Is Mind a Fluke of Nature?

According to atheist and University of Chicago biologist Jerry Coyne, probably:

As for mind being nothing but a fluke of nature, well, that’s probably true, at least the human mind, since I don’t see our evolution as inevitable (it may have depended on mutations that are based on quantum effects).

Coyne doesn’t elaborate on what he means by the relation of the human mind’s evolution to “quantum effects,” but bringing quantum physics into the issue of the mind’s relation to matter, my question then becomes the following: Why start with the axiomatic assumption that matter is prior to mind and must be responsible for accidentally causing human consciousness? Doesn’t quantum physics (via Schrödinger’s famous kitty), imply that matter requires mind (an observer) for a particle to move from a possible state to an actual state–that matter is in some manner inextricably bound up with the mind?

For example, physicists Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner, both at the University of California at Santa Cruz, call the mind’s relation to matter a “quantum enigma”—indeed, the central quantum enigma—and ask rhetorically in their book of the same title, the following:

[D]oes it not go without saying that there is a real world ‘out there,’ whether or not we look at it? (4)

But according to Rosenblum and Kuttner, quantum physics suggests that our intuitive ‘yes’ to that question may be spectacularly wrong. Likewise, I would suggest that the intuition among materialists that human minds and purposes must be generated by determinate matter first, and thus cannot really be necessary to matter or impact the direction of otherwise determinate particles, may also be spectacularly wrong.

According to Discover magazine, physicist Andrei Linde is also reported to entertain a mind dependent cosmos:

[C]onsciousness may be a fundamental component of the universe, much like space and time. He [Linde] wonders whether the physical universe, its laws, and conscious observers might form an integrated whole. A complete description of reality, he says, could require all three of those components, which he posits emerged simultaneously.

If true, that’s dumbfounding and makes for quite an ontological mystery. Linde is quoted in the Discover article as saying the following:

Without someone observing the universe, the universe is actually dead.

So why be a strict materialist and physical determinist when our most empirical science–physics–doesn’t seem to actually demand it?

But if one is set on positing that the mind is a fluke, doesn’t that also make matter a fluke as well? In other words, on atheist terms, matter just is. It has no explanation outside itself, but it’s here (what Stephen Hawking calls “the ultimate free lunch”).

But did matter just jump into existence out of nothing, or has it always existed? Atheists don’t know (and, of course, neither does anyone else). But however conceived—whether as atoms and void or as Plank-level vibrating strings—there’s something properly basic at the bottom of all things—an ontological mystery, if you will, that exists without any antecedent causes—and for the atheist this just happens to be matter.

In other words, it’s a fluke. To quote the writer of Ecclesiastes, “time and chance happeneth to all.”

So now we have two flukes: mind and matter. But this isn’t really satisfying. We seem to be at an aporia (an impasse) of explanation, which in turn seems to demand neither atheism nor theism, but agnosticism.

In our wars of religion and irreligion (and indifference to religion and irreligion), we don’t actually know where, what, or who we are, do we? Why then the desperate displays of confidence atheism and confidence theism, and the resentment on both sides toward the compromisers and indifferent (the lukewarm)? What’s at stake?

I think Terror Management Theory (TMT) offers the most plausible psychological answer: death is unbearable, and therefore doubt is unbearable. Consequently, depending upon our temperaments and contingent circumstances, we sublimate our revulsion at our own deaths and not knowing by casting our lots into competing immortality and meaning projects (one person pours herself into raising children, another into a sport, another into nationalism, another into writing a book, another into religion, another into advancing science, etc.). Every individual thinks her immortality or meaning project, in the face of death, is the sanest and that a lot of other people, maybe even most people, are crazy, superficial, cowardly, or wicked. And in the diversity of the projects people pursue, they invariably crash into one another (the Boston marathoner meets the jihadist; Jerry Coyne gets sent a book by the theologian John Haught, etc.).

But what haunts all of us is a mystery that destabilizes what we think we know, calling all our premises–and immortality and meaning projects–into uncomfortable question. That mystery is death and suffering in a cosmos that consists of two seemingly inexplicable flukes: matter and mind. And God, if God exists, isn’t talking.

Is the answer then agnosticism and to be kinder in tone and rhetoric with one another? Or must we take sides to weed out the most flagrant stupidities, to be cruel to one another only to be kind?

_____

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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56 Responses to Is Mind a Fluke of Nature?

  1. mary says:

    You haven’t mentioned Ernst Becker’s 1973 “Denial of Death,” which appears to be the precursor of TMT. Profoundly compassionate, Becker explores fetish behavior and schizophrenia, among other manifestations, that allow the individual to live in the face of their urgent awareness of death – OCD, a foot fetish, and so on. The parallel coping mechanisms adopted by individuals able to function in the culture include religions, a hero complex, and a drive towards authoritarian behavior, again among other manifestations.

    If you haven’t read it, I encourage you to do so. It’s a really great book.

  2. mary says:

    The relationship between consciousness and matter discussed above echoes the monism developed in Indian philosophy over millennia, specifically, Kashmir Shaivism, Buddhist and Hindu Tantras, and Advaita Vedanta, all of these firmly grounded on the Vedas. What Tantric texts offer is a rigorously tested way for aspirants to “see” beyond the confines of the body to experience the blissful nature of consciousness, Sat-chit-ananda (being, awareness, and bliss), both the “ground” upon which all that exists, exists and the fusion of being and consciousness.

    From the Katha Upanishad to Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita to Abhinavagupta to the Vijnana Bhairava, all outline one of many templates that lead to understanding.

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      My problem, in the light of the Holocaust, is the bliss (ananda) part of the equation. I certainly would like to conclude with the Hindu mystics that bliss is at the deepest core of meditative contact with Brahman, but Buddhism actually splits with Hinduism in part because of this assumption. Buddhism sees emptiness all the way down, transitory states everywhere, and interdependent arising in each moment. Is it Atman or anatman? 1 or 0?

      I’d like to think that love and bliss are the ultimate impetus for the diversity of created things. I just don’t know if that’s true. Emily Dickinson, in my view, is a pretty darn good and ironic guru for the uncertain like me.

      • I don´t think the Holocaust has anything to do with it. Can you elaborate on that?

        Isn´t uncertainty a shaky premise to start off with? “Doesn’t quantum physics (via Schrödinger’s famous kitty), imply that matter requires mind (an observer) for a particle to move from a possible state to an actual state–that matter is in some manner inextricably bound up with the mind?” That theory is debatable. Anyway, the theory does require that matter requires a mind, but theories often turn out to be wrong.

        http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn22336-quantum-measurements-leave-schrodingers-cat-alive.html

        It doesn´t matter whether the conditions for consciousness existed prior to the evolution of the human brain. How could it be any other way? The conditions for life existed prior to the existence of life. Are you talking about the human mind, or some kind of universal mind? The human mind didn´t invent the world of matter, so you must be referring to some cosmic entity that we have tapped into. Or am I missing something?

        Buddhism and hinduism aren´t all that different at their cores. The translations of the words don´t always do them justice. Buddhism was never about words in the first place. At the core it´s about removing thought from the equation, via meditation, and substituting it for experience. You can´t be told what exists. The Buddha became enlightened through meditation, but he didn´t go around telling people, actually the answer is emptiness folks. All the writing and catalogueing of that enlightenment comes after, but the whole point of it is that you can´t explain it. It needs to be experienced. Anyway, that´s not to say it´s correct.

        Good to keep asking the questions in any case, a la Socrates. Uncertainty is a good place to start, I just wouldn´t build any foundations on top of it.

        Yours agnostically…

      • cabrogal says:

        “Is it Atman or anatman? 1 or 0?”

        Under Advaitist non-dualism there is no difference.
        Some of the non-dualistic Buddhist schools of thought would agree.

        And I don’t think Sankara ever claimed that the bliss of unity with Brahman was the basis or impetus for anything other than itself. Brahman is the screen, Maya the projection.

  3. Very interesting. Seldom in these discussion is there a voice that states that death simply is. The seeming inability of the mind to conceive of this is at the heart of the problems.The finality of it defines any explanation of life’s possible meanings as useless save one – objective meaning determined by the observer. This one purpose serves anarchically to disunite the rules by which we model the world. Each small rule, building on others, leads our model to some ultimate end, some final point. When that point is nothingness we often enough see no value or lose value in the building blocks along the path.

    Matter has no point, it simply is. Life has no point, it simply is. Consciousness has no point, it simply is. While the term free lunch has been tossed about, the ultimate free lunch is that we are here to observe and experience what has no purpose or meaning for whatever beauty or meaning we can find in it. Human life is no more special than that of fungi, though it might be argued that fungi give more to the community of life on this planet than do humans.

    As difficult as it might seem, one does not need religion to understand the finality of death, the ultimate lack of objective meaning, nor the value of finding subjective meaning to the well being of the observer. Even your cat will understand these things in their own way. Religion serves only to separate us from the truth by pretending to have truth of its own… truth that ultimately contradicts what the facts tell us about existence.

    It is when we decide we know the meaning of life that we can be certain that we don’t. Count up all the biomass on this planet and then the biomass which believes in a creator god. The answers about life and its possible meaning should include all that mass, not just the small sliver of it which is made up of hairless apes. The meaning of human life must be equal value to the meaning of life of a flat worm. Anything else is special pleading.

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      Myatheistlife:

      You sound like the Buddha in your calm coming to terms with death and resistance to metaphysics, but I still like Emily Dickinson’s playful agnosticism before the door of death: is it oblivion behind there or some sort of bliss or continuation? Not knowing, we are in a very ironic and absurd position, indeed!

      –Santi

      • There are those that use perhaps better words or style, but the clean, sleek lines of my understanding have, for me, an elegance that simply is not found in playful banter. It is both beautiful and powerful and like a starship it cuts through the murky depths of space and quandry at light speed, giving those onboard the feeling of power and majesty, the peace of strength, the calm that comes with knowing what to expect next.

    • Alan says:

      One is reminded of ‘Deteriorata’ (National Lampoon):

      ‘You are a fluke of the universe.
      You have no right to be here.
      And whether you can hear it or not,
      The universe is laughing behind your back.

      With all its hopes, dreams, promises, and urban renewal,
      The world continues to deteriorate.
      Give up!’

    • cabrogal says:

      ” Even your cat will understand these things in their own way.”

      To me that sounds like a leap of faith every bit as spectacular as belief in God.
      (I’m a skeptical agnostic myself).

      • I said “As difficult as it might seem, one does not need religion to understand the finality of death, the ultimate lack of objective meaning, nor the value of finding subjective meaning to the well being of the observer. Even your cat will understand these things in their own way.”

        It’t no leap of faith at all: http://www.pawnation.com/2012/07/31/10-heartbreaking-animal-mourning-rituals/1 Your cat will amuse itself and ignore your attentions when it is something that does not interest them. Subjective meaning is all that animals seem to worry about. Lock an animal up and it can suffer emotionally – http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2006/09/the_tears_of_a_panda.html

        To say it sounds like a leap of faith strongly indicates that you care little about other animals on this planet. They’re your cousins, you know.

        I’ve just cited more solid evidence for my statement than there has been in the last 4 thousand years for the existence of any god. Agnosticism be gone!

      • cabrogal says:

        “To say it sounds like a leap of faith strongly indicates that you care little about other animals on this planet. ”

        Now a spectacular leap of logic to go with it. One that happens to be headed 180 degrees from the facts of the matter.

        I do not dislike animals.
        Nor do I believe that I (or Slate or Pawnation) can read their minds.
        Even if anthropomorphism was not a major fault in your argument it would fall on the notion that a cat could understand “the ultimate lack of objective meaning” without any reason to suspect that a cat can conceive of objective meaning. Or meaning at all for that matter.

      • cabrogal says:

        “I’ve just cited more solid evidence for my statement than there has been in the last 4 thousand years for the existence of any god. Agnosticism be gone!”

        And then you conflate ‘a lack of evidence’ with ‘evidence of a lack’.
        Do you consider yourself to be at all logical?

  4. jasonbladd says:

    Agnosticism cannot be the answer, because it doesn’t answer the question; it merely provides a response. That is true for the ordinary agnostics who says, “I don’t know if God exists.” The ornery agnostics is in a worse position. He says, “I can’t know if God exists.” This is an absolute statement requiring absolute knowledge of all things, a condition no human has ever had (except maybe one?). Agnosticism is not an answer. It’s a stall tactic.

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      I removed your insulting comment to another thread contributor. As to your calmer and more thoughtful response, I’m an ordinary agnostic. I think that atheists and theists are the ones stalling on a number of issues because a confrontation with what is, in fact, uncertain is unpleasant. It is more comfortable to pretend to oneself and posture to others that you know something than it is to face ambiguities and aporias (impasses).

      –Santi

    • Atheism and theism are so certain though. I think that´s a mistake. I think it´s arrogant to presume you know one way or another.

      “The ornery agnostics is in a worse position. He says, “I can’t know if God exists.” This is an absolute statement requiring absolute knowledge of all things, a condition no human has ever had (except maybe one?). Agnosticism is not an answer. It’s a stall tactic.”

      Isn´t that exactly the point, how can we know without that absolute knowledge. How can you be so certain without knowing all the facts. So atheism is just guessing that there´s nothing. Even Dawkins admits he´s an agnostic weighing heavily towards atheism. Physics can´t answer the “why something rather than nothing” question. Agnosticism doesn´t have an answer, but that´s the point. Religion is based on a gut feeling that there must be something else out there. Atheism is based on the gut feeling that there´s nothing else out there. Neither side knows. Or do you? What´s the answer?

      • jasonbladd says:

        First, Thank you to Santi for second chances. Allow me to respond humbly, with the gravity and seriousness this topic deserves.

        I’ll address three issues you’ve raised. The first deals with certainty. There are some things in life where we must make a positive or negative decision on without having certainty of the outcome. Dinesh D’Souza in his book What’s So Great About Christianity provides two examples: accepting a new job which might advance your career, and deciding to marry your betrothed. In both cases, there’s no way to know with certainty the outcome will be a good one, but you must decide. Otherwise, the situation will dissolve and your life will stagnate. We will never know with certainty whether theism is true or false until after we’re dead.

        The second topic to discuss is the concept of knowledge itself. Knowledge is understood to mean “justified true belief.” There are some things we can never “know” in the complete sense of the definition. The existence or non-existence of God is one of these things. That is why the study of theism and atheism always includes the element of faith. Faith should not be blind; it should be well informed. Philosopher William Lane Craig includes thorough discussions of knowledge and philosophy in his book Reasonable Faith.

        This leads to the third item to discuss. There may be some people who have decided to base their theism or atheism on a “gut feeling.” Many people give the topic much more consideration. Richard Dawkins has done much study in the field of biology to arrive at his conclusions. The early church fathers thought deeply using reason, logic, and experience as their guides. Ravi Zacharias’ book Why Jesus?: Rediscovering His Truth in an Age of Mass Marketed Spirituality puts competing worldviews through the three tests of truth: logical consistency, empirical adequacy, and experiential relevance.

        Agnosticism is an intuitive option at first; that’s why I claimed it for a long time. The test for me is to pretend I’m a health care professional trying to talk a troubled person down off the ledge. When they ask whether there is more to life, whether there is meaning and purpose, whether there is something to live for, I don’t want to give “I don’t know” as my answer.

        Thank you for the comment. Look forward to your response.

        Very respectfully, -Jason

  5. blacksteer31 says:

    Reblogged this on Spirtual Awareness and commented:
    Mind Blowing!

  6. Interesting post, I wonder how we could test this theory, given that we’d have to use our brains, which are chaotic, and not accurate to begin with? One of the best and thought-provoking, genuine things someone ever said to me was, “just for a moment think, what if, just what if, this life was all you had and afterwards there was nothing?” Then I said, “What if there was a God, and afterwards, there was still nothing?”

  7. The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, in which particle states are determined by the “observations” of consciousness, is not the only interpretation. The De Broglie-Bohm Pilot Wave interpretation is another, and it does not need consciousness to determine physical events.

    The Copenhagen interpretation is the product of German Idealist philosophy invading physics. (Kant and his successors.) But the position that consciousness creates reality is self-contradictory nonsense. If consciousness does create reality, then there is no fact of the matter about whether consciousness creates reality. (Note the self-contradiction.)

    See: The Axioms of Objectivism

  8. All of these thoughts, opinions, and theories are created off of thoughts, opinions, and theories. As such, they are no greater than the mind (or anything else we can perceive, dream up, ponder, and what not). The only thing we can know for sure is that we can’t know everything (in fact, some would say we cannot know anything).

    I said all of that to say: in order for existence to exist, something/someone must “exist” outside of that. Whether mind or matter came first is quite irrelevant. There must be something that “is” outside of “first.” That is, there must be something that “is” completely outside of everything we know, think, assume, believe, etc.

    That is not to say that what we know, think, assume, and believe is wrong. It just means that even if our beliefs are “right,” we cannot really know it any more than a grain of sand knows the proper rules of etiquette in 15th century Japan.

  9. To know all that is unknown is to be all, inside all, and outside all.

  10. Mikels Skele says:

    Life, death, matter, and all of reality are not devoid of meaning, simply because we say they’re not. We confer meaning, even when we insist that the meaning is null. As for death, if we’re talking about simple non-existence, the times before our birth and after our death are equally irrelevant to ourselves. No problem.

  11. Elisa says:

    hmm I have to think some more

    but, for now, save the rainforests, don’t eat ketchup! Cows are decimating the rain forests, don’t eat cows, ketchup goes onto dead cooked cows, don’t eat ketchup….HERO SAVING THE RAINFORESTS DON’T EAT KETCHUP!

    I suppose my own expectations are at fault(thinking up there to come). I was very interested in the question you asked as your title. And then…I got into some strange ketchup-ie leap into religion. I do understand what came after the leap. My feelings and thinks about that will remain like the dancer hiding in the cake. There is an entire discussion about Mind and The Fluke and it would be very interesting to see it. I wonder, was your initial intent to teach me that my religious choice isn’t mine to make or did you truly mean to talk about Mind and Nature and just saw a very nice ketchup covered chicken, or cow. Note, I just read that last part again and realize that one could construe my intent as to harangue you. That is not the case, I am just checking myself before I think with better directions, executive functions all moving in the same direction.

  12. archiewahwah says:

    As to the Schrödinger thought experiment that demonstrates the multiplicity of existence, it acknowledges itself to be a kind of hyperbole because it recognises that the particles in the box ‘experience’ the cat, forcing it into a live or dead state (as far as I understand it, I’m no expert).
    Under these circumstances are we to believe that all particles have a type of sentience, and if so how does that play into the theism/atheism debate?

    • Mikels Skele says:

      Schrodinger’s cat is both alive and dead only in the physicist’s imagination. The cat itself wonders about whether the physicist will ever let him out, and, to the cat, that is the greatest mystery.

      • archiewahwah says:

        Haha! Actually, Schrödinger’s cat is supposed to demonstrate something more than that, and is connected to the double-slit experiment, where scientists fire a single photon, or buckyball or something else stupidly small through one of two slits at a wall. We expect the photon to go through the slit and hit the back wall normally. What we see instead is an interference pattern, showing that the photon takes all possible routes to the wall, and interferes with itself in the process. That in itself is weird enough, but here’s where it gets really interesting – if we try to observe which route it takes at any point, the photon ceases to act in this way, and chooses one route based on probability. Therefore observation creates single pathways and changes the outcome. Without observation what we witness is a multiverse in which all probabilities are true.
        I think. Haha. Again, I’m no expert.

      • Mikels Skele says:

        Of course, without observation, we don’t know if all probabilities are true. It’s a logical tangle. Or is it tango?

      • Elisa says:

        It would be very nice for you to choose not to use the word ‘we’ in this instance. There are those that exist outside of the need to observe in order to validate a true thing.

  13. Great post! I have to say, though, that the notion that the act of conscious observation results in a quantum outcome is, as I understand it, a misunderstanding of what Bohr and Heisenberg particularly were positing, drawn in part from the way they phrased the ‘thought experiments’ associated with explaining what they were getting at. The collapse of the probabilities down to one is going to happen anyway, whether anybody is watching or not.

    Possibly the more interesting argument is ‘what is consciousness’? Quite possibly it is consciousness that is the illusion, in the sense that it is an emergent product of biological and chemical processes which we perceive as being something different or separate. It is at this intersection that most of the philosophical arguments seem to emerge.

  14. grankemosabi says:

    The question on everyone’s mind is will mind lead us to a glorious epoch where we become supermen, or will we go the way of the dodo bird… I’d go with dodo bird.

  15. The posts are very interesting and unique. You are doing a very good job. A pleasure to read this blog!

  16. noel says:

    I think the atheist and the religious communities are both guilty of assuming that 1) God exists therefore religion is good or 2) God does not exist therefore religion is bad. For example, very talented and thought provoking minds like the late great Christopher Hitchins are quick to see all human strife as being provoked by religion. Even more ridiculous are the too many members of congress who lump atheists in with Islamists (?????). Ultimately I only differ with the religious on one point: I believe that religions grow and spread in a somewhat evolutionary cultural spirit; others believe that is true for every religion excluding their own. Would be honored if you commented on this.

  17. Alan says:

    This discussion rather points out the bankruptcy of atheism and scientism. While the existence of God is unlikely to ever trip the instruments of science, the existence of humans is well documented as are aspects of human nature which do not react constructively to the realization that their wholly insignificant little lives are pointless. There is a very Darwinian reason that all human societies known to history have religion: humans are far more productive when motivated by a sacred purpose. Think of the stimulus to both the economy (thousands of jobs) and to civic pride with the building of a pyramid or Sistine Chapel!
    Raising children in an industrial/postindustrial society is a lot of work (when you could be chillin’ or partying, keeping fit or whatever) and a lot of money you could otherwise spend on yourself. And why force a pointless existence on anyone else in this crowded, troubled, polluted world? Europe and U.S. both are importing millions of workers from the south to compensate for their falling birthrates. In Germany in one hundred years, German will likely be as Latin in Medieval Europe – only used for official correspondence while Turkish will dominate popular dialog. Human nature is such that without a sacred purpose, life just isn’t worth getting motivated over.
    Far from ‘a gut feeling’, religion has been honed and tempered by sixty to eighty thousand years of Darwinian competition for holding together and motivating human communities.

  18. cabrogal says:

    I like your approach to this question.

    My only criticisms.
    1. You are citing the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics as if it were the only one. It is not even held by the majority of quantum physicists these days, though a substantial minority still subscribe.
    2. You seem to be using mind and consciousness interchangeably. The Copenhagen interpretation cites “the observer” without specifying sentience, consciousness, mind or any other attribute the observer may possess. There may be ways of collapsing the waveform via observation that would not equate to anything resembling a mind, much less a human one. Would an artificial intelligence be a sufficient observer? What about an amoeba? Of course there are probably uncountable ways of ‘observing’ that we can no more envisage with a human mind than an amoeba would be able to envisage ours (or us an amoeba’s).

  19. rwstracy says:

    At the risk of being labeled a dreaded ‘Creationist’ I can not get over the disconnect in the mind – matter conundrum . Even if we simplify things and agree that matter came first ( seems reasonable to me and agrees with all observations) then it begs the question of how mind was organized out of matter. As much as I admire Darwin, he does not answer the question. I would say that mind from matter ( or vice versa) is the great mystery but not really. The greater mystery to me is that so few find the mystery worth contemplating. It just seems so glaringly obvious that ‘something’ organized matter into mind, and I say that as an engineer, not as a ‘believer’.

  20. pushinback says:

    It is refreshing to be challenged rather than entertained. I am happy to have come across your blog. I once was an agnostic, but I started to listen to life and stopped listening to the single channel of my own propaganda. I discovered that the world was not my construct, rather, after I began to challenge the information coming to me I discovered a complexity that was far beyond the order of chance. If anyone can convince me of how the eyeball evolved from a mere sensing of light to the state of seeing perfect images I see so freely today, I will reconsider the Evolution thing.(perfection does not come by accident). Until then I will happily live within the influence of a Creator.

    • cabrogal says:

      If the human eyeball was designed then the designer was a fool for building it inside out (photoreceptor cells pointing backwards and a big hole in the field of vision for the optic nerve to exit – ‘perfection’ it ain’t). It would seem that the God of the Octopi is a much better engineer than the God of Abraham. Or Dawkins’ watchmaker is indeed blind.

      If you want an idea as to how eyes evolved I suggest you use your own. From the shadow sensing patches of the planarian worm to the advanced optics of the golden eagle you can see examples of just about every increment of eye ‘design’ in animals living today.

      Or you could ask an embryologist about fetal eye development.

      If you want to upset us Darwinists, ask about the gap between self-replicating organic reactions and unicellular organisms. That’s the real ‘missing link’ when it comes to evolutionary complexity.

  21. johns448 says:

    I think we all need to meditate like Edgar Cayce, and astral project to the neutral dimension and look in the Akashic Records. All questions can be answered if someone wants to look in the right place. Most earthly bibles are flawed to the exposure of mankind and of our corruptibility. The thing that disturbs me about the King James bible is how they left out so many books, like The Gospel of the Nativity of Mary, The Book of James, The Gospel of the Infancy of Jesus Christ and many more.

    • rwstracy says:

      OK, I’ll bite. Where is ‘the right place’ and how does one get a copy of the Akashic records? Or are you just having us on?

      • johns448 says:

        Youtube Edgar Cayce you will be amazed at what he did. He would read from the Akashic records in a meditative state. He was a psychic prophet born before the turn of the century. He was freakishly accurate with most of his predictions. Check it out and tell me what you think. Also some the audio is mind blowing

  22. Pingback: Mind Not A Fluke And Is | Ramani's blog

  23. ramanan50 says:

    Indian Philosophy states that the universe, let alone mind is ‘Leela’

    Lila (Sanskrit: लीला, IAST līlā), or Leela is a concept within Hinduism literally meaning “pastime”, “sport” or “play(wiki)

    According to Religious texts, As different from Philosophical Texts, th universe is God’s Leela or pastime ,play.

    But the word ‘leela’ conveys more , that can not be expressed in English.

    It is more than a pastime, though unintended as we can perceive.

    The Sankhya Philosophy lists the two fundamental principles, Purusha and Prakriti.

    The world of Names and Forms evolved out of the ‘sprasa matra’ by their ‘touching’ each other, here again ‘sparsa is more than touching.

    As the root causes are Principles we can no bet attribute Motives, so in this sense ,Mind is either or neither intended or unintended.

    The Non Dualism of Advaita states the whole world is not real, has only transitory existence and as such is both real and unreal, depends on one’s stand point.

    So Mind is a Fluke and not a Fluke at the same time.

    The term inevitability is purely subjective and it depends , again on one’s perception.

    • cabrogal says:

      “in this sense ,Mind is either or neither intended or unintended”

      Do you mean
      The Mind is not intended
      The Mind is not unintended
      The Mind is not both intended and unintended
      The Mind is not (neither intended nor unintended)?

      Who needs the law of the excluded middle anyway ;)?
      I love Indian philosophy.

  24. anjerse says:

    The only answer is “we don’t have enough information to know.”

    In other words, the answer to your question will depend entirely on the assumptions you start with when framing the question.

    If you start from the assumption that nothing is there, then you can’t end up at any other conclusion except that nothing is there.

    • rwstracy says:

      Even from a purely scientific perspective I disagree that we don’t have enough information to at least take a swing at these questions. Darwin had his chance and did some pretty good work but still did not come up with an answer to whether mind is a fluke. Again from a scientific perspective, I think the answer is definitively – No. Anyone who has designed anything of significant complexity has a gut feel for the unlikelihood of random events resulting in something as complex as ‘mind’. Yes, I know the power in the concept of natural selection aided by random changes, and I’ve been through the math. There simply has not been enough time for ‘mind’ to have resulted from those processes. Even 13.8 billion years ( age of the universe ) is not even close.

  25. mattevanoff says:

    Reblogged this on mattevanoff's Blog.

  26. Matthew Dorey says:

    I don’t really have much to add other than that I really liked this post. I will think about it some more and hopefully reread at some point, I’ll add another comment of I can think of something more to contribute!

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