The following excerpt from Chris Carter’s Science and the Near-Death Experience, reminded me all-too-much of contemporary (a)theist discussion [cf. Materialism Is A Misnomer]. The philosophy of materialism is so deeply ingrained into their minds that Cohen and Taylor seem unable even fathom the logical and empirical possibilities Stevenson suggests. Everything below the fold is quoted directly from the book, with my additions in [red brackets].
This installment covers four short chapters comprising the final section of Part One: The Fourth Dimension of Space ; The Second Dimension of Time ; When Separate Things Merge ; and, But Wait… There’s More .
Let’s get this straight right off the bat: this is not the post where I provide a body of replicated scientific findings so persuasive that it demands acceptance from even the most ardent of skeptics. Rather, this is the post where I present a well-documented instance of a proposition that–if true–directly supports the idea that human consciousness can exist outside the physical body. I’ve pieced this together from several books, articles and papers across the internet, so please be sure to correct me if anything jumps out as a red flag, detail-wise.
I’ve been thinking about AI for the past few days, and I find the following questions interesting:
1) If Ian Pearson is correct and we are able to download human consciousness onto machines by 2050, wouldn’t this effectively prove that consciousness can exist outside a human brain, e.g., that some type of mind-body dualism is correct?
2) This is more of a technical question, but, what, exactly, would we be downloading? The original, so to speak? A replica? A set of algorithms that recreates the original?
3) Could we falsify the claim that any given machine is conscious?
4) Wouldn’t claims of conscious machines have to be assumed, in the same way we assume the existence of other minds?
I’d like to thank all the new readers who’ve found their way over here in the past few days, especially dguller, whose persistent questioning has caused me to realize that my blog is nowhere near as organized as it was before importing to WordPress. Certain questions indicate that new readers might be unfamiliar with what I’ve written on the subject of consciousness. This is my fault, because as I said, the blog suffered some pretty heavy disorganization in the import process, and the majority of my consciousness posts weren’t previously accessible via the consciousness category, which only contained about a half-dozen entries as of yesterday.
I’ve been doing some housekeeping to make previous writings on consciousness more accessible to new readers. I spent a few hours locating the foundational posts, and made sure they are filed under the consciousness category, which now has about twenty entries. I also added a link to my series of rebuttals to Ebonmuse’s essay, A Ghost In The Machine, in the Series homepage, accessible from the green tabs above the TWIM header. Lastly, I doctored up a few posts for formatting issues, as the XML import didn’t go so smooth. If you notice any posts with particularly atrocious formatting issues, by all means, please let me know.
So I’ve had plenty of time to read over the past five days, and I figured it’s time to do another installment on The Atheist Afterlife, by philosopher David Staume.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I really admire and respect Staume for the approach he took with his work. Sure, there are areas I think could use improvement, but by and large, David adheres to the majority of the rules. He tends to state claims conservatively. He lets his reader know when he’s making assumptions or operating off speculation. He doesn’t overstate his case. I could go on, but, let’s just get to it. We begin in Chapter 5, titled, The Geometry of Space and Time.
Today's post covers pages 17-36 of The Atheist Afterlife, by David Staume.
Today’s post covers the Introduction and Chapter 1 of The Atheist Afterlife, by David Staume. In a nutshell, the book aims to demonstrate the plausibility of, well.. an atheist afterlife (as if you needed my review to tell you that, right?).
As stated, my initial reactions about the book are largely positive. Overall, I’d say the author takes the road less traveled, and tends towards conservatively stated beliefs and secure premises. I guess when one is used to online (a)theist discussions, those virtues tend to stand out more. As an example of some statements I appreciated or agreed with,
The context of that discussion was simultaneous dreaming, and it ended with Marianne deciding that republishing her paper in its entirety would be the best approach. She added that if I were to do so, she’d be happy to receive criticism, answer questions, and/or discuss the paper. Well! I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly glad she’s given us this opportunity, as it’s not everyday we get to talk to the scientists who actually publish the papers we read and cite in our discussions of (a)theism.
Although Marianne saved me the work of having to relay her words to you, which also nicely eliminated the possibility of me getting any of her words wrong, I’d still like to address the relevance of Sleepdream #3 to our ongoing discussion on consciousness. For those who’d like to skip my thoughts and go straight to the source first, please do: you’ll find links to Marianne’s paper (in its entirety) at the end of this post.