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Dr. Philip Goff is a philosophy professor who dares to challenge biological-robot-meaningless-universe party line.

photo by: Skeptiko

(clip from Dr. Strange)

I spent my last dollar getting here you’re talking to me about healing through belief…

You’re a man looking at the world through a keyhole and you spent your whole life trying to widen that keyhole to see more to know more and now on hearing that it can be widened in ways you can’t imagine you reject the possibility.

I reject it because I do not believe in fairy tales about chakras, or energy, or the power belief there is no such thing as spirit.

That’s a clip from the 2016 mega sci-fi hit Doctor Strange. This scene really captures a  scientist at the tipping point.

We are made of matter nothing more… just another tiny momentary speck within an indifferent universe.

You think too little of yourself.

Oh you think you see through me doing what you don’t, but I see through (Dr. Strange is thrown out of his body)… what was that?

I pushed your astral form out of your physical body.

What’s in that tea? psilocybin? LSD?

Just tea, with a little honey.

Of course wouldn’t it be great if it was that simple, but the  transition from the materialistic scientific paradigm into what lies beyond is anything but clean, and there are a lot of hangeroners as today’s guest Dr. Philip Goff (author of Galileo’s Error) has experienced.

Philip Goff: There is a philosopher who’s very good friend of mine a very warm and pathetic guy very kind cares about the world but he doesn’t think consciousness exists it’s always incredible to me that it you know in a sense he thinks you know no one has ever really felt pain. I think one of the big problems in that position is all of scientific knowledge is mediated through consciousness… thinking that you could have scientific evidence that consciousness doesn’t exist is a bit like thinking astronomy can tell us that there are no telescopes.

But one of the questions for me is how much of this hangeroner stuff should we tolerate, should we accept as just part of the change process, versus calling it for what it is:

Alex Tsakiris: you know in academia it’s really easy who gets the grants? who gets promoted? who doesn’t get promoted? who doesn’t get tenure? they get pruned off the tree and at the end of the day you wind up with what we have now. we wind up with you debating with Jerry Coyne, which again I  know I get push back when I say this, but he’s just really incompetent. I’ve had him on the show and he just… just gets major things wrong that he’s supposed to know about. and yet he’s put forward and propped up. He’s at University of Chicago, been around forever, and this goes on and on. so that that’s the social engineering project, not that people don’t legitimately believe [in materialism] it’s just that the people who are really thinking this thing through are not presented as credible.

This was a very fun chat with a very bright guy who’s doing some great work. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Dr. Phillip Goff.

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(machine generate transcript this time hope to have a real one next time)

3:47 – 3:52 today we welcome dr. Philip Goff to

3:50 – 3:55 skeptic Oh Philip is a philosopher and

3:52 – 3:57 consciousness researcher at Durham

3:55 – 3:60 University in the UK he’s the author of

3:57 – 4:02 consciousness and fundamental reality

3:60 – 4:06 he’s got a new book coming out titled

4:02 – 4:08 Galileo’s air a manifesto for a new

4:06 – 4:12 science of consciousness he blogs at

4:08 – 4:15 conscious and consciousness if you see a

4:12 – 4:18 theme here hey this guy is all about

4:15 – 4:20 consciousness and that just makes him a

4:18 – 4:22 perfect guest for what we love to talk

4:20 – 4:24 about here on skeptic Oh Philip I’m

4:22 – 4:26 really glad we were able to make this

4:24 – 4:27 happen finally and thanks so much for

4:26 – 4:32 joining me

4:27 – 4:40 great let’s get the chest so let’s start

4:32 – 4:40 out tell us who is dr. Phillip Goff yeah

4:42 – 4:49 worked in a lot of different places over

4:44 – 4:51 the last 10 or 11 years and I guess my

4:49 – 4:53 main focus is consciousness I guess more

4:51 – 4:57 generally I’ve just you know I’m just

4:53 – 4:60 really fascinated by things that don’t

4:57 – 5:01 seem to fit into our standard scientific

4:60 – 5:03 picture of the world or the thing things

5:01 – 5:05 that it’s really hard to fit in the

5:03 – 5:08 consciousness being at the obvious one

5:05 – 5:10 but also you know other things like

5:08 – 5:14 value for example we tend to think there

5:10 – 5:16 are you know facts about value can to

5:14 – 5:17 see how they fit in with the kind of

5:16 – 5:21 facts we know about for the natural

5:17 – 5:23 science or abstract objects like

5:21 – 5:26 mathematicians tell us all sorts of cool

5:23 – 5:27 things about numbers and sets you know

5:26 – 5:30 what the hell is the connection between

5:27 – 5:32 that kind of abstract realm and a

5:30 – 5:34 concrete world of tables and chairs so

5:32 – 5:37 you know I guess I’m just interested in

5:34 – 5:39 how how all these things fit together

5:37 – 5:41 and I you know how we can have a a

5:39 – 5:44 worldview that can accommodate you know

5:41 – 5:46 not just the things that empirical

5:44 – 5:48 science that observation experiment tell

5:46 – 5:49 us about but other things we have a

5:48 – 5:51 reason to believe in my consciousness

5:49 – 5:54 for example how we can fit them all

5:51 – 5:57 together there I guess that’s my the big

5:54 – 5:58 thing I try to do really yeah I like as

5:57 – 5:60 I was preparing for the unit

5:58 – 6:03 I forget where I ran across this but I

5:60 – 6:05 love this story early you know early

6:03 – 6:07 childhood story you know you say I asked

6:05 – 6:09 my parents where are we you know you say

6:07 – 6:11 hey I was always interested in

6:09 – 6:13 big-picture questions I asked my parents

6:11 – 6:15 where are we and then you have a great

6:13 – 6:16 sense of humor and you added but maybe

6:15 – 6:21 that’s because we just moved into a new

6:16 – 6:22 house about this in preparation for

6:21 – 6:25 Cynthia did you know did I show any

6:22 – 6:26 signs of early interest in philosophy I

6:25 – 6:28 guess I’ve been interested in full of

6:26 – 6:30 simple questions as long as I can

6:28 – 6:32 remember really and I was asking my dad

6:30 – 6:34 how far back that went and yet she said

6:32 – 6:35 to me when I was far I think he was five

6:34 – 6:39 I can’t remember now what I said in

6:35 – 6:42 light and yeah I asked why we’re here

6:39 – 6:44 but it was as I say I have to confess it

6:42 – 6:45 was we just moved to in you know so it

6:44 – 6:49 could have been connected to that I

6:45 – 6:50 don’t know but well I think it’s I think

6:49 – 6:53 it’s a great story especially the way

6:50 – 6:57 things turn out I mean it is interesting

6:53 – 7:00 because a lot of people do not have a

6:57 – 7:03 passion for these kind of questions

7:00 – 7:05 which to me always seemed fundamental

7:03 – 7:07 even in my life when I was running off

7:05 – 7:09 doing other things business primarily

7:07 – 7:11 chasing money and doing that kind of

7:09 – 7:13 stuff I always had in the back of my

7:11 – 7:15 mind that I’d like to get around to

7:13 – 7:19 answering these fundamental questions do

7:15 – 7:21 you ever wonder why more people don’t

7:19 – 7:23 seem to have this on the top of their

7:21 – 7:29 to-do list that is to get to the bottom

7:23 – 7:32 of this yeah I guess it’s partly to do

7:29 – 7:34 with the very kind of scientistic

7:32 – 7:36 culture we’re living in I mean people

7:34 – 7:38 don’t really know what philosophy is

7:36 – 7:42 they think no it’s the job of science to

7:38 – 7:44 tell us you know what the universe is

7:42 – 7:45 like maybe it’s a job of philosophers to

7:44 – 7:48 make us feel a bit better about it or

7:45 – 7:49 something but you know it’s the job of

7:48 – 7:51 science’ tell us what the world is like

7:49 – 7:53 and I guess I think we’re going through

7:51 – 7:56 a phase of history where people are

7:53 – 7:58 rightly you know blown away by the

7:56 – 8:01 success of physical science you know and

7:58 – 8:03 the extraordinary technology it’s

8:01 – 8:05 produced and you know that leads you to

8:03 – 8:08 think oh this works right we’ve got

8:05 – 8:11 something that works and to put all your

8:08 – 8:12 faith in that whereas as we might get

8:11 – 8:15 onto I

8:12 – 8:18 in my view the reason physical science

8:15 – 8:20 has been so successful is because it’s

8:18 – 8:23 it’s always been focused on on a quite

8:20 – 8:25 narrow task you know roughly telling us

8:23 – 8:28 how things behave and it’s done very

8:25 – 8:31 well focusing on that narrow task but

8:28 – 8:32 there’s lots of other things we know

8:31 – 8:35 about the world that you know don’t

8:32 – 8:37 quite fit in there such as consciousness

8:35 – 8:40 I mean you know consciousness is that is

8:37 – 8:42 the most interesting because on the one

8:40 – 8:44 hand it’s so hard to fit into our

8:42 – 8:47 standard scientific picture of reality

8:44 – 8:49 but on the other hand it’s so hard to

8:47 – 8:52 deny it exists you know you’re nothing

8:49 – 8:54 is more evident than the reality of our

8:52 – 8:57 feelings and experiences so you know we

8:54 – 8:58 have to account for it somehow it has to

8:57 – 9:01 fit in there somehow you know but it’s

8:58 – 9:03 so hard to make it fit so you know I

9:01 – 9:05 mean things have changed a lot I’d say

9:03 – 9:09 you know but hold on hold on full stop

9:05 – 9:12 because I always worry that even casting

9:09 – 9:15 it that way is I think conceding too

9:12 – 9:18 much to materialistic science from a

9:15 – 9:22 philosophical standpoint consciousness

9:18 – 9:25 your consciousness is really the only

9:22 – 9:27 thing you can be sure of and contrasting

9:25 – 9:30 that with this theory out there this

9:27 – 9:33 unproven and in a lot of ways falsified

9:30 – 9:36 theory that the world is out there that

9:33 – 9:39 the world is measurable that the rule

9:36 – 9:41 there’s a consensus among all of us I

9:39 – 9:45 mean that is just falsified over and

9:41 – 9:47 over again so do we even from the

9:45 – 9:49 beginning because of the power of

9:47 – 9:52 science in our society do we concede too

9:49 – 9:55 much even at the beginning yeah

9:52 – 9:58 certainly agree with you to the extent

9:55 – 10:02 that I think what is known with greater

9:58 – 10:06 certainty is the reality of my own

10:02 – 10:10 consciousness you know is there a really

10:06 – 10:12 a table out there that’s questionable is

10:10 – 10:14 certainly known with certainty but if

10:12 – 10:16 I’m in pain

10:14 – 10:18 it’s very hard to deny the reality of my

10:16 – 10:22 pain that I’m immediately aware of in my

10:18 – 10:24 experience so I think you know decart

10:22 – 10:26 you know the start of modern philosophy

10:24 – 10:27 back in the Scientific Revolution got

10:26 – 10:29 that completely right although I don’t

10:27 – 10:33 agree with them about a lot of other

10:29 – 10:34 things but I suppose it depends what you

10:33 – 10:38 mean by science

10:34 – 10:41 I tend to distinguish physical science

10:38 – 10:44 from a more expansive conception of

10:41 – 10:47 science physical science being focused

10:44 – 10:53 on obsession and experiment

10:47 – 10:55 and quantitative analysis in intuitive

10:53 – 10:58 vocabulary mathema I don’t think those

10:55 – 10:60 resources are much good at least for

10:58 – 11:01 giving a complete account of

10:60 – 11:04 consciousness and I think they were

11:01 – 11:06 never designed for that purpose but what

11:04 – 11:09 I like to move towards is expansive

11:06 – 11:13 conception of science sometimes called

11:09 – 11:15 the boost gala AIIMS where we where we

11:13 – 11:17 take your observation environment

11:15 – 11:20 uncertain as they don’t think they’re

11:17 – 11:23 important for informing our theory of

11:20 – 11:26 the world but we also take the reality

11:23 – 11:28 of consciousness as we immediately

11:26 – 11:32 experience it as a datum at least equal

11:28 – 11:33 if not more important than observation

11:32 – 11:35 experiment and we try to put them both

11:33 – 11:38 together and try to find a theory a

11:35 – 11:41 reality that can account for both and I

11:38 – 11:42 don’t people are really in the mindset

11:41 – 11:45 of thinking of science like that they

11:42 – 11:47 think of Sciences the job of science is

11:45 – 11:48 account for the data of observation

11:47 – 11:51 experiment you know once you’ve done

11:48 – 11:52 that job done but I think that you know

11:51 – 11:55 know there’s something else there’s

11:52 – 11:56 something else we know is real and if we

11:55 – 11:58 can’t account for that then our theory

11:56 – 12:01 is incomplete so I think we need to move

11:58 – 12:04 to an expansive conception of science

12:01 – 12:05 where we take consciousness as a datum

12:04 – 12:08 and it’s so right

12:05 – 12:12 yeah I hear you I keep wanting to go

12:08 – 12:15 further and I guess that’s been one of

12:12 – 12:17 my aims on this show because well I

12:15 – 12:20 started with believing there was this

12:17 – 12:22 legitimate divide you know and this

12:20 – 12:24 legitimate question about the hard

12:22 – 12:26 problem of consciousness which you know

12:24 – 12:27 now I come to understand is such a

12:26 – 12:29 misnomer I mean what’s

12:27 – 12:31 easy problem of consciousness it kind of

12:29 – 12:35 misses the point from the beginning but

12:31 – 12:38 that led me to an investigation of

12:35 – 12:42 frontier science parapsychology here are

12:38 – 12:44 folks saying wait I can take I can play

12:42 – 12:46 by the rules of the game that is the

12:44 – 12:50 scientific method and I can show you

12:46 – 12:53 that consciousness doesn’t work the way

12:50 – 12:56 you think it does that an epiphenomena

12:53 – 12:59 of the brain model of brain based

12:56 – 13:02 consciousness falls apart from these

12:59 – 13:04 parapsychology experiments and then when

13:02 – 13:06 you start pulling all that apart and

13:04 – 13:08 there’s all this bobbling back and forth

13:06 – 13:11 hey take it one step further go to the

13:08 – 13:13 near-death experience science

13:11 – 13:15 experiments published in peer-reviewed

13:13 – 13:17 journals and now you’re totally off the

13:15 – 13:18 reservation there’s no way we can get

13:17 – 13:21 back to that

13:18 – 13:25 don’t be materialistic science brain

13:21 – 13:27 based neurology nonsense what about what

13:25 – 13:30 about that path what about it– so my

13:27 – 13:33 poke at you is I don’t see Phillip Gough

13:30 – 13:36 parapsychology I don’t see dr. Phillip

13:33 – 13:39 Goff near-death experience aren’t these

13:36 – 13:42 probably the best examples we have of

13:39 – 13:47 science that undermines this

13:42 – 13:50 materialistic consciousness idea I guess

13:47 – 13:55 I guess you’re critiquing materialism

13:50 – 13:57 perhaps from a different angle I mean I

13:55 – 14:00 mean my protamine I guess my

13:57 – 14:04 philosophical education we were told

14:00 – 14:08 that the the only options you know you

14:04 – 14:10 had to be a materialist or a duelist you

14:08 – 14:12 had to you had to think you know like a

14:10 – 14:14 materia so you could just explain

14:12 – 14:17 consciousness in terms of the chemistry

14:14 – 14:19 of the brain oh you’re a duelist and you

14:17 – 14:21 think consciousness is outside of the

14:19 – 14:23 physical body and brain which is maybe

14:21 – 14:24 from what you’ve just said that more the

14:23 – 14:28 direction you’re a man perhaps

14:24 – 14:32 I guess I’ve always found both of these

14:28 – 14:33 problematic and you know for a long time

14:32 – 14:35 I was kind of disillusioned with it all

14:33 – 14:38 and thought you know none of these

14:35 – 14:41 options work but I guess what what I’m

14:38 – 14:44 just interested in is is

14:41 – 14:48 general picture of reality that is able

14:44 – 14:50 to bring together you know what we know

14:48 – 14:52 about reality from observation and

14:50 – 14:55 experiment and what we know about

14:52 – 14:58 consciousness from the inside as it were

14:55 – 15:00 you know a general theory of reality and

14:58 – 15:02 then you know obviously we want to do

15:00 – 15:04 empirical work to fill out the details

15:02 – 15:08 and people will argue over that and you

15:04 – 15:08 know you can push in your direction and

15:09 – 15:13 you know I guess the more conventional

15:11 – 15:15 scientists for better or worse I don’t

15:13 – 15:16 mean to say conventional in a positive

15:15 – 15:19 or a negative way will push in the

15:16 – 15:22 opposite direction I want a general

15:19 – 15:25 framework that can fit in consciousness

15:22 – 15:27 whatever the science tells us you know

15:25 – 15:28 so I guess I’m working you know

15:27 – 15:32 different people work on different

15:28 – 15:36 things I’m working at a at that general

15:32 – 15:37 framework and you know part of the

15:36 – 15:40 reason you know my last book the new

15:37 – 15:43 consciousness but man reality was a very

15:40 – 15:45 academic book it’s probably a bit more

15:43 – 15:47 accessible than a normal academic book

15:45 – 15:49 but it’s still pretty you know it

15:47 – 15:51 inaccessible in some ways so the the

15:49 – 15:53 purpose of my new book is very different

15:51 – 15:56 kind of book very much aimed at a

15:53 – 15:59 general audience very much trying to get

15:56 – 16:01 this general framework out there that’s

15:59 – 16:03 getting more known and causing a lot of

16:01 – 16:04 excitement in academic philosophy for

16:03 – 16:07 trying to get it out there to a broader

16:04 – 16:09 audience to scientists to think is more

16:07 – 16:12 broadly so that you know we can start to

16:09 – 16:14 try and or fill in the details of this

16:12 – 16:15 view you know bringing in more of the

16:14 – 16:18 empirical science but I guess I’m

16:15 – 16:21 working at that more abstract level that

16:18 – 16:24 abstracts from those specificities that

16:21 – 16:26 make sense maybe I’m gonna push you a

16:24 – 16:27 little bit on that for a second but tell

16:26 – 16:30 us about that book it sounds interesting

16:27 – 16:34 Galileo’s air that immediately draws us

16:30 – 16:39 in what’s the general premise so I guess

16:34 – 16:41 the big argument is that the reason we

16:39 – 16:42 have a problem of consciousness is

16:41 – 16:45 because of the way

16:42 – 16:48 Galileo designed physical science and

16:45 – 16:49 hence if we want to solve the problem of

16:48 – 16:53 consciousness you know we need to

16:49 – 16:54 rethink what what science is so you know

16:53 – 16:56 that I mean the

16:54 – 17:00 key moment in the Scientific Revolution

16:56 – 17:02 is when Galileo says mathematics is to

17:00 – 17:05 be the language of the new science right

17:02 – 17:08 and but what is that and forgotten is

17:05 – 17:11 the philosophical work he had to do to

17:08 – 17:14 get to that stage right because before

17:11 – 17:18 Galileo people thought the world was

17:14 – 17:19 full of qualities thought the physical

17:18 – 17:22 world was you know they were colours on

17:19 – 17:25 the surfaces of objects and smells

17:22 – 17:28 floating through the air and tastes in

17:25 – 17:29 food and this is a problem for Galileo

17:28 – 17:32 because he wanna it’s hard to see how

17:29 – 17:34 you can capture these qualities in

17:32 – 17:37 mathematical language you know how can

17:34 – 17:39 you capture what you know the redness of

17:37 – 17:42 red in the abstract language of

17:39 – 17:43 mathematics so what Galileo did and this

17:42 – 17:46 is you know this is the start of modern

17:43 – 17:49 science what Galileo did was he he gave

17:46 – 17:52 a philosophical reinterpretation of

17:49 – 17:54 reality right you know he said I don’t

17:52 – 17:56 think those qualities are really out

17:54 – 17:59 there in reality I think they’re in the

17:56 – 18:01 soul they’re in consciousness they’re

17:59 – 18:04 outside of the domain of science and

18:01 – 18:08 then the job of science is to focus on

18:04 – 18:09 the quantitative aspects of matter what

18:08 – 18:12 you can capture in mathematics eyes

18:09 – 18:13 shape motion they’re they’re the only

18:12 – 18:16 things that are really in the physical

18:13 – 18:20 scientific domain so he introduces this

18:16 – 18:23 dualism this radical division between

18:20 – 18:27 you know between consciousness and its

18:23 – 18:30 qualities outside of science and the

18:27 – 18:32 quantitative mathematical physical world

18:30 – 18:34 and so this is the start of mathematical

18:32 – 18:36 physics and it’s been you know

18:34 – 18:41 incredibly successful at what it does

18:36 – 18:43 but you know it was never intended to be

18:41 – 18:47 a complete theory of reality and it was

18:43 – 18:48 always premise on taking consciousness

18:47 – 18:52 in the qualities of consciousness

18:48 – 18:54 outside of science and so you know if we

18:52 – 18:56 need to if we if we want a complete

18:54 – 18:58 theory of reality that includes

18:56 – 18:60 consciousness you know we have to find a

18:58 – 19:01 way of bringing it back in so I think

18:60 – 19:04 you know like if Galileo is to

19:01 – 19:06 time-travel to the present day and hear

19:04 – 19:08 about this problem of giving a physical

19:06 – 19:09 explanation of consciousness

19:08 – 19:11 he’d say you know of course that’s

19:09 – 19:14 impossible I designed science to deal

19:11 – 19:15 with quantities not qualities so I think

19:14 – 19:17 you know it’s been the problem of

19:15 – 19:19 consciousness has been written in from

19:17 – 19:22 the start really so that’s the kind of

19:19 – 19:25 starting point of the book yeah you know

19:22 – 19:27 I always point to the famous quote

19:25 – 19:29 that’s attributed to Richard Feynman but

19:27 – 19:33 I think it was actually someone else but

19:29 – 19:35 you know in the early 1900’s when the

19:33 – 19:38 great quantum physicists are really

19:35 – 19:39 trying to solve that problem and they

19:38 – 19:43 get to it and they go hey you know what

19:39 – 19:46 we can’t its consciousness there’s there

19:43 – 19:49 we’ve run right up against the wall of

19:46 – 19:52 consciousness right and then find Minh

19:49 – 19:53 and his group go off and say the shut up

19:52 – 19:56 and calculate things do you know that

19:53 – 19:59 story where they just kind of go yeah so

19:56 – 20:03 shut up and calculate to me is what we

19:59 – 20:06 live in now and what the right the only

20:03 – 20:08 the only problem with that is that we

20:06 – 20:11 kind of ignore the fact that we took a

20:08 – 20:13 philosophical side step to the problem

20:11 – 20:15 right so we we ran into the wall and we

20:13 – 20:17 said okay it’s perfectly fine to say

20:15 – 20:19 well we’ll just step around it for now

20:17 – 20:21 and see what kind of iPhones we can make

20:19 – 20:24 out of this but then you do have to come

20:21 – 20:26 back at some point and go we did kind of

20:24 – 20:29 sidestep the fact that none of this

20:26 – 20:31 really makes any sense from a

20:29 – 20:33 measurement standpoint and that’s where

20:31 – 20:37 I guess I feel like we’re still kind of

20:33 – 20:40 tiptoeing around the dilemma with

20:37 – 20:42 science in general and I’m not even

20:40 – 20:45 willing to concede that you know we have

20:42 – 20:48 to compartmentalize it here there if we

20:45 – 20:51 can’t measure then science is out of

20:48 – 20:54 business and everything we know about

20:51 – 20:58 quantum physics tells us that at the

20:54 – 21:01 fundamental level that we know of we are

20:58 – 21:04 no longer able to really measure things

21:01 – 21:07 so I just wonder if if we’re really

21:04 – 21:09 there and I listened to your interview

21:07 – 21:11 your excellent interview with Michael

21:09 – 21:13 Shermer and I sent you a copy of my

21:11 – 21:16 interview with Michael Shermer who is

21:13 – 21:20 one of my favorite favorite frenemies in

21:16 – 21:22 this whole thing because he sounds so

21:20 – 21:24 brilliant and yet

21:22 – 21:26 it’s total gobbly gook what he says and

21:24 – 21:29 when you push it to any degree it just

21:26 – 21:30 doesn’t hold up it doesn’t make any

21:29 – 21:33 sense it’s like listening to Neil

21:30 – 21:36 deGrasse Tyson talk about consciousness

21:33 – 21:39 it’s just silliness I mean it just

21:36 – 21:42 doesn’t make any sense so I guess one of

21:39 – 21:45 the questions I posed is is this worth

21:42 – 21:47 saving can this be recovered in the way

21:45 – 21:50 that you’re talking about or is this

21:47 – 21:52 fundamental shift that we’re talking

21:50 – 21:53 about really lead us in a whole

21:52 – 21:55 different direction and I guess I’d have

21:53 – 21:59 to add one more problem is I always feel

21:55 – 22:01 like philosophers and philosophy at this

21:59 – 22:03 point you know philosophy supposed to be

22:01 – 22:05 keen philosophy supposed to be on top

22:03 – 22:08 and I think they’ve been pushed down for

22:05 – 22:11 so long that they’re kind of careful

22:08 – 22:14 about saying these kind of things like

22:11 – 22:15 hey you guys are all nincompoops what

22:14 – 22:17 you’re saying doesn’t make any sense

22:15 – 22:19 consciousness is an illusion is

22:17 – 22:21 laughable to a first-grader

22:19 – 22:24 if you went and said you know your

22:21 – 22:27 entire experience of your mom your dad

22:24 – 22:29 your classmates your family that’s all

22:27 – 22:31 an illusion they would laugh in your

22:29 – 22:33 face and yet we sit around and have

22:31 – 22:36 conferences where we debate this you

22:33 – 22:38 know and Sam Harris and Chalmers are

22:36 – 22:40 sitting there well do you think Dan

22:38 – 22:42 Dennett really believes that I mean

22:40 – 22:50 we’re giving legitimacy to just these

22:42 – 22:53 wildly insane ideas yeah does people who

22:50 – 22:56 deny the existence of consciousness yeah

22:53 – 22:58 I mean a very close friend of me to use

22:56 – 22:60 the same term on Keith frankish who’s a

22:58 – 23:03 philosopher who’s very good friend of

22:60 – 23:05 mine a very warm empathetic guy very

23:03 – 23:08 kind cares about the world but he

23:05 – 23:10 doesn’t think consciousness exists it

23:08 – 23:12 was incredible to me that it you know in

23:10 – 23:16 a sense he thinks you know no one has

23:12 – 23:19 ever really felt pain or no so I guess

23:16 – 23:23 I’m how do people get to that position

23:19 – 23:25 and I think one of the big problems in

23:23 – 23:28 that position that I often put to keep

23:25 – 23:29 is you know all of cut all of scientific

23:28 – 23:31 knowledge is mediated through

23:29 – 23:36 consciousness right New York you only

23:31 – 23:38 know that electrons because you have

23:36 – 23:40 you know conscious experiences of cloud

23:38 – 23:43 chambers and things you know you only

23:40 – 23:45 know any scientific experimental data

23:43 – 23:49 because you have conscious experience of

23:45 – 23:52 your instruments you know so in a way

23:49 – 23:53 thinking that you could have scientific

23:52 – 23:55 evidence the consciousness doesn’t exist

23:53 – 23:57 is a bit like thinking astronomy can

23:55 – 23:60 tell us that there aren’t any telescopes

23:57 – 24:03 you know or it’s like it’s kind of like

23:60 – 24:04 another analogy it’s like believing

24:03 – 24:06 someone who tells you that they never

24:04 – 24:07 tell the truth you know it’s sort of

24:06 – 24:10 self-defeating

24:07 – 24:13 so I think there is you know I always

24:10 – 24:16 think of that Albert Albert Camus quote

24:13 – 24:20 there’s only one philosophical question

24:16 – 24:22 suicide so I mean if you really believe

24:20 – 24:25 I mean it I don’t mean to to be too

24:22 – 24:26 harsh on that and I’m not sure you know

24:25 – 24:28 exactly how he meant it but the way it’s

24:26 – 24:32 interpreted I think is beautiful which

24:28 – 24:35 is if you really believe that there is

24:32 – 24:39 no such thing is your experience then

24:35 – 24:41 you’re living in a complete worthless

24:39 – 24:44 meaningless existence and you can’t even

24:41 – 24:46 cop out by saying well you know maybe my

24:44 – 24:47 kids will be different no there’s none

24:46 – 24:50 of it you know that why would you

24:47 – 24:52 persist in the game you know yeah it’s

24:50 – 24:54 it’s very hard to get in the mindset of

24:52 – 24:55 but people say about quite a big

24:54 – 24:59 philosophy of the 20th century

24:55 – 25:03 Quine was a huge influence and yeah

24:59 – 25:04 people he kind of famously towards the

25:03 – 25:06 end of these pretty much denied the

25:04 – 25:08 reality conscious consciousness but then

25:06 – 25:11 people said actually when you read his

25:08 – 25:16 autobiography just about his life and it

25:11 – 25:19 seemed like he was startlingly lacking

25:16 – 25:22 in introspection you know he never seems

25:19 – 25:25 to mention anything subjective so maybe

25:22 – 25:27 in a sense he somehow wasn’t aware or he

25:25 – 25:30 didn’t attend to consciousness very

25:27 – 25:32 often but uh so yeah I think he famously

25:30 – 25:33 said actually if there’s such a thing as

25:32 – 25:34 consciousness I’m not conscious of it or

25:33 – 25:37 something

25:34 – 25:39 witty thing like anyway but you know why

25:37 – 25:41 are people led to that I think is the

25:39 – 25:42 question we need to ask now I get into

25:41 – 25:44 the about the detail techie

25:42 – 25:46 philosophical arguments but at the end

25:44 – 25:48 of the day they don’t really convince

25:46 – 25:50 people you got it you got to get the big

25:48 – 25:51 and narrative why people are in that

25:50 – 25:53 mindset and that’s really what I’m

25:51 – 25:55 trying to do with this new book that’s

25:53 – 25:57 why it’s framed in terms of going back

25:55 – 25:59 to the start of the Scientific

25:57 – 26:03 Revolution because I think people have

25:59 – 26:05 this idea what why is Keith Frankish or

26:03 – 26:08 other people Daniel Dennett led to that

26:05 – 26:10 because they’re blown away by how

26:08 – 26:12 successful science is you ain’t got

26:10 – 26:15 lights and hair dryers and men on the

26:12 – 26:17 moon and they you know they’re impressed

26:15 – 26:20 by that and it is impressive but it’s

26:17 – 26:21 drawing the right moral from that so

26:20 – 26:24 they think oh it’s it’s so impressive

26:21 – 26:27 that must mean it can tell us everything

26:24 – 26:28 whereas I say it’s so impressive because

26:27 – 26:30 it was never supposed to tell us

26:28 – 26:33 everything because it was always focused

26:30 – 26:35 on this very narrow task and I think it

26:33 – 26:38 you know he can persuade people of that

26:35 – 26:40 narrative you know that that big picture

26:38 – 26:43 of yes physical sides has been

26:40 – 26:46 successful book do you enjoy a different

26:43 – 26:50 implication from its can start to change

26:46 – 26:51 but yeah I don’t think I agree with you

26:50 – 26:52 that I don’t want to take these people

26:51 – 26:56 seriously though right you know I think

26:52 – 26:58 I think there’s I don’t know these

26:56 – 27:02 questions apart these questions are very

26:58 – 27:04 abstract I’m happy for all sorts of

27:02 – 27:08 people to defend all sorts of different

27:04 – 27:11 things and you know see where we end up

27:08 – 27:13 okay let me kind of come at it a

27:11 – 27:15 different way cuz I don’t disagree with

27:13 – 27:18 you on that and and I certainly agree

27:15 – 27:21 with you that the the accomplishments of

27:18 – 27:23 engineering over the last century

27:21 – 27:25 certainly are mind-blowing and you just

27:23 – 27:27 can’t get past them and they are

27:25 – 27:29 overwhelming but I think there’s two

27:27 – 27:31 other things at play that we have to

27:29 – 27:33 consider I would I think they’re at play

27:31 – 27:36 and we can talk about whether they are

27:33 – 27:40 or not but one is our understanding of

27:36 – 27:43 consciousness this limited understanding

27:40 – 27:46 this an income poopourri about

27:43 – 27:49 consciousness as a social engineering

27:46 – 27:51 project so I sent you a link right

27:49 – 27:53 before the show on I apologize for not

27:51 – 27:55 sending it you too too far in advance

27:53 – 27:57 but I didn’t think about it but there’s

27:55 – 27:60 recently been a huge dump of CIA

27:57 – 28:01 documents related to their projects

27:60 – 28:04 related to

28:01 – 28:05 psychic spying Project Star Gate which

28:04 – 28:08 we’ve talked a lot about on this show

28:05 – 28:09 but other projects as well grill flame

28:08 – 28:11 and there’s all these other ones the

28:09 – 28:15 minutes the men that stare at goats

28:11 – 28:19 thing the point of all that is that for

28:15 – 28:21 the last 50 years those organizations

28:19 – 28:24 and operations both in the US and in

28:21 – 28:26 other countries have never have gone way

28:24 – 28:28 past all this

28:26 – 28:31 well that’s silliness of course we know

28:28 – 28:34 that consciousness is real we know that

28:31 – 28:36 extended consciousness in these ways

28:34 – 28:40 that science clearly can’t understand we

28:36 – 28:42 know that’s real so is there a game a

28:40 – 28:45 little bit of gaming of this system

28:42 – 28:48 going on let’s let all these folks just

28:45 – 28:52 go along with that idea and let’s not

28:48 – 28:54 necessarily introduce this new idea to

28:52 – 28:56 the general public and that is that we

28:54 – 28:60 know that consciousness is much more

28:56 – 29:03 expansive so let’s start there is there

28:60 – 29:06 potentially a social engineering aspect

29:03 – 29:09 to our limited understanding of

29:06 – 29:14 consciousness that’s a very interesting

29:09 – 29:16 proposition it’s not I guess in I I

29:14 – 29:18 spent a lot of time arguing with

29:16 – 29:20 materialists and people who don’t

29:18 – 29:22 believe in consciousness and people who

29:20 – 29:26 have waited to use me I guess I ain’t

29:22 – 29:28 really persuaded that people actually

29:26 – 29:30 believe that and and I think I

29:28 – 29:33 understand why they believe that it’s

29:30 – 29:34 something to do with being blown away by

29:33 – 29:37 the success of Technology or something

29:34 – 29:39 so you’re saying now that that just to

29:37 – 29:41 be clear I mean the two are not mutually

29:39 – 29:44 exclusive I mean the way social

29:41 – 29:46 engineering works is we do not let the

29:44 – 29:48 game play and we just lay down the

29:46 – 29:51 cheese where we want the rats to go in

29:48 – 29:51 the maze so you know in academia it’s

29:51 – 29:53 really easy

29:51 – 29:55 who gets the grants who gets promoted

29:53 – 29:58 who doesn’t get promoted who doesn’t get

29:55 – 29:59 tenure and they get pruned off the tree

29:58 – 30:01 and at the end of the day you wind up

29:59 – 30:03 with what we have now

30:01 – 30:05 you know we wind up with with you

30:03 – 30:07 arguing with who’s the kind of religion

30:05 – 30:09 guy that

30:07 – 30:11 Jerry Coyne it winds up with you

30:09 – 30:13 debating with Jerry Coyne which again I

30:11 – 30:16 I know I people pushback when I say this

30:13 – 30:19 but he’s just really incompetent I mean

30:16 – 30:21 I’ve had him on the show and he just

30:19 – 30:22 blows like you pointed out in your

30:21 – 30:25 debate with him he just gets major

30:22 – 30:26 things wrong that he’s supposed to know

30:25 – 30:29 about

30:26 – 30:31 and yet he’s put forward and propped up

30:29 – 30:33 University of Chicago been around

30:31 – 30:35 forever and this goes on and on so that

30:33 – 30:37 that’s the social engineering project

30:35 – 30:40 not that people don’t legitimately

30:37 – 30:43 believe you know they believe it’s just

30:40 – 30:45 that the people who are really thinking

30:43 – 30:48 this thing through are not presented as

30:45 – 30:49 credible clean might be good I don’t

30:48 – 30:51 know in particularly his work but I

30:49 – 30:53 guess he might be good at what he’s

30:51 – 30:55 doing like I mean you know like Dawkins

30:53 – 30:57 and Tyson and these people I mean as far

30:55 – 30:59 as I know I’m you know I’m not an expert

30:57 – 31:01 in their field but I think you know

30:59 – 31:05 they’re good at what they’re doing but

31:01 – 31:07 they get a platform to speak on issues

31:05 – 31:10 why are we have to side a barrier

31:07 – 31:12 expertise and I think that’s part of

31:10 – 31:16 this not understanding what philosophy

31:12 – 31:19 is you know this scientistic culture and

31:16 – 31:22 I guess look I’ll read the things you

31:19 – 31:26 sent I haven’t I hadn’t you know at time

31:22 – 31:28 you know it since without reading those

31:26 – 31:30 Philip in general you want you

31:28 – 31:32 understand the proposition is that this

31:30 – 31:35 stuff goes on like so the remote viewing

31:32 – 31:37 research this the MKULTRA research is

31:35 – 31:39 all about consciousness so all this

31:37 – 31:41 stuff has been going on for 50 years at

31:39 – 31:45 this deep level of consciousness that

31:41 – 31:47 totally is stands in contrast to

31:45 – 31:50 academic understanding of consciousness

31:47 – 31:53 I just don’t love to look into it I mean

31:50 – 31:57 I guess I feel like I have a decent

31:53 – 31:60 explanation of why people like Jerry

31:57 – 32:02 Cohen like Tyson are believing the

31:60 – 32:05 things they believe even though to my

32:02 – 32:06 mind they seem crazy and so but then

32:05 – 32:10 you’re now telling me that this other

32:06 – 32:12 explanation involving things that are

32:10 – 32:14 just generally accepted that it’s sort

32:12 – 32:15 of being hidden or something I mean I

32:14 – 32:20 guess I just have to look into that I

32:15 – 32:23 just I I guess I it’s not something I

32:20 – 32:26 I had a great deal of experience though

32:23 – 32:28 so yeah I don’t know what there is

32:26 – 32:30 really to look into what well I mean

32:28 – 32:33 because we’ll never know right I mean

32:30 – 32:35 we’ll never know to what to what extent

32:33 – 32:37 these people are propped up or to what

32:35 – 32:39 extent there’s another agenda to me it’s

32:37 – 32:41 kind of like back to the parapsychology

32:39 – 32:43 and near-death experience science stuff

32:41 – 32:47 you know like near-death experience

32:43 – 32:49 science at this point over 200 papers

32:47 – 32:53 published in peer-reviewed journals a

32:49 – 32:56 literal almost complete consensus among

32:53 – 32:58 people researchers mainly in the medical

32:56 – 33:02 field who studied near-death experience

32:58 – 33:03 a yep by the best way we can look at the

33:02 – 33:06 data the only way we can look at the

33:03 – 33:08 data consciousness seems to survive

33:06 – 33:10 bodily death and if you’re not

33:08 – 33:13 comfortable with bodily death it seems

33:10 – 33:15 to survive these brain states that we do

33:13 – 33:19 not understand how they could possibly

33:15 – 33:22 produce consciousness so you know we’re

33:19 – 33:24 in no-man’s land here it doesn’t make

33:22 – 33:28 sense to come back and talk about

33:24 – 33:31 neuroscience quote-unquote until that

33:28 – 33:34 problem if you will or that question is

33:31 – 33:36 resolved and yet we continue to do that

33:34 – 33:38 and not only that there’s this huge

33:36 – 33:40 backlash which on one hand is

33:38 – 33:42 understandable that you know anything

33:40 – 33:46 that’s gonna totally change the paradigm

33:42 – 33:48 and cause you to lose your long history

33:46 – 33:51 of research is going to be rebelled

33:48 – 33:59 against but they’re all the same to me

33:51 – 34:00 I’m whether they’re very related so at

33:59 – 34:05 the end of the day what neuroscience

34:00 – 34:07 gives you correlations between certain

34:05 – 34:09 things happening in the brain and

34:07 – 34:11 certain thing and certain kinds of

34:09 – 34:13 conscious experience you know so you can

34:11 – 34:15 scan people’s brain and you can ask them

34:13 – 34:18 how they’re feeling and we can get some

34:15 – 34:21 data about correlations and then we can

34:18 – 34:22 start to think about that I take it well

34:21 – 34:23 I’ll ask you in a minute I mean I take

34:22 – 34:26 it maybe you can agree with that

34:23 – 34:30 understanding of your aside and maybe

34:26 – 34:33 maybe you disagree but so I just think

34:30 – 34:34 that’s completely neutral on any sort of

34:33 – 34:36 philosophic

34:34 – 34:37 theoria consciousness because i mean

34:36 – 34:39 that people have this idea that

34:37 – 34:43 neuroscience is supporting materialism

34:39 – 34:46 but and your your querying that from one

34:43 – 34:49 angle but actually it’s a non-starter

34:46 – 34:53 anyway because neuroscience just gives

34:49 – 34:54 you correlations at best let’s say and

34:53 – 34:57 that’s not a theory of consciousness

34:54 – 34:58 right because to get a theory of

34:57 – 35:02 consciousness we want to explain those

34:58 – 35:05 correlations you know why is it that you

35:02 – 35:07 know certain things going on in the

35:05 – 35:09 brain sometimes at least correspond to

35:07 – 35:11 consciousness certain conscious states

35:09 – 35:12 know the dualist can give one

35:11 – 35:14 explanation the materialists given

35:12 – 35:16 over-the-pants I kissed my own favorite

35:14 – 35:18 you can give another and we can fight

35:16 – 35:20 over it but but neuroscience in itself I

35:18 – 35:22 would just say it’s neutral so I don’t

35:20 – 35:23 think you meter so I would say back to

35:22 – 35:24 you I guess I don’t think you need to

35:23 – 35:28 worry about neuroscience because

35:24 – 35:30 properly understood it’s just neutral

35:28 – 35:32 data right it’s not a theory it’s not it

35:30 – 35:33 doesn’t depend on materialism or

35:32 – 35:35 anything like that

35:33 – 35:37 yeah but that’s not what neuroscience

35:35 – 35:39 thinks that’s not what neuroscience

35:37 – 35:43 neuroscience is built in on the idea

35:39 – 35:45 that consciousness is a property of the

35:43 – 35:47 brain it’s an epiphenomena than I don’t

35:45 – 35:51 agree I think who are you pointing to I

35:47 – 35:54 mean I you know Sam Harris who I mean

35:51 – 35:55 all the people I’ve interviewed but it

35:54 – 35:57 put that aside for a second because a

35:55 – 35:60 near-death experience

35:57 – 36:01 we’re totally off reservation on that

35:60 – 36:04 right because we no longer have those

36:01 – 36:05 correlates we have consciousness and we

36:04 – 36:08 no longer have the correlates right

36:05 – 36:11 right so the brain is now measurably

36:08 – 36:13 dead by the way that we define it and

36:11 – 36:16 people are having these profound

36:13 – 36:18 conscious experiences and we know that

36:16 – 36:21 because when we carefully study it

36:18 – 36:23 they’re recalling things more

36:21 – 36:25 significantly than people that don’t

36:23 – 36:28 have near-death experiences and

36:25 – 36:30 impossibly if it’s true things that

36:28 – 36:33 occurred when their brain was

36:30 – 36:35 essentially dead so if the whole thing

36:33 – 36:37 is shattered I just don’t think we can

36:35 – 36:40 put all the pieces back together so two

36:37 – 36:42 things I guess I mean one thing you know

36:40 – 36:43 this might sound like a pedantic point

36:42 – 36:45 but I don’t think that challenges in

36:43 – 36:46 neuroscience you know I think that

36:45 – 36:49 challenges

36:46 – 36:52 certain theories that people might

36:49 – 36:54 extract from neuroscience they might say

36:52 – 36:56 no they might say that they think you

36:54 – 36:58 know consciousness is never like you’re

36:56 – 36:60 just giving a different area of the

36:58 – 37:02 correlations you’re saying sometimes you

36:60 – 37:03 have consciousness when you don’t have

37:02 – 37:06 anything in the brain so that’s a

37:03 – 37:08 different kind of view of the empirical

37:06 – 37:10 equipment but you know the neuroscience

37:08 – 37:11 is I would say it’s neutral on that yeah

37:10 – 37:13 I think you could say I’m firing

37:11 – 37:16 neuroscience I just disagree with

37:13 – 37:19 materialism which some people I guess

37:16 – 37:21 many neuroscientists are materialists

37:19 – 37:23 but I want to say that separate from

37:21 – 37:24 their what they’re officially doing is

37:23 – 37:26 neuroscientists which is building

37:24 – 37:28 correlations I think you know you could

37:26 – 37:30 agree even if you think consciousness

37:28 – 37:32 can exist outside of a brain you can

37:30 – 37:34 still agree that you know there are many

37:32 – 37:36 correlations like feelings of hunger

37:34 – 37:38 tend to be correlated with you know

37:36 – 37:39 certain bits of the brain and so on so I

37:38 – 37:41 don’t think you need to deny your

37:39 – 37:44 assigned anyway that’s maybe a slightly

37:41 – 37:45 pedantic point though I it’s good I like

37:44 – 37:48 it I just I just looked up on our

37:45 – 37:50 friends at Wikipedia the most untrusted

37:48 – 37:53 source on the Internet neuroscience the

37:50 – 37:56 understanding of the biological basis of

37:53 – 37:60 learning memory behavior perception and

37:56 – 38:03 consciousness described as the ultimate

37:60 – 38:07 challenge of biological sciences no I

38:03 – 38:10 think these guys claim that they are

38:07 – 38:12 understanding the biological basis of

38:10 – 38:14 consciousness along with learning memory

38:12 – 38:17 behavior and everything else well I mean

38:14 – 38:19 that way of describing it is in tension

38:17 – 38:20 with how I think of neuroscience or

38:19 – 38:23 maybe there’s a fight out here over what

38:20 – 38:23 neuroscience is I you know I would call

38:23 – 38:25 neuro

38:23 – 38:29 I love neuroscience and I try to stay

38:25 – 38:32 up-to-date as possible but you know

38:29 – 38:34 conscious consciousness itself is

38:32 – 38:36 unobservable you know you can’t look

38:34 – 38:38 inside I’ve never had anyone deny that

38:36 – 38:39 who believes in consciousness you can’t

38:38 – 38:41 look inside someone’s head and see their

38:39 – 38:43 feelings and experiences all the

38:41 – 38:45 neuroscientists can do is see what’s

38:43 – 38:47 going on in the brain and so it seems to

38:45 – 38:49 me to follow from that but really what

38:47 – 38:52 what they’re accessing if you’re just

38:49 – 38:54 focusing on what they can get up through

38:52 – 38:57 observation it seems to me all they can

38:54 – 38:60 get as correlations they might then you

38:57 – 39:03 know take themselves to offer some

38:60 – 39:05 the area of you know how consciousness

39:03 – 39:07 is explained in terms of brain processes

39:05 – 39:10 and I you know I would question that on

39:07 – 39:12 philosophical grounds but yeah I mean

39:10 – 39:13 maybe maybe there’s a fight here that

39:12 – 39:19 needs to be had Oh over what

39:13 – 39:24 neurosciences but uh yeah look I guess

39:19 – 39:25 we’re both challenging materialism from

39:24 – 39:28 different angles right you’re

39:25 – 39:30 challenging it on empirical grounds

39:28 – 39:32 you’re saying there’s this evidence but

39:30 – 39:34 it’s false you know I don’t know about

39:32 – 39:36 that that’s not something I’ve looked

39:34 – 39:37 into a great deal you know you can send

39:36 – 39:39 me stuff on it and I’ll look into it and

39:37 – 39:42 think about it I guess I’m challenging

39:39 – 39:46 it on on on philosophical grounds I just

39:42 – 39:49 think for me the essential issue is that

39:46 – 39:52 consciousness is a purely sorry physical

39:49 – 39:55 science works with a purely quantitative

39:52 – 39:57 vocabulary whereas consciousness is an

39:55 – 39:60 essentially qualitative phenomenon it

39:57 – 40:02 involves qualities the redness of a red

39:60 – 40:05 experience you know the smell of coffee

40:02 – 40:08 the taste of men and it you can’t

40:05 – 40:10 capture those kind of qualities in the

40:08 – 40:12 purely quantitative of Cabul area

40:10 – 40:14 physical science so I think you know

40:12 – 40:17 that I think really materialism in

40:14 – 40:20 incoherent on philosophical grounds

40:17 – 40:22 because it’s trying to you know if you

40:20 – 40:24 if you’re gonna have a purely

40:22 – 40:25 quantitative vocabulary

40:24 – 40:27 you’re never gonna capture those kind of

40:25 – 40:29 qualities so I returned yet on

40:27 – 40:31 philosophical grounds whereas I guess

40:29 – 40:34 you’re challenging it from addition more

40:31 – 40:36 empirical angle no I like that and I

40:34 – 40:39 like what you bring forward with that

40:36 – 40:41 and hey you like you say we are really

40:39 – 40:43 in the same side here in terms of

40:41 – 40:44 throwing stones that scientific

40:43 – 40:48 materialism as it applies to

40:44 – 40:49 consciousness it’s just a good chat to

40:48 – 40:51 have you know and we’ve kind of covered

40:49 – 40:53 some ground here in terms of

40:51 – 40:55 understanding the pushback on

40:53 – 40:58 materialism when we say first we

40:55 – 40:60 understand that people are scientists if

40:58 – 41:01 you will and to a certain extent the

40:60 – 41:03 general public although I think the

41:01 – 41:06 general public is really kind of more on

41:03 – 41:08 our side when you really break it down

41:06 – 41:11 and start asking the questions about do

41:08 – 41:13 you believe in love do you believe in

41:11 – 41:15 the connection you have with

41:13 – 41:17 other people you know even if you ask

41:15 – 41:19 people if they believe in ghosts and

41:17 – 41:21 spirits which are way outside you know

41:19 – 41:23 there’s a significant number of people

41:21 – 41:25 believe in that so I think the public is

41:23 – 41:28 really kind of on our side who are

41:25 – 41:32 really who’s outside of this loop is a

41:28 – 41:35 relatively small group of materialist

41:32 – 41:36 scientists who we don’t understand and

41:35 – 41:38 that’s one of things we’ve been

41:36 – 41:40 processing here is what’s the agenda and

41:38 – 41:43 you’ve suggested that part of the agenda

41:40 – 41:45 is just they’re just blown away by the

41:43 – 41:47 accomplishments of engineering and the

41:45 – 41:49 iPhone is freaking fantastic even though

41:47 – 41:52 I’m an Android guy that’s fantastic so

41:49 – 41:55 great hats off and then number two we

41:52 – 41:57 said there’s also the potential for

41:55 – 41:59 social engineering and that’s I’m

41:57 – 42:02 definitely on board with that and you

41:59 – 42:03 not so much the third thing I think that

42:02 – 42:06 I want to bring up because you do have

42:03 – 42:08 an excellent blog and it’s people should

42:06 – 42:11 check it out you talk about not only

42:08 – 42:13 consciousness but then you roll that in

42:11 – 42:16 to social issues and political issues

42:13 – 42:18 and stuff that’s going on there so the

42:16 – 42:21 third thing I want to point out there is

42:18 – 42:23 I think part of the reactionary thing

42:21 – 42:25 that we get from mainstream

42:23 – 42:28 materialistic science I think is on

42:25 – 42:30 religious grounds and you touched on

42:28 – 42:33 this in a recent blog post that I was

42:30 – 42:36 alluding to because it raised the ire of

42:33 – 42:38 head priest Jerry Coyne at University of

42:36 – 42:42 Chicago one of the last remaining raging

42:38 – 42:44 atheists but you titled it religion but

42:42 – 42:47 not as we know it so I thought that

42:44 – 42:49 would be an interesting maybe final

42:47 – 42:51 topic to talk about here today and then

42:49 – 42:53 we can get back and talk some more about

42:51 – 42:55 your books but tell me what you were

42:53 – 42:57 going for there and and how it relates

42:55 – 43:00 to these issues of consciousness yeah

42:57 – 43:03 that was the title of the blog post and

43:00 – 43:06 that was my response to Jerry cone Jerry

43:03 – 43:08 Coyne sorry but and it was following on

43:06 – 43:10 from an article I published in that

43:08 – 43:14 Times Literary Supplement last week

43:10 – 43:17 called believers without belief so I was

43:14 – 43:20 exploring alternative approaches to

43:17 – 43:23 engaging with conventional Western

43:20 – 43:27 religion like Christianity Judaism Islam

43:23 – 43:28 and so one of them for example what

43:27 – 43:32 what’s known as religious fictional ISM

43:28 – 43:35 so the the religious fiction is someone

43:32 – 43:40 who you know goes to church or temple

43:35 – 43:42 pray they think the contentious

43:40 – 43:44 propositions of religion like I don’t

43:42 – 43:44 know God exists or Jesus rose from the

43:44 – 43:46 dead

43:44 – 43:49 they think they’re false strictly

43:46 – 43:51 speaking right so it sounds like a kind

43:49 – 43:55 of contradiction but but the thought is

43:51 – 43:57 that the certain a certain value certain

43:55 – 44:01 people and as individuals or in a

43:57 – 44:03 community maybe get out of religious

44:01 – 44:05 practice that is independent of whether

44:03 – 44:08 these you know the discourse is

44:05 – 44:10 literally true so like there are

44:08 – 44:12 stronger and weaker forms of this you

44:10 – 44:13 know a really strong form would be

44:12 – 44:15 someone who has to know the same

44:13 – 44:17 worldview as Richard Dawkins but still

44:15 – 44:18 goes to church and though you know there

44:17 – 44:20 are there are there are people like that

44:18 – 44:23 although it’s may be difficult to see

44:20 – 44:26 the motivation but you know a more and

44:23 – 44:28 more moderate form would be someone who

44:26 – 44:32 believes in some kind of transcendent

44:28 – 44:34 spiritual reality but doesn’t believe in

44:32 – 44:37 a personal God doesn’t believe in that

44:34 – 44:41 God has traditionally construed and so

44:37 – 44:44 they you know they they engage in

44:41 – 44:47 Christian on Judaic ritual and discourse

44:44 – 44:50 but they take they take that as as as

44:47 – 44:53 non-literal as metaphorical you know

44:50 – 44:56 conceiving of the transcendent

44:53 – 44:59 as a loving parent for example as a

44:56 – 45:02 person and that’s understood as an

44:59 – 45:05 important part of the practice even if

45:02 – 45:07 it’s not literally true and actually you

45:05 – 45:12 know that this this is this historically

45:07 – 45:14 was a very mainstream in Christianity

45:12 – 45:16 certainly a very mainstream position you

45:14 – 45:18 know Aquinas as view comes close to this

45:16 – 45:21 and it sort of been forgotten about I

45:18 – 45:22 think you know since the Scientific

45:21 – 45:24 Revolution and the Protestant

45:22 – 45:27 Reformation where we start to get these

45:24 – 45:30 wars with science and so now I just like

45:27 – 45:33 to remind people that you know it’s

45:30 – 45:35 having a lot of people who think a lot

45:33 – 45:37 of people call themselves spiritual but

45:35 – 45:40 not religious because they think you

45:37 – 45:42 know I don’t believe this sort of

45:40 – 45:45 God has traditionally construed in

45:42 – 45:47 Christianity say but you know there are

45:45 – 45:50 these alternative ways of understanding

45:47 – 45:52 what’s going on in there that you know

45:50 – 45:54 might be helpful for some people who

45:52 – 45:57 could you know fit with a way of fitting

45:54 – 45:60 with their own personal religious views

45:57 – 46:03 while still perhaps engaging with a

45:60 – 46:05 cultural form that you know it’s

46:03 – 46:06 familiar to them and you know more

46:05 – 46:09 suited to them maybe I thought that was

46:06 – 46:12 that was the broad spoken like a true

46:09 – 46:15 academic philosopher you’re kind of on

46:12 – 46:17 the outside looking in here people are

46:15 – 46:20 drawn to religion

46:17 – 46:22 because they have an underlying

46:20 – 46:24 spiritually transformative experience

46:22 – 46:26 and they have it in all sorts of

46:24 – 46:30 different ways and then they try and

46:26 – 46:32 relate it to these organs in stitute

46:30 – 46:34 that are propped up I mean do you

46:32 – 46:37 believe there are such things as

46:34 – 46:39 spiritually transformative experiences

46:37 – 46:42 do you believe there are such things as

46:39 – 46:44 extended consciousness realms where

46:42 – 46:46 spirits exist and I’m not gonna pick on

46:44 – 46:48 you if you say one way or another but

46:46 – 46:50 that seems to be the fundamental

46:48 – 46:52 question well let me say this I mean I

46:50 – 46:55 guess to some extent I’m agnostic I’m

46:52 – 46:57 definitely an atheist about the

46:55 – 46:59 traditional conception of God

46:57 – 47:01 all-knowing all-powerful perfectly good

46:59 – 47:05 just because it’s the problem of evil

47:01 – 47:06 and suffering problem of reconciling the

47:05 – 47:10 suffering we find in the world with an

47:06 – 47:14 all-powerful and loving God yeah I find

47:10 – 47:17 that to be very overwhelming case but in

47:14 – 47:18 terms of let me say one thing that

47:17 – 47:20 actually I could talk it so I talked a

47:18 – 47:24 little bit of in my new in my new book

47:20 – 47:25 about mystical experiences now I’ve

47:24 – 47:27 never had a mystical experience I guess

47:25 – 47:29 it’s partly what you’re talking about

47:27 – 47:32 spiritually transformative experiences

47:29 – 47:36 so I’ve never had one myself a lie I

47:32 – 47:40 meditate every day but I’m still waiting

47:36 – 47:43 but so I guess to that extent I’ve got

47:40 – 47:47 to be somewhat agnostic but what I do

47:43 – 47:49 want to say so I’m upon psychist which I

47:47 – 47:51 can Rita that much about but I’m you

47:49 – 47:52 know I think the fundamental nature of

47:51 – 47:55 the material universe

47:52 – 47:56 in is in some sense constituted of

47:55 – 47:57 consciousness

47:56 – 47:59 so I’m upon Cyprus but on a pond

47:57 – 48:01 psychist you know not for spiritual

47:59 – 48:04 reasons but because I think it’s you

48:01 – 48:06 know the best account of consciousness

48:04 – 48:14 the best way of bringing consciousness

48:06 – 48:18 into our worldview but what I was think

48:14 – 48:21 if you’re a pun psychist so let me

48:18 – 48:24 rephrase this so I don’t know whether

48:21 – 48:27 these spiritual experiences are genuine

48:24 – 48:29 insights into reality or whether they’re

48:27 – 48:33 had delusions caused by something going

48:29 – 48:36 wrong in the brain but if you’re have a

48:33 – 48:38 pun psychist worldview there’s much less

48:36 – 48:41 pressure to say they’re delusions right

48:38 – 48:43 that’s what I want to say so like you

48:41 – 48:46 know a lot of people having people

48:43 – 48:50 having mystical experiences claim that

48:46 – 48:53 it becomes apparent to them that there

48:50 – 48:55 is this pure universal consciousness

48:53 – 48:58 that underlies all things right now if

48:55 – 48:59 you’re a materialist there’s a lot of

48:58 – 49:02 pressure to say that must be a delusion

48:59 – 49:03 right that’s just something funny gone

49:02 – 49:04 in the brain but if you’re a pun

49:03 – 49:07 psychist

49:04 – 49:09 and you already think the fundamental

49:07 – 49:11 nature of physical reality is made up of

49:09 – 49:16 consciousness well you know there’s not

49:11 – 49:19 more of a further step just a well maybe

49:16 – 49:20 this universal consciousness somehow

49:19 – 49:23 underlies these more mundane forms of

49:20 – 49:24 consciousness so you’re much more opens

49:23 – 49:27 eyes upon psychist

49:24 – 49:30 and much more open to that possibility

49:27 – 49:34 and you know I think in general that

49:30 – 49:36 it’s pump cycles and is a lot better for

49:34 – 49:39 our kind of spiritual health as a

49:36 – 49:42 worldview so I’m much more open in that

49:39 – 49:44 regard but and I guess I have I guess I

49:42 – 49:47 would say I have I’ve had fleeting

49:44 – 49:49 experiences when you you know certain

49:47 – 49:51 deep experience of beauty where you do

49:49 – 49:54 seem to have a fleeting awareness of

49:51 – 49:57 something like that but I guess I’m

49:54 – 49:59 still somewhat agnostic but very much

49:57 – 50:00 more open than I would be if I were a

49:59 – 50:03 materialist so I think that’s an

50:00 – 50:03 important it’s not the reason I am pants

50:03 – 50:05 I guess

50:03 – 50:06 I am a pants I guess but it’s I think

50:05 – 50:07 it’s a

50:06 – 50:11 interesting and important implications

50:07 – 50:13 of you you know that’s interesting you

50:11 – 50:16 know it’s interesting how people come at

50:13 – 50:18 this stuff I have not had the firework

50:16 – 50:21 kind of spiritually transformative

50:18 – 50:24 experience either I’m you know

50:21 – 50:25 meditation kind of guy like you and I’m

50:24 – 50:27 open to it

50:25 – 50:28 I’m waiting like you said I don’t know

50:27 – 50:30 if I’m waiting I’ve because we’re we

50:28 – 50:31 can’t really wait right that’s part of

50:30 – 50:33 the thing about meditating right we’re

50:31 – 50:36 not waiting we’re just being present but

50:33 – 50:37 analyse yourself a little bit you know

50:36 – 50:40 because I think there’s a lot of folks

50:37 – 50:44 like like you Philip and like me as well

50:40 – 50:47 especially guys we need to think it and

50:44 – 50:50 understand it really before we can feel

50:47 – 50:52 it in some ways and before we can

50:50 – 50:53 experience it and it sounds like that’s

50:52 – 50:57 where you’re coming from you know you

50:53 – 50:60 need to kind of grok pant psychism

50:57 – 51:01 versus materialism before you’re willing

50:60 – 51:03 to venture in do you have any any

51:01 – 51:07 thoughts does that ring true to you at

51:03 – 51:12 all or yeah yeah I guess some I guess

51:07 – 51:14 I’m always always thinking how things

51:12 – 51:16 fit together oh I want to I want a

51:14 – 51:18 complete world view where everything

51:16 – 51:20 fits nicely even sometimes women you

51:18 – 51:22 know I’ve got a young child and I

51:20 – 51:24 watched lots of you know kids films and

51:22 – 51:25 they often don’t make sense okay you

51:24 – 51:27 know that doesn’t make sense that you

51:25 – 51:30 have to tell myself to stop these stupid

51:27 – 51:32 and stuff I suppose I’m you know I’m a

51:30 – 51:34 kind of logical guy I want to know how

51:32 – 51:39 it all fits into a logical coherent

51:34 – 51:42 worldview so yeah I guess I don’t know

51:39 – 51:44 so I guess yeah a lot of people may

51:42 – 51:45 think of like sam harris or something

51:44 – 51:50 who’s really into meditation and

51:45 – 51:51 spiritual experiences and but you know

51:50 – 51:56 he wants to think about that in a way

51:51 – 51:58 that fits with his general worldview and

51:56 – 52:00 yeah i suppose i said that’s fine

51:58 – 52:03 depending on on your worldview generally

52:00 – 52:05 it’s maybe gonna affect how are you on

52:03 – 52:07 the standard and what you’re open to and

52:05 – 52:09 you know it could be fakes at some point

52:07 – 52:12 and you just have such an overwhelming

52:09 – 52:15 spiritual experience that that changes

52:12 – 52:17 your worldview but I guess because I’m

52:15 – 52:19 already at pants I kissed it you know it

52:17 – 52:20 wouldn’t be much of a change to my

52:19 – 52:22 worldview if

52:20 – 52:24 Italy came into direct contact with

52:22 – 52:27 universal consciousness than sorry

52:24 – 52:29 underlied it underlies all things you

52:27 – 52:31 know that wouldn’t be much of a change

52:29 – 52:34 to my worldview but you know we’ve just

52:31 – 52:37 I already think you know consciousness

52:34 – 52:41 is kind of everywhere yeah hey Philip

52:37 – 52:43 when is the Galileo’s aerbook when is

52:41 – 52:44 that coming out Galileo’s err a

52:43 – 52:46 manifesto for a new science of

52:44 – 52:48 consciousness is that definitely going

52:46 – 52:51 to be the title is that the subtitle has

52:48 – 52:52 changed two foundations for a new

52:51 – 52:55 science consciousness but yeah the type

52:52 – 53:00 of thing yeah it’s coming out August the

52:55 – 53:03 15th in the US and the UK yeah I’m just

53:00 – 53:05 doing the proofs right now so I mean if

53:03 – 53:06 I could just say bleep it so the other

53:05 – 53:09 thing that focuses on so the Galileo

53:06 – 53:11 stuff is why we have a problem of

53:09 – 53:15 consciousness and why we need to rethink

53:11 – 53:19 science but there’s also positive story

53:15 – 53:22 which is the rediscovery of certain

53:19 – 53:24 views defender by person Russell the

53:22 – 53:27 philosopher and Arthur Eddington in the

53:24 – 53:28 1920s the scientist incidentally the

53:27 – 53:31 first scientist to confirm general

53:28 – 53:33 relativity so that there’s been a recent

53:31 – 53:36 rediscovery of their ideas from the

53:33 – 53:38 1920s which is causing a lot of

53:36 – 53:42 excitement in academic philosophy and as

53:38 – 53:44 I kind of hold new or rapid approach to

53:42 – 53:46 consciousness that’s part of what I’m

53:44 – 53:49 trying to promote in the book gives us

53:46 – 53:50 is another problem with materialism so

53:49 – 53:52 you’ve talked about what you see is

53:50 – 53:54 empirical problems with materialism I’ve

53:52 – 53:57 talked about the problems as with

53:54 – 54:00 consciousness but you know what Russell

53:57 – 54:03 and Eddington realized in the 1920s is

54:00 – 54:06 that actually physical science isn’t

54:03 – 54:09 really telling us what stuff is anyway

54:06 – 54:11 so you know in the public mind physical

54:09 – 54:14 science is giving us this complete story

54:11 – 54:17 of the nature of space and time and

54:14 – 54:20 matter but what Russell and Eddington

54:17 – 54:23 realized in the 1920s is that when you

54:20 – 54:24 reflect on what the information you’re

54:23 – 54:26 getting from physical science it’s

54:24 – 54:28 really just telling us about the

54:26 – 54:31 behavior of stuff you know what stuff

54:28 – 54:32 does and that’s you know that’s why it’s

54:31 – 54:34 so useful for like engineering

54:32 – 54:37 technology because if you

54:34 – 54:38 how stuff behaves and you can predict

54:37 – 54:40 how it’s gonna behave you can get an

54:38 – 54:42 incredible technology but it doesn’t

54:40 – 54:44 really tell us what philosophers like to

54:42 – 54:47 call the intrinsic nature of matter you

54:44 – 54:50 know what it is in and of itself

54:47 – 54:51 independently of how it behaves so this

54:50 – 54:53 is you know this is another problem

54:51 – 54:55 materialism even before you get to

54:53 – 54:57 consciousness it’s not really telling us

54:55 – 55:01 what matter is it’s just telling us what

54:57 – 55:02 it does and so that so the what what’s

55:01 – 55:07 the hell is got this got to do with

55:02 – 55:09 consciousness you know you can see the

55:07 – 55:11 problem of consciousness is the problem

55:09 – 55:12 of finding a place for consciousness in

55:11 – 55:16 our worldview you know how does

55:12 – 55:18 consciousness fit in and Russell and

55:16 – 55:21 Eddington say well actually there’s this

55:18 – 55:23 huge hole in our scientific picture that

55:21 – 55:27 physics doesn’t tell us what matter is

55:23 – 55:30 and so there’s a potential for a way of

55:27 – 55:33 solving both these problems at once what

55:30 – 55:36 we say is that consciousness is the

55:33 – 55:38 intrinsic nature of matter so you know

55:36 – 55:40 there’s just matter physics describes it

55:38 – 55:43 from the outside it tells us what it

55:40 – 55:45 does but in its in its intrinsic nature

55:43 – 55:50 its constituted a consciousness so this

55:45 – 55:53 is the positive positive aspect of the

55:50 – 55:55 book that’s rediscovering this really

55:53 – 55:57 you know what I think is what is one of

55:55 – 55:60 the most promising solutions for moving

55:57 – 56:03 forward consciousness so yeah that’s the

55:60 – 56:05 other aspect so that would be no no

56:03 – 56:08 that’s awesome that’s perfect that’s

56:05 – 56:10 great and so what is going what will we

56:08 – 56:15 find over at the blog what’s coming up

56:10 – 56:17 what are you working on what am i

56:15 – 56:19 working on I don’t know I think about

56:17 – 56:21 the blog from month to month really and

56:19 – 56:22 what’s annoying me or what’s I don’t

56:21 – 56:25 know I probably should write something

56:22 – 56:27 that breaks it which is or dominates the

56:25 – 56:29 whole news here yeah I was reading I was

56:27 – 56:31 reading a little bit about brexit I just

56:29 – 56:35 didn’t even want to go there why would

56:31 – 56:37 you concede back to those idiots who are

56:35 – 56:39 trying to I mean the people voted let’s

56:37 – 56:42 let the people’s vote matter for once I

56:39 – 56:43 don’t know one of the things that struck

56:42 – 56:45 me coming back to Jerry Coyne

56:43 – 56:47 you know I was proposing the benefits of

56:45 – 56:50 religion and he say

56:47 – 56:51 people are fine communities are fine as

56:50 – 56:53 they are but you know I think we’re

56:51 – 56:56 living in a pretty messed-up world in

56:53 – 56:59 all sorts of ways you know that this the

56:56 – 57:01 far right all over Europe this you know

56:59 – 57:05 brexit crisis here you know I think I

57:01 – 57:07 think this is partly because people are

57:05 – 57:10 lacking these shared structures is

57:07 – 57:12 meaning lacking a worldview that makes

57:10 – 57:14 sense of their lives and the self

57:12 – 57:15 understanding so and this is yeah

57:14 – 57:17 because as part of what I try to do in

57:15 – 57:20 the final chapter of the book actually

57:17 – 57:22 go think about what implications can

57:20 – 57:23 psychism has to how we think about the

57:22 – 57:26 world how we think about the environment

57:23 – 57:29 and how we live our lives you know

57:26 – 57:34 spiritually and practically so yeah this

57:29 – 57:36 is you know so many philosophers are you

57:34 – 57:37 know so kind of cold blooded abstract

57:36 – 57:40 focused on a specific issue or not

57:37 – 57:46 forgotten how to look at the big picture

57:40 – 57:48 which is kind of crucial but yeah well

57:46 – 57:50 excellent it’s been absolutely terrific

57:48 – 57:53 chatting and I appreciate you going

57:50 – 57:54 through such as allowing me to just kind

57:53 – 57:56 of free flow it here and talk about so

57:54 – 57:58 many different things so I do hope

57:56 – 58:01 people check out the new book it sounds

57:58 – 58:03 fantastic and the the first book is much

58:01 – 58:06 more academically earning it but this is

58:03 – 58:08 cool will be the first one out on

58:06 – 58:10 talking about the new book and your

58:08 – 58:16 website as well and I hope people follow

58:10 – 58:18 your work so thanks again Phillip thanks

58:16 – 58:20 again to Phillip Gough for joining me

58:18 – 58:22 today on skeptic oh I guess the one

58:20 – 58:25 question I’d have to tee up from this

58:22 – 58:29 interview is the question of acceptance

58:25 – 58:32 we all get that biological robot in a

58:29 – 58:34 meaningless universe is an absurd idea

58:32 – 58:37 but how much do we need to pound that

58:34 – 58:40 over the head of stuck in the mud

58:37 – 58:43 academics and other ordained holders of

58:40 – 58:45 power and influence boy I’m tempted to

58:43 – 58:47 answer that question but I’m not going

58:45 – 58:49 to because I want you to answer it and

58:47 – 58:51 tell me what you think the best place to

58:49 – 58:53 do it is on the skeptical forum but you

58:51 – 58:56 can reach out and connect with me any

58:53 – 58:58 way you like email Facebook which I

58:56 – 59:01 never get over to but anyway the

58:58 – 59:04 important thing is that we find a way to

59:01 – 59:08 again I always say this but it’s so true

59:04 – 59:11 this amazing thing that’s going on of me

59:08 – 59:15 sitting in this room talking into the

59:11 – 59:17 mic and you popping those earbuds on and

59:15 – 59:20 walking around and hearing this

59:17 – 59:24 conversation is such a cool amazing

59:20 – 59:24 thing so let’s close the loop a little

59:24 – 59:27 bit

59:24 – 59:29 let’s send an email back and forth let’s

59:27 – 59:31 jump on a forum and talk about what’s

59:29 – 59:34 happening when we do make this

59:31 – 59:37 connection I hope you do that I’m ready

59:34 – 59:40 for it I’m waiting I hope you take the

59:37 – 59:43 next step of course do stay with me for

59:40 – 59:45 upcoming skeptical episodes and be sure

59:43 – 59:47 to check out the back catalog all

59:45 – 59:52 available for free download at skeptic

59:47 – 59:54 accom until next time take care and bye

59:52 – 59:58 for now

59:54 – 59:58 [Music]

60:00 – 60:03 [Music]

60:07 – 60:11 [Music]

60:09 – 60:13 so thanks for watching this video if it

60:11 – 60:16 wasn’t really a video but just an audio

60:13 – 60:17 stored as a video I apologize but

60:16 – 60:19 there’s more videos out there as well

60:17 – 60:21 but please check out the skeptic Oh

60:19 – 60:23 website you can see it here we cover a

60:21 – 60:25 lot of different stuff you might be

60:23 – 60:29 interested in relating to controversial

60:25 – 60:32 science and spirituality a lot of shows

60:29 – 60:34 up there over 350 of them are so all

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60:34 – 60:46 check it out

 

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