A THEORY OF INTELLIGENCE Part Two; addendum (Identity)

by dhw, Wednesday, July 25, 2018, 13:14 (147 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: […] you have just said that it is your brain that creates the thoughts. So it is not your soul.

DAVID: I did not say my brain creates thoughts on its own. I/soul use my brain to create thoughts, and you know it.

You keep repeating the mantra “the soul uses the brain to think”, but you can never add any uses beyond those of information and material expression. A couple of days ago you wrote: “In material life thought is created by electrical activity in the brain.” You confirmed this by repeating that the electrical waves “are creating thought”. A couple of weeks ago, it was the soul that “initiated thought” and the brain made no contribution. At one moment your soul is the thinking, feeling, remembering part of yourself (which continues to be the same after death), and the next moment it is playing nebulous new roles, such as translating, representing, and even becoming a twin image of itself although it is itself, all of which seem to disappear when challenged.

DAVID: My soul is me. Dualism = two things (soul/me and brain/body). My soul is the God-given mechanism that creates consciousness from electrical activity and is my immaterial image that enters the afterlife.

dhw: A God-given mechanism that creates consciousness from the electrical activity of the brain is precisely what I have suggested in the theistic version of my theory. The mechanism IS the brain and its ions, since you say they create thought, and so why do you need a soul (apart from your half-baked idea of it being a translator)? The dualist’s faith that the soul remains “mentally active” in death without the brain is regarded as evidence that in life there is such a thing as a “mentally active” soul, which means that the brain is NOT the source of thought. Hence dualism. However, now that you have insisted that the brain creates thought, I challenge you to find an alternative to my proposed way of reconciling your materialism with your dualism.

DAVID: As usual you have totally twisted my theory to criticize it by using your definition of dualism, which is not my definition.

As above, I find myself constantly trying to UNtwist the different theories. You actually repeat my definition that “dualism = two things (soul/me and brain/body)". I have tried straightforwardly to explain the different functions they would perform if there is a soul, whereas your version of their functions seems to become ever more convoluted, with all the nebulous concepts listed above.

DAVID: The first point is we know consciousness arises from electric currents made from ions running around brain networks.

That is materialism, and fits the first part of my theory, the theistic version being that your God created this mechanism. However, in another of your theories, the soul is a piece of God’s consciousness. I doubt if God’s consciousness arises from electric currents made from ions running round brain networks, so why can’t your God’s consciousness be conscious in life and in death?

DAVID: Therefore thought develops that way when I/soul originate it, by using the brain, which in life is the mechanism we have. In using the immaterial image of me as 'soul' is just an attempt to define a soul as that which exists and can leave my dead body to enter an afterlife.

If thought is created by electrical activity in the brain, it is not created (originated) by the immaterial soul! But I keep agreeing that the dualist’s soul uses the brain network to develop its thoughts through information and material expression. I have never heard the soul defined as “that which exists”, but we have agreed umpteen times that if it does exist, it is the part of you that thinks, feels etc. There wouldn’t be much point in it surviving if it didn’t think and feel.

DAVID: In the Bible God breathed a soul into Adam's body, after He created the body. The soul is not the body in current belief, but belongs to the body. My belief mirrors that.

I never knew of any dualist who thought the soul was the body, and I don’t understand what you mean by “belongs” to the body. We agree that if it exists, it resides in the body/brain. The biblical story coincides with your belief that the soul is a piece of God’s consciousness. It does not coincide with your belief that thought is created by electrical waves in the brain. See above re God’s consciousness and the brain.

DAVID: As an agnostic you don't know what to believe, so stop telling me what dualists believe. I believe what I believe without reference to specific required constructs of dualism according to you.

My agnosticism is irrelevant, and our problem is not different concepts of dualism but the seemingly irreconcilable clash between your belief in a conscious soul as the initiator of thought and your belief, here called knowledge, that consciousness and thought arise from electric currents in the brain. You cannot see that this contradiction lies at the very heart of the debate between dualism and materialism, and the object of our discussions is to find a coherent explanation for the mystery. I have tried to do that, but I can’t find any coherence in all your contradictions and nebulous, transient concepts mentioned above.


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