Introducing the brain (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Friday, May 18, 2018, 20:54 (211 days ago) @ dhw

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.

dhw: 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.

I understand your objection, but you should remember that I always say that the soul acts somewhat differently in death by changing its mechanism. We do not know that it is rigidly the same in each state.


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.

Logic starts at a beginning assumption. With your starting point I see no flaws. But my starting point recognizes we do not know how the soul thinks in life with the two possibilities I see.


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

dhw: 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.

dhw: 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.)

I see the two possibilities and I agree that from your starting point you are logical. God could create a brain that then forms a consciousness like His own, or He could simply supply a software from His own consciousness. Either of these fit what we observe.


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.

dhw: 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.

We are vague because we are theorizing from outside the process. I am conscious and I suspect you are. Philosophers make the point that being conscious and experiencing it does not tell us why we are.


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