Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Difficulty for Philosophic Materialism: Belief in Immortality Hard-wired According to New Study

It appears that people are hard-wired to believe in immortality. A new Boston University study has discovered evidence that people are hard-wired with a bias towards belief in immortality. This discovery is problematic for atheism and philosophic materialism.Philosophic materialism asserts that the ultimate reality is impersonal matter/energy.

A new Boston University study led by postdoctoral fellow Natalie Emmons and published in the January 16, 2014 online edition of Child Development sheds light on these profound questions by examining children's ideas about "prelife," the time before conception. By interviewing 283 children from two distinct cultures in Ecuador, Emmons's research suggests that our bias toward immortality is a part of human intuition that naturally emerges early in life. And the part of us that is eternal, we believe, is not our skills or ability to reason, but rather our hopes, desires and emotions. We are, in fact, what we feel.Emmons' study fits into a growing body of work examining the cognitive roots of religion. Although religion is a dominant force across cultures, science has made little headway in examining whether religious belief-such as the human tendency to believe in a creator-may actually be hard-wired into our brains."This work shows that it's possible for science to study religious belief," said Deborah Kelemen, an Associate Professor of Psychology at Boston University and co-author of the paper. "At the same time, it helps us understand some universal aspects of human cognition and the structure of the mind."
via Belief in immortality hard-wired? Study examines development of children's 'prelife' reasoning -- ScienceDaily.

The fact that ultimate reality must be absolute truth creates difficulties for the Materialist narrative. When one considers that, according to the law of non-contradiction, nothing can be true and false in the same context; that truth is absolute. The very denial of absolute truth is a claim to absolute truth: it is either absolutely true or true only in certain contexts. If the denial of absolute truth is true only in certain contexts, then in the other contexts absolute truth is real and therefore absolute truth exists. Absolute truth is the reference frame for relative or contingent truths. Particular truth are defined in relation to or compatibility with absolute truth , with falsehood designating the absence of a relation or denial of compatibility. Particular truths, then, must be compatible with absolute truth. Absolute truth is, then, the ultimate reality.

How is it possible, then, for a material ultimate reality as absolute to produce delusions and structure that create delusions. Since it is impossible for truth to contradict itself then it is simply not possible for an impersonal, material absolute truth to create delusions or delusion creating structures, which this hard-wired belief in immortality would be if atheism is true. A material, absolute truth could only create material absolute truths. No delusions would be possible in a materialistic universe. While materialists may posit that consciousness, subjectivity and imagination are products of material processes, material reality lacks the categories to create virtual, imaginary, subjective universe with classes and objects existing at an inferior ontological status - as less than absolute truth.

This discovery that there is a hard-wired belief in immortality (or bias towards the same) fits the Judeo-Christian narrative very well. God created us ex nihilo. He used his subjective universe in his mind to create the world and its objects as having inferior ontological status to His. Because He is absolute truth, He instantiated this world as having a distinct existence by His Word. He created the world as being in harmony with Him, but because it is less than absolute truth (God's ontological status), it is subject to corruption.

God created man in his image and put him in this world. God embedded man with the trinity of personality: consciousness, rationality, and intentionality (free will). When man used these gifts to rebel against God in a world that now had an ontological status in which contradictions and conflict was ontologically possible, this rebellion brought contradictions and conflict into thew world. The possibility of delusions and deception is one of the consequences of this rebellion.

Our experience with delusions points to both the necessity of God's existence and our need of Him. Science is now confirming the proverb in Ecclesiastes that says that God has set eternity in the human heart by discovering that people have a hard-wired bias towards belief in immortality.