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The Mind is Not The Brain

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1 The Mind is Not The Brain on Wed Apr 09, 2014 2:46 pm


The Mind is Not The Brain

You can know for sure just with a moment's reflection that your brain is not your soul.

The headline in the article says, "A memory is nothing more than a few thousand brain cells firing in a particular pattern." In other words, they are saying that a memory is identical with brain cells firing in a pattern. It is not correlated with a mind state such that the brain cells firing causes your mind or soul to have a memory. It is saying that that's all it is.

That's like saying that a movie is nothing more than light shining through a piece of celluloid. A movie requires light shining through a piece of celluloid and then you can see it projected on the screen. But to say that it is nothing more than that misses something very obvious. Did you ever go upstairs in a movie theater and look through the window of the projection room? There is a big giant disc spinning, the celluloid goes through an apparatus, and there is hot light.

Now, what if I were to tell you that that is the movie right there. The movie is the physical action that I can see happening. You'd think that was ridiculous. A movie is much more than the physical mechanism, the machinery with the celluloid passing through it with a sharp, bright light behind it. Rather, the movie is the image that is being projected on the screen, and it's even more than just an image. There is a story, dialogue, characterization. There are all these other things that go beyond just the physical representation.

When one tries to limit mental activity to the physical processes that I believe produce the mental activity, but isn't the mental activity itself, it is the same as trying to say that a movie is merely the shining of a light through a celluloid strip. You can't capture the movie at all by looking at light shining through celluloid, which shows that a physicalistic explanation of what a movie amounts to falls far short of what the movie really is. What's more, if you look at the light on the celluloid, you will never, ever even see the movie.

Blue Brain Project – Brain Waves Simulation – video

Although, as the preceding video shows, descriptions of what is happening in the brain can be quite elaborate, in regards to consciousness, the ‘hard problem’ of consciousness is never honestly addressed in these elaborate models of brain activity. This following neuroscientist agrees that the 'how' of consciousness is never properly addressed:

Consciousness: What are some concise ways to convince people that consciousness is not an emergent property?
Excerpt: First off, “emergent property” is one of those hand-wavey terms people like to throw around without much substance behind it. A basic definition is something like complex properties that results from the interaction of simple behaviors.
That doesn’t actually answer the how of consciousness particularly well by itself.,,,
How do you explain the subjective experience of “redness”, let’s say. Saying simply that it’s the correlate of the neurophysiological response to certain rods and cones sensitive to certain light waves does not answer the question of why there is a gestalt qualitative experience of red.
- Marc Ettlinger, Research Neuroscientist, Department of Veterans Affairs

In other words, materialists/atheists, with their elaborate descriptions of what is happening in the brain, never really ever honestly address the 'hard' question(s) being asked about the brain:

Fallacies of Contemporary Neuroscience: “A Vast Collection of Answers, with No Memory of the Questions” – Michael Egnor – February 20, 2014
Excerpt: [Scruton:] Neuroenvy… consist[s] of a vast collection of answers, with no memory of the questions. And the answers are encased in neurononsense of the following kind:
‘The brains of social animals are wired to feel pleasure in the exercise of social dispositions such as grooming and co-operation, and to feel pain when shunned, scolded, or excluded. Neurochemicals such as vasopressin and oxytocin mediate pair-bonding, parent-offspring bonding, and probably also bonding to kith and kin…’ (Patricia Churchland).
As though we didn’t know already that people feel pleasure in grooming and co-operating, and as though it adds anything to say that their brains are ‘wired’ to this effect, or that ‘neurochemicals’ might possibly be involved in producing it. This is pseudoscience of the first order, and owes what scant plausibility it possesses to the fact that it simply repeats the matter that it fails to explain. It perfectly illustrates the prevailing academic disorder, which is the loss of questions.

David Chalmers is semi-famous for getting the ‘hard problem’ of consciousness across to lay people in a very easy to understand manner:

David Chalmers on Consciousness (Philosophical Zombies and the Hard Problem) – video

a bit more in-depth look at the ‘hard problem’ is here:

The impossible Problem of Consciousness – video

Here are a few more comments, from atheists, that agree with Chalmers on the insolubility of ‘hard problem’ of consciousness,,

Darwinian Psychologist David Barash Admits the Seeming Insolubility of Science’s “Hardest Problem”
Excerpt: ‘But the hard problem of consciousness is so hard that I can’t even imagine what kind of empirical findings would satisfactorily solve it. In fact, I don’t even know what kind of discovery would get us to first base, not to mention a home run.’
David Barash – Materialist/Atheist Darwinian Psychologist
- per UD News

“We have so much confidence in our materialist assumptions (which are assumptions, not facts) that something like free will is denied in principle. Maybe it doesn’t exist, but I don’t really know that. Either way, it doesn’t matter because if free will and consciousness are just an illusion, they are the most seamless illusions ever created. Film maker James Cameron wishes he had special effects that good.”
Matthew D. Lieberman – neuroscientist – materialist – UCLA professor

Mind and Cosmos – Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False – Thomas Nagel
Excerpt: If materialism cannot accommodate consciousness and other mind-related aspects of reality, then we must abandon a purely materialist understanding of nature in general, extending to biology, evolutionary theory, and cosmology. Since minds are features of biological systems that have developed through evolution, the standard materialist version of evolutionary biology is fundamentally incomplete. And the cosmological history that led to the origin of life and the coming into existence of the conditions for evolution cannot be a merely materialist history.

Here a Harvard neurosurgeon, who is now a former atheist who had a life changing Near Death Experience, comments on the ‘hard' problem:

The Science of Heaven by Dr. Eben Alexander – Nov. 18, 2012
Can consciousness exist when the body fails? One neurosurgeon says he has seen it firsthand—and takes on critics who vehemently disagree.
Excerpt: Many scientists who study consciousness would agree with me that, in fact, the hard problem of consciousness is probably the one question facing modern science that is arguably forever beyond our knowing, at least in terms of a physicalist model of how the brain might create consciousness. In fact, they would agree that the problem is so profound that we don’t even know how to phrase a scientific question addressing it. But if we must decide which produces which, modern physics is pushing us in precisely the opposite direction, suggesting that it is consciousness that is primary and matter secondary.

Basically, Materialists/Atheists, when they proclaim that consciousness is merely an ‘emergent property’ of the brain, are, in essence, saying that consciousness is merely an illusion. But as Chalmers pointed out in his video via Rene Decartes (i.e. ‘I think therefore I am’), the fact that we are conscious is the most concrete thing we can know about reality. And as Decartes first elucidated, we can reasonably doubt everything else we perceive about reality, but the fact that we ourselves are conscious, within this reality we are trying to describe, is the one thing that we can doubt least about reality. In fact, if consciousness is held to be merely an illusion (merely ‘an emergent property’ of the brain), as atheists hold, then our ability to know anything else is real/true about reality is undermined from within by that presupposition (see Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism and Bruce Gordon on Boltzmann’s Brain). This ‘undermined from within’ epistemological failure inherent within the atheist’s materialistic worldview is reveled in a rather humorous fashion here:

The Confidence of Jerry Coyne – January 2014
Excerpt: Well and good. But then halfway through this peroration, we have as an aside the confession 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.)

William J Murray gets the basic point of the necessity of the ‘primacy of consciousness’ across more clearly than anyone else I’ve ever read:

“In any philosophy of reality that is not ultimately self-defeating or internally contradictory, mind – unlabeled as anything else, matter or spiritual – must be primary. What is “matter” and what is “conceptual” and what is “spiritual” can only be organized from mind. Mind controls what is perceived, how it is perceived, and how those percepts are labeled and organized. Mind must be postulated as the unobserved observer, the uncaused cause simply to avoid a self-negating, self-conflicting worldview. It is the necessary postulate of all necessary postulates, because nothing else can come first. To say anything else comes first requires mind to consider and argue that case and then believe it to be true, demonstrating that without mind, you could not believe that mind is not primary in the first place.”
- William J. Murray

William J Murray is in VERY good company in his reasoning:

“No, I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”
Max Planck (1858–1947), the originator of quantum theory, The Observer, London, January 25, 1931

“Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.”
(Schroedinger, Erwin. 1984. “General Scientific and Popular Papers,” in Collected Papers, Vol. 4. Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences. Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn, Braunschweig/Wiesbaden. p. 334.)

“It will remain remarkable, in whatever way our future concepts may develop, that the very study of the external world led to the scientific conclusion that the content of the consciousness is the ultimate universal reality” -
Eugene Wigner – (Remarks on the Mind-Body Question, Eugene Wigner, in Wheeler and Zurek, p.169) 1961 – received Nobel Prize in 1963 for ‘Quantum Symmetries’

Alain Aspect and Anton Zeilinger by Richard Conn Henry – Physics Professor – John Hopkins University
Excerpt: Why do people cling with such ferocity to belief in a mind-independent reality? It is surely because if there is no such reality, then ultimately (as far as we can know) mind alone exists. And if mind is not a product of real matter, but rather is the creator of the “illusion” of material reality (which has, in fact, despite the materialists, been known to be the case, since the discovery of quantum mechanics in 1925), then a theistic view of our existence becomes the only rational alternative to solipsism (solipsism is the philosophical idea that only one’s own mind is sure to exist). (Dr. Henry’s referenced experiment and paper – “An experimental test of non-local realism” by S. Gröblacher et. al., Nature 446, 871, April 2007 – “To be or not to be local” by Alain Aspect, Nature 446, 866, April 2007 (Leggett’s Inequality: Verified to 80 orders of magnitude)

Although atheists have the impossible task of trying to ‘explain away’ the hard problem of consciousness, the Theist has a much easier task at hand. The Theist merely has to show that the mind is not the same thing as the brain. Here are a few simple ways to prove that the mind is not the same thing as the brain.

One simple way of demonstrating that the mind is not the brain comes from utilizing the ‘Law Of Identity’ to separate properties of mind from properties of brain:

Six reasons why you should believe in non-physical minds – podcast and summary (Law of Identity: 6 properties of mind that are not identical to properties of the brain, thus the mind is not the brain)

The Mind and Materialist Superstition – Six “conditions of mind” that are irreconcilable with materialism: Michael Egnor, professor of neurosurgery at SUNY, Stony Brook
Excerpt: Intentionality,,, Qualia,,, Persistence of Self-Identity,,, Restricted Access,,, Incorrigibility,,, Free Will,,,

Alvin Plantinga has a humorous way of getting this ‘Law of Identity’ point across:

Alvin Plantinga and the Modal Argument (for the existence of the mind/soul) – video

Another simple way of proving the mind is not the brain is by utilizing Godel’s incompleteness theorem.

Alan Turing, who invented computers, infamously thought that his brain was merely a ‘Turing Machine’. This following poem teases the ‘merely a machine’ notion of Turing

Alan’s brain tells his mind, “Don’t you blow it.”
Listen up! (Even though it’s inchoate.)
“My claim’s neat and clean.
I’m a Turing Machine!”
… ‘Tis somewhat curious how he could know it.

Yet, in spite of Turing’s irrational belief, and although I don’t believe Turing ever actually admitted it, Alan Turing actually succeeded in extending Godel’s incompleteness to material computers, and thus undermining his own materialistic belief that he was merely a machine in the process. This point is illustrated in the following videos and quotes:

Alan Turing & Kurt Godel – Incompleteness Theorem and Human Intuition – video (with Gregory Chaitin)
Quote from video: Turing recast incompleteness in terms of computers and showed that since they are logic machines, there would always be some problems they would never solve. A machine fed one of these problems would never stop (halting problem). And worse, Turing proved there was no way of telling beforehand which these problems were.”

The Limits Of Reason – Gregory Chaitin – 2006
Excerpt: “an infinite number of true mathematical theorems exist that cannot be proved from any finite system of axioms.”,,,

“Either mathematics is too big for the human mind or the human mind is more than a machine”
~ Kurt Godel

Gödel’s philosophical challenge (to Turing) – Wilfried Sieg – lecture video
(“The human mind infinitely surpasses any finite machine.”)

It is also interesting to note that even though, as was shown in the Godel-Turing video, Alan Turing believed humans were merely machines, much like the computers he had envisioned, Turing failed to realize that his entire idea for computers came to him suddenly, ‘in a vision’ as he put it, thus confirming, in fairly dramatic fashion, Godel’s contention that humans had access to the ‘divine spark of intuition’. A divine spark which enables humans to transcend the limits he, and Godel, had found in the incompleteness theorem for computers, mathematics, (and even for all of material reality in general (Jaki)).

Of related note, the following paper gives the ‘secret’ away for defeating the infamous ‘Turing test’:

Algorithmic Information Theory, Free Will and the Turing Test – Douglas G. Robertson – 1999
Excerpt: Chaitin’s Algorithmic Information Theory shows that information is conserved under formal mathematical operations and, equivalently, under computer operations. This conservation law puts a new perspective on many familiar problems related to artificial intelligence. For example, the famous “Turing test” for artificial intelligence could be defeated by simply asking for a new axiom in mathematics. Human mathematicians are able to create axioms, but a computer program cannot do this without violating information conservation. Creating new axioms and free will are shown to be different aspects of the same phenomenon: the creation of new information.
“… no operation performed by a computer can create new information.”

I consider the preceding proofs (Law of Identity and Incompleteness) to be a pretty simple and solid 'logical' proofs for demonstrating that the mind is not the brain. On the emotional side, here is a touching proof that the mind is not the same thing as the brain

This following video, although the girl in the video was written off as hopelessly retarded by everyone who saw her, reveals that there was/is indeed a gentle intelligence, a “me”, a “soul’, within the girl that was/is trapped within her body. And that that “me” was/is unable to express herself properly to others because of her neurological disorder. Here is a short teaser for her book telling the struggle of her ‘miracle’ breakthrough to be enable her to communicate with the outside world:

Carly’s Café – Experience Autism Through Carly’s Eyes – video

Here is another 'touching' proof that the mind is not the brain.

Miracle Of Mind-Brain Recovery Following Hemispherectomies – Dr. Ben Carson – video

In other words, if the mind of a person were merely the brain, as materialists hold, then if half of a brain were removed then a ‘person’ should only be ‘half the person’, or at least somewhat less of a ‘person’, as they were before, but that is not the case. The ‘whole person’ stays intact even though the brain suffers severe impairment during a hemispherectomy:

Removing Half of Brain Improves Young Epileptics’ Lives:
Excerpt: “We are awed by the apparent retention of memory and by the retention of the child’s personality and sense of humor,” Dr. Eileen P. G. Vining; In further comment from the neuro-surgeons in the John Hopkins study: “Despite removal of one hemisphere, the intellect of all but one of the children seems either unchanged or improved. Intellect was only affected in the one child who had remained in a coma, vigil-like state, attributable to peri-operative complications.”

Strange but True: When Half a Brain Is Better than a Whole One – May 2007
Excerpt: Most Hopkins hemispherectomy patients are five to 10 years old. Neurosurgeons have performed the operation on children as young as three months old. Astonishingly, memory and personality develop normally. ,,,
Another study found that children that underwent hemispherectomies often improved academically once their seizures stopped. “One was champion bowler of her class, one was chess champion of his state, and others are in college doing very nicely,” Freeman says.
Of course, the operation has its downside: “You can walk, run—some dance or skip—but you lose use of the hand opposite of the hemisphere that was removed. You have little function in that arm and vision on that side is lost,” Freeman says. Remarkably, few other impacts are seen. ,,,

The preceding evidence from hemispherectomies is a rather dramatic, and convincing, confirmation for the ‘argument from divisibility’ for the soul:

Case for the Existence of the Soul – (Argument from Divisibility at 38:20 minute mark) – JP Moreland – video

Another rather dramatic proof that the mind is not the same thing as the brain has been from the studies of people who were born blind who have had Near Death Experience (NDE). Blind people who could see for the first time in their lives during their NDE. There simply is no rational explanation within the materialistic/atheistic framework for why this should happen, whereas, in the theistic framework, this is result expected:

Blind Woman Can See During Near Death Experience (NDE) – Pim von Lommel – video

Kenneth Ring and Sharon Cooper (1997) conducted a study of 31 blind people, many of who reported vision during their Near Death Experiences (NDEs). 21 of these people had had an NDE while the remaining 10 had had an out-of-body experience (OBE), but no NDE. It was found that in the NDE sample, about half had been blind from birth. (of note: This ‘anomaly’ is also found for deaf people who can hear sound during their Near Death Experiences(NDEs).)

“I was in a body, and the only way that I can describe it was a body of energy, or of light. And this body had a form. It had a head, it had arms and it had legs. And it was like it was made out of light. And it was everything that was me. All of my memories, my consciousness, everything.”,,, “And then this vehicle formed itself around me. Vehicle is the only thing, or tube, or something, but it was a mode of transportation that’s for sure! And it formed around me. And there was no one in it with me. I was in it alone. But I knew there were other people ahead of me and behind me. What they were doing I don’t know, but there were people ahead of me and people behind me, but I was alone in my particular conveyance. And I could see out of it. And it went at a tremendously, horrifically, rapid rate of speed. But it wasn’t unpleasant. It was beautiful in fact. I was reclining in this thing, I wasn’t sitting straight up, but I wasn’t lying down either. I was sitting back. And it was just so fast. I can’t even begin to tell you where it went or whatever it was just fast!” –
Vicky Noratuk’s NDE – Blind since birth – quote taken from the following video
Coast to Coast – Vicki’s Near Death Experience (Blind From Birth) part 1 of 3

Here are some ‘simple’ ways to empirically demonstrate, at home or school, that the mind is not the same thing as the brain:

Rupert Sheldrake invites you to participate in his ongoing research. No previous experience is necessary, and the online tests can be done immediately. Most of these experiments are suitable for use in schools and colleges, and some make an excellent basis for student projects.

Telephone Telepathy – video

The Mind Is Not The Brain – Scientific Evidence – Rupert Sheldrake – video

Here is another way, though not quite as simple, to show that the mind is not the same thing as the brain.

An absolutely astonishing fact that seems to be completely lost on hard core Darwinists is that a single human brain has more switches than all the computers and routers and Internet connections on Earth. Yet supercomputers with many switches have a huge problem dissipating heat,,,

Supercomputer architecture
Excerpt: Throughout the decades, the management of heat density has remained a key issue for most centralized supercomputers.[4][5][6] The large amount of heat generated by a system may also have other effects, such as reducing the lifetime of other system components.[7] There have been diverse approaches to heat management, from pumping Fluorinert through the system, to a hybrid liquid-air cooling system or air cooling with normal air conditioning temperatures.
per wikipedia

But the brain, though having more switches than all the computers and routers and Internet connections on Earth, does not have such a problem dissipating heat,,,

Appraising the brain’s energy budget:
Excerpt: In the average adult human, the brain represents about 2% of the body weight. Remarkably, despite its relatively small size, the brain accounts for about 20% of the oxygen and, hence, calories consumed by the body. This high rate of metabolism is remarkably constant despite widely varying mental and motoric activity. The metabolic activity of the brain is remarkably constant over time.

Excerpt: Although Lennox considered the performance of mental arithmetic as “mental work”, it is not immediately apparent what the nature of that work in the physical sense might be if, indeed, there be any. If no work or energy transformation is involved in the process of thought, then it is not surprising that cerebral oxygen consumption is unaltered during mental arithmetic.

Does Thinking Really Hard Burn More Calories? – By Ferris Jabr – July 2012
Excerpt: So a typical adult human brain runs on around 12 watts—a fifth of the power required by a standard 60 watt lightbulb. Compared with most other organs, the brain is greedy; pitted against man-made electronics, it is astoundingly efficient.
-per Scientific American

Moreover, one source for the heat generated by computers, that is of primary concern for us, is caused by the erasure of information from the computer in logical operations,,,

Landauer’s principle
Of Note: “any logically irreversible manipulation of information, such as the erasure of a bit or the merging of two computation paths, must be accompanied by a corresponding entropy increase ,,, Specifically, each bit of lost information will lead to the release of an (specific) amount (at least kT ln 2) of heat.,,, Landauer’s Principle has also been used as the foundation for a new theory of dark energy, proposed by Gough (2008).

And any computer that has anything close to as many switches as the brain has, then this source of heat will become prohibitive for the computer:

Quantum physics behind computer temperature
Excerpt: It was the physicist Rolf Landauer who first worked out in 1961 that when data is deleted it is inevitable that energy will be released in the form of heat. This principle implies that when a certain number of arithmetical operations per second have been exceeded, the computer will produce so much heat that the heat is impossible to dissipate.,,,
,, the team believes that the critical threshold where Landauer’s erasure heat becomes important may be reached within the next 10 to 20 years.

Thus the brain is either operating on reversible computation principles no computer can come close to emulating (Charles Bennett) (and memory would be ‘consumed’ in the process of reversible computation), or, as is much more likely, the brain is not erasing information from its memory as material computers are required to do because our memories are stored on a ‘spiritual’ level rather than on a material level,,, Extensive research lends support to this conclusion,,,

A Reply to Shermer Medical Evidence for NDEs (Near Death Experiences) – Pim van Lommel
Excerpt: For decades, extensive research has been done to localize memories (information) inside the brain, so far without success.,,,,So we need a functioning brain to receive our consciousness into our waking consciousness. And as soon as the function of brain has been lost, like in clinical death or in brain death, with iso-electricity on the EEG, memories and consciousness do still exist, but the reception ability is lost. People can experience their consciousness outside their body, with the possibility of perception out and above their body, with identity, and with heightened awareness, attention, well-structured thought processes, memories and emotions. And they also can experience their consciousness in a dimension where past, present and future exist at the same moment, without time and space, and can be experienced as soon as attention has been directed to it (life review and preview), and even sometimes they come in contact with the “fields of consciousness” of deceased relatives. And later they can experience their conscious return into their body.

The Mystery of Perception During Near Death Experiences – Pim van Lommel – video

To add more support to this view that ‘memory/information’ is not stored in the material brain, but on a higher ‘spiritual’ level, one of the most common features of extremely deep near death experiences is the ‘life review’ of a person where every minute detail of a person’s life is reviewed in the presence of God:

Life After Life – Raymond Moody – Near Death Experience – The Tunnel, The Light, The Life Review – video

And then, though not simple, there is the argument for God from consciousness in quantum mechanics. i.e. due to advances in quantum mechanics, the argument for God from consciousness can now be framed like this:

1. Consciousness either preceded all of material reality or is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality.
2. If consciousness is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality then consciousness will be found to have no special position within material reality. Whereas conversely, if consciousness precedes material reality then consciousness will be found to have a special position within material reality.
3. Consciousness is found to have a special, even central, position within material reality.
4. Therefore, consciousness is found to precede material reality.

Four intersecting lines of experimental evidence from quantum mechanics that shows that consciousness precedes material reality (Wigner’s Quantum Symmetries, Wheeler’s Delayed Choice, Leggett’s Inequalities, Quantum Zeno effect):

The Galileo Affair and Life/Consciousness as the true “Center of the Universe”

Verse and Music:

Colossians 1:17
And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

Evanescence – The Other Side (Lyric Video)

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2 Re: The Mind is Not The Brain on Wed Jul 16, 2014 4:18 pm


All Brain, No Mind

i am not going to go into all the reasons right now why that is self- evident, but I am going to count on the fact that you have a self-conscious awareness of your own consciousness as something different from your physical body. I am going to give you some evidence why I think that that is true. But I guess I just want to say that that is just the most common sense approach to reality with regards to human beings. We just seem to know that to be the case.

Indeed, for those who believe differently, they have to be talked out of the obvious witness of their own self-reflection and their own experience. That is why I think that, as one philosopher put it, "the prevailing opinions in the science of mind are obviously false." You don't need to be a philosopher to figure this out. A few moments of reflection will do that. You don't need to be a scientist because you know something that a scientist couldn't possibly know.

Before I go any further, I want to make a recommendation to you. You really need to take about three hours of your time and read a book. It is not out of your reach, but you are going to have to go slowly and pay attention to what is being said. But once you do, you will never be up-ended about these kinds of articles again with regards to your faith and the nature of the soul and the brain. The book is entitled Immortality, The Other Side of Death , published by Thomas Nelson. The authors are J.P. Moreland and Gary Habermas. J.P. Moreland gives his defense of what is known in philosophy as substance dualism. It is the idea that not only do you have a substantial body, but you have a substantial soul. The two work together, but they are separate. You cannot reduce the soul and all mental activity to mere activity of the brain.

The rest of the book is excellent, as well.

If you feel intimidated in dealing with this issue because you are not a neurologist, I want to put your fears to rest because you know something that the scientists do not know. What the scientists know has to do with the brain. But my discussion now is not principally about the brain, it is about the mind. There is only one person who has access to your mind. You. No one else knows your thoughts. No one else knows your feelings. No one else knows what it is like to be you. Technically, it is called de se knowledge. In other words, you have entirely private, first-person access to your own consciousness.

If I develop that a little further, that in itself would be a good defense for the idea that the soul is not the body, that the mind is not the brain because the brain and all other physical objects have no first-person priority or privileged access. They all have third-person access. Anybody can look at any physical thing and have the same kind of access to it as anyone else. It's a different argument. I'm not going to go into it now.

The main point that I want to make is that you know some things about your own consciousness because you have first-person access. Just what you know, the limited amount that you happen to know, is enough to let you know that you are not the same as your brain.

I think Paul is even on to this in 1 Corinthians 2:11. He mentions essentially the same thing: "For who among men knows the thoughts of a man e is talking about spirit in the context of the soul. He is using it synonymously with the inner man.

An important distinction to understand is between identity and constant correlation. I mentioned earlier that I think the article makes a very powerful point. Certain physical states of the brain certainly influence the soul.

But in identifying this fact, the neurologists have drawn the mistaken conclusion that since certain states are correlated, certain brain states are correlated with your soulish functions--memory, thinking, choices, feelings-- and that means there is no self, there is no soul, there is just a brain state. That is a big mistake. I know that they are not the same thing.

You can know for sure just with a moment's reflection that your brain is not your soul.

The headline in the article says, "A memory is nothing more than a few thousand brain cells firing in a particular pattern." In other words, they are saying that a memory is identical with brain cells firing in a pattern. It is not correlated with a mind state such that the brain cells firing causes your mind or soul to have a memory. It is saying that that's all it is.

That's like saying that a movie is nothing more than light shining through a piece of celluloid. A movie requires light shining through a piece of celluloid and then you can see it projected on the screen. But to say that it is nothing more than that misses something very obvious. Did you ever go upstairs in a movie theater and look through the window of the projection room? There is a big giant disc spinning, the celluloid goes through an apparatus, and there is hot light.

Now, what if I were to tell you that that is the movie right there. The movie is the physical action that I can see happening. You'd think that was ridiculous. A movie is much more than the physical mechanism, the machinery with the celluloid passing through it with a sharp, bright light behind it. Rather, the movie is the image that is being projected on the screen, and it's even more than just an image. There is a story, dialogue, characterization. There are all these other things that go beyond just the physical representation.

When one tries to limit mental activity to the physical processes that I believe produce the mental activity, but isn't the mental activity itself, it is the same as trying to say that a movie is merely the shining of a light through a celluloid strip. You can't capture the movie at all by looking at light shining through celluloid, which shows that a physicalistic explanation of what a movie amounts to falls far short of what the movie really is. What's more, if you look at the light on the celluloid, you will never, ever even see the movie.

This is a very apt metaphor because of a statement made in the article. "Using sensitive electrodes inserted deep into the gray matter of test animals, researchers have watched vision as it percolates inward from the eye's retina to the inner brain." See what it says there? It says that the researchers have watched vision. It goes on to say, "Scientists watch a thought taking place. They can see the red glow of fear erupting from the structure known as the amygdala or note the tell-tale firing of neurons as a long-buried memory is reconstructed."

They say they can watch the thought, they can watch vision, but what are they actually seeing when they are watching that physical activity? They are watching the retina and the inner brain respond, but they are not seeing what the test animal sees? They are not watching vision. In other words, they are not watching the movie, they are watching the celluloid go past the light.

When they say they watch a thought taking place because they can see the red glow of fear erupting from a structure known as the amygdala, are they seeing a thought? No, they are seeing a part of the brain. When the doctors look at the brain, they can't see the thoughts, just like looking at the film in the celluloid, you can't see the movie. The scientists apparently can turn the projector on, but they can't see your movie no matter how many electrodes they have in your brain. Even in these scientific tests, you must have a viewer to know what the memory is. Can they put electrodes in my brain, stimulate a memory, and tell me what the memory is? No. Why? They cannot see the projection on the screen. Only I can see that on the inside.

If it was all physical, they should be able to see all the physical stuff, including the memory. But they can't see the memory. They can't see the projection. They can't see the movie. Why? The movie is not physical. It's these physical things that they watch that produces an image that occurs in my mind--an image that no one else can see. Why? All they can see are physical things and your mind is not physical.

There is a caption under a picture that says, "Mind probe. The pet scan. A key tool of brain research lets scientists watch mental processes as they happen." But what does it watch? It watches physical changes. It can't see your thoughts. It can't see your images, nor can it feel your feelings.

Think about your feelings for just a moment. A feeling is not just a chemical reaction. How do I know? Chemical reactions don't hurt, but feelings do. Feelings have a quality about them. What could be more obvious? As a matter of fact, it is so obvious that I feel silly even talking about it because you know this as well as I know this. Feelings have a particular texture to them that can't be captured in a chemical description. But someone in a white coat wants to tell you that you are not having a feeling, you're having a chemical reaction. And this one person told me, if it is just a chemical reaction, then why does it hurt so much?

C.S. Lewis wrote in God in the Dock , "It is disastrous when instead of merely attending to a rose, we are forced to think of ourselves looking at the rose with a certain type of mind and a certain type of eyes. It is disastrous because if you are not careful, the color of the rose gets attributed to our optic nerves and its scent to our noses and in the end, there is no rose left." Lewis is on to something here because if you follow this article to its logical conclusion, in the end there is no feeling left. There is no love, no pain, no compassion, no comfort, no beauty. There are no roses, no Mona Lisas, no Beethoven sonatas, no teenage puppy love. All that's left is chemical reactions, light waves and vibrating molecules. You know better, ladies and gentlemen, you know better.

The article is basically an assessment of the physical capabilities of the brain, which is fine. I think it is great to map out the brain. I think it is great to look at what the brain can do, and I think it is very helpful in many cases to see the correlation between brain activity and mental activity. My deep concern, though, is that this work on the brain by scientists and by science has an additional agenda behind it, much like the agenda that evolutionary science in its birth and subsequent development has had also. It wasn't just science that it was interested in. There were theological, philosophical, metaphysical aspects to it.

Darwin's attempt was to get God out of the picture with regards to the issues of origins, and I suspect that much of what is going on in neurology is an attempt to get rid of the mind so that all you have left is the brain. That's why even though all of this assessment is interesting and I think contributes greatly to our understanding of the relationship of the brain to the mind, there is certainly a tenor in this magazine article that is trying to give you the scientific explanation in order to argue that our belief that we exist as a center of consciousness, as a rational soul, is just simply mistaken.

Here's my final point on this issue. If the mind is reduced to the brain, pretty soon everything is lost. Feelings become chemical reactions, beautiful objects become light waves, beautiful music is reduced to vibrating molecules. Where did the music go? Where did the beauty go? Where did the feeling go? It's all gone. It ought to be obvious to us that this reduction is insane. It can't be made. It isn't valid. It's misleading.

Of course I think you know better than to accept this, but you may be intimidated by scientists in white coats telling you that you aren't really feeling love, you're just having a chemical reaction. You're not really seeing something beautiful, this is just light of various wave lengths. You're not really hearing something wonderful, it is just vibrating molecules.

But there is a deeper problem. If consciousness is just a property created by the brain, then when you make a decision who or what does the deciding? If consciousness is a mere effect of chemical reactions in the brain, then your conscious act of deciding is not a free will act of your own, it is a result of some physical process that came before it. Your choices are controlled by physical events outside of your will. To put it more bluntly, you have no will at all. Not really. Why not? According to this view, physical states produce particular mental states, which produce particular physical states all following one after another in a determined pattern just like railroad cars following an engine. guess what? You have not only lost the rose and Beethoven and your teenage puppy love, you've lost you, too. And by the way, that is exactly what this article says.

Let me read it to you: "Despite our every instinct to the contrary, [which is a tacit admission we already know what is right here and we have to deny] there is one thing that consciousness is not. Some entity deep inside the brain that corresponds to the self. Some kernel of awareness that runs the show as the man behind the curtain manipulating the illusion of a powerful magician in the Wizard of Oz. After more than a century of looking for it, brain researchers have long since concluded that there is no conceivable place for such a self to be located in the physical brain and that it simply doesn't exist."

That is the most bizarre statement I have heard in a long time. It's like the man looking for the invisible rabbit. He said, I have looked high and low and I can't find it, therefore it doesn't exist. If there are invisible rabbits, you are not going to find them anywhere. Why not? They are invisible. That doesn't prove they do exist, it just simply points out that you can't disqualify the existence of something by looking for it in a way that won't turn it up. You don't look for the mind in the brain and try to find a location for it because the mind is not something physical by definition . You can't conclude that it doesn't exist because you haven't found it after a century of looking. You don't find it that way. You infer it from other things, and we have inferred it very directly and very successfully with a couple of very simple arguments. There are more in Moreland's book on immortality.

Lewis put it this way and he really captured it: "I see no reason for believing that one accident should be able to give me a correct account of all other accidents. It's like expecting that the accidental shape taken by the splash when you upset a milk jug should give you a correct account of how the jug was made and why it was upset."

Do you see the price that you have to pay to buy this point of view? Everything gets lost. Even you. Even the scientists that think they're thinking these conclusions. They're gone, too. So, why trust the conclusions?

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