Introducing the brain: where the spiritual happens (Introduction)

by dhw, Thursday, June 07, 2018, 13:33 (193 days ago) @ David Turell

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.
dhw: 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).
DAVID: Your idea asks God to make the brain more complex than it is, by having it invent its own soul by some on-board process. Isn't it easier for God just to gift some of His consciousness?

Why “more complex”? Even in your hypothesis, the soul lives in the brain, and consciousness and thought therefore emerge from the brain. So how do you know what the brain “as it is” is capable of? What does “gift” actually mean? Do you think your God spends his time popping into every womb (human and animal) inserting a bit of his immaterial consciousness into the brain of the foetus? Please give us details of how you think your God presents his “gift” if not through the materials of genetics. Or does he do it by some unknown “on-board process”?

DAVID: If the soul exists in two realms why can't it have a different mode of function in both? You still describe a static or rigid soul.

See “Introducing the brain”.

dhw: 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).
DAVID: Because I use those mechanisms to create original thought.

If an animal, bird, insect or bacterium can solve problems, some of us would say that proves they can think. The fact that they and we convey or implement thoughts by biochemical processes does not prove that they and we are incapable of thought.

DAVID: Your 'autonomous intelligence' is just as nebulous a concept as your view of my faith that God supplies the intelligent information is nebulous. Both of your feet are in midair split by the fence you sit on. You have invented auto-intel as your God.

There is nothing nebulous about either concept. Mine is that organisms can think for themselves (though not at the human level of intelligence), and yours is that every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder was preprogrammed 3.8 billion years ago (though you prefer to dress this up as “supplying intelligent information”), or directly dabbled by a universal intelligence you call God. I have not invented auto-intel as my God! Do you regard your own auto-intel (free will) as your God? I even recognize the possibility that your God may have been the inventor of “auto-intel”.


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