Intelligent Design

Are Dreams Incompatible With Materialism?

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Asks nkendall. All that follows is his:

Okay lets see what I can come up with. This is just one of several disproofs of materialism that I have tried out on atheist websites. Never once had anyone lay of glove on it:

DREAM SEQUENCES – A SIMPLE DISPROOF OF MATERIALISM
Here is a simple disproof of materialism that everyone can understand; consider dream sequences:

ASSUMPTIONS:
1. Dreams always involve novel (NEW) content – they are not rehashings or restructuring of various memories; although the topics are in the context of one’s life experiences.
2. Dreams are high definition imagery.
3. Dreams are real imagery, i.e. you are unaware or unable to distinguish the dream imagery when it is going on from real visual imagery during waking consciousness.
4. Dreams contain complex specified information, each image element (analogous to a pixel in HDTV) WITHIN an imagery frame in a dream has to be what it is for the imagery to be coherent and correlated. And each image element (pixel) has to be what it is for the imagery to be coherent and correlated dynamically ACROSS frames. I.e. each image element is highly constrained–highly specific.

PROBLEM WITH MATERIAL EXPLANATIONS
Materialism posits bottom-up causation and therefore consciousness, mental thoughts are produced by the components of the brain. Yet each of the many components that would have to be involved to give rise to a dream image, would be subject to an antecedent chain of causation which would not be dictated by the mental events (e.g. dream imagery) in any way. And all these components would have to be in sync with one another.

CALCULATION OF PROBABILITIES
Calculating probabilities is an endeavor in searching through large space. I will be charitable to materialism with each assumption in the calculation.
Calculate the superset of the overall search space:
– Determine the number of brain components involved.
– Determine the number of alternative states that the brain components could be in.
– Determine the refresh rate or frame rate of the dream imagery.
– Determine the number of image frames in the dream.
Example:
Let’s say a neuron synapse is our “brain component” and it could be either firing or not, i.e. binary.
Let’s say that there would have to be 10 million brain components (synapses firing or not) to produce each imagery frame in the dream.
Let’s say a 5 second dream sequence has 20 image frames per second.
So: 2^10,000,000 * (20 * 5) = A prohibitively large number that computers cannot even represent. This is the super set of possible brain states within which our single precise set of brain states necessary to cause our coherent, correlated dream imagery. In effect, the brain would have to create a novel mini movie instantaneously. This is flat out impossible without some high level controlling and creative entity, i.e. immaterial mind. Probabilities are much poorer than universal probability bound: 10^150.

OTHER INTRACTABLE PROBLEMS NOT INCLUDED
Note that in this exercise I am waving away a whole host of intractable difficulties and just focusing on what can be quantitatively demonstrated. For example I am waving away the following:

The fact that dreams are imagery that is not initiated by vision.
The dialog that goes along with dreams.
The thoughts, abstract thoughts, that go along with a dream.
That you seem to be able to focus your attention to a specific point in the dream imagery.
The difficulty with how the brain could identify and sequester the precise set of brain components involved in producing the dream imagery.
That the brain components’ events would have to be synchronized.
The difficulty with how the brain even registers imagery and thoughts in one’s consciousness.

73 Replies to “Are Dreams Incompatible With Materialism?

  1. 1
    velikovskys says:

    How do dreams work in an immaterial world?

  2. 2
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    Best. UD. post. evah.

  3. 3
    eigenstate says:

    This is a joke, right?

  4. 4
    sergmendes says:

    “This is flat out impossible without some high level controlling and creative entity, i.e. immaterial mind.”

    If animals have dreams, then do they also have immaterial minds?

  5. 5
    ppolish says:

    Yes, incompatible with materialism. But seriously, what isn’t.

    Although dreams are very poorly understood from a scientific standpoint. Prophetic Dreams are also open to interpretation.

  6. 6
    ppolish says:

    Dreams are dependent on motion – more specifically rotation. Motion is immaterial btw.

    Find me a planet with life and you’ll find me a planet with rotation. Or life that moves to the dark side to sleep. Or heavy drapes. To sleep. To dream.

  7. 7
    Seversky says:

    If you have a better explanation than Materialism 2.0 then let’s hear it.

  8. 8
    ppolish says:

    Massless particles are incompatible with Materialism 2.0. See the light, Seversky. Move towards the Light:)

  9. 9
    daveS says:

    ppolish:

    Massless particles are incompatible with Materialism 2.0.

    I think you’ve outdone nkendall. That’s the cleanest debunking of materialism I’ve seen to date.

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    A few related notes as to ‘dreams’:

    In our waking state different parts of the brain are ‘instantaneously’ cohered in a way that defies explanation from classical models:

    Quantum Entangled Consciousness – Life After Death – Stuart Hameroff – video
    https://vimeo.com/39982578

    ,,, zero time lag neuronal synchrony despite long conduction delays – 2008
    Excerpt: Multielectrode recordings have revealed zero time lag synchronization among remote cerebral cortical areas. However, the axonal conduction delays among such distant regions can amount to several tens of milliseconds. It is still unclear which mechanism is giving rise to isochronous discharge of widely distributed neurons, despite such latencies,,,
    Remarkably, synchrony of neuronal activity is not limited to short-range interactions within a cortical patch. Interareal synchronization across cortical regions including interhemispheric areas has been observed in several tasks (7, 9, 11–14).,,,
    Beyond its functional relevance, the zero time lag synchrony among such distant neuronal ensembles must be established by mechanisms that are able to compensate for the delays involved in the neuronal communication.
    Latencies in conducting nerve impulses down axonal processes can amount to delays of several tens of milliseconds between the generation of a spike in a presynaptic cell and the elicitation of a postsynaptic potential (16). The question is how, despite such temporal delays, the reciprocal interactions between two brain regions can lead to the associated neural populations to fire in unison (i.e. zero time lag).,,,
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....MC2575223/

    Nonlocal mechanism for cluster synchronization in neural circuits – 2011
    Excerpt: The findings,,, call for reexamining sources of correlated activity in cortex,,,
    http://arxiv.org/abs/1103.3634

    Moreover, when we sleep the coherence displayed by the waking brain seems to disappear.

    At the 18:00 minute mark to about the 22:15 minute mark of the following video, an interesting experiment is highlighted on the sleeping brain. The experiment shows a fairly profound difference in the way the brain ‘shares information’ between different parts of the brain in its sleeping state compared to how the brain ‘shares information’ during its waking state.
    In the sleeping state, the brain shares much less information with different parts of the brain than the brain does during its waking state.

    Through The Wormhole – Morgan Freeman – Life After Death – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=9kXrsWUcQFQ#t=1069

    Also of interest to ‘dreams’: Some researchers tried to prove that Near Death Experiences (NDEs) were only hallucinations, i.e. dreams.
    The researchers set up a questionnaire that they thought would reliably tell them whether the memories a person who had had of a Near Death Experience were really real or merely imaginary.
    They were completely surprised by the results of their tests.
    The memories of the experiences were ‘even more real than real’ according to the researchers.

    ‘Afterlife’ feels ‘even more real than real,’ researcher says – Wed April 10, 2013
    Excerpt: “If you use this questionnaire … if the memory is real, it’s richer, and if the memory is recent, it’s richer,” he said.
    The coma scientists weren’t expecting what the tests revealed.
    “To our surprise, NDEs were much richer than any imagined event or any real event of these coma survivors,” Laureys reported.
    The memories of these experiences beat all other memories, hands down, for their vivid sense of reality. “The difference was so vast,” he said with a sense of astonishment.
    Even if the patient had the experience a long time ago, its memory was as rich “as though it was yesterday,” Laureys said.
    http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/09/.....periences/

    A Doctor’s Near Death Experience Inspires a New Life – video
    Quote: “It’s not like a dream. It’s like the world we are living in is a dream and it’s kind of like waking up from that.”
    Dr. Magrisso
    http://www.nbcchicago.com/on-a.....31791.html

    The researchers’s results showing NDEs to be ‘even more real than real’ should not be surprising for Theists since Theists hold that the Mind of God is the source of reality, and since Theists also hold that when we die our souls can see, hear, and feel, God much clearly than we do in our present temporal bodies.

    Verse and Music:

    Psalm 17:15
    As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake.

    Wake Me O Lord! – Inspirational Poem – music video
    Evanescence – Bring Me To Life – Lyric: ‘Only You are the living among the dead”
    http://vimeo.com/38692431

    supplemental notes:

    More than once I’ve heard experts in Quantum Mechanics refer to material reality as an illusion:

    Alain Aspect and Anton Zeilinger by Richard Conn Henry – Physics Professor – John Hopkins University
    Excerpt: Why do people cling with such ferocity to belief in a mind-independent reality? It is surely because if there is no such reality, then ultimately (as far as we can know) mind alone exists. And if mind is not a product of real matter, but rather is the creator of the “illusion” of material reality (which has, in fact, despite the materialists, been known to be the case, since the discovery of quantum mechanics in 1925), then a theistic view of our existence becomes the only rational alternative to solipsism (solipsism is the philosophical idea that only one’s own mind is sure to exist).
    (Dr. Henry’s referenced experiment and paper – “An experimental test of non-local realism” by S. Gröblacher et. al., Nature 446, 871, April 2007 – “To be or not to be local” by Alain Aspect, Nature 446, 866, April 2007 (Leggett’s Inequality: Violated, as of 2011, to 120 standard deviations)
    http://henry.pha.jhu.edu/aspect.html

    The Theistic belief that consciousness is primary to reality and material is ‘illusory’ to reality suffers no shortage of substantiating evidence from quantum mechanics:

    A Short Survey Of Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness
    Except:, due to advances in quantum mechanics, the argument for God from consciousness can now be framed like this:
    1. Consciousness either preceded all of material reality or is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality.
    2. If consciousness is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality then consciousness will be found to have no special position within material reality. Whereas conversely, if consciousness precedes material reality then consciousness will be found to have a special position within material reality.
    3. Consciousness is found to have a special, even central, position within material reality.
    4. Therefore, consciousness is found to precede material reality.
    Four intersecting lines of experimental evidence from quantum mechanics that shows that consciousness precedes material reality (Wigner’s Quantum Symmetries, Wheeler’s Delayed Choice, Leggett’s Inequalities, Quantum Zeno effect)
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1uLcJUgLm1vwFyjwcbwuYP0bK6k8mXy-of990HudzduI/edit

  11. 11
    jw777 says:

    As an opponent of classical dogmatic materialism (CDM), I still fail to see this as a refutation. It merely points out the lack of practicality and pragmatism to CDM, not its objective truth or lack thereof.

    Assumption 1 and 3 are not generally accepted:
    1.) some dreams are clearly odd amalgamations of previous imagery; others are not CLEARly based on previous experiences, but it in no way means they aren’t the surreal compilation of previous imagery
    3.) lucid dreaming – not only CAN dreams be distinguished from reality, but it is even possible to do so during them; and this skill is trainable to the point where highly refined practitioners can do conscious (maybe “intentional” is the accurate word given the “unconscious” state of mind) creative work while asleep

    The refutation of CDM is simply that concepts explain all, and thus “mind”, as nebulous and intractable as it may be, is always more fundamental than quarks and bosons. Universe contains material. Sure. But intention, intellect, forethought, design and mind direct subatomic particles to produce chemistry, to produce biology, to produce psyche, which is not an illusion of intent, intellect, forethought, design and mind. We keep trying to find the lynchpin to unlock how non-life becomes life; and angry anti-theists side step the issue defining them as the same and telling us all that we’re seeing an illusion. Suppose for a second it is all the same. Then why wouldn’t mind, design, intention, forethought and intellect be a fundamental component of matter or the exact same thing as matter? Hint: you will win no converts by screeching at your audience that they’re constantly more deluded than you, you same faulty, flawed imperfect humans, you.

  12. 12
    bpragmatic says:

    NickMatzke_UDApril 18, 2015 at 5:41 pm
    Best. UD. post. evah.

    What a joke Matzke, as if you have anything to substantiate your vast array of conjecture.

  13. 13
    sergmendes says:

    bpragmatic,

    So dreams are no laughing “matter”? (lol)

  14. 14
    Jim Smith says:

    BA77 @ 10, Regarding Theism and “consciousness is primary” “the Mind of God is the source of reality” Can you suggest an on-line reference that discusses these topics as part of Theism? For example, does this mean human consciousness is the same kind of phenomenon as God’s consciousness? Does this mean God created the universe by thinking about it – is the universe something that exists only in the mind of God?

    I am not familiar with Theism so I am looking for more information on the Theistic understanding of these subjects.

    Thanks,

  15. 15
    Seversky says:

    ppolish @ 8

    Massless particles are incompatible with Materialism 2.0. See the light, Seversky. Move towards the Light:)

    Materialism 2.0 embraces your massless particles and welcomes them to the material world.

  16. 16
    Andre says:

    Nick Matzke

    Hey when are we getting our book that proves macro evolution? Have you abandoned the project ?

  17. 17
    Seqenenre says:

    Andre,

    think about your 100 millionth great-grandmother (assume an average generation time of 5 years). She must have lived around 520 million years ago.
    She certainly was not human, nor a mammal.

    Lots of macro evolution in your own maternal line of descent. Biologists and paleontologists have their explanation (genetic mutations and natural selection). What is yours?

  18. 18
    bornagain77 says:

    Jim Smith, here is a reference that you may find helpful:

    Christianity and Panentheism – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xki03G_TO4

  19. 19
    kairosfocus says:

    JS, 14: Perhaps here on in context may help:

    http://nicenesystheol.blogspot.....u2_bld_wvu

    KF

  20. 20
    nkendall says:

    Jw777 #11

    It is a refutation of materialism because a materialist would have to believe that massive amounts of complex specified information, exceeding the universal probability bound by 1000s of orders of magnitude, could be generated nearly instantaneously by an electro-chemical machine with its putative bottom up causation–flat out impossible. This applies to all thinking, not just dreams. I used dream imagery because it more readily lends itself to quantitative analysis.

  21. 21
    nkendall says:

    Again to Jw777 #11

    You have slightly misunderstood my assumptions 1 and 3 and in the sense that you did it bears little on the case I have made.

    Regarding your comments on my assumption #1. The point is that unlike say a gaming system rendering images on the fly which use primitives and are bound by strict programmatic outcomes, dreams are never simply a direct lifting of memory–they always involve novel creative content. In cases where similar contexts are used and even objects and settings and persons, the imagery is always slightly different and it is integrated in a complex way into a coherent dynamic set of images. The visual attributes such as scale, angle, colorimetry, and imminence are always different for any item in a dream image that seems familiar. Personally I have never had a dream which I could point to that involved direct memory recall with imagery that had not been changed in some fundamental way.

    Regarding your comment on my assumption #3, the point here is that the “visual” imagery that occurs during a dream is as clear as any visual image during waking consciousness and therefore has the same information content. The fact that there are a few exceptions to this is not really important to the point I have made. Thanks for commenting, best regards.

  22. 22
    nkendall says:

    To sergmendes #4

    “If animals have dreams, then do they also have immaterial minds?”

    Yes I believe animals have immaterial minds.

  23. 23
    nkendall says:

    To eigenstate #3

    “This is a joke, right?”

    I think we have another variety of materialist dodges to add to the list.

  24. 24

    Again to reiterate the point that nkendall made, his calculations don’t even scratch the surface of the juggernaut of computation necessary to accomplish a dream – there is also the tactile and audio information. It’s not as if whatever is creating the dream is just replaying stored information.

    Whatever is producing the dream must be comparable to the most sophisticated, highly-powered CGI studio ever, only much more powerful and sophisticated, because to render such immersive, realistic imagery in a seamless stream on the fly, joined with corresponding audio and tactile information, is an unbelievable feat of creativity, editorial skill and computing power.

    Even given the graphical capacity to so closely mimic real life imagery, it would take a CGI studio months to generate a dream (forget about the tactile information), yet the mind can do it all instantaneously.

    Is this really something we can realistically expect any physical commodity the size of a brain to accomplish? There’s just too much computation necessary for it to be achieved instantaneously.

  25. 25
    Bob O'H says:

    nkendall – your calculation of CSI makes the following assumptions:
    (1) all synapses must be firing in exactly the right way,
    (2) all synapses are firing independently, and
    (3) the ‘target’ is one specific dream sequence.
    You don’t provide any evidence that any of these is an appropriate assumption.

  26. 26
    velikovskys says:

    Kendall:
    t is a refutation of materialism because a materialist would have to believe that massive amounts of complex specified information, exceeding the universal probability bound by 1000s of orders of magnitude, could be generated nearly instantaneously by an electro-chemical machine with its putative bottom up causation–flat out impossible.

    Perhaps the information exists already, it is just accessed by material processes, but in your view how does the immaterial cause the brain to dream and what is the probabilty of that process?

  27. 27
    Barry Arrington says:

    velikovskys @ 26:

    Thank you for the excellent example of MD11:

    Materialist Dodge 11: The burden is always on you, never on me

    It makes not the slightest bit of difference that subjective self-awareness is the “primordial datum,” that everyone knows is a fact beyond the slightest doubt. It makes no difference that we are presupposing the existence of subjective self-awareness by even having this discussion. Unless you can give me a systematic account for how the immaterial interacts with the material, I do not have to explain why materialism is not logically incoherent.

  28. 28
    NickMatzke_UD says:

    “Hey when are we getting our book that proves macro evolution? Have you abandoned the project ?”

    I never said I would write a book, so, you’re a liar, and go away.

  29. 29
    Roy says:

    2^10,000,000 * (20 * 5) = A prohibitively large number that computers cannot even represent

    Uh, what?

    2^10,000,000 * (20 * 5) is, in binary, “11001” followed by 10000002 zeroes. It can be stored in just over a megabyte of memory, and can be represented on a screen as a monochrome image of approximately 2000*5000 pixels, three of which are black, or an appropriately coded colour image of less than 500×500 pixels. The decimal form of this number could be stored in a word-processing package as a document with 2667 pages – easily within the capacity of the average home PC or laptop.

    This number is fourteen million orders of magnitude less than the highest prime number found by computer search – which number is, of course, representable in a computer, otherwise it couldn’t have been checked for primality.

    Your number is too large to be manipulated by the Windows calculator program. Perhaps you think that represents the pinnacle of processing capacity – but if so, don’t drag the rest of into your morass of innumeracy.

    Roy

  30. 30
    Zachriel says:

    nkendall: 2^10,000,000 * (20 * 5) = A prohibitively large number that computers cannot even represent

    Actually, that’s a self-refuting statement.

  31. 31
    nkendall says:

    To Velikovskys #26

    Regarding your comment
    Thanks for the comment. I assume you are a materialist so I will answer under that assumption.

    I am in a hurry so I have to be brief. You have offered two points:

    1) The information already exists (and accessed by material processes)

    2) How does the immaterial process cause the brain to dream.

    Regarding 1). In order to make the claim that the visual information in dreams already existed, you would have to invoke a Darwinian explanation. Darwinian stories require chance and necessity–lots of luck and a purpose for everything. How on earth could one imagine that my dream last night which involved me coaching my daughter’s softball team on a field I have never been to, with an umpire I have never seen, against a team we have never played, having faces I have never seen, with rules slightly different, could have been cobbled together in the mind of some Cro-Magnon man in the distant past and lie dormant for 40,000 years and then just happen to be played out in my mind uninterrupted in living color, integrated with appropriate dialog and abstract thoughts, at a point in my life where the context seemed reasonable?

    Keep in mind that any function at all needs to be built up incrementally according to Darwinian folk-lore. That means that each piece of the imagery would have to have occurred and been preserved for some reason. Thinking of the task you put forth in this manner and comparing against the probabilities of let’s say the brain producing even the most simple of programs, “Hello World” one quickly realizes the impossibility of any materialist claim for any mental phenomena. Hello World in machine hex code is about 100 characters. If you had as many simians typing on a standard 40 character key set as there are particles in the universe, throughout the age of the universe and producing a new character string each planck time, you would come nowhere close to producing the Hello World program. You are about 10 orders of magnitude short. So how could all this marvelous and rich mental phenomena have been created using a materialist mechanism?

    Regarding 2). I need offer no such hypothesis because the inherent nature of Theism. My belief is that mind is an endowment by our creator in some way. I have no idea how that is accomplished or how it works. It is unknowable to the human mind. So the burden of explanation is not symmetrical for Theism vs Materialism. You do have to explain how information arises spontaneously in the brain, but I do not have to explain how it arises in the mind. This is not a dodge; it is an artifact of my category of claim vs yours. I claim only that materialism is wrong because it cannot explain mental phenomena such as dreams which is really only one of many that materialism cannot explain.

  32. 32
    Andre says:

    Nick Matzke

    So you have given up… Oki dokie. …

  33. 33
    Mung says:

    Even the great Nick Matzke has to face reality.

  34. 34
    Mung says:

    Is it true that when going on vacation photons always travel light?

  35. 35
    nkendall says:

    Hi Bob O’H,

    Thanks for the comments (#25)

    My calculation does not require that all synapses are firing in sync. That was one of the difficulties I waved away. Since no one has any idea how the brain could possibly produce the visual imagery of a dream, I made the simplifying assumption that there would have to be large collection of “brain components” involved. I used a charitable assumption that the “brain components” would be the firing of a collection of synapses and that each synapse could be in only one of two states. A less charitable assumption would be that the putative brain components, whatever they may be, could be in any of 10 or 100 different states.

    Regarding your comment (3) related to a target. I do not think this applies. The escape clause in Darwinism related to the “no-target” claim is only appropriate when you have a nascent system with few constraints. Once a complex system begins to be assembled, constraints are imposed with each new component. Constraints impose a need for greater and greater specificity. And a high degree of specificity represents a target. This is why irreducible complexity is such an intractable problem for Darwinism. Dream imagery represents an astounding level of “virtual” and instantaneous irreducible complexity because each distinct visual element in an image frame (think of a pixel on a flat screen TV) as it persists throughout the many image frames of the entire dream, has to be precisely what it is in order for the novel dream image content to be continuously coherent. Note that when I say coherent I am speaking only about the concrete aspect of the dream, i.e. the visual content, devoid of any abstract meaning. A dream can be rationally incoherent in the abstract sense, related to meaning, while the visual content is coherent. Same with hallucinations for the most part.

    In a dream you might be watching a ball fly through the air. Now let’s just focus on the image elements that make up the ball as it moves through the field of “vision” of the dream. These image elements making up the ball, which are different from image frame to image frame, have to be precisely what they are in order to accurately depict the familiar flight of a ball that we are all accustomed to as it flies through the air. Constraints are imposed within each frame and throughout each frame which in effect form a target. The same is true of all visual elements within a dream. Therefore the Darwinist “no-target” claim is nullified and probability calculations can be made.

  36. 36
    nkendall says:

    Roy Comment #29; Zachriel Comment #30

    The calculation, which is charitable to materialism, represents the superset of a probability within which a single solution exists with a modest tolerance for error.

    Get to the point…Tell me how it is possible for the brain to produce continuous, novel, coherent, correlated visual content nearly instantaneously.

    You couldn’t even flip a coin 666 times and then match that same sequence given all the probabilistic resources of the entire known universe.

  37. 37
    nkendall says:

    Great points William J Murray Comment #24. Thanks for the additional insights.

  38. 38
    bpragmatic says:

    NickMatzke_UDApril 19, 2015 at 9:54 am
    “Hey when are we getting our book that proves macro evolution? Have you abandoned the project ?”

    I never said I would write a book, so, you’re a liar, and go away.”

    OK. Me for one, wont require you to write a book to scientifically support your conjecture. How about a relevant peer reviewed paper(s) that goes through the peer review process to support your assertions? And if you think those have been completed and actually exist and you know about them, can you please make references to them?

  39. 39
    bpragmatic says:

    “sergmendesApril 18, 2015 at 9:45 pm
    bpragmatic,

    So dreams are no laughing “matter”? (lol)”

    How does your question really “matter”? Ha Ha Ha!

  40. 40
    Jim Smith says:

    http://www.ncregister.com/dail.....evolution/

    Scientists in the field of brain research now inform us that a single human brain contains more molecular-scale switches than all the computers, routers and Internet connections on the entire planet! According to Stephen Smith, a professor of molecular and cellular physiology at the Stanford University School of Medicine, the brain’s complexity is staggering, beyond anything his team of researchers had ever imagined, almost to the point of being beyond belief. In the cerebral cortex alone, each neuron has between 1,000 to 10,000 synapses that result, roughly, in a total of 125 trillion synapses, which is about how many stars fill 1,500 Milky Way galaxies!”

    But some scientists think the synapse is not the basic computational unit of the brain, because individual cells have the ability to learn, they think microtubules within the brain do the computations and that the computational power of the brain is much greater than one would suppose based solely on the number of synapses:

    http://www.skeptiko.com/stuart.....ngularity/

    “Dr. Stuart Hameroff:… I spent 20 years studying microtubule information processing. … each neuron has roughly 10^8 tubulins switching at roughly 10^7 per second, getting 10^15 operations per second per neuron. If you multiply that by the number of neurons you get 10 to the 26th operations per second per brain.”

    (The exponents are not transcribed correctly at the linked transcript but if you listen to the podcast, also at the link, you will hear them spoken as I have written them.)

    And images of natural scenes are highly compressible.

  41. 41
    Robert Byers says:

    Good thread.
    Animals do dream.
    Dreams are, I say, just our soul watching our memories. Our dreams are therefore no different then waking times. In both cases we simply watch memories. Real life is from from our soul watching senses imprinting on the memory and dreams from from our soul watching only memories.
    Daydreaming a special case because of only half knocked out.

    A materialist indeed must have the “brain” organizing the memories for dreaming. Quite a task.
    A believer in the soul easily sees the soul awake/active enough to interplay with memories. including priority memories good or bad.
    Dreams are soooo real because they are the same mecxhanism as waking life. No different.
    It is just US watching memories. Waking memories and asleep ones are difficult to separate as we all know.
    Good punchy thread.

  42. 42
    Andre says:

    I’ll quote Axel

    “Nick was very petulant about God. He deplores his ethical standards, and consequently refuses to believe in Him. If there is one person who can really ‘get up Nick’s nose’, it’s God.”

  43. 43
    kairosfocus says:

    JS,

    a good metric on the astonishing computational power of that neural network substrate, the brain.

    It remains to be noted, that the FSCO/I challenge — that beyond 500 – 1,000 bits of functionally specific organised complexity, blind chance and mechanical necessity are utterly overwhelmed by the needle in haystack blind search challenge — pivots on considering every individual atom in the sol system [~10^57] or observed cosmos [~10^80] as an acting/observing agent.

    As I have pictured, think of giving each such atom a tray of 500 or 1,000 coins [or paramagnetic, 2-state atoms in a weak B-field if you want to object to coins . . . ] and flipping every 10^-14 or -13 s, a fast chem rxn rate. Such tops off at 10^87 – 88 or 10^110 – 111 as top end, but 500 bits have 3.27*10150 possibilities and 1,000 have 1.07*10^301. The search to space ratio becomes vanishingly small, one cannot plausibly expect to find deeply isolated islands of wiring diagram constrained function.

    And, nkendall’s point boils down to, dream sequences are massive, creative FSCO/I in effect virtual 3-d movies in which we participate and explore a possible world. The effect of such, is that the real-time processing involved in such a virtual reality would utterly overwhelm blind needle in haystack search. And that is all that an evo mat approach has as resources.

    So, the undeniable reality of vivid, extensive 1st person participant 3-d dreams speaks to creative mind in action well beyond the processing power of the materialist’s claimed mechanisms, and would demand background programming/ code that to be coherent would have to come from inadequate source.

    The dream case is vivid, but in fact the same extends to our composing text here beyond 72 ASCII characters, as that is the 500 bit sol system threshold.

    Routinely and vividly, we each experience mind effortlessly and vastly transcending the surly bonds that mind = brains in action would impose.

    Just perhaps, then, we need another model?

    One, in which the brain is a sophisticated processor and front-end i/o controller in the brain-body cybernetic loop, but in which — following Eng Derek Smith — there is a higher order intelligent element that integrates with the brain.

    Of, unspecified nature but of evident reality discerned from its works that demand adequate cause.

    And quantum influence on microtubules is a suggested interface mechanism.

    KF

  44. 44
    Zachriel says:

    nkendall: The calculation, which is charitable to materialism, represents the superset of a probability within which a single solution exists with a modest tolerance for error.

    Perhaps. Our point was pedantic, as much directed at Roy as at you, and concerned your claim that computers cannot even represent the number, when nearly all our readers are seeing it represented on a computer. Given a generous reading, you probably meant that the computer can’t count by ones that high.

    nkendall: Tell me how it is possible for the brain to produce continuous, novel, coherent, correlated visual content nearly instantaneously.

    Not sure there is a complete theory of cognition known.

    nkendall: You couldn’t even flip a coin 666 times and then match that same sequence given all the probabilistic resources of the entire known universe.

    No, but you can flip a coin 666 times and come up with a unique sequence every time.

  45. 45
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Zachriel

    Our point was pedantic, as much directed at Roy as at you, and concerned your claim that computers cannot even represent the number, when nearly all our readers are seeing it represented on a computer.

    The challenge for materialism on this point is considerable. You responded with a pedantic quip regarding the term “represent”. Perhaps your side will find some sort of victory there.

  46. 46
    nkendall says:

    To Zachriel regarding #44

    Thanks for the clarification Zachriel.

    Whether or not a computer or calculator will give you response if you enter 2^10,000,000 power is really not the point–it was a bit of hyperbole. Perhaps you can find one that will. The point is that it represents an extraordinarily large haystack within which you must find a needle.

    My question: “how it is possible for the brain to produce continuous, novel, coherent, correlated visual content nearly instantaneously” is not so much whether you can offer a complete theory of cognition. I know that nothing close to that exists. As Thomas Nagel points out, no one even knows how the taste of sugar is recognized in one’s consciousness. My point is, in principle, how is it even possible to acquire that much complex specified information instantaneous by any material means at all.

    If we started receiving signals from the far reaches of outer space that used an unfamiliar modulation scheme and encoding scheme, yet when demodulated and decoded produced the Bible, I am sure that the response would not be something like: “Well, we know it is some natural phenomenon, but we (scientists) do not know how nature creates this apparent design. We have several theories…” Assigning labels to mysteries and invoking promissory materialism for the vast complex specified information in a simple 5 second dream sequence, just doesn’t cut it, for me anyway.

    it is remarkable that marvelously complex, abstract and novel sequence of thoughts occur to each of us every day. Consider Einstein’s flow of consciousness as he sought to solve the problem which became known as Relativity. Are we to believe that material processes in the brain just happened to conspire together to bring about a continuous stream of extraordinarily complex, related thoughts that just happen to be what Einstein was interested in and that just happened to reflect an important truth about reality?

    Your response to the 666 challenge is the same as mine, i.e. that you would never match that configuration is precisely my point. Perhaps I should change the example. What if I flipped a coin 666 times and when decoded in ascii, it produced a Shakespeare Sonnet and you had to match that…or any coherent string of human characters for that matter.

  47. 47
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Great post by nkendall. We can observe the complete lack of response to it. I don’t think our opponents understand (or want to understand) the problem.

    There’s another aspect of dreams that are a problem from the bottom-up materialist view.

    In the same way that brain outputs have to be developed and selected by Darwinian processes, and therefore have to have some selective purpose or function, in the materialist world, matter is all there is. Everything that is, is material.

    This is a major problem for anything imaginative. When the brain represents something that does not exist, what is viewing that? Hydrogen atoms can only know what is real. They can only create what is real (hydrogen molecules, etc).

    How can matter create something that does not exist? The immaterial does not exist in matter, so that’s why dreams have always throughout human society been interpreted as a contact with a spirit-world, or an emanation of spirit.

    But materialism is monistic. There can be no category for “that which does not exist”. If it does not exist in matter, then it is immaterial. That’s not a possible category in materialism.

    So, an “imaginary softball game” must exist in matter. If it does not exist as a material thing, then it is immaterial.

    That’s why there can’t be any rationality in materialism because you can’t have truth versus falsehood in a world entirely of matter. There is only “truth” or “real”. The only way to know what truth is, is to contrast with false (not real).

    Matter is all that is real. All that is real is matter. Matter is all there is. There is nothing that is not real.

    Dreams and imaginations are about not-real things. They’re about the immaterial. There can be no category for the not-real in materialism. All things are matter, therefore real. We cannot even say “or not” because there can be no “not real”.

    Matter cannot imagine its negation or non-existence. Because the non-existence of matter would necessarily be a material thing.

    Regarding software: Even materialist-software that can produce “Hello World” (if possible) has to connect several functions to output that phrase to the screen. “Hello World” is a pattern in a binary sequence. What interprets it as a greeting? Why is it different from eeqlm vntoz?

    A material data-interpreter can only “recognize” what is real. To say that all is matter and we can produce something that is not real, is to say that the “not real is matter”, an obvious contradiction.

  48. 48
    velikovskys says:

    Barry:
    Materialist Dodge 11: The burden is always on you, never on me

    Personally asking someone what they think is more interesting than telling them what they think. Which dodge is that?

  49. 49
    nkendall says:

    To Robert # 41

    Thanks for the excellent comments. Although I do not meditate, what you are describing is akin perhaps to the “witnessing awareness.”

    There are two things in your comments which I wanted to comment on.

    Although I do agree that the context of our dreams and daydreams arise from one’s experience–memory, I have never found that the visual content of my dreams are a direct replay from memory. In fact I would go so far as to say I have never had a dream that was a direct replay out of memory. The particular visual experience in my dreams is always novel, more often than not with new persons and settings and different actions, that is why I find them so interesting. Occasionally real people and places appear in my dreams of course, but never from some memory I have had of them.

    Also you say that “dreams are so real because they are the same mechanism as waking life.” One of the stunning things about dreams is that although they involving high definition, 3D video that is the strikingly similar as that which one experiences through the visual system, the visual content of a dream comes not from the eyes and the visual system, but from somewhere else. A materialist has to explain how it is that a set of brain cells could precisely emulate the visual system. Given the complex cascade of the multitude of proteins and enzymes involved in vision, the biochemical operation and the Darwinian explanation as to how this emulation could have arisen is extraordinarily difficult to explain.

  50. 50
    Zachriel says:

    nkendall: Thanks for the clarification Zachriel.

    We were just providing a more elegant proof to Roy’s point. 2^10,000,000 is a representation on your computer.

    nkendall: The point is that it represents an extraordinarily large haystack within which you must find a needle.

    Sure, if the search were random and there was only a single needle.

    nkendall: My point is, in principle, how is it even possible to acquire that much complex specified information instantaneous by any material means at all.

    Do you mean, how can humans perceive visually? If so, computers are close to being able to do so already. There doesn’t seem to be any a priori barrier to further advances in this regard.

    nkendall: If we started receiving signals from the far reaches of outer space that used an unfamiliar modulation scheme and encoding scheme, yet when demodulated and decoded produced the Bible, I am sure that the response would not be something like: “Well, we know it is some natural phenomenon, but we (scientists) do not know how nature creates this apparent design. We have several theories…”

    No scientist would claim the signal was random. It would likely be a reflection of something originally transmitted from Earth, a common problem in astrophysics. But if you find such a signal, we’ll consider it.

    nkendall: What if I flipped a coin 666 times and when decoded in ascii, it produced a Shakespeare Sonnet and you had to match that…or any coherent string of human characters for that matter.

    Let us know when that happens. Meanwhile, sonnets are generally produced by humans, though computers can produce something akin to sonnets.

  51. 51
    groovamos says:

    bpragmatic: What a joke Matzke, as if you have anything to substantiate your vast array of conjecture.

    What! Don’t you know a pro when you encounter one? Then maybe I should edify so this mistake won’t happen again: a professional is one that holds to the illusion of purpose in work done with the enrollment of purposeless talents.

  52. 52
    kairosfocus says:

    nk, my HP50 calculator will not like that number, nor will most computer software and FP processors. That’s a lot — hugely — more than the number of atoms in the observed cosmos, ~10^80. You can work with it in logged out form, as that compresses hugely. KF

  53. 53
    nkendall says:

    To Zachriel #50

    Regarding “Needle in a haystack”. Given that each distinct image element in the image content of a dream is highly constrained by the associated image elements in the overall visual content, each image element has a defacto target. So there is, in effect, a single needle, many of them in many extraordinarily large haystacks in fact.

    And given that the image content of a dream is novel and unique the search by the physical resources of the brain would in fact be random. If you claim otherwise then please describe how it could have been programmed such that it was deterministic or aided by natural selection.

    Regarding “acquisition of that much complex specified information instantaneous by any material means at all.” You miss the point. No, I do not mean the visual system.

    Regarding signals from outer space. Again you miss the point. I was saying that scientists would not make the claim that it was random. They would not make that claim because the detecting of the text of the Bible would be an extraordinarily large amount of complex specified information, but not any more than, or not much more than, what we are presented with in our dreams, yet you ascribe that to some material process in the brain. Secondly, the signal would not be a “reflection” from earth because I made a special point of saying that the modulation scheme and the encoding scheme was unfamiliar to we humans.

    Regarding 666 coin flips and Shakespeare Sonnets…Of course Sonnets are produced by humans, that’s the point. And computers are not close to producing something akin to sonnets unless you mean someone can program a computer to output the text of a sonnet. The only other way that a computer could generate a poem is for a programmer to enter so constraints that sooner or later by chance something that was not awful, might over the course of human history, result. But were that to happen, I would suggest that it would involve many thousands of lines of codes written by a human. A computer left to its own resources and equipped with only a random character generator, could produce nothing, not even the Hello World program given the entire probabilistic resources of the known universe.

    Best regards.

  54. 54
    Joe says:

    Dreams disprove materialism for the simple fact that materialism cannot account for the organisms who have them. Heck, at a minimum neurons require the proper ions, pumps, neurotransmitters and a way to recognize those neurotransmitters.

  55. 55
    Zachriel says:

    nkendall: Given that each distinct image element in the image content of a dream is highly constrained by the associated image elements in the overall visual content …

    Have no idea what you are trying to say. Dreams are often thought of as free associations. Events of the day are sometimes juxtaposed with past events. One thought leads to another. This process isn’t exactly random, but because the rules of logic are relaxed, almost any image may come upon another. This seems the opposite of being “highly constrained”.

  56. 56
    Joe says:

    Zachriel:

    Have no idea what you are trying to say.

    That is exactly how we feel when we read your posts.

  57. 57
    nkendall says:

    Okay Zachriel. Regarding your comment #55. I have work to do at the moment. I will take the time to spell it out in great deal later today or tomorrow. My explanation might require pictures. Best regards.

  58. 58
    Andre says:

    Joe

    Coolest quip ever. Better than open minded brains that fell out haha!!!

  59. 59
    bornagain77 says:

    nkendall, this may interest you. A ‘dream’ dramatically effected Eric Metaxas’s life:

    Eric Metaxas testimony how he became a Christian – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7juRRJhhIHE

  60. 60
    nkendall says:

    Thanks bornagain77 comment #59. I will check it out. I have his book but have not gone through it yet.

  61. 61
    Robert Byers says:

    nkendall 49#
    I agree with you that our dreams are not repeats of memorized events.
    Yet , i say, they are just using memories exclusively. We do the same in daydreams. We can be slightly unconscience but are in control of our imagination which uses memories.

    like wise in your 3-d eyesight poibnt.
    Our dreams being just the use of memory have no problem duplicating when we see things awake. This because eyesight is just us watching memories of the outside world. We don’t actually see the world. Only a recent, very, memory of it, Also why its editted.
    We only watch a memory from our eyes and so our dreams reveal this facxt as there is no difference when we are sleeping. Its the same simple mechanism.
    We just watch memories awake or asleep. The former are real and the latter our soul picking and choosing.
    Dreams are evidence of how we interact with our senses. Its all observation of memories. Nothing else is going on.
    It could only be that our dreams are as vivid as when awake as there is no difference to our soul’s observation.

  62. 62
    nkendall says:

    Interesting observation Robert #61. I will have to think about that. Best regards.

  63. 63
    nkendall says:

    We are looking at the mental phenomena of dreams. My claim is that dreams exhibit the signature of design. There are many other mental phenomena that exhibit the signature of design but dreams are easier to quantify because of the imagery they provide. Dreams exhibit the signature of design because they produce vast amounts of novel, complex specified information instantaneously. Materialist explanations for the appearance of novel, complex specified information–primarily chance and selection–require vast amounts of opportunity, i.e. time and population (or component) size. This is why the origin of life and the Cambrian Explosion are so confounding to Darwinism.

    How are dreams generated? Materialists would claim that they are somehow produced by the brain. Materialist reductionist solutions are limited to bottom up causation with the caveat of emergence. Emergence is a term that is coming back in vogue because other materialist explanations for mental phenomena have failed. Emergence is simply applying a label to a mystery as Philip Johnson once quipped. I will deal with emergence only tangentially when discussing possible materialist explanations. Materialism’s bottom up causation is primarily a chance endeavor. However, in the case of dreams complex specified information is novel and is generated instantaneously; therefore, time and selection are of no value. So materialist explanations for dreams are left with naked chance to explain the vast amounts of complex specified information produced by dreams. There are a few caveats to this that I will cover in this post.

    Idealism/theism however offers mind/brain dualism with a top-down intelligent causative agency controlling mental phenomena.

    Materialism vs dualism is in effect a binary proposition. My claim would be that if it can be demonstrated that the brain could not possibly generate the vast amounts of novel, complex specified information produced by dreams, then materialism is falsified and the alternative, i.e. mind/brain dualism or something like it, is probably true.

    TERMINOLOGY
    First some terminology. I am going to make a comparison between the video that we see on say an High Definition TV and the imagery that appears in our dreams. When I am speaking of the image of a dream I will use the following terms:

    Image plane – refers to the dream’s presentation of the image canvas appearing in one’s consciousness during a dream. Analogous to a projector screen or TV screen or one’s visual plane as viewed through the eyes during waking consciousness.
    Image content (or imagery) – refers to the mental image content of a dream and all the various components that make up the image plane. Analogous to the image content of a movie or real life as seen through the visual system during waking consciousness.
    Image frame – refers to the dynamic refreshing of the image content in a dream. Analogous to a video frame in video.
    Image element – represents the resolution or granularity of the imagery in the dream. Analogous to a video picture element (pixel) in video systems.

    Note: I am only going to discuss the image content of a dream. I am going to wave away all the intractable difficulties such as the dialog that occurs during a dream, the abstract meaning of the visual element, the abstract thoughts that accompany one’s dreams and other complexities that William J. Murray has pointed out. I am doing this to make the exercise more easily quantifiable.

    DREAM ATTRIBUTES
    Based on my experience and discussions with others, dreams have the following attributes:

    1) The imagery of a dream is NOVEL meaning that it is new (and unique actually). Dream imagery is not a direct replaying out of memory. However, the context or topic of our dreams is typically similar to what we experience in reality so in that limited sense, dreams can be based on memories. For example, I have dreams about things that are going on in my life and often with persons I interact with. But when these contextually similar elements appear in my dream, the image of them is not directly lifted out of memory–it is always different. So dreams are creative in that they produce new imagery.

    2) The quality of the imagery of a dream is REAL in the sense that when you are dreaming in most cases, except lucid dreaming, you are not aware that you are dreaming and the imagery presented seems as real and of essentially the same quality as the imagery that you experience through the visual system during waking consciousness.

    3) The image content of a dream is RESTRICTED to personal human experience. Our dreams include both natural items such as trees and dirt and grass and sky and humans as well as human artifacts such as bats and balls, and tables and chairs and computers. But our dreams do not generally include topics or objects never experienced.

    4) The image content of a dream exhibits COMPLEXITY. Our dream imagery must be comprised of vast numbers of distinct image elements and they associated, underlying brain components that would have to change rapidly over time.

    5) The imagery of a dream exhibits SPECIFICITY in that the distinct image elements are tightly interrelated with one another to form objects and trees and settings and people. Tight interrelatedness means that each image element that makes up an object or a face or a tree in a dream has to be what it is in order for the object to appear real as it normally would through the visual system. Tight interrelatedness of image elements means that they are interdependent and therefore highly constrained. Highly constrained means that they are highly specific. Each image element is in effect specified by the adjacent image elements (think pixels in video) that together makeup an object or face or tree. And these objects are specified by the overall setting of the imagery. The image elements are also specified temporally by the image content of the preceding image frames and the successive image frames.

    6) The imagery of a dream is HIGH DEFINITION, equivalent to what they call Ultra High Definition video. Therefore, a rough comparison can be made between the information content of the imagery in a dream and the information content of Ultra HD video. Ultra HD video has 4000 pixels in a line and 2000 lines. Each picture element (pixel) can be one of about 16 million color values (2^24). There are 60 frames of video per second.

    6) The imagery of a dream is DYNAMIC in the sense that the real human artifacts and natural items and persons are often involved in motion. The motion can be absolute or relative, i.e. the motion can be produced by the object itself moving or by the vantage point of the dreamer as he/she shifts their viewing reference.

    7) The imagery of a dream is CONTINUOUS in the sense that there are no gaps in the imagery of a dream once it starts. There is always a next image frame filled with appropriate content queued up and brought into one’s sleeping consciousness.

    So the imagery in a dream is novel, real, high quality, highly complex, highly specific, dynamic and continuous. I hope that is clear. I do not know how I could be any more clear.

    WHAT A MATERIALIST NEEDS TO EXPLAIN
    A materialist has to explain how the vast amounts of novel, complex specified information can be generated by the physical components within the brain instantaneously. Materialist, reductionist accounting of the mental phenomena involves only the physical brain and is therefore limited to bottom-up causation. However, each brain component would be doing what it is doing based on prior local causation and the long chain of antecedent cause for all brain components involved. The brain and its constituent components could not possibly have any knowledge and especially not any foreknowledge of the mental phenomena, especially novel mental phenomena. There would be no reason to suspect that a multitude of brain components could be marshaled together to produce any coherent mental phenomena and do so nearly instantaneously–no reason at all.

    For a materialist, when a dream starts, this would mean that suddenly, somehow, an unknown material mechanism occurs that sequesters a large array of brain components to produce a sequence of image frames. The material mechanism would have to demarc these brain components based on which specific set of brain components would produce the coloring for which specific set of image elements (Note in all likelihood it would require many brain components to define the color of each distinct image element, each “pixel”). The material mechanism would also have to coordinate between the brain components and arrange them that produce the colors for the multitude of image elements such that coherent image objects (e.g. a tea cup on a table) and a coherent image frame were produced. The material mechanism would have to synchronize the array of brain components such that the imagery would be refreshed in a coordinated way between all the brain components associated with each image element, just as frame sync generator does in video. The underlying material mechanism would also have to ensure that there was a new frame of imagery ready to present to our sleeping consciousness so that the dream imagery appeared uninterrupted–perhaps some fortuitous buffering scheme. The material mechanism would have to present the brain components in such a way that it could be registered and recognized by one’s sleeping consciousness in the same coding scheme used by our visual system. In other words it would have to emulate the mechanism in our visual system. I am sure I left some difficulties out, but lets move on.

    How all that happens is a complete and utter mystery. Science involves explaining causation in physical phenomena. The task facing a materialist is to explain these unidentified material causative mechanisms sketched out above. My claim is that a materialist, brain only, accounting for dream imagery is impossible even in principle. Vast quantities of novel, dynamic, complex specified information cannot be produced instantaneously except through some intelligent top-down causation.

    POSSIBLE MATERIAL EXPLANATIONS
    Let’s look at some possible materialist explanations.

    First off, it should be obvious that dream imagery is not something that could have been programmed by natural selection because our dream imagery is specific to individuals in the 21st century and often involves recently invented human artifacts. So a Darwinian explanation makes no sense unless you deplete Darwinian necessity of all meaning. (That assumes that there is any meaning left to natural selection in the first place).

    An image primitive scheme at first blush seems plausible. The primitive story would involve the brain somehow capturing and preparing all varieties of elements acquired through the visual system as generic components for later integration into a dream. This would be similar to a gaming system rendering content on the fly. I am sure a verbally skilled materialist could weave a “plausible” story together around the primitives scheme that could deceive all varieties of naive foolish young adults in academia or even adults stricken with the mental disease of materialism. But for the skeptical and deep thinkers among us it will not wash. Here is why: First, you would need a complex generic capture mechanism for image primitives in the first place. How could that have evolved? Why would it have evolved? Secondly, you would need a generic preparation function for each image primitive that would prepare primitives for instantiation into a dream sequence. Third when the image primitives were to be integrated into a dream, they would have to have been instantiated on the fly for the specific context and visual content of the dream. Instantiation would involve preparing the images in terms of scale, color, “viewing” angle, and it would have to do so dynamically throughout the sequence of image frames to result in perceived motion. Fourth, the instantiated image primitive(s) would have to be introduced at just the right location in the image plane. Fifth, the instantiated image primitives would have to be introduced at precisely the right time in the dream sequence. Sixth, image primitives would have to be stored and recalled for use which would require some complex and dynamic indexing system (the specter of an infinite regress looms large here). Seventh, the recall mechanism would have to have a recognition system that would pull out usable primitives and instantiate them in a timely manner. There is probably not enough time in the day (or night) for any sort of recognition function to do this. Eighth, dreams often include images of things which are entirely unfamiliar and could not have been derived from any sort of primitive based on past memory. There is more, but I will stop there.

    All this is hopeless complex probably not much easier than randomly generating the images from scratch which is the only other alternative available to materialism.

    FALSIFICATION
    So how would you go about falsifying materialism based on the characteristics of dreams? I am proposing to limit the focus to quantifying the probabilities of the imagery itself and not all the other intractable problems I listed above (as well as many others that I did not even mention). Since materialist explanations for dreams are essentially limited to chance, we would need to calculate the probability of each brain component being arranged precisely how would have to have been vs what it could have been. However, we do not know how many brain components are involved in producing the imagery in a dream (under the assumption that materialism is true) and we do not know how many different states each brain component could be in–no one has a clue. Therefore, we cannot come up with a definitive super set to calculate the probabilities for the brain itself in order to falsify materialism. We have to make an alternative calculation based on the rough assessment of the information content of a dream compared to Ultra High Definition video. For example, each image element (think pixel) in a dream could be one of roughly 16 million color values (1/16,000,000). I suppose there is some tolerance for error here but it is negligible. There would be roughly 8,000,000 image elements per image frame. There would be roughly 60 image frames per second–600 total for a 10 second dream.

    So what are the odds for any distinct image element (pixel) being precisely what it has to be throughout out all 600 image frames? 1/16,000,000^600.

    What are the odds for all image elements in an image frame being precisely what they have to be in order to form the objects and setting and faces and trees, etc in a distinct image frame of a dream? 1/16,000,000^8,000,000

    The resulting probabilities are so diminishingly small that they are hardly worth considering. How much would you have to reduce the numerical assumptions in order to reach a reasonable chance hypothesis?

    Even if you reduced the number of possible values of each image element to 1/10 and reduced the number of image elements per frame to 15 and the frame rate to 10/second, you are still left at the universal probability bound: 10^150. But that would not be a very interesting dream would it.

    Check my math folks, I am only an engineer of sorts not a mathematician.

    A materialist might claim that I am begging the question, in effect, by invoking a phantom target when calculating the odds of meeting a specific value for each image element. I do not believe this objection is valid because I am making no assumption about the cause at all, at least initially. I am merely inferring that from the attributes of dreams that I listed, dream imagery exhibits complex specified information by virtue of their realism, just as a movie does. Therefore calculating a target applies. Just as it would when trying to assess whether a string of human text characters was generated randomly or by human intelligence.

    Any materialist response should include full engagement with some level of details based on plausible explanations. No nipping around the edges, or beating around the bush; no hand waving or shoulder shrugging or playing with semantics; no assigning sophisticated labels to mysterious phenomena and no invoking promissory materialism. Good luck, by comparison, explaining away the Cambrian Explosion is mere child’s play.

  64. 64
    velikovskys says:

    Nkendall:

    We are looking at the mental phenomena of dreams. My claim is that dreams exhibit the signature of design.

    Yes, I agree.does all design and information require a immaterial source?

    Dreams exhibit the signature of design because they produce vast amounts of novel, complex specified information instantaneously.

    What evidence do you have that it is instantaneously? Or should I say what information does your immaterial self have?

    Materialist explanations for the appearance of novel, complex specified information–primarily chance and selection–require vast amounts of opportunity, i.e. time and population (or component) size.

    Materialists also recognize a human brain is capable of producing information, it has been observed by other human brains that damage to the brain causes a decrease in the amount and quality of that information, why should brain damage affect an immaterial source of information? Sorry for all the questions but I find this fascinating.

  65. 65
    nkendall says:

    To velikovsks #64

    Inference of design and ascribing it to an immaterial (intelligent) source would be based on probability thresholds as William Dembski has detailed. Rock cairns, for example, in national parks could theoretically be created by natural phenomena but it would be highly improbable. There are many computer models out there that purport to generate useful things. I have not looked at all of them and only a couple in detail. The ones I have looked at, it seems there is always some design smuggled in somewhere somehow. I usually find these things to be like a shell game, like Gould’s Punctuated Equilibrium which traded off mutation for selection. Sure simple adaptations can be fixed more quickly in small populations but small populations are less likely to generate useful mutations in the first place.

    The alternative to dream content being produced instantaneous, from a materialist perspective, would be that the dream imagery would have been created over a period of time to allow for the tandem mechanisms of chance and selection to work their supposed magic. I think it would be a draft on credulity to believe that the imagery in a dream could be built up over a period of time because so often dreams involve topics that were experienced just a few days or hours prior and because they involve novel imagery integrated with dialog and thought. Also within a single individual what would selection even mean? What would the inheritance function entail that passed on nascent thoughts that would eventually bloom into a full fledged dream? From a dualist perspective, I have no problem in accepting that the mind prepares thoughts in advance–perhaps well in advance. I believe that the mind does constantly queue up thoughts in near real time during waking consciousness (and while sleeping) and readies them for presentation to our consciousness. Materialists like Sam Harris misinterpret this phenomenon in light of Benjamin Libet’s experiments as a demonstration that free will does not exist. Libet himself did not hold that view. I have always found it remarkable that there are never any gaps in our thought streams during waking consciousness and that each successive thought is related to the previous thought and relevant to one’s interest. I don’t know how a materialist can account for these everyday experiences especially when they involve new complex thoughts like Relativity. I have never seen a serious attempt at explaining this.

    The fact that you could impair thought by damaging the brain is unsurprising. A mind/brain dualist like myself would never claim that the brain does nothing, nor would I claim that it is not a necessary condition for thought. My point would be that the brain is a necessary condition (in most cases) but not a sufficient condition to account for thought. I could loosen the strings on David Garrett’s violin for example and I am sure the audience would be quite disappointed in the sound. If I loosened them enough perhaps no useful sound at all. The violin is a necessary condition but not a sufficient condition for producing a nice sound by a violinist. There are many counter cases. In other words cases where little or even no useful brain at all (assuming the folks who have had near death experiences and especially out of body experiences are not all fibbing) or massive brain modifications produce little noticeable mental impairment. That is much harder for a materialist to explain than it is for a dualist to explain how brain damage could affect thought.

    Best regards.

  66. 66
    nkendall says:

    Thanks for the additional comments Kairosfocus #43 and Silver Asiatic #47. I do not have time to comment now but will take a closer look when I get a chance. Best regards.

  67. 67
    Robert Byers says:

    nkendall
    I think you make a excellent case that dreams show a soul. someone is agitating the dreams and observing them.
    Dreams are memories , direct or twisted, and thats why they are vivid.
    Awake or asleep is irrelevant to the mechanism. Our soul simply observes memories. Our senses shoot info directly into our memory and we watch it.
    Dreams are former memories and could only be just as vivid.
    yet as you say someone is involved.
    a materialist must say our brain watches our memories.
    Who is the brain?
    It could only be our soul.

  68. 68
    Roy says:

    nkendall @36:

    The calculation, which is charitable to materialism, represents the superset of a probability within which a single solution exists with a modest tolerance for error.

    Get to the point…Tell me how it is possible for the brain to produce continuous, novel, coherent, correlated visual content nearly instantaneously.

    The point is that you wrote something that wasn’t just wrong, it was trivially and obviously wrong. This undermines the credibility of the rest of your post.

    The point now is that you are avoiding acknowledging your error, and trying to divert attention elsewhere. This undermines your integrity.

    Roy

  69. 69
    nkendall says:

    Roy #68,
    Hi Roy,

    There was no error. You misunderstood and/or are playing games with semantics.

    Representing or storing a number on a computer is not the same thing as claiming the probabilities involving that number are within reach.

    Engage the issue, don’t nitpick. How can dream imagery be created by the brain?

    Regards

  70. 70
    MrMosis says:

    Somewhat related, I am always amazed (aside from the imagery and related elements of the immersive experience) at my dream-maker’s ability to likewise create fully immersive plots, sub-plots, themes, narratives, etc… all behind my back, no less. (I certainly have nothing to do with it.) My dream-maker is better at conjuring up stories for me to participate in than my waking, conscious self is. I’ve even been told jokes in my dreams. I have been the butt of multi-party jokes in dreams, and conspired against by multiple conspirators working together. I have made efforts to solve problems in dreams. And to thwart the efforts of antagonists. And to think I am playing both sides…

    The level of intelligence required to pull that stuff off is unfathomable in my mind. Just try to get a computer to learn/understand the English language. And what are the plots and themes I am thrust into night after night comprised of if not language?

    And also, what is it exactly that babies are dreaming of?

  71. 71
    bornagain77 says:

    MrMosis your post reminded me of these studies:

    Sleep Might Help You Solve Problems Better – 2011
    Excerpt: In the study, researchers assigned 54 college students (aged 18-23) to one of two groups. One learned a gambling game in the morning, while the other learned it in the evening, although no one was allowed to learn the trick to beating the game. Then they came back 12 hours later to play the game.
    Those who had a chance to get a full night’s sleep after learning the game did a better job of figuring out the trick to it. Eighty percent of those who slept figured out the trick to the game, while 40 percent of those who stayed awake did, Spencer said.
    The researchers assigned the game to other groups of students and found that the time of day when they played it didn’t affect their performance, boosting the case that sleep was a crucial factor for the first two groups.
    http://consumer.healthday.com/.....53604.html

    Let Me Sleep On It: Creative Problem Solving Enhanced By REM Sleep – June 9, 2009
    Excerpt: “We found that – for creative problems that you’ve already been working on – the passage of time is enough to find solutions,” said Mednick. “However, for new problems, only REM sleep enhances creativity.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....182421.htm

  72. 72
    Robert Byers says:

    Mrmosis
    i get jokes and stuff like that too in my dreams. my jokes aren’t that good.
    Yet its not a dream maker.
    Its just the glory of ones memory ability.
    We do remember all the jokes we ever heard, I think, and easily play back their concepts. Also we might dream it was funny but its a deception of the story.
    Dreaming is merely us USING memories. its not impressive but as ordinary as making up lies.
    It shows how much we are meshed with our memory for thinking.
    Almost the same thing. Yet its just a soul with a material machine.

  73. 73
    Robert Byers says:

    There is a good wiki article on dreams.
    I like the idea that dreams are just reading memories and that sleep is just to recharge our memory ability. or rather our temporary memory etc etc.
    some good papers i found there. I think they are getting closer but still miss the point that its our soul merely reading memories because incoming senses are shut off.

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