Evolution Intelligent Design Mind Naturalism

Michael Egnor: Why the mind cannot just emerge from the brain

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The mind cannot emerge from the brain if the two have no qualities in common:

In his continuing discussion with Robert J. Marks, Michael Egnor argues that emergence of the mind from the brain is not possible because no properties of the mind have any overlap with the properties of brain. Thought and matter are not similar in any way. Matter has extension in space and mass; thoughts have no extension in space and no mass.

Michael Egnor: The thing is, with the philosophy of mind, if the mind is an emergent property of the brain, it is ontologically completely different. That is, there are no properties of the mind that have any overlap with the properties of brain. Thought and matter are not similar in any way. Matter has extension in space and mass; thoughts have no extension in space and no mass. Thoughts have emotional states; matter doesn’t have emotional states, just matter. So it’s not clear that you can get an emergent property when there is no connection whatsoever between that property and the thing it supposedly emerges from.

The other problem with emergence is even more fundamental: When you think about the wetness of water as an emergent property of water, you are really talking about a psychological state. That is, you are saying, psychologically you didn’t expect water to feel wet but by golly, it does. So that’s emergent. But you can’t explain the psychological state [of perceiving wetness] itself as emergent. – Mind Matters News

See also: Why eliminative materialism cannot be a good theory of the mind. Thinking that the mind is simply the brain, no more and no less, involves a hopeless contradiction. How can you have a proposition that the mind doesn’t exist? That means propositions don’t exist and that means, in turn, that you don’t have a proposition.

102 Replies to “Michael Egnor: Why the mind cannot just emerge from the brain

  1. 1
    Axel says:

    Do thoughts exist in the abstract ? Or is there really no difference between the first and second cases cited ? Are you not also talking about a psychological state in the first case ?

    Indeed, in my own experience, I can tell you that psychic thoughts can be projected voluntarily or involuntarily – in the latter case, a nightmare for someone such as I, who suffer from OCD, in which dreadfully intrusive thoughts, such that most victims would not be tempted to act upon under any circumstances, can be imposed on the suffererer.

    Actually, It is a form of demonic persecution. The term, ‘demonic obsession’, inverts the subject and object, giving the wrong impression, i.e. it is the demons who do or impose the ‘obsessing’.

    More significantly, for the purposes of this thread, one can feel the projection of the thought as quasi physical. Stress can bring it on, as can prayer. But for all that, I think consideration of such a quasi physical mode of thought would be a ‘red herring’ for the purposes of empirical science, according to the conventional limits imputed to the latter.

  2. 2
    Seversky says:

    This still reduces to, ‘I cannot conceive of a way consciousness could emerge from the physical brain(true). Therefore design (not necessarily true)’

    Now, if Egnor has an example of emotion manifested without a physical brain then bring it on. I’m not holding my breath, though.

  3. 3
    ET says:

    Wrong again, seversky. The mere existence of a brain is evidence for ID. And it’s still very telling that no one has any evidence to counter Dr Egnor’s claims.

  4. 4
    Axel says:

    The evidence of NDEs does indicate that the compositie spirit – mind – soul does have an exisence independent from the brain and heart (and kidney ?) ; possibly stays in the vicinity of a person technically dead, returning in some cases, to reanimate the mortal person.

    However, some most compelling NDE, as well as reporting the familiar sense of having arrived at their true home, seemed to have a vague but real recollection of a previous existence prior to their incarnation. I remember one, possibly two, in TV programmes many years apart, mentioning that they had been permitted to choose the kind of trials they would be subjected to.

    However, I think we each have different thresholds of suffering – and tend to think at one time or another that we have personally plumbed the very depths of suffering (!) particularly as adolescents and youngsters ! But maybe we’ll be glad God wasn’t softer on us, when we see Him.

  5. 5
    Truthfreedom says:

    The Credit Crunch for Materialism

    “Materialists are sustained by the faith that science will redeem their promises, turning their beliefs into facts. Meanwhile, they live on credit. The philosopher of science Sir Karl Popper described this faith as “promissory materialism” because it depends on promissory notes for discoveries not yet made.”

    “Despite all the achievements of science and technology, it is facing an unprecedented credit crunch”.
    https://www.edge.org/response-detail/11002

  6. 6
    AaronS1978 says:

    Hey guys dumb question, kind of on topic, I wanted to get your input do you know if you think that it’s possible to predict our behaviors neurologically 100% of the time?

  7. 7
    Seversky says:

    Materialists are sustained by the faith that science will redeem their promises, turning their beliefs into facts. Meanwhile, they live on credit. The philosopher of science Sir Karl Popper described this faith as “promissory materialism” because it depends on promissory notes for discoveries not yet made. Despite all the achievements of science and technology, it is facing an unprecedented credit crunch.

    Just how many discoveries and achievements does materialistic science have to make before Sheldrake and his kind acknowledge it may be on to something? Name one other discipline that has come even close to achieving what it has done so far.

  8. 8
    Truthfreedom says:

    @7 Seversky

    Name one other discipline that has come even close to achieving what it has done so far.

    The scientific method does not
    demand materialism. The naturalist’s philosophical bias does.
    One need not assume materialism to be the sole reality principle.
    Naturalism’s Epistemological Nightmare

  9. 9
    ET says:

    There hasn’t been any discoveries made in the name of materialism. There isn’t any “materialistic science”. And there still isn’t a scientific alternative to ID.

    seversky is deluded.

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky claims that assuming materialism in science has made many discoveries:

    Just how many discoveries and achievements does materialistic science have to make before Sheldrake and his kind acknowledge it may be on to something? Name one other discipline that has come even close to achieving what it has done so far.

    There simply is no other way to put it, Seversky is deluded! Materialism, particularly Darwinian materialism, has contributed nothing to science:

    “In fact, over the last 100 years, almost all of biology has proceeded independent of evolution, except evolutionary biology itself. Molecular biology, biochemistry, and physiology, have not taken evolution into account at all.”
    Marc Kirschner, founding chair of the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School, Boston Globe, Oct. 23, 2005

    “While the great majority of biologists would probably agree with Theodosius Dobzhansky’s dictum that “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”, most can conduct their work quite happily without particular reference to evolutionary ideas. Evolution would appear to be the indispensable unifying idea and, at the same time, a highly superflous one.”
    Adam S. Wilkins, editor of the journal BioEssays, Introduction to “Evolutionary Processes” – (2000).

    Science owes nothing to Darwinism – Jonathan Wells – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EfWb8BaXoRc

    Even Jerry Coyne himself admitted as much, i,e, “Truth be told, evolution hasn’t yielded many practical or commercial benefits.”

    “Truth be told, evolution hasn’t yielded many practical or commercial benefits. Yes, bacteria evolve drug resistance, and yes, we must take countermeasures, but beyond that there is not much to say. Evolution cannot help us predict what new vaccines to manufacture because microbes evolve unpredictably. But hasn’t evolution helped guide animal and plant breeding? Not very much. Most improvement in crop plants and animals occurred long before we knew anything about evolution, and came about by people following the genetic principle of ‘like begets like’. Even now, as its practitioners admit, the field of quantitative genetics has been of little value in helping improve varieties. Future advances will almost certainly come from transgenics, which is not based on evolution at all.”
    (Jerry Coyne, “Selling Darwin: Does it matter whether evolution has any commercial applications?,” reviewing The Evolving World: Evolution in Everyday Life by David P. Mindell, in Nature, 442:983-984 (August 31, 2006).)

    In fact, forcing Darwinian language into biological research clouds the research. Whereas removing the ‘Darwinian narrative’ from the research papers makes the research papers “healthier and more useful.”

    No Harm, No Foul — What If Darwinism Were Excised from Biology? – December 4, 2019
    If Darwinism is as essential to biology as Richard Dawkins or Jerry Coyne argues, then removing evolutionary words and concepts, (“Darwin-ectomy”), should make research incomprehensible. If, on the other hand, Darwinism is more of a “narrative gloss” applied to the conclusions after the scientific work is done, as the late Philip Skell observed, then biology would survive the operation just fine. It might even be healthier, slimmed down after disposing of unnecessary philosophical baggage.,,,
    So, here are three papers in America’s premier science journal that appear at first glance to need Darwinism, use Darwinism, support Darwinism, and thereby impart useful scientific knowledge. After subjecting them to Darwin-ectomies, though, the science not only survived, but proved healthier and more useful.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2019/12/no-harm-no-foul-what-if-darwinism-were-excised-from-biology/

    If fact, directly contrary to Seversky trying to artificially impose his atheistic materialism onto science, the fact of the matter is that all of science, every nook and cranny of it, is based on the presupposition of intelligent design and is certainly not based on the presupposition of methodological naturalism.
    From the essential Christian presuppositions that undergird the founding of modern science itself, (namely that the universe is rational and that the minds of men, being made in the ‘image of God’, can dare understand that rationality), to the intelligent design of the scientific instruments and experiments themselves, to the logical and mathematical analysis of experimental results themselves, from top to bottom, science itself is certainly not to be considered a ‘natural’ endeavor of man.
    Not one scientific instrument would ever exist if men did not first intelligently design that scientific instrument. Not one test tube, microscope, telescope, spectroscope, or etc.. etc.., was ever found just laying around on a beach somewhere which was ‘naturally’ constructed by nature. Not one experimental result would ever be rationally analyzed since there would be no immaterial minds to rationally analyze the immaterial logic and immaterial mathematics that lay behind the intelligently designed experiments in the first place.
    Again, all of science, every nook and cranny of it, is based on the presupposition of intelligent design and is certainly not based on the presupposition of methodological naturalism.

    Moreover, forcing methodological naturalism and/or atheistic materialism onto science leads to the catastrophic epistemological failure of science,

    Basically, because of reductive materialism (and/or methodological naturalism), the atheistic materialist is forced to claim that he is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ (Coyne, Dennett, etc..), who has the illusion of free will (Harris), who has unreliable, (i.e. illusory), beliefs about reality (Plantinga), who has illusory perceptions of reality (Hoffman), who, since he has no real time empirical evidence substantiating his grandiose claims, must make up illusory “just so stories” with the illusory, and impotent, ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection (Behe, Gould, Sternberg), so as to ‘explain away’ the appearance (i.e. illusion) of design (Crick, Dawkins), and who must make up illusory meanings and purposes for his life since the reality of the nihilism inherent in his atheistic worldview is too much for him to bear (Weikart), and who must also hold morality to be subjective and illusory since he has rejected God (Craig, Kreeft). Who, since beauty cannot be grounded within his materialistic worldview, must hold beauty itself to be illusory.
    Bottom line, nothing is truly real in the atheist’s worldview, least of all, beauty, morality, meaning and purposes for life.,,,
    Darwinian Materialism and/or Methodological Naturalism vs. Reality – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CaksmYceRXM

    i.e. Although the Darwinist firmly believes he is on the terra firma of science, (in his appeal, even demand, for methodological naturalism), the fact of the matter is that Darwinists are adrift in an ocean of fantasy and imagination with no discernible anchor for reality to grab on to:

    It would be hard to fathom a worldview more antagonistic to modern science than Atheistic materialism and/or methodological naturalism have turned out to be.

    2 Corinthians 10:5
    Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

  11. 11
    Truthfreedom says:

    @6 AaronS1978

    Hey guys dumb question, kind of on topic, I wanted to get your input do you know if you think that it’s possible to predict our behaviors neurologically 100% of the time?

    In my opinion, no 🙂

  12. 12
    bornagain77 says:

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    Michael Egnor Shows You’re Not A Meat Robot (Science Uprising EP2)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQo6SWjwQIk

  13. 13
    Fasteddious says:

    Truth @11:
    I agree that it is not possible to truly predict a human’s behaviour neurologically all the time. Of course it is impossible today, so I assume your question relates to some future when scientists can observe what is going on in your brain better than today. I will leave aside “behaviours” that are not controlled by the mind, such as nervous ticks, muscle adjustments, random movements during sleep, etc.
    The neurologist will claim that, by observing the activity of your brain, he can “predict” what decision you will make, or what you will do. That seems unlikely for at least a good percentage of behaviour. When you rattle off a memorized set of words and get one of them wrong, can he predict that?
    Ultimately, what he may be “predicting” is just the process by which your mind gets your brain to do something. Obviously the neurons in your brain have to do something before the signals are sent to your muscles. Sensing the neurons and calling that “prediction” is like “predicting” that a train is coming when you hear its signal in the distance – not much of a “prediction”.

  14. 14
    Ed George says:

    AaronS1977

    Hey guys dumb question, kind of on topic, I wanted to get your input do you know if you think that it’s possible to predict our behaviors neurologically 100% of the time?

    I assume that if it were possible to measure every chemical reaction going on in the brain, stimulations and electrical potentials, it might be theoretically possible. But I don’t see this being feasible in any foreseeable future.

  15. 15
    Ed George says:

    We know that we can alter behaviours and levels of consciousness by manipulation the brain. We know that we can alter the brain by applying mental stresses to the “mind”. There is no evidence that the “mind” exists without the brain.

  16. 16
    Truthfreedom says:

    @15 Ed George

    There is no evidence that the “mind” exists without the brain.

    – There is no evidence that the brain and the mind are the same thing (identity).
    – There is no evidence that a “material” brain can generate an “immaterial” mind (that is called magic).

    There is evidence that materialism/ physicalism is desperate and dying a steday (and welcomed) death.

  17. 17
    Ed George says:

    Sorry TF, but if you are going to claim that the brain and the mind are separate, the burden of proof is with you to demonstrate this.

  18. 18
    ET says:

    If someone is going to claim that minds arose from the mindless via blind and mindless processes, the burden of proof is upon them. If someone is going to claim that brains arose from the mindless via blind and mindless processes, the burden of proof is upon them.

    It’s very telling that “Ed George” never makes the same demands on his position that he does on others. That is being a cowardly hypocrite

  19. 19
    bornagain77 says:

    Ed George at 15 correction

    There is no evidence that THAT I WILL PERSONALLY ACCEPT the “mind” exists without the brain.

    There, all better! 🙂

    Despite that oft repeated falsehood by Ed George and other atheists, there is plenty of evidence that mind can exist independently of the material brain.

    First and foremost there are Near Death Experiences.

    Dr. Jeffrey Long: Just how strong is the evidence for a afterlife? – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mptGAc3XWPs

    The Nine Lines of Evidence
    Research areas, as presented in the book Evidence of the Afterlife: The Science of Near-Death Experiences, by Jeffrey Long, MD. These nine lines of evidence support the reality of near-death experiences and their consistent message that there is an afterlife.
    1. Crystal-Clear Consciousness
    2. Realistic Out-of-Body Experiences
    3. Heightened Senses
    4. Consciousness During Anesthesia
    5. Perfect Playback
    6. Family Reunions
    7. Children’s Experiences
    8. Worldwide Consistency
    9. Aftereffects
    https://www.newdualism.org/nde-papers/Long/Long-_2012–1-2.pdf

    In fact, to the consternation of atheists, the evidence for the reality of Near Death Experiences is far more robust than the supposed evidence for Darwinian evolution is. As Dr. Egnor noted, “Tens of millions of people have had such experiences. That is tens of millions of more times than we have observed the origin of species , (or the origin of life, or the origin of a protein/gene, or of a molecular machine), which is never.,,,”

    Near-Death Experiences: Putting a Darwinist’s Evidentiary Standards to the Test – Dr. Michael Egnor – October 15, 2012
    Excerpt: Indeed, about 20 percent of NDE’s are corroborated, which means that there are independent ways of checking about the veracity of the experience. The patients knew of things that they could not have known except by extraordinary perception — such as describing details of surgery that they watched while their heart was stopped, etc. Additionally, many NDE’s have a vividness and a sense of intense reality that one does not generally encounter in dreams or hallucinations.,,,
    The most “parsimonious” explanation — the simplest scientific explanation — is that the (Near Death) experience was real. Tens of millions of people have had such experiences. That is tens of millions of more times than we have observed the origin of species , (or the origin of life, or the origin of a protein/gene, or of a molecular machine), which is never.,,,
    The materialist reaction, in short, is unscientific and close-minded. NDE’s show fellows like Coyne at their sneering unscientific irrational worst. Somebody finds a crushed fragment of a fossil and it’s earth-shaking evidence. Tens of million of people have life-changing spiritual experiences and it’s all a big yawn.
    Note: Dr. Egnor is professor and vice-chairman of neurosurgery at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....65301.html

    In fact, the main point of debate between ID advocates and Darwinists is over the fact that unguided material processes have never been shown to produce non-trivial amounts of information, yet we know from first hand experience that our minds can produce non-trivial amounts of information. I’m producing far more information right now as I write this post than has ever been observed to be generated by unguided material processes.

    The thing about information that forever prevents material processes from ever giving an adequate account of it is its immaterial nature. i.e, As Dr. Stephen Meyer explains in this following video, information is immaterial in its fundamental nature and therefore, by nature, irreducible to materialistic explanations.

    Intelligent design: Why can’t biological information originate through a materialistic process? – Stephen Meyer – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqiXNxyoof8

    Moreover, on top of sequential immaterial information, quantum information is also now found to be ubiquitous within life.

    “What happens is this classical information (of DNA) is embedded, sandwiched, into the quantum information (of DNA). And most likely this classical information is never accessed because it is inside all the quantum information. You can only access the quantum information or the electron clouds and the protons. So mathematically you can describe that as a quantum/classical state.”
    Elisabeth Rieper – Classical and Quantum Information in DNA – video (Longitudinal Quantum Information resides along the entire length of DNA discussed at the 19:30 minute mark; at 24:00 minute mark Dr Rieper remarks that practically the whole DNA molecule can be viewed as quantum information with classical information embedded within it)
    https://youtu.be/2nqHOnVTxJE?t=1176

    The interesting thing about quantum information is that it is non-local and is also conserved,

    Quantum no-hiding theorem experimentally confirmed for first time
    Excerpt: In the classical world, information can be copied and deleted at will. In the quantum world, however, the conservation of quantum information means that information cannot be created nor destroyed. This concept stems from two fundamental theorems of quantum mechanics: the no-cloning theorem and the no-deleting theorem. A third and related theorem, called the no-hiding theorem, addresses information loss in the quantum world. According to the no-hiding theorem, if information is missing from one system (which may happen when the system interacts with the environment), then the information is simply residing somewhere else in the Universe; in other words, the missing information cannot be hidden in the correlations between a system and its environment.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....tally.html

    Looking beyond space and time to cope with quantum theory – 29 October 2012
    Excerpt: “Our result gives weight to the idea that quantum correlations somehow arise from outside spacetime, in the sense that no story in space and time can describe them,”
    http://www.quantumlah.org/high.....uences.php

    The obvious implication of finding ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, and ‘conserved’, quantum information in molecular biology on such a massive scale, in every DNA and protein molecule of our material bodies, is fairly, and pleasantly, obvious.
    That pleasant implication, or course, being the fact that we now have very strong physical evidence directly implying that we do indeed have an eternal soul that lives beyond the death of our material bodies.
    As Stuart Hameroff states ‘it’s possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body. Perhaps indefinitely as a soul.”

    “Let’s say the heart stops beating. The blood stops flowing. The microtubules lose their quantum state. But the quantum information, which is in the microtubules, isn’t destroyed. It can’t be destroyed. It just distributes and dissipates to the universe at large. If a patient is resuscitated, revived, this quantum information can go back into the microtubules and the patient says, “I had a near death experience. I saw a white light. I saw a tunnel. I saw my dead relatives.,,” Now if they’re not revived and the patient dies, then it’s possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body. Perhaps indefinitely as a soul.”
    – Stuart Hameroff – Quantum Entangled Consciousness – Life After Death – video (5:00 minute mark)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09QM86XBVKM

    As to scientifically establishing the physical reality of heaven and hell,..
    Whereas, atheists have no compelling evidence for all the various extra dimensions, parallel universe and/or multiverse scenarios that they have put forth to ‘explain away’ fine tuning, quantum wave collapse, etc. etc. (in fact there is much evidence that can be mustered against those claims), Christians, on the other hand, can appeal directly to the higher dimensional mathematics behind Quantum Mechanics, Special Relativity and General Relativity to support their belief that God upholds this universe in its continual existence, as well as to support their belief in a heavenly dimension and in a hellish dimension. Here is a video where I lay out and defend that line of evidence:

    Quantum Mechanics, Special Relativity, General Relativity and Christianity – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4QDy1Soolo

    Thus far from Ed George’s claim that we have no evidence that the mind can exist apart from the material brain, the fact of the matter is that our most powerful theories in science, relativity and quantum mechanics respectfully, now provide the Christian Theist with many lines of powerful scientific evidence for his belief in a heavenly dimension above this temporal dimension and also for an eternal soul that is capable of living past the death of our material bodies.

    In short, Ed George is without excuse:

    Romans 1:20
    For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

  20. 20
    ET says:

    Now we are starting to talk about science and evidence. “Ed George” will not engage in any of that.

  21. 21
    BobRyan says:

    Seversky @ 2

    You state, “Therefore design (not necessarily true).” Rather than saying it is not true, you say not necessarily true. This means, that at some level, you must admit the possibility of ID has some validity.

  22. 22
    BobRyan says:

    Ed George @ 17

    Considering half the steps of the Scientific Method have never been done in regards to macro evolution, I would say the burden of proof lies solely in the Darwinists court.

  23. 23
    Truthfreedom says:

    @17 Ed George

    Sorry TF, but if you are going to claim that the brain and the mind are separate, the burden of proof is with you to demonstrate this.

    Two radically different entities (mind and matter) cannot emerge from purely physical parts.

  24. 24
    Seversky says:

    BobRyan @ 21

    You state, “Therefore design (not necessarily true).” Rather than saying it is not true, you say not necessarily true. This means, that at some level, you must admit the possibility of ID has some validity.

    I’ve never denied it’s a possibility.

  25. 25
    ET says:

    ID is the only possibility to account for the brain. There isn’t any other scientific alternative.

  26. 26
    Ed George says:

    BR

    Considering half the steps of the Scientific Method have never been done in regards to macro evolution, I would say the burden of proof lies solely in the Darwinists court.

    We are talking about whether the mind exists/functions independent of the brain, not about evolution. If God designed everything, which can’t be ruled out, why could he not create a mind that only existed because of the brain? The arguments against this are religious, not scientific. If it depended on the physical brain then there is no immortal soul.

  27. 27
    Truthfreedom says:

    @26 Ed George

    We are talking about whether the mind exists/functions independent of the brain, not about evolution.

    What? It all comes down to how the cognitive apparatus has been created.
    Possibilities:
    -Via “Mind”less evolution.
    – Via Evolution with a mind behind it/ design/ creation.

    The part that claims to have “science” on their side and that claims(“macroevolutionists”) has homework to do (those 3 mentioned steps of the Scientific Method).

  28. 28
    Truthfreedom says:

    ___
    Correcting post @27:
    Those who claim to have “science” on their side (“macroevolutionists”) have homework to do (prove those mentioned 3 steps of the Scientific Method).

  29. 29
    ET says:

    “Ed George”:

    We are talking about whether the mind exists/functions independent of the brain, not about evolution.

    Yes, the mind creates thoughts and the brain is there to carry them out when required. The brain is also to store memories. There isn’t any science to support thoughts arising from neurons.

  30. 30
    JVL says:

    ET, 29: Yes, the mind creates thoughts and the brain is there to carry them out when required. The brain is also to store memories. There isn’t any science to support thoughts arising from neurons.

    Having followed this topic for years, especially via the Skeptiko podcast, I can never figure out how the mind and brain are supposed to communicate? I mean, if the brain is like some kind of radio receiver then how does it work? Where is the antenna? The signals from the mind must be some kind of electromagnetc wave (and if not then what?) so the brain would need some kind of detector. And the signals should be detectable yeah?

  31. 31
    Ed George says:

    JVL, I think all we can say is that we don’t know how thoughts originate. But it has been shown that brain activity preceded the thought/choice by as much as 11 seconds. That certainly doesn’t sound like a mind informing the brain, it sounds more like the brain being responsible for the thought.

  32. 32
    Axel says:

    By the way, I should have made it clear that I was not intending to state or to imply that I believed that thoughts were produced by our brain, whatever other interaction might take place. As is stated in a YouTube video, it is the mysterious ‘I’ that prompts us to do something as simple as raising an arm : nothing less than a miracle. I wonder if the good professor learnt that from our old friend, William J Murray. Below, is a fascinating original post of his to this board (one of a few on a similar theme) :

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/experience-rational-debate-science-depend-on-the-supernatural/

  33. 33
    ET says:

    JVL:

    Having followed this topic for years, especially via the Skeptiko podcast, I can never figure out how the mind and brain are supposed to communicate?

    They are as one, yet separate.

  34. 34
    JVL says:

    ET, 33: They are as one, yet separate.

    Yeah but . . . how does it work? How is the information transmitted? How come no one has detected the transfer? I mean, with billions of people on the planet there would be HUGE amounts of information being transferred. That would take a lot of energy.

  35. 35
    ET says:

    “Ed George”:

    But it has been shown that brain activity preceded the thought/choice by as much as 11 seconds.

    Yes, there is brain activity 11 seconds before there is action. That has nothing to do with the brain activity creating a thought.

    Neuroscientists can read brain activity to predict decisions 11 seconds before people act

    There isn’t any evidence that electricity, flowing down neurons, can create a thought.

  36. 36
    ET says:

    JVL:

    Yeah but . . . how does it work?

    Exactly as it has to. Which means exactly as it was intelligently designed to. And yes, the brain requires quite a bit of energy.

  37. 37
    ET says:

    How much energy does it take to transfer the information from the interweb to our brain? Is it HUGE? Can it be detected?

  38. 38
    JVL says:

    ET, 36: Exactly as it has to. Which means exactly as it was intelligently designed to. And yes, the brain requires quite a bit of energy.

    Yeah but . . . that’s still not saying how it works. I’d sure like to know. There must be an area of the brain that’s just dedicated to communicating with the mind but i haven’t heard of anyone pinpointing it. And how does the mind generate a signal for the brain to pick up? Lots and lots of questions!!

  39. 39
    ET says:

    Is it warmer at a library because of all that energy for all the information transfers? Inquiring minds want to know.

  40. 40
    ET says:

    JVL:

    There must be an area of the brain that’s just dedicated to communicating with the mind but i haven’t heard of anyone pinpointing it.

    Now you are just making crap up- a strawman. THEY. ARE. AS. ONE.

  41. 41
    AaronS1978 says:

    @35 This came slightly before the more recent find that debunked the idea that our decision is preceded by brain activity

    There are a couple things I want to make clear neurological activity proceeds everything we do on a day-to-day basis, if you didn’t have any activity going on in your brain you would be dead

    However the act of a decision has been debated for quite some time and proceeding brain activity has not proven that our decision is decided ahead of our knowing

    Aaron Schurger Recently proved this and his previous research all supported the notion that RP is nothing more than background noise that may or may not help tip the scales in your decision

    The 11 second prediction was a study done in Australia involving the visual cortex

    What they found was that a previous image of a choice that you made would retain in the visual cortex for some time and could affect the next decision

    What the tabloids tell you is that neuroscience can predict your decision 11 seconds a head of time, conveniently leaving the accuracy out, which you then are left to assume what it is, most will assume 100% This is probably due to the conditioning that most people have received over their lifetime and education about the perception of science

    This however is bunk, they were predicting a binary choice, in this case between images and books

    Now why Is this BUNK, here’s why none of the tabloids tell you the accuracy of the predictions they made using the algorithm, they ranged anywhere between 45% to 72% in accuracy which averaged out to a whopping 62% this is slightly better than the 60% Sung accomplished back in 2008

    In other words they haven’t really improved

    Their accomplishment with a $250,000 piece of equipment is no more impressive than a magician being able to predict the next card you were about to pick

  42. 42
    ET says:

    Bravo, AaronS1978.

  43. 43
    Ed George says:

    AaronS1978, I wasn’t surprised by the predictive ability of this study. I never concluded from this that we could use this type of thing to obtain 100% accuracy in predicting. What struck me was the 11 seconds. 11 seconds from the brain activity to when the subject could vocalize their decision. 11 seconds is a long time. How long does it take between you having a thought and you being able to vocalize it? Much less that 11 seconds I would think.

  44. 44
    ET says:

    I would think the time elapsed between brain activity for a certain activity and carrying out said activity, would all depend on the urgency of that activity.

  45. 45
    JVL says:

    ET, 40: Now you are just making crap up- a strawman. THEY. ARE. AS. ONE.

    I’m no making up things or creating a strawman. I do not understand what “they are as one” means. And I’m asking questions based on what physics tells us about communications and energy.

    IF the mind and brain “are as one” then are they really different things? How can they be “as one” and still be separate things? How does that work? How can you quantify the relationship?

    ET, 44: I would think the time elapsed between brain activity for a certain activity and carrying out said activity, would all depend on the urgency of that activity.

    How would the urgency affect the speed of implementation? Urgency is sometimes a value judgement, sometimes a physical reaction; how would those situations manifest differently?

  46. 46
    ET says:

    OK, Mr. Physics- is it warmer in a library due to all the information transfers? What about at a book club? Or an internet café must be boiling over.

    The brain is a physical thing. It consumes energy. You can google it if you don’t believe me.

    How can the software and hardware be as one and yet be two separate thigs? How can matter and energy be as one and yet be two separate things.

    Your strawman was There must be an area of the brain that’s just dedicated to communicating with the mind . You pulled that from an area dedicated to such nonsense.

  47. 47
    ET says:

    JVL:

    How would the urgency affect the speed of implementation?

    Really? Let me sleep on it and get back to you.

    Urgency is sometimes a value judgement,

    Is it? Ever play competitive sports? Ever been in a war zone?

    sometimes a physical reaction

    11 seconds after you though it? Really?

    how would those situations manifest differently?

    It all depends.

  48. 48
    JVL says:

    ET: 46

    Okay, are you saying the brain is like hardware and the mind is like software? So the software creates or observes memories and stores them in the hardware, in memory? And a computer does have a designated area that interprets the software commands.

    If I look at a computer, I can find where the software is stored and “read” it. I can figure out what it’s doing and predict what it will do given certain inputs and stimuli. The software may be written down somewhere outside the computer and it may be running on more computers. But it doesn’t do anything without the hardware to run it. In other words, it would stop functioning when the hardware stopped functioning. The software is NOT the hardware and the hardware is NOT the software. They are not “as one”, they do different things. You could say the computer is A thing that encompasses hardware and software but the software can be overwritten and changed without changing the hardware. And, again, the software is encoded in the hardware; it has to be for it to run.

    I don’t think that’s what you mean but if not then I still do not know exactly what you mean by the brain and the mind “are as one”.

    Matter can be converted into energy based on a stated mathematical relationship. It’s quantifiable. We know how that works.

    And yes, processing or transferring information takes energy so someplace where that was happening would be warmer than the same place without the information being transferred all other things being exactly equal. And I do mean exactly equal. But the difference might be very, very small. That being said Bobby Fischer used to lose weight during big chess matches so, in his case, the energy consumption had very measurable effects.

  49. 49
    JVL says:

    ET, 47:

    Urgency can SOMETIMES absolutely be based on a value judgement: if you’re talking to your boss and you get a text from your spouse you make a decisions of which thing is more urgent. And you might take a few seconds, or even longer, coming to a decision.

    Sometimes it’s purely physical like when you touch something hot or someone throws a baseball at your face. They you react without making a value judgement.

    I’m going to guess that you’d say the boss vs spouse scenario is not as urgent so the reaction does not need to come as quickly, yes?

    I didn’t say anything about 11 seconds. I was just asking you how urgency would make a difference in the way decisions were implemented.

  50. 50
    AaronS1978 says:

    @ Ed George
    No worries I wasn’t targeting anybody specific I just saw that ET it written about that study and I just wanted to point out some of my problems with it, not even so much with the study but with how it was reported.

    In fact several conclusions that were reported weren’t even mentioned in the conclusion of the actual study

  51. 51
    bornagain77 says:

    AaronS1978 at 41. Thank you.

    Were these following studies included in your analysis? If not, what is your opinion of them?

    Quantum Consciousness – Time Flies Backwards? – Stuart Hameroff MD
    Excerpt: Dean Radin and Dick Bierman have performed a number of experiments of emotional response in human subjects. The subjects view a computer screen on which appear (at randomly varying intervals) a series of images, some of which are emotionally neutral, and some of which are highly emotional (violent, sexual….). In Radin and Bierman’s early studies, skin conductance of a finger was used to measure physiological response. They found that subjects responded strongly to emotional images compared to neutral images, and that the emotional response occurred between a fraction of a second to several seconds BEFORE the image appeared! Recently Professor Bierman (University of Amsterdam) repeated these experiments with subjects in an fMRI brain imager and found emotional responses in brain activity up to 4 seconds before the stimuli. Moreover he looked at raw data from other laboratories and found similar emotional responses before stimuli appeared.
    http://www.quantumconsciousnes.....Flies.html

    Can Your Body Sense Future Events Without Any External Clue? (meta-analysis of 26 reports published between 1978 and 2010) – (Oct. 22, 2012)
    Excerpt: “But our analysis suggests that if you were tuned into your body, you might be able to detect these anticipatory changes between two and 10 seconds beforehand,,,
    This phenomenon is sometimes called “presentiment,” as in “sensing the future,” but Mossbridge said she and other researchers are not sure whether people are really sensing the future.
    “I like to call the phenomenon ‘anomalous anticipatory activity,'” she said. “The phenomenon is anomalous, some scientists argue, because we can’t explain it using present-day understanding about how biology works; though explanations related to recent quantum biological findings could potentially make sense. It’s anticipatory because it seems to predict future physiological changes in response to an important event without any known clues, and it’s an activity because it consists of changes in the cardiopulmonary, skin and nervous systems.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....145342.htm

  52. 52
    ET says:

    JVL:

    If I look at a computer, I can find where the software is stored and “read” it.

    But what if “you” are an Amazon tribe who has never seen such technology?

  53. 53
    Seversky says:

    Referring back to a blog piece by Steven Novella, he writes this:

    There is evidence that, at least to some extent, some of the decisions we make are made subconsciously, before we are even aware that we made a decision. There is at least preliminary evidence showing that some decisions are made in the brain (indicated by lighting up on fMRI) before the person is aware of the choice. And yet, when asked people will almost always indicate a conscious reason for the choice. They invent a justification for a choice they never consciously made, and they believe that was the true reason for their non-decision.

    This is most dramatically demonstrated in the split-brain experiments. Briefly, if the major connection between the two hemispheres is severed, they cannot fully communicate. If you then show the right half of the brain an image and then ask the subject to choose an item with their left hand (the hand controlled by the right hemisphere) they will choose the image they just saw. If you then ask the left hemisphere why they did that (the left hemisphere doesn’t know) it will invent a justification – “I chose the bottle of water because I was thirsty,” when in fact their other hemisphere had just seen a picture of a bottle of water.

    There is another neuroscientific phenomenon going on here as well, the extrapolation of reality briefly into the future. Imagine catching a baseball thrown quickly at you. There is an unavoidable delay in the time it takes for neurons to conduct signals, a few hundred milliseconds. In that time the baseball would whack you in the head. So how do you catch it? Well, neuroscientists have found that our brains extrapolate into the future to compensate for the delay in processing time. We see and feel things slightly before they actually happen in order to compensate for the processing delay.

    This creates the illusion that we are perceiving now as it happens in real time, but we do not. As is often the case, this system works fine most of the time, but can be stressed to create perceptual illusions.

    Recently neuroscientists asked how this phenomenon, projecting into the future, might influence the illusion of choice. Perhaps we not only project our perceptions into the future, but our decision-making as well. They conducted an experiment in which subjects were shown five what dots on a computer screen. After a warning a random dot would turn red. The subjects had to decide which of the dots was going to turn red, and then indicate if they guessed correctly. On some trials the time between the warning and the dot turning red was too short for the subject to make a decision, and they were told to indicate that they did not have enough time to choose.

    When the subjects were given enough time to choose, they reported choosing the correct dot 20% of the time, which is in line with chance and demonstrates that they are honestly reporting their choices. However, when the interval between the warning and the dot turning red was decreased, sometimes they did not have enough time to choose. During those trials, subjects reported an overall 30% accuracy.

    What the researchers think is going on is that for some trials (when the delay was in the sweet spot) the subjects perceived the dot turning red then chose that dot but had the illusion that they had made the decision beforehand. The researchers call this a postdictive illusion of choice.

  54. 54
    bornagain77 says:

    to refute seversky (and Novella) on split brains:

    The Case for the Soul: Refuting Physicalist Objections – video
    Computers vs. Qualia, Libet and ‘Free won’t’, Split Brain (unified attention of brain despite split hemispheres, as well, visual and motion information is shared between the two hemispheres despite the hemispheres being split),
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GB5TNrtu9Pk

    YES, SPLIT BRAINS ARE WEIRD, BUT NOT THE WAY YOU THINK
    Scientists who dismiss consciousness and free will ignore the fact that the higher faculties of the mind cannot be split even by splitting the brain in half
    MICHAEL EGNOR JANUARY 17, 2020
    https://mindmatters.ai/2020/01/yes-split-brains-are-weird-but-not-the-way-you-think/

    Of further note:

    How Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness Correlate – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4f0hL3Nrdas

  55. 55
    MatSpirit says:

    Truthfreedom:
    The Credit Crunch for Materialism

    “Materialists are sustained by the faith that science will redeem their promises, turning their beliefs into facts. Meanwhile, they live on credit. The philosopher of science Sir Karl Popper described this faith as “promissory materialism” because it depends on promissory notes for discoveries not yet made.”

    “Despite all the achievements of science and technology, it is facing an unprecedented credit crunch”.
    https://www.edge.org/response-detail/11002

    You forgot to mention that Rupert Sheldrake wrote this.

  56. 56
    AaronS1978 says:

    @ 53

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180312115359.htm

    The above link was a study that studied a lot of those anti-Freewill studies like the one mentioned in this post, I bring it up because that experiment using an iPad and an overly complicated explanation trying to prove that Freewill didn’t exist, was poorly done and biased, when all it was is that people make mistakes when under pressure

    I would read John Dylan Haynes “point of no return“ it is a far better experiment that came out at about the same time that shoddy iPad choose a red dot experiment.

    John Dylan Haynes is also a willusionist to a degree

    Anyways in his experiment he hooked participants to a computer while riding a bike

    The computer would read their brain activity,
    Specifically reading RP as it appeared

    The computer was hooked to a stoplight

    As long as the light was green participants continue to pedal on their bikes

    And of course when it was red they had to stop

    Now the brilliance of his experiment was that the moment RP started to the computer would turn the stop light red

    That brain activity that you’re not aware of that apparently determines your decision

    Anyways he found that participants were capable of stopping during the onset of RP

    They could react to that subconscious brain activity that they were having, that the weren’t aware of

    In fact he even found what is known as now as the point of no return

    The point is at 150ms before execution of the action, this corresponds with point of will

    I find this experiment to be far more thorough and more decisive then selecting a dot amongst five options and trying to remember if you selected it right, and hoping that the iPad didn’t miss read which is also a very real error

  57. 57
    BobRyan says:

    If there is no free will, then any study done on animals should have the same result as a study on humans. Pavlov’s dogs and Pavlov’s children showed animals and humans to be quite different from one another. The children were proven to use free will 100% of the time.

    Every word we write has meaning, because of free will. No animal can ever write a paragraph, let alone a book. Only humans can do this, since only humans have the capacity to go beyond the brain and touch something truly extraordinary. The mind exists and every work of fiction ever written proves this to be true.

  58. 58
    BobRyan says:

    Seversky, Ed George, and any others who might be viewing this.

    In your professions, do you, as individuals, add anything by doing what you’re doing? Dogs can be trained to replace dogs, as well as other animals, and you get the same results. Are people as replaceable as animals? Does everyone who goes into a given profession perform at the same level? If you’re going to be honest, you must admit that individuals perform differently regardless of training. Not all are meant to be engineers, regardless of the school they attend. Humans are unique in nature and each person has their own uniqueness that makes them special.

  59. 59
    JVL says:

    ET, 52: But what if “you” are an Amazon tribe who has never seen such technology?

    My previous reply seems to have disappeared. Sigh.

    You seem to be saying that we may be too technically advanced to detect and discern what the mind and brain are doing. Which is a possibility I suppose. But we can detect a vast array of electromagnetic waves and we have examined many areas of the brain and haven’t found the sort of thing you’re hinting at.

    And there is the other thing: without hardware software is useless. It doesn’t really have a life of its own. It doesn’t functionally exist when the hardware ceases to function.

    IF the mind is a separate ‘thing’ from the brain then what happens to it when the brain ceases to function? Where does it go? If it continues to function then it must be stored or held someplace.

    I still do not understand how the mind and brain “are as one”. There’s still lots of unanswered questions.

  60. 60
    Truthfreedom says:

    @55 MatSpirit

    Truthfreedom:
    The Credit Crunch for Materialism
    “Materialists are sustained by the faith that science will redeem their promises, turning their beliefs into facts. Meanwhile, they live on credit. The philosopher of science Sir Karl Popper described this faith as “promissory materialism” because it depends on promissory notes for discoveries not yet made.”

    “Despite all the achievements of science and technology, it is facing an unprecedented credit crunch”.
    https://www.edge.org/response-detail/11002

    MatSpirit replied:

    You forgot to mention that Rupert Sheldrake wrote this.

    And you forgot to mention that you have no argument. 🙂

  61. 61
    ET says:

    JVL:

    You seem to be saying that we may be too technically advanced to detect and discern what the mind and brain are doing.

    Quite the opposite.

    But we can detect a vast array of electromagnetic waves and we have examined many areas of the brain and haven’t found the sort of thing you’re hinting at.

    How do you know?

    I still do not understand how the mind and brain “are as one”.

    That sounds like a personal problem. Good luck with that.

  62. 62
    Ed George says:

    BR@57, Pavlov’s dogs were just demonstrating conditioned responses. Conditioned responses also work with humans.

  63. 63
    ET says:

    “Ed George” knows conditioned responses, and salivating when a bell rings.

  64. 64
    Ed George says:

    BR

    Are people as replaceable as animals?

    Yes.

    Does everyone who goes into a given profession perform at the same level?

    No. And neither do animals. Horse racing would not exist if they did.

    If you’re going to be honest, you must admit that individuals perform differently regardless of training.

    Agreed. And so do animals.

    Humans are unique in nature and each person has their own uniqueness that makes them special.

    This may be true but the comparisons to animals you are using are not making your case.

  65. 65
    JVL says:

    ET, 62: Quite the opposite.

    Yeah, I said the opposite of what I meant. Sigh. I hadn’t had enough tea at that point I think.

    That sounds like a personal problem. Good luck with that.

    I don’t think it’s a personal problem; I don’t think the link has been made clear at all. But you don’t seem inclined to elucidate any further so I’ll drop it.

  66. 66
    ET says:

    Go ask that Amazon tribe how to program a computer and how the software interacts with the hardware.

  67. 67
    JVL says:

    ET, 66: Go ask that Amazon tribe how to program a computer and how the software interacts with the hardware.

    Sounds like you’re not sure how the mind and brain “are as one” either. That’s fine, I’ll wait until someone can be more explicit.

  68. 68
    ET says:

    No one knows. People who do know only know that they are as one.

  69. 69
    ET says:

    JVL- There are claims in which the two have been separated and then brought back together.

  70. 70
    JVL says:

    ET, 68: No one knows. People who do know only know that they are as one.

    You say: we don’t know how unguided processes were able to create some of the complicated life structures and forms we see today therefore we should question it. Does that mean, since no one knows how the brain and mind “are as one” we should question that conclusion?

    There are claims in which the two have been separated and then brought back together.

    Well, that does sound interesting. Do you mean NDEs (near death experiences)? Are you thinking of Eben Alexander (the third apparently, according to Wikipedia) who wrote Proof of Heaven? I heard several interviews with him on The Discovery Institute’s podcast ID: the Future.

  71. 71
    ET says:

    JVL:

    You say: we don’t know how unguided processes were able to create some of the complicated life structures and forms we see today therefore we should question it.

    That is because that scenario is supposed to be all about the how. How many times do I have to tell you that?

    Does that mean, since no one knows how the brain and mind “are as one” we should question that conclusion?

    That doesn’t follow. There are many ancient structures that we don’t know how they were built. Do we have to say that nature did it?

    Do you mean NDEs (near death experiences)?

    Out of-body-experiences, such as astral projection.

  72. 72
    Truthfreedom says:

    ___
    More problems for materialism:

    “The standard materialist theory of abstract thought is that it arises from the intricacy and complexity of neural networks in the cerebral cortex. […] But this materialist argument is really just hand-waving amounting to magic (“lots of neurons fire together… and suddenly abstract thought appears!”)

    Materialists never explain how the firing of lots of neurons (magically) evokes abstract thought. You just have to trust them on that”.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2019/07/explaining-abstract-thought-in-materialist-terms-the-horns-of-a-dilemma/

  73. 73
    JVL says:

    ET, 71: That doesn’t follow. There are many ancient structures that we don’t know how they were built. Do we have to say that nature did it?

    I think it does follow: if we don’t know how something works then we should question tentative hypotheses. And, with the ancient structures we might not know how our ancestors constructed them but we have a pretty good idea which were built by men and which are naturally occurring. Pretty good mean sometimes there is a doubt.

    Out of-body-experiences, such as astral projection.

    Do you have a particular example in mind that can be found online?

  74. 74
    john_a_designer says:

    The materialists who show up here at UD are more dogmatic than the most dogmatic religious fundamentalists. As evidenced by their comments above all they are doing is dogmatically doubling down on a logically fallacious argument:

    No one has ever proved that materialism is false.

    [Therefore] Materialism is true.

    However, the above is nothing more than a fallacious appeal to ignorance. It’s a textbook example of an Ad ignorantium argument (an appeal to ignorance).

  75. 75
    ET says:

    JVL:

    I think it does follow: if we don’t know how something works then we should question tentative hypotheses.

    So much for unguided evolution.

    And, with the ancient structures we might not know how our ancestors constructed them but we have a pretty good idea which were built by men and which are naturally occurring.

    Do we?

    Do you have a particular example in mind that can be found online?

    Edgar Cayce

  76. 76
    JVL says:

    ET, 75: So much for unguided evolution.

    If you doubt it then question it. I think you’re incorrect but it’s your prerogative. I think your mind and brain “are as one” is ill-defined and unexplained so I will doubt it.

    Do we?

    Yup, we do.

    Edgar Cayce

    Why do you believe his statements? Just curious.

  77. 77
    ET says:

    JVL:

    If you doubt it then question it.

    There isn’t anything to question. There isn’t a scientific theory and there aren’t any testable hypotheses.

    I think your mind and brain “are as one” is ill-defined

    Then buy a dictionary and learn how to use it

    Yup, we do.

    We “know” just because humans were around. We “know” they were capable from what they left behind. In other words, we don’t know, we just assume. Nan Madol still defies an explanation via human manufacture.

    Why do you believe his statements?

    There were many that were spot on and there is no way he could have known. And he isn’t the only one. Astral projection aren’t just two words someone threw together. Out-of-body-experiences isn’t just some phrase. Google them and read. Or not.

  78. 78
    JVL says:

    ET, 77: Then buy a dictionary and learn how to use it

    Gee, didn’t see a reference to “mind and brain are as one”. I meant the relationship is ill-defined as in unexplained.

    We “know” just because humans were around. We “know” they were capable from what they left behind. In other words, we don’t know, we just assume. Nan Madol still defies an explanation via human manufacture.

    I’ll look up Nan Madol later since I’m unfamiliar with that particular site and I’ve got to get to some other things just now.

    There were many that were spot on and there is no way he could have known. And he isn’t the only one. Astral projection aren’t just two words someone threw together. Out-of-body-experiences isn’t just some phrase. Google them and read. Or not.

    I was just curious as to your reasoning. You’ve answered that, thank you.

  79. 79
    ET says:

    The relationship is they are as one, yet separate. One is a material thing and the other is more of an energy thing. The material thing is useless without the energy thing.

  80. 80
    JVL says:

    ET, 79: The material thing is useless without the energy thing.

    I’m trying to think of something else that has that same characteristic. Can you think of another system that behaves like that? I’m still trying to get my head around how this would work. It can’t be like computer hardware and software ’cause software is not ‘an energy thing’. And where is the energy stored or held?

  81. 81
    JVL says:

    ET, 78: Nan Madol still defies an explanation via human manufacture.

    I don’t think “defies” is the right word. Like most historical sciences we have to accept that we might not ever know for sure how some structures were constructed; lots of cultures did not leave written records. But it doesn’t mean we don’t have plausible explanations, building on technology known to have existed at the time.

    Again, I don’t know Nan Madol well but even its ‘official; website offers some partial, plausible guesses regarding how it might have been constructed.

    From: http://www.nan-madol.com

    Scientists say the basalt boulders, some as heavy as 50 tons, were transported by rafts to Nan Madol from the other side of the island and levered into place with palm tree trunks.

    The boulders were dragged inch by inch up log ramps before being piled one atop the other, they said. No mortar was used to hold them together.

    The rock structures reach as high as 16 meters on Pohnwi islet.

    Nan Madol Construction by thousands of workers probably took hundreds of years.

    Again, I don’t know the site and I cannot address the plausibility of these guesses. But they sound reasonable, you could always check the archaeological research that has been done at the site. And, not knowing the precise answer, does not mean that the locals weren’t capable of the work.

    In other words, Nan Madol does NOT ‘defy’ human manufacture. There are possibilities which do not invoke extra-human means and techniques.

  82. 82
    ET says:

    LoL! No, they do NOT sound reasonable at all. Just quarrying the stones would be a problem. And there wasn’t any plans left behind. No lab. No tools. Nothing. Not even a reason for building it.

  83. 83
    ET says:

    Matter and energy. Matter wouldn’t exist without energy but they are definitely separate.

  84. 84
    ET says:

    And let’s not forget about information, which is neither matter nor energy. It is separate from whatever media it is on, but they are together as one.

  85. 85
    JVL says:

    ET, 82: LoL! No, they do NOT sound reasonable at all. Just quarrying the stones would be a problem. And there wasn’t any plans left behind. No lab. No tools. Nothing. Not even a reason for building it.

    Are you sure about ‘no tools’? Again, some plausible ideas have been proposed so it’s incorrect to say it ‘defies’ human manufacture. There were designers about at the time who probably had the ability. And similar kinds of constructions were accomplish in other cultures at various times so there’s no reason to suppose there was any kind of extra-human contribution.

    83: Matter and energy. Matter wouldn’t exist without energy but they are definitely separate.

    Are you sure matter wouldn’t exist without energy? Just because Einstein figured out a conversion does that mean they depend on each other. Can a lump of matter exist out in space without energy?

    When a human dies the brain still exists but it’s matter so if it can’t exist without energy where is that energy?

    84: And let’s not forget about information, which is neither matter nor energy. It is separate from whatever media it is on, but they are together as one.

    Information doesn’t just exist floating about in the ether. It’s recorded somewhere. And if the place its recorded is destroyed where is it? Is it still ‘functional’? Does it still have influence?

    When a human dies the brain still exists so any information it contains should still exist? If not then where did it go?

    Anyway, as you said, no one really knows how the mind/brain interaction works, how they “are as one”. Clearly it’s not exactly like the examples you’ve come up with. Sounds like a good area for research. Is anyone working on that?

  86. 86
    ET says:

    JVL:

    Again, some plausible ideas have been proposed so it’s incorrect to say it ‘defies’ human manufacture.

    Except that you have no idea if they are plausible.

    Are you sure matter wouldn’t exist without energy?

    Please explain how it could.

    Can a lump of matter exist out in space without energy?

    I don’t see how. Even atoms require energy to exist.

    When a human dies the brain still exists but it’s matter so if it can’t exist without energy where is that energy?

    Atoms require energy in order to exist. The weak and strong nuclear forces

    Information doesn’t just exist floating about in the ether.

    Sure it does.

  87. 87
    JVL says:

    ET, 88:

    I think I’ll just wait until someone can clarify what you mean when you say the brain and mind “are as one”. None of the analogies seem to clear things up much and they are just analogies, not models, and cannot be expected to parallel the brain/mind configuration closely.

  88. 88
    ET says:

    No one will ever be able to explain anything to your satisfaction.

  89. 89
    JVL says:

    ET, 88: No one will ever be able to explain anything to your satisfaction.

    Maybe not. But I’d like at least a bit more that what’s available now. Some kind of observational studies? Some attempt to explain how the brain and mind influence each other. Some kind of physical structure in the brain that seems to be capable of receiving input from an energy source (if the mind is energy). Just something that gives an idea of how the brain and mind “are as one”.

    Here’s one thing (among many) that puzzles me: if the mind exists before the brain how does the growing brain attune itself to that particular mind? “Cause there would be lots and lots of minds. All ‘broadcasting’ at the same frequency? Probably not, that would be confusing. Seven billion humans does that mean seven billion different frequencies? What about babies who die at birth? Was there a mind all set to match up but then has to get back in the queue and wait for another birth?

  90. 90
    ET says:

    Observational studies? Those are missing when it comes to unguided evolution. They are missing when it comes to the brain producing thoughts. That you are looking for a physical structure capable of receiving proves that you just don’t get it and never will.

    Here’s one thing (among many) that puzzles me: if the mind exists before the brain how does the growing brain attune itself to that particular mind?

    They are as one.

    How do you think clairvoyance works? People tapping into other people’s minds.

    The mind is already with the baby at birth.

  91. 91
    JVL says:

    ET, 90: That you are looking for a physical structure capable of receiving proves that you just don’t get it and never will.

    Well, how does it work then? That’s what I’m not getting.

    They are as one.

    I still don’t know what that means in this particular case. I’ll just wait until someone can spell it out or at least offer a guess that kind of makes sense.

    How do you think clairvoyance works? People tapping into other people’s minds.

    How can they do that? How does it work? Are the minds meeting up in some cosmic coffee shop and trading notes? Can two clumps of energy swap information?

    If two minds can communicate then how come we aren’t inundated with other minds begging for attention? ‘Cause if one mind can ask another one for attention then how come we aren’t all being asked many times on a daily basis?

    The mind is already with the baby at birth.

    What about a naturally aborted pregnancy? Something like a quarter to a third of human pregnancies spontaneously abort in the first trimester. Did they have minds already?

    Oh, I almost forgot . . . are souls the same thing as minds?

  92. 92
    Truthfreedom says:

    @ JVL
    If you are a “bunch” of neurons “experiencing themselves”:
    – How is that those neurons go wrong and “see” a person? (Your neurons do not reflect themselves in a mirror, they see themselves as a “human being”, not axons and dendrites and neurotransmitters and action potentials).
    How so?
    Are neurons “mistaken”?

  93. 93
    ET says:

    JVL:

    Well, how does it work then?

    They are as one.

    How can they do that?

    It’s a gift. You have to be enlightened.

    And yes, I would say the soul and mind are the same thing.

  94. 94
    JVL says:

    Truthfreedom, 92: If you are a “bunch” of neurons “experiencing themselves”:
    – How is that those neurons go wrong and “see” a person? (Your neurons do not reflect themselves in a mirror, they see themselves as a “human being”, not axons and dendrites and neurotransmitters and action potentials).

    I don’t know how neurones do what they are proposed to do. I’m trying to keep an open mind.! Pun intended. But I’d love a clear, straight-forward explanation.

    I THINK (just my opinion) this is tied up with the consciousness question which is terribly complicated and I can only follow the more technical discussions so far before I get lost in the details.

    And free will . . . not going there. I can’t possibly contribute anything of worth to the discussion.

    I’m just asking ET for more details in the hope he (?) can provide them. If not, that’s okay with me. I’m happy to stop asking.

  95. 95
    JVL says:

    ET, 93: They are as one.

    I think I’m just going to have to accept that I’m not going to ‘get’ it. Oh well.

    It’s a gift. You have to be enlightened.

    And I clearly am NOT that!

    And yes, I would say the soul and mind are the same thing.

    Thanks! The question just popped up in my ‘mind’.

    Anyway, thanks for trying. I’m happy to let it lie now.

  96. 96
    Truthfreedom says:

    @94 JVL

    I’d love a clear, straight-forward explanation.

    Wouldn’t we all? Maybe 2500+ years of philosophy are trying to tell us something? 🙂

    I’m happy to stop asking.

    Never! Doubting and asking constitute the path to knowledge.

  97. 97
    JVL says:

    Truthfreedom, 96: Never! Doubting and asking constitute the path to knowledge.

    That’s what I think but sometimes my spouse and child wish I would just shut up!

    And it’s important to question in a respectful way and to be open to responses that don’t necessarily match the kind you would like. I forget sometimes but I’m working on it. I do believe in dialogue but it must be done in a collegial manner.

    Philosophy . . . there’s another thing I can’t say I can seriously contribute to. I’ll leave that to others!

  98. 98
    vividbleau says:

    JVL
    “Philosophy . . . there’s another thing I can’t say I can seriously contribute to. I’ll leave that to others!”
    Everyone holds to certain philosophical positions, they cant be avoided. I see you have adopted the Socratic method.
    Vivid

  99. 99
    JVL says:

    Vividbleau, 98: Everyone holds to certain philosophical positions, they cant be avoided. I see you have adopted the Socratic method.

    I’ll believe you. Is a method the same as a philosophical position? I have always thought of a method as a way to deal with a situation not necessarily the same as a stance on the situation.

    Anyway, I do like honest and straight dialogue. Studying math with do that to you.

  100. 100
    vividbleau says:

    JVL

    “Is a method the same as a philosophical position? “
    Why wouldn’t it be?

    “I have always thought of a method as a way to deal with a situation not necessarily the same as a stance on the situation.”

    Why do you think that?

    “Anyway, I do like honest and straight dialogue. “
    Why?

    “Studying math with do that to you.“

    Why is that.?

    Vivid

  101. 101
    Ed George says:

    VB

    “Is a method the same as a philosophical position? “
    Why wouldn’t it be?

    Wouldn’t the method be the process you use to develop a philosophical position?

  102. 102
    JVL says:

    Vividbleau, 100: Why, wouldn’t it be? Why do you think that? Why? Why is that.?

    Okay, okay.

    I still think that’s a technique and not a stance as it can be used for different philosophies.

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