I agree with this: Please stop spouting nonsense theories about the meaning of consciousness



3 thoughts on “I agree with this: Please stop spouting nonsense theories about the meaning of consciousness

  1. pm1956

    Sorry, but I disagree, fairly strongly.

    Gobry is interesting, but he has an axe to grind. His particular axe is Catholicism, and he is willing to ignore good, hard, experimental science to do so. He is determined to preserve the soul, and he necessarily must preserve Cartesian dualism in order to do so. Basically, dualism has been rejected by pretty much everyone (philosophers and scientists) as untenable nonsense.

    Now, I will agree with him that we don’t actually know what consciousness is, but here is another example of where he is wrong in this article. There is not a philosophical consensus on the meaning of consciousness. There is a philosophical and scientific consensus that dualism is wrong, and the generally accepted position that consciousness is an epi-phenomena of the brain and thinking, but the rest is still in the speculation area.

    What we generally know is that consciousness is NOT how we make decisions about what our bodies will do (ie., it is a determining precursor to our actions). Scientists can find the nerve impulses for our actions BEFORE they find the nerve impulses for our thoughts about our actions. So it is not that I think/decide to move my arm, and my arm moves, but rather my arm moves and I create a justification for that movement in my thoughts. Given that consciousness does not determine our actions, what does it do? What purpose does it serve?

    Now it is perfectly respectable to sort of throw up your hands at this point, and declare the entire discussion sort of moot, because regardless of the fact that consciousness does not determine action, be live our lives as if it does, and it appears to be impossible to live our lives in any other way. This is the “so what?” option. So we do not have free will (which is what puts the conception of religion and catholicism and souls to rest, and sets off Gobry). We still behave as if we do, at least in our conscious lives. If Gobry left it at that, I would have no problem with his article, but he takes it a step too far, and ends up in intellectual dishonesty.

    After all, what this debate comes down to is the matter of knowledge for it’s own sake, and that is never a bad thing. Maybe it will make a difference in our lives at some time in the future. Purposefully ignoring (or, worse yet, lying about it) it in order to try to preserve some disprove faith from the past is foolish.

    But them, as I have gotten older, I am more comfortable with paradoxes.

    Sorry for the extended rant….


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