I got a bit of time on my hands, thats why ill write down a few of my thoughts again.
This time i like to talk about the “evidence” from materialistic and physicalistic believers (atleast one or two arguments from them since i like to stray of a bit). Stuff that is highly emphasized by them. Note that i call them believers on purpose. Many of them arent sceptics at all. If i would want to talk about those guys that are really sceptics i’d call them like that. No, i wanna talk about that stuff that is brought forward every time someone mentions arguments against alternative theories from other philosophical viewpoints like idealism or dualism, e.g. the filter model. There are also things that are speaking for those theories out there; thats not the topic for this blog post though.
So, what is this “evidence” that im talking about here? Many materialists are blurry about that. You got to poke them a bit to get a decent answer to that. Be careful there though, since many dont appreciate it when you ask for reasons. Thats not a materialistic phenomena though; many people out there just want to spout out a opinion. They get all angry and stuff if you ask them why. But luckily enough there are also those people out there that do want to answer here. That means that there are things that non-materialistic believers have to ponder about. Some of them are not as easy to dismiss. I wouldnt and wont call them evidence though, simply because there isnt anything like real evidence out there in my opinion. Thats kind of wobbly, i know that. Even so, it seems the most reasonable point of view for me. No evidence, just interpreations of certain data. Im 100% sure that i can interpret every piece of data out there in atleast two kind of ways. Just because i say that cheese is tasty doesnt mean that you have to say the same, right? Thats pretty much the same. Also note that scientists are also interpreting research data. If one scientist states that milk is bad for us it doesnt have to be true. Even so, the mechanics the scientist discovered that are related to milk could be real. The effects and conclusions though could be different.
Keep that in mind when you think about scientific facts as evidence.
Well, so, a few of those arguments of materialists out there that seem to favor their theory are related to our brain. Our thoughts, memories and our consciousness seem to be related to it; the materialistic theory is that those things are not just related to the brain, they are based on it. Some even say that consciousness and those other things emerge from the lump of matter we call our brain. Many who are not used to thinking about that stuff propably will say now “of course! It seems reasonable like that!”. Ask yourself though: Is that correct?
Propably the strongest argument for the materialistic theory of ourselves out there is that we can damage our brains and with that change our personalities and our consciousness. I have to admit here, i never experienced brain damage myself. I got hit a few times on my head, but i dont believe that i actually got influenced by that. Even so, there are certainly cases where peoples behaviour did change after they got brain damaged. Thats in fact one of the strongest arguments for the materialistic theory. Propably.
But does that really point us to a neurological explanation of ourselves? Of course i cant go on and say “absolutely no”. I dont believe in facts, remember? 🙂
Even so, ill try to think about that a bit right now. The whole thing can be easily explained with e.g. a soul-based theory. The body just restricts our minds there. If our brain gets damaged, our mind just cant express itself as good as before anymore.Idealism also got no problem with that since everything is in consciousness there. It would be just a restriction placed upon ourselves for unknown reasons.
If we try to “analyze” it from a more material-related view though, that kind of stuff seems rather intriguing. Can we verify that the consciousness/mind of those persons did change due to the damage? We cant “measure” consciousness or anything related to our subjective experiences until this very day; i atleast dont know of any scientific method to do that. Note that EEG’s and stuff like that only measures our brainwaves; those correlate to our thoughts and stuff like that. Even so, we cant produce a thought by just feeding in electronical signals. We also cant “decode” a thought by recording and analyzing brainwaves. Electronic signals seem to only show us that our conscious activities are somehow connected to our brain. That does fit in many theories out there.
Point is, we cant verify the change in the mind of a person unless we take the behaviour of the persons body into account. That means that the mind could still be intact. The only person who would know about that for real is the person we try to verify. We simply dont know what the truth here is.
Another thing that is rather weird about that argument is the very fact that according to that theory the whole brain is based on matter. What exactly is matter? I know that materialists usually counter that with questions like what is consciousness, but lets stay focused here. Consciousness could be many things; the main point related to consciousness though is propably self-awareness. I’d personally would also take thoughts and memories into account there.
Lets ask that again though: What is matter? A construct of many smaller parts, called Atoms, huh? Well there may be is more to that. Matter connects to each other and forms our bodies and everything we know (according to the materialistic theory of course). How can matter do that? Remember that matter got no specific properties in materialism. If we try to assign those kind of things we are drifting of into something different (panspychism? Not exactly propably). If we break the whole thing down to bin quantities, well – there are plenty of quantum operations happening, everywhere, all the time. They happen all around us. Some scientists even suggest that they are happening inside of us aswell. You propably know that already, but quantum physics are rather weird and i wouldnt dare to explain those. I obviously cant. Even so, matter is filled with operations. Various strange properties of those quantum operations allow for various new theories (->Quantum Soul). If materialism tries to take QM into account it got a huge hurdle to take. Due to certain rules and properties of QM there are open doors for all sorts of new theories. I dont believe that materialism or physicalism imply those. Surely, there are materialistic theories for that aswell that take those things into account. You can argue for ages here. I hope you saw though that it isnt as easy as many suggest to just say “well we are dead matter and thats everything there is”. If we look at matter a bit more closely we notice that matter isnt such a definite thing as many suggest. It gets all wobbly and relative if we try to break it down. Especially when it comes to Quantum Mechanics nothing seems to be set in stone. A very fascinating field of science.
And that pretty much shows us what we are in for when we try to explain our reality. We can make it easy for ourselves and state a theory and be happy with that. However, if we examine the implications and everything related to that a bit further though we notice that my point of view of there not being a single fact out there might be not all that wrong (: So much room for speculations though. Dont even dare to believe that you know anything about reality! We humans can only see the tip of the iceberg.