Mind Neuroscience

Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor challenges neurologist Steven Novella to prove that the mind is just what the brain does

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Novella has said that a recent study of mice disproves mind-body dualism:

Novella has been trying to sell his materialist ideology in the guise of neuroscience for more than a decade. This is only the most recent in a host of his bizarre claims, including his 2008 assertion that “The materialist hypothesis– that the brain causes consciousness—has made a number of predictions, and every single prediction has been validated.”

That’s a beautiful example of the Dunning-Kruger effect (people overestimate their mastery of a situation they don’t understand.) In neuroscience, materialism is the answer only if you don’t understand the questions. Here are some of them …

Michael Egnor, “Has neuroscience “proved” that the mind is just the brain?” at Mind Matters News

Egnor adds, “This is hardly the first time that bizarre claims have been made for minimal findings. In neuroscience, materialism is the answer only if you don’t understand the questions.”

Wethinks Novella will just go on saying it.

You may also enjoy these articles by Michael Egnor:

Why the mind can’t just be the brain. Thinking it through carefully, the idea doesn’t even make sense.


Is materialism falsifiable? Yes, easily. However, neurologist Steven Novella is sure that materialism is not falsifiable by science.

11 Replies to “Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor challenges neurologist Steven Novella to prove that the mind is just what the brain does

  1. 1
    AaronS1978 says:

    OK the more I read about Novella, the more I realize he is an unbelievable hyper educated idiot

    First of all we know net brain region to be involved with decision making and those types of processes for years, not just one year, not just two-year like 20 years

    I remember reading this back in September and thinking how absolutely unnecessary this study was

    I had to double take at it, because at first it made a very broad claim, But when I read it it seem to be just affirming what we already knew


    Even Wikipedia is more ahead of this guy

    Just recently a new study just found that the brain has some bizarre neurons meant to override instinctual neurons for executive control

    Can the idiot explain why that even exist. If we’re just our brains why is it that there’s an additional control for this imaginary executive
    that is our brain

    What I hate is he’s making a declaration he’s planting his flag and creating a narrative and I feel obligated to point out that that’s what he is doing he’s not a real scientist he’s just a professional atheist that doesn’t like dualism and goes out of his way to refute it

    I hope he reads my message, probably won’t though

    Why do they keep using the mouse model?

    Mice do not have the same brain as a human

    That’s a fact our closest relative turns out that they are not wired the same way we are either


    I mean this is current research, more current then anything he is quoting.

    But I guess mice and humans have the same pattern of thinking, even though that’s been proven wrong 1 million times, but we think exactly the same according to the mouse model, and his science shows he has a mouses’ brain

    Oh and computers are definitely just brains and brains are definitely just computers even though that’s been explained away 1 million times by smarter people than Novella

    So I suppose if he ignores them hard enough he’ll be right

    UGG this guy is frustrating and it’s mainly because he’s just making a narrative not because he’s right

  2. 2
    Seversky says:

    If the mind is not the brain, why does the mind disappear whenever the brain dies or is destroyed, never to return?

    If the mind is not the brain, why bother to have the brain at all? It’s a very complex organ and it’s very expensive to run. If it’s not doing the mind, what is it doing? Why is it there at all?

    If the mind is not the brain how is it that we can trigger memories, sensations even religious feelings by stimulating the physical brain with electric shocks or EM fields or drugs?

  3. 3
    AaronS1978 says:

    Yes, I know all about those studies that supposedly create like a religious experience when you stimulate the brain, by the way, I have done experiment with magnetics and I never experienced than Euphoric religious experience

    So I don’t know If you really can attribute that supposed weird religious experience to stimulating the brain because I Have never had one and I couldn’t tell you what it felt like

    Turns out I’m not alone either. There are many people that have undergone that little experiment have done those types of studies with magnetics and drugs that did not have a religious experience, so maybe, just maybe the people that are claiming they’re having a religious experience due to their brain being stimulated by magnetic or drug might just attributing their high to just closest thing they can think of

    By the way why need a brain that’s an interesting comment

    I guess TV shows and radio programs don’t need the receiver by your logic, I can play video games without a controller and a counsel to play them on

    Sounds stupid and silly right

    If I’m streaming a video game and I decided to mess around with the motherboard of my PlayStation 5 does that disrupt and destroy the video game or does that disrupt and destroy the systems ability to run it

    According to your logic it destroys the video game

    We all know that’s not true

    We also don’t know if the consciousness exist past death, because again, the one thing that could possibly receive it (the brain) is destroyed

    The Andy Griffith show doesn’t suddenly not exist anymore because you blew a hole through your TV set

    Nobody argues that there are physical components involved with thought

    Nobody does, you kind of have to have that to work the body

    What people argue is that first person experience that you are having right now, that has no real feelings, but you know it exists because you’re reading my message is the part that we are trying to figure out and doesn’t seem to be attached to or makes sense being anything physical

    By the way we’re all composed of 14 billion-year-old light effectively we are all waves and energy.

    Matter is not created nor is it destroyed, energy follows the same standards and if that’s true and everything’s physical then the mind is eternal it’s just in a different state

    And it wouldn’t matter whether you would be able to see it, detect it, or touch it

    For example neutrinos and we just barely found that they existed, we still aren’t all that sure what they are

  4. 4
    BobRyan says:

    A good first question to ask of anyone who does not believe the mind and brain are separate, meaning they do not believe in freewill, is if they look for traffic before crossing a street on foot. Animals run out in front of traffic all the time without looking. If man is nothing more than an animal with no freewill, since freewill is not found in other animals, then it stands to reason that man should not look for traffic. The only reason to look for traffic is if one has the freewill to do so.

  5. 5
    AaronS1978 says:

    Oh and BEFORE the classic 7.2 billion examples of a brain in a body blah blah blah
    I feel obligated to point out that only living systems appear conscious, those with and with out a brain. You know that thing that produces it

  6. 6
    Pater Kimbridge says:


    I am glad you remember my argument. So far, no one has shown me a mind without an associated brain. If two things cannot be separated, maybe they are not separate things.

  7. 7
    ET says:

    Pater- All you have to do is visit the 10 most haunted places in the world and the evidence for a mind without a brain will be made very clear. If you refuse to do so then yours is an argument from willful ignorance.

  8. 8
    ET says:

    Same for seversky- Your willful ignorance is not an argument.

  9. 9
    AaronS1978 says:

    @ pater
    Do you have reading comprehension problems re-read my statement

    Only LIVING systems with or WITHOUT

    Don’t see how that supports your argument I’m saying part of the magic of actually being conscious is being alive seems to be a real important aspect of consciousness and that is the only thing that seems to proceed it

    That could be argued that living things have a soul

    Even bacteria show signs of consciousness awareness of their surroundings they are more than just a little machines

    So I don’t know how that supports your argument especially if your argument is consciousness can’t exist without a brain, in fact a jellyfish refutes you

    If you want to be right try to find a nonliving system that actually has nonliving consciousness

    They are you can firmly say that materialism is right and then your argument would be correct

    So go on go make a computer conscious

  10. 10
    AaronS1978 says:

    I agree with you ET even though I still don’t believe in aliens

  11. 11
    AaronS1978 says:

    I’m sorry I keep making that joke about your name but I can’t help it ;p

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