by dhw, Friday, April 27, 2018, 12:05 (760 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Most dualists relate the mind or soul to their belief in God, who has given them a piece of his consciousness. Some also believe that their soul will survive the death of the body – hence the importance of NDEs for their way of thinking. This, however, is only one option, and it is the second option I would like to explore.

dhw: If we accept the materialist’s view that intelligence is the product of our materials, then we must accept that intelligence is the product of our intelligent cells cooperating with one another. What other material source can there be? The end result is the same as that of the dualist who believes his/her intelligence is the product of a God-given soul.

DAVID: I simply view this as a review of everything presented in the past and my answer is the same. Living cells run on information they possess. Where that information came from is up for debate etc.

You have missed the point. I began with your hypothesis, and am now considering the materialist alternative before tackling the dichotomy problem.

DAVID: We have no real evidence of cellular intelligence. […]

We have no “real evidence” for any of the explanatory hypotheses – otherwise there would be no need for hypotheses. See later as regards cellular intelligence.

Dhw: As I hope is clear from the above, the dichotomy I outlined at the start simply disappears if we accept the second of these hypotheses. It still lingers with the first if we try to explain how an immaterial soul can be changed by material means (diseases, drugs), but since a soul has to be subject to change (it spends a lifetime learning), that might be a subject for further discussion.
DAVID: Disease of the brain alters its function and obviously affects how the s/s/c can think, if as I propose, it is tightly interfaced with the brain cells in order to produce thought that the owner of that brain can recognize in his head.

Yes, it is obvious that diseases alter the way people think. But if the s/s/c functions as the immaterial thinker and the brain functions as the material implementer, the brain cells do not “produce” the thought; they express or implement it. How can material diseases and drugs change an immaterial soul? Do the souls of the dementia victim, drug addict and drunkard still think “normally”, but their receiver brains don’t get the message?

dhw: There is one last sting in the tail. It must be emphasized that the origin of our cells’ intelligence is open to question: the theist will say God invented the whole mechanism; the atheist will say it was all a stroke of luck; the panpsychist can go for the God solution or claim that intelligence is innate in all materials. The only other alternative that I can think of is that there is no such thing as intelligence. And if you believe that, you won’t have been able to read this post.
DAVID: I cannot accept the alternative that the inorganic universe has any intelligence of its own. The only panpsychism possible is that the universe is an extension of God's mind. Of course intelligence exists in this universe. It is the miraculous result of the evolution of life, whose appearance is a miracle in and of itself.

I know you are fixed in your beliefs. And as a result you have missed the point of my post. I’ll try again. Once we accept the existence of “intelligence”, we have to accept dualism in so far as we are composed of material and immaterial attributes. The dichotomy concerns the source of the immaterial attributes. If it is immaterial, it should not be changed by material influences (e.g. diseases and drugs), and indeed modern scientific research is based largely on the premise that materials are the source. But if so, how can immaterial thought change its own source – as is also proven by modern scientific research? The dichotomy is resolved if the cells are in sub-communities which provide the thought as well as its expression/implementation but which, being material, can also be changed by outside factors (diseases and drugs). You have ignored the ant analogy, demonstrating how intelligences subdivide into different functions which interact to form a community of communities.

In your own hypothesis, the s/s/c has its “home” in the cell communities – unless you think the brain is not composed of cells. But you believe that cells and cell communities such as bacteria and ants need your God to think for them, whereas large organisms, especially humans, have an s/s/c which lives in the cells and makes its own decisions. Even you admit there is no way of telling the difference. You have also agreed that the opinion of those who believe in cellular intelligence is just as valid as yours. My hypothesis resolves the above dichotomy, allows for the existence of your God and even for a soul that lives on (see my post of 5 January under “Reconciling materialism and dualism”). Theistically, it amounts to your God doing what humans have tried to do for centuries: invent a mechanism that can think for itself. So apart from the fact that it doesn’t fit in with your fixed beliefs, please tell me what flaws you can find in its logic.

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