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March 6, 2014
Added David Chalmers' Principle of Organizational Invariance and the Personal Soul (2014) by Clifford Greenblatt to the Immortality page in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.
David Chalmers argues that conscious experience is a real but nonphysical feature of nature. However, he also believes that all particular facts about any conscious experience supervene (naturally, but not logically) on physical facts, such that physical facts fully determine any conscious experience. His principle of organizational invariance goes even further to claim that fine-grained functional organization fully determines any conscious experience (naturally, but not logically). This principle has powerful implications for artificial intelligence, allowing for the possibility of fully conscious digital computers. But the principle of organizational invariance is not compatible with the concept of a personal soul. This paper does not attempt to prove or disprove the existence of a personal soul, but defends its conceptual coherence against the challenge presented by Chalmers' principle of organizational invariance.
February 24, 2014
What authority can we trust to provide good answers to life's big questions? For questions about the physical world--how it got here, how it works, where we came from--the discoveries of science give us honest and reliable answers. But science does not claim to know the answers to moral and social issues, which are of utmost importance because they determine how well we can live together. Religions do claim to have the answers in this area, but how good are their teachings? A careful look at moral issues addressed by religions can tell us a lot, and maybe even provide a guide to validating our own moral choices.
January 30, 2014
What is real, and how do we know it? Religions and science put forward quite different answers to those questions, the gap becoming wider as the religious thinking becomes more fundamental. A comparison of the workings of religion and science shows which one we should trust for answers, even if we don't always have the interest or the patience to learn about and understand scientific discoveries (or to wade through religious rhetoric).
January 28, 2014
Written in a respectful and conversational style, this unique book is designed to promote constructive dialogue and foster mutual understanding between Christians and non-Christians. The author, a skeptic and journalist, asks basic questions about Christian belief. Each question is with commentary and analysis that is skeptical and tough, but never argumentative or condescending. Christians will find the book useful as a basis for developing their apologetics, while skeptics will welcome Harrison's probing rational analysis of religious claims.
January 9, 2014
The group of people commonly referred to as Nones includes atheists agnostics, secular humanists and a variety of other skeptics and freethinkers all of whom have one thing in common--they are not affiliated with any organized religious group. Although some of them do believe in a Creator or some form of Supreme Being, most are nonbelievers, albeit with varying degrees of conviction. But they also have one other characteristic in common. If they reveal their disbelief--especially if they use the word "atheist," then they become targets of criticism, victims of ostracism and charges of "anti-Americanism."