Revisiting the “versus”…

An innocent question pops up on a typical “versus” capture, and I feel I must respond.

The asker, “a one” gets the featured quote this time around.

About the brain splitting thought experiment: Why is it neccecary to talk in terms of personhood? Why isn’t it enough just to say that a brain produces conciousness and when split each half still has the ability to produce conciousness? Asking which one is ME might just not be the right question to ask.

That’s a Scientific question. Philosophy isn’t ready for that, until it embraces the thought that abstract concepts require a measurable concrete reality upon which to base meaning. It’s quite clear to me that if such an experiment were viable – and it may be, due to advances in Neuroscience and not by way of eliminating philosophical or logical impossibilities – that both parts of the brain would remain conscious, to a lesser degree – unless Neuroscience (and not philosophical discussion) shows that consciousness is almost exclusively the property of one half of a brain, in which case further experiments could be derived where that half is divided and some measurable consciousness would remain in each part.

It may or may not be familiar to anyone reading this, but as for the classical cloning conundrum, it’s not a conundrum to me. Clone a consciousness (in higher detail than normal imprinting is done today), and the simple result is that you have two cloned consciousnesses and two individuals, obviously worth treating as we treat identical twins today. It becomes quite easy to see clearly when you trade the impossibilities of “that which must be” – and the rhetoric surrounding it, heavens above! – for the obvious possibilities of extrapolating from what we can do today.

In short, Science is what turns thought experiments into actual experiments, Philosophy seems to want to keep them thought experiments.

As for the ‘me’ question, both consciousnesses would continually reply, “here!” when addressed, and would continue to experience for the remainder of their consciousnesses’ life cycles, each diverging with the slight differences in sensory input, into non-clones – so that if asked, they would identify as having the same name and history, but as they experience, they would give differing accounts of recent history – certainly to the extent of abjectly different opinions and convictions. Each “identical twin” could become arch enemies, even from just which show they watched last – maybe even from a “vs” quick-fire question session such as this one. If it were a neutral, Scientific one, the odds would be much lower. There would simply be too many observations and facts to agree on to leave anything of substance to debate.


Harris and Craig debate Objective Moral Values needlessly.

Here’s the correct reasoning:

If God X exists, there are God X’s moral values, not objective moral values, and because there is more than one faith, humans will have different moral values. If no Gods exist, humans will have different moral values. Therefore, there are no objective moral values.

So Harris is wrong, and Craig makes his usual effort.

Morals is why we have politics and legislation, and we can hope that agreement comes for moral rules that are the most beneficial for all or most of us, as we make the people more informed to make the right choices as times change.

But anything beyond that is enforced consent.

Free Will and Punishment

No, not a sequel to Dostoyevsky’s classic, just a simple conclusion:

God-given Free Will and Inherited Sin are mutually exclusive concepts.

(Inherited Sin naturally refers to Original Sin in the Bible, but applies to any type of company punishment.)

The conclusion can be drawn from the postulate that any concept of free will entails voluntary choices made by a person, and consequently from all religious texts granting free will to man.

Certainly, so much is true for followers of the Bible, and Genesis chapter 2 and Deuteronomy chapter 30 are used by believers to strengthen the concept.

Here, Dawkins expounds on the vengeful nature of Yahwe, and questions why God’s son had to be the ransom paid for the inherited sin of everyone born from the tainted bloodline of Adam. (Everyone who has ever lived, according to the Bible.)

The purpose of this article is to make obsolete the need for character descriptions of Yahwe and the topic of substitutionary atonement, so that the discussion can move on. It is simply this:

“If God gave individuals free will and expected them to behave, individuals could act in a way God liked, and he could choose to reward those, or in a way he didn’t, and he could choose to punish those. If he didn’t, individuals are not responsible for their actions and God could choose to reward or punish at whim. If he did, he couldn’t punish descendants of Adam for the sins of Adam.

In other words: if we’re to be punished for the actions of others, he didn’t give us free will, and if he did, we’re not to be punished for the actions of others. Therefore, God-given Free Will and Inherited Sin are incompatible concepts.

Remains the permutation that God could reward or punish the righteous and sinful at whim, in other words the ‘God works in mysterious ways’ or ‘it is not for us to know’ card. Playing this card only stresses the incompatibility. Even He could then no longer claim to have given free will to me and you, and he could not be credited for it.”

The incompatibility lies in the concept itself, so that there is no escape; if the choice isn’t made by you, you don’t have free will.

Note that this article only addresses the Bible’s own internally incompatible definitions. The religious definition is based on an opposition of the will of the individual to the will of the deity or deities, instead of incompatibility with determinism or other concepts in Philosophy.

Therefore, do not take this article to endorse specific religious concepts of free will for philosophical discourse.