Is Pure Consciousness Possible?

Some practitioners of meditative disciplines or people who have had mystical experiences claim to attain a state of “pure consciousness” (PC). PC is supposed to be a state where one is conscious, but is not conscious of anything. That is, it is completely objectless, or if it has any object at all, the object is nothing but consciousness itself. I see two problems with the idea of PC. The first is that I have doubts that such a thing is possible, and the second is that if it were possible, it wo … [Read more...]

Unapologetic Review – Part 5: The Meaning of “Faith”

The Beating Heart of UnapologeticThe heart of the book Unapologetic is Chapter 5:  "Why Philosophy of Religion Must End", and the heart of Chapter 5 is the Ten Reasons that Loftus gives for this conclusion (in the subsection of Chapter 5  titled "Why Philosophy of Relgion Must End," on pages 131-135), and the heart of the Ten Reasons is in Reason #9 (on page 135).  And at the heart of the argument given as Reason #9 is this reasoning must end.  (Unapologetic, p.1 … [Read more...]

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...]