Consciousness: Egnor on dualism: another example (General)

by dhw, Saturday, September 01, 2018, 10:06 (676 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw:. If the soul knows the words, it can initiate thought in words (just as it does in the afterlife you believe in)! It doesn’t need electric waves before it can translate its own thoughts into words it already knows!

DAVID: I do not assume the soul uses the same mechanism in life and in death. I am my soul and know I create electricity when I try to think and that electricity contains the created thought.

Round we go. Once again you say you are your soul and promptly forget that you are your soul. Your sentence now reads: my soul is my soul and my soul knows my soul creates electricity when my soul tries to think. Why does your soul only “try” to think? Yes, your soul (if it exists) creates electricity, but it makes no sense for your soul not to know what it’s thinking until it has sent electricity to the brain, the brain sends it back, and then the soul translates the electricity into its own thought!

Dhw: Here is a contradiction: [...]

DAVID: Twisting me again. I/soul initiate and use the brain to create thought. The brain is simply a mechanism I/soul use.

Dhw: Yes, that is conventional dualism. “The brain thinks in electric waves” is conventional materialism. I am not twisting you.

DAVID: I am simply trying to solve the 'words in the head' problem by starting on the obviously correct material side of the science and adding an immaterial soul with mechanisms to solve the problem.

As you keep telling us, the material side of science makes the brain the source of thought: as you put it, “the brain thinks in electric waves”. Materialists will also tell you that there is no soul, and the brain thinks in words. If you believe in a soul, then the problem of “words in the head” is solved if you believe your soul thinks in words, as it apparently does in NDEs.

dhw: If the dead person’s soul thinks in words, why can’t the live person’s soul (which you say is part of your God’s universal consciousness) think in words? […]

DAVID: Because in life it uses the brain networks as I do in the material side of existence.

We agree that the dualist’s soul uses the brain in life. The disagreement is over what it uses the brain for. As for your explanation, your soul is you, remember? So in life your soul uses the brain as your soul does in life (the material side of existence). How does that explain why your soul can’t think in words as it does in the afterlife?

dhw: If the soul exists, I accept that the soul uses the brain. I simply cannot see any logic in the idea that the soul doesn’t think in words until its thoughts have been translated into brain waves which it then translates back into the words it already knows. However, if you think this is logical, we shall indeed have to move on.

DAVID: You jumped right in with singular form of a soul from the beginning. Of course it contradicts me. […] As I progressed from birth I learned words which are in the memory bank of my brain. When I think I must use the memory bank and must use electricity to do it. Don't you think my soul is in the same boat, or as you imply, the soul has its own memory bank for words? My theory starts on the material side. I don't think yours does.

Until now you have complained that my theory starts with the material side! I suggested (theistic version) that your God created a material mechanism that produced conscious thought and might even produce a soul. But what you have written here illustrates the dichotomy between materialism and dualism that both of us are trying to resolve. Materialists will tell you that there is no soul, the brain learns words, the brain has its memory bank, the brain thinks in those words, and the brain gives material expression to its thoughts, and it all works through electricity. That’s it. But you believe in a soul, and at the same time you believe in “the material side”, and so you try to work out a role for the soul, and this is what leads to all the illogical convolutions of your translation theory, as summarized above. But if you really think it is logical for an English-speaking soul to have to translate its own thoughts into English via the brain’s electric waves although the brain is NOT the source of the thought, we shall have to move on.


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