Consciousness is not a product of the brain - the evidence.

Ontos

Active member
How would one's thinking being either non-physical or causally undetermined make it any more rational or any more a matter of one's choice?
Well, if it's all physical processes then the "choice" was a necessary outcome of chemistry and physics. Arguably, to have a choice would be to be able to refrain from that outcome, but that would mean being free from chemistry and physics.
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
Well, if it's all physical processes then the "choice" was a necessary outcome of chemistry and physics. Arguably, to have a choice would be to be able to refrain from that outcome, but that would mean being free from chemistry and physics.
That doesn't answer my question. What does being non-physical or indeterministic positively add towards being one's own free choice? An undetermined choice is no more 'mine' than if you made it the result of a lottery. And a choice isn't made more or less rational by being instantiated by an immaterial substance than a material one. All you're doing is saying that physical/determined=bad without showing how the alternative is any better.
 

Ontos

Active member
That doesn't answer my question. What does being non-physical or indeterministic positively add towards being one's own free choice?
Being immaterial provides the very bases for being able to choose in virtue of not being constrained by necessary physical processes/outputs.

An undetermined choice is no more 'mine' than if you made it the result of a lottery.
What's an "undetermined choice"? Never said that.

And a choice isn't made more or less rational by being instantiated by an immaterial substance than a material one.
If rationality and by extension truth, is a material thing then it's composed, and if composed then it can decompose. Rationality materially based can be undergoing change and decomposition at any given moment, indeed; material things can resist entropy but its always acting on them. What's a rational or true choice materially speaking when that matter is undergoing change? Where is the terminus for truth if it can change?

All you're doing is saying that physical/determined=bad without showing how the alternative is any better.
Ok
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
Being immaterial provides the very bases for being able to choose in virtue of not being constrained by necessary physical processes/outputs.
You're still only approaching this negatively, trying to paint one option as bad without showing how the alternative is any better. How is being physical a constraint? If it's that being physical means being causally determined, then how is indeterminism (randomness) any better?

What's an "undetermined choice"? Never said that.
It's the alternative to the choice being determined, which seems to be what you are objecting to about physicalism.

If rationality and by extension truth, is a material thing then it's composed, and if composed then it can decompose. Rationality materially based can be undergoing change and decomposition at any given moment, indeed; material things can resist entropy but its always acting on them. What's a rational or true choice materially speaking when that matter is undergoing change? Where is the terminus for truth if it can change?
I don't get what you are objecting to here. Sure, a person's true beliefs can cease to exist, and their reasoning cease to be rational, if the brain instantiating their cognition is damaged or destroyed. And that is exactly what we observe. But this doesn't mean that what defines truth or rationality is thereby also damaged or corrupted. The meaning of these terms doesn't change.
 

Ontos

Active member
How is being physical a constraint?
Because the choice is necessary.

And the opposite is not "randomness", the opposite is not-necessary.
Meaning as I said "being able to refrain from that outcome".
I don't get what you are objecting to here.... The meaning of these terms doesn't change.
Now you're catching on...

Is "meaning" material or immaterial?
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
Because the choice is necessary.

And the opposite is not "randomness", the opposite is not-necessary.
Meaning as I said "being able to refrain from that outcome".
The opposite of determinism is indeterminism, and you can't have that without an element of randomness - because there is literally nothing that determines whether the outcome will be A or B. That means the outcome is not a result of your deliberation or character. So the outcome, or whether you refrain from it, is not in any sense up to you, because there is nothing you can do to determine what the choice or outcome will be.

Now you're catching on...

Is "meaning" material or immaterial?
As it is not a substance, I don't think it is either. But it does supervene on the physical, just as the meaning of code in a computer program supervenes on its physical properties. Would you call that meaning material or immaterial? Either way, you haven't explained your objection or told me how thinking being non-physical does anything to make it more free or more rational.
 

Ontos

Active member
The opposite of determinism is indeterminism, and you can't have that without an element of randomness -

This doesn't even address my point. The opposite of a necessary outcome is simply a not-necessary outcome. Not-necessary does not necessitate "randomness", it's simply as I said - the outcome can be refrained from...

As it is not a substance, I don't think it is either. But it does supervene on the physical, just as the meaning of code in a computer program supervenes on its physical properties. Would you call that meaning material or immaterial?
I'd call THAT, irrational

There is no third option between material and immaterial.

This is CARM and so Matt Slick put it best:
I call this the Dillahunty Fallacy where you merely assert there is a 3rd option in order to falsify a dichotomy but aren’t able to produce the 3rd option.

Either way, you haven't explained your objection or told me how thinking being non-physical does anything to make it more free or more rational.
I have.

Thanks for the chat
 

Nouveau

Well-known member
This doesn't even address my point. The opposite of a necessary outcome is simply a not-necessary outcome. Not-necessary does not necessitate "randomness", it's simply as I said - the outcome can be refrained from...
If your not-necessary nonphysical cognition has no element of randomness then it would have to be just as causally determined as physical cognition. That was my point, and you have not addressed it.

I'd call THAT, irrational

There is no third option between material and immaterial.

This is CARM and so Matt Slick put it best:
I call this the Dillahunty Fallacy where you merely assert there is a 3rd option in order to falsify a dichotomy but aren’t able to produce the 3rd option.
Are turtles valid or invalid? I would say that validity and invalidity are concepts that apply only to inferences. Likewise, material and immaterial are concepts that apply only to substances.

I have.

Thanks for the chat
You have not, but if you wish to disengage at this point then that is fine.
 

Harry Leggs

Well-known member
My OP wasn't about an explanation for different personality features, but about the origin of consciousness itself. Those are two different questions.

I would maintain the following with respect to both questions:

1. The mind exists independently of the brain.
2. The brain is the "receiver" that takes input from the mind and converts it into a language that the human body responds to.
3. The brain is a natural attenuator; that is to say its very design weakens signals from the mind. Thus, when a person dies and their brain ceases functioning, the mind feels more alive than ever but the dead body cannot respond to signals from the mind any longer.
4. If the brain is damaged, the signals from the mind get distorted or blocked, and the body can only partially function.
5. One of the functions of the brain is to block out signals from other minds that are disembodied and not native to the body. For example, what religious people call a disembodied spirit is the mind of someone who died that is trying to direct a living person's brain. If the brain functions like it should, that person will not even hear those other voices.
6. Mental illnesses that include hearing voices, such as schizophrenia, are a consequence of brain malfunction. The voices are real, not imagined; the victim cannot prevent hearing the voices since the brain has stopped filtering out the signals.
7. This would also explain the vocal and motor tics experienced by those with Tourette's syndrome. In their case, the brain is under the influence of multiple minds which have different areas of control over the same body.
8. It may be that a person with brain damage who demonstrates a change in personality as a result does not actually have a change in their own personality (i.e. the personality of their own mind), but is exhibiting another mind that has a different personality than their own. Their brain has lost some ability to screen out other minds.
I don't see your critics coming up with any better explanation or alternative hypos that would better fit the facts.
 

The Pixie

Well-known member
I don't see your critics coming up with any better explanation or alternative hypos that would better fit the facts.
I do not see the OP presenting the evidence he claims in the title.

In fact, I do not see the OP making clear exactly what explanation for consciousness he is promoting.
 

Tercon

Well-known member
Let me begin by quoting an illustration that I found on the internet while researching this theory. I found this on a blog arguing against the theory I am advocating here, and it is apparently taken from a book by David Eagleman called "Incognito."

As an example, I’ll mention what I’ll call the “radio theory” of brains. Imagine that you are a Kalahari Bushman and that you stumble upon a transistor radio in the sand. You might pick it up, twiddle the knobs, and suddenly, to your surprise, hear voices streaming out of this strange little box. If you’re curious and scientifically minded, you might try to understand what is going on. You might pry off the back cover to discover a little nest of wires. Now let’s say you begin a careful, scientific study of what causes the voices. You notice that each time you pull out the green wire, the voices stop. When you put the wire back on its contact, the voices begin again. The same goes for the red wire. Yanking out the black wire causes the voices to get garbled, and removing the yellow wire reduces the volume to a whisper. You step carefully through all the combinations, and you come to a clear conclusion: the voices depend entirely on the integrity of the circuitry. Change the circuitry and you damage the voices.

The point that the writer is making is that our minds and brains are separate in the same way that the radio broadcaster is separate from the radio itself. By tampering with the circuitry of the radio, one could silence, garble, or clarify the broadcaster's voice; but it would be wrong to conclude that the man speaking through the radio is himself merely a product of the radio. We know (unlike this hypothetical bushman) that the man speaking through the radio is a real man who exists in another place, and via electromagnetic waves can be heard speaking through this device. The bushman doesn't have the knowledge to even conceptualize such a thing, and would be more likely to assume that the voice is a product of the radio, rather than something that exists independently of the radio.

The "radio receiver" theory of the brain is one that is put forth by Dr. Bruce Greyson in his new book "After", about the phenomenon of near death experiences. I've been reading it this week on my Kindle. He argues that the phenomenon of near death experiences provides evidence that the mind exists independently of the brain, and provides case after case in which his patients reported seeing and hearing things after they were observed to be in cardiac arrest with no brain function, and yet before they were resuscitated.

One example that features prominently in his book is of a young woman early in his career who ended up in the ER after trying to commit suicide. She was in a comatose state in the ER, and Dr. Greyson went into an adjacent room to speak with her roommate who had called the ambulance. The next day, he visited the young woman who was now awake and began asking her questions. One thing she said which jarred him was that she saw him talking to her roommate the day before. This wouldn't have been possible, but he didn't challenge her about it. Instead he tried to ask clarifying questions to determine what she meant to say, and she insisted that she did see him in the other room talking to her roommate, and in fact he had a red stain on his tie. The doctor had in fact been eating spaghetti in the cafeteria when his pager went off alerting him to the new patient in the ER, and had accidently spilled sauce on his tie; in his hurried state he had buttoned up his jacket so as not to expose the stain when he went to the ER. At no point was his tie exposed to the comatose woman in the ER. Her roommate immediately went back to her dorm after talking with the psychiatrist without speaking to her roommate first (who was comatose anyway), and hadn't been back to visit her since she had come out of her coma.

Dr. Greyson's research on this began with that incident in the ER back in the 1970s, since he couldn't figure out how it would have been possible with his then materialist understanding of the mind. Since then he has compiled (with the help of his fellow researchers at the Univ. of Virginia) thousands of cases of reported near death experiences and has formed his theory of the mind and brain in view of this phenomena. For the skeptics, he addresses other theories about why people report having out-of-body experiences (such as drugs or oxygen deprivation), and gives documented cases that show why such theories don't fit the available data.
I feel like this conversation has happened before. I'm not accusing you of plagiarism or anything sneaky/disingenuous; at all. It's just that I remember Dr. Greyson bring brought up WRT NDEs and the question of consciousness...

All that aside, I'm having a difficult time with the leap from NDEs to the notion that consciousness is NOT a product of the brain. NDEs can be explained (convincingly or not) in several ways, and to be fair, we don't fully understand the phenomenon - so I'm not simply being skeptical. Instead, I'm questioning that they must necessarily be explained by some kind of immaterial cognition.

What if there are multiple dimensions (which is a well-known hypothesis in physics), and we exist in more than 4 of them? This would mean we theoretically have the ability to think / perceive even if the parts of us in the "normal" four dimensions are incapacitated.

There. An explanation for NDEs which doesn't rely upon gods, spiritualism or the supernatural.

I'm not advocating it, but I don't see why it should be less persuasive than the notion that NDEs demonstrate consciousness isn't a product of the brain...

Just more and mounting evidence that everything including the truth, reality, logic, wave function collapse, entanglement and existence itself is the product of "consciousness" aka. a believing mind.
 

Tercon

Well-known member
I do not see the OP presenting the evidence he claims in the title.

In fact, I do not see the OP making clear exactly what explanation for consciousness he is promoting.

Everything requires and entails "consciousness" and a believing mind in order to occur, because without or outside of "consciousness" and a believing mind nothing can be known to occur.
 
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