A THEORY OF INTELLIGENCE Part Three (Identity)

by dhw, Monday, May 21, 2018, 14:14 (210 days ago) @ dhw

My attempt to reconcile dualism and materialism proposes that the so-called “soul” is the product of intelligent, cooperating cell communities. Whether this “soul” can continue to live on after the death of the body is left open, as is the question of how the whole mechanism came into being. As such, it clearly supports materialism in so far as it opposes the theistic claim that the “soul” is an inserted piece of God’s consciousness (Gilbert Ryle’s derogatory “ghost in the machine”). It might therefore be misconstrued as an atheistic proposal, and so Part Three is for theists only.

In my view, the most potent argument for the existence of a god is the sheer complexity of the cell itself, culminating perhaps in the community of cell communities that make up the human brain. I shan’t go into the equally compelling arguments against the concept of an eternal mind that has no source – the insoluble mystery that theists call on to solve the so far insoluble mysteries of life and consciousness. I simply want to knock on the head the view that my theory is in itself atheistic.

If the cell is too complex to have been the product of chance - and the cell is the material basis of all life – we are left with the proposal that a god designed the materials. Would any theist argue otherwise? I would therefore see any designing god as a scientist and not a magician. And I would take this to mean there is a material formula that leads to life. If this is true (and I can't see any objections to the proposal that God uses science), why would he not fashion materials into a producer of consciousness? (We humans are trying to find the formula in our efforts to create a conscious robot/computer, and you don't have to be an atheist to do so.). For a theist, materialism would therefore mean God’s material method of creating life and consciousness. Like Darwin - an odiously presumptuous comparison, I know! - I would protest that my theory should not “shock the religious feelings of anyone”. But unlike Darwin, I would not talk of the Creator "having breathed life" into a few forms. If God exists, I would talk of him moulding materials in such such a way that they produced both life and consciousness.

As a PS to my fellow agnostics and to atheists, I should reiterate the fact that without a guiding God I cannot see any alternative to the theory that cells/cell communities have an autonomous intelligence of their own. But perhaps someone will be kind enough to tell me how else the intelligent behaviour of cells/cell communities might be explained.

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for theists only


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