Intelligent Design Mind Naturalism

Neuroscientists: We are not our brains and our souls are not machines

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A reviewer notes that Sharon Dirckx makes her case in a way that is easy for the attentive non-specialist reader to understand:

An outline, by chapter: 1. Am I really just my brain?

2. Is belief in the soul out of date?

3. Are we just machines?

4. Are we more than machines?

5. Is free will an illusion?

6. Are we hard-wired to believe?

7. Is religious experience just brain activity?

8. Why can I think?

Neuroscientist says our souls Are NOT Machines” at Mind Matters News, courtesy
Fred Zaspel

Doubts about hardline materialism by usually mild-mannered people are becoming a thing now. Have the trolls left town?


See also: Four researchers whose work sheds light on the reality of the mind The brain can be cut in half, but the intellect and will cannot, says Michael Egnor. The intellect and will are metaphysically simple

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20 Replies to “Neuroscientists: We are not our brains and our souls are not machines

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    Take away your brain and there is no you. If Egnor or anyone else can demonstrate a conscious intellect entirely separate from any sort of physical substrate then they might have a case, otherwise this is essentially just another God-of-the-gaps argument.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky constantly ignores the millions of Near Death Experiences that have been repeatedly pointed out to him time and again., There is a blatant hypocrisy in Darwinian materialists not accepting the ample and robust evidence from NDEs. They demand evidence that consciousness can exist apart from the brain, and then when we point to the vast body of evidence supporting the validity of NDEs they resolutely refuse to accept it. Yet, on the other hand, they wholeheartedly believe Darwinian evolution to be true even though they have ZERO substantiating evidence that unguided processes can create gene/proteins, molecular machines, functional information etc.. etc.. (and much evidence that material processes can never generate functional ‘immaterial’ information as such)

    Near-Death Experiences: Putting a Darwinist’s Evidentiary Standards to the Test – Dr. Michael Egnor – October 15, 2012
    Excerpt: Indeed, about 20 percent of NDE’s are corroborated, which means that there are independent ways of checking about the veracity of the experience. The patients knew of things that they could not have known except by extraordinary perception — such as describing details of surgery that they watched while their heart was stopped, etc. Additionally, many NDE’s have a vividness and a sense of intense reality that one does not generally encounter in dreams or hallucinations.,,,
    The most “parsimonious” explanation — the simplest scientific explanation — is that the (Near Death) experience was real. Tens of millions of people have had such experiences. That is tens of millions of more times than we have observed the origin of species , (or the origin of life, or the origin of a protein/gene, or of a molecular machine), which is never.,,,
    The materialist reaction, in short, is unscientific and close-minded. NDE’s show fellows like Coyne at their sneering unscientific irrational worst. Somebody finds a crushed fragment of a fossil and it’s earth-shaking evidence. Tens of million of people have life-changing spiritual experiences and it’s all a big yawn.
    Note: Dr. Egnor is professor and vice-chairman of neurosurgery at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....65301.html

    Moreover, we have far more observational evidence for the reality of souls than we do for the Darwinian claim that unguided material processes can generate functional information. Moreover, the transcendent nature of ‘immaterial’ information, which is the one thing that, (as every ID advocate intimately knows), unguided material processes cannot possibly explain the origin of, directly supports the transcendent nature, as well as the physical reality, of the soul.

    Darwinian Materialism vs. Quantum Biology – Part II – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSig2CsjKbg

    As Stuart Hameroff states in the following article, “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.”

    Leading Scientists Say Consciousness Cannot Die It Goes Back To The Universe – Oct. 19, 2017 – Spiritual
    Excerpt: “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://www.disclose.tv/leading-scientists-say-consciousness-cannot-die-it-goes-back-to-the-universe-315604

    Verse:

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

  3. 3

    .

    Take away your brain and there is no you. If Egnor or anyone else can demonstrate a conscious intellect entirely separate from any sort of physical substrate then they might have a case, otherwise this is essentially just another God-of-the-gaps argument.

    Take away symbols and there is no brain. If Seversky or anyone else can demonstrate a naturally-occurring semantically-closed description, then they might have a case, otherwise ‘life without symbols’ is essentially just another materialism-of-the-gaps argument.

  4. 4
    ET says:

    Until seversky or anyone else can demonstrate that a conscious intellect can be entirely reduced to physics and chemistry, they don’t have anything beyond wishful thinking.

  5. 5
    DerekDiMarco says:

    Take away your brain and there is no you.

    That’s the most obvious fact in the world, proved 150,000 times per day, but “There are none so blind as those who will not see.”

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    “Take away your brain and there is no you.”

    Au Contraire, If ‘you’ are your brain, then there is no ‘you’:

    “What you’re doing is simply instantiating a self: the program run by your neurons which you feel is “you.””
    Jerry Coyne
    https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2015/04/04/eagleton-on-baggini-on-free-will/

    The Confidence of Jerry Coyne – Ross Douthat – January 6, 2014
    Excerpt: But then halfway through this peroration, we have as an aside the confession (by Coyne) that yes, okay, it’s quite possible given materialist premises that “our sense of self is a neuronal illusion.” At which point the entire edifice suddenly looks terribly wobbly — because who, exactly, is doing all of this forging and shaping and purpose-creating if Jerry Coyne, as I understand him (and I assume he understands himself) quite possibly does not actually exist at all? The theme of his argument is the crucial importance of human agency under eliminative materialism, but if under materialist premises the actual agent is quite possibly a fiction, then who exactly is this I who “reads” and “learns” and “teaches,” and why in the universe’s name should my illusory self believe Coyne’s bold proclamation that his illusory self’s purposes are somehow “real” and worthy of devotion and pursuit? (Let alone that they’re morally significant: But more on that below.) Prometheus cannot be at once unbound and unreal; the human will cannot be simultaneously triumphant and imaginary.
    https://douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/06/the-confidence-of-jerry-coyne/?mcubz=3

    “You are robots made out of meat. Which is what I am going to try to convince you of today”
    Jerry Coyne – No, You’re Not a Robot Made Out of Meat (Science Uprising 02) – video
    https://youtu.be/rQo6SWjwQIk?list=PLR8eQzfCOiS1OmYcqv_yQSpje4p7rAE7-&t=20

    “(Daniel) Dennett concludes, ‘nobody is conscious … we are all zombies’.”
    J.W. SCHOOLER & C.A. SCHREIBER – Experience, Meta-consciousness, and the Paradox of Introspection – 2004

    The Brain: The Mystery of Consciousness – STEVEN PINKER – Monday, Jan. 29, 2007
    Part II THE ILLUSION OF CONTROL
    Another startling conclusion from the science of consciousness is that the intuitive feeling we have that there’s an executive “I” that sits in a control room of our brain, scanning the screens of the senses and pushing the buttons of the muscles, is an illusion.
    http://www.academia.edu/279485.....sciousness

    The Consciousness Deniers – Galen Strawson – March 13, 2018
    Excerpt: What is the silliest claim ever made? The competition is fierce, but I think the answer is easy. Some people have denied the existence of consciousness: conscious experience, the subjective character of experience, the “what-it-is-like” of experience.,,,
    Who are the Deniers?,,, Few have been fully explicit in their denial, but among those who have been, we find Brian Farrell, Paul Feyerabend, Richard Rorty, and the generally admirable Daniel Dennett.,,,
    http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2.....s-deniers/

    What Does It Mean to Say That Science & Religion Conflict? – M. Anthony Mills – April 16, 2018
    Excerpt: Barr rightly observes that scientific atheists often unwittingly assume not just metaphysical naturalism but an even more controversial philosophical position: reductive materialism, which says all that exists is or is reducible to the material constituents postulated by our most fundamental physical theories.
    As Barr points out, this implies not only that God does not exist — because God is not material — but that you do not exist. For you are not a material constituent postulated by any of our most fundamental physical theories; at best, you are an aggregate of those constituents, arranged in a particular way. Not just you, but tables, chairs, countries, countrymen, symphonies, jokes, legal contracts, moral judgments, and acts of courage or cowardice — all of these must be fully explicable in terms of those more fundamental, material constituents.
    https://www.realclearreligion.org/articles/2018/04/16/what_does_it_mean_to_say_that_science_and_religion_conflict.html

    “that “You”, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased: “You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.” This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing.”
    Francis Crick – “The Astonishing Hypothesis” 1994

    At the 23:33 minute mark of the following video, Richard Dawkins agrees with materialistic philosophers who say that:
    “consciousness is an illusion”
    A few minutes later Rowan Williams asks Dawkins ”If consciousness is an illusion…what isn’t?”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWN4cfh1Fac&t=22m57s

    Atheistic Materialism – Does Richard Dawkins Exist? – video 37:51 minute mark
    Quote: “It turns out that if every part of you, down to sub-atomic parts, are still what they were when they weren’t in you, in other words every ion,,, every single atom that was in the universe, that has now become part of your living body, is still what is was originally. It hasn’t undergone what metaphysicians call a ‘substantial change’. So you aren’t Richard Dawkins. You are just carbon and neon and sulfur and oxygen and all these individual atoms still.
    You can spout a philosophy that says scientific materialism, but there aren’t any scientific materialists to pronounce it.,,, That’s why I think they find it kind of embarrassing to talk that way. Nobody wants to stand up there and say, “You know, I’m not really here”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVCnzq2yTCg&t=37m51s

    “There is no self in, around, or as part of anyone’s body. There can’t be. So there really isn’t any enduring self that ever could wake up morning after morning worrying about why it should bother getting out of bed. The self is just another illusion, like the illusion that thought is about stuff or that we carry around plans and purposes that give meaning to what our body does. Every morning’s introspectively fantasized self is a new one, remarkably similar to the one that consciousness ceased fantasizing when we fell sleep sometime the night before. Whatever purpose yesterday’s self thought it contrived to set the alarm last night, today’s newly fictionalized self is not identical to yesterday’s. It’s on its own, having to deal with the whole problem of why to bother getting out of bed all over again.”
    – Alex Rosenberg, The Atheist’s Guide to Reality, ch.10

  7. 7

    #5,
    You might be confused. 150,000 people dying each day — and no longer being physically animated — is consistent with both those who believe in a soul/afterlife and those who don’t. Is this the extent of your reasoning?

  8. 8
    Ainz Ooal Gown says:

    Take away your brain and there is no you.

    Ya no that argument is pointless considering the incredibly large amount of NDE cases Bornagain has mentioned above. There are also cases of people who, despite having massive brain damage, (some even having half of their brain removed) were able to retain a perfectly clear sense of self/mental function.
    https://headtruth.blogspot.com/2018/04/cases-of-high-mental-function-despite.html
    The ball has been in the materialists court for years, and upon kicking it believe they have scored a game winning point. Unbeknownst to them, the ball they just kicked was a basketball.

  9. 9
    john_a_designer says:

    I am not conscious of my brain. I am only conscious of me, my thoughts, my sensations and perceptions. To understand consciousness that is where we need to begin.

  10. 10
    Seversky says:

    Bornagain77@ 2

    Seversky constantly ignores the millions of Near Death Experiences that have been repeatedly pointed out to him time and again., There is a blatant hypocrisy in Darwinian materialists not accepting the ample and robust evidence from NDEs

    For those who haven’t noticed, the term is Near Death Experience, not Post-Death Experience. The people reporting these experiences recovered from whatever state they were in when they had them. Death, by definition, is a state you don’t recover from so NDEs are not “ample and robust evidence” of life after death, not even that there is such a state.

  11. 11
    Ed George says:

    I once had a Near Life Experience, but then I relapsed.

  12. 12
    Ainz Ooal Gown says:

    For those who haven’t noticed, the term is Near Death Experience, not Post-Death Experience.

    So instead of addressing the the multiple cases of conscious experiences (some verified) during a flat EEG, which last I checked means dead by all accounts; you latch onto the word “near” as if that allows you to sweep all NDE accounts under the rug. Sorry, but it doesn’t. It just shows that no amount of evidence would persuade you, because you close your eyes and plug your ears whenever evidence is brought to the table.

  13. 13
    bornagain77 says:

    Ainz Ooal Gown,, BINGO!

  14. 14
    bornagain77 says:

    Of related interest,

    Dr. Craig Keener, author of “Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts” discusses in this web series some of the trustworthy accounts of people being raised from the dead and people being healed of sicknesses from around the world. – video playlist
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....fOqOmxOyU=

    The Number of Resuscitation Accounts Found in Craig Keener’s Miracles – September 2, 2012
    (113 accounts are listed)
    https://biblicalscholarship.wordpress.com/2012/09/02/the-number-of-resuscitation-accounts-found-in-craig-keeners-miracles/

    Craig Keener – Miracle Reports in the Gospels and Today – lecture video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYBnJF2P_WQ

    Some People Were Dead For Several Days (Near Death Experiences)
    https://www.near-death.com/science/evidence/some-people-were-dead-for-several-days.html

    Derren Brown wants to see objective evidence for miracles? Challenge accepted – Oct. 10, 2016
    Excerpt: a listener challenged Christian physicians to come forward with miracle stories and objective evidence of them.
    Well, challenge accepted.
    I am a physician and have been treating patients for 23 years. Brown said he would want to verify a miracle healing with objective evidence such as vastly different x-rays. I have seen a number of cases that could be considered miraculous based on this criteria where patients have behaved in ways completely inexplicable with current medical knowledge. ,,,
    http://www.premierchristianity.....e-accepted

    Seversky definitely will believe in God and life after death when this following resurrection from the dead takes place (but, unfortunately, it will be too late for him to believe in God then):

    The Judgment of the Dead
    11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

  15. 15
    DerekDiMarco says:

    When a hard drive is having near-fatal errors it can spit out all kinds of weird gibberish.

  16. 16
    Ed George says:

    DDM

    When a hard drive is having near-fatal errors it can spit out all kinds of weird gibberish.

    I saw what you did there. 🙂

  17. 17
    bornagain77 says:

    “it can spit out all kinds of weird gibberish.”

    Kind of like all the kinds of complete gibberish that a person who believes in Darwinian materialism spits out? For instance,,,

    “You are robots made out of meat. Which is what I am going to try to convince you of today”
    – Jerry Coyne –
    No, You’re Not a Robot Made Out of Meat (Science Uprising 02) – video
    https://youtu.be/rQo6SWjwQIk?list=PLR8eQzfCOiS1OmYcqv_yQSpje4p7rAE7-&t=20

    “(Daniel) Dennett concludes, ‘nobody is conscious … we are all zombies’.”
    J.W. SCHOOLER & C.A. SCHREIBER – Experience, Meta-consciousness, and the Paradox of Introspection – 2004

  18. 18
    Ainz Ooal Gown says:

    When a hard drive is having near-fatal errors it can spit out all kinds of weird gibberish.

    Could you please explain to me how a brain with a flat EEG is able to produce a clear, vivid, and as some say “more real” conscious experience than what we normally experience with a perfectly healthy brain? Before you do that though let me pop some popcorn. I haven’t watched a good comedy in a while.

  19. 19
    AaronS1978 says:

    I really cannot stand the IP metaphor for the brain

    Comparing the brain to a hard drive is remarkably stupid and completely forgets what the brain really is

    There are many intelligent people that make this IP metaphor and it saddens me

    The IP metaphor has only been Around for the last century because of the advent of computers

    The brain has been around for longer than that, it has been around for as long as humans have existed and longer

    The brain is not a hard drive and never will be the brain is not a motherboard, the brain is not a computer chip

    The brain does not use software

    The brain is a living organism that grows and changes with its environment

    It is capable of breaking DNA and rearranging its self to memorize and capture information

    But it does not do so through some means of recording 01011011, And DNA is a three-dimensional structure that uses four different types of digital code and it’s on three-dimensional structure changes the information that it contains this is not 01011 coding

    It re-wire is it self and restructured itself on its own no motherboard does this

    It grows new connections and wires to even increase its own speed

    it is alive it is 100% living, and there is no living computer and when people say the brain is a living computer you only say that because you use the IP crutch because you don’t know how to describe it any

    The brain is not a meat computer, it is part of a living organism and grows and lives as such there is a reason why computers can do things the brain cannot and the brain can do things the computer cannot

    The IP metaphor is simply fallacious and it is annoying to see it and that metaphor is the only thing that is truly blur the lines between human consciousness of the brain

    Now here’s a fun exercise try to describe all of the brains functions Without using an IP metaphor you should be able to do it the brain has existed for longer than any computer information processor

    And trying to validate it by saying the brain was the first information processor is still entirely incorrect

  20. 20
    john_a_designer says:

    According to David Chalmers, “My knowledge of consciousness… comes from my own case, not from any external observation. It is my first person experience of consciousness that forces the problem on me.”

    That’s where I and everyone else needs to begin if we are going to have any kind of meaningful discussion. The burden of proof rests on those who want to explain consciousness on the basis something else. In other words, if a materialist believes that consciousness can be reduced to, and therefore, emerges from, matter-energy he needs to provide step-by-step instructions exactly how that happens not just empty hand-waving assertions.

    What is consciousness? That is the key question we are asking here. That is an ontological question not a scientific one. What is matter? What is energy? What is space… time? Etc. are also ontological questions.

    Take the claim that consciousness is reducible to or emerges from brain function. How do we know that until we answer the question, what is consciousness?

    Consider the following analogy. A portable AM/FM radio consists of a number of distinct specifically designed physical parts: speakers, switches, wires, transistors, resistors, capacitors etc. When organized in a specified way it able to function as a signal detector/ decoder that that is able to recreate encoded sound waves. That function is an emergent property. However, a radio does not create or explain music. Only a fool, or someone who is completely ignorant, with no understanding how a radio operates, would make such a claim.
    In a similar way unless understand what consciousness is you cannot explain how the brain “creates” consciousness.

    It is logically possible that consciousness like music may have an explanation that’s independent of brain circuitry. The brain could be just a signal detector/ decoder of something that has an ontologically distinct explanation.

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