Introducing the brain (Introduction)

by dhw, Saturday, May 19, 2018, 09:52 (205 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: 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.

DAVID: 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.

You understand the split in your logic, but once again you gloss it over. I have given you a list of the attributes retained by NDE patients. Do you or don’t you accept it? If you do, the soul has the same identity in death as it has in life: it is the thinking you. As regards “mechanism”, I wrote: ”I accept different “mechanisms”, because obviously ways of perceiving and communicating will be different if you don’t have eyes, ears and vocal chords.” What “mechanisms” do you have in mind that might prevent you from being the same thinking you?

dhw: 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: 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.

The starting point is our shared belief that we are conscious, and the fact that there are two apparently opposite views concerning the source of that consciousness: materialism and dualism. You believe that God implants an immaterial soul into the brain, which makes you a dualist. You then proceed to tell us that the soul cannot think without the brain. That makes you a materialist. You have understood the split in your own logic, and you can find no flaw in the logic of an explanation that reconciles BOTH views. Perhaps, then, logically speaking, would you not say that the view with no flaws in its logic might well be regarded as more likely than the view which does have flaws in its logic?


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 .” […] The open mind of Tuesday has closed again on Friday. […]

DAVID: 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.

From our joint starting point that we are conscious, and dualism and materialism offer two different explanations, my theory is logical. I am relieved to see that you have opened your mind again!


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