Consciousness: Egnor on dualism: another example (General)

by dhw, Sunday, August 12, 2018, 10:03 (5 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I think the desire to think initiates thought as new original electrical activity in the brain. The electricity does not spark the thought, it appears as a representation of thought.

dhw: I don’t understand any of this. You make it sound as if your soul (if it exists) has no idea what it wants to think about! What is a “representation” of thought? Once again, either the brain’s electricity creates the thought (materialism), or the thought sparks the electricity (dualism).
It might help us to go back to concrete examples. The illiterate women wanted to learn how to read and write. As a consequence of their fulfilling this “desire”, the brain itself underwent changes. Here we have concrete evidence that thought engenders changes in the brain, which I presume are implemented by electricity. This can be taken as evidence for dualism. On the other hand, drugs and diseases have devastating effects on brain and behaviour, which can be taken as evidence for materialism. Hence the dichotomy you refuse to recognize.

DAVID: We have two totally different concept of soul. Unless we can agree on a definition, we will never reach an agreement. I start from the material side of the issue, and every time I discuss what we know about material brain function, you scream I am a materialist. Not so, as I constantly state. When I/soul attempt to think my frontal cortex lights up. The electricity must contain the thought! How it translates out of the electricity so I can recognize the thought in full expression to me (I feel/'hear' the words in my head) I believe is the function of my soul. Perfectly clear if you accept my concept of soul, but you won't, as evidenced from your past responses.

Once again you quote me and then ignore everything I have written! Ah well...Your concept of soul varies from one post to another, as does your concept of what the soul actually does. You say it is a piece of your God’s consciousness but is not conscious until it is linked to the brain (except when there is no brain); it is a quantum copy of “you” (but since “you” are your soul and body/brain, that means the soul is a quantum copy of a quantum copy plus your body/brain); it initiates thought but the brain is the source of thought; it initiates incomprehensible thought which is translated into electric brain waves which it then translates into comprehensible thought ….And now the focus is on electricity. You ignore the point I made above, with examples, that either the electricity is the producer of thought (materialism) or the product of thought (dualism). And finally you ignore the definition of soul I keep proposing: if dualism is correct, we consist of a material self (body/brain) and an immaterial self (the soul) which comprises all the immaterial aspects of the self such as consciousness, the ability to think, will, emotion, memory etc., and this is what many dualists believe is the self that survives the death of the brain.

DAVID: The point is to answer this question: in the presence of any thought why is there a new wave of electricity? For my view the soul/I are initiators of the electricity and the soul provides the conscious interpretation of the electricity as it appears in the brain. A longer version of I/soul think by using my brain.

dhw: Now you are back to your translation theory, which I’d hoped we’d seen the back of. If the soul sparks gibberish electricity in the brain and then translates the gibberish electricity (“consciously interprets it”) into meaningful thoughts, why on earth can’t it come up with its meaningful thoughts in the first place?

DAVID: Because when I think I use my brain. that is obvious. If 'I' am also my soul, which 'I' am, my soul does what the living 'I' does.

The dreaded mantra "use" again. What do you use your brain for, other than information and material expression? And you still haven’t explained why your soul, your piece of God’s consciousness, which can think meaningful thoughts when the brain is dead, can’t think meaningful thoughts when it is encased in its material body/brain. It is no answer to say it can’t think meaningful thoughts because it uses the brain.

Under "brain complexity":
DAVID: A changed brain can change thought expression by altering the thought producing electric impulses.

dhw: If the electric impulses from the brain produce thought, then it’s not the expression of thought but the thought itself that is changed by changes in the brain. Pure materialism.
DAVID: I am simply describing what we know about the material actions of the brain, with which we think. Any attempt at thought produces electricity, an obvious well-recognized scientific finding.

The process of thought producing electricity is what I described with the example of the illiterate women, as evidence for dualism. But above you said it was the electric impulses that produce thought, the direct opposite, which = materialism.

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