The Immaterial and Materialism

From Uncommon Descent’s Michael Egnor: The mind refutes materialism in a rather straightforward way

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Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor comments on a recent vid featuring design theorist William Dembski and Robert Lawrence Kuhn where the topic of consciousness comes up.

Bill takes a position that will surprise many fellow Christians—he doesn’t believe that consciousness represents an insurmountable challenge to materialism.

Bill makes the point that much of the popular argument hinges on shifting meanings of “materialism” and “consciousness.” By contrast, he argues, the design inference in biology is a much more effective challenge to materialism.

I agree that design in nature is an effective challenge to materialism. But I also believe that the mind refutes materialism in a rather straightforward way—and in much the same way that evidence of intelligent design in biology refutes materialism…

The salient quality of the mind, which matter does not have, is that the mind is about something other than itself. In other words, the mind “points” to something else—to an object, a person, or a concept in a way that matter doesn’t.

So the mind cannot arise wholly from matter because intentionality is not a property of matter. The existence of the mind refutes materialism because the mind is characterized by a power that matter does not have. Intentionality, like design, is a shoal on which materialism wrecks.

Michael Egnor, “Why consciousness shows that materialism is false” at Mind Matters News

You may also enjoy these articles on mind by Michael Egnor:

Neuroscience can help us understand why free will is real. Physicist Sabine Hossenfelder and biologist Jerry Coyne, who deny free will, don’t seem to understand the neuroscience.


Has neuroscience “proved” that the mind is just the brain?
This is hardly the first time that bizarre claims have been made for minimal findings. In neuroscience, materialism is the answer only if you don’t understand the questions.

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The modern insistence that “if you can’t count it, it doesn’t exist” is going to end badly.

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