Discussion:
[Goanet] Evolutionist Kevin?
Kevin Saldanha
2007-07-12 17:32:32 UTC
Permalink
Hei Rui,

Thank you for your compliments and encouragement. You are making a
GoaNet monster out of me as the veteran GNetters know not to stroke my
ego... it only goes to my head ;-)

To answer your first question, I am a professional (companion animal
veterinarian) with more than a passing interest in the theory of
evolution though not as a career. I apologise for misleading you by
putting the two words together (for GL's benefit) but have come to the
realization that after studying evolution for the last 25 years, but
only the last 5 from a secular perspective, it is understandable why
the Church banned Darwin's 'Origin of the Species' for over a hundred
years. His thoughts and conclusions have been verified by many
unrelated scientific disciplines and the body of proof in biology is
as incontrovertible as the Theory of Gravity in physics. A true
understanding of evolution is incompatible with a belief in God unless
hermetically sealed in separate intellectual compartments. As I have
said before, there can only be ONE truth and it is up to each one of
us to question the integrity of our own beliefs.

As to your second question, I can no longer revert to the bliss of a
'simple belief' without suffering some catastrophic cerebral accident!
In fact, one of my greatest fears is that in the coming years I might
suffer the misfortune of a right temporal lobe injury which might
relegate my current understanding of life to the darker recesses of my
memory, instead stimulating the delusions of my indoctrination to the
delight of the organized religious. I am making this public
proclamation as I wouldn't want to be misunderstood in the future in
the unfortunate circumstance that the injury is an invisible stroke as
opposed to a gunshot wound or inadvertent nail gun misfire :-(
Loading Image...

My sincere conviction today is that of an unapologetic atheist. I
don't expect convince anyone other than myself that there cannot be a
god or afterlife or soul or any other of the myriad of convoluted
explanations that accompany faithful belief of angels, etherous
spirits, psychic communication with the dead, heaven, hell, purgatory
etc. etc. I have come to this conclusion entirely on my own,
coincidently after converting to vegetarianism. I see a connection
between that dietary change and a deeper understanding of our (human)
connection with all life forms which, I am convinced, all had a common
ancestor approximately 3.5 billion years ago.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ancestor's_Tale

I would answer your question 'is HOPE a stronger currency then BELIEF
and is belief an insurance policy which is a tradeable commodity
milked at the alters of all religions?' with a resounding YES! But
for the right and wrong of alcoholic addiction (or for that matter ANY
addiction including belief) I would suggest a neurological
predisposition or chemical imbalance which may actually have an
inheritable component. In my opinion, there is no difference between
'mind' and 'the physical process of neuronal computation' or 'body'.

Sincerely,

Kevin Saldanha
Mississauga, ON.
=======
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2007 14:54:22 +0200
From: "rui nuvo" <rui.nuvo at gmail.com>

Re: Evolutionist Kevin?

But Kevin an evolutionist or Kevin a believer or Kevin both an
evolutionist and a believer would be very interesting to know in
private or in public.
--
Be impeccable with your word - Don Miguel Ruiz
http://www.nderf.org/4AgreementsReview.htm
Santosh Helekar
2007-07-14 15:13:28 UTC
Permalink
In my opinion, there is no difference between 'mind'
and 'the physical process of neuronal computation' or
'body'.
There is no reason for this to be simply an opinion at
this stage in this new century. This notion is not
just another fluffy ideology. The point is that there
are objective scientific facts that indicate that
terms such as mind, soul, self, etc are most likely
particular configurations of the electrical activity
of the brain. Knowledge of specific details of these
configurations is about to be uncovered. The
enthusiasm is palpable. All signs portend an
intellectual upheaval that would dwarf Copernican and
Darwinian revolutions. It would be mighty interesting
to see how our religious institutions, theistic and
atheistic ideologies, and legal and political systems
react to it.

Cheers,

Santosh
Carvalho
2007-07-15 05:09:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Santosh Helekar
There is no reason for this to be simply an opinion
at
this stage in this new century. This notion is not
just another fluffy ideology. The point is that
there
are objective scientific facts that indicate that
terms such as mind, soul, self, etc are most likely
particular configurations of the electrical activity
of the brain. Knowledge of specific details of these
configurations is about to be uncovered.
-------------------------------

What Santosh is trying to say with his excessive
throat-clearing, is that one is either a Monist or a
Dualist. Those interested in this topic, can google
Monism and Dualism, suffice it to say Dualists believe
that a sense of self exists outside of the body.

I'd be very interested in knowing what precise
scientific evidence exists that discredits Dualism
without a shadow of doubt. The fact is, man throughout
the ages has been conscious of a sense of self
distinct from his physical being. This sense of self
manifests very early and can be noticed in children
even as young as two.

Until, it is decidedly proven one way or another,
despite Santosh's enthusiasm, Monism remains an
opinion just as Dualism does.

selma



____________________________________________________________________________________
Yahoo! oneSearch: Finally, mobile search
that gives answers, not web links.
http://mobile.yahoo.com/mobileweb/onesearch?refer=1ONXIC
Aristo
2007-07-16 05:16:33 UTC
Permalink
In my opinion, getting rid of the concept of Dualism is the last step
from a 99% Atheist (Agnostic) to a 100% Atheist.

In my attempt to learn more about the sense or self or "Consciousness"
a long time ago, I picked a copy of Roger Penrose's "The Emperors new
Mind" but I found it digressing and did not manage to complete the
book. Perhaps I should have picked up Dan Dennett's bestseller
"Consciousness Explained". Although I've already taken the last step,
I would still be interested to get the lowdown on conciousness.

Santosh, any suggestions for pertinent PS books?

Cheers,
Aristo.
Post by Carvalho
Post by Santosh Helekar
There is no reason for this to be simply an opinion
at
this stage in this new century. This notion is not
just another fluffy ideology. The point is that
there
are objective scientific facts that indicate that
terms such as mind, soul, self, etc are most likely
particular configurations of the electrical activity
of the brain. Knowledge of specific details of these
configurations is about to be uncovered.
-------------------------------
What Santosh is trying to say with his excessive
throat-clearing, is that one is either a Monist or a
Dualist. Those interested in this topic, can google
Monism and Dualism, suffice it to say Dualists believe
that a sense of self exists outside of the body.
I'd be very interested in knowing what precise
scientific evidence exists that discredits Dualism
without a shadow of doubt. The fact is, man throughout
the ages has been conscious of a sense of self
distinct from his physical being. This sense of self
manifests very early and can be noticed in children
even as young as two.
Until, it is decidedly proven one way or another,
despite Santosh's enthusiasm, Monism remains an
opinion just as Dualism does.
selma
____________________________________________________________________________________
Yahoo! oneSearch: Finally, mobile search
that gives answers, not web links.
http://mobile.yahoo.com/mobileweb/onesearch?refer=1ONXIC
-------------------------------------------------------
Goanet recommends, and is proud to be associated with,
'Domnic's Goa' - A nostalgic romp through a bygone era.
This book is the perfect gift for any Goan, or anyone
wanting to understand Goa. Distributed locally by
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by OtherIndiaBookStore.Com. For trade enquiries contact
cecilpinto at gmail.com
-------------------------------------------------------
Aristo
2007-07-16 05:16:33 UTC
Permalink
In my opinion, getting rid of the concept of Dualism is the last step
from a 99% Atheist (Agnostic) to a 100% Atheist.

In my attempt to learn more about the sense or self or "Consciousness"
a long time ago, I picked a copy of Roger Penrose's "The Emperors new
Mind" but I found it digressing and did not manage to complete the
book. Perhaps I should have picked up Dan Dennett's bestseller
"Consciousness Explained". Although I've already taken the last step,
I would still be interested to get the lowdown on conciousness.

Santosh, any suggestions for pertinent PS books?

Cheers,
Aristo.
Post by Carvalho
Post by Santosh Helekar
There is no reason for this to be simply an opinion
at
this stage in this new century. This notion is not
just another fluffy ideology. The point is that
there
are objective scientific facts that indicate that
terms such as mind, soul, self, etc are most likely
particular configurations of the electrical activity
of the brain. Knowledge of specific details of these
configurations is about to be uncovered.
-------------------------------
What Santosh is trying to say with his excessive
throat-clearing, is that one is either a Monist or a
Dualist. Those interested in this topic, can google
Monism and Dualism, suffice it to say Dualists believe
that a sense of self exists outside of the body.
I'd be very interested in knowing what precise
scientific evidence exists that discredits Dualism
without a shadow of doubt. The fact is, man throughout
the ages has been conscious of a sense of self
distinct from his physical being. This sense of self
manifests very early and can be noticed in children
even as young as two.
Until, it is decidedly proven one way or another,
despite Santosh's enthusiasm, Monism remains an
opinion just as Dualism does.
selma
____________________________________________________________________________________
Yahoo! oneSearch: Finally, mobile search
that gives answers, not web links.
http://mobile.yahoo.com/mobileweb/onesearch?refer=1ONXIC
-------------------------------------------------------
Goanet recommends, and is proud to be associated with,
'Domnic's Goa' - A nostalgic romp through a bygone era.
This book is the perfect gift for any Goan, or anyone
wanting to understand Goa. Distributed locally by
Broadway, near Caculo Island, Panjim & internationally
by OtherIndiaBookStore.Com. For trade enquiries contact
cecilpinto at gmail.com
-------------------------------------------------------
Santosh Helekar
2007-07-16 07:25:58 UTC
Permalink
Selma's characterization below of my assertions in
this thread is totally wrong.

What I stated cannot be recast in the antiquated
philosophical dichotomy of monism and dualism. The
current scientific understanding of the brain points
to a much more complicated scenario. Googling for
monism and dualism, as she recommends, will not give
you much of an insight into it. One will have to
google at a minimum for about a week, and spend more
than six months reading and trying to understand all
the papers that google throws up to grasp a little bit
of what we are dealing with here.

However, if one finds comfort in using rhetorical
flourish or pre-scientific philosophical labels then
the current scientific position can be referred to as
a cross between the philosophical concepts of
emergentism and property dualism. In short, it is
neither monism nor dualism.

The ancient classical views alluded to by Selma have
long been refuted by both modern philosophy and
science. In particular, there is hardly any
philosopher alive today, let alone a brain scientist,
who believes in classical mind-body dualism or
Cartesian dualism or substance dualism. The concept
that a mind, soul, self, etc exists independently of
the brain has been rejected on strong scientific as
well as philosophical grounds. I have already provided
some of the evidence against it on Goanet itself over
the last few years.

For example, I have told you that the first scientific
nail in its coffin was hammered in in the 18th and
19th centuries with the discovery of the first and
second laws of thermodynamics. Any spooky non-physical
entity cannot interact with the matter and energy of
physical objects such as the brain without violating
those well established fundamental laws. The coffin
was finally buried by the second half of the 20th
century by advances in neurology, neurosurgery,
neurophysiology and cognitive neuroscience, all of
which showed that not a single mental or conscious
phenomenon survives in the face of damage to specific
parts of the brain. The last two decades have provided
fascinating insights into the brain basis of the most
elusive conscious mental and spiritual phenomena you
can imagine. Out of body experiences, near death
experiences, phantom limbs, phantom selves, multiple
ghostly apparitions, religious experiences, merging
with universal consciousness, etc have all been shown
to result from certain patterns of electrical
activation in specific parts on the brain. I am not
talking about armchair speculations here. In each case
this has been a direct unequivocal inference from
reproducible experimental observations.

On the flip side no evidence has ever been uncovered
for the persistence of any mental or conscious
phenomenon in the absence of a functioning brain
structure that mediates it, or for the interaction of
non-physical entities with the world of matter and
energy. And believe me this is not for lack of trying.


All of the serious scientific studies designed to
uncover such evidence have in the final analysis come
up empty. Examples of such failures include
investigations of near death experiences and
reincarnation studies at the University of Virginia
(the latter also at NIMHANS, Bangalore), the PEAR
(Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research) project of
Princeton University, the paranormal investigations of
psychologists Richard Wiseman and Susan Blackmore in
UK, and the intercessary prayer studies at Columbia
University and elsewhere, funded by the Templeton
foundation.

Classical monism is equally dead. It runs into a
serious conceptual problem in explaining the natural
phenomenon of consciousness - the problem as to how
and why only certain brain processes are conscious.
Modern philosophers have labeled this problem or gap
in understanding with rather uncreative terms such as
"the hard problem" or "the explanatory gap". Those who
took monism seriously in the past did so by rejecting
the reality of conscious experience. They can no
longer do so because modern brain science has
established that consciousness is a measurable and
manipulable natural phenomenon. A good case can be
made that it is most likely a fundamental physical
property similar in some respects to mass and
electrical charge.

So please don't be misguided by Selma's claim that the
present day scientific explanation of a natural
phenomenon, the mind, in terms of an underlying
natural causal process, the activity of the brain, is
simply some age-old philosophical opinion.

Cheers,

Santosh
Post by Carvalho
What Santosh is trying to say with his excessive
throat-clearing, is that one is either a Monist or a
Dualist. Those interested in this topic, can google
Monism and Dualism, suffice it to say Dualists
believe
that a sense of self exists outside of the body.
I'd be very interested in knowing what precise
scientific evidence exists that discredits Dualism
without a shadow of doubt. The fact is, man
throughout
the ages has been conscious of a sense of self
distinct from his physical being. This sense of self
manifests very early and can be noticed in children
even as young as two.
Until, it is decidedly proven one way or another,
despite Santosh's enthusiasm, Monism remains an
opinion just as Dualism does.
selma
Carvalho
2007-07-17 05:02:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by Santosh Helekar
Selma's characterization below of my assertions in
this thread is totally wrong.
Response:
There you go again Santosh with those words "totally
wrong". Of late, you've even begun calling for the
pastoral exile of people who you find "totally wrong".
Very disappointing that was coming from you. I had
truly held you in much higher esteem.

Now, let me at the onset point out that I don't have a
bone in my body that understands anything in the realm
of science, so I am by no means attempting to
discredit your knowledge in these subjects but let me
respond nonetheless to some of your points from a
layman's point of view.

Santosh wrote:
multiple
Post by Santosh Helekar
ghostly apparitions, religious experiences, merging
with universal consciousness, etc have all been
shown
to result from certain patterns of electrical
activation in specific parts on the brain.
Response:
Now, this statement alone is fudging the truth a bit
isn't it? What you mean to say is that certain
patterns of electrical activation have been known to
reproduce apparitions, religious experiences etc. In
order for the converse to be true, you would have to
round up centuries of "fools" who have had
apparitions, religious experiences, near death
experiences, heightened sense of awareness, etc and
conclusively prove that at that precise moment, their
brains were undergoing "certain patterns of electrical
activation in specific parts of the brain".

Now, Eric Von Daniken also has "conclusive evidence",
that religious apparitions are holograms beamed to us
from aliens in outer space. What if in 50 years from
now, we find out that Eric Von Daniken was right. It
would certainly disapprove that apparitions were
divinely motivated but it would also disprove your
theory.

My point is simply this, by all means let science move
ahead, dispelling truths and half-truths that have
crowded our lives. Humanity doesn't owe anyone a dime
except the Deity of Truth but just as I'm wary of
religious zealots who insist they have uncovered the
whole truth, I'm becoming anxious about scientific
inquiry which seeks to prematurely euthanise the
indomitable fakir that resides in all of us.

selma
PS: Re Dualism and Monism, I shall certainly add the
recommended reading to my list. Sincere thanks.



____________________________________________________________________________________
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Santosh Helekar
2007-07-17 08:47:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Carvalho
There you go again Santosh with those words "totally
wrong". Of late, you've even begun calling for the
pastoral exile of people who you find "totally
wrong".
Very disappointing that was coming from you. I had
truly held you in much higher esteem.
The above statements of Selma do not add anything
worthwhile to this discussion. She is simply engaging
in innuendo and further mischaracterization of my
statements. I have already explained why her
characterization of my earlier assertions were totally
wrong. In the academic field, one does have to point
out when a student or colleague is totally wrong about
some thing. More importantly, one has to tell them why
they are wrong.

Selma's statement above that I have begun calling for
the pastoral exile of people who I find totally wrong
is false. I had merely made a light-hearted comment in
response to a derogatory remark made by another
Goanetter, in the form of question to Bosco about his
rules for pastoral action. My comment had nothing to
do with whether I thought the person was right or
wrong.
Post by Carvalho
Now, this statement alone is fudging the truth a bit
isn't it?
No, it isn't. Please see below.
Post by Carvalho
What you mean to say is that certain patterns of
electrical activation have been known to reproduce
apparitions, religious experiences etc. In order for
the converse to be true, you would have to round up
centuries of "fools" who have had apparitions,
religious experiences, near death experiences,
heightened sense of awareness, etc and conclusively
prove that at that precise moment, their brains were
undergoing "certain patterns of electrical
activation in specific parts of the brain".
First of all, I do not think these people are "fools".
Science does not claim that these people are "fools".
Science is a dispassionate enterprise. It contends
that these people are displaying well-recognized
natural phenomena, which have now been reproduced in
the laboratory. Second, it is unreasonable for anybody
to expect scientists to go back in time and prove that
any natural phenomenon (in this case a given conscious
experience) that has occurred in the past is due to a
natural cause (in this case brain electrical patterns)
because this type of time travel is not yet possible.
If people demanded this type of proof, several
well-established scientific theories describing our
past would also have been regarded as mere
philosophical opinions. Examples of such theories
include the theory of evolution by natural selection,
the Big Bang theory, the theory of stellar evolution,
and the geological formation and age of the earth.
Indeed, the case for these theories would have been
weaker than the case for the brain basis of mental
phenomena.

What modern scientists have done instead to confirm
the dependence of mental phenomena on brain activity
is the following:

1. They have recorded brain activation patterns while
present day folks are having these experiences in the
clinic or the laboratory.

2. They have reproducibly induced these experiences by
direct electrical stimulation of specific parts of the
brain.
Post by Carvalho
Now, Eric Von Daniken also has "conclusive evidence",
that religious apparitions are holograms beamed to
us from aliens in outer space. What if in 50 years
from now, we find out that Eric Von Daniken was
right. >It would certainly disapprove that apparitions
were
Post by Carvalho
divinely motivated but it would also disprove your
theory.
To find out if thi