Joined: May 2002
We know that language alters neuroarchitecture. We know that learning alters neuroarchitecture. We know that CVAs destroy significant parts of the brain, and that learning/therapy may alter neuroarchitecture leading to (partial) recovery.
Some people make the observation that "learning" and "language" are not material. They are concepts that can be transmitted.
This observatrion is totally false.
There is no non-material way that concepts are transmitted. The voice must move air molecules in a patterned wave which impacts the ear and then promotes an electochemical reaction in the brain which alters the structure of the brain itself. The mechanical, or electro-mecanical process of writing stimulates the eyes in a similar manner. There is no non-material way that conceptual information can be broadcast, the neuroarchitecture of the brain and the extremities must act electrochemically in order for thought to even occur.
However, note that concepts so transmitted- language, and written language being the most profound forms- alter neuroarchitecture! That even personal contemplation alters neuroachitecture is self evident. We are self programming, open source, cognitive machines. This "self programming" is my notion of "free will." We humans and a few other mammals have the ability (I think neuro complexity) to have a sense of self. We humans are also capable/vulnerable of/to disassocitive states. Disassocitive states can be induced by trance or drugs or neruopathology, and are I believe the source of "spiritual" experiences.
In the book review written by Dembski, linked by Febble, there are several obvious errors. The largest I see is the notion that there is a non-material cognition, his God in fact. Since it is critical for Dembski to preserve this idea, it is also trivial for him to project its existance to the question of the "mind/body" problem. He needs God to exist, so he needs a non-material "mind" divorced from the messy wetness of the brain.
When making bold pronouncements such as the above, one usually adds references. Here are some;
1984 "Manifestations of Possession in Novel Ecological Contexts," G. S. Hurd, E. M. Pattison. in Ecological Models in Clinical and Community Mental Health, W.A. O'Connor and B. Lubin (ed.s). John Wiley & Sons: New York.
1985 "Trance and Possession States," E. M. Pattison, Joel Kahan, G. Hurd. In Handbook of Altered States of Consciousness. B. B. Walman and M. Ullman (ed.s) New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.
1985 "Superstition," G. S. Hurd. In Baker's Encyclopedia of Psychology. David Brenner (ed.) Baker Book House, Grand Rapids.
"Science is the horse that pulls the cart of philosophy."
L. Susskind, 2004 "SMOLIN VS. SUSSKIND: THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE"