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...]

Why I Do Not Equate Religious Belief with Mental Illness

I'm not a psychiatrist, but as a teenager I worked for an elderly woman who I later found out was a paranoid schizophrenic with organic brain decomposition. (As an aside, if you have any empathy at all, it's impossible to get to know someone like this and not find their situation heartbreaking.) I agree that you cannot talk the mentally ill out of their delusions, hallucinations, etc. But this would only be relevant to the claim that all religious belief is mental illness if it were the case t … [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...]

Index: Larry Arnhart on the Case For (and Against) Life After Death

Part 1: IntroductionPart 2: Near Death ExperiencesPart 3: Kantian DualismPart 4: Neuroscience, Consciousness, and Free WillPart 5: Does Morality Require the Cosmic Justice of Heaven and Hell? … [Read more...]

Perceptronium and Consciousness as a State of Matter

LINK … [Read more...]

Input Requested: Facts about Mental Properties Which Might be Relevant to Theism and Naturalism

I'm interested in collecting a list of mental properties which might be relevant to theism and naturalism. Examples:Consciousness Intentionality Reliability of Cognitive Mechanisms Mind-brain dependenceWhat else have I missed? … [Read more...]

Sean Carroll’s 11 Lines of Evidence for Naturalism over Theism

This is my attempt to summarize the slides from Sean Carroll's recent debate with WLC where he very quickly skimmed through eleven (11) lines of evidence which favor naturalism over theism. I don't claim this is perfectly accurate; any corrections would be welcome and, in fact, appreciated!Facet Theism (Theistic Prediction) Naturalism (Naturalistic Prediction) Lowder's CommentsAmount of Tuning Just Enough Sometimes too much (e.g., entropy). A natural mechanism could incredibly … [Read more...]

Why Eben Alexander’s Account of his NDE Isn’t Credible

Hemant Mehta provides a fantastic summary of Luke Dittrich's takedown. … [Read more...]