28 Replies to “Does the mind extend beyond the brain?

  1. 1
    daveS says:

    Given the quite skeptical posts about dark matter that we frequently read here, it’s surprising that Sheldrake’s “morphic fields” nonsense would even warrant a mention.

  2. 2
    Seversky says:

    I’m guessing it’s because it lends vague “scientific” credence to the dualist position that holds sway here.

  3. 3
    JDH says:

    @2 Three things I would like to know Seversky.

    1. Is there a scientific basis for monism?
    2. If so, outside of the evidence that seems to exist in your mind, ( not in mine ), what is the evidence for monism?
    3. Why isn’t the ability for you to answer 1 and 2 scientific evidence for dualism?

  4. 4
    Alexus says:

    I too, am curious on how the UD community generally feels about Morphic Fields. It does not seem consistent with the mendelian genetics perspective that is taken for granted here.

  5. 5
    RDFish says:

    Hi JDH,

    Science has not (and perhaps cannot) demonstrate the truth of (any particular flavor of) monism or dualism.

    If you look closely, you’ll find that ID implicitly rests on the truth of dualism, which is one of several reasons why ID is not a scientific hypothesis.

    While science does not support a conclusion of materialism or physicalism, there is a tremendous amount of obvious evidence regarding the necessity (but not the the sufficiency) of brain function for mental abilities and experience. There is no scientific evidence of anything without a functioning brain being able to think at all. We think with our brains as surely as we move blood with our hearts and digest food with our stomachs, and it is contrary to our experience that perception, reasoning, and design could take place without the operation of a highly complex physical organ or mechanism to store and process information.

    ID enthusiasts focus on the idea that complex mechanisms require intelligent design, but are loathe to admit that intelligent design requires complex mechanism. I embrace both of these empirically based truths, and that makes people here really angry 🙂

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  6. 6
    Mung says:

    Science itself implicitly rests on dualism, which is why science cannot be science.

  7. 7
    Mapou says:

    Dualism and Yin-Yang are synonymous. It is everywhere. From DNA to math, consciousness and physics. There is no escaping it.

    Why dualism? It is because the sum total of all things is either zero or, in case of a violation, returning to zero. It means that everything comes in complementary-opposite pairs. Why? Because this is the only ontology of substance that does not lead to an infinite regress. Those who resist the all-encompassing reality of dualism are either in la-la land or they are under some nefarious influence. If you believe that everything is material or that everything is spiritual, you are lost in a lost world. Dualism explains EVERYTHING. Dualism IS everything. Dualism is ONE. Dualism is truth.

    Humor: What did the Zen master say to the hot dog vendor? Answer: Make me one with everything.

  8. 8
    StephenB says:

    Mapou

    What did the Zen master say to the hot dog vendor? Answer: Make me one with everything.

    Great stuff!

    What did the hot dog vendor say when the Zen Master asked for his change back: “Change comes from within.”

  9. 9
    Virgil Cain says:

    RDFish:

    ID enthusiasts focus on the idea that complex mechanisms require intelligent design, but are loathe to admit that intelligent design requires complex mechanism.

    No, fool, ID is NOT about the mechanism. That is what we say. We don’t care if it is complex. Obviously it is more complex than anything we can do, duh.

  10. 10
    Mapou says:

    RDFish:

    ID enthusiasts focus on the idea that complex mechanisms require intelligent design, but are loathe to admit that intelligent design requires complex mechanism. I embrace both of these empirically based truths, and that makes people here really angry 🙂

    You know, not being one to shy away from any challenge to my worldview, I think this is a very good criticism, maybe not of ID per se, but of dualism and creationism in general. Dualists and creationists have not, AFAIK, offered a satisfactory response to this criticism, IMO. No, the old “God is transcendental” explanation is just a bunch words that do not mean much.

    Don’t take me wrong. The materialist side has not offered any plausible explanation either, other than the usual “turtles all the way down” hand waving and other BS of the same genre. So their frantic demands are just another example of black pots accusing dark kettles.

    I think I may have found an answer to this dilemma but I would like to hear what others have in mind before I divulge it.

  11. 11
    StephenB says:

    There is a match between [a] our minds and [b] the world. There is [a] the knower and [b] the thing know. I can’t imagine how any world view except dualism could explain these two facts.

  12. 12
    JDH says:

    RDFish said:

    There is no scientific evidence of anything without a functioning brain being able to think at all

    First – what do you mean by “scientific evidence”. If you mean evidence arrived at under a rigorously controlled scientific experiment, there are a great many good reasons why there is no “scientific evidence” for thinking taking place without a functioning, blood-receiving brain. Would you volunteer to have your brain temporarily turned off in a controlled experiment? Would you know anyone who would accept this?

    However, if you take the research into NDE’s as scientific investigation, there is a lot of “scientific evidence” of thinking occurring outside of the substrate of the brain. I will admit it is not conclusive, but there is a big difference between stating there exists evidence which does not prove something to me, and the claim of total lack of evidence. Please be clearer when you argue.

  13. 13
    RDFish says:

    Hi JDH,

    First – what do you mean by “scientific evidence”.

    I mean empirical evidence, that which is grounded in our uniform and shared experience.

    If you mean evidence arrived at under a rigorously controlled scientific experiment, there are a great many good reasons why there is no “scientific evidence” for thinking taking place without a functioning, blood-receiving brain. Would you volunteer to have your brain temporarily turned off in a controlled experiment? Would you know anyone who would accept this?

    The evidence is documented in the huge literature of neuroscience that connects brain activity to mental activity.

    However, if you take the research into NDE’s as scientific investigation, there is a lot of “scientific evidence” of thinking occurring outside of the substrate of the brain.

    There was an attempt to validate NDEs as evidence of mental activity outside of the brain by hiding objects in operating rooms and asking the recovered patient to identify them… but it never worked.

    I will admit it is not conclusive, but there is a big difference between stating there exists evidence which does not prove something to me, and the claim of total lack of evidence. Please be clearer when you argue.

    I think I’m being pretty clear. I follow paranormal research and there are simply no unequivocal demonstrations of phenomena that demonstrate cognition without a functioning brain.

    And again, everything we understand about perception, learning, and problem-solving is based on information processing which requires complex physical mechanism. ID simply assumes that these mental abilities can occur prior to the existence of CSI-rich organisms, but offers no evidence of any such thing.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  14. 14
    Virgil Cain says:

    RDFool:

    ID simply assumes that these mental abilities can occur prior to the existence of CSI-rich organisms, but offers no evidence of any such thing.

    No, ID doesn’t say anything about the designing intelligence.

  15. 15
    kairosfocus says:

    VC, I glanced at the stick of recent comments and noticed your namecalling just above. Please, stop it — such only promotes a climate of hostility and polarisation apart from being rude. KF

  16. 16
    kairosfocus says:

    RDF, why are you strawmannising an inductive inference to best explanation on reliable empirically tested sign? FSCO/I is such a sign, per trillions of cases in point with no credible observed counter examples and the needle in haystack config space search analysis to back it up. As you full well know or should know but seem utterly unwilling to acknowledge. Where we see it we are therefore epistemically and logically entitled to infer design and hold that design is evidence of a capable designer. That is not a question-begging assumption and you should know it. KF

  17. 17
    Mung says:

    I mean empirical evidence, that which is grounded in our uniform and shared experience.

    Apparently this poster thinks the mind does extend beyond the brain. I guess that’s how we can have “shared experiences.”

    Moreover, it’s simply not true that empirical evidence depends on uniformity.

  18. 18
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: The pattern of reasoning as cited is independent of mechanisms of design. Further to this, it is easy to show that blind chance and mechanical necessity cannot account for the responsible, rational freedom that is involved in creative design, for fairly obvious reasons. So, no it is not known at all that design implies such mechanisms. Complexity all the way down fails once responsible, rational freedom is involved.

  19. 19
    Box says:

    Kairosfocus: (…) it is easy to show that blind chance and mechanical necessity cannot account for the responsible, rational freedom that is involved in creative design, for fairly obvious reasons.

    I fully agree with Kairosfocus. I would like to add to crucial terms wrt design, which cannot be accounted for by blind chance and mechanical necessity: overview and teleology.

  20. 20
    RDFish says:

    Hi KF,

    RDF, why are you strawmannising….

    Is that really a verb?

    … an inductive inference to best explanation…

    That would be an abductive inference.

    … on reliable empirically tested sign?

    I have no idea what you are talking about.

    FSCO/I is such a sign, per trillions of cases in point with no credible observed counter examples and the needle in haystack config space search analysis to back it up. As you full well know or should know but seem utterly unwilling to acknowledge.

    I’ve been trying to explain this to you for years but you refuse to read and understand this simple point I make here. But being an extraordinarily patient and kind person, I shall make yet another good faith attempt to explain it to you:

    1) I grant here, arguendo, that FSCO/I and all of these other things that IDers come up with show that the complex form and function we see in biology could not arise from the evolutionary processes we currently understand. So we agree on this.

    2) The only known source of complex machinery such as we see in biology are human beings. I assume we agree on this also.

    3) Here is where we disagree: ID calls humans’ ability to create complex machinery “design”, and then says that “design” is what is responsible for our producing complex machinery. But “design” isn’t a thing that humans “have” or “use” – it is just the word that describes what we do when we create complex machinery. “Design” doesn’t create complex machines, human beings do.

    Again, the only known source of complex machinery is NOT “design” or “intelligence” or “mind” or “consciousness”. Rather, the known only source of complex machinery is human beings.

    I’m going to stop there and wait for your agreement before moving forward.

    Cheers,
    RDFish/AIGuy

  21. 21
    Mapou says:

    StephenB:

    There is a match between [a] our minds and [b] the world. There is [a] the knower and [b] the thing know. I can’t imagine how any world view except dualism could explain these two facts.

    I think that knower and known are best identified as spirit and brain. Mind, to me, is the combination of brain and spirit. We can only infer that there is a world out there. We never see it directly. For example, there are no colors in the world. We have sensors (photodetectors) for different EM frequencies. The sensors send signals to the visual cortex in the back of the brain where we experience colors. But there are no colors in the brain either. All the “color” neurons are biochemically identical. It is obvious that color must come from something else, the spirit.

    Descartes was not sure of the existence of an external world either. In the end, he could only say, “Cogito, ergo sum”.

  22. 22
    Robert Byers says:

    i think information goes simply into the memory. Its real. Yet we need a soul to read the memory. thats the magic. Thats whyy they can’t get it right. They are rejecting historical christianity’s conclusions and cristiandoms conclusions.
    I think they get in the way of heaking mind problems.

  23. 23
    englishmaninistanbul says:

    @19 RDFish

    I’m glad to see someone else has picked up on the same thing.

    This is something I had a fruitful exchange about a while back with gpuccio (at least I think it was for me).

    My current take on the situation is that the term “intelligent design[er]” is intended more as a kind of ballpark, working concept than a formal ontological definition, perhaps on purpose given the limited research resources on hand and the danger of getting philosophically pigeon-holed too early on.

    Philosophers have been debating for millennia about agency (as opposed to chance or necessity), consciousness, mind, personhood and the like. These debates unavoidably open up deeper issues such as over dualism/monism, determinisim/libertarianism etc.

    Gpuccio defines an intelligent designer in terms of consciousness, which must ultimately limit the scope of empirical justification to human beings. However I believe the bar does not need to be set so high. Consider a term such as “modeller-manipulator”, for instance, which could be defined as an entity that internally models an environment and then manipulates that environment in accord with another internal model. Then the scope would not be limited to human beings but would include other life forms such as ants and beavers, and even provisionally mechanical objects.

    But leaving that to one side, I think there is only one thing that nees to be asked of someone who rejects ID wholesale on the basis that “the only known source of complex machinery is human beings”:

    Do you accept the possibility of a non-human mind/consciousness/intelligence/[insert preferred term here]?

    In other words, if we discover writing on Pluto, would you treat as scientific the inference that extraterrestrial life exists?

    If you answer yes (as almost everyone on both sides of the origins debate would), then you too are conceding the validity of the design inference without demanding a blow-by-blow definition of “a designer”.

    So it’s interesting, but ultimately moot.

  24. 24
    Mung says:

    RDFish: 2) The only known source of complex machinery such as we see in biology are human beings. I assume we agree on this also.

    In what way is the “complex machinery” of the cell at all like human machines?

  25. 25
    kairosfocus says:

    RDF, we go there again? We know cells exhibit FSCO/I, and we know that FSCO/I per a trillion member observational base, comes about consistently by design, with no known exceptions. Humans are designers, but we have utterly no basis for restricting designs to humans, indeed as we have cells in our bodies and see such in life forms, with FSCO/I, we have evidence that points to other designers around antecedent to cell based life such as we observe on earth. KF

  26. 26
    StephenB says:

    RDFish

    Design” doesn’t create complex machines, human beings do.

    Hi RD,

    It would be more accurate and precise to say that designers (not only humans) create purposeful arrangements of parts (not only complex machines). Also, the role of designer is not limited to humans; animals (or perhaps a supernatural being), could also arrange parts for a purpose.

    Accordingly, ID is not concerned with humans, as humans, but rather humans, as designers. And again, ID is not concerned with complex mechanisms, as complex mechanisms, but rather complex mechanisms, as purposeful arrangements of parts.

    Again, the only known source of complex machinery is NOT “design” or “intelligence” or “mind” or “consciousness”. Rather, the known only source of complex machinery is human beings.

    The only known source of complex machinery is human beings, as designers. Insofar as humans act in that role, they are designers. ID is interested only in designeres, not humans as humans.

  27. 27
    Mung says:

    Meanwhile the jury is still out on why RDFish thinks that “The only known source of complex machinery such as we see in biology are human beings.”

    He wants us to all agree on this, but I don’t agree. I don’t think complexity has anything to do with it. But maybe I’m wrong.

    In what way is the “complex machinery” of the cell at all like what humans produce? Is it like music? Like poetry? Like dancing?

    My intuition is that RDFish wants us to look at “complexity” when the real issue is somewhere else entirely.

    We’ll just have to wait and see how RDFish answers.

  28. 28
    StephenB says:

    Mung

    My intuition is that RDFish wants us to look at “complexity” when the real issue is somewhere else entirely.

    Correct. The issue is not about human beings and complex machines. The issue is about designers and the purposeful arrangement of parts.

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