Introducing the brain (Introduction)

by dhw, Friday, May 18, 2018, 13:03 (6 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: [..] I do not view the soul as one rigid form. It obviously must be different in the afterlife and you have previously agreed.

dhw: How can an immaterial soul have a form? You keep agreeing that your soul in life and death remains the same thinking you. I have agreed that the same soul must FUNCTION differently (e.g. it would have to communicate by telepathy).

DAVID: I was using the term 'form' to mean mechanism, not materialism.

Fair enough. That is why I gave the example of telepathic communication.

DAVID: We start at an initial point where neither of us knows what a soul is like or of what it might consist. I have suggested pure quanta. Nor do we know what it might be capable of doing on its own. I don't view the soul as an entity within the limits of your very circumscribed definition. We know how closely it is tied to various areas of the brain, primarily the cortex.

But the soul you believe in is NOT tied to the brain when the brain is dead. Your final comment is spot on. If in life the soul depends on the brain for its ability to THINK (as opposed to its ability to express/implement its thoughts materially, which we agree on), then how is it possible for the SAME thinking you to live on after death? In NDEs, the brainless patient does not lose his/her ability to think, remember, recognize, feel, process thought, make decisions etc. This is the split in your logic which you continually try to gloss over.

DAVID: There is no way to be able to state dogmatically whether a garbled thought is because the soul using the damaged brain produces a garbled thought or the soul produces a correct thought and the brain garbles it. We don't know, and neither does anyone else, whether the result is primary to the soul or secondary. Nor can we solve the dichotomy with your rigid definitions, and if we did we would gain the Nobel.

You are quite right. Nobody “knows”. We can only propose theories and then test them to see if we can find any logical flaws in them. Dualism fails to account for the effects of material influences on our thoughts and behaviour; materialism fails to account for the effects of thought on our materials, and it ignores all psychic experiences. I have offered you a theory which explains both sets of effects and can also encompass psychic experiences. You have not offered one single criticism of its logic.

DAVID: You refuse to accept that our brain, with all its complexity, is the best brain every produced as shown by its artifacts. I'm not discussing the cause of enlargement.

dhw: The starting point of this discussion (some time ago) was not the quality of our brain, which I have always accepted, but your insistence that your God enlarged the pre-sapiens brain so that pre-sapiens could think new thoughts. That is materialism, and has major bearings on our interpretation of evolution and on the dichotomy between materialism and dualism.

DAVID: God producing a larger brain for us is materialism? God works immaterially to guide evolution.

Dualism means that mind and body are TWO. Materialism means that mind and body are ONE. If you believe that the mind is incapable of thought without the body (as in your insistence that pre-sapiens could not think new thoughts until he had a larger brain), you are a materialist. God (if he exists) works immaterially with materials, so he could have designed either method.

DAVID: A larger more complex brain receives a larger more complex soul as its software. I do not accept that the larger brain gives rise to the soul on its own. It is God at work.

I’m surprised that you think souls have a measurable size. I’m also surprised by your outright rejection of my theory, in stark contrast to your posts earlier this week: “I admit I can see the possibility that either mechanism for the arrival of consciousness is possible, but for me with an open mind, I must recognize the possibility of both […] Keep an open mind about both possibilities.” The open mind of Tuesday has closed again on Friday. As above, my theory allows for God being “at work”, in so far as he would be the creator of the material “machine” that creates consciousness like his own. (Humans are trying to do exactly the same: create machines that will generate consciousness like our own.)

dhw: You can hardly deny that your own view of the soul is that it is an entirely separate entity in your afterlife, but in life it resides in the brain. So why should the soul be the thinking you in death but not in life?

DAVID: You want the soul to be the same in life and death. We do not know what form the soul takes in death, any more than we know how it is in life. As above I see no reason why it cannot be viewed as having two separate mechanisms in life and in death.

This is all far too vague. I have explained above what I mean by “the same”. NDE patients are still themselves during the experience. I accept different “mechanisms”, because obviously ways of perceiving and communicating will be different if you don’t have eyes, ears and vocal chords.

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