Quarks, Quasars and the Mind – Stranger Than We Suppose

Originally published in Psychology Today, 9th May 2017. The following is a modified transcript of a presentation I gave at the Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Psychiatry Annual Congress held in Adelaide, May 2017. I have included some references via hyperlinks, however the content is generally indebted to inspiration from Richard Dawkins’ TED talk “Why the Universe Seems…

The Self Illusion and Psychotherapy

Originally published in Psychology Today on March 21st, 2017. One of the great privileges of working in psychiatry currently is witnessing the amazing progress of so-called ‘biological psychiatry’. Advances in neurosciences and brain imaging are providing us with closer and closer glimpses of the basis of psychopathology. But for some this reductionism can lead psychiatry…

I Think, Therefore I’ll Die

Published in Psychology Today on 29th September 2016. Are you looking forward to reading an article about death? Probably not. Simply reading it-that-must-not-be-named can arrest us in our place. With torturous futility, we fill our heads with whatever is in mind’s reach to ignore one of the surest of facts: To paraphrase Descartes, “I think, therefore I’ll die”. The certainty that our mortality…

Nothing Lasts Forever: How an Atheist Copes With the Fear of Death

Published in  Elephant Journal, 19th January 2016: ‘Nothing Lasts Forever: How an Atheist Copes With the Fear of Death’. Excerpt: “Death. Simply reading the word can arrest us in our place, causing an instant tingling of visceral unease. The certainty that our mortality will eventually be realized binds us not only in solidarity, but in…

Does God Exist? Perhaps No Evidence Could Ever Be Sufficient

Could there ever be sufficient evidence to prove god’s existence? Given the possibility that we live in a computer simulation, perhaps not. Atheists commonly say that whilst they do not believe in a god, this view could easily shift if presented with the right evidence. For example, if the stars aligned themselves into a particular…

Rage Against The Machine

  “F### you, I won’t do what you tell me.”  – Rage Against The Machine. The rock band Rage Against the Machine reached worldwide fame in the 1990’s for their angry and impassioned lyrics. They protested for liberation and freedom from corrupt governments around the world, seeing the injustice that coupled scenarios where people were…

Psychotherapy & The Self Illusion

Introduction This article has been written in reaction to a fear: Fear of so-called ‘biological psychiatry’. Many don’t like talking about brain scans and neural correlates in psychiatry, because when you reduce a person down to different anatomical brain regions and neurotransmitters inside the head, we don’t find a single self in there. Without a…

Free Will versus Psychiatry

The following video was recorded at the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatry Philosophy & Ethics of Psychiatry Seminar, 27th September 2014.

Free Will Is An Illusion

Most people feel like the complexity of human nature points to something other than the physical processes of their brains. From composers of orchestral symphonies that make the emotions soar, to the charitable who devote their entire lives to help others in need, to physicists who strive to answer questions of our own very existence,…

Free Will of the Consciousness Gap

  (artwork by Diana Zanfirache) Some people challenge the posit that consciousness is a product of the brain. They claim that if we do not know exactly how inanimate material can produce consciousness – how the complex interactions of billions of individual neurons actually produces self-awareness – then basing our experience in the brain is…