107 thoughts on “CAM and Creationism: Separated at Birth?

  1. nybgrus says:


    You are correct, and I was not. I was confusing quantum teleportation with entanglement for communication purposes. The former has been demonstrated the latter appears to be impossible.

  2. nybgrus says:


    Firstly, this is a complex topic with some unanswered questions. Entire books have been written on it be experts in the field, and contested back and forth. I will agree that it is not “settled” in the same way as, say, evolution is. However, it seems pretty clear that at base, we do lack free will and the feeling we have of it is an illusion. I, nor anyone here, can possibly go through everything necessary to explain it fully to you – I have read multiple books and articles on the topic over the past few years to begin to grasp the idea and I am not expert enough to teach it adequately but merely to discuss some things I do know and perhaps the implications of it. As such, I would agree with Dr. Hall that if you are genuinely curious you take the time to read some books on the topic. She suggested one, I’ll suggest Sam Harris’ book Free Will as well as his blog posts on the topic (this is a good one to start with) and the rebuttals to him from Dan Dennett and others.

    Want to shoot up some heroin? “I” can exert control and say no.

    Agreed. But can you prevent the urge to shoot it up from arising in the first place? Do you have conscious memory of every step leading up to the urge? No. And that is what is meant by the lack/illusion of free will.

    Even the higher order functions only modulate these impulses, and they themselves are a factor of unconscious processes dictating how we may react. Of course the brain is not static and is capable of changing based on inputs, so we can in this way modify the outcomes we tend to make, but still we do not have conscious control of every step of the process in the sense of “will” or “choice” as we generally think it exists.

    Every time I try and write out an example, it is simply insufficient to do without writing extremely copious amounts – and your time would be better spent reading those copious amounts from experts on the topic rather than myself. If you are genuinely interested in learning more about it and testing your own hypotheses I suggest you do so.

  3. weing says:

    Most of the studies I’ve read about will employ the concept of ego-depletion. It appears to be exhaustible and can be replenished with glucose. It can be exercised by, for example, brushing your teeth with your other hand for a couple of weeks.

  4. nybgrus says:


    How can you state this when I just gave examples of how it is currently considered fundamentally impossible to predict some quantum mechanical outcomes?

    Because I am talking about predicting 99.9% of outcomes and you are focused on the 0.1% of truly quantum outcomes. Predicting when a single uranium atom will decay is impossible, and also pointless. But we can predict the decay of uranium to stunning accuracy.

    However, we can also measure and change the outcomes at a quantum level (teleportation, not FTL communication, which I was admittedly incorrect about).

    Simply we are talking about different things. But my assertion is that quantum uncertainty does not mean the universe is not ordered, which is the argument I believe you were trying to make earlier:

    Doesn’t quantum mechanics claim the existence of true randomness, i.e., indeterminism? Doesn’t this contradict “order and predictability”?

    So no, it does not contradict order and predictability, it means that a specific and small (pun intended) subset of the universe is unpredictable… but there is still order even at that level since there are laws that govern the quantum universe as well. True lack of predictabilty or order would mean something vastly different than the unpredictability of quantum events. The order is demonstrated by how we discovered and proved the existence of the Higgs boson. Billions and billions of random interactions yielded an ordered pattern that was confirmed to (IIRC) 7 sigma.

    Your “Yet.” is speculative and unfounded, and furthermore contradicts your subsequent sentence (quantum teleportation relies on entanglement). The current model explicitly forbids faster-than-light communication by means of quantum teleportation/entanglement. It has never been achieved, so if you think otherwise, prove it. Your link doesn’t claim this either.

    Admittedly incorrect.

    Well, you seem to be unwilling to elucidate me. I was merely trying to explain my personal incredulity, not use it as a logical proof

    I’ve attempted. You just don’t seem to like the explanations. Building up neural circuits from the most simple to additionally complex leads to be a conscioussness with what appears to be free will. Your frame of reference for the question seems to be wrong. As best I can tell, you are wondering why evolution would select for consciousness in the first place and the delusion of free will in the second. The answer I am providing is that it didn’t and never has. It is a side effect of selecting for the ability to engage in more and more complex actions and interactions. An emergent phenomenon, moreso than an epiphenomenon. This will be something that can be proven empirically and undoubtedly with the continued advancement of computers and the building of massively parallel systems.

    You do not give reason for your last claim, and if consciousness was only an epiphenomenon, it wouldn’t necessarily have to be advantageous.

    You are correct. It does not necessarily have to be advantageous as it is more than likely a side effect of increasing complexity, as I said above.

    I am not at fault for Harriet’s unclear phrasing. Surely it would be misleading to write that the Moon “manufactured” tides when tides are merely a side effect (epiphenomenon) of its presence (among other things).

    Agreed, though it was still reasonably clear to me at least and you can also say that the moon manufactures the tides (just don’t tell Bill O’ Reilly). Manufacture simply means to make or create something. In the common usage it implies an energy dependent and active process, but it does not necessarily need to be so. Suffice it to say the confusion has been cleared up.

    Straw men; I already gave the example of great intelligence to show that, yes, greater energy expenditure can be advantageous if the return of investment outweighs its cost, and I never claimed that conservation of energy* was a “fundamental principle of evolutionary selection” as I made clear that it was relative to an environment of scarcity.

    But you say:

    Why would the neurosystem waste energy on a consciousness if it had no control anyway?

    In an environment of scarcity, evolution selects for conservation of energy

    So if consciousness had, because of lack of free will, no purpose and was, because of being actively “manufactured”, to some degree expensive, it would have been a disadvantageous trait to be selected away

    In all of these statements, you argue that evolution will always prefer to select conservation of energy. Even with your correction of energy efficiency that still doesn’t apply. The simple idea is that evolution will select for whatever propagates the species more. If that means more energy expenditure, then so be it – even if it is less efficient.

    For example, lets say species A can produce 10 offspring in a lifetime at a cost of 1 “relative energy unit” each.

    Species B can produce 100 offspring at a cost of 0.5 REU’s.

    Obviously species B will be more prolific. But lets say that A evolves a way to produce 30 offspring but the cost goes up to 1.2 REU’s per offspring. This is less energy efficient and it requires more energy overall. But it would still be selected for, assuming that the species doesn’t go extinct due to lack of resources to support its new life cycle.

    The point is that evolution will select for whatever yields the most progeny that can succesfully procreate themselves. K selection occupies the niche of low fecundity for high survivability. r selection is the opposite for high fecundity with low survivability. Which is selected for depends on the environment and changes (hence why so many species have gone extinct). But in any case, the selection has nothing to do with energy expenditure or efficiency, merely fecundity and survivability, even if that means less energy efficiency and more overall expenditure.

    So you can’t explain why the neurosystem would delude its unfree consciousness into thinking it had free will, and you don’t have to because that would be teleological, but you nevertheless come to the conclusion that “it makes perfect sense”?

    Indeed. As I said above, you are assuming active selection for consciousness – i.e. a conscious selection for conscioussness. If you accept that consciousness arose merely as a facet of increasing complexity an emergent or epi-phenomena, without any teleology, then the question is already answered. But, as I said, you seem not to be satisfied with this answer and want something “more” to explain it.

    When talking about epiphenomenalism of the mind, there is “hard” and “soft.” The underlying premise being that only physical attributes affect the mental and not vice versa. Soft posits that epiphenomena can affect other epiphenomena, hard eschews this.

    By these definitions, I am not an epiphenomenalist though I do still view conscioussness as an epiphenomenon of the brain. These are not mutually exclusive positions. The reason I ascribe to this view is because consciousness (the epiphenomenon) can alter the brain physically. Anything that can act as an input to the brain can alter the physical composition of the brain and thus can alter the epiphenomenon that is consciousness. So that means that by strict definitions I cannot be an epiphenominalist, though I still can view consciousness as an epiphenomenon (phew!).

    So why would the brain delude itself into thinking it has free will? The simple answer is it doesn’t. Your question implies teleology. The brain is not choosing to delude itself – it is merely that the evolution of complex neural circuitry lead to the emergence of consciousness and our interpretation of how we think and act is what we called “free will” and we were simply wrong about it. It is simply a byproduct of the complexity, no teleology necessary. And that is why it makes perfect sense to me, because I don’t need to seek further answers and explanations beyond that.

  5. Narad says:

    I am not at fault for Harriet’s unclear phrasing. Surely it would be misleading to write that the Moon “manufactured” tides when tides are merely a side effect (epiphenomenon) of its presence (among other things).

    Tides are not an “epiphenomenon” of the Moon. Gravity is symmetric.

  6. The problem with ID and CAM is that people usually are open to accept that faith is a good thing. Well not in science and medicine at all, at least not in the second phase of analyses of scientific discovery. As Popper said in his famous book: ” the first phase don’t need to be logical, because it’s depends on creative thinking. The second phase it’s the logical phase, in this part you need to be a specialist (scientist)…

    Unfortunately our education system don’t help kids to understand this two steps of scientific discovery and religion mess with our logical part of the brain.

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