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Is the brain just a receiver for signals from the soul?

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posted on Sep, 5 2006 @ 01:44 AM
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I am a skeptic and an incorrigible materialist.

I don't believe in immortal souls. I don't believe in afterlives and minds that live disembodied existences out in the ether somewhere. I believe that consciousness is just a by-product of brain function: a kind of illusion, if you will.

Today, however, I came across this article, which suggests that the brain is not -- as people like myself would have it -- the source of an illusive consciousness, but simply a kind of two-way radio enabling communication and interaction between 'mind' (consciousness, or soul if you prefer that word) and body.

I've never heard this argument before and I must say I can't immediately think of a way to refute it.

I'd be really interested to hear what other members think; please post your views.

Caveat: I really don't want this to turn into one of those threads where convinced Christians use scripture to prove their points and unbelievers simply ignore or belittle them. I won't try to stop that happening, but personally, my interest is in an intellectual discussion based on the philosophical aspects of the question. That being so, I would really appreciate it if everybody would be so kind as to leave holy books and faith-based arguments out of the picture. Thank you.

Oh, and please read the linked article to the end before joining the debate. Thanks again.




posted on Sep, 5 2006 @ 02:19 AM
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I've kinda started to think so... However ,I think the "soul" is still located in our heads, I'll try to explain. The same way a farady cage blocks all signals from entering an area , I htink the neurons in our head form a typr of faraqday cage that keeps our "souls" trapped in our heads. When we die, the neurons are no longer firing and the "soul" is free to go on to wherever. Personally I think our solus are collected by some higher evolved life form and reasigned to another body somehere. I don't think the "soul" is a controlling factor in our lives, I think of it as more of a tape recorder, one we can't listen to while we are recording.....



posted on Sep, 5 2006 @ 12:22 PM
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A very interesting topic.

My personal opinion is that the brain is 'the control centre' if you like. The brain is what sends out the signals to make us do things through a process of analysing a problem, consideration, and then action. For example, If i feel thirsty, my brain will tell me that i need to drink, then I would consider this problem, thinking of similar problems that i have been in in the past, and searching my environment to look for an answer. I may then see the fridge, and imagine opening it and getting a drink. I will then consider whether or not this is a good idea, and whether it will solve the problem. I will then take my action (or no action as it may be).

I do not think that the brain only responds to material things involving the body (like the above example), but also to things of a spiritual aspect. The soul is what knows the difference of right and wrong according to scripture, and i think that in the decision process, the brain responds to the needs of the body, and also to what the soul has to say (aswell as the Holy Spirit if the person is Christian).

It would also make sense that a person's brain is tuned in more to either the soul, or the body, thus creating the difference of good and evil people.

(My first post
)

[edit on 5-9-2006 by Out of the Box]



posted on Sep, 7 2006 @ 10:58 PM
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Originally posted by Out of the Box
I... think that the brain... responds... also to things of a spiritual aspect. ...And also to what the soul has to say.

It would also make sense that a person's brain is tuned in more to either the soul, or the body, thus creating the difference of good and evil people.

And where do you think this spirit or soul is located? Physically in the commonplace reality we know? Or at some other location, or in some other reality?

Could the physical being simply be the 'footprint' in three-dimensional reality of a being that exists in more than three dimensions? Would that make sense?



posted on Sep, 8 2006 @ 05:28 AM
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Being that I am a being of infinites... and we are infinite beings... what creates the soul? And how did the soul come into existence? And if you say God... then what created God?

[edit on 8-9-2006 by dgoodpasture]



posted on Sep, 8 2006 @ 12:19 PM
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Originally posted by Astyanax

Originally posted by Out of the Box
I... think that the brain... responds... also to things of a spiritual aspect. ...And also to what the soul has to say.

It would also make sense that a person's brain is tuned in more to either the soul, or the body, thus creating the difference of good and evil people.

And where do you think this spirit or soul is located? Physically in the commonplace reality we know? Or at some other location, or in some other reality?


Hmm, the location is a bit tricky :s I would say that it is definately with the body, and inside the body. The soul is a part of the body that the body can respond to, as i explained above. For there to be an afterlife, we would have to have some type of 'essence' as it were. The material body decays after death - clearly that doesnt go off to Heaven. It must be the soul that people experience in NDE's and OBE's



Originally posted by AstyanaxCould the physical being simply be the 'footprint' in three-dimensional reality of a being that exists in more than three dimensions? Would that make sense?


Hmm, i think i understand what you mean, but i feel that i am very much on planet Earth, not somewhere else



Originally posted by dgoodpastureBeing that I am a being of infinites... and we are infinite beings... what creates the soul? And how did the soul come into existence? And if you say God... then what created God?


I will never understand you man lol. 'We' are not infinite! We die, then rot, and become part of the earth again. When this has happened, we are no longer 'us', our bodies have turned into many different things. Perhaps some of the atoms have formed part of the soil, others may be parts of plants, others will move to other places of the earth, etc. We all shed cells from our skin, our hair etc. If some of my cells have formed part of a plant does that mean i am the plant? No. We are not infinite, but our souls are.

Yes, God created our souls. Now this is the bit that is very hard to understand, some will never understand it. God is eternal. Hes had no beginning, and will have no end. Time does not exist for him. He had no 'first' action, and will have no 'end action'.

This is a very hard thing to grasp, if you require help, u2u me, and i will see what i can do, however, forgive me, i am not fantastic at conveying my ideas to others, so i may take a while to respond so that i can get my ideas into words properly. Thanks



posted on Sep, 8 2006 @ 12:29 PM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
I am a skeptic and an incorrigible materialist.

I don't believe in immortal souls. I don't believe in afterlives and minds that live disembodied existences out in the ether somewhere. I believe that consciousness is just a by-product of brain function: a kind of illusion, if you will.

Today, however, I came across this article, which suggests that the brain is not -- as people like myself would have it -- the source of an illusive consciousness, but simply a kind of two-way radio enabling communication and interaction between 'mind' (consciousness, or soul if you prefer that word) and body.

I've never heard this argument before and I must say I can't immediately think of a way to refute it.

I'd be really interested to hear what other members think; please post your views.

Caveat: I really don't want this to turn into one of those threads where convinced Christians use scripture to prove their points and unbelievers simply ignore or belittle them. I won't try to stop that happening, but personally, my interest is in an intellectual discussion based on the philosophical aspects of the question. That being so, I would really appreciate it if everybody would be so kind as to leave holy books and faith-based arguments out of the picture. Thank you.

Oh, and please read the linked article to the end before joining the debate. Thanks
again.


Does matter create consciousness or does consciousness create matter? To me the latter seems more logical and realalistic. How can somthing that has no consciousness create consciousness? Look at the research done on near death experiences, out of body experiences and reincarnation. All of these in one way or the other deal with the issue of consciousness and the body.
www.healthsystem.virginia.edu...
www.brianweiss.com...
www.johnemackinstitute.org...
www.victorzammit.com...



posted on Sep, 8 2006 @ 12:51 PM
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Originally posted by etshrtslr

Does matter create consciousness or does consciousness create matter?


To me, the question sounds a bit stupid, neither makes sense. How can pure matter, without any type of spirit or personality create consciousness? Organisms that move, that feel, that all have similar features and all of which follow certain 'rules' like eating, reproducing, etc. How can these be made to all be so similar through 'matter' alone creating their consciousness and the stated 'rules'? Surely everything would be un-ordered, chaotic, and free of any rules if this were the case.

Consciousness needs somewhere to live and to respond to - inside matter. Without matter - there cannot be consciousess - it can't exist. This is because consciousness is the mind/soul responding to its surroundings.

Now, i just want to put in a side-comment about the 'rules' stated earlier in my arguement. These rules must have been created by an intelligence, otherwise everything would be random, and nothing would be like anything else, everything would be totally unique. For everything to be so similar, there must have been a designer - God.



posted on Sep, 8 2006 @ 01:04 PM
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TextTo me, the question sounds a bit stupid, neither makes sense. How can pure matter, without any type of spirit or personality create consciousness


I think Spirit and consciousness are one and the same.

[edit on 8-9-2006 by etshrtslr]



posted on Sep, 8 2006 @ 01:10 PM
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Originally posted by etshrtslr



TextTo me, the question sounds a bit stupid, neither makes sense. How can pure matter, without any type of spirit or personality create consciousness


I think Spirit and consciousness are one and the same.


Yeah, sorry for the way i worded that, but what you have just said has shown that what i said is correct. Spirit/consciousness would be needed to create consciousness in the first place!



posted on Sep, 8 2006 @ 01:25 PM
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Spirit/consciousness would be needed to create consciousness in the first place


Im confused, if spirit is consciousness why would it need to create consciousness? I think consciousness/spirit created all that is....consciousness/spirit is the cause.... matter is the effect....consciousness/spirit exsist outside of time and space and therefore outside of matter.......whereas matter needs space to exsist in.



posted on Sep, 8 2006 @ 01:27 PM
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Originally posted by etshrtslr
How can somthing that has no consciousness create consciousness?

The question is irrelevant. It only arises when we use the word 'create', because creation is a conscious act that implies a creator. There's no need to use the word, because no conscious act was involved; unconscious matter evolved consciousness.

Thank you for the reincarnation links. That Stevenson fellow's theory is really creepy: the idea of minds as immortal, discarnate entities inhabiting successive bodies like a parasite, gorging on experience and discarding the used-up husk of their hosts to pop themselves into a fresh new victim every fourscore and ten or so. Humanity as immortal, vampiric puppetmasters. No thanks.

Actually, reincarnation itself is a perfectly nauseating idea -- experience indulged forever, gorging till the end of time -- the ultimate in wretched excess. Some beings just don't know the meaning of the word 'enough', do they?



posted on Sep, 8 2006 @ 01:45 PM
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Originally posted by etshrtslr



Spirit/consciousness would be needed to create consciousness in the first place


Im confused, if spirit is consciousness why would it need to create consciousness? I think consciousness/spirit created all that is....consciousness/spirit is the cause.... matter is the effect....consciousness/spirit exsist outside of time and space and therefore outside of matter.......whereas matter needs space to exsist in.


If our consciousness creates the world we live in, surely it should be different for each person, and everything would be individual, nothing would be the same, or even similar. Because everything is so similar, our 'consciousnesses' must have been created by a higher consciousness, along with the whole universe. Everything is in such a fine balance, and there are so many laws in physics, this implys that we were created by an intelligence.



posted on Sep, 8 2006 @ 01:51 PM
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unconscious matter evolved consciousness


I respect your beliefs but to me thats akin to making somthing from nothing....from where did this unconscious matter come from?



Thank you for the reincarnation links. That Stevenson fellow's theory is really creepy: the idea of minds as immortal, discarnate entities inhabiting successive bodies like a parasite, gorging on experience and discarding the used-up husk of their hosts to pop themselves into a fresh new victim every fourscore and ten or so. Humanity as immortal, vampiric puppetmasters. No thanks.


Again I respect your beliefs but your characterization of Dr. Stevenson's research is wholly inaccurate and a bit ridiculous. I understand your coming from a materalistic view point but why is it all skeptics poke fun a ridicule something they dont agree instead of addressing the research?



posted on Sep, 8 2006 @ 02:02 PM
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If our consciousness creates the world we live in, surely it should be different for each person, and everything would be individual, nothing would be the same, or even similar. Because everything is so similar, our 'consciousnesses' must have been created by a higher consciousness, along with the whole universe. Everything is in such a fine balance, and there are so many laws in physics, this implys that we were created by an intelligence.


Out of the Box

I agree there is a higher consciousnesses that is the ultimate source for all that is. I think we are saying the same things just in differnt ways.



posted on Sep, 9 2006 @ 12:26 AM
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Originally posted by etshrtslr
to me thats akin to making somthing from nothing....from where did this unconscious matter come from?

You and I both know the answer to this. The Big Bang and all that stuff, tu comprends? I'm not going to waste my time getting into a discussion of fundamentals, thanks. If you insist on 'Goddunnit', we really have nothing to say to each other. I thought I made that clear from the outset. Perhaps some of the other posters on the thread will take you up.





That Stevenson fellow's theory is really creepy: the idea of minds as immortal, discarnate entities inhabiting successive bodies like a parasite, gorging on experience and discarding the used-up husk of their hosts to pop themselves into a fresh new victim every fourscore and ten or so. Humanity as immortal, vampiric puppetmasters. No thanks.

Again I respect your beliefs but your characterization of Dr. Stevenson's research is wholly inaccurate and a bit ridiculous.

The quote below is from a review of Stevenson's book that he has posted on his own site. Presumably he is not in great disagreement with the review; if he were, he would undoubtedly have said so.

The author proposes the analogy of TV signal to TV set, to explicate the relationship between mind and body. As the television apparatus is needed for the signal to be expressed, the mind is not originated by the brain but rather is ‘‘transmitted’’ through it. This offers dualists a way to explain why the brain is necessary but not sufficient. Pull out the right wires, and there’s no TV program on, but not because the program has disappeared (my italics).

Now put that together with the concept of this mind being reincarnated in successive bodies (the signal being received by successive TVs, in terms of the analogy), and what do you get? Just what I said. I agree, it's pretty ridiculous (as well as being creepy), but don't blame me; I didn't come up with it.

[edit on 9-9-2006 by Astyanax]



posted on Sep, 9 2006 @ 10:06 AM
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You and I both know the answer to this. The Big Bang

yes we all know the universe came from the big bang.....but the real question is what caused the big bang?


but personally, my interest is in an intellectual discussion based on the philosophical aspects of the question.


I feel the same way....I have not brought religion or the bible into this discussion....I have posted some links to research done at the University of Virginia and some other Ivy league educated doctors which proports to show that consciousness does indeed exist as seperate from the body. If you choose not do belive or are uncomfertable with some of the concepts put forth in the research that is your right and I am not trying to convince you one way or the other. Again my interest is like yours, I want to have an "intellectual discussion".



posted on Sep, 11 2006 @ 12:36 AM
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Originally posted by etshrtslr
Again my interest is like yours, I want to have an "intellectual discussion".

That's very good to hear. Let's get on with it, then.

I'd like to start by asking two questions:

1. Does Occam's razor make this hypothesis superfluous? I propose that we don't need the concept of the brain as a transceiver, sending and receiving signals to and from a separate, discarnate entity called mind, in order to make sense of anything for which we don't already have simpler, more likely explanations.

2. Is there any direct evidence that the brain can act as a transceiver of this kind? Could, for example, a receiving apparatus of some type be devised to intercept signals traveling between minds and brains?

About reincarnation: I grew up in a country where belief in rebirth is deeply entrenched. I have heard countless stories about children recalling their past lives, many of them retailed as absolute fact by Brahmins and Buddhist monks. Not one of these cases has ever been satisfactorily proved.

I don't wish to comment on the evidential background to Dr. Stevenson's work without knowing it better, but I feel strongly that if a reasonably watertight case for believing in reincarnation had been made, nine hundred million Hindus and three hundred million Buddhists would be shouting it from the rooftops. When that day comes, it will be time to pay attention.

[edit on 11-9-2006 by Astyanax]



posted on Sep, 11 2006 @ 12:55 AM
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Originally posted by Out of the Box
If our consciousness creates the world we live in, surely it should be different for each person, and everything would be individual, nothing would be the same, or even similar.

Actually, this does not follow. You're assuming the perspective of a detached, empirical observer watching all these different worlds -- realities -- being created by different minds. But your detached, empirical viewpoint also creates a reality of its own -- one in which all those other realities are mere hallucinations of the minds creating them!

That being the case, you can discard all those other 'realities' and concentrate on your own. Within the bounds of the 'reality' created by your mind, everything is consistent and jointlessly interconnected. It looks, sounds, smells, feels and tastes 'real'. You have absolutely no reason to doubt it.

But what if it's no more real than anyone else's 'reality'?

How can you tell? If an illusion is self-consistent and comprehensive, there's no way to recognize it as an illusion. So you start to think: maybe there is no reality. Maybe the world is just an illusion created by the only existing entity of whose existence I can be sure, namely myself. I could be God Almighty and the ultimate dupe, both at the same time; I really have no way of knowing.

This is called solipsism, and it is a form of madness.



posted on Sep, 11 2006 @ 01:10 AM
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If anyone is interested in reading a series of simultaneously gripping and thought-provoking fictionalizations of philosophical ideas regarding the nature of reality and the place of consciousness in it, I heartily recommend the novels of Philip K. Dick. I'll bet my boots that if Dick were alive today, he'd be on ATS, ranting away about everything from alien visitations (see VALIS) to government manipulation of public belief (The Penultimate Truth) to the near-tyrannical power large corporations can exert over people (The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch). He even anticipated the premise of The Truman Show ages ago in Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said.

Truly the science-fiction writer of choice for the discerning paranoiac.



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