Introducing the brain: where the spiritual happens (Introduction)

by dhw, Friday, June 08, 2018, 12:56 (253 days ago) @ David Turell

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?

dhw: 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 God's consciousness pervades the universe, (like your panpsychism) the human baby picks consciousness up from the universal consciousness as its complex frontal cortex develops, which fits the development of consciousness, just as babies have been shown in studies.

If the development of consciousness depends on the development of the frontal cortex, that “fits” the theory that the brain is the source of consciousness. Your version of “picking it up” makes it sound as if the frontal cortex becomes conscious of consciousness!

dhw: 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: Of course animals think and initiate their thoughts.

You will have noted that I also included birds, insects and bacteria. Do baby animals, birds and insects (we’ll leave out bacteria for now) also pick up your God’s consciousness as their brains develop? I take consciousness to be a state of awareness – the ability to perceive and to think. It has no content of its own until there is something for it to be aware of, but I’m sure you will agree that the degree of awareness is variable between species and even between individuals. If the degree of awareness depends on the development of the brain (enhanced in humans), it follows the same pattern as mobility depending on the development of the limbs (enhanced in cheetahs), or the sense of smell depending on the number of olfactory receptors (enhanced in dogs). With my theist hat on, I can’t help feeling that if your God designed materials to generate all the other attributes that we associate with the different species, it would also "fit the theory" if he designed materials that enable them all to “think and initiate thoughts” rather than engage in some nebulous process of “picking up” the ability from the universe.

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