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I don't understand how the word 'will' is being used posted 31 October 2008 in NeuropathI don't understand how the word 'will' is being used by Thorsten, Candidate

Tilberian, I disagree with a lot of what you claim here.

We know, today, that there is no such thing as a soul, as defined by the traditional religions.


No, we don't really know that. Some people believe it, because they haven't seen it. But then, neuroscientists or psychologists do not even have a viable definition of what soul is (neither is there any real concept of how to precisely define consciousness by the way) - so how do you look for something in an experiment when you can't even define it?

We can account for all the energy and matter in a body, and a dead body (with the soul presumably gone) has just as much energy and matter as a live one (though the energy quickly bleeds off into the environment as cellular processes shut down).


As you notice yourself, the dead body loses energy. There is an amount of energy stored in neuroelectrical processes which is not there any more after death - so the dead body has less energy than the life one. This does neither prove nor disprove the notion of a soul leaving the body. Quite obviously, consciousness leaves the body after death, so if your point were true, would the fact that we account for all matter and energy disprove consciousness? I think rather not. Consciousness seems to be a pattern rather than an energy form - and the soul may be as well.

There is nowhere for an immortal soul to be and no coherent description of how such a thing might communicate with a brain.


Then again, we have no coherent description of how consciousness ties with brain activity. Just because we don't understand something, it doesn't mean it isn't there.

We have good models of how the brain can work the way it does using only the substance of this universe. References to the supernatural quickly devolve into incoherence.


I have yet to see one good model which explains how the brain can generate consciousness. I have read arguments from philosophers, neuroscientists, psychologists, AI researchers - the only one who came close to giving a definition which seemed to be on the right track happened to be a mathematician. We do have models how neurons and neuron networks work - but they don't explain anything relevant. They don't explain why I am a conscious, individual person. So if you are aware of a good model, please tell me where to look. I have been looking for the best part of 10 years, and I haven't found it anywhere.

With only material processes to guide the action of the brain, it is at least theoretically possible to perfectly chart the course of action any brain will take while thinking before it happens.


Given the actual experimental evidence, you state a belief here, not a fact.

As material beings, our actions are completely deterministic (yes, yes, random at the quantum level but that is irrelevant). There is no free will, everything is proceeding according to the laws of nature as set in motion at the beginning of time.


The interesting thing is that you would dismiss the quantum level as irrelevant. Why? The large scale structure of the universe is driven by quantum fluctuations in the early state after the big bang for starters - so how can you possibly claim that everything since the beginning of time is deterministic? In what sense? The quantum state certainly follows deterministic evolution - but the observable state doesn't. So in essence, what you claim to know here is how quantum physics ties with the phenomenon that generates conscious observation - and you don't actually know that. No one does.

So, you believe the world is deterministic, and there is no soul. But you have zero actual evidence for that really being so. So it's interesting that you'd make a claim such as:

There is simply no evidence for the existence of souls, and smart people don't believe in things for which there are no evidence.


That's rather snobbish. The very notion of belief implies that there is not necessarily evidence. If I have evidence, I don't have to believe, I know. So - Einstein believed in god, but he didn't have any evidence. Does that mean Einstein was not a smart person? You believe in a deterministic universe, although there is plenty of evidence to the contrary (as far as the observable universe is concerned, as I said, not on the level of quantum states) - does that mean you are not a smart person? view post


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