Clearly the brain, as a material substance, causes movement of the body, which is also a material substance. The links are nerves and muscles. But there is no material link between our ideas and our brains, because ideas aren’t material.
I’m not a neuroscientist, but that’s strikes me as the dumbest thing I’ve heard yet. No material link between our ideas and our brains? So I guess when we take a hallucinogen like LSD it works by magic? How could it be that thinking
is separate from “material” as he puts it, when we can ingest material substances that alter our thinking? How is it that damage to specific areas of the brain can inhibit different kinds of thought? Immaterial things like remorse, impulsivity, memory, language can all be affected by “material” brain-damage and “material” drugs. How does the non-materialist explain this? Is it magic?
This goes beyond Egnor’s usual ignorance of science, this is more like Deepak Chopra kind of woo – this idea that our brains are in contact with the divine and that’s where our thoughts and ideas come from. But it’s just magical thinking, there is no evidence of some divine hand in our thoughts, quite the opposite. The evidence is that ideas do have an organic origin, or how else does one explain how damage to the system or specific drugs that interact with it, affects our thinking in predictable and repeatable ways?
And let’s think about what this “non-materialist” view does for the study of neuroscience. Oh wait, nothing. Because if the brain is an incomprehensible magic black box, why study neuroscience? Why try to decode, dissect and discover how neural processes and diseases work if you believe it’s just magic?
** It’s also ironic that this paper – Probabilistic reasoning by neurons – just popped up on Nature AOP and I couldn’t help thinking that maybe Egnor didn’t do a thorough literature review before posting this nonsense.