Natures wonders: killer penguins hunt in packs (Introduction)

by dhw, Tuesday, October 03, 2017, 13:38 (717 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Learned behaviour, you have agreed, originates through the intelligence of the organisms concerned, which pass on their discoveries. So weaverbirds, rats, frogs and ants are autonomously intelligent (which as usual makes me wonder why you think the weaverbird can’t have designed its own nest). But apparently intelligence is impossible without a brain, and yet for a dualist like yourself, the brain is only a receiver of intelligence and is not the source. If we call the source the “soul”, anything with a soul is “bright”, but your God has to preprogramme or personally dabble all the responses, adaptations and strategies of plants and bacteria in no matter what environment. If you really believe that’s the case, don’t you wonder why he didn’t give some “soul” to them as he gave to the others – enough for them to devise their own adaptations etc.? (The materialist explanation of “brightness” in brainless organisms would be that it can have a different material source, i.e. the equivalent of a brain.)

DAVID: Note the bold. The brain is the receiver of consciousness. Remember the degree of intelligence is variable and the brain is the mechanism through which it is developed to whatever degree it attains. The Jewish tradition is the animals have souls. Not of the same type as ours. I accept that. As for souls outside of brains, no.

I do not see how intelligence is possible without consciousness (not to be confused with human self-consciousness), and I do not see how a dualist can argue that it is the receiver brain that develops the degree of intelligence. In dualism, the brain provides information to the conscious intelligent self (soul) and implements the decisions made by the conscious intelligent self, but it is the soul that processes, selects, reasons and decides. Your final remark illustrates the confusion. How can human consciousness and intelligence (the soul) survive independently of the brain and yet animal consciousness and intelligence (the soul) depend on the brain? What is an animal soul if it is NOT the animal’s conscious intelligence? Either the brain is the source of consciousness and intelligence or it isn’t. There is similar confusion in your comment on “smart animals”:

DAVID: These birds did some type of simple analytic thought process to see the usefulness of the objects of play that might then be used as tools. This is their brain at work, which means adaptations require brain work. I do not believe this type of adaptation can happen without a brain.

If birds have souls, as you believe, what on earth do their souls do if they don’t think? Even what you call “simple analytic thought” is thought. However, I have to agree that bacteria would not be able to make “this type of adaptation” by waggling their wings, or gripping with their claws and beaks – you need wings, claws, beaks and a coordinating brain to do that.


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