Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Exbrainer

Exbeliever seems to think he has a knockdown argument against Cartesian dualism:

“If the brain is clearly and demonstrably responsible for some aspects of a person's identity, personality, and behavior, it does not seem unreasonable to assume that the brain is responsible for all aspects of a person's identity, personality, and behavior.”

http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2006/03/soul-rational-belief.html

What a lovely non-sequitur.

Bishop Berkeley used the very same reasoning in reverse: “If the mind is clearly and demonstrably responsible for some aspects of a person's identity, personality, and behavior, it does not seem unreasonable to assume that the mind is responsible for all aspects of a person's identity, personality, and behavior.”

“ In fact, it seems as if the notion of a spiritual consciousness is completely superfluous.”

And the good bishop would say, “In fact, it seems as if the notion of matter is completely superfluous.”

“ If human identity, personality, and behavior can be determined by the brain it seems that this is the most natural explanation of human (non-spiritual consciousness). Any further additions would seem to violate Ockham's razor.”

And the good bishop would say, “ If human identity, personality, and behavior can be determined by perception, it seems that this is the most natural explanation of human (spiritual consciousness). Any further additions would seem to violate Ockham's razor.”

Moving along:

“If, instead, a theist asserts the transcendence of the spiritual consciousness so that it cannot be affected by the brain, many questions follow.

If, instead, the theist believes that a spiritual consciousness can affect the brain, but cannot be affected by the brain, then the spiritual consciousness would be much different than the consciousness of which the person is aware, and if the spiritual consciousness lived on, it would not be the same person.”

i) To begin with, you don’t have to be a theist to be a dualist. And you don’t have to be a dualist to be a theist.

ii) The typical dualist subscribes to interactionism.

Since Exbeliever, in his pig-ignorance of the opposing position, has foisted a straw man argument on the dualist, none of his subsequent defeaters defeat the other side.

With such elementary incompetence, is it any wonder that Loftus continues to expand his team of rejects to paper over the honeycombed quality of the reasoning?

2 comments:

  1. Simply saying "the typical dualist subscribes to interactionism" doesn't solve the problem that exbeliever (and many others) have outlined:
    Delineate the causal interaction between mind and body in regards to "perception".

    Considering the identification of focal points within the brain which are responsible for specific elements of perception, claiming some transcendent immaterial "mind" and "perception" is quite an exercise in logic-bending. I suppose the corresponding immaterial elements of mind and perception float above those exact locations on the brain, and that the interaction occurs locally? I'm presuming. You tell me in your own words.

    Demonstrating a causal interaction between matter and the immaterial is like painting a square circle (kind of like Reformed apologetics, in that regard). Let's see if you can get to the crux of the matter, rather than begging the question.

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  2. I think it can be demonstrated that Steve and the folks at Triablogue are not critical thinkers. And by this I don’t mean that we merely have different control beliefs which cause us to see differerent things, either, since I realize reason so often is used in the service of our control beliefs. I mean they fail to grasp mildly complex arguments.

    Steve wrote:

    “If the brain is clearly and demonstrably responsible for some aspects of a person's identity, personality, and behavior, it does not seem unreasonable to assume that the brain is responsible for all aspects of a person's identity, personality, and behavior.”

    What a lovely non-sequitur.

    The above is a case-in-point. Steve claims he caught exbeliever in an informal fallacy; that of a non-sequitur. He claims it doesn’t logically follow that if “the brain is clearly and demonstrably responsible for some aspects of a person's personality…” then “it does not seem unreasonable to assume that the brain is responsible for all aspects of a person's personality…” Exbeliever and I may be wrong about the brain, but the assumption is a reasonable one and it does follow from the premise itself. Nothing Steve said showed otherwise.

    But Steve claims otherwise. Steve, why doesn't it follow in the absence of the same kind of evidence that the mind is clearly and demonstrably responsible for some aspects of a person's identity? Exbeliever says it's a reasonable assumption to make, and it is. Why isn’t it? Can the folks at Triablogue show us that the mind is clearly and demonstrably responsible for some aspects of a person's identity, personality, and behavior? Can they? Can they clearly and demonstrably show this? Not so…surely not in the same manner that the brain is responsible for some aspects of a person’s personality. Until they can, then it's not an unreasonable assumption to make. Such a scientific conclusion does follow from the results of scientific studies, even if Steve wants to disagree with it for religious reasons.

    Steve also fails to understand that he cannot make the exact opposite claim. He claims Bishop Berkeley made the exact opposite argument, that if the mind is clearly and demonstrably responsible for some…..then….it does not seem unreasonable to assume that the mind is responsible for all….. But Berkeley cannot make the same scientifically demonstratable claim. It can be shown that the brain is clearly and demonstrably responsible for some aspects of a person's identity, personality, and behavior…. This is what exbeliever did. Berkeley cannot do this when it comes to the mind, and neither can the folks at Triablogue.

    Steve, again: The typical dualist subscribes to interactionism.

    Hmmm, ever since Descartes said the pituitary gland was the place where the non-material mind made contact with the non-spiritual brain multitudes have abandoned dualism.

    But look here at Steve’s misplaced confidence: Since Exbeliever, in his pig-ignorance of the opposing position, has foisted a straw man argument on the dualist, none of his subsequent defeaters defeat the other side.

    With such elementary incompetence, is it any wonder that Loftus continues to expand his team of rejects to paper over the honeycombed quality of the reasoning?


    It’s one thing to reveal one’s own ignorance at being able to understand the arguments of another person. That’s one thing. But to revel in one’s own ignorance and to parade it around for all the viewers to see….that’s a horse of a different color.

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