Stephen E. Jones

Projects: "Problems of Evolution" (Outline): 2. Philosophy (2): Materialism

[Home] [Site map] [Updates] [Projects] [Contents; 1. Introduction; 2. Philosophy (1), (3), (4), (5) & (6); 3. Religion (1) & (2); 4. History (1), (2) & (3); 5. Science; 6. Environment (1), (2) & (3); 7. Origin of life (1), (2) & (3); 8. Cell & Molecular (1), (2) & (3); 9. Mechanisms (1), (2) & (3); 10. Fossil Record; 11. `Fact' of Evolution; 12. Plants; 13. Animals; 14. Man (1) & (2); 15. Social; 16. Conclusion; Notes; Bibliography A-C, D-F, G-I, J-M, N-S, T-Z]

1.	Evolution and philosophy
2.	Materialism
	1.	"Matter is all there is"
	2.	Dogmatic
	3.	Scientific materialism
	4.	Denial of existence of mind
	5.	Denial of existence of God
	6.	Belief in eternity of matter/energy
	7.	Pre-scientific philosophy
	8.	Academic orthodoxy
	9.	Mythology
	10.	Modern science is materialistic
	11.	Evolution is materialistic
	12.	Darwin's theory is materialistic
	13.	Problems of materialism
		1.	Self-refuting
		2.	Physics has undermined
		3.	Numbers
		4.	Evidence of mind
			1.	Consciousness
			2.	Telepathy
			3.	Mind-over-matter (telekinesis)
			4.	Out-of-body experiences
			5.	Near-death experiences
			6.	Prayer
			7.	Failure of artificial intelligence (AI)
		5.	Information
		6.	Ethics and morality
		7.	Values
		8.	Evil fruits
		9.	Evidence of God
			1.	Universality of belief in God(s)
3.	Naturalism
4.	Uniformitarianism
5.	Reductionism
6.	Scientism
7.	Logical problems
8.	Fallacies used to support evolution
9.	Falsehoods used to support evolution


2.	Materialism
	1.	"Matter is all there is"
Materialism (or physicalism) is the philosophical doctrine that all is matter/energy or reducible to it (Geisler, 
1999, p.444; Mautner, 2000, pp.341; Lacey, 1995, p.530; Chomsky, 1999; Moreland, 1987, p.80; Johnson, 
2000b, p.13; Johnson, 1999c). Everything in the universe, including minds, can be explained in terms of matter 
in motion (Vesey & Foulkes 1990, p.182). Matter is the ground of all existence; mind, spirit, and God as well, are 
just words that express the wondrous results of neuronal complexity. (Gould, 1978, pp.13, 24). As Carl Sagan 
put it, "the Cosmos is all that was, is, or ever will be (Sagan, 1980, p.4; Geisler, 1999, p.444).  [top]

	2.	Dogmatic
Leading Harvard evolutionary geneticist, Richard Lewontin, speaking on behalf of modern science, publicly 
admitted that, "We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite 
of its failure to fulfil many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the 
scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a 
commitment to materialism." (Lewontin, 1997, p.31. My emphasis). That is, modern science's 
primary committment is to materialist philosophy, not science's original committment to 
following the evidence wherever it leads (Barnett, 1949, p.58; Ratzsch, 1996, p.168). Lewontin 
makes this clear by adding that , "It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us 
to accept a material explanation for the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our 
a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts 
that produce material explanations, no matter how counterintuitive, no matter how mystifying to the 
uninitiated" (Lewontin, 1997, p.31). That is, it not any requirement of the scientific method that drives 
modern science's materialism, but rather modern scientists' personal materialist philosophy that 
drives modern science! Far from being tentative (Overton, 1982, p.176), Lewontin frankly states, 
"Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door" 
(Lewontin, 1997, p.31. My emphasis). That is, this materialist philosophy that drives modern science is held 
with an absolutist dogmatism, that is more befitting a totalitarian dictatorship or a fundamentalist 
religion than a science! "Design is ruled out not because it has been shown to be false but because 
science itself has been defined as applied materialistic philosophy" (Pearcey, 2000a). "Lewontin said that he 
is a materialist not because of the facts, but despite them" (Budziszewski, 2000). "Richard Lewontin has 
written that scientists must stick to philosophical materialism regardless of the evidence, because `we cannot 
allow a Divine Foot in the door.'" (Johnson, 1999c). "Faith in evolutionary naturalism is what unites the 
different factions of evolutionists, not agreement on any concrete scientific propositions. As Mr. Gould's 
ally Richard Lewontin wrote, also in the course of disparaging Mr. Dawkins, `we cannot allow a Divine 
Foot in the door'" (Johnson, 1998b). "In other words, evolution is not a fact, it's a philosophy. The 
materialism comes first (a priori), and the evidence is interpreted in light of that unchangeable 
philosophical commitment. If the evidence seems to go against the philosophy, so much the worse for the 
evidence. To a materialist, putting up with any amount of bad practice in science is better than to let that 
Divine Foot in the door!" (Johnson, 1997a, p.81) "That paragraph is the most insightful statement of what is 
at issue in the creation/evolution controversy that I have ever read from a senior figure in the scientific 
establishment. It explains neatly how the theory of evolution can seem so certain to scientific insiders, and 
so shaky to the outsiders. For scientific materialists the materialism comes first; the science comes 
thereafter. We might more accurately term them "materialists employing science." And if materialism is 
true, then some materialistic theory of evolution has to be true simply as a matter of logical deduction, 
regardless of the evidence." (Johnson, 1997b). "To say that the commitment to materialism is a priori is to 
imply that science should stick to materialism even if scientific testing does not support the claim that 
matter can create life or mind." (Johnson, 1998a). "If you are going to define science as applied materialist 
philosophy, then of course you are going to end up with a materialist creation story, one that excludes the 
possibility of a personal God who created us and answers prayer. Just don't make the mistake of thinking 
that this new story has been validated by scientific testing. The important questions are all decided in the 
assumptions and definitions" (Johnson, 1998c). [top] 

	3.	Scientific materialism
The dominant form of materialism is scientific materialism: because only mindless matter is ultimately real, then 
only the natural sciences hold the key to true knowledge of reality (Johnson , 2000a). Therefore materialism is 
virtually synonymous with naturalism (Brown, 1984, p.230; Lacey, 1995, pp.530, 604). Naturalism asserts that 
nature is all there is and materialism maintains that nature is made up only of matter/energy (Johnson 1997a, 
pp.15-16; 1999c). [top]

	4.	Denial of existence of mind
Materialism denies that "mind" really exists, being at best only an epiphenomenon or emergent property of the 
matter of the brain (Mautner, 2000, p.341; Geisler, 1999, p.444; Haldane, 1990, p.87). The mind-however 
complex and powerful-is simply a product of brain (Gould, 1978, p.24). 

The Divine Foot does not threaten a science that is content to be one important road to truth, but it does 
threaten "Science as the only begetter of truth." Is it really in the best interest of science itself to claim the 
power to explain everything? It is easy to see why ambitious scientists would be attracted to a philosophy 
that maximizes the explanatory power of science, but this very advantage creates a paradox. If science 
explains literally everything in terms of physical causes, then it also explains the scientific mind and its 
thoughts. If matter is ultimately all there is, and if our brains are the product of mindless chemical 
combinations, and if "the mind is merely what the brain does," then our thoughts and theories are products 
of mindless forces. This disquieting point remains valid even if the relationship between chemistry and 
thought is deemed to be complex, as in the "computational theory of the mind." A computer may come up 
with some astonishing answers, but it computes within the boundaries set by its designer. The computer 
Deep Blue plays chess much better than its programmers could, but it will never defy them and choose to 
write poetry instead. On materialist assumptions it is mysterious that we can reach truth by scientific 
investigation, exploiting mental capacities that would have been useless in the conditions in which they 
supposedly evolved. One common materialist speculation is that the most advanced human mental 
capacities are accidental products of a big brain explosion that just happened to produce a great deal more 
capability than primitive man could make use of at the time. I would say that such an explanation explains 
precisely nothing, especially when it comes from scientists who indignantly reject the idea that brain size is 
a reliable measure of human intelligence today. When we consider all the implications, scientists may have 
as much reason as theologians to be suspicious of materialist reductionism when it is applied to the mind." 
(Johnson, 1998a). [top] 

	5.	Denial of existence of God
Materialism also involves a denial of the existence of non-material spirits and divine beings (Mautner, 2000, 
pp.341). Materialism therefore denies there is a Creator-God (Geisler, 1999, p.444). Darwin's theory of random 
variations and natural selection sought to make theological explanations of life processes superfluous (Futuyma, 
1986, p.2). Materialism assumes that nature had to do its own creating, and there was no role for a God 
(Johnson, 1999c). [top]

	6.	Belief in eternity of matter/energy
Materialists must either believe that matter/energy always existed in some form, or that it came into existence 
from nothing and by nothing. (Geisler, 1999, p.444; Bavinck, 1977, p.165). [top]

	7.	Pre-scientific philosophy
Materialism is a pre-scientific philosophy or world view. The first thoroughgoing materialist was the atomist 
Democritus (Bowden, 1982, p.5; Davies & Gribbin, 1991, p.9; Vesey & Foulkes, 1990, p.182; Lacey, 1995, 
p.530; Gallant, 1975, p.57; Hall & Boas-Hall, 1964, p.24). He was followed by Anaximenes (Hall & Boas-Hall, 
1964, p.21), Epicurus (Mautner, 2000, p.341; Dabney, 1871, p.27) and Lucretius (Gallant, 1975, p.57; Pitman, 
1984, p.24). [top]

	8.	Academic orthodoxy
Materialism is now an orthodoxy of academic philosophy (Mautner, 2000, pp.341). To materialists, rationality 
itself starts with the premise that `in the beginning were the particles', and that mind itself is a product of matter 
(Johnson, 1999c). [top]

	9.	Mythology
Scientific materialism is presented as an alternative mythology that has defeated traditional religion (Midgley, 
1985, p.177; *Wilson, 1978, p.196; Jaki, 1988, p.193). Its narrative form is the epic, the evolution of the 
universe from the big bang (Midgley, 1985, p.177; *Wilson, 1978, p.196). [top]

	10.	Modern science is materialistic
Modern science is based on an absolute, dogmatic materialism, as Harvard geneticist Richard Lewontin publicly 
admitted (Lewontin, 1997; Johnson, 1997b; Pearcey, 2000a). That is. modern science now has come to be just 
applied materialist philosophy (Johnson, 1997a, p.80). Materialism is attractive to natural scientists, since if 
matter is all that exists, then they are the ultimate authority about everything, including morals and values 
(Johnson, 1992c). Among scientists the biologists tend to be the most materialistic (Broom, 1998, p.16). Darwin's 
theory of evolution was a crucial plank in the platform of mechanism and materialism-of much of science, in 
short-that has since been the stage of most Western thought (Futuyma, 1986, p.2). So, the Darwinian view of 
nature, which was once a deduction from materialism. has today become materialism's foundation. (Denton, 
1985, p.358). [top]

	11.	Evolution is materialistic
The theory of evolution is a materialistic, that is a godless theory (Berlinski, 1996; Eldredge, 1996, p.101). The 
modern view of the origin of life is entirely materialistic: nonliving matter over immense time evolves into living 
matter without the aid of supernatural powers" (Gallant, 1975, p.120). The theory of evolution grows directly out 
of the materialist philosophy: if matter is all there is, and there is no God, then matter had to do its own creating 
and so some form of evolution has to be true, regardless of the evidence (Johnson, 1997a, 1997b). [top]

	12.	Darwin's theory is materialistic
Darwin embraced and applied a consistent and uncompromising philosophy of materialism to his interpretation 
of nature (Gould, 1978, p.13). Darwin developed a rigidly materialistic, atheistic version of evolution  based on 
chance variation and natural selection imposed by an external environment (Gould, 1978, p.33). Other 
evolutionists spoke of vital forces, direction and the irreducibilty of mind, but Darwin spoke only of random 
variation and natural selection (Gould, 1978, p.25). Darwin wrote in his private notebooks that the human mind, 
morality, and even belief in God were artefacts of the brain: 'love of the deity [is the] effect of organization, oh 
you Materialist!' he upbraided himself." (Desmond & Moore,1991, pp.xvii; Farrington, 1966, pp.76-77; Gould, 
1978, pp.24-25; Jaki, 1988, p.190). This was the primary feature distinguishing Darwin's theory from all other 
evolutionary theories - its uncompromising philosophical materialism (Gould, 1978, p.24). Darwin's theory of natural 
selection was materialistic, denying God's design, purpose and process in nature (Caudill, 1997, p.5; Eldredge, 1985, 
p.29). Darwinism merged with the materialist philosophy of Herbert Spencer (Dupree, 1959, p.340). Darwinism, along 
with Marxism and Freudianism is a materialist ideology (Johnson, 1996a; Johnson, 1997a; Futuyma, 1986, p.2). [top]

	13.	Problems of materialism
Problems of materialism include:
		1.	Self-refuting
Materialism is self-refuting. As leading Darwinist mathematician-biologist J.B.S. Haldane realised, "If my 
mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my 
beliefs are true ... and hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms." (Haldane, 1927, 
p.209; Lewis, 1960, pp.18-19; Moreland, 1987, p.78ff). That is, materialism applied to the mind undermines the validity 
of all reasoning, including one's own, since if our theories are the products of chemical reactions, how can we 
know whether they are true? (Johnson, 1997a, p.82). Darwin himself expressed his "horrid doubt" that the 
reasoning of a mind that was the result of chance could not be trusted upon (Darwin, 1898, p.285). Thus 
materialistic science destroys its own base, since scientists must be able to trust the conclusions of their 
reasoning, but if man's mind was evolved wholly by natural selection for survival value, then all scientific 
theories, including evolution, would be untrustworthy (Lack, 1957, p.104; Plantinga, 2000; Johnson, 1995b, p.65; 
Sire, 1988, p.94; Wilcox, 1990, pp.2:20-21). Materialists must therefore implicitly exempt themselves from 
materialism in order to make their arguments for materialism (Pearcey, 2000b)! But as Plato long ago pointed 
out, a theory is always wrong which, at its very root, invalidates itself (Grene, 1959, p.56).  [top]

"When C. S. Lewis presented the argument from reason in his revised third chapter of Miracles, he claimed that what he called `strict materialism' could be refuted by a one-sentence argument that he quoted from J.B.S. Haldane: `If my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true ... and hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.' [Lewis C.S., "Miracles: A Preliminary Study," Macmillan: New York, 1978, revised, p.15; quoting Haldane J.B.S., "Possible Worlds," [1927]; Transaction Publishers: New Brunswick NJ,: 2001, reprint). However, Lewis maintains that naturalism involves the same difficulty, but he goes on for nine pages explaining why. I suspect that in Lewis's time the idea of nonreductive materialism was not as prevalent as it has since become, and that what passed as `materialism' was identified with strong forms of reductionism. However, here I will be defining materialism broadly, such that it will be very difficult for someone to argue that some form of nonmaterialist naturalism will escape the difficulties I advance for materialism." (Reppert V.E., "C.S. Lewis's Dangerous Idea: A Philosophical Defense of Lewis's Argument from Reason," InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove IL, 2003, pp.50-51)
"Darwin's idea had been born as an answer to questions in biology, but it threatened to leak out, offering answers welcome or not-to questions in cosmology (going in one direction) and psychology (going in the other direction). If redesign could be a mindless, algorithmic process of evolution, why couldn't that whole process itself be the product of evolution, and so forth, all the way down? And if mindless evolution could account for the breathtakingly clever artifacts of the biosphere, how could the products of our own "real" minds be exempt from an evolutionary explanation? Darwin's idea thus also threatened to spread all the way up, dissolving the illusion of our own authorship, our own divine spark of creativity and understanding." (Dennett D.C., "Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life," [1995], Penguin: London, 1996, reprint, p.63) [top]
2. Physics has undermined Modern relativity and quantum physics has undermined materialism (Davies & Gribbin, 1991, p.8).
"It is remarkable that mind enters into our awareness of nature on two separate levels. At the highest level, the level of human consciousness, our minds are somehow directly aware of the complicated flow of electrical and chemical patterns in our brains. At the lowest level, the level of single atoms and electrons, the mind of an observer is again involved in the description of events. Between lies the level of molecular biology, where mechanical models are adequate and mind appears to be irrelevant. But I, as a physicist, cannot help suspecting that there is a logical connection between the two ways in which mind appears in my universe. I cannot help thinking that our awareness of our own brains has something to do with the process which we call "observation" in atomic physics. That is to say, I think our consciousness is not just a passive epiphenomenon carried along by the chemical events in our brains, but is an active agent forcing the molecular complexes to make choices between one quantum state and another. In other words, mind is already inherent in every electron, and the processes of human consciousness differ only in degree but not in kind from the processes of choice between quantum states which we call "chance" when they are made by electrons." (Dyson F.J., "Disturbing the Universe," Harper & Row: New York NY, 1979, p.245)
"The mechanistic theory postulates that all the phenomena of life, including human behaviour, can in principle be explained in terms of physics. Apart from any problems that might arise from the particular theories of modern physics, or from conflicts between them, this postulate is problematical for at least two fundamental reasons. First, the mechanistic theory could only be valid if the physical world were causally closed. In relation to human behaviour, this would be the case if mental states either had no reality at all, or were in some sense identical to physical states of the body, or ran parallel to them, or were epiphenomena of them. But if on the other hand the mind were non-physical and yet causally efficacious, capable of interacting with the body, then human behaviour could not be fully explained in physical terms. The possibility that mind and body interact is by no means ruled out by the available evidence: at present no clear-cut decision can be made on empirical grounds between the mechanistic theory and the interactionist theory; from a scientific point of view the question remains open. Therefore it is possible that human behaviour, at least, might not be explicable entirely in physical terms, even in principle. Second, the attempt to account for mental activity in terms of physical science involves a seemingly inevitable circularity, because science itself depends on mental activity. This problem has become apparent within modern physics in connection with the role of the observer in processes of physical measurement; the principles of physics 'cannot even be formulated without referring (though in some versions only implicitly) to the impressions - and thus to the minds - of the observers' (B.D. Espagnat 17). Thus, since physics presupposes the minds of observers, these minds and their properties cannot be explained in terms of physics." (Sheldrake R., "A New Science of Life: The Hypothesis of Morphic Resonance," [1981], Park Street Press: Rochester VT, 1995, reprint, pp.25-26)
"The experience of the past 150 years has shown that life is subject to the same laws of nature as is inanimate matter. Nor is there any evidence of a grand design in the origin or evolution of life. There are well-known problems in the description of consciousness in terms of the working of the brain. They arise because we each have special knowledge of our own consciousness that does not come to us from the senses. In principle, no obstacle stands in the way of explaining the behavior of other people in terms of neurology and physiology and, ultimately, in terms of physics and history. When we have succeeded in this endeavor, we should find that part of the explanation is a program of neural activity that we will recognize as corresponding to our own consciousness. But as much as we would like to take a unified view of nature, we keep encountering a stubborn duality in the role of intelligent life in the universe, as both subject and student. We see this even at the deepest level of modern physics. In quantum mechanics the state of any system is described by a mathematical object known as the wave function. According to the interpretation of quantum mechanics worked out in Copenhagen in the early 1930s, the rules for calculating the wave function are of a very different character from the principles used to interpret it. On one hand, there is the Schrodinger equation, which describes in a perfectly deterministic way how the wave function of any system changes with time. Then, quite separate, there is a set of principles that tells how to use the wave function to calculate the probabilities of various possible outcomes when someone makes a measurement. The Copenhagen interpretation holds that when we measure any quantity, such as position or momentum, we are intervening in a way that causes an unpredictable change in the wave function, resulting in a wave function for which the measured quantity has some definite value, in a manner that cannot be described by the deterministic Schrodinger equation. " (Weinberg S., "Life in the Universe," Scientific American, Vol. 271, No. 4, October 1994, p.25)
[top] 3. Numbers If Penrose is right that "mathematical entities such as pi, infinite cardinal numbers, and the Mandelbrot set are simply "out there" and have an objective existence independent of us" then materialism (matter is all there is) is false:
"There's an oft-repeated story that when Stephen Hawking was writing "A Brief History of Time," he was told that every equation in the book would cut his readership in half. If there were any truth to this counsel, Roger Penrose's "The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe," his recent 1,100 page behemoth of a book, should attract a half dozen readers at most. It's an enormous equation-packed excursion through modern mathematics and physics that attempts, quixotically perhaps, to answer and really explain "What Laws Govern Our Universe?" Scattered about this impressive book are informal expository sections, but Penrose's focus is on the facts and theories of modern physics and the mathematical techniques needed to arrive at them. He doesn't skimp on the details, which, for different readers, is the book's strength and its weakness. Parts of it, in fact, seem closer in tone to a text in mathematical physics than to a book on popular science. An emeritus professor at Oxford, Penrose is a mathematician and physicist renown for his work in many areas. In the 1960s he and Hawking did seminal research on "singularities" and black holes in general relativity theory. He also discovered what have come to be called Penrose tiles, a pair of four-sided polygons, that can cover the plane in a non-periodic way. And about a decade ago he wrote "The Emperor's New Mind" in which he argued that "artificial intelligence" was a bit of a crock and that significant scientific advances would be needed before we could begin to understand consciousness. .... Like many mathematicians, Penrose is an avowed Platonist who believes that mathematical entities such as pi, infinite cardinal numbers, and the Mandelbrot set are simply "out there" and have an objective existence independent of us. Developing his mathematical philosophy a bit with some interesting speculations about the relations between the mathematical, physical, and mental worlds (but never descending to sappy theology), he very soon gets into the mathematical nitty-gritty. ... As in his previous works the author is not afraid to strike an iconoclastic pose. He sides with Einstein and against most modern physicists, for example, in thinking that the EPR [Einstein-Poldalsky-Rosen ] experiment demonstrates that quantum theory is incomplete. The experiment, described very simplistically since this column has fewer words than Penrose's book has pages, involves identical particles moving rapidly apart. A physicist measures the spin of one of the particles realizing that quantum theory stipulates that the particle doesn't have a definite spin -- it could go either way -- until it is measured and its wave function collapses. Astonishingly, the other particle, which by the time of the measurement may be in a different galaxy, has a wave collapse at the same moment that always results in its having an opposite spin. How does the second particle instantaneously "know" the first particle's spin? Eerie entanglement, an incomplete theory, something else? Penrose's skepticism extends to more modern developments as well. He is unenthused about inflation theory and particularly so about string theory. (Inflation, very roughly, refers to the lightning fast expansion of a part of the very early universe, and string theory, even more roughly, refers to the notion that fundamental particles are composed of minuscule strings, vibrating and multi-dimensional.) Inflation theory has considerable evidence backing it, but Penrose seems correct to emphasize that string theory and its offspring M-theory are largely speculative. Why their appeal? He offers an interesting discussion of the role of fads and fashion even in theoretical physics. ..." (Paulos J.A., "A Book With a Theory of Everything?," ABCNEWS, July 3, 2005) [top]
4. Evidence of mind 1. Consciousness Oxford neuroscientist Susan Greenfield, "My own view is that people who glibly talk about how the brain generates consciousness seem to forget that we don't know quite what we're looking for. What fascinates me is the meta-question: what kind of question would answer that?" Philosophically at least, there is something head-melting about the idea of studying consciousness from a position that will never be outside of it. "Yes," says Greenfield. "My father said once, it's like using a knife of butter to cut butter. It's such an elusive concept. And whereas it might be hard, say, to design a jet engine, nonetheless you know what you have to do. With consciousness, you can give definitions but none of them are completely satisfactory" (Brockes, 2004).
"But what is consciousness, and what function does it serve? Why should not an unconscious machine do everything that we can do? Is consciousness just froth sitting on top of the brain's electronics? Is it a powerless epiphenomenon, to use the language of the philosophers? Almost certainly not. ... Consciousness gives us a power and flexibility not possessed by those who do not have it. None of this of course explains consciousness as such, the reason for and nature of `sentience,' as we might call it. Why should a bunch of atoms have thinking ability? Why should I, even as I write now, be able to reflect on what I am doing, and why should you, even as you read now, be able to ponder my points, agreeing or disagreeing, With pleasure or with pain, deciding to refute me or deciding that I am just not worth the effort? No one, certainly not the Darwinian as such, seems to have any answer to this. ... The point is that there is no scientific answer." (Ruse, 2001, pp.72-73). [top]
Only a minute amount of brain cortical activity finds expression in conscious experience (*Eccles., 1966; Jeeves, 1994, p.99). [top] 2. Telepathy [top] 3. Mind-over-matter (telekinesis) ABC April 1, 2005. ...Device turns brain chatter into movement A man severely paralysed in a knife attack in the United States has been given the ability to control an everyday object through a thought-controlled device implanted in his brain. The device can pick up electrical brain chatter given out during the thought process, and interpret it through a computer. He has been able to switch a television on and off, change its channels and adjust the volume. Professor John Donohue leads the team that made the chip. "A computer screen is basically a TV remote control panel and in order to indicate a selection he merely has to pass the cursor over an icon and that's equivalent to a click when it goes over that icon," Professor Donohue said. - BBC (c) 2005, ABC [top] 4. Out-of-body experiences [top] 5. Near-death experiences The first scientific study of "near-death" experiences has found new evidence to suggest that consciousness or the "soul" can continue to exist after the brain has ceased to function. ... Reports of "near-death" experiences, in which people close to death have vivid encounters with bright lights and heavenly beings, date back centuries ... The new study concludes ... that a number of people have almost certainly had these experiences after they were pronounced clinically dead. This would suggest that the mind or consciousness can survive the death of the brain ... Based on interviews with survivors of heart attacks at Southampton General Hospital's cardiac unit, the new study [was] ... published in the respected medical journal Resuscitation .... The study's authors [were] ... Dr Peter Fenwick, a consultant neuropsychiatrist at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, and Dr Sam Parnia, a clinical research fellow and registrar at Southampton hospital ... Dr Parnia said: "These people were having these experiences when we wouldn't expect them to happen, when the brain shouldn't be able to sustain lucid processes or allow them to form memories that would last. So it might hold an answer to the question of whether mind or consciousness is actually produced by the brain or whether the brain is a kind of intermediary for the mind, which exists independently." Dr Fenwick said: "If the mind and brain can be independent, then that raises questions about the continuation of consciousness after death. It also raises the question about a spiritual component to humans and about a meaningful universe with a purpose rather than a random universe." During the study period, 63 cardiac arrest patients survived and were interviewed within a week. Of those, 56 had no recollection of their period of unconsciousness, a result that might have been expected in all cases. Seven survivors, however, had memories, although only four passed the Grayson scale, the strict medical criteria for assessing near-death experiences. These four recounted feelings of peace and joy, time speeded up, heightened senses, lost awareness of body, seeing a bright light, entering another world, encountering a mystical being and coming to a "point of no return". ... By examining medical records, the researchers said the contention of many critics that near-death experiences were the result of a collapse of brain functions caused by lack of oxygen were highly unlikely. None of those who underwent the experiences had low levels of oxygen. ... Dr Parnia ... said: "I started off as a sceptic but, having weighed up all the evidence, I now think that there is something going on. Essentially, it comes back to the question of whether the mind or consciousness is produced from the brain. If we can prove that the mind is produced by the brain, I don't think there is anything after we die ... "If, on the contrary, the brain is like an intermediary which manifests the mind, like a television will act as an intermediary to manifest waves in the air into a picture or a sound, we can show that the mind is still there after the brain is dead. And that is what I think these near-death experiences indicate." ... (Petre, 2000) [top] 6. Prayer [top] 7. Failure of artificial intelligence (AI) In addition to the above positive evidence that materialism is false, there is the negative evidence of the failure of artificial intelligence (AI), which is a corollary of materialism. "Strong AI is the philosophical thesis that appropriately programmed computers have minds in exactly the same I sense that we do" (Blackburn, 1996, p.26). "Strong AI (artificial intelligence) is the reductionist doctrine that was most colorfully stated by Marvin Minsky" ("the founding father of artificial intelligence"): "the human mind is `a computer made of meat" (Johnson., 1998, p.103; Brockman, 1995, p.165). Recently a "roboticist and AI researcher," Steve Grand OBE, who "has been called Britain’s most intelligent man, as well as one of the 18 scientists most likely to revolutionise our lives during the 21st century," whose "ambition" is "to create a robot child which develops a real mind of its own" and "is developing Lucy, an intelligent living machine which he hopes will grow like a human baby" (NESTA, 2004), wrote: "Forget computers. We know of only one machine that can solve the problems involved in picking up a spoon, and that's the brain," and "we don't have a clue how it works"! (Grand, 2004). Leading evolutionist psychologist Steven Pinker asks "Why are there so many robots in fiction, but none in real life? ... The reason ... is that the engineering problems that we humans solve as we see and walk and plan and make it through the day are far more challenging than landing on the moon or sequencing the human genome. Nature, once again, has found ingenious solutions that human engineers cannot yet duplicate" (Pinker, 1997, pp.3-4). So materialism expects us to believe that a `blind watchmaker' "has found ingenious solutions" to "engineering problems that ... are far more challenging than landing on the moon or sequencing the human genome" that highly intelligent "human engineers" with advanced technology "cannot yet duplicate", let alone improve on! "Here again, in discussing strong AI, we have seen that the idea that man is a mere mechanism is refuted, and it is illuminating to see some of the differences between men and machines. Consciousness, reason, understanding and a moral sense characterize human beings and nothing else we know of in this universe, whether it be beast or artefact" (Holder, 1993, p.136).
"Blue Gene snatched the crown from Japan in November Blue Gene/L, the fastest supercomputer in the world, has broken its own speed record, reaching 135.5 teraflops - 135.5 trillion calculations a second. That is double the speed it clocked up to take it to the number one spot in the Top 500 supercomputer league. ... The Blue Gene/L is due to be completed for the Livermore labs in 2005. ..." ("Fastest supercomputer gets faster," BBC, 25 March, 2005)
[No sign of consciousness yet!]
"British chess grand master Michael Adams has fallen at the first hurdle in his bid to beat the world's most powerful chess computer. Mr Adams, 33, who is ranked number one in Britain, lost his match against Hydra after only 33 moves in the first in a six-match tournament at Wembley conference centre in London. "I'm a little disappointed with the result," Mr Adams said after the match, which lasted for three hours and six minutes. "I'd put myself in a strong position early on but when you're playing a machine with the immense power of Hydra you really have to play the perfect game," he said. "I'm confident that I will come back over the next few days." Hydra project manager Muhammad Nasir Ali said: "This was a typically powerful display from Hydra. After only 14 moves I knew he would win." Mr Adams, who became a grand master at 17, is ranked seventh in the world. Hydra, housed in a secure server room in Abu Dhabi, is a cluster of 64 computers acting as one. It is able to process 200 million chess moves a second and can calculate up to 40 moves ahead. It has yet to be beaten by a human chess player. Man and machine will be battling it out until next Monday with 80,000 pounds in prize money at stake. ..." ("World's mightiest chess computer beats British grand master," ABC, June 22, 2005)
[Against a supercomputer that can "process 200 million chess moves a second and can calculate up to 40 moves ahead" it is *amazing* that a human can compete at all! As IDist philosopher and chess master Tim McGrew commented after the 1997 rematch between IBM's Deeper Blue (which has similar power to Hydra) and world champion Gary Kasparov (which the computer won 3½:2½, i.e. Kasparov won 2, lost 3 and drew 1), "This is a speed difference of eight orders of magnitude, greater than the relative speed gap between the most advanced tactical fighter jet and the average inchworm. Clearly, something is going on in the human grandmaster's mind that is not only radically different from what Deeper Blue's program does, but also inconceivably more efficient" (see tagline). Denyse also has an article on it making the same point ]
"Deeper Blue is running on a machine capable of evaluating 200 million nodes per second. A top grandmaster, at a very generous estimate, can visualize and evaluate perhaps as many as a hundred different possibilities in a minute of concentrated thought. This is a speed difference of eight orders of magnitude, greater than the relative speed gap between the most advanced tactical fighter jet and the average inchworm. Clearly, something is going on in the human grandmaster's mind that is not only radically different from what Deeper Blue's program does, but also inconceivably more efficient. In view of the incredible complexity of chess and the limited speed of the human mind, it is a kind of computational miracle that humans can play chess at all." (McGrew T., "The Simulation of Expertise: Deeper Blue and the Riddle of Cognition", Origins & Design, Access Research Network, Vol. 19, No. 1, Summer 1998, pp.7-11)
"Honey bees ability to recognise faces might even be useful to the security industry, say researchers (Image: Mark Cassino/USDA) Don't be too proud of never forgetting a face: It turns out even a humble honey bee can distinguish and recall different human faces, says an international team of researchers. Dr Adrian Dyer, of La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia and Cambridge University in the UK, and colleagues, report their findings online in the Journal of Experimental Biology.The researchers have found that honey bees show a remarkable ability to spot the same human face even days after training. ... the discovery is one of a long string over the last decade about various animals which all point to one startling revelation: It doesn't take a huge human brain or even a mammalian brain to recognise individual human faces or do a lot of other complex tasks. ... From bees to wasps, spiders and even sheep, other animals have proven they can not only recognise our faces, but they navigate mazes, match objects and shapes and even associate smells with previous experiences. "Sometimes I wonder what we are doing with two-kilogram brains," muses Srinivasan. Bees, for their part, have brains about 20,000 times less massive than the human brain. ... The larger implications of such a small number of neurons doing such complex tasks are intriguing, but not obvious, says Dyer. ... There are ... big implications for the security industry and artificial intelligence, Srinivasan points out. "Face recognition is such a hard thing," he says. "People are still working on it for computer and security systems." The honey bee experiment implies there is a simpler solution to the problem that artificial intelligence researchers haven't yet hit on, he says." (O'Hanlon L., "Honey bees recognise people," ABC/Discovery News, 20 December 2005) [top]
5. Information Leading Darwinist theoretician George C. Williams has pointed out that information and matter belong to two "incommensurable domains" (Williams, 1995, p.43). But if the domain of information is therefore not a product of the domain of matter, then no materialistic evolutionary theory can explain it (Johnson, 1996c).
"The brain's special status comes from a special thing the brain does, which makes us see, think, feel, choose, and act. That special thing is information processing, or computation. Information and computation reside in patterns of data and in relations of logic that are independent of the physical medium that carries them. When you telephone your mother in another city, the message stays the same as it goes from your lips to her ears even as it physically changes its form, from vibrating air, to electricity in a wire, to charges in silicon, to flickering light in a fiber optic cable, to electromagnetic waves, and then back again in reverse order. In a similar sense, the message stays the same when she repeats it to your father at the other end of the couch after it has changed its form inside her head into a cascade of neurons firing and chemicals diffusing across synapses. Likewise, a given program can run on computers made of vacuum tubes, electromagnetic switches, transistors, integrated circuits, or well-trained pigeons, and it accomplishes the same things for the same reasons. This insight, first expressed by the mathematician Alan Turing, the computer scientists Alan Newell, Herbert Simon, and Marvin Minsky, and the philosophers Hilary Putnam and Jerry Fodor, is now called the computational theory of mind. It is one of the great ideas in intellectual history, for it solves one of the puzzles that make up the `mind-body problem': how to connect the ethereal world of meaning and intention, the stuff of our mental lives, with a physical hunk of matter like the brain. Why did Bill get on the bus? Because he wanted to visit his grandmother and knew the bus would take him there. No other answer will do. If he hated the sight of his grandmother, or if he knew the route had changed, his body would not be on that bus. For millennia this has been a paradox. Entities like `wanting to visit one's grandmother' and `knowing the bus goes to Grandma's house' are colorless, odorless, and tasteless. But at the same time they are *causes* of physical events, as potent as any billiard ball clacking into another. The computational theory of mind resolves the paradox. It says that beliefs and desires are information, incarnated as configurations of symbols. The symbols are the physical states of bits of matter, like chips in a computer or neurons in the brain. They symbolize things in the world because they are triggered by those things via our sense organs, and because of what they do once they are triggered. If the bits of matter that constitute a symbol are arranged to bump into the bits of matter constituting another symbol in just the right way, the symbols corresponding to one belief can give rise to new symbols corresponding to another belief logically related to it, which can give rise to symbols corresponding to other beliefs, and so on. Eventually the bits of matter constituting a symbol bump into bits of matter connected to the muscles, and behavior happens. The computational theory of mind thus allows us to keep beliefs and desires in our explanations of behavior while planting them squarely in the physical universe. It allows meaning to cause and be caused. The computational theory of mind is indispensable in addressing the questions we long to answer. Neuroscientists like to point out that all parts of the cerebral cortex look pretty much alike-not only the different parts of the human brain, but the brains of different animals. One could draw the conclusion that all mental activity in all animals is the same. But a better conclusion is that we cannot simply look at a patch of brain and read out the logic in the intricate pattern of connectivity that makes each part do its separate thing. In the same way that all books are physically just different combinations of the same seventy-five or so characters, and all movies are physically just different patterns of charges along the tracks of a videotape, the mammoth tangle of spaghetti of the brain may all look alike when examined strand by strand. The content of a book or a movie lies in the pattern of ink marks or magnetic charges, and is apparent only when the piece is read or seen. Similarly, the content of brain activity lies in the patterns of connections and patterns of activity among the neurons. Minute differences in the details of the connections may cause similar-looking brain patches to implement very different programs. Only when the program is run does the coherence become evident. " (Pinker S., "How the Mind Works," [1997], Penguin: London, 1998, reprint, pp.24-25. Emphasis in original) [top]
6. Ethics and morality The materialistic understanding of reality has led to an ethical and moral vacuum, one symptom of which is ethical relativism (Johnson, 1999c). According to Richard Dawkins, Oxford Professor for the Public Understanding of Science, in a materialist system "there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference" (Dawkins, 1995, p.155. My emphasis). After the 2004 Asian tsunami disaster, in which over a hundred thousand people were killed, and many times that number lost all that they had, the various religions of the world grappled, in one way or another, with the problem of how a good God can allow such evil (Graff, 2004) . As secularist Martin Kettle wrote, "This poses no problem for the scientific belief system. ... it ... was a mindless natural event which destroyed Muslim and Hindu alike" (Kettle, 2004). In other words, materialism `solves' the problem of evil, by denying that there is a problem! Dawkins has also stated that "We are survival machines-robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes" (Dawkins, 1989b, p.v). Another materialist, Nobel prizewinning molecular biologist, Francis Crick, wrote that "The Astonishing Hypothesis is that `You,' 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. ... `You're nothing but a pack of neurons'" (Crick, 1994, p.3). Materialist historian of science, William Provine has stated that "naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that ... no ultimate foundation for ethics exists... and ... human free will is nonexistent " (Provine, 1998). The New York Times For the Worst of Us, the Diagnosis May Be 'Evil' By Benedict Carey Published: February 8, 2005 Predatory killers often do far more than commit murder. Some have lured their victims into homemade chambers for prolonged torture. Others have exotic tastes - for vivisection, sexual humiliation, burning. Many perform their grisly rituals as much for pleasure as for any other reason. Among themselves, a few forensic scientists have taken to thinking of these people as not merely disturbed but evil. Evil in that their deliberate, habitual savagery defies any psychological explanation or attempt at treatment. Most psychiatrists assiduously avoid the word evil, contending that its use would precipitate a dangerous slide from clinical to moral judgment that could put people on death row unnecessarily and obscure the understanding of violent criminals. Still, many career forensic examiners say their work forces them to reflect on the concept of evil, and some acknowledge they can find no other term for certain individuals they have evaluated. ... "Evil is endemic, it's constant, it is a potential in all of us. Just about everyone has committed evil acts," said Dr. Robert I. Simon, a clinical professor of psychiatry ... But if there is in fact both evil and good, and human free will does exist, then materialism must be false! Note that this is not saying that materialists themselves are necessarily evil, just that by their own admission if their philosophy is true, then good and evil, in the final analysis, are just subjective illusions (Colson & Pearcey, 1999, pp.92-93). [top] 7. Values Materialism has destroyed the metaphysical basis for value statements and hence made nihilism inevitable (Johnson, 2001). If science can only gives knowledge of fact and not value, then distinguishing between good and evil can only be a matter of arbitrary preference (Johnson, 2002). [top] 8. Evil fruits In the 20th century alone, regimes founded on the materialist philosophy of Marxist-Leninism were responsible for over 100 million deaths (Johnson, 2002; Glynn, 1997, p.188; Koster, 1989, pp.4,178; Hammond, 1997). [top] 9. Evidence of God 1. Evidence of design So strong is the evidence of design in the universe, that "A British philosophy professor who has been a leading champion of atheism for more than a half-century, Antony Flew, has recently "changed his mind" and "He now believes in God ... based on scientific evidence," that "A super-intelligence is the only good explanation" for the origin of life and the complexity of nature" is the best explanation of for "the universe," "the origin of life," and "the complexity of nature" (ABCNews, 2004b). While Flew claims to be now only "a deist like Thomas Jefferson, whose God was not actively involved in people's lives," nevertheless his view of God goes far beyond that of deism which believed "in the existence of a supreme being, specifically of a creator who does not intervene in the universe" (Pearsall, 1999, p.378. My emphasis), since 'the origin of life and the complexity of nature" arose billions of years after the origin of the Universe, and Flew presumably rejects the now largely discredited naturalistic theory called "biochemical predestination" which is compatible with deism, where "the origin of life," and "the complexity of nature" were programmed into the universe at the Big Bang.[top] 2. Universality of belief in God(s) The universality of belief in God(s) is a problem of materialism to explain. [to be continued] [top]

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Created: 3 November, 2003. Updated: 4 April, 2006.