Monday, July 4, 2016

Why We Have a Supernatural Soul


In this article, I argue that we consciously experience something that is provably nonexistent in the physical or material universe. Therefore, it can only be the result of a non-material entity.

From Neuronal Pulses to the Illusion of Distance

To deny the existence of an immaterial or supernatural soul is to stop believing one's own eyes. The amazing colorful 3D vista we think we see in front of our eyes is entirely supernatural. Why? Because there is no 3D vista in our visual cortex or anywhere else. Our visual cortex and our entire brain are just a bunch of firing neurons. Space and distance are not functions or properties of neuronal pulses. Every pulse is pretty much identical to another. The only thing that matters in the brain, as far as intelligence is concerned, is the temporal relationships between the pulses. They are either concurrent or sequential.

We certainly do not sense biochemicals and electric pulses flowing through our axons, synapses and dendrites. We see a fabulous, dynamic model of the world in glorious 3D. Something must have translated those neuronal firings into a colorful 3D vista. Call it spirit, soul or whatever. But it certainly exists and it is not material, a billion materialists claiming otherwise notwithstanding.

Why (Space) Distance Is an Illusion of the Soul/Spirit

It can be logically shown that space (distance) does not exist at all. It is an illusion, i.e., a creation of the mind. I posted an article on this topic back in 2010. Let me just repeat the main argument below. The reason that space/distance is an illusion is that the existence of space leads to an infinite regress. Over the years, I have found that almost everything that is fundamentally wrong with classical physics has to do with infinite regress. Note that physical space is defined as a collection of positions existing apart from particles. The idea is that, in order for any physical entity or property to exist, it must exist at a specific position in space. But if a position is a physical entity that exists, it too, must exist at a specific position. In other words, if space exists, where is it? One can posit a meta-space for space, and a meta-meta-space for the meta-space, but this quickly turns into an infinite regress. The only possible conclusion is that there is no such thing as space. It is an illusion of perception.

The Society of the Soul

Again, we must ask the essential question. If space/distance does not exist, why do we see and consciously experience a 3D vista? Where does it come from? The answer should be obvious. Since it comes from neither the brain nor the external physical universe, it must come from some other realm, a parallel but complementary realm. It must be a non-physical phenomenon. This is undeniable.

I hypothesize that every soul/spirit consists of a huge number of individual parts (call them qualia, if you wish), each one of which is distinct from the other but each belonging to a single entity, the soul. The function of a quale is to give a unique meaning to the neuronal pulse it is associated with in order to distinguish it from another. In other words, there is a unique quale for every conscious pulse event in the cortex. The illusion of space is a manifestation of a subassembly of "positional" qualia. The soul is thus a society of qualia.

Conscious versus Unconscious Neurons

But what about the cerebellum which is completely unconscious while being very active during waking hours? The cerebellum is a parallel brain, a pure automaton. It is a supervised, sensorimotor behaving machine that handles routine tasks for us (e.g., walking, balancing or maintaining posture) while the conscious cortex is busy thinking about other things. Why is it unconscious? Obviously, as an automaton, it does not have to be. Its function is not to pay attention to anything in particular but to make it possible for the brain to focus on more important matters. Without it, we would not be able to walk and speak or even think at the same time.

In my opinion, future neurological studies will reveal the existence of a fundamental physicochemical difference between the working of cortical neurons and of cerebellar neurons. There is something qualitatively special about the physiology of some (not all) cortical neurons that makes it possible for the qualia to interface with them. I am also willing to bet that future experimental research will show that this special property is missing in animals. Only human cortices have them.

See Also

Why Space (Distance) Is an Illusion
The World Is its Own Model or Why Hubert Dreyfus Is Still Right About AI
Occult Physics Will Blow Your Mind


John Collinson said...

Computationalists want to say that the mind can be reduced to computation / being a computer, and is therefore solely material. But I wonder if the assumption that computation/computers are solely material is valid. What if computers are immaterial? Aren't modern digital computers physical models of Turing Machines, and isn't a Turing Machine an abstract, immaterial, mathematical idea?
If computers are data processors - isn't data immaterial? Names, numbers, signs, forms, figures, etc., these are not physical entities but abstractions.
If computation is about mathematical functions - aren't mathematical functions abstract, immaterial concepts?

A digital "computer" without the abstraction is just a bunch of electronic circuits. It's only when we start to apply abstractions to that circuit - the Turing Machine models, 1/0, true/false - that it becomes a computer.

So then isn't a computer essentially abstract and immaterial?

Robert said...

Psalm 118:23

Unknown said...

You leave out the most important part of you claim, which is some explanation of what is meant by "non-physical". Which means that you are not making a claim, so much as, trying to show that physicalism is inadequate. Unfortunately, showing that physicalism has no good explanations, isn't sufficient to prove it never can. And further, it says nothing about the claim of a non-physical "soul". Making up words like "soul" is about as gibberish as you can get. Its like discussing what a shadow is. A shadow is not a something, its a lack of something. You are not claiming a "something", you are claiming a "non-something". What can one say or think of an undefined non-something? You need to address this lack of definition forcefully and concretely.