-sky.[16] Since we do;t know what questions were asked or how they were asked in that regard we don't really need to assume their atheism is as deep as that.

Just using Ryan's logic a majority of scientists actually  believe in God, therefore, chalk one up for belief.

survey of scientists who are members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press in May and June 2009, finds that members of this group are, on the whole, much less religious than the general public.1 Indeed, the survey shows that scientists are roughly half as likely as the general public to believe in God or a higher power. According to the poll, just over half of scientists (51%) believe in some form of deity or higher power; specifically, 33% of scientists say they believe in God, while 18% believe in a universal spirit or higher power. By contrast, 95% of Americans believe in some form of deity or higher power, according to a survey of the general public conducted by the Pew Research Center in July 2006. Specifically, more than eight-in-ten Americans (83%) say they believe in God and 12% believe in a universal spirit or higher power. Finally, the poll of scientists finds that four-in-ten scientists (41%) say they do not believe in God or a higher power, while the poll of the public finds that only 4% of Americans share this view.[17]
Not only is there an explanatory gap but there is also a deeper epistemological problem; it's akin to the epistemological fallacy. Because the medium thorough which all our perceptions of the world passes is consciousness all data gathered of the world is marked by and dependent upon mind. It's pretty obvious that mental knowledge is not physical, This is why I can have a whole  world inside  my imagination and my head doesn't explode from lack of room,. They want to pretend that it's all dendrites and electricity but that does not explain the storage problem.

There are no experts on God, We are all experts on having consciousness, Don't let philosophers, scientists,atheists  Christians, priests, Theologians or anyone else tell you what to think.

[1] "Dialogue on Material and Immaterial Existence,"  comment section Metacrock's Blog (June 10,2018)

[2] Ibid

[3] David Chalmers,"Facing up to the problem of Consciosuness" Department of Philosophy
University of ArizonaTucson, AZ 85721b (200) Published in the Journal of Consciousness Studies 2(3):200-19, 1995

[4]  Lantz Miller, “the Hard Sell of Human Consciousness, and the recovery of consciousness in the nature of new language. part 1.” Negations: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Social Criticism.Issue 3, Winter 1998. On line copy: URL: scroll down paet 1 is 1998 part 2 2002.

[5] Brad Peters, Modern Psychologist, “the Mind Does not Reduce to the Brain.” On line resource, blog, 2/4/12
URL:   visited 5/3/12
Brad Peters, M.Sc. Psychologist (Cand. Reg.) • Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
[6] Ibid.
[7] ibid
[8]Schore, A. N. Affect regulation and the origin of the self: The neurobiology of emotional development. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. (1994).
See also: Siegel, D. J. The developing mind: How relationships and the brain interact to shape who we are. New York, NY: Guilford Press. (1999).
[9] Peters, ibid.
[10] ibid.
[11] K. Gergen, The accultured brain. Theory & Psychology, 20(6), (2010).  795-816.
[12] Raymond Tallis New Ideas for Godless People (blog—online researche) volume 124 Issue 6 (Nov/Dec 2009) URL:  visited 5/9/12
[13] ibid
[14] ibid
[15] quoted by Tallis, ibid.


Rodney Stark, a professor of sociology and comparative religion at the University of Washington in Seattle, said that because the questions in the Leuba survey are so narrowly phrased, the results probably underestimate the extent of religious sentiment among scientists. Several recent surveys of American college professors, he said, show that professors are almost as likely to express a belief in God as are Americans as a whole.

see also
Joseph Hinman. "Who is Smarter?: page 2" Doxa, Christian Thought in 21 Century, Private website, 2001. (access 6/17/18)

I had a Gallup poll that said this straight out I can;t find it, There are several versification in studies dealing with belief among specialized high IQ groups such as scientific members,
This entire section

This next one is extremely amusing because he just dogmatically decides that Unitarians and main line protestants are not religious and than shows that almost all of these accomplished scientists have high numbers of these sorts of people in them. But in fact he's actually proving that a lot of them are religious, and he just assumes that non-fundamentalist Christians equates to non-religious! he's actually giving coutner evidence! STUDIES Of SCIENTISTS:

1. William S. Ament, 1927
"C. C. Little, president of the University of Michigan, checked persons listed in Who's Who in America: "Unitarians, Episcopalians, Congregationalists, Universalists, and Presbyterians [who are less religious] areŠ far more numerous in Who's Who than would be expected on the basis of the population which they form. Baptists, Methodists, and Catholics are distinctly less numerous."So in fact all he's really proven is that intelligence corrollates to liberal notions, but I knew that! That in now way argues for reigious belief corrollating with lesser intelligence and he has no right to assume that these liberal groups are less religious!Ament confirmed Little's conclusion. He noted that Unitarians, the least religious, were more than 40 times as numerous in Who's Who as in the U.S. population.Which actually means that there are many religious people in that category! All he's really proven is that intelligent people may not like organized religion or more conservative religion!"
2. Lehman and Witty, 1931
"Identified 1189 scientists found in both Who's Who (1927) and American Men of Science (1927). Only 25 percent of those listed in the latter and 50 percent of those in the former reported their religious denomination, despite the specific request to do so, under the heading of "religious denomination (if any)." Well over 90 percent of the general population claims religious affiliation. The figure of 25 percent suggests far less religiosity among scientists."
Of course fully half or more didn't report it so we dont' know, but he concludes that slience equals proof for his thesis!Unitarians were 81.4 times as numerous among eminent scientists as non-Unitarians.Which proves? Nothing.
[17] David Masci,"Scientists and belief."  Religion  and public life. Pew Research ,Center,
Website (Nov2009)

David Masci, Senior Researcher, Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life.