C.S. Lewis - Mere Christianity

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Og3
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Re: C.S. Lewis - Mere Christianity

Post by Og3 » Fri May 17, 2019 7:20 pm

SEG wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 6:22 am
Og3 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 7:56 pm
First, we're talking about CONSCIENCE, not CONSCIOUSNESS.

Second, what experiment could possibly be done to prove that Consciousness requires a brain?
Both CONSCIENCE AND CONSCIOUSNESS both are relevant to brain processes. Scientists have known for centuries that you can slice bits off a brain and you will lose perception, to the point where none remains. There are a multitude of those types experiments that have been done over the years, including these ones dealing with Neuroscience of free will
Libet experiment
A pioneering experiment in this field was conducted by Benjamin Libet in the 1980s, in which he asked each subject to choose a random moment to flick their wrist while he measured the associated activity in their brain (in particular, the build-up of electrical signal called the Bereitschaftspotential (BP), which was discovered by Kornhuber & Deecke in 1965[35]). Although it was well known that the Bereitschaftspotential (sometimes also termed "readiness potential") preceded the physical action, Libet asked how the Bereitschaftspotential corresponded to the felt intention to move. To determine when the subjects felt the intention to move, he asked them to watch the second hand of a clock and report its position when they felt that they had felt the conscious will to move.[36]

Libet's experiment: (0) repose, until (1) the Bereitschaftspotential is detected, (2-Libet's W) the volunteer memorizes a dot position upon feeling their intention, and (3) then acts.
Libet found that the unconscious brain activity leading up to the conscious decision by the subject to flick their wrist began approximately half a second before the subject consciously felt that they had decided to move.[36][37] Libet's findings suggest that decisions made by a subject are first being made on a subconscious level and only afterward being translated into a "conscious decision", and that the subject's belief that it occurred at the behest of their will was only due to their retrospective perspective on the event.

The interpretation of these findings has been criticized by Daniel Dennett, who argues that people will have to shift their attention from their intention to the clock, and that this introduces temporal mismatches between the felt experience of will and the perceived position of the clock hand.[38][39] Consistent with this argument, subsequent studies have shown that the exact numerical value varies depending on attention.[40][41] Despite the differences in the exact numerical value, however, the main finding has held.[6][42][43] Philosopher Alfred Mele criticizes this design for other reasons. Having attempted the experiment himself, Mele explains that "the awareness of the intention to move" is an ambiguous feeling at best. For this reason he remained skeptical of interpreting the subjects' reported times for comparison with their 'Bereitschaftspotential'.[44]

Criticisms

Typical recording of the Bereitschaftspotential that was discovered by Kornhuber & Deecke in 1965[35]). Benjamin Libet investigated whether this neural activity corresponded to the "felt intention" (or will) to move of experimental subjects.
In a variation of this task, Haggard and Eimer asked subjects to decide not only when to move their hands, but also to decide which hand to move. In this case, the felt intention correlated much more closely with the "lateralized readiness potential" (LRP), an ERP component which measures the difference between left and right hemisphere brain activity. Haggard and Eimer argue that the feeling of conscious will must therefore follow the decision of which hand to move, since the LRP reflects the decision to lift a particular hand.[40]

A more direct test of the relationship between the Bereitschaftspotential and the "awareness of the intention to move" was conducted by Banks and Isham (2009). In their study, participants performed a variant of the Libet's paradigm in which a delayed tone followed the button press. Subsequently, research participants reported the time of their intention to act (e.g., Libet's "W"). If W were time-locked to the Bereitschaftspotential, W would remain uninfluenced by any post-action information. However, findings from this study show that W in fact shifts systematically with the time of the tone presentation, implicating that W is, at least in part, retrospectively reconstructed rather than pre-determined by the Bereitschaftspotential.[45]

A study conducted by Jeff Miller and Judy Trevena (2009) suggests that the Bereitschaftspotential (BP) signal in Libet's experiments doesn't represent a decision to move, but that it's merely a sign that the brain is paying attention.[46] In this experiment the classical Libet experiment was modified by playing an audio tone indicating to volunteers to decide whether to tap a key or not. The researchers found that there was the same RP signal in both cases, regardless of whether or not volunteers actually elected to tap, which suggests that the RP signal doesn't indicate that a decision has been made.[47][48]

In a second experiment, researchers asked volunteers to decide on the spot whether to use left hand or right to tap the key while monitoring their brain signals, and they found no correlation among the signals and the chosen hand. This criticism has itself been criticized by free-will researcher Patrick Haggard, who mentions literature that distinguishes two different circuits in the brain that lead to action: a "stimulus-response" circuit and a "voluntary" circuit. According to Haggard, researchers applying external stimuli may not be testing the proposed voluntary circuit, nor Libet's hypothesis about internally triggered actions.[49]

Libet's interpretation of the ramping up of brain activity prior to the report of conscious "will" continues to draw heavy criticism. Studies have questioned participants' ability to report the timing of their "will". Authors have found that preSMA activity is modulated by attention (attention precedes the movement signal by 100ms), and the prior activity reported could therefore have been product of paying attention to the movement.[50] They also found that the perceived onset of intention depends on neural activity that takes place after the execution of action. Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) applied over the preSMA after a participant performed an action shifted the perceived onset of the motor intention backward in time, and the perceived time of action execution forward in time.[51]

Others have speculated that the preceding neural activity reported by Libet may be an artefact of averaging the time of "will", wherein neural activity does not always precede reported "will".[41] In a similar replication they also reported no difference in electrophysiological signs before a decision not to move, and before a decision to move.[46]

Despite his findings, Libet himself did not interpret his experiment as evidence of the inefficacy of conscious free will — he points out that although the tendency to press a button may be building up for 500 milliseconds, the conscious will retains a right to veto any action at the last moment.[52] According to this model, unconscious impulses to perform a volitional act are open to suppression by the conscious efforts of the subject (sometimes referred to as "free won't"). A comparison is made with a golfer, who may swing a club several times before striking the ball. The action simply gets a rubber stamp of approval at the last millisecond. Max Velmans argues however that "free won't" may turn out to need as much neural preparation as "free will" (see below).[53]

Some studies have however replicated Libet's findings, whilst addressing some of the original criticisms.[54] A recent study has found that individual neurons were found to fire 2 seconds before a reported "will" to act (long before EEG activity predicted such a response).[15] Itzhak Fried replicated Libet's findings in 2011 at the scale of the single neuron. This was accomplished with the help of volunteer epilepsy patients, who needed electrodes implanted deep in their brain for evaluation and treatment anyway. Now able to monitor awake and moving patients, the researchers replicated the timing anomalies that were discovered by Libet and are discussed in the following study.[15] Similarly to these tests, Chun Siong Soon, Anna Hanxi He, Stefan Bode and John-Dylan Haynes have conducted a study in 2013 claiming to be able to predict the choice to sum or subtract before the subject reports it.[55]

William R. Klemm pointed out the inconclusiveness of these tests due to design limitations and data interpretations and proposed less ambiguous experiments,[17] while affirming a stand on the existence of free will[56] like Roy F. Baumeister[57] or Catholic neuroscientists such as Tadeusz Pacholczyk. Adrian G. Guggisberg and Annaïs Mottaz have also challenged Itzhak Fried's findings.[58]

A study by Aaron Schurger and colleagues published in PNAS[59] challenged assumptions about the causal nature of the Bereitschaftspotential itself (and the "pre-movement buildup" of neural activity in general), thus denying the conclusions drawn from studies such as Libet's[36] and Fried's.[15] See The Information Philosopher[60] and New Scientist[61] for commentary on this study.

Unconscious actions
Timing intentions compared to actions
A study by Masao Matsuhashi and Mark Hallett, published in 2008, claims to have replicated Libet's findings without relying on subjective report or clock memorization on the part of participants.[54] The authors believe that their method can identify the time (T) at which a subject becomes aware of his own movement. Matsuhashi and Hallet argue that this time not only varies, but often occurs after early phases of movement genesis have already begun (as measured by the readiness potential). They conclude that a person's awareness cannot be the cause of movement, and may instead only notice the movement.
Show me one circumstance in an existent being that has had thought processes scientifically recorded without a material brain. No brain equals no CONSCIENCE, no CONSCIOUSNESS and no thought.
So your response is that both things come from the brain, therefore are the same for our purposes, and here's a study about a slightly different matter in the hopes that no one will notice that it doesn't address the question.

Then you reverse the assertion and demand that I prove you wrong. As a floor exercise in mental gymnastics, I give it a 10, but as support for your assertion, I have to give it 0.
EGO TE ABSOLVO, and there's nothing you can do about it.

Og3
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Re: C.S. Lewis - Mere Christianity

Post by Og3 » Fri May 17, 2019 7:25 pm

SEG wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 10:20 am
Getting back to the book. In Book 3 Chapter 7 Lewis speaks of forgiveness. He says this:
Does loving your enemy mean not punishing him? No, for loving myself does not mean that I ought not to subject myself to punishment—even to death. If one had committed a murder, the right Christian thing to do would be to give yourself up to the police and be hanged. It is, therefore, in my opinion, perfectly right for a Christian judge to sentence a man to death or a Christian soldier to kill an enemy.
He neglects to say where the all merciful God's forgiveness is for crimes like when he kills a man picking up sticks on a Sunday or when he struck down Uzzah when he steadied the ark with his hand after the oxen stumbled.

Later in the chapter he wrote this revolting paragraph:
What I cannot understand is this sort of semipacifism you get nowadays which gives people the idea that though you have to fight, you ought to do it with a long face and as if you were ashamed of it. It is that feeling that robs lots of magnificent young Christians in the Services of something they have a right to, something which is the natural accompaniment of courage— a kind of gaity and wholeheartedness.
So it's not good enough for a Christian soldier to kill someone with disinterest, you need to do it with gaity and wholeheartedness. What was he thinking?
He was thinking that Chesterton was correct in his assertions concerning Men Without Chests.

Your appeals to the emotions do not answer Lewis on point, in either case. Besides, you've skipped over Book 2 entirely. What's wrong? No youtube videos to give you crib notes?
EGO TE ABSOLVO, and there's nothing you can do about it.

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SEG
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Re: C.S. Lewis - Mere Christianity

Post by SEG » Fri May 17, 2019 9:32 pm

Og3 wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 7:25 pm
SEG wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 10:20 am
Getting back to the book. In Book 3 Chapter 7 Lewis speaks of forgiveness. He says this:
Does loving your enemy mean not punishing him? No, for loving myself does not mean that I ought not to subject myself to punishment—even to death. If one had committed a murder, the right Christian thing to do would be to give yourself up to the police and be hanged. It is, therefore, in my opinion, perfectly right for a Christian judge to sentence a man to death or a Christian soldier to kill an enemy.
He neglects to say where the all merciful God's forgiveness is for crimes like when he kills a man picking up sticks on a Sunday or when he struck down Uzzah when he steadied the ark with his hand after the oxen stumbled.

Later in the chapter he wrote this revolting paragraph:
What I cannot understand is this sort of semipacifism you get nowadays which gives people the idea that though you have to fight, you ought to do it with a long face and as if you were ashamed of it. It is that feeling that robs lots of magnificent young Christians in the Services of something they have a right to, something which is the natural accompaniment of courage— a kind of gaity and wholeheartedness.
So it's not good enough for a Christian soldier to kill someone with disinterest, you need to do it with gaity and wholeheartedness. What was he thinking?
He was thinking that Chesterton was correct in his assertions concerning Men Without Chests.

Your appeals to the emotions do not answer Lewis on point, in either case. Besides, you've skipped over Book 2 entirely. What's wrong? No youtube videos to give you crib notes?
Killing the enemy with gaity and wholeheartedness is a sign of a sick mind. I could comment on each chapter on how that is the case, but that statement stood head and shoulders above the rest. As for staying on topic, I could have challenged your statement of:
Tamar and one of her bastard twins by Judah are in the direct lineage of Jesus Christ.
with one of the biggest contradictions of the NT, but we will leave that for a new thread. And yes I have troubles with book 2, it's as bad as the rest. The whole book is solely about his vivid imagination and doesn't present a case for this main point - how does he know any of this?
Premise One: If a compassionate God exists, then he would do things just as a compassionate person would.
Premise Two: God doesn't do things as a compassionate person would.
Conclusion: Therefore, a compassionate God does not exist.

Og3
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Re: C.S. Lewis - Mere Christianity

Post by Og3 » Sat May 18, 2019 12:30 am

Well, if you haven't read Chesterton, how are you going to pick up the subtle points in Lewis? And it's the subtle points you keep asking about, while dodging the main part of his discourse.

Book 2 is called "What Christians Believe." It is not titled "Something I know but won't tell you how I know it." You're really going to have to do better if you want us to believe that you read it with anything approaching an open mind.

He begins by saying that Christians are not constrained from believing that other religions have gotten at least a few things right, but atheists are required to think that the whole thing is a big mistake. Any comments on that on point? Agree, disagree?
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Og3
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Re: C.S. Lewis - Mere Christianity

Post by Og3 » Sat May 18, 2019 12:34 am

SEG wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 10:20 am
As for staying on topic, I could have challenged your statement of:
Tamar and one of her bastard twins by Judah are in the direct lineage of Jesus Christ.
with one of the biggest contradictions of the NT, but we will leave that for a new thread. ...
Really? Is there a genealogy for Jesus that does not include Judah, Tamar, and Perez (alt. Pheres)? Chapter and verse, please...
EGO TE ABSOLVO, and there's nothing you can do about it.

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Re: C.S. Lewis - Mere Christianity

Post by SEG » Sat May 18, 2019 3:02 am

Og3 wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 12:30 am
Well, if you haven't read Chesterton, how are you going to pick up the subtle points in Lewis? And it's the subtle points you keep asking about, while dodging the main part of his discourse.

Book 2 is called "What Christians Believe." It is not titled "Something I know but won't tell you how I know it." You're really going to have to do better if you want us to believe that you read it with anything approaching an open mind.

He begins by saying that Christians are not constrained from believing that other religions have gotten at least a few things right, but atheists are required to think that the whole thing is a big mistake. Any comments on that on point? Agree, disagree?
I actually agree that humanity originally got most of things that we know about our universe wrong and atheists are spot on by not believing assertions without clear evidence. For example a huge proportion of our population once thought that trees, lakes and mountains were living, powerful gods.

Regarding the content about atheists I reckon today most of the modern apologists who assert that they started out as former atheists were never totally disbelieving atheists. I strongly suspect they read C.S. Lewis and thought it sounds incredibly convincing to add this on at the start of their sermons.
Premise One: If a compassionate God exists, then he would do things just as a compassionate person would.
Premise Two: God doesn't do things as a compassionate person would.
Conclusion: Therefore, a compassionate God does not exist.

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SEG
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Re: C.S. Lewis - Mere Christianity

Post by SEG » Sat May 18, 2019 3:37 am

Og3 wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 12:34 am
SEG wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 10:20 am
As for staying on topic, I could have challenged your statement of:
Tamar and one of her bastard twins by Judah are in the direct lineage of Jesus Christ.
with one of the biggest contradictions of the NT, but we will leave that for a new thread. ...
Really? Is there a genealogy for Jesus that does not include Judah, Tamar, and Perez (alt. Pheres)? Chapter and verse, please...
There is no the direct lineage of Jesus Christ that isn't contradictory. From Wiki:
The New Testament provides two accounts of the genealogy of Jesus, one in the Gospel of Matthew and another in the Gospel of Luke.[1] Matthew starts with Abraham, while Luke begins with Adam. The lists are identical between Abraham and David, but differ radically from that point. Matthew has twenty-seven generations from David to Joseph, whereas Luke has forty-two, with almost no overlap between the names on the two lists.⁠ Notably, the two accounts also disagree on who Joseph's father was: Matthew says he was Jacob, while Luke says he was Heli.
Why trace his lineage back from Joseph if he was sired by God? IOW did he have a divine or biological father?
Premise One: If a compassionate God exists, then he would do things just as a compassionate person would.
Premise Two: God doesn't do things as a compassionate person would.
Conclusion: Therefore, a compassionate God does not exist.

Og3
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Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2018 6:41 am

Re: C.S. Lewis - Mere Christianity

Post by Og3 » Sat May 18, 2019 7:07 pm

SEG wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 3:37 am
Og3 wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 12:34 am
SEG wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 10:20 am
As for staying on topic, I could have challenged your statement of:
with one of the biggest contradictions of the NT, but we will leave that for a new thread. ...
Really? Is there a genealogy for Jesus that does not include Judah, Tamar, and Perez (alt. Pheres)? Chapter and verse, please...
There is no the direct lineage of Jesus Christ that isn't contradictory.
Oh, but that wasn't the question.
From Wiki:
The New Testament provides two accounts of the genealogy of Jesus, one in the Gospel of Matthew and another in the Gospel of Luke.[1] Matthew starts with Abraham, while Luke begins with Adam. The lists are identical between Abraham and David,

And as you really don't know, having no idea what the bible actually says, Judah and Tamar, along with their twin sons, are between Abraham and David.
but differ radically from that point. Matthew has twenty-seven generations from David to Joseph, whereas Luke has forty-two, with almost no overlap between the names on the two lists.⁠ Notably, the two accounts also disagree on who Joseph's father was: Matthew says he was Jacob, while Luke says he was Heli.
Why trace his lineage back from Joseph if he was sired by God? IOW did he have a divine or biological father?
Luke provides the lineage of Joseph, husband of Mary, through David's Son Nathan; Matthew provides the lineage of Joseph, FATHER of Mary, through David's son and successor, Solomon. So if on the one hand you argue (as some do) that Jesus was the son of Joseph, Mary's husband, then he was a son (descendant) of David. And if you argue (as Christians do) that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, in either case he is the physical son of Mary, and thus is a son of David.

And the latter point is important because even to this day, Jews consider a child Jewish if born to a Jewish mother; Thus the descent from David through Mary (as well as through her husband) makes Jesus a son of David, regardless what you believe about his conception.
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Og3
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Re: C.S. Lewis - Mere Christianity

Post by Og3 » Sat May 18, 2019 7:23 pm

No wonder you wanted to gloss over Bk. 2 Ch. 1, SEG.
Lewis, in MC 2:1 wrote:And, of course, that raises a very big question. If a good God made the
world why has it gone wrong? And for many years I simply refused to listen
to the Christian answers to this question, because I kept on feeling "whatever
you say, and however clever your arguments are, isn't it much simpler and
easier to say that the world was not made by any intelligent power? Aren't all
your arguments simply a complicated attempt to avoid the obvious?"
Oh, where have I heard such an argument before? If only I could recall... Oh, right. Here. On this board. Repeatedly.

(also, this answers all of the silly blathering earlier about how Lewis just "Assumes" God and never explains his reasoning. Well, clearly you didn't read this portion, or else you fibbed a little on what it says. But I think we know the answer to that conundrum -- Both.)

So how did Lewis reason from there?
But then that threw me back into another difficulty.
My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust.
But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line
crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this
universe with when I called it unjust?
And where have we heard this before? Right. from me, citing Lewis. Ah, so the whole thing comes into focus.
Lewis, MC 2:1 wrote: If the whole show was bad and senseless from A to Z, so to speak, why did I, who was supposed to be part of the show,
find myself in such violent reaction against it? A man feels wet when he falls into water, because man is not a water animal: a fish would not feel wet.
A worthy point, you must concede, mustn't you? How would a fish know that he is wet? And thus if there were no True Justice, there could not be injustice, could there? I raised this point with Captain Howdy, over in the other thread.
Lewis, MC 2:1 wrote:Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing
but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against
God collapsed too — for the argument depended on saying that the world
was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my private fancies.
Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist — in other
words, that the whole of reality was senseless — I found I was forced to assume
that one part of reality — namely my idea of justice — was full of sense.
So we find again that dilemma that you danced so elegantly to avoid: Either life and morals and justice have meaning -- which implies God -- or else we have concepts in our heads which have no meaning, and no way to explain how they got there. But Lewis goes on:
Lewis MC 2:1 wrote: Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.
So then the question we must lay at the feet of the atheists present is this:

If life has a meaning, and that meaning is not God, then what is it (keeping in mind that it must explain our thirst for justice, morals, and meaning)?
If life has no meaning, then how do we explain our thirst for justice, morals, and meaning?

(We anticipate, here, the argument that Lewis will show later: The argument from desire).
EGO TE ABSOLVO, and there's nothing you can do about it.

Og3
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Re: C.S. Lewis - Mere Christianity

Post by Og3 » Sat May 18, 2019 7:30 pm

I invite the curious to read Bk. 2 Ch. 2, and what Lewis says about simplicity and complexity in religion or in atheism, and see if you can find a certain pattern in it that is all too familiar to those who discuss religion on this board.

If we can not read that passage without feeling a certain sense of deja vu, and perhaps even a prick at our consciences, then I posit that we have not been long in the world of religious discussion, especially among laymen.
EGO TE ABSOLVO, and there's nothing you can do about it.

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