[NOTE – this is re-post from the original incarnation of this blog.]
I sometimes find myself having to defend my insistence on wanting to save consciousness and free will from the ravages of staunch physicalism, and thus having to define my reasons in doing so.
One worry I have is that my views might be seen as surreptitiously trying to smuggle-in pseudoscience or religion, so let me explain why I have no interest in defending either.
I am only interested in phenomena that are either backed-up by traditional peer-reviewed empirical evidence, or are universally accepted by subjective agents to be real (at least at first sight).
So for me, both consciousness and free will qualify for explanation by the second method. Even Dan Dennett, before he had a good think about it, would I’m sure admit to believing that both were genuine phenomena.
However, the concepts of a god or gods, and the ideas of pseudoscientific disciplines like homeopathy qualify by neither method.
They are phenomena that could be real but have no convincing evidence in their favour, either objectively by scientific inquiry or subjectively by universality.
The complexity of the universe might be seen by some as evidence for god by virtue of the watchmaker argument. But this is not first-hand evidence of a phenomenon, but rather a deductive argument based on other independent phenomena.
So, no god-smuggling here. Or wizardry.