Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Amazing Autonomous Material Mind?

When defending Christian theism via the presuppositional method, we many times visit the various byways and side-roads of all of human experience. These visitations are to show that the presuppositions of the unbeliever are not consistent with the facts of human experience -- that the unbeliever is a self-contradiction (Prov. 26:5, "Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit."). Needless to say, it is, by the nature of the case, inefficient to explicate every implication of particular problems in the materialist worldview in every conversation.

In recent conversations the discussion became focused on the issue of the cogency and existence of immaterial entities in the purely materialistic and immanent reality of atheism. The discussion was focused on the example of the mind being not composed of material. This issue is THE big problem for modern materialist philosophers of "mind." These atheist philosophers have been thrashing about and stewing in their own juices for a century, at least.

The idea that the mind is no more than the brain has infected society to an alarming degree, of late, and seems to be an accepted article of faith by many. Many unsophisticated man-in-the-street atheists believe it is plausible -- in spite of the fact that such a view undermines much, if not all, of their other beliefs (and thereby secretly involving themselves in unacknowledged, hidden self-contradictions).

I have been asked: "Why couldn't the mind be material?" One would hope that sometimes people would "do their homework!" For one, the properties of a purely material "mind" are not the properties that most unbelievers ascribe to themselves -- as being free rational beings. Or, on the other hand, how immaterial entities such as abstractions, mathematics, laws of logic are intelligible and exist in a reality of pure matter. Another conundrum is how aggregates of matter become conscious and self-aware, the problem of personal identity and such -- all from determining physical causes. No materialist theory of consciousness -- what consciousness is and how it "emerges" from matter -- is forthcoming. Be that as it may, we have endeavored in the pages of this blog to delineate the concomitant conclusions of the atheist presuppositions. Typical assumptions of the atheist are:
(1) Only material exists within our "universe"1;
(2) The uniformity of nature. Nature is uniform in time -- the same in the past, present and future;
(3) All states of the material universe are governed by material laws;
(4) Humans are purely material systems produced by chance and the laws of matter (consequence of (1),(2) and (3));
(5) Therefore, humans are purely material;
(6) Consequently, the mind and the material brain must be the same, or, rather, "mental" states are no more than particular material configurations (states) of the brain;
(7) Therefore, all "mental" states are the results (effects) of material processes, and consequently, "thoughts" are effects and "epiphenomena" -- illusions with no causal agency;
(8) However, humans are autonomous!

It should be apparent to most that (8) is contrary to (1) through (7). However it is not apparent to those who are willing(!) adherents of the irrationality of "modern" thought, and nonetheless, believe in the existence of their amazing autonomous material mind!2
1 I put universe in quotes since the modern (atheist) view is that our observable universe is a detached quantum bubble -- the result of a quantum fluctuation in a larger "bulk" spacetime. Our "universe" is just one among a huge number of universes (multiverse theory). For the atheist, this larger "bulk" is considered eternal, uncreated and a brute fact. Regardless, the issue of minds within our "universe" is independent of that theory, as to the atheist only matter exists within our "universe."
2 When the self-avowed material monist secretly believes (8) he is, in fact, an inconsistent crypto-dualist, cf. Van Til on the antitheses and An Atheist's Miracle.