Atheist Foundation of Australia are at it again!

I'm beginning to think that the AFA is a little anachronistic organisation desperately trying to make itself seem relevant. It appears to be joining the ranks of the theists in making all sorts of unsupported scientific claims. Is it not enough just to be atheist? Is it not enough just to state that they lack belief in god(s)? Unfortunately for us besieged Australian atheists, it is not enough for them. The particular statement that sticks with me is the following:

"No personality or mind can exist without the process of living matter to sustain it."

I have a number of issues with this statement. Firstly, what is an atheist organisation doing speculating on the nature of mind and consciousness? What does it have to do with a god or gods? Secondly why not leave this question to the scientists and physicians that are currently studying it? There are peer reviewed detailed studies published by multiple physicians which discuss this very topic. In fact, one paper states the following in its abstract:

"2% described awareness with explicit recall of ‘seeing’ and ‘hearing’ actual events related to their resuscitation. One had a verifiable period of conscious awareness during which time cerebral function was not expected."

ref http://www.resuscitationjournal.com/article/S0300-9572%2814%2900739...

This one statement point blank contradicts the AFA "philosophy" statement. So why is the AFA engaging in "philosophical" statement of this type instead of sticking to its business of being an atheist organisation?

Well, I'm not sure if anyone can answer this question except for the AFA itself but I thought that I would share my frustration of their antics with others. Maybe I will feel better at least!

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Comment by Justin Murray on October 18, 2017 at 7:08pm

Relevant joke:

I was walking home, and I saw a bloke under a streetlight, bent over the gutter.

"What's up?" I asked.

"I've dropped my car keys."

We searched a while in vain. I decided to try and narrow the odds a bit.

"Just where were you standing when you dropped them?"

"About twenty metres down that way."

"So why are we looking for them here?"

"Well, I can see better under the light."

Comment by Vangelis on October 18, 2017 at 6:49pm

@Justin Thank you for your invitation but no thanks, I will not put myself in a situation in which I can be muzzled and controlled. I prefer to have the discussion in an open and equal playing field.

Don't get me wrong here, Justin. I want to see the AFA be the best version of itself that it can be. I don't think it is at that point yet but I still have hope that it can improve. I am only trying to point out areas of improvement.

Comment by Vangelis on October 18, 2017 at 6:43pm

@Loren

That is the logical point exactly. That is why scientific investigation into people that have undergone cardiac arrest and have no brain activity reporting visual and aural images is both fascinating and controversial. Whilst peer reviewed science records the phenomena, it is yet able to explain how it can happen.

This is a bit like quantum mechanics where things happen at a subatomic scale that simply don't make sense at the macro scale. Things do not pop in and out of existence, they are not a "probability smear" they cannot ever jump energy levels without exerting more energy and yet, at the subatomic level, all these things are observed and have sets of beautiful mathematical equations that model that behaviour.

One day we may be able to understand how the mind works much like we can model quantum phenomena mathematically.

Comment by Justin Murray on October 18, 2017 at 6:34pm

Vabgelis you said that "...'m not sure if anyone can answer this question except for the AFA itself ..."

You have an open profile on the AFA forums ready to use to post this question.

You have direct access to the AFA to ask as many questions as you want.

Here is your point of access: http://www.atheistfoundation.org.au/forums/member.php?u=1198

Why not use it? 

Why are you posting here?

Comment by Vangelis on October 18, 2017 at 6:30pm

@John

"My claim is that the AFA are making scientific statements/conclusions with no proof or evidence about processes that are currently under scientific investigation."

This is a positive assertion backed up with evidence, not a negative. I'm still struggling to see where the negative is.

Comment by Justin Murray on October 18, 2017 at 5:40pm

Vangelis - why not come back to the AFA forums and discuss this with AFA directly?

Maybe we can clear it up.

The invitation is open.

Comment by Currawong John on October 18, 2017 at 5:29pm

@Vangelis - it might have escaped your keen eye, but the disputed claim is itself a negative.

The rest just seems to be seven years of petty upset.

Comment by Loren Miller on October 18, 2017 at 5:27pm

I will admit to not really having any skin in this particular game, but here's a thought: could you have a working operating system without a computer to run it?  From where I sit, the "mind" or "consciousness" is the O/S which our brain runs.  When the hardware fails, the software fails along with it.

Point on the curve.

Comment by Vangelis on October 18, 2017 at 5:18pm

@John I am aware of the concept of "disproving a negative". I am not aware of where I make that claim. My claim is that the AFA are making scientific statements/conclusions with no proof or evidence about processes that are currently under scientific investigation.

Why would they do that?

I will leave the machine consciousness debate for another blog.

Comment by Currawong John on October 18, 2017 at 5:12pm

@Vangelis: Here's a quick one on disproving negatives. https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080719022743AA0Uq7D - not very sceincy, but may help with the concept.

I tend to think an aware machine may have to be included as "alive".

You could always take it up with the AFA, as they didn't delete you.

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