Science and faith part 4 kiwiconnexion practical theology
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David B: Okay, that’s something we may come
back to, because I think it’s an interesting thing that appears to work across culture
– not just specific to one regional difference, kind of thing.
David L: Okay. Now, this next slide is a very interesting one as well. The question is;
what do people think is the status of consciousness in relation to the brain? You could think
that if you look at the figures for atheism and agnosticism, then you’ll see that not
every atheist and agnostic – if you look at the figures from the previous slide, and believe
that consciousness is only in the brain, you’ll see that here the UK has the highest figure
of 38 per cent, and behind that figure are more young people, 25-34 – under 34 – think
that consciousness is in the brain. Conscious beyond the brain; as you would expect,
because it’s only in the brain is highest in the UK, beyond the brain is lowest is in
the UK, and in France and Germany a quarter and a third think that consciousness is beyond
the brain. Now, what’s interesting I think in this slide is that a third of the sample
say, well we can’t know – they’re agnostic, which is far more than people who say they
don’t know. So if you put the don’t know and can’t know together, then you get 45 per cent
roughly. So there is a sort of element of mystery here, and I suppose
I would have tried to remove that third category, because I think it’s sort of – can’t know
is a little bit dodging the issue. So I would have preferred the survey not to have had
that; to have had in the brain, beyond the brain, don’t know – rather than can’t know
and don’t know. David B: Was Rupert Sheldrake able to make
any observation about this particular data? All of his experiments with the sense of being
stared at, the perceptions of animals in relation to their owners et cetera; I might have expected
that there would be a higher response rate amongst the scientists who work in biology
particularly, or zoology – sort of an awareness of, yeah maybe things don’t stop at the surface
of the skin. Was Rupert able to make any observations? David L: We’ve got some of Rupert’s questions
coming up later, but these figures are I think fairly standard. Among neuroscientists, as
you probably know, it’s very rare for people to believe that consciousness is beyond the
brain or can be beyond the brain, but that’s mainly because as you’ll see later in the
survey, ignorance of the data – that people talk about – they jump to conclusions about
these areas when they simply are not acquainted with the literature. There’s no incentive
to acquainted with the literature because there’s a self-reinforcing system that if
you’re going to conform to the expectation of the scientific view, then you’ve got to
be very careful about the opinions you voice if you want your career to stay on track.
David B: Yeah, very good point.

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