by dhw, Sunday, May 06, 2018, 12:27 (219 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Which of your statements do you now stand by? That the s/s/c’s thought is proper, but the diseased brain does not express it properly (garbles it), or the diseased brain causes the s/s/c to think improperly?

DAVID: The s/s/c must use the brain to think during life, so it is likely the s/s/c cannot produce a proper thought with a damaged brain, and may not be able to even form a proper initial thought. I view the s/s/c and The brain as entirely interdependent.

Thank you. We can now forget the idea that the s/s/c thinks properly but the brain can’t express the thoughts properly. What you, as a dualist, offer us today is a self whose “soul” (piece of your God's consciousness) and consciousness are dependent on the brain for “proper” thoughts (except when there is no brain, as in NDEs and an afterlife). I find it difficult to understand how a piece of your God's immaterial consciousness can be damaged by material disease, but I can fully understand how consciousness that emerges from a material source can be damaged if the source is damaged.

dhw: Then your use of the word “formation” above is another obfuscation. The s/s/c uses the brain to give the thought MATERIAL form. The thought itself, however, can hardly be a meaningless blob when it is initiated by the s/s/c, and if it has meaning it is already “formed” when it uses the networks. “To produce thought” is another obfuscation. The thought has already been produced (software), but the material production takes place through the brain (hardware).

DAVID: Thought is always completely immaterial unless written or spoken and depends on the s/s/c using the brain networks in life.

Using the brain networks for what? And of course there are many other ways of expressing/implementing thoughts besides speaking and writing. I would rewrite your statement as follows: Thought is always completely immaterial unless given material expression or implementation, and this can only be achieved when the s/s/c uses the brain networks. Do you agree?

DAVID: In this current discussion you have come across as a pure materialist.
dhw: In this discussion I am offering an explanation which reconciles materialism and dualism, and I do wish you would read the 5 Jan post I keep referring to under that thread. The basic argument is that the materials produce a form of energy which may continue to exist independently – just as light waves survive and we can see what happened in the past. You yourself believe in conscious energy which has an existence of its own, and you call it God. So why do you dismiss the possibility of your God creating materials which can produce conscious energy? That is the point where materialism can link up with dualism.

DAVID (quoting dhw): "This ties in with two of the ideas we have already discussed: emergence, as the process whereby the property of the whole cannot be explained by the properties of its parts, and Sheldrake’s morphic field, which I take to mean all the attributes and information that comprise the identity of the individual. Once we think of consciousness in terms of energy produced by materials, and we link it to the analogy of the image produced by light, it seems to me that we have a reconciliation between materialism (materials are the source of consciousness) and dualism (the energy exists independently of the source)."

DAVID: I have said that consciousness may well be a quantum energy mechanism in the brain (Penrose) which allows the appearance of consciousness, provided by God. It doesn't solve the problem of consciousness, but is a reasonable theory.

So do you now agree that your God might have designed a mechanism whereby materials produce consciousness?

Under “Evolution of consciousness
QUOTE: “Awareness is not the “special sauce” that brings dumb biological processes to subjective life but an emergent property of immensely complex neurological processes. This does not so much eliminate the mystery of consciousness as make it no more or less mysterious than the ultimately inexplicable existence of the universe itself."

DAVID’s comment: This book is a materialist view which invokes the uncertainty of of quantum uncertainty and completely ignores the evidence from NDE's. But he certainly emphasizes the enormous complexity of the brain.

dhw: The “emergent property” neatly summarizes the materialist argument I have tried to describe on this thread. But it does not consider any of the points I raise in my post of 5 Jan. under “Reconciling materialism and dualism”. The reconciliation I have attempted is no more than that, and of course it doesn’t eliminate the mystery of consciousness. But it does take NDEs into account, and it leaves open the possibility of an immortal soul.


Here and in my post under “Cell complexity”, our ideas appear to be converging!

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