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Of Hunches and Intuition: Neuroscience and the Shroud of Turin

In a Huffington Post blog, Psychologist Kelly Bulkeley, a Visiting Scholar at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley asks Does Neuroscience Require a Rejection of Religion?

In the preceding paragraphs [from his book, A Portrait of the Brain, Adam] Zeman acknowledges that philosophers like Thomas Nagel, Colin McGinn and David Chalmers have raised devastating critical questions about physicalism that he cannot refute. Yet he decides to accept physicalism anyway, based on what he calls a "hunch," a strong "intuition," and something he "suspect(s)" about the crypto-religious beliefs of those who do not accept physicalism.

These personal sentiments may be enough for Zeman to persuade himself, but they certainly do not qualify as a rational, evidence-based argument in favor of physicalism.

And I sense shroud science like studies of consciousness are at a stage – we don’t know enough or we can’t know enough – that we rely on hunches and intuition. I imagine this may be true for committed  believers like Giulio Fanti and John Jackson and strong skeptics like Colin Berry and Joe Nickel.  

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