by dhw, Monday, July 09, 2018, 12:16 (438 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The soul can only work with the brain it is given. And it has to work with that specific brain. In that sense, the newborn 'blank slate' has a definite starting point, different in each individual.

dhw: How can the newborn be a blank slate if it starts off with a brain which determines not only a vast number of physical characteristics, but also, according to Tony, the very nature of our personality (which in turn determines the way we think)? In fact, nobody knows the extent to which the physical gives rise to the mental. Materialists claim it is 100%.

DAVID: A baby when born does not have the circuits to think.

Straight away you are claiming that it cannot think without the circuits. This fits in nicely with materialism.

DAVID: All its reactions are instinctual. Its eventual personality is a construct that has to be developed from zero.

We have had this discussion before. Try telling my daughter-in-law, mother of twins, that both babies had identical zero personalities from the moment they were born. (She laughed when I told her!) Do you think instincts are not part of a human’s personality? Of course the personality develops with time, but there are inbuilt characteristics right from the start, even if the baby can’t express them in words (because the circuits aren’t properly formed).

DAVID: You are looking at this in a different way than I do. You are correct that its development will be guided by pre-existing controls over what type of brain it is given. Thus a genius brain produces a genius if that person allows it. A person has choices in how his personality is shaped all during life from birth, but can only shape personalty when he has the ability to think and analyze. A role of psychiatry is to point out bad choices, some of which were developed without thought or analysis.

The degree to which a person can shape his/her own personality is the whole open question. Crick said no. You say yes. Nobody knows. Experience may well change personality, but it can be argued that the way different people respond to their experiences (or are “changed” by them) is also preprogrammed by their materials! Tony’s machine leans towards Crick, with different wiring determining the type of personality, capabilities, response times, and with no exchanges, you get what you get, attributes that can’t be altered. But he says there is still room for a soul, so perhaps he could tell us what powers his version of the soul has.

Dhw: The dualist’s soul uses the brain for information and for expression, and you continue to ignore my question: what other functions does the brain perform in the thought process?

DAVID: It provides information from its sensory inputs, as you know, and it provides the complexity of networks for advanced thought.

dhw: What does "networks for thought" mean, if not that the networks are responsible for advanced thought (= materialism)? You still haven’t offered us any function in addition to information and expression..

DAVID: 'Expression' has two meanings: announcing the thought and also developing the thought. Newton and Leibniz both had to recognize the concept of calculus and then work out the details of its construct with their souls using their frontal lobe networks.

Since when did expression of thought mean developing thought? It may well be that giving material expression to the thought brings out possible flaws (especially when you discuss it with other people!;-) ), but the dualist’s frontal lobes will not say to the dualist’s soul: “Hey, you’ve missed something out, you're confused, you've just contradicted yourself.” So please tell us what the dualist’s soul uses the frontal lobe networks FOR, apart from providing information and enabling the soul to give material expression to its thought.

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