atheism vs theism and ARE's

From: George Andrews Jr. (
Date: Thu Sep 14 2000 - 01:24:14 EDT

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    Hi Adrian:

    I'm starting a new thread to preserve the conversation regarding the debate.

    Adrian Teo wrote:

    > George wrote:
    > >Well, OK but ..... I think the recent experiments subjecting human brains
    > to
    > >electrical stimulation which thereby produces "religious like" effects in
    > the
    > >patient is pretty strong support for the atheistic side and needs to "keep
    > in
    > >mind" :-)
    > I disagree that this is strong support for the atheist/materialist. Consider
    > the following:
    > I see a chair in front of me, and any reliable measure of brain activity
    > will capture that. Does that mean that since "it is in my brain", therefore
    > the chair does not exist?

    > Alternatively, if one were to stimulate the
    > appropriate areas in my brain so as to give rise to the memory of a chair in
    > my consciousness, does it necessarily imply that "it is all in my brain" and
    > therefore, again, chairs do not exist (or that chair never existed)?
    > Adrian.

    Well OK, but....

    Please note I said support; not prof.

    The, "artificial religious experience " (perhaps another acronym like ARE is
    required? ... JUST KIDDING!! :-) ), is -- without question -- caused by the
    experimenter and not by God. (Assuming God isn't working through the
    experimenter!?) Hence, the conclusion that the ARE :-) is ONLY in the brain is
    extremely reasonable since it is controlled and no "God" is measurably present
    to effect the reaction. Agreeably, the logical step to "God never existed"
    does not follow form the ARE (sorry :-) ). However, as I'm sure you'll agree,
    there is a qualitative difference (i.e., in kind) between the ubiquitously
    physically present barionic chair that reflects photons to the retina and a
    stimulus "caused" by an ambiguous and unphysical being composed of ill-defined
    "spirit". The former is "there", i.e. exists in (space,time) = (room,now), as
    is easily proven with other criteria, e.g. pain upon it being removed when one
    attempts to lounge in it, where as the latter is not measurably "there" or

    Thus, to your alternative, I would answer: yes, it does necessarily imply that
    it is all in your brain and that a chair is not there and hence, doesn't exist
    outside of your brain. The key word is "memory". To remember the chair implies
    a former experience which presumably involved other physical senses located ...
    well you know where. In short, a chair is existent outside the presence of the
    subject because it has been repeatedly observed to be so. God, however, is not
    repeatedly observed to exist anywhere.

    Hence, I still insist that the ARE experiments ( sorry :-) ) do strongly
    support an atheistic would view. I would be willing to relax this to supporting
    the weaker agnostic position, but that opens another set of potentialities.

    George A.

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