Consciousness: Egnor on dualism: another example (General)

by dhw, Wednesday, August 15, 2018, 11:34 (38 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: […] what is your objection to my proposal that the soul (IF it exists) comprises all the immaterial attributes of the self which believers think will survive the death of the body, e.g. consciousness, the ability to think, emotion, the will, memory, etc.?

DAVID: Because in life I see different circumstances as you know.

The different circumstances of death do not mean that the soul no longer has the same immaterial attributes as in life! What is the point of an afterlife if you are no longer you? Apart from the means of observing and communicating, what has to change?

dhw: You are struggling because you insist that the electricity from the brain is the CAUSE of consciousness, and that is the essence of materialism. You refuse to contemplate the possibility that the soul itself – IF it exists – is the source of consciousness (in spite of the fact that you believe it is conscious in an afterlife) and that the electricity is the RESULT of conscious thought. And yet you say yourself that the soul controls the brain: “I/soul control the brain's activity. Doesn't yours?” How can it control the brain if it is not conscious?[/b]

DAVID: You still have a weird view of what I propose. The electricity is a representation of thought, not its cause! I believe the soul IS the cause of consciousness by translating the electricity so I can 'hear' my thoughts in my mind. Your last bolded sentence again separates the I from my soul.

What is a “representation” of thought? On “translation” see later. Now look at all your separations: I am my soul and my mind, so your sentence means: my soul translates the electricity so that my soul can ‘hear’ my soul’s thoughts in my soul. The weirdness, like the separation, is entirely yours.

DAVID: We know electricity is activated in the frontal cortex of the brain when I think. […]

dhw: Yes, in dualism there is electricity when “I” (= the soul) think. The soul thinks. Full stop. You don’t need all the confusion of “the brain produces thought because I/soul drive it to produce thought”, as if the soul can’t think a coherent thought of its own but mysteriously has to initiate gibberish which makes the brain come up with electrical waves that are also gibberish and have to be translated into words by the soul.

DAVID: Why is there electricity to explain? Can you tell me why it exists? You tell me below it is expression of thought. How is that translated into my mind?

Again you have ignored the gibberish your theory demands and prefer to ask me unanswerable questions instead! There are two schools of thought: brain electricity creates thought (= materialism), but nobody knows how; or brain electricity is the brain’s response to the thoughts of a soul (= dualism), but nobody knows how “soul” thinking creates the electricity that enables the soul to control the brain. We do, however, know that thought can change the brain (illiterate women, taxi drivers. musicians etc.) and that the brain can change thought (drugs, diseases etc.), and these two facts lead to a dichotomy - which you refuse to recognize - and to all your contradictions, which you also refuse to recognize.

dhw (on the “translation” theory): If the soul knows words for the purpose of translation, it can think in words, so it can initiate thoughts in words!

Sadly, you have also ignored this obvious criticism of your “translation” theory.

DAVID: Remember the soul is me, never separate from me in life! I know words because I learned them from infancy on. […] I am my soul and it and I developed together as my brain developed. This means my soul is dependent in life on my brain to produce thought. *** The soul and I produce thought by use of the brain. The brain never creates thought on its own, although you constantly try to tell me I that is what I am writing.

If the soul exists, then until the passage beginning with my asterisks, I agree with almost all your comments. Of course the soul learns. Consciousness and the ability to think are a blank (unlike personality) until they have something to be conscious of/to think about. The developing brain provides the information that the learning soul is conscious of and thinks about. For example, the soul learns the language by hearing the words through the brain (information), and it learns to say the words by using the brain (material expression). As the brain develops, so the soul has more and more information to think about and to express. That is the sense in which your soul depends on your brain to produce thought. After the asterisks, it is you who again separate “I” from soul. Your materialism arises out of statements such as “a sick brain produces sick thought”, “the immaterial output from the brain is thought”, "...the thought producing electrical impulses". Your utterly confusing “translation” theory is just one of several as you “struggle” (your word) to reconcile your religious dualism with your medical materialism. And you still haven’t explained why your English-speaking soul can’t think its thoughts in English.

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