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At Mind Matters News: Why neuroscientist Mark Solms is no materialist

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Mainly due to information theory:

He points out that, to begin with, Einstein’s famous equation — E equals MC squared — makes the point that matter is derivative. It’s a state of energy

Mark Solms: Information, in neuroscience, is a crucial concept, and it’s very hard to think about quantum physics and the big questions that are unsolved that flow from it without the concept of information — which, I hasten to draw your attention to the fact, is not matter. I’m not a materialist for exactly that reason. [01:27:30]

I don’t believe that the mind can be reduced to matter. Matter is an appearance. If you’re wanting to make connections between mind and body and see them both as appearances, then you can’t be a materialist. We must always remember, as I keep saying, that these are concepts. These are abstractions. These are inferences. These are words that we use to try to articulate these profound things. I think that, among those tools, the concept of information, in the sense that Shannon introduced it into physics in 1948, has not yet begun to… The implications, the importance, the value of this concept has not begun to fully reveal itself. [01:28:30]

News, “Why neuroscientist Solms is no materialist: Information theory” at Mind Matters News (December 9, 2021)

Problems like that are why Darwinism/naturalism is failing.

Takehome: In Solms’s view, the true implications of quantum mechanics and information theory in refuting materialism are only beginning to be understood.

The main thing to see is that neuroscience has not been good news for materialism, naturalism, or Darwinism. Lots of (non-religious) people are beginning to discover that.

The discussion to date

Here’s the first portion of the debate/discussion, where neuropsychologist Mark Solms shares his perspective: Consciousness: Is it in the cerebral cortex — or the brain stem? In a recent discussion/debate with neurosurgeon Michael Egnor, neuropsychologist Mark Solms offers an unconventional but evidence-based view, favouring the brain stem. The evidence shows, says Mark Solms, author of The Hidden Spring, that the brain stem, not the cerebral cortex is the source of consciousness.

And Michael Egnor responds:

1.2. Neurosurgeon and neuropsychologist agree: Brain is not mind Michael Egnor tells Mark Solms: Neuroscience didn’t help him understand people; quite the reverse, he had to understand people, and minds, to make sense of neuroscience. Egnor saw patients who didn’t have most of their frontal lobes who were completely conscious, “in fact, rather pleasant, bright people.”

1.3. Then Solms admits what all know but few say: Neuroscientist: Mind is not just brain? That’s career limiting! Neuropsychologist Mark Solms and neurosurgeon Michael Egnor agreed that clinical experience supports a non-materialist view but that the establishment doesn’t. Mark Solms: “science is an incredibly rigid… sort of… it’s like a mafia. You have to go along with the rules of the Don, otherwise you’ve had it.”

In the second portion, they offer definitions of consciousness:

2.1 Materialist neuroscientists don’t usually see real patients. Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor and neuropsychologist Mark Solms find common ground: The mind can be “merely what the brain does” in an academic paper. But not in life. Egnor takes a stab at defining consciousness: Following Franz Brentano, he says, “A conscious state is an intentional state.” Next, it will be Solms’s turn.

2.2 A neuropsychologist takes a crack at defining consciousness. Frustrated by reprimands for discussing Big Questions in neuroscience, Mark Solms decided to train as a psychoanalyst as well. As a neuropsychologist, he sees consciousness, in part, as the capacity to feel things, what philosophers call “qualia” — the redness of red.

3.1 Einstein believed in Spinoza’s God. Who is that God? Neuropsychologist Mark Solms admits that life is “miraculous” and sees Spinoza’s God, embedded in nature, as the ultimate explanation. In a discussion with Solms, neurosurgeon Michael Egnor argues that it makes more sense to see God as a Person than as a personification of nature.

3.2 Egnor and Solms: What does it mean to say God is a Person? Mark Solms and Michael Egnor discuss and largely agree on what we can rationally know about God, using the tools of reason. Egnor argues that, if the most remarkable thing about us is our personhood (I am), it Makes sense to think of God as a Person (I AM).

You may also wish to read: Your mind vs. your brain: Ten things to know

One Reply to “At Mind Matters News: Why neuroscientist Mark Solms is no materialist

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    Of course we have moved on to a stronger sense of information, functionally specific information, not just capability to carry such. KF

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