Free Will: Egnor shows neurological proof - PART ONE (Introduction)

by dhw, Friday, January 08, 2021, 11:04 (17 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Preprogramming is just one possibility, direct design the other. The complexity requires careful design of all new stages.

dhw: I specified “undabbled” (dabbling = direct design). Every single programme would have had to contain detailed instructions, whereas cellular intelligence would require no instructions at all.

DAVID: So you want cells to forge ahead on their own designing for the future to make new different species? God doesn't need a book of instructions. He always knows exactly what to do.

As usual, you insist that evolution requires a crystal ball. In my theory, cells react to current conditions – they do not design for the future. For example, pre-whales’ legs do not turn into fins before they enter the water, but they turn into fins as a result of their adaptation to new conditions. As regards instructions, of course your God would not need them! Your theory is that he provided the first cells with instructions for every undabbled life form, econiche, natural wonder etc. in the history of life! You wrote, however, that my intelligent cells would have to have “an enormous set of instructions”, whereas in fact they would not need any instructions at all, because (theistic version) your God gave them the intelligence to do their own designing.

dhw: If life and consciousness emerge from materials, we have materialism. If life and consciousness are separate “entities” from the materials, we have dualism. What I have proposed is a compromise between the two theories. Theistic version: your God created a material machine which generates life and consciousness. We leave open the question of whether what is generated (the immaterial living and conscious “self”) can survive the death of the machine. As far as I know, most materialists reject the concept of a God and therefore rely on chance as the creator of the original “machine”. They would almost certainly reject the possibility of an afterlife. What is your objection?

DAVID: None: if life and consciousness exist we have clearly dualism, and it does come out of material substance. To repeat, life itself is an immaterial phenomenon, and consciousness certainly is.

That's fine with me. There is no dispute over the immateriality of life and consciousness. The dispute is over their source. The most obvious illustration of this is the belief that the soul is a separate entity which lives on after the death of the body. According to you, the source is your God’s own immaterial consciousness, to which it returns after death. That is pure dualism. A materialist will tell you that there is no separate entity, and when the body dies, the immaterial product of its materials also dies. However, I’m pleased that you have no objection to my compromise,which removes the sharp dichotomy between the two approaches. Proposal: Life and consciousness emerge from material substances (= materialism) but they constitute the immaterial components of our identity (= dualism). Whether the mechanism whereby the immaterial emerges from the material was designed by your God or not is a matter of faith, as is belief in an afterlife of what you called "an emergent product of the living brain".


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