On November 21, 2014 I received a letter from Nobel Laureate Harry Kroto and it said:
…Please click on this URL http://vimeo.com/26991975
and you will hear what far smarter people than I have to say on this matter. I agree with them.
I have attempted to respond to all of Dr. Kroto’s friends arguments and I have posted my responses one per week for over a year now. Here are some of my earlier posts:
Arif Ahmed, Haroon Ahmed, Jim Al-Khalili, Sir David Attenborough, Mark Balaguer, Horace Barlow, Michael Bate, Sir Patrick Bateson, Simon Blackburn, Colin Blakemore, Ned Block, Pascal Boyer, Patricia Churchland, Aaron Ciechanover, Noam Chomsky, Brian Cox, Partha Dasgupta, Alan Dershowitz, Frank Drake, Hubert Dreyfus, John Dunn, Bart Ehrman, Mark Elvin, Richard Ernst, Stephan Feuchtwang, Robert Foley, David Friend, Riccardo Giacconi, Ivar Giaever , Roy Glauber, Rebecca Goldstein, David J. Gross, Brian Greene, Susan Greenfield, Stephen F Gudeman, Alan Guth, Jonathan Haidt, Theodor W. Hänsch, Brian Harrison, Stephen Hawking, Hermann Hauser, Robert Hinde, Roald Hoffmann, Bruce Hood, Gerard ‘t Hooft, Caroline Humphrey, Nicholas Humphrey, Herbert Huppert, Gareth Stedman Jones, Steve Jones, Shelly Kagan, Michio Kaku, Stuart Kauffman, Masatoshi Koshiba, Lawrence Krauss, Harry Kroto, George Lakoff, Rodolfo Llinas, Elizabeth Loftus, Alan Macfarlane, Dan McKenzie, Mahzarin Banaji, Peter Millican, Marvin Minsky, Leonard Mlodinow, P.Z.Myers, Yujin Nagasawa, Alva Noe, Douglas Osheroff, David Parkin, Jonathan Parry, Roger Penrose, Saul Perlmutter, Herman Philipse, Carolyn Porco, Robert M. Price, VS Ramachandran, Lisa Randall, Lord Martin Rees, Colin Renfrew, Alison Richard, C.J. van Rijsbergen, Oliver Sacks, John Searle, Marcus du Sautoy, Simon Schaffer, J. L. Schellenberg, Lee Silver, Peter Singer, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Ronald de Sousa, Victor Stenger, John Sulston, Barry Supple, Leonard Susskind, Raymond Tallis, Max Tegmark, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Martinus J. G. Veltman, Craig Venter, .Alexander Vilenkin, Sir John Walker, James D. Watson, Frank Wilczek, Steven Weinberg, and Lewis Wolpert,
|Born||October 21, 1942
Vancouver, B.C., Canada
|Alma mater||University of Pittsburgh|
|Era||20th, 21st-century philosophy|
|Institutions||University of Pittsburgh|
Philosophy of science
Philosophy of mind
Paul Churchland (born October 21, 1942) is a Canadian philosopher noted for his studies in neurophilosophy and the philosophy of mind. He is Professor Emeritus at the University of California, San Diego, where he held the Valtz Chair of Philosophy and a joint appointment with the Cognitive Science Faculty and the Institute for Neural Computation. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh in 1969 under the direction of Wilfrid Sellars. Churchland is the husband of philosopher Patricia Churchland, and it has been noted that, “Their work is so similar that they are sometimes discussed, in journals and books, as one person.” He is also the father of two children, Mark and Anne Churchland, both of whom are neuroscientists.
Churchland began his professional career as an instructor at the University of Pittsburgh in 1969; he also lectured at the University of Toronto from 1967-69. In 1969, Churchland took a position at the University of Manitoba, where he would teach for fifteen years: as an assistant professor (1969–74) and associate professor (1974–79), and then as a full professor from 1979-1984. Professor Churchland joined the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton in 1982, staying as a member until 1983. He joined the faculty at the University of California, San Diego in 1983, serving as Department Chair from 1986-1990. He is a member of the Board of Trustees Moscow Center for Consciousness Studies of Philosophy Department, Moscow State University.
Along with his wife, Churchland is a major proponent of eliminative materialism, the belief that everyday mental concepts such as beliefs, feelings, and desires are part of a “folk psychology” of theoretical constructs without coherent definition, destined to simply be obviated by a thoroughly scientific understanding of human nature.
Just as modern science has discarded such notions as legends or witchcraft, Churchland maintains that a future, fully matured neuroscience is likely to have no need for “beliefs” (see propositional attitudes). In other words, he holds that beliefs are not ontologically real. Such concepts will not merely be reduced to more finely grained explanation and retained as useful proximate levels of description, but will be strictly eliminated as wholly lacking in correspondence to precise objective phenomena, such as activation patterns across neural networks. He points out that the history of science has seen many posits once considered real entities, such as phlogiston, caloric, the luminiferous ether, and vital forces, thus eliminated. In The Engine of Reason, The Seat of the Soul Churchland hypothesizes that consciousness might be explained in terms of a recurrent neural network with its hub in the intralaminar nucleus of the thalamus and feedback connections to all parts of the cortex. He says his proposal is probably mistaken in the neurological details, but on the right track in its use of recurrent neural networks to account for consciousness. This is notably a reductionist rather than eliminativist account of consciousness.
In the third video below in the 143rd clip in this series are his words and my response is below them.
50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 1)
Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 2
A Further 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God (Part 3)