Thursday, July 9, 2015

Quickies: One Of These Things Is Not Like The Others...

     Via InstaPundit comes a strangely premised speculation:

     The futuristic thriller Self/less (in theaters July 10) follows a dying man (Ben Kingsley) who pays to have his consciousness transferred into a new body—only to discover that it belonged to an Iraq war veteran (Ryan Reynolds) whose memories now mix with his own.

     Wait. What?

     Yep. Really. "It's definitely going to take a lot of neuroscience and computer science to do," says Anders Sandberg of the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford. "But from our perspective, it's not that crazy."

     How would that work?

     It helps to think of a person's soul as a collection of information, Sandberg says. The challenge is that our brains aren't as organized as computers. "By midcentury we may have a way to copy information from our brains, but putting it into a biological brain is probably going to be very tough," he says. "In a computer, you would store the data according to when it arrives. In the brain, it's kind of mixed up."

     Now hold on one moleskin-gloved minute there, Colonel. There are three entities under discussion:

  • The brain;
  • The mind;
  • The soul;

     ...and the three are not the same. The brain is matter; the mind is something genuinely mysterious: partly information, partly associations, and partly volition that no one can explain. The soul is more mysterious still, as it need not partake of either the brain or the mind.

     Of course, this is a Catholic Christian talking, but you knew that already, right? Right? The most I can say about the soul is that: 1) It’s integral to one’s identity; 2) It has as one function the recording of morally significant events. We cannot know anything else about it on this side of the veil of Time.

     The conflation of brain, mind, and soul is a hypermaterialistic conceit that explicitly omits any status above that of an epiphenomenon of the flesh. No Christian can accept that...nor should a Christian aspire to have his mind copied over that of another person, whether that other is willing or not.


Backwoods Engineer said...

Agree. I do not accept the following premise:

"...think of a person's soul as a collection of information..."

But hypermaterialists are insisting on such horse hockey.

Ron Olson said...

It's amazing the lengths some will go to avoid personal responsibility.