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At Mind Matters News: Dualism is the best option for understanding the mind and the brain

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Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor reflects on the fact that theories that attempt to show that the mind does not really exist clearly don’t work and never did:

Just about any shallow science writer can tell you what is wrong with dualism, citing Descartes. But, in reality, the world we live in is inherently dual. There is classical physics and then there is quantum physics. There is material matter and energy and then there is immaterial information. just for example. Claiming they are all the same sort of thing is certainly a stretch.

News, “Dualism is the best option for understanding the mind and the brain” at Mind Matters News

Takehome: Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor reviews the mind-brain theories for East Meets West: Theology Unleashed. He thinks dualism makes the best sense of the evidence.

Here are transcripts and notes for the first thirty minutes:

How we can know mental states are real? Mental states are always “about” something; physical states are not “about” anything. Michael Egnor argues that doing science as a physicalist (a materialist) is like driving a car with the parking brake on; it’s a major impediment to science.

Why neurosurgeon Mike Egnor stopped being a materialist atheist. He found that materialism is just not working out in science. Most propositions in basic science are based on mathematics and mathematics is not a material thing.


How science points to meaning in life. The earliest philosopher of science, Aristotle, pioneered a way of understanding it. Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor talks about the four causes of the events in our world, from the material to the mind.

You may also wish to read: Why the universe itself can’t be the most fundamental thing. Atheist biology professor Jerry Coyne is mistaken in dismissing my observation that proofs of God’s existence follow the same logical structure as any other scientific theory. (Michael Egnor)

7 Replies to “At Mind Matters News: Dualism is the best option for understanding the mind and the brain

  1. 1

    The real dualism is between creator and creation, and all the dualisms egnor talks about are all creations.

  2. 2
    Pater Kimbridge says:

    “physical states aren’t ‘about anything’

    Well, you can say the physical bits in a computer aren’t “about anything”, but the software instructions they hold ARE “about something”. The instructions are simply states of the physical bits, and cannot exist without the physical bits.

  3. 3
    kairosfocus says:

    PK, no, the stored and processed states in a computer are not about anything. It is we who impose meaning — using coded language — and use the machines for our purposes. KF

  4. 4
    Seversky says:

    Dualism does not explain deficits in mental functioning following injury to the physical brain such as a stroke nor the lack of any compelling evidence for the claim that the conscious mind survives the death of the brain.

  5. 5
    William J Murray says:

    There is material matter and energy and then there is immaterial information. just for example.

    Where is the material matter and energy Egnor speaks of? Science cannot find it. For decades science has conducted experiment after experiment attempting to salvage some form of external reality, and failed. The results of the experiments are in: there is no such thing as what we used to consider the objective, fact-filled external material world. It just doesn’t exist.

    The science shows “reality” to be an observer-centric experiential phenomena entirely within mind. Both dualism and materialism have been demonstrated false by repeated experimentation. Idealism has been experimentally verified. Time to develop an idealism reality theory.

    Oh wait.

  6. 6
    Fasteddious says:

    Sev @ 4: I’m sure you’ve been told many times in this venue, but I will try to clarify for you again:
    If the brain was an interface between the non-physical spirit and the physical body, then just as a damaged radio unit works poorly (or not at all) to receive or send signals, so a damaged brain may interfere with the spiritual interface and hence, mental functioning. This is a simple concept that even you can surely understand, so please stop harping on that supposed “evidence” that brain = mind.
    As for your “lack of compelling evidence” that mind survives death, I suggest that it is only you and fellow atheists who do not find the piles of evidence (outlined several times in this venue) “compelling”. Just because you don’t like the evidence, or refuse to take it seriously does not mean there is no evidence.

  7. 7

    The spirit makes choices. The brain has an organization in terms of decisionmaking processes. Damage to the brain, breaks down this organization, so then the spirit makes choices in a different way.

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