Monthly Archives: September 2011

Relaxing the Celibacy Rules?

Father Edward Daly is in favour of relaxing the celibacy rules.

As an atheist I’m not too bothered what the rules of the club of Roman Catholic priests might be, but as a humanist I’d support their freedom of choice to be celibate or not as their personal religious conscience takes them.

But there’s something hypocritical about a bishop who thinks the rules should change for the expedient reason of encouraging more priests by the relaxation of the celibacy rule. This is another instance of what in secular terms is common sense, but in theistic terms is a denial of what the church considers essential church dogma. I wonder what the bishop thinks about contraception. Is he equally flexible on that score? My suggestions on that come shortly, if you’ll pardon the expression.

Well, according to the article the rule was brought in for both spiritual and pragmatic reasons, “Historians have contended that the move was partly for spiritual reasons, but was mainly to ensure estates held by clerics would pass back to the church upon their deaths rather than to offspring.” so no change in convenient policy making then, as long as you can attach some holy reasoning to it. So, what spiritual reason does Father Daly have for his proposed change that might excuse his earthly one? “..under the guidance of the holy spirit…” Well as a catholic it appears he still has access to the hot line to god and is waiting for a call that contains the answer.

I find it odd that the holy spirit works this way and gives such varied messages to so many different religious listeners. It’s as if the messages are encrypted and each theist has his own decryption key which coincidentally provides a specifically different but to them coherent message for each listener.

The move by the Vatican to make allowances to Anglican marrieds to join the RC church reminds me of the skulduggery that has sometimes plagued the football transfer market. Anglican priests are offered a bung of non-celibacy to make the transfer.

A say again, from a secular view all these pragmatic changes make perfect sense. But to push so many church rules as spiritual dogmatic requirements, as essentials to the faith, for years, centuries even, and then to change them for non-spiritual reasons of convenience, just highlights the bollocks that is the RC church anyway.

So, if you’re a relaxed Roman Catholic and you find some rule particularly inconvenient, write to your bishop and suggest that you would like it changed because it is a bit of an inconvenience to you; but promise you will wait for a call from the holy spirit in the expectation that a spiritual reason will be provided in due course. For example, a condom could be considered a symbolic representation of your celibacy: you’re not shagging a women but cloaking your penis in a holy shroud. With luck, in time, the Vatican will come around to the idea that this symbolic representation should become a literal one, just as a wafer actually becomes the body of Christ, and wine his blood. Then you’ll be able to add real spiritual ecstasy to your very mortal human experience.

And, a bunus: that’ll solve the problem of AIDS in Africa! And, the RC church gets all the credit! Result!

I tell you, this theological stuff is easy. I sometimes wish I were religious. Making up holy shit is great fun.

Stephen Law to debate William Lane Craig

Stephen Law is to debate William Lane Craig on “Does God Exist?”.

Some time ago Richard Carrier was lured into a debate with Muslim theists which was supposed to propose something like “We can prove God exists”, but at the last minute was changed to “We cannot prove God exists” (can’t remember the details). Carrier went from looking at an easy ride to being knocked out by a sucker punch because he played their game. His opener at the actual event should have been, “I concede we cannot prove God exists, so my opponents win the debate. Now, let’s get down to some interesting points about philosophy and science: this is why I don’t believe in God.”

The title of this debate pretty neutral, but I’d recommend a similar tactic with WLC: that SL doesn’t get into playing WLC’s game, or even necessarily trying to rebut his points. He should simply present his own case, pretty much ignore WLC, and just dismiss his argument totally with fundamental philosophy.

One of WLC’s moves is to concentrate on the ‘failure’ of science to disprove God’s existence, as though atheists think that possible or necessary.

The key points for me are as follows…

We humans have found ourselves to be thinking beings, and this awareness appears to have been sprung upon us some few thousand years ago, at least as far back as we can tell from philosophical and religious writings and artifacts. And with the hindsight of evolution this thinking capacity appears to be a recent acquisition, and we’re not as good at it as WLC likes to think he is, particularly with regard to the metaphysics of things outside our common experience.

The only tools we find provide knowledge consistent over wide areas of our understanding of reality are all tools of science. And science can demonstrate many instances where introspective thinking and the invention of fanciful theistic explanations of events are woefully incorrect and often incoherent. Whatever we think reality might be our only route to it is through science. That someone believes there is a God has no bearing whatsoever on the actual existence of a God, no matter how inventive their logic, because there logic will always come back to the dependence on the presupposition that there is a God – to do the revealing, to inspire or command the authoring of religious texts.

If there’s any proving to be done, or any evidence required, the responsibility is entirely on the theist to provide it. Everything we do come to know about this universe shouts out at us that there is some causal universe that conforms to various patterns, which we understand as the laws of physics. If theists like WLC want to take a pop the limitations of science, then he has to accept that these very limitations apply to him too – he cannot demonstrate a superior capacity to know stuff.

These laws are so pervasive, so in-your-face, every moment of every day conforms to them – except, supposedly, with respect to God, astrology, ESP and a few other unsubstantiated ideas. These latter beliefs are the exceptions – but where is the evidence to support them?

Because they are the exceptions the null hypothesis is that everything conforms to the laws of physics, just as we find, evidentially, empirically. Even our own existence, according to evolution, conforms to these laws; and what’s more, shows us that our predecessors were empirical sensory animals. Our cognitive abilities appear to lie on the same continuum that our physical attributes do, from our evolutionary past. Our particular self-aware introspective cognition is such a late addition we should be very wary of supposing it to be the pinnacle of creation, the precise and acute tool that WLC thinks his mind is, rather than a fallible tool, a temporary blip in an evolutionary history of one particular species. Our intellect appears to be just one more product of evolution, with a primary purpose of helping us survive. There’s no reason to believe that it has any greater capacity than that, no particular reason that it should give us access to some metaphysical supernatural – except to the extent that this very limited intellect mistakenly thinks we can.

These other ideas, these metaphysical speculations, constitute the alternative hypotheses. They have never been demonstrated, with either rationally sound argument or substantial evidence. They remain unsupportable, though irrationally believed to be true. The null hypothesis, that everything conforms to whatever our understanding of physics is, or comes to be, remains intact.

WLC can dress up his arguments all he likes. He can complain that atheists cannot disprove God as long as he likes to hear his own voice profess it – but that’s irrelevant. He misses the point of science entirely. He doesn’t get that science shows us the limitations of our brains to reason about the inaccessible without supporting evidence; and in doing so overestimates his own capacity to know things he claims are true. WLC is just pissing against the wind – and his followers haven’t noticed this because they are too busy admiring his rhetorical big dick.

I do hope (against the odds) that SL doesn’t get bogged down in his favourite ‘problem of evil’ argument. It’s unlikely to survive the irrationality of WLC. Though the problem of evil as dealt with by SL’s ‘God of Eth’ may be convincing to rational minds, it won’t make a dent on the minds of believers if they don’t want it to.

SL should stick to basic philosophy and our current understanding of science. He should call WLC out on the presuppositions that underpin WLC’s otherwise persuasive rhetoric (persuasive to the gullible at least). SL should be thorough in his philsophy and should not try to debate theology. He should just ignore any temptation to try to win the debate and be content with letting his rational arguments land on a few theistic yet open ears.

Fingers crossed.

Update: coincidentally appropriate Jesus and Mo cartoon. WLC thinks he knows more than he can, as do many theists. But to be fair, I’m not a professional philosopher either, so who am I to judge WLC, or my own philosophical capabilities. We have to remain sceptical about our own ability to know stuff – not something WLC seems to suffer from.

Making Decisions is Not Free-Will

You wonder if you have free-will. You think you have a choice, “Should I type and ‘x’ next, or a ‘y’?” You decide on ‘y’ and type it. So, you have free-will?

Your typing of x or y does not demonstrate free-will, only the feeling of free-will. That we have free-will may seem obvious, but we must challenge the obvious, as we do with everything we investigate in science – Quantum Mechanics is hardly obvious, but the evidence dissuades us from denying it. Though it may feel obvious to us that we are performing acts of free-will it isn’t actually clear that we are – not in the sense that we commonly understand free-will.

What you are describing, when saying, “I choose to type ‘y’ ” is decision making; and any computer, and even a fridge thermostat, makes decisions. So decision making is compatible with the illusory free-will model of human behaviour.

The Nature of the Illusion

If you were an automaton that responded to external and internal stimuli in accordance with the laws of physics, but part of your brain activity hid the complexity of these interactions to a great extent, what would it feel like when your brain involuntarily announced it was to make a choice, and then made one entirely by causal means? It would feel like you had free-will and freely made the choice? How would you distinguish the difference between this causal deterministic system and one that had the traditional free-will? Any reality of free-will falls out of reach because you can’t distinguish it from the actions of an automaton that has only limited access to its own internal processes and has evolved to think in terms of free-will.

We don’t have any difficulty acknowledging that a tennis racket is not part of us. But it very soon becomes subsumed into our mental feeling as being an ‘extension’ of us when we are in a game.

For some people they become the car they drive. I’ve often found I can read the ‘body language’ of other cars on the road, even if the driver is obscured by reflections on the windscreen. And I’ve been told by other people that they experience this too. Because we can’t easily explain why we feel we are so in tune with a mechanical system doesn’t mean it’s not a mechanical system.

What if that system is our own brain-body system? Since we’ve grown up to become familiar with it, would it be surprising to think that we feel we are it, it is us? Would it be surprising that free-will could be just some means by which an organism interacts with its environment and its own self – an efficient means of monitoring and control that avoids the need to monitor every little detail when trying to predict what will happen next and what to do next?

Some might say that if we can’t distinguish the difference, then it doesn’t matter, let’s call it free-will. Well, most of the time the difference doesn’t matter. Those that think free-will is illusory don’t suddenly shake off the free-will feeling in their daily lives. If it’s such an ingrained psychological phenomenon then it would be difficult to ignore. It takes some effort to think about the consequences of free-will not being what we normally think it is.

We are known to have many feelings that something is the case, when in fact it isn’t. Some of the more obvious instances are when we experience optical illusions, and they are so commonly experienced as such and acknowledged as such that we no longer have the problem appreciating them as such. Many other illusions are harder to analyse, but there are still plenty of them. We know our perceptions are not reliable in many cases.

We know, for example, that bulk matter consists of atoms that individually and in combination are mostly empty space. But the illusion of my solid flesh feels real to me. We don’t have a problem holding these two models of matter in our minds. We are not yet used to holding both models of our behaviour: we are fleshy automatons, but we feel like we have free-will as if it’s some capacity that’s totally independent of the material causal world.

The Alternative Hypothesis

So we know that when investigating aspects of human behaviour we can’t take it for granted that our feelings on the matter are correct. On top of that, everything we know about the universe is based on science, and the fundamental physics that underlies it all – at least that’s our most consistent view. There is no evidence of anything that might be the vehicle for some sort of independent free-will. Dualism remains a speculative idea with no data to support it.

So, if free-will is to be proposed as something extra in this context, extra to the causal physical universe, then it becomes the alternative hypothesis that requires the evidence to support it. The null hypothesis is that the brain is like everything else we find in science – working according to fundamentals of physics. There then remains nothing to support the notion of a real and independent free-will other than the feeling that we have it – the ‘obvious’ that is being challenged.

The consequences of free-will being illusory are many. First, it causes a bit of a problem for those theists who insist it’s a necessary part of their relationship with God. Another is that it can lead to a humanistic view of human behaviour that doesn’t rely on a theistically sourced or motivated compassion. And it avoids many of the pitfalls of an atheistic free-will. It can also be a problematic view for some people – such as some existentialists who dwell on what they perceived to be inevitable nihilism – but I think they haven’t thought it through enough.

What is left of free-will – what is it under a naturalistic physicalist materialist view? It is the specific behaviour of a complex system that has elements of self-awareness, the latter of which is only partial and vague and doesn’t allow the detailed examination of the incredibly complex dynamic interactions within the brain and with its wider environment.

What To Call It

We can still call it ‘limited free-will’, as some people do. But then we must be prepared to keep on explaining what that means in detail. Since we haven’t evolved the need to interpret our autonomous behaviour to any greater extent than we already have it appears ‘free-will’ is a term and a corresponding conceptual notion we are stuck with psychologically. And we have a psychological aversion to being considered automatons – we tend to think of such creatures as zombies. So, we’re in a bit of a fix really, and we don’t have the free-will to get ourselves out of it. Perhaps over time external and internal naturalistic events will accumulate to drive us, against our will, to accept that free-will as we normally think of it is illusory, so that there’s no need to change the name – we just think of it as not being the current common concept of something independent of the material world.

Limitations of Self-Awareness, Self-Knowledge

Why can’t we use inner reflection to identify our real nature, sense every impulse of our working brains, and explain from a first person perspective the inner workings of our minds, or spot the owner of our free-will? How far can meditation take us in our discovery of ourselves? What can we learn about life the universe and everything by just thinking?

This is my current view on these issues.


There are some fundamental problems that we don’t appear to be able to overcome. Any system, no matter how simple or complex, cannot contain a complete description of itself.

When you reduce information to its basic level, the lowest common denominator, the lowest level of representation that allows a distinction between one state and another, it is a binary representation. And in a binary representation the lowest level of physical distinction, the substrate on which the information can be held, is the presence and absence of sub-atomic particles or their states. How far physics takes us down this road is a technical detail. The limits of distinction between states of matter, or perhaps states of space itself, are details for physicists to investigate. But ultimately, information is contained in states of systems.

A corollary of this is that with the heat death of the universe comes the loss of all information, because there is nothing left on which to record the information, there is nothing left from which distinguishable states can form – and of course no one around to read and add meaning to any information there might have been.

Until that time comes we can flip back into our macro current world and consider, for example, a memory device that contains one bit of information – 0 or 1 – and in taking on one of those values it has a state. What would it require for that system to be self aware? At the very least it would need another bit to record the state of the first bit. But to be useful to any degree it would need to be self aware over time. If it was to record the last three states, to have a ‘memory’ of itself, it would need four bits in total – one for the current actual state, and three to record successive prior states. And this is before it starts to process, to think about, itself in any significant way – so far the system is only memorising a finite number of its own states. But already it’s self-awareness is incomplete – it knows now about the state of its main bit over three time periods, but knows nothing about the states of its three other bits.

Expand this to any system: it can contain only limited information about itself. The massive redundancy in some systems allows them to contain information about crucial parts of themselves, parts worth monitoring. Computer systems can be self-checking. But only to a degree – what checks the checkers? Even if we allowed each sub-system to check the other sub-systems in a mutually complete checking system then there would be nothing left, no remaining capacity, to do any actual work. There are limits to how much a system can be self-aware. It is a compromise between doing useful work and being self aware.

Regarding animal brains in this way would mean that any animal in principle could have some degree of self-awareness. If it is able to sense itself, sense it’s internal workings (its ‘thoughts’, which amounts to information about a small part of it’s own processing capabilities), as well as its body and environment, and if it has a memory in which to record data, and a system that can examine that memory and make inferences about the past, the present, and the future, and use those inferences to drive further behaviour, then it is self-aware. But any such animal system is restricted, in the limit, by the basic physics that limits the means of containing information. Information, after all, is nothing more than states of systems.

That’s not to say the brains of humans or any other animal are anything like restricted in this sense to any practical degree. There may well be masses of capacity left in a human brain for self-monitoring. But that’s not to say that capacity can be used, or in fact has evolved to be used.

Low Fidelity Introspection

There is a problem with the fidelity of the information that our brains process – the brain isn’t that good at examining itself, despite our otherwise useful self-awareness. Our best evolutionary inferences suggests the brain is self-aware to the extent that it offers some adaptive advantage in dealing with our environment. It isn’t clear that there is any particular advantage to being more acutely aware of our inner selves. So it doesn’t look like our brains are built for self-awareness to any greater degree than we currently experience.

We can exercise our physical bodies to some extent, and the same is clearly true of our brains – we learn stuff. But just as our physical bodies are limited, so we can’t learn to fly unaided, for example, so then we should expect similar limitations for our brains. Where is the evidence that we can in fact exercise our brains to perform ESP, true transcendentalism, out of body experiences, and so on. There appear to be limits to what the brain can achieve, and without contrary evidence there would appear to be a practical limits on what we can do with self-awareness.

Our bodies and brains have evolved mainly to enable us to survive in our environment. And bodies evolved before brains became significantly complex. So we are mainly physical empirical beings that sense and manipulate our environment; and self-awareness is a late addition, and is restricted to very few species, the most prominent users being, it seems, we humans. Why would we continue to think that it is capable of some of the magic attributed to it by ancient mysticisms.

We don’t have specific sensors, like our eyes or ears, that can look into our brains to examine its state. Though the brain is a system of neurons, it doesn’t actually have any nerves dedicated to sensing itself, in the way we have touch sensors around the body – that’s why some brain operations can be conducted with a conscious patient.

What we appear to have is some rudimentary conscious sub-system that allows us to monitor and manipulate the system as a whole. But as an instrument it’s quite flaky and prone to error. So much so that’s it’s difficult to isolate individual thoughts, to really understand what our concepts are. We have quite a history of philosophy that’s been trying to figure this stuff out; and more recently a psychology that’s been concentrated for the most part on a guessing game about what’s going on inside our brains by reflecting on the meaning of behaviours observed on the outside. The history of the attempts by psychology to second guess what’s happening in the brain is reminiscent of a cold war spy novel – we know something fishy is going on inside the wall, but we don’t quite know what.

Don’t get me wrong, our brains are equipped to perform some pretty amazing conceptual generalisations. We can go far and wide in our imaginations. But one of the complaints often made about neuroscience is that its tools, such as fMRI scans, are nowhere near precise enough or informative enough to tell us anything useful about consciousness. But when did you last use your own introspective mind to scan itself for tumors, potential aneurysms, or which part of your brain is being used during speech?

Our introspection is limited to a very cursory examination of our ongoing experiences, the vague recollections of some of our memories, and creating generalised plans for the future. When we think we are achieving something really clever with our minds you can bet we are using external enhancements to aid us – making notes, recording thoughts as audible messages, sketching diagrams. And when we want to create some complex plan we figure it out over time, recording steps, manipulating and fine tuning the plan, and finally executing it step by step by referring to our documentation. We can’t hold a detailed complex plan in our heads.

Nor can we claim any truth to expansive imagined entities, like God, since all our ideas about God are concocted inside limited human minds. The fact that a finite human brain can conceive of some supposed infinite being, as some Muslims like to portrait God, is not evidence that such an entity exists or could exist. Thhis conception is only a fuzzy idea inside a human brain and has no correspondence in reality – unless of course there is independent empirical evidence that such a being exists. So some of the proofs of God’s existence we often come across are bogus from this point of view alone.

Illusions of Personal Experience

Our brains are concept mashup machines. Thoughts whirl around our brains, often with little directed control. Some of us are more spontaneous than others (read ‘erratic minds’), but even the most well practiced meditating monk can’t control their thought processes so easily, and that’s after years of practice. You might get a few control freaks who think they are in total control of their own minds, but what is more likely is that their straight jacketed minds are in control of them.

Some people are fooled by concepts like ‘the infinite’, and think that because we can hold these vague concepts in our heads they actually give us access to the content of those concepts in some way, as if we really can grasp the infinite. But we need to acknowledge that the human brain is a limited capacity physical system. It has many constraints on what information it can hold. Everything it knows about the external world is an approximation.

Personal experiences, like sunsets, are internal experiences. The total experience of a sunset is still occurring inside a human head, still within the limits of the information that the brain can contain and process. The awe inspiring feelings of wonder, of being at one with the universe, are still contained within that physical head. The feelings of pain that humans suffer is still the internal representation of the action of the nervous system and its effect on the body – and even then the effect on the body is only meaningful in that the body’s response is also, in turn, detected by the sensory system. All brain activity, including massive seizures and other overwhelming mental phenomena are still constrained by the physics of the brain in action. Out of body experiences are contained imaginary experiences inside a human head. There is no evidence that they represent or correspond to any actual mechanism for viewing ones own body from a location, other than from within, looking out. Transcendental experiences are fuzzy events in the brain. There is no evidence that any transcending of any other kind is actually occurring.

Prospects for Self-Awareness

It may be possible for animals, in principle, to be far more self aware than humans are now. Despite the fundamental limitations of self-aware systems I wouldn’t think even human have reached full capacity to know ourselves. Perhaps the introspection of meditation is a small step in that direction. But though it does give access to first person data, it doesn’t have the fidelity of scientific instruments, such as those of neuroscience. Meditation is pretty vague in what it tells us about ourselves, though it does seem to gives us greater autonomous control, to a limited degree.

Perhaps transhumanism can enhance human brains to allow us to do better. We already enhance ourselves, directly, with spectacles, walking sticks, crutches, artificial limbs. With a stethoscope I can listen to my own heart beat with greater fidelity than relying on feeling my pulse. Some blind people can be given rudimentary sight by having a camera system stimulate the tongue with electrical impulses (which causes adaptations in the brain to interpret the sensory signals as vision). There’s plenty of scope for enhancing human physical and mental capabilities for the purpose of increasing our self-awareness abilities.

We already enhance our brains externally. The collective fields of science allow us to combine millions of tiny increments in knowledge into vast repositories of data and engineering capability. Could humans ever have designed and built a 747 without the repository that has accumulated over the last few centuries? Could a single brain ever do it even given all those resources? Team work, in the present and over generations, is how we currently play out a limited transhumanism – we already ‘transcend’ (here in a very practical sense) the basic biological humans that we once were. What we haven’t achieved yet is the enhancement of our self-awareness by enhancing our brains. Though there are chemical means of achieving some improvement now, through psychotropic drugs, it’s not a permanent enhancement, as might be a biological or genetic change.

Maybe there’s hope for us to become more usefully self-aware and even more self-controlled, and hence even more autonomous. But that autonomy is not the traditional free-will we often feel it is.

Stating the Bleeding Obvious

[This is part of a set: Thinking]

In the matter of philosophy, such as that of consciousness, the origins of the universe, theism, one of my biggest bugbears is when philosophers tell us something is obvious – and by philosophers I do include professional ones, for which the mistake is almost unforgivable. If it were all obvious we wouldn’t be having philosophical discussions, as we’d all be of one mind, one faith, or none. The game would be over.

Some of the more ‘obvious’ uses of the word that are clearly mistaken in my view is when the lovely Jehovahs Witnesses stand at my door, look around and say, “Look, this is all so wonderful, it’s obvious there must be a creator.”

The opposite is to claim a view to be ‘absurd’ (or perhaps what is meant is that it is ‘obviously absurd’), as when Muslim Hamza Tzortzis, scourge of the debating scene, says things like “..and this would lead to an absurdity as it would imply that the universe created itself.”, when first, there’s no such necessary implication from his argument, and it’s not as if he knows what  is absurd or not, or what is obvious or not, in the matter of the creation of universes. This is probably the most common flaw in attempts by Muslims to ‘prove’ God exists – they feel their assumptions are obviously true.

Atheists philosophers aren’t immune to it. In a discussion with scientist Peter Atkins, the philosopher Steven Law tried to point out that empiricism wasn’t important in some cases, because it was obvious, for example, that if Peter Atkins claimed to have something stuffed up his jumper it would be easy to just look – which sort of makes you wonder what a professional philosopher thinks empiricism is. What Law thinks is obvious is not so much so in the end, and I wonder that he doesn’t get that. What happened to the critical thinking he promotes so assiduously?

And proponents of free-will and the nature of the self are probably the biggest culprits, including atheist Raymond Tallis, in that they feel that how humans experience personal subjectivity is an obvious indication that it’s a real representation of human nature; when most of them know full well that feeling that ‘something is the case’ in matters at the edge of our understanding does not imply that it is obviously true. Many proponents of free-will will happily admit that many other illusions are illusions despite how it feels, but their particular feeling that they have free-will is obviously correct. It’s obvious their double standards are absurd (oh bugger!)

There are countless examples of proponents for some idea or other claiming it is obvious, when the argument itself belies that claim. Where we are of quite different world views it’s even more important to avoid that mistake. What may be patently obvious to me as an atheist, about the nature of the world, clearly isn’t obvious to most theists; and the obvious presence in God in the lives of theists is clearly not so obvious to atheists.

Questioning what is obvious to ourselves is probably the most difficult thing we do. We are challenging our inbred reliance on intuition to examine what might be counter intuitive. Nit picking is essential in this task, and if you have someone tell you something or other is obvious, then that’s the point to challenge – pick that nit. And if you find yourself claiming something is obvious, you need to think deeper about what it is you find so obvious.

Surely all this is obvious, isn’t it? Do I really need to state it?

Duglas Adams (h/t Dawkins)
The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on a gas covered planet going round a nuclear fireball, and think this normal, is obviously an indication of how skewed our perspective is.

Update: Frank Jackson interview by James Garvey

“I had been a dualist for years. I was taught by Michael Bradley, and he had some good arguments for dualism. I always thought it was a plausible view. As I say in the beginning of ‘Epiphenomenal Qualia’, we dualists don’t really need an argument to say that consciousness doesn’t fit into the physicalist world view. It’s just intuitively obvious.”

A shameful example of how personal preconceptions and bias have not only been abandoned by a philosopher, but how it has produced thirty years of paper and megabytes and neuronal confusion. Another example of how philosophers deal with the obvious.