Philosophy as Astrology

A comment by hisXmark on one of my recent posts challenged the value of philosophy:The nature of knowledge is not to be found in philosophy, it is to be found in neuroscience and psychology. All that remains of philosophy is myth and fairy tale. Like its stepchild, theology, philosophy is fantasy that has lost its function.Unfortunately, hisXmark could not reason his/her way out of a wet paper bag, so that conversation went nowhere. I demanded a reason or argument in support of these … [Read more...]

Evan Fales: Deepak Chopra’s $1M Prize is a Publicity Stunt

(This is a guest post by Evan Fales about Deepak Chopra's recent challenge to the new atheists.)This is a publicity stunt.  He's smart enough to have picked what may be the biggest unsolved puzzle for naturalism.  At the same time, his challenge is seriously vague in its wording.  What exactly does he mean by 'biological basis'?  Would an invariant neurological correlate of a mental event-type do?  A neurological cause?  Does he need identity?  Supervenience?  What counts as a “valid” scienti … [Read more...]

Richard Swinburne’s newest book: Mind, Brain, and Free Will

This book will be published May 15, 2013. Here is the book’s description on Amazon: Mind, Brain, and Free Will presents a powerful new case for substance dualism (the idea that humans consist of two parts--body and soul) and for libertarian free will (that humans have some freedom to choose between alternatives, independently of the causes which influence them). Richard Swinburne argues that answers to questions about mind, body, and free will depend crucially on the answers to more general p … [Read more...]

If There Is No God, Then Why Do So Many People Believe in God?

A reader recently asked me this question. I was raised Catholic and even as a child I just couldn't believe that if there was a God who created the universe and, by extension, us, that He wouldn't expect us to use our brain to reason and learn was was real and unreal.  My major concern, I guess, is that so very many educated, intelligent, and respected people claim to believe.  Why do they believe when I don't?? What am I missing?  Or perhaps, what are they missing?  I'm … [Read more...]

NBC: See Jesus in toast? Elvis on a chip? Science tells who sees faces in objects

LINK … [Read more...]

LINK: Study on Religious Belief Systems of Persons with High Functioning Autism

Catherine Caldwell-Harris and Patrick McNamara have published a very intriguing study in the cognitive science of religion entitled, "Religious Belief Systems of Persons with High Functioning Autism." Here is the abstract:The cognitive science of religion is a new field which explains religious belief as emerging from normal cognitive processes such as inferring others' mental states, agency detection and imposing patterns on noise. This paper investigates the proposal that individual … [Read more...]

Justin Barrett’s “Hyperactive Agency Detection Device” (HADD)

Another item for the "not new, but new for me" category. Justin Barrett is a cognitive scientist of religion and the author of Why Would Anyone Believe in God? In that book, Barrett advances an intriguing explanatory hypothesis for why most people believe in God: the Hyperactive Agency Detection Device (HADD) hypothesis. I have to admit that, when I first heard about HADD, I considered it to be very plausible on the assumption that humans are the products of evolution. It reminds me of Stewart … [Read more...]


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