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To: allmendream

——Well any premise that intelligence or will is “essentially spiritual” is useless. Whereas any premise that it is a function of physical processes will be of use in terms of diagnosis, understanding, and further study.——

Truth trumps utility.

It’s not wise to base empirical sciences on false premises.

—— We devote a huge amount of resources to our brain because of the physical necessity of a larger brain to conduct higher cognitive function. If humans had “spirit” brains - why the associated physical cost in birthing and maintaining our large brains?——

Does anyone know? How could we know?

Because thought is associated with brain activity, we can’t necessarily conclude that thought is brain activity.

Again, if the brain is simply a complex machine, then it can malfunction. Therefore, any assertion can be doubted. All knowledge would be probable, at best. But since we know some things with certainty, I.e., truth exists, the premise that the mind is a machine must be false.

Or look at it another way. If thought reduces to a material phenomenon, then one arrangement of molecules in the brain would have no more intrinsic worth than any other arrangement. So my idea that “thought is essentially spiritual” has no more or less value than your idea that “thought is essentially material.” Yet we know with certainty that one of these ideas must be superior to the other. So the premise of a purely material intellect must be false.

-—If someone gets a spike through the speech forming part of their brain and can no longer form words - is it a mechanical or a spiritual defect?-—

Mechanical. But this is lower order brain activity, beneath the level of the intellect, which deals with universals.

This highlights another conundrum created by materialist epistemology. How can anyone know whether one’s thoughts conform with reality, if man is a machine? How can anyone know that an external reality even exists?

Aristotle answered these questions long ago. But the rigorous, commonsensical answer is very lengthy, and requires an understanding of his notion of matter and form.

This link provides an overview:

The following will only be of interest to anyone deeply interested in the subject.
There is disagreement between Aristoteleans and Thomists regarding “sense impressions” (phantasms in Thomism.) I prefer Aristotle’s brilliant solution to this problem, with his theory regarding “cognoscitive matter.”
This article by Mortimer Adler explains:

30 posted on 06/04/2012 10:41:39 AM PDT by St_Thomas_Aquinas (Viva Christo Rey!)
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To: St_Thomas_Aquinas

Gary Habermas and —IIRC— David Moreland are exploring this issue via studying near death and death experiences. Most folks do not realize to what extent these studies have discovered an awareness that person can have while their brain is not showing ANY activity, yet the patient has memories when brought back that they could not have based on purely a physical brain phenomenon.

31 posted on 06/04/2012 10:52:08 AM PDT by MHGinTN (Being deceived can be cured.)
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To: St_Thomas_Aquinas
If the “truth” is of absolutely no use - how “TRUE” can it really be?

The truth is generally of use - while specious theological musings are generally useless - despite how “true” the formulator of such thinks it is.

What do you think you know of a certainty such that mind couldn't possibly be a machine?

You claim that if truth exists then the mind cannot be a machine? One does not logically follow from the other - despite how much you think it does or how many times you repeat it.

Taller people with larger brains tend to have higher intelligence. Do they have a better “spirit” brain or a better “physical” brain?

An arrangement of molecules and cells where cognitive function is achieved has more intrinsic worth (as far as cognitive function) than one where cognitive function cannot be achieved.

Someone who induced brain damage through regular excessive alcohol consumption does suffer a defect in ‘higher order’ brain function. Do they suffer from a “spiritual” defect or a “physical” defect?

When cognitive function is reduced after eating a large meal due to reduced blood flow to the brain - is the person suffering from a “physical” defect or a “spiritual” defect?

32 posted on 06/04/2012 11:03:39 AM PDT by allmendream (Tea Party did not send GOP to DC to negotiate the terms of our surrender to socialism)
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