Intelligent Design

Brain as illusion?

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I see where Discovery Institute has put up a podcast with me, on “Is the Brain Just an Illusion?

This must be one of the ones I did in Seattle in 2007, when they asked me to come and explain the book.

What I always ask is, “If the brain or the mind are an illusion, whose illusion are they?”

This question is modelled on the Jewish zen: “If the mind is an illusion, whose arthritis is this?”

On this episode of ID The Future, Anika Smith interviews science writer Denyse O’Leary about her book, The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Case for the Existence of the Soul.

In the book O’Leary and her co-author Mario Beaurogard, neuroscientist and Associate Professor at Université de Montréal, explore the question of whether or not the mind is an illusion as materialists believe. The Spiritual Brain looks at whether religious experiences come from God or are merely the random firing of neurons in the brain. Drawing on his own research with Carmelite nuns, Beauregard shows that genuine, life-changing spiritual events can be documented. He and O’Leary offer compelling evidence that mind creates matter, rather than matter creating mind.

Listen here. By the way, I always call myself the co-author and recognize neuroscientist Mario Beauregard of the Universite de Montreal as the lead author.

Denyse O’Leary is co-author of The Spiritual Brain.

5 Replies to “Brain as illusion?

  1. 1
    DonaldM says:

    Oh, I don’t know Denyse, I’ve come across some folks who brains HAD to be an illusion!

  2. 2
    johnnyb says:

    Denyse –

    The Spiritual Brain is a fantastic book! I’m so glad you two took the time to write it.

  3. 3

    I always find it curious when one says the mind is an illusion for one must have a mind to have illusions. Illusions are states of consciousness for crying out loud.

  4. 4
    Mark Frank says:

    #3

    I don’t think many materialists believe that the mind is an illusion. They just think it is a way of perceiving the activities of the brain. To use my favourite comparison. Your perception of where you arm is entirely different in nature from an observer’s perception of where your arm is. However, there is only one arm and there isn’t a dual arm in the mental world.

  5. 5

    #4

    They just think it is a way of perceiving the activities of the brain.

    The question is what is doing the perceiving?

    You are correct to say that the arm in the mental world is different than the physical arm in that the mental arm has no weight, coordinates or spatial extension, however the arm exists in that form nonetheless. The thought is about the arm whereas the arm isn’t about anything. I would venture to say the thought of the arm (the information about the arm) has to exist prior to the arm existing in physical form. The reason I say this is the functionality of the arm(s) in the physical world does not strike me as happenstance. But that is another post.

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