Is god a pure mind without a body? This is the fourth of a series of short posts about whether gods exist and why the question is an important one.
Many theists believe that their god is a pure mind without a body. But we have no evidence that a mind can exist without a body or a brain or a source of energy. And we have a lot of evidence to suggest that it can’t.
|Spiral galaxy NGC 2608 from ESA/Hubble & NASA|
But there is no evidence that a separate spiritual realm exists, or how it could interact with the physical realm if it did exist. How could a mind in a different realm cause our physical bodies to move around? What mechanism would it use to move the particles in our body?
Instead, neurological experiments suggest that the cause and effect is the other way around. Our physical brain can activate the process of us pushing a button up to ten seconds before our conscious mind is aware of what button we have decided to push.
It seems that our consciousness is a biological process of our brain, just as our digestion is a biological process of our digestive system. Our brain gets new information from outside of it, processes it along with stored memories, and sends signals to the rest of our body to respond.
We also know that parts of our thinking are related to certain neurological processes or pathways in our brains. And if we close down particular pathways in our brain, then the related parts of our thinking stop working.
If follows from this that, when we die and our entire physical brain stops functioning, then our entire consciousness stops functioning as well. There is no evidence that it continues to exist in an imagined spiritual realm or that it can interact with your dead physical body.
The same applies to the idea of a god as a pure mind without a body. It is is an invented convenience that explains nothing about how such a thing (or such a nothing) might exist, or how it might interact with the physical universe of particles and force fields.
|Michael Nugent is Chair of Atheist Ireland|
What an incredibly anthropocentric view of the Universe! I've no idea whether a 'God' exists but I sure as shit hold the view that homo sapiens are piddling little amoebas in the expanse of the universe, and as such a concept like a 'mind without a body' is no more ridiculous than the other.ReplyDelete
There's also an argument to be made regarding humans becoming emeshed with technology to the extent that the biological apparatus becomes redundant, then where do you place the mind?
I think it is anything but an "incredibly anthropocentric view of the Universe." It is a humanist view that places humans at the top of the tree because there is no evidence of there being anything other. It challenges an incredibly anthropocentric view of the Universe which holds that humans are acts of special creation and that differ from everything else in that they were give a mind from without and not one caused by their own bodies.Delete
It seeks a natural explanation for the mind rather than a supernatural one. To me there is no tension bewteen the aview in the piece above and your won that we are homo sapiens whoa are piddling little amoebas in the expanse of the universe.
Re-reading this again, I've clearly got entirely the wrong impression.ReplyDelete
Alcohol may have been involved. lol
Hopefully not altar wine!Delete