Introducing the brain: where the spiritual happens/appendix (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Wednesday, June 06, 2018, 19:03 (911 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: This is the post that attempts a reconciliation between materialism and dualism, and is integral to my “Theory of Intelligence”:

This [the reconciliation] entails synthesizing some of the theories we’ve been discussing, but my starting point is very different from all of them. I pointed out in the “brief guide” that someone on a planet billions of miles away with a powerful enough telescope would be able to view the crucifixion. Light is energy, and theoretically the visual image generated by a material event goes on for ever. The source is material (the actual crucifixion), but the image in the form of energy is not. It survives the death of the material source.

Problem: there is no image until a consciousness sees it. It is all a potential image before that, photons which carry information.

dhw: If we take this as an analogy, we can argue that although the material brain may be the source of the consciousness which contains all our non-material attributes – our thoughts, emotions, memories etc. – these are also a form of energy, or in other words the “image” produced by the materials is not material.

This ties in with two of the ideas we have already discussed: emergence, as the process whereby the property of the whole cannot be explained by the properties of its parts, and Sheldrake’s morphic field, which I take to mean all the attributes and information that comprise the identity of the individual. Once we think of consciousness in terms of energy produced by materials, and we link it to the analogy of the image produced by light, it seems to me that we have a reconciliation between materialism (materials are the source of consciousness) and dualism (the energy exists independently of the source).

The energy of the brain which allows us to see the image is ions generated by the brain. No dualism in your statement. I view dualism as requiring a separate consciousness mechanism which is malleable and operates by a different form in life and death.

dhw: We now come onto the subject of the “immortal soul”. My crucifixion analogy is limited because it is fixed, whereas consciousness is not. It continues to absorb and produce information so long as it exists, and this is where my hypothesis, Penrose’s and Sheldrake’s run into the same difficulty. My “energy”, Penrose’s “quantum information”, and Sheldrake’s “morphic field” are all immaterial products of the material being, and they may survive the death of the individual body in the sense that their already formed information can be accessed by others (like the image of the crucifixion). But that does not necessarily mean that the immaterial information/ energy/ morphic field is capable of undergoing any change once its source is extinguished.

But you don't know that. The soul appears to be active, operative, in NDE's when informtion is added.

dhw: I am making two points here. One, that materialism and dualism are not incompatible. But two, we are no nearer to solving the question of whether there is such a thing as a consciousness which can live on as a functioning, communicating, observing “I” after the death of its material source. That would require the purest possible form of dualism, with consciousness preceding materials – a concept that lies at the very heart of most religions and inevitably leads to God. I am not arguing against it, or against the possibility of an immortal, observing and thinking soul, as seems to be suggested by NDEs. I am simply saying that none of the hypotheses (quantum information, morphic field, everlasting energy) are of any help in settling the issue, and I would suggest that science is incapable of doing so, since it is restricted to a materialist approach to the whole subject. That’s why I like Penrose’s caution: “It’s possible,..can exist…perhaps indefinitely, as a soul” We shall just have to wait and see – or not see!


dhw: BACK TO THE PRESENT: The only thing I would add to this is that it would explain a number of psychic events that relate to the past: ghosts, déjà vu etc. But it would not, of course, explain those relating to the future or the unknown present (e.g. NDEs in which patients are given information they could not have known).

It is clear, NDE's present known information from the past, which might be moments old, not the future.

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