PJ Buehler and George Gantz
The Opening Conversation: Swedenborg and Near Death Experiences
Several months ago, Peter Buehler and George Gantz began an exchange of emails, focused on the “Hard Problem of Consciousness.” While the thoughts expressed will hardly solve that problem, they may provide some insights that readers will find interesting.
My nephew Cody and his wife Natalie began a food blog called the Gantzery about a year ago focused on healthy and nutritious recipes, but with a strong personal flavor. It often contains interesting philosophical remarks. This week, these remarks asked about one’s “personal lens” in how we approach the world in the search for knowledge and understanding, and it inspired some deep personal reflection. What is my lens? My Big TOE!
Photo courtesy of The Gantzery. (more…)
For more than a century, physics has been confronting the demon of indeterminacy in the quantum structure of the universe in the search for a Theory of Everything (TOE). Theoretical physicists have struggled for a century to close the gap – unsuccessfully. The esteemed Sir Roger Penrose (age 84) has a different idea that may move us closer to a TOE, but in an unexpected way: his theory also explains the mechanism of consciousness and free will. By implication, it forces each of us (and every quantum state) to make a choice. (more…)
By Justin Junge
Note: For a recording of Dr. Junge’s presentation on June 6, 2011, please visit the New Church audio website at this link.>
Imagine that a scientist could acquire a detailed map of every atom in your brain at a given point in time, clustering these atoms into active chemicals, cells (neurons), connections, and other groups of matter relevant to brain function. (more…)
The materialistic worldview espoused by some scientists excludes the possibility of a spiritual reality. Most theologians, on the other hand, believe natural and spiritual realities coexist. This may explain the hostility some scientific writers express towards religious beliefs – it may also affect their science….
Scientific research into the human brain and the phenomena of consciousness and choice is one of the most rapidly evolving areas in science, and it includes the fields of neurobiology, psychology and even computer science. At the same time, the debate between strict materialism and various types of dualism, which dates back at least 400 years, is alive and well. A selection of resources is provided below.
The Human Brain – On June 6, Dr. Justin Junge led a mind-stretching discussion on the human brain. In addition to probing some of the questions about knowledge, truth and science from the previous two sessions, Justin explored some of the latest advances in brain imaging and new scientific discoveries about the brain. However, these advances remain limited and tentative in light of the extraordinary complexity of the human brain, which he described as the most sophisticated and highly ordered object in the universe. While the claims and the graphics about the brain may be bold and detailed, they are really guesses based on a relatively tiny data set.
This ISAS live discussion session was held at the Harvey Wheeler Community Center at 1276 Main St., Concord, Massachusetts, from 7:30 to 9:00 PM. A recording is available at New Church audio at this link.