Introducing the brain (Introduction)

by dhw, Monday, May 14, 2018, 13:10 (210 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I have offered a different explanation from yours for the expansion of the frontal lobe. You keep on emphasizing that it does the thinking, which is why your God expanded it, so that pre-sapiens would be ”capable of advanced thought”. That is pure materialism, which contradicts your claim to be a dualist. I say that in dualism, it is the soul that does the thinking, and so the frontal lobe has to expand when it needs new connections in order to organize material expression/implementation of the immaterial soul’s new thoughts. My “theory of intelligence” is an attempt to reconcile your materialism with the tenets of your dualism.

DAVID: "My materialism" is a recognition that the soul must use the brain to think. We know the areas where it interlocks. I don't accept your single view that it is a one-way street. There are two logical possibilities, but you only like yours.

I don’t “like” either possibility, which is why I keep repeating that I am neutral in the debate between materialism and dualism, and why I have been striving to find a reconciliation between the two hypotheses. I am trying to point out that you have the same dilemma: materialism claims that the brain is the source of thought; dualism claims that an immaterial soul is the source of thought (and you have now agreed that according to NDEs and your belief in an afterlife, the same soul lives on independently of the brain). The “one-way street” is dualism, as exemplifed by YOUR insistence that the brain is the receiver, and by YOUR analogy of software (the thought content) and hardware (the implementer). So whenever you insist that the soul cannot think without the brain, you contradict yourself.

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 think using the brain networks and cannot think properly if the networks are sick.

That is materialism.

DAVID: Despite making a choice as above, since you asked me which I preferred, I still see the two possibilities, but simply favor one of them. That is not a rigid position.

So you favour materialism. I remain neutral, and have tried to find a way of reconciling the two approaches.

DAVID: My thinking is not as rigid as you want it. I cannot get rid of either possibility. we are discussing theory, not fact.

Yes indeed. You are in the same position as I am, though you refuse to recognize it: you are torn between materialism and dualism. You favour materialism (see also your next comment), but you believe you are a dualist.

dhw: There are at least three examples of your self-contradictions above. These are inevitable so long as you see yourself as a dualist and yet continue to insist that the soul depends on the brain for its ability to think.
DAVID: All we know is a brain produces the soul's thought's. A sick brain produces garbled thoughts. The two possible arrangements are the only choices.

Pure materialism. The other “possible arrangement” you offered was that the thinking soul thinks “proper thoughts” and the receiver brain garbles them. That is the one you have again rejected here, though you insist you cannot get rid of it.

DAVID: You want a soul dictating to the brain and the brain is a simple a receptacle for thought.

It’s not what I want! That is the dualism you espouse on a Monday and reject on a Tuesday. It is YOU who called the brain a receiver!

DAVID: That is only one side of the possibilities.

Yes, the other side is materialism, in which the brain is the producer of thought, as exemplified by the belief that the s/s/c cannot think independently of the brain.

DAVID: I have not contradicted myself. I know what I think. I've given you opinions as to what is most likely the possible arrangement.

Yes, today you have rejected your dualistic idea that the brain is a receiver, and you have chosen the materialist option that a sick brain produces garbled thoughts.

DAVID: Both of us make sophisticated guesses so I keep my thoughts fluid based on the possibilities. Please remember my starting points.

The starting point is dualism versus materialism, and as I keep pointing out, there is evidence for both approaches. That is why anyone who keeps his thoughts fluid would inevitably contradict himself – because the evidence is contradictory! You seem to be taking all these comments personally, but I don’t think it’s possible for ANYONE to avoid contradictions in this debate. Can a materialist honestly say that consciousness, thought, emotion, willpower etc. are NOT immaterial? Can a dualist honestly say that the brain plays no part in our consciousness, thought, emotion, willpower etc.? In all these posts, I am only trying to point out that there is a dichotomy between the two approaches, and you are as caught up in it as the rest of us, though you can’t see it. I would like to think that my “theory of intelligence” together with my post on “Reconciling materialism and dualism” (Jan 5, 2018) offers a solution.

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