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The implausibility of brainless minds

Discussion in 'Science and Religion' started by Copernicus, Oct 29, 2011.

  1. Copernicus

    Copernicus Godless Hierophant

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    4,421
    Most religions depend on the belief that mental activity can occur independently of brains. What one thinks of as the "soul" or "spirit" is a thinking being that can operate independently of a body. Nevertheless, the evidence continues to mount that there is absolutely no mental activity that occurs independently of brain activity. It does not contradict the idea of dualism to say that minds are dependent on brains for their existence, but it does contradict the idea that a mind can survive brain-death.

    In the last few decades, scientists have been able to explore the tight connection between thought and brain activity through the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology. MRI merely shows where blood concentrates in the brain when mental activity is taking place, and scientists can actually take videos of dynamic activity in the brain during specifically targeted thinking patterns. Scientists have now, for the first time, correlated dreams with volitional behavior. While this kind of experimental evidence does not prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that mental activity depends on brain activity, it does seem to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.
     
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  2. Madhuri

    Madhuri RF Goddess Staff Member Premium Member

    Messages:
    15,060
    Religion:
    Bhagavad Gita - SD
    Most religions depend on the belief that this thing called soul or spirit is not a material thing and therefore cannot be compared with anything material. The laws governing Spirit are entirely different to the laws governing Matter.

    By this token, one cannot conclude anything about the nature of soul/spirit based on material laws.

    On the other hand, there are religious ideas (such as within Hinduism) that beneath the material layer there is a subtle layer and beneath the subtle there is a spiritual. The soul/spirit, which is life-force and consciousness, exists always in a body/form with what would include the subtle or spiritual equivalent of a 'brain'.

    What scientists need to do is conclude, without a doubt, that the subtle or spiritual layers do not exist, but this is as impossible as proving that God does not exist.
     
  3. outhouse

    outhouse Atheistically

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    26,945
    says who?


    or non material laws


    but I can make a court case and win that all gods were created by man, as they always have been. Its why the deities reflect the people, not the other way around.


    science doesnt deal with imagination or test for it.

    science would not be needed but a good historian will tell you exactly how the concept of a soul was created by men and like deities all have a different definition based on their local mythology.




    with that said you have a valid point, I just dont think you have a real leg to stand on.


    Once the computer is shut off, the show is over. But its just my opinion
     
  4. Me Myself

    Me Myself Back to my username

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    I am not telling you that I can prove afterlife or that you should believe in it. It mkay do you no favour or wrong to do so anyways, so I don´t care that much.

    It is accurate to say though, that you can´t prove that the brain is not just a material manifestation of a spiritual reality.

    Even if you say that by influencing the brain or body you influence emotions, etc, well that shows there is a obvious conection between body and soul/spirit/call-it-how-you-like.

    So anything you say can be "imagined" wrong in some way. This makes the implausibilty relative enough to say: implausible for scientific notion....yet.
     
  5. Copernicus

    Copernicus Godless Hierophant

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    Madhuri, how are you in a position to know about the "laws governing Spirit" any more than I am? Scientists can study the "laws governing Matter", but which humans are more qualified than others to study the "laws governing Spirit"? If the source of your knowledge is "intuition" or "revelation", then I can only reply that those sources of knowledge are notoriously unreliable.

    But what are the "spiritual laws", and how do you know what they are?

    Whatever your religious doctrines preach, there is still the question of how you or your religious sources could be in a position to know more about those things than anyone else. The thing about scientists is that they do not claim to be in a special position to know things about material "laws". Everything they do must be testable and observable by everyone else.

    I don't think that you are in a position to dictate what scientists or anyone else must conclude. Scientists do not make any claims about aspects of reality that are untestable or unverifiable. The question is: Why do you?
     
  6. Me Myself

    Me Myself Back to my username

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    The real question is what makes you feel you don´t?

    Ever wondered why you believe this reality of yours is real andnot a dream? Cause you can´t prove material reality without ciclical thinking or faith.
     
  7. Copernicus

    Copernicus Godless Hierophant

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    Nor can you. Is that what you claim?

    I am not saying any such thing. I am saying that emotions are caused by brain activity. When the brain ceases to function, there is nothing to cause the emotions. This is fairly easy to prove, since we know that drugs affect moods and emotions. Alcohol certainly affects judgement, and we humans have been observing its effects since at least the beginning of recorded history and very likely well before that. Indeed, we have observed the effect of brain injuries on mental activity and behavior since the beginning, so why do we deny the obvious?

    Yet what? Science is all about what is plausible, not just what is imaginable.
     
  8. Copernicus

    Copernicus Godless Hierophant

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    The lack of any credible evidence that there is a spiritual plane of existence or that brainless thinking beings exist. This is not about what is imaginable, but what is plausible.

    If you wish to believe that, I will not stand in your way. I do caution you that it can be very painful if you try to act on the assumption that your experiences of reality are unreal.
     
  9. Me Myself

    Me Myself Back to my username

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    You misunderstand, my question is what makes yu think you don´t act on faith? You have faith in the existence of the material world.

    I don´t know about you, but I´ve felt pleasure, pain, perfumes, tastes and all kinds of all kinds in my dreams. There is nothing that casn prove you that the material world is real. It is a believe that works for you for now. This can change, but to say it definetely is, is working on faith.
     
  10. Me Myself

    Me Myself Back to my username

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    Nonsense. Science can start with imagination and it has. People didn´t "know" how to fly nor it was "obvious" that is was posible. Two brothers said it was posible because they could imagine it, and with work they did it real for all of us.
     
  11. Madhuri

    Madhuri RF Goddess Staff Member Premium Member

    Messages:
    15,060
    Religion:
    Bhagavad Gita - SD
    Because your argument is based on dismissing claims made by religions and so I am saying that according to those religious concepts, your argument is flawed. It has nothing to do with my understanding of the nature of Spirit.

    Maybe we can't know. Or maybe we aren't evolved enough to know. Each religion gives different criteria of how we can come to know or experience this alternative reality, and so the only way to find out if it is true or not (based on its own claims) is to practice the disciplines and rule them out if they don't work.
    Whether or not the individual chooses to pursue such a path to find out its validity is their own prerogative. Some are motivated by the expressed experiences of others or by their own phenomenal experiences.


    As to the first statement, each religion is likely to provide a different answer. I could give you my opinion, but what my religion says regarding this is straying from my argument. My argument is only that to make a claim about spirit, you have to actually address the specifics regarding the believed or taught nature of spirit in order to be able to properly defeat it. The OP is an invalid argument, imo, because it shows a lack of understanding of what it is attempting to defeat.


    [/QUOTE]I don't think that you are in a position to dictate what scientists or anyone else must conclude. Scientists do not make any claims about aspects of reality that are untestable or unverifiable. The question is: Why do you?[/QUOTE]

    I don't.
    I hope you now understanding my main argument.
     
  12. Madhuri

    Madhuri RF Goddess Staff Member Premium Member

    Messages:
    15,060
    Religion:
    Bhagavad Gita - SD
    First read my latest reply to Copernicus. It will address the fact that I am not making any actual claims.

    Then there shouldn't be any claims that things like spirit do not exist. People can conclude that it is unlikely based on the information they have or that they have no personal reason for belief in it, but if scientists cannot test something or do not know how to find or test something, then claims should not be made.
     
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  13. atanu

    atanu Member

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    7,616
    A brainy and mindless post?

    I have never seen such a declaration. Can you cite the reference? Mind is the consciousness of individuality and no religious scripture says that individual mind, which operates based on the field called body operates same without the body.

    And eastern philosophies at least do not discern difference in the true nature of matter and spirit. Different matter are different vibrational states of one spirit.

    Because they are two views of the same thing, they are not seen separate ever. A body has never been seen to operate independent of life. Can you show us some inert matter, which is conscious of itself?

    Do those video recordings show the colour red when the man sees color red?

    One can also show intense activity in man's sexual organ when he is thinking sexual thoughts. Does that mean that the sexual organ is the mind or that it gives rise to the mind?
    .......................................

    Mind is reflector of self/spirit that is a bird, ungraspable, and never seen. Its nature is to fly. Yet there is a function that can bring the mind, back to itself. Brain OTOH is its manifested state that can be grasped and seen. Brain does not prefer to apply its so-called executive role and cry out "Do not bury me", when life leaves -- because it cannot.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2011
  14. atanu

    atanu Member

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    7,616
    I agree.:clap
     
  15. St Giordano Bruno

    St Giordano Bruno New Member

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    It is all about software or how the brain processes information rather than the brain itself. Basically we are made of information or a form of biological bits and bytes.
     
  16. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Ignorant Atheist Capitalist Engineer Libertarian

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    63,626
    Since we can alter the brain's & nervous system's circuitry by slicing, drugging & adding interfaces,
    thatmpretty strongly points to consciousness being the result of physical processes in the brain.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2011
  17. atanu

    atanu Member

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    According to Vedanta, individual mind is the consciousness of individuality, and it is present in every created thing. Even an atom has a kind of mind; it maintains a self-identity, it interacts as per its self identity .

    The one singular identity consciousness that we feel in us, is possible only if there is no distinction vitally between mind and matter. It is one thing appearing as two things.
     
  18. Thief

    Thief Rogue Theologian

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    19,546
    So this is another...'I don't believe...prove me wrong".... thread.

    A recent science documentary put together several skillful and highly educated professionals, to ask the question is there life after death.

    Each one tried, but each one failed.
    Still, their efforts could not rule out the possibility.

    And now here we are, trying again to say there is life after death.

    That much is a matter of faith and faith needs no proving.

    There will be no photograph...no fingerprint....no equation....etc.

    You just have to make up your mind...and decide you want to keep it...
    after you die.
     
  19. Madhuri

    Madhuri RF Goddess Staff Member Premium Member

    Messages:
    15,060
    Religion:
    Bhagavad Gita - SD
    I disagree. Many religious people believe that consciousness manifests where there is a vehicle capable of supporting it. When the vehicle disintegrates, the consciousness withdraws. The consciousness, once completely withdrawn from one vehicle, enters a new one. This can be a new physical body, ghostly, subtle or spiritual.

    From the perspective of one who has this belief, the studies involving brain manipulation have little or no impact and certainly do not point to the consciousness being the result of physical processes. It only reinforces the concept of the illusory nature of self (as opposed to Self) that we so readily identify with and gives purpose to our strive to realise our most permanent Self.
     
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  20. atanu

    atanu Member

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    Can you add circuitry to a brain outside living system and make it act as you wish? Or alternatively, show a brain outside of living system slicing, drugging and adding interfaces.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2011
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