Intelligent Design Mind Naturalism

Michael Egnor: Does your brain construct your conscious reality?

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Part I A reply to computational neuroscientist Anil Seth’s recent TED talk

Anil Seth’s talk is a breathtaking compendium of fallacies on the mind and the brain. We can learn a lot from him—by understanding the errors into which he falls and the way out of those errors.

Part II Does your brain construct your conscious reality?

In a word, no. Your brain doesn’t “think”; YOU think, using your brain

The brain understands nothing, imagines nothing, sees nothing. It wills nothing. We understand, we imagine, we see, and we will, using our brains.

See also: Can machines really learn? A parable of a book that learned Machine learning is a powerful and important tool that is likely to be of great value (and perhaps great risk) to man. Machines can be designed to change with time, but it is man, and only man, who learns.

4 Replies to “Michael Egnor: Does your brain construct your conscious reality?

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    In part 2 Dr. Egnor states:

    DOES YOUR BRAIN CONSTRUCT YOUR CONSCIOUS REALITY? PART II
    In a word, no. Your brain doesn’t “think”; YOU think, using your brain
    MICHAEL EGNOR OCTOBER 9, 2018
    Excerpt: The mereological fallacy is the confusion of the part for the whole. It is the nonsensical attribution of abilities to the part that can only be abilities of the whole. It is the mereological fallacy to say that my mouth speaks. Actually, I speak, using my mouth. It is the mereological fallacy to say that my feet walk. Actually, I walk, using my feet.
    This fallacy is employed incessantly in neuroscience. Neuroscientists commonly claim that the brain or a part of the brain understands, or imagines, or sees, or wills.
    https://mindmatters.today/2018/10/does-your-brain-construct-your-conscious-reality-part-ii/

    This inability of materialistic explanations, i.e. ‘the parts’, to account for the person, i.e. ‘the whole’, is now proven, via Gödel’s incompleteness theorem, to occur at a very low level.

    In the following article, which extended Gödel’s incompleteness theorem to physics, and which is entitled ‘Quantum physics problem proved unsolvable: Gödel and Turing enter quantum physics’, which studied the derivation of macroscopic properties from a complete microscopic description, the researchers remark that even a perfect and complete description of the microscopic properties of a material is not enough to predict its macroscopic behaviour.,,, The researchers further commented that their findings challenge the reductionists’ point of view, as the insurmountable difficulty lies precisely in the derivation of macroscopic properties from a microscopic description.”

    Quantum physics problem proved unsolvable: Gödel and Turing enter quantum physics – December 9, 2015
    Excerpt: A mathematical problem underlying fundamental questions in particle and quantum physics is provably unsolvable,,,
    It is the first major problem in physics for which such a fundamental limitation could be proven. The findings are important because they show that even a perfect and complete description of the microscopic properties of a material is not enough to predict its macroscopic behaviour.,,,
    “We knew about the possibility of problems that are undecidable in principle since the works of Turing and Gödel in the 1930s,” added Co-author Professor Michael Wolf from Technical University of Munich. “So far, however, this only concerned the very abstract corners of theoretical computer science and mathematical logic. No one had seriously contemplated this as a possibility right in the heart of theoretical physics before. But our results change this picture. From a more philosophical perspective, they also challenge the reductionists’ point of view, as the insurmountable difficulty lies precisely in the derivation of macroscopic properties from a microscopic description.”
    http://phys.org/news/2015-12-q.....godel.html

    To put Gödel’s incompleteness theorem much more simply, “Anything you can draw a circle around cannot explain itself without referring to something outside the circle—something you have to assume but cannot (mathematically) prove”.

    Gödel’s incompleteness theorem (1931), proves that there are limits to what can be ascertained by mathematics. Kurt Gödel (ref. on cite), halted the achievement of a unifying all-encompassing theory of everything in his theorem that: “Anything you can draw a circle around cannot explain itself without referring to something outside the circle—something you have to assume but cannot prove”.
    Stephen Hawking & Leonard Miodinow, The Grand Design (2010)

    Simply put, materialistic explanations cannot account for context.

    For example, Dawkin’s infamous Weasel phrase simply does not make any sense without taking its entire context into consideration

    A Meaningful World: How the Arts and Sciences Reveal the Genius of Nature – Book Review
    Excerpt: They focus instead on what “Methinks it is like a weasel” really means. In isolation, in fact, it means almost nothing. Who said it? Why? What does the “it” refer to? What does it reveal about the characters? How does it advance the plot? In the context of the entire play, and of Elizabethan culture, this brief line takes on significance of surprising depth. The whole is required to give meaning to the part.
    http://www.thinkingchristian.n.....821202417/

    Likewise, we find this ‘context dependency’, which materialistic explanations cannot possibly account for, to be very much a part of how an organism develops.

    What Do Organisms Mean? Stephen L. Talbott – Winter 2011
    Excerpt: Harvard biologist Richard Lewontin once described how you can excise the developing limb bud from an amphibian embryo, shake the cells loose from each other, allow them to reaggregate into a random lump, and then replace the lump in the embryo. A normal leg develops. Somehow the form of the limb as a whole is the ruling factor, redefining the parts according to the larger pattern. Lewontin went on to remark: “Unlike a machine whose totality is created by the juxtaposition of bits and pieces with different functions and properties, the bits and pieces of a developing organism seem to come into existence as a consequence of their spatial position at critical moments in the embryo’s development. Such an object is less like a machine than it is like a language whose elements … take unique meaning from their context.[3]“,,,
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....nisms-mean

    Darwinism vs Biological Form – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyNzNPgjM4w

    In regards to what is providing the proper context for an organism, Talbott goes on to ask this simple, but rather profound, question: “the question, rather, is why things don’t fall completely apart — as they do, in fact, at the moment of death. What power holds off that moment — precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer?”

    The Unbearable Wholeness of Beings – Stephen L. Talbott – 2010
    Excerpt: Virtually the same collection of molecules exists in the canine cells during the moments immediately before and after death. But after the fateful transition no one will any longer think of genes as being regulated, nor will anyone refer to normal or proper chromosome functioning. No molecules will be said to guide other molecules to specific targets, and no molecules will be carrying signals, which is just as well because there will be no structures recognizing signals. Code, information, and communication, in their biological sense, will have disappeared from the scientist’s vocabulary.
    ,,, the question, rather, is why things don’t fall completely apart — as they do, in fact, at the moment of death. What power holds off that moment — precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer?
    Despite the countless processes going on in the cell, and despite the fact that each process might be expected to “go its own way” according to the myriad factors impinging on it from all directions, the actual result is quite different. Rather than becoming progressively disordered in their mutual relations (as indeed happens after death, when the whole dissolves into separate fragments), the processes hold together in a larger unity.
    http://www.thenewatlantis.com/.....-of-beings

    Talbott also gives a partial answer to his question of “What power holds off that moment — precisely for a lifetime, and not a moment longer?”

    Talbott also stated: “after the fateful transition,,, Code, information, and communication, in their biological sense, will have disappeared from the scientist’s vocabulary.”

    In short, it is immaterial information that is providing the proper context for an organism so as to explain “why things don’t fall completely apart — as they do, in fact, at the moment of death.”

    And this immaterial information is now shown, contrary to the materialistic presuppositions of Darwinists, to be it’s own distinct physical entity that, although it is able to interact with matter and energy, has an existence that is completely separate from matter and energy.

    The simplest way to demonstrate the physical independence of immaterial information is with quantum teleportation:

    Quantum Teleportation Enters the Real World – September 19, 2016
    Excerpt: Two separate teams of scientists have taken quantum teleportation from the lab into the real world.
    Researchers working in Calgary, Canada and Hefei, China, used existing fiber optics networks to transmit small units of information across cities via quantum entanglement — Einstein’s “spooky action at a distance.”,,,
    This isn’t teleportation in the “Star Trek” sense — the photons aren’t disappearing from one place and appearing in another. Instead, it’s the information that’s being teleported through quantum entanglement.,,,
    ,,, it is only the information that gets teleported from one place to another.
    http://blogs.discovermagazine......-HqWNEoDtR

    Here is a bit more technical explanation of the physical reality and independence of immaterial information (references on site):

    “Immaterial” classical information, such as the classical information that is inscribed on DNA, and which, I remind, is now shown to be its own distinct physical entity that is separate from matter and energy,,,,,
    This physically distinct “immaterial” classical information is now also shown to be a subset of “immaterial” quantum information by the following method:,,,,
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/from-barren-planet-to-civilization-in-four-easy-steps/#comment-666202

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    The amount of “quantum” information ‘holding us together for precisely a lifetime and not a moment longer” is found to be enormous.

    In the following video, it is noted that the information to build a human infant, atom by atom, would take up the equivalent of enough thumb drives to fill the Titanic, multiplied by 2,000.

    In a TED Talk, (the Question You May Not Ask,,, Where did the information come from?) – November 29, 2017
    Excerpt: Sabatini is charming.,,, he deploys some memorable images. He points out that the information to build a human infant, atom by atom, would take up the equivalent of enough thumb drives to fill the Titanic, multiplied by 2,000. Later he wheels out the entire genome, in printed form, of a human being,,,,:
    [F]or the first time in history, this is the genome of a specific human, printed page-by-page, letter-by-letter: 262,000 pages of information, 450 kilograms.,,,
    https://evolutionnews.org/2017/11/in-a-ted-talk-heres-the-question-you-may-not-ask/

    The following video states that “There are 10^28 atoms in the human body.,, The amount of data contained in the whole human,, is 3.02 x 10^32 gigabytes of information. Using a high bandwidth transfer, that data would take about 4.5 x 10^18 years to teleport 1 time. That is 350,000 times the age of the universe.”

    Will Teleportation Ever Be Possible? – video – 2013
    https://youtu.be/yfePpMTbFYY?t=76
    Quote from video:
    “There are 10^28 atoms in the human body.,, The amount of data contained in the whole human,, is 3.02 x 10^32 gigabytes of information. Using a high bandwidth transfer that data would take about 4.5 x 10^18 years to teleport 1 time. That is 350,000 times the age of the universe.”

    Also of note: quantum information is now found within molecular biology on a massive scale:

    Darwinian Materialism vs Quantum Biology – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHdD2Am1g5Y

    Moreover, it is also important to note that, due to quantum non-locality, quantum correlations require a beyond space and time cause in order to explain their effect:

    Looking beyond space and time to cope with quantum theory – 29 October 2012
    Excerpt: “Our result gives weight to the idea that quantum correlations somehow arise from outside spacetime, in the sense that no story in space and time can describe them,”
    http://www.quantumlah.org/high.....uences.php

    In short, quantum information requires a beyond space and time cause.

    Christians have a beyond space and time cause to appeal to. Darwinists don’t.

    Colossians 1:17
    He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

    Besides providing direct empirical falsification of neo-Darwinian claims that say information is emergent from a material basis, the implication of finding ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, and ‘conserved’, quantum information in molecular biology on such a massive scale, in every DNA and protein molecule, is fairly, and pleasantly, obvious.
    That pleasant implication, or course, being the fact that we now have very strong physical evidence suggesting that we do indeed have an eternal soul that is capable of living beyond the death of our material bodies.

    As Stuart Hameroff states in the following video, “the quantum information,, isn’t destroyed. It can’t be destroyed,, it’s possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body. Perhaps indefinitely as a soul.”

    “Let’s say the heart stops beating. The blood stops flowing. The microtubules lose their quantum state. But the quantum information, which is in the microtubules, isn’t destroyed. It can’t be destroyed. It just distributes and dissipates to the universe at large. If a patient is resuscitated, revived, this quantum information can go back into the microtubules and the patient says, “I had a near death experience. I saw a white light. I saw a tunnel. I saw my dead relatives.,,” Now if they’re not revived and the patient dies, then it’s possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body. Perhaps indefinitely as a soul.”
    – Stuart Hameroff – Quantum Entangled Consciousness – Life After Death – video (5:00 minute mark)
    https://youtu.be/jjpEc98o_Oo?t=300

    Verse:

    Mark 8:37
    Is anything worth more than your soul?

  3. 3
    daveS says:

    From Part 1 of Egnor’s essay:

    How can we say with confidence that our reasoning is an immaterial power?

    Consider a triangle. Seeing a particular triangle (e.g., a blue triangle drawn on a piece of paper on our desk in front of us) is an act of sensation. It is a material thought. We see blue, we see the lines and the angles they form.

    But understanding triangularity—what it is that defines a triangle—is a wholly immaterial process. We understand triangularity in this way: A triangle is a three-straight-sided closed plane figure whose interior angles add up to 180 degrees. But no actual triangle fits these criteria: any drawn or constructed triangle will have sides that are not perfectly straight, whose interior angles will therefore not add up (if measured carefully with a protractor) to 180 degrees. All particular triangles that we perceive are imperfect. But imperfect triangles are not what we understand when we understand (reason) about triangles. The triangle of our reasoning is not the same as the triangles of our perception.

    It is true that we use the word “triangle” to refer to two completely different types of entities:

    1) Abstract geometric figures which do not exist physically

    2) Things like drawings of triangles, which are approximate physical representations of abstract geometric figures

    And as far I understand, computers can be programmed both to:

    1) “reason” about abstract geometric figures including triangles (that is, to find proofs of theorems about triangles in Euclidean geometry)

    2) identify representations of triangles in drawings and photographs

    so it’s not clear to me that Egnor has (in this essay) identified particular abilities that only humans have.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    as to:

    computers can be programmed both to:

    1) “reason” about abstract geometric figures including triangles, (that is, to find proofs of theorems about triangles in Euclidean geometry)

    LOL, your computer doesn’t know a triangle from a ham sandwich! And therefore certainly cannot ‘reason’ about triangles.

    Your Computer Doesn’t Know Anything
    Michael Egnor
    January 23, 2015
    No. Your computer doesn’t know a binary string from a ham sandwich. Your math book doesn’t know algebra. Your Rolodex doesn’t know your cousin’s address. Your watch doesn’t know what time it is. Your car doesn’t know where you’re driving. Your television doesn’t know who won the football game last night. Your cell phone doesn’t know what you said to your girlfriend this morning.
    People know things. Devices like computers and books and Rolodexes and watches and cars and televisions and cell phones don’t know anything. They don’t have minds. They are artifacts — paper and plastic and silicon things designed and manufactured by people — and they provide people with the means to leverage their human knowledge.
    Computers (and books and watches and the like) are the means by which people leverage and express knowledge. Computers store and process representations of knowledge. But computers have no knowledge themselves.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2015/01/your_computer_d_1/

    Moreover,,

    The danger of artificial stupidity – Saturday, 28 February 2015
    “Computers lack mathematical insight: in his book The Emperor’s New Mind, the Oxford mathematical physicist Sir Roger Penrose deployed Gödel’s first incompleteness theorem to argue that, in general, the way mathematicians provide their “unassailable demonstrations” of the truth of certain mathematical assertions is fundamentally non-algorithmic and non-computational”
    http://machineslikeus.com/news.....-stupidity

    The mathematical world – James Franklin – 7 April 2014
    Excerpt: the intellect (is) immaterial and immortal. If today’s naturalists do not wish to agree with that, there is a challenge for them. ‘Don’t tell me, show me’: build an artificial intelligence system that imitates genuine mathematical insight. There seem to be no promising plans on the drawing board.,,,
    – James Franklin is professor of mathematics at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.
    http://aeon.co/magazine/world-.....-be-about/

    The immaterial platonic realm of mathematics is simply inaccessible for materialistic explanations in general, and therefore is inaccessible for computers in particular:

    What Does It Mean to Say That Science & Religion Conflict? – M. Anthony Mills – April 16, 2018
    Excerpt: In fact, more problematic for the materialist than the non-existence of persons is the existence of mathematics. Why? Although a committed materialist might be perfectly willing to accept that you do not really exist, he will have a harder time accepting that numbers do not exist. The trouble is that numbers — along with other mathematical entities such as classes, sets, and functions — are indispensable for modern science. And yet — here’s the rub — these “abstract objects” are not material. Thus, one cannot take science as the only sure guide to reality and at the same time discount disbelief in all immaterial realities.
    https://www.realclearreligion.org/articles/2018/04/16/what_does_it_mean_to_say_that_science_and_religion_conflict.html

    Darwinian Evolution vs Mathematics – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3gyx70BHvA

    As David Berlinski states in the following article,“There is no argument against religion that is not also an argument against mathematics. Mathematicians are capable of grasping a world of objects that lies beyond space and time…. The number four, after all, did not come into existence at a particular time, and it is not going to go out of existence at another time. It is neither here nor there. Nonetheless we are in some sense able to grasp the number by a faculty of our minds. Mathematical intuition is utterly mysterious. So for that matter is the fact that mathematical objects such as a Lie Group or a differentiable manifold have the power to interact with elementary particles or accelerating forces. But these are precisely the claims that theologians have always made as well – that human beings are capable by an exercise of their devotional abilities to come to some understanding of the deity; and the deity, although beyond space and time, is capable of interacting with material objects.”

    An Interview with David Berlinski – Jonathan Witt
    Berlinski: There is no argument against religion that is not also an argument against mathematics. Mathematicians are capable of grasping a world of objects that lies beyond space and time….
    Interviewer:… Come again(?) …
    Berlinski: No need to come again: I got to where I was going the first time. The number four, after all, did not come into existence at a particular time, and it is not going to go out of existence at another time. It is neither here nor there. Nonetheless we are in some sense able to grasp the number by a faculty of our minds. Mathematical intuition is utterly mysterious. So for that matter is the fact that mathematical objects such as a Lie Group or a differentiable manifold have the power to interact with elementary particles or accelerating forces. But these are precisely the claims that theologians have always made as well – that human beings are capable by an exercise of their devotional abilities to come to some understanding of the deity; and the deity, although beyond space and time, is capable of interacting with material objects.
    http://tofspot.blogspot.com/20.....-here.html

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