Consciousness: Egnor on dualism: another example (General)

by dhw, Saturday, August 25, 2018, 11:34 (386 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: That our consciousness is part of God's has never changed.

dhw: You still haven’t explained your unintelligible translation theory. I hope this means you’ve quietly withdrawn it.

DAVID: Never! Thoughts are fully represented by the brain's electric waves. Whatever solves the problem of consciousness translates them back.

You have never explained what you mean by thoughts being “represented”. I thought you believed that the soul was part of God’s consciousness, and so the soul was the solution to the problem and was the initiator of thought. So back we go: your English-speaking soul initiates thought, the thought is translated into electric brain waves, the English-speaking soul translates the brain waves into English, and then your English-speaking soul understands the English-speaking thought it had in the first place. Usual question: why can’t your English-speaking soul understand its own thoughts without all this rigmarole, as you believe it does in the afterlife when there is no brain? You can treat the question as rhetorical if you like, since it is clearly unanswerable.

DAVID: I use my brain to think. I control my brain . It does nothing until I tell it to act. That is the material side of the issue. I view your thought at totally confused.

dhw: Yet again you separate your soul from you! “You” in your dualistic life are your soul and your brain. Your soul uses your brain and controls your brain and your brain does nothing until your soul tells it to act.

DAVID: You've separated again: I am my soul and we together use the brain to think.

In life you are your soul and your brain/body. “I am my soul” is correct. “We together” separates you from the soul.

dhw: You say the soul does what we do. THAT separates soul from us! Soul and brain are the two parts of your dualistic self. The soul part of you uses the brain part of you to think (in the manner I keep describing).

DAVID: And I keep rejecting, because you refuse to accept the electricity as representing the thoughts created.

I don’t know what you mean by “representing” thought, as above. Electricity is explained by the brain passing information to the soul, and the soul passing instructions to the brain. It is not explained by the illogical translation theory described above, which you have never managed to explain.

DAVID: Having the brain invent consciousness is materialism.

dhw: Not invent. Produce. Yes, my theory attempts to reconcile materialism and dualism by inverting the conventional approach, and showing how materials might produce a soul.

DAVID: The consciousness we experience is presented by the soul; consciousness by itself is not the soul. Your inverted mechanism is still materialism.

I don’t know what you mean by “presented by the soul”. "We" = the material body/brain and the immaterial soul, the latter being the source of consciousness. Of course the dualist’s consciousness by itself is not the soul. It is the whole immaterial identity, including consciousness. I keep saying that the inverted mechanism is materialism, but it offers the possibility that (theistic version) your God has created materials which in turn produce the immaterial soul. You continually ignore this part of the theory.

DAVID: […] When Libet asked his subjects to think and timed EEG results why did he measure EEG timing ?

dhw: Why must you muddy the waters with Libet’s experiments? They support the belief that the brain initiates thought, and so we do not have free will. Dualists object. If anything, I can use Libet to support my theory.

DAVID: The point is Libet was measuring latency periods for thought by measuring electric wave appearances as his subjects responded to him. He was thinking of thought as I do! Most studies do this, assuming that thought is electricity; again the material side of the problem that upsets you so much.

It doesn’t upset me at all. Libet believes that thought is engendered by the brain, and that is why there is no such thing as free will – the exact opposite of what you believe. Most studies focus on the brain, because you can only study materials, you can’t study souls. That is why dualists disagree with Libet, and why you and I cheered the article below:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-can-we-tell-if-a-comatose-patient-is-con...

QUOTE: It remains to be discovered whether the brain is the entire story. Scientific research has to be conducted with an open mind. The topic of consciousness is rife with philosophical implications and questions.

dhw: Absolutely. Hence dualism and materialism, and my attempt to reconcile the two.

DAVID: And mine. Note he approaches brain waves as representing the ability to think and possibly act on the thoughts as represented by EEG and scans.

Unfortunately the whole article is not available, but in the extract you gave us there is nothing whatsoever about your cryptic “brain waves representing the ability to think”. The author tells us to be opened-minded about the source of consciousness (which is inseparable from the ability to think). The brain’s ability to act on thoughts is one part of my own proposal – that the electric waves signify the process of giving material expression to thought – the other being the passing of information.


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