Introducing the brain: where the spiritual happens (Introduction)

by dhw, Wednesday, June 06, 2018, 13:03 (193 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You are describing an 'emergent' consciousness, which means the immaterial somehow appears from the material. That's the HARD PROBLEM no one can solve.
dhw: That is exactly what the materialistic part of my proposal describes, but I am not pretending it solves the “HARD PROBLEM”. I offer it as a reconciliation between materialism and dualism.
DAVID: I don't think it works.
dhw: It might be helpful if you would tell me WHY you think it doesn’t work.
DAVID: Because it is pure materialism. I don't see a neutral position between materialism and dualism.

It is not a neutral position but an attempt to show that the two positions do not have to oppose each other (= a reconciliation). It also removes the general association of materialism with atheism. This is clear if we take a theistic standpoint and propose that instead of your God inserting his consciousness into our brain, he invented a material mechanism that produces an immaterial soul, or consciousness like his own (much as humans are trying to do in their experiments with AI). My theory allows for (but does not champion – the theory remains neutral at this level) the independent existence of a non-material world. The frustrating thing about your opposition is that this idea removes the illogicality of your belief that the soul can’t think without the brain except when there is no brain!

However, this is best understood through my post of 5 January at 17.33 (under "Reconciling..") to which I referred quite specifically in my "theory". I have summarized it during our discussions, but will reproduce it now as a separate appendix.

DAVID: If the cells are intelligent is just as possible that they were designed to contain intelligent information.
dhw: What does “intelligent information” mean? It sounds impressively scientific, but as an explanation for evolution, what you offer us is computer programmes designed by your God 3.8 billion years ago [see below]. That doesn’t sound quite so impressively scientific to me.
DAVID: I constantly present articles that show how information is carried in biochemical processes of life. You had no response to Sunday's: Sunday, June 03, 2018, 20:41 on non-DNA info and how it is carried in the embryo's cells. Were you not impressed by it? These articles are scientifically impressive to me.

Of course information is carried in biochemical processes and the articles are scientifically impressive. Our human intelligence also conveys information through biochemical processes, but you do not hesitate to maintain that it is autonomous (free will). The question is not whether organisms carry and use information, but whether the billions of innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders are the product of their own autonomous intelligence or of billions of detailed computer programmes (“intelligent information”) planted 3.8 billion years ago in the first living cells or supplemented by direct divine dabbling. You have told us these are the two methods your God has used to control evolution, and I cannot see how you could consider them simpler than the invention of a single mechanism as the source of these products.


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