Egnor: It’s remarkable that Dr. Shallit—a professor of computer science—doesn’t understand computation. Materialism is a kind of intellectual disability that afflicts even the well-educated. To put it simply, machines don’t and can’t think. Dr. Shallit’s wristwatch doesn’t know what time it is.
Holloway: The fundamental implication is that nothing within math, science, and technology can create information. Yet information is all around us. This problem arises in many areas: evolution, artificial intelligence, economics, and physics.
A thought experiment by philosopher and mathematician David Berlinski echoes something Michael Egnor noted recently: Not only are human beings unique but we are unique despite being animals in nature. Here’s the thought experiment:
Sometimes, says Michael Egnor (below right), misrepresentation may be deliberate because Libet’s work doesn’t support a materialist perspective.
At first, Libet thought that free will might not be real. Then he looked again…
For a long while, Darwinians have been able to get away with claiming that human consciousness evolved to increase our chances of survival. The trouble is, that’s unlikely. The relationship between intelligence and survival is unclear. Or that it is some kind of a “spandrel,” an accidental byproduct of useful qualities. But that’s merely a statement of faith in Darwinism as the total explainer. It’s evening and the chickens are coming home.
We take the fact that life forms seek things for granted. We don’t ask why. Agency (“wanting” or “deciding” things) is as hard a problem in physics as consciousness.
Egnor: Mental activity always has meaning—every thought is about something. Computation always lacks meaning in itself. A word processing program doesn’t care about the opinion that you’re expressing when you use it.
In the sense of “There. That’s that.” It’s just too big. Machine learning might help but machines don’t explain their decisions very well. If the brain is immensely complex, it may elude complete understanding in detail. Deep Learning may survey it but that won’t convey understanding to us. We may need to look at more comprehensive ways of knowing
That’s not good news for reductive materialism. Wasn’t “science” supposed to explain all this stuff away ages ago? Instead, it’s science causing the problems.
He gave three lines of reasoning, based on brain surgery on over a thousand patients.
neurosurgeon Michael Egnor talks about how many famous neuroscientist became dualists—that is, they concluded that there is something about human beings that goes beyond matter—based on observations they made during their work.
Egnor tells us that Tam Hunt offers some good ideas at Scientific American but his dismissal of objectivity is cause for concern.
Egnor: I think the best explanation of the relationship of the mind to the brain is Aristotelian hylomorphism which is the viewpoint that the soul is the form of the body and that certain powers of the soul, particularly the intellect and will, are not generated by matter but are immaterial things.
Other researchers dispute it.