An Unembodied Mind is Very Complex
I challenge 2-D, Pro, in his following claim,
"a disembodied mind is just about the most complex thing I can think of and there is no reason to suspect that this is an explanation for the universe."
... from his RFD here,
Pro raises this objection in response to my rebuttal to an objection from Occam's Razor against the existence of God as an explanation of the universe. Here is my critique of this objection,
First, how simplicity is weighted against other criteria like explanatory power, scope, etc isn’t clear. Nor is it essential for science, as Godfrey Smith explains,
"...I do not think we have made much progress on understanding the operation of, or justification for, this preference."
Yes, the razor is used to adjudicate between theories that have already passed theoretical scrutiny tests, and which are equally well-supported by the evidence. But a simpler but less correct theory should not be always preferred over a more complex but more correct one. A theory can even become more complex in terms of its structure, while its ontology becomes simpler, and here it’s not clear which to choose.
Simplicity is but one of many epistemic virtues a theory can have but it’s not the most essential. There are times that the razor is too sharp and reduces reality to too little. Kant says, that "the variety of beings should not rashly be diminished."
Likewise Karl Menger affirms, that "entities must not be reduced to the point of inadequacy" and "it is vain to do with fewer what requires more." The contingency of the universe and morals certainly requires more than, “it just exists.” So "there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
But leave that aside, an unembodied mind is a remarkably simple entity. As a non-physical entity, God is not composed of parts in contrast to the contingent and variegated universe a divine mind is startlingly simple. Such a mind may have complex ideas but the mind itself is a remarkably simple entity. So postulating a divine mind behind the universe most definitely does represent an advance in simplicity, for whatever that’s worth.
Complex - [Google "define complex"] consisting of many different and connected parts. In chemistry, denoting an ion or molecule in which one or more groups are linked to a metal atom by coordinate bonds. In psychoanalysis, a related group of emotionally significant ideas that are completely or partly repressed and that cause psychic conflict leading to abnormal mental states or behavior.
Simple - composed of a single element; not compound, that is, a unity.
Pro must defend that an unembodied mind would be complex.
Whereas I as Con must show that an unembodied mind would be simple.
This is simply exploring a hypothetical since we obviously can say nothing about a disembodied mind and have no evidence that any such a thing does or can exist. Our agreed upon BoP is shared.
The human brain is a product of 3.6 billion years of evolution  and is the most complex processor of information we are aware of. In spite of this we cannot create the most basic living cells and we do not fully understand how the universe began so we can expect any creator mind to be far more complex. Con has conceded that this mind would have very complex thoughts and actions while asserting simplicity.
I would like to add some context and clarifications:
My full sentence was, “As an aside, a disembodied mind is just about the most complex thing I can think of and there is no reason to suspect that this is an explanation for the universe.” I was not responding to the Occam’s Razor arguments specifically but to Con’s assertion that a disembodied mind would be simple. There is no reason to suspect that this is true. It’s more likely that a disembodied mind that creates universes would be very complex.
I would like to add to the ‘complex’ definition that complex is obviously applied also to actions and thoughts (as Con has mentioned complex ideas) while Con’s definition only mentions physical examples. Also, I am obviously not suggesting that that a God mind would be subject to psychic conflict or has an emotional ‘complex.’ I was talking about a complex functioning mind capable of complex thoughts (along with universe creating powers) and not a poor psychological state.
As to the ‘simple’ definition, I am not denying that God’s mind would be in unity or saying that it would be divided in its intentions.
This is what it boils down to. My position is that a disembodied mind that creates universes, life, the laws of physics etc would likely be very complex. Con must explain why this disembodied mind would be simple.
Brains are our only frame of reference for a disembodied mind and are extremely complex
To understand what a disembodied mind would look like we can only compare with the minds we are aware of. The most complex minds we are aware of (ours) are a product of 3.6 billion years of evolution . There are around 200 billion nerve cells that are connected by hundreds of trillions of synapses . The prefrontal cortex alone has in the range of 125 trillion synapses or 1,500 times the stars in the Milky Way Galaxy.
Each synapse contains both memory and processing power containing 1,000 on/off switches. A single brain contains more switches for memory storage and processing than all the computers, Internet connections and routers on earth.
“Christof Koch, chief scientific officer of the Allen Institute for Brain Science, calls the brain "the most complex object in the known universe ,””
The more complex the information available the more complex the mind
The mind, or our consciousness, is completely dependent on our brain  and information is carried from our senses as individual electrical impulses along a large network  and each piece of information stored requires an altered structure of the synapses in your brain . This means that the more complex memory or processing power the more complex the brain.
More complex thoughts and brain functions are also linked to more complex features of the brain . A disembodied mind would need some kind of switch or hardwired change to store each individual piece of information. This is how our brain, any electronic memory storage device or even written information is stored.
It would also need a framework to transfer information and extensive processing power. The mind would have to store every mind-boggling fact about the universe and be able to process this information in the creation of the universe. It would have to create the entirety of existence without the aid of a body or physical force, which would only add an extremely high level of complexity.
Even as complex as they are, our minds are very limited
Our minds are arguably the most complex thing in the existence and yet we do not have a clear grasp on how the universe is formed or what it even what it is made of. We have not been able to create matter, or energy and we understand very little about the universe. Current theories estimate that dark matter makes up 84.5% of the universe but we have never observed it directly and it’s existence is only theorized by measuring second hand data .
After two hundred thousand years the collaborative effort of humanity  we have not been able to create a single living cell or an artificial mind even close to our own.
Our minds, as complex as they are, and with the collaborative effort over many years we are no where near creating or even understanding a universe. A mind that could make a universe would be enormously more complex than our own which is arguably already the most complex thing we are aware of.
“But leave that aside, an unembodied mind is a remarkably simple entity.”
This quote and the following paragraph are mainly what I objected to originally. This is simply a brazen assertion without any reference to everything we know about minds.
First, we have never examined a disembodied mind so we would know absolutely nothing about it except to reference minds that we are aware of. You give no reason for your assumption that a disembodied mind would have complex thoughts but not be complex as far as the necessary hardware. Why do you assume the exact opposite of what we know to be true about other minds?
How would complex thoughts be stored and intricate processes function without a complex structure?
Con has completely disregarded complex thoughts and actions in his evaluation
You have conceded that a mind that creates universes would have complex thoughts and actions while asserting that this does not mean complexity. Why do you make this broad omission in your assessment? In the completely doubtful event that the mind exists mainly as a set of complex thoughts and actions then this is complex in and of itself. By, a mind is ‘complex,’ what did you assume I was referring to if not complexity including the intricacy of thoughts and actions?
If, say, I have a friend that I describe as ‘very complex’ I am not referring to his intricate cell structure I am talking about his complicated thought processes and behavior. When I say that a book is very complex I am not referring to intricate parts and mechanisms. I am saying the book includes many complex ideas. If I refer to an actor as complex I am referring to complicated nuanced actions in the performance of a role. I see no justification for allowing for a God with complex thoughts and actions and then asserting the being is not complex.
Con has simply asserted that a disembodied mind that can produce a universe would be simple disregarding everything we know about minds. Even with the highly intricate structure of our own minds we are no where near the ability to create a universe so it is likely that a mind capable of this would virtually be light years ahead of us as far as complexity.
For some reason con assumes I was not referring to complex thoughts and actions when I referred to this God concept as complex. I don’t see why Con has conceded this high level of complexity while insisting this God would be simple.
Note the resolution,
“An Unembodied Mind is Very Complex”
… Note what the resolution is not,
“An Unembodied Mind’s Thoughts & Actions are Very Complex”
Note Pro affirmations,
“This is simply exploring a hypothetical”
“a disembodied mind is just about the most complex thing I can think of”
“It’s more likely that a disembodied mind that creates universes would be very complex.”
“a disembodied mind that creates universes, life, the laws of physics etc would likely be very complex.”
Thus by Pro’s own admission we are debating the hypothetical possibility of whether or not an unembodied mind (any unembodied mind), would itself be complex or simple, regardless of whether or not it is “capable of complex thoughts.” So by Pro’s own admission he must defend that such a mind is not simple, but complex.
But instead Pro brings up the irrelevencies of the mind’s thoughts and actions despite his previous admission, and despite the content of the resolution. He even attempts to erradicate the distinction between the thoughts and actions of a mind with the mind itself. He does this unsuccessfully since in order for a mind’s thoughts and actions to exist, the mind must exist as a mind in the first place! Thus thoughts and actions are emergent from the mind, not the other way around; they are two distinct things. The mind is simple, not made up of any composite parts, yet its thoughts and actions can be complex.
Now Pro doesn’t deny that “God’s mind would be in unity or … divided in its intentions.” So then what proof does Pro give for thinking that an unembodied mind is complex? He initially says that in entertaining the possibility of an unembodied mind, we’re “simply exploring a hypothetical.” But then he argues that:
I. "Brains are our only frame of reference for a disembodied mind and are extremely complex.”
On the contrary, insofar as an unembodied mind is possible, then the reference frame of embodied minds is irrelevent to the issue of whether or not unembodied minds are complex or not.
Indeed this point actually goes against Pro’s case! For if embodied minds are as complex as Pro says, and they are complex primarily because they are embodied, then presumably an unembodoed mind is not complex by comparison.
Furthermore, just because a brain itself is complex doesn’t imply that the immaterial self using the brain is itself complex, it may sift through memory as a librarian sifts through a library, it may use the brain to process representations and data like you’re using your computer right now as a processor of information.... But that doesn’t mean that the librarian is a collection of books, or that you’re a bunch of chips! If it’s even possible that the mind is immaterial, but is causally effected by and interacting with the brain, then it doesn’t seem at all likely that such a hypothetical mind would be complex itself, it just uses complex things but isn't itself complex. If Pro wants to argue otherwise, then he would be guilty of failing to treat an unembodied mind as a possibility (or a hypothetical as he calls it).
II. How does the sheer amount of data imply that unembodied minds must also be complex?
Pro attempts to argue that “the more complex the information available the more complex the mind.” But he equivocates mind with brain again,
“the more complex memory or processing power the more complex the brain.”
… Remember the debate is about an unembodied mind, not simply a brain.
Now what reason does Pro give for thinking that a “disembodied mind would need some kind of switch or hardwired change to store each individual piece of information.”?
The only support he gives for this is the assertion that this is how “any electronic memory storage device or even written information is stored.” But why think a disembodied mind is anything like an electronic memory storage device? Why think such an entity would be like the letters on a newspaper? This is a very strange view of a disembodied mind.
A disemodied mind would itself be a substance of causality, not a property thing. Pro continues to assume that an unembodied mind is the latter and not the former.
Now even if it’s the case that an unembodied or ultramundane mind needs a framework to process information, why think that the mind itself is a composite of that framework plus the mind also? Pro is again forgetting what the resolution is, “An Unembodied Mind is Very Complex.” We’re not debating whether such a mind and its tools altogether are themselves complex, just the mind.
So it’s irrelevent whether a noncomposite mind would need to store data, but in fact an ultramundane mind wouldn’t require such tools in order to exist. There is nothing incompatible with the notion of a unembodied substance capable of intention. It may be mysterious to us, but there’s nothing incoherent about it.
Lastly, why think that an effiecient cause (rather than a material cause) of the universe would need to be extremely complex simply because it can cause things into existence ex materia?
III. How does our limitation as created minds with a complex brain imply that an unlimited and unembodied mind is more complex?
Pro answers by saying that a “mind that could make a universe would be enormously more complex than our own.”
But why? For a disembodied mind to cause the universe into being would necessarily be creating from an efficient cause, and not a material cause, since the universe is all matter, along with space and time as well as energy. So such a mind is uniquely simple since prior to embodiment, there just was no embodiment! Meaning that without the universe, God as an ultramundane being existed without matter, energy and space or time... what could be less complex and more simple an entity than this?
IV. What we know about an unembodied mind is that it is unembodied, and that it would act in terms of volition or will, that it would have the ability to be the eficient cause, etc...
Pro is repeatedly attempting to import empiricism into the debate yet this is, again, a hypothetical possibility. So just because we’ve “never examined a disembodied mind” doesn’t at all imply that “we would know absolutely nothing about it.”
Indeed we can know a great deal about such a mind. Even possible that theistic cosmological arguments are correct, then this would mean that we know a great deal about an unembodied mind: timeless without creation, temporal subsequent to creation (since time itself came into being), it would act from volition since we have a temporal effect from an atemporal cause, be the efficient but not material cause, be extremely powerful if not omnipotent since it created all of space and time, it would be immaterial since it created all matter, it would be non-spatial since it created space. Such a being by definition is simple since it fills no space! But insofar as cosmological arguments are possible then it follows that we know these properties of an unembodied mind, and it sounds like these properties are more likely simple than complex!
Lastly there’s nothing incoherent about an unembodied mind knowing at any time t the counterfactuals of what is going on in existence. An entity need not store information in order to know it, knowing, as such, is a mental property, not a physical one.
Nevertheless Pro forgets that the case for a simple unembodied mind doesn’t depend on its being able to know anything! I’m not arguing for God here, rather just the simplicity of an unembodied mind.
Pro forgets again that the complexity of en entities actions and thoughts are irrelevent to the simplicity of the entity itself. Pro takes these to be one and the same which is question begging, he must show that the mind necessarily depends on the brain or matter in general for its existence. Thus he must show comsological arguments to be impossible, which is an enourmous burden for Pro as a (radical) empiricist.
Again, what reason has Pro given to think that “complex thoughts and actions” of an entity implies the “complexity” of the entity itself?
Furthermore a mind isn’t a mere composite of its complex thoughts and actions, for in order to have a thought or do an action, the mind must first exist! Therefore Pro’s argument that a mind is a composite of its thoughts and actions is literally nonsense.
Lastly, Pro even admits that he equivocated a mind itself withthe thoughts and actions of the mind, he therefore has lost the resolution, which, again, is
“An Unembodied Mind is Very Complex”
It is not,
“An Unembodied Mind’s Thoughts & Actions are Very Complex”
Would you call a magnetic field which exists iron if iron filings produced it as an emergent property? Clearly an emergent feild isn’t the same as the thing it emerges from, and as in the case of humans, our “selfhood” is in terms of consciousness and mental states, not brain states.
Likewise the thought processes and behavior of a thing is emergent from the thing itself, namely the mind. And we’re not debating whether the thought processes and behavior of a mind is complex, we are debating whether or not the mind qua mind is itself complex, wholly apart from any thought processes or behavior it may or may not have.
An unembodied mind which is causal isn’t composed of matter, space or energy and so it would be a very simply entity. All that’s needed for this argument to work is for one to conceptualize just what an unembodied mind is.
It is not its thoughts, not its actions, not its creation, not its words… an unembodied mind is just that, not composed of anything with which it can be said to be complex, otherwise it would be, well, embodied!
An unembodied mind by contrast is a substance that is aware but not composed of what it's aware of, it thinks but isn't the sum total of its thoughts, experiences but isn't its past collection of experiences, reasons but isn't the product of its reasoning, understands but isn't what it has understood.
Therefore, an unembodied mind is by definition simple. Thus I declare victory.
Arguably we are talking about the complexity of a being including the necessary brain (unembodied in this case) necessary for all minds and information storage or processing power we are aware of. However, this round I will focus on the mind itself based on standard definitions. Remember the human mind is the only known example and is incredibly complex. This is what Con has chosen to represent a being he asserts is simple.
Complex thoughts & actions are central to the debate
Since Con’s non-standard concepts of mind were not offered in round one standard dictionary definitions of mind apply:
1. The human consciousness that originates in the brain and is manifested especially in thought, perception, emotion, will, memory, and imagination .
2. The collective conscious and unconscious processes in a sentient organism that direct and influence mental and physical behavior.
Con misunderstands what is meant by mind
Every complex thought or process Con attributes to the creator are exactly what we are referring to when we say a mind. Any thought, any organization, processing, memory, decision to act or creative impulse and talent are exactly what a mind is. The imagination used to create this universe would have been at least as complex as the universe.
“The mind is typically defined as the organized totality or system of all mental processes or psychic activities of an individual .”
Thought is an intricate part of the mind and there are thousands of them
The National Science foundation estimates that the numbers of conscious thoughts we have in a day are in the range of 12,000-50,000, deep thinkers averaging more. A creator of the universe would dwarf this figure. After all, minds can only create something first imagined to exist.
This is far less than the mental activity in our simple minds because 95% of our activity we are not even aware of . Simple tasks like driving a car use 30 specific skills each orchestrated by elaborate mental processes we are often not aware of. Compare this to more multifaceted tasks like creating a great work of art…. like a universe. Creative problem solving continues in the subconscious often referred to as the Eureka Effect.
The collective consciousness of mankind cannot even understand the universe
With the collective knowledge of the 100 billion people that have existed on earth in the last 10,000 years  we are only just discovering some of the basics about how the universe works. Remember just how complex the available memory storage and processing power are available to a single mind to generate thoughts, memory and imagination.
There are now 25,400 scientific journals and they published 1.5 million papers in 2009 . Wikipedia scratches the surface of many topics and in a single month the website grew by more than 30 million words and the site contains around 1.4 billion words . The amount of information available to us is staggering.
All of our collective shared thoughts, imagination, memory and creative talent and we still cannot create one single atom of hydrogen much less an entire universe. Remember all these characteristics are what are referred to when we use the word ‘mind.’
The complexity of the brain illustrates the complexity of minds
The intricate hardware needed to support the only mind we are aware of verifies to the vast complexity of human consciousness. Con can assert that a mind is simple: that thoughts, emotions, will, memory and imagination are simple, as absurd as that is.
Why then does our small memory, intelligence and creativity (compared to a God mind) require more storage than all computers on earth and microprocessors in the range of 15,000 times the number of stars in the Milky Way galaxy? The processing power alone indicates our immense creative problem solving ability.
“by Pro’s own admission we are debating the hypothetical possibility of whether or not an unembodied mind (any unembodied mind), would itself be complex”
I disagree with Con here. This is not about any mind such as a disembodied gerbil. The context of my comment and debate is the complexity of a mind that created the universe.
“Thus thoughts and actions are emergent from the mind, not the other way around; they are two distinct things.”
The mind is an emergent property of the brain and refers to consciousness this includes thoughts and decisions to act. The complexity of the actions are relevant because complex thoughts are needed for intricate actions and we are discussing a being that is able to create a universe.
I. The complexity of the brain illustrates the complexity of the mind and it’s features such as thinking, predicting and planning.
“For if embodied minds are as complex as Pro says, and they are complex primarily because they are embodied”
No, the mind, or consciousness, is complex in and of itself. The complexity of the brain is relevant in that it demonstrates the enormous number of complex thoughts and processes that combine to form a conscious mind.
The brain is complex because, as I have demonstrated, this is necessary for the vast number of complex thoughts to take place.
Notice Con here has conceded that an elaborate form of memory storage would be necessary for a creator mind. Memory is, by definition, a part of a mind. It is the complex process of collecting, storing and retrieving information for a given task.
There is no immaterial self-using the brain. All actions of a mind are a direct result of physical actions in the brain. The only mind we are aware of requires a complex mechanism to be produced and we have every reason to believe that a disembodied mind would have some form of a disembodied brain.
II. It is extremely large amount of processing power that reveals how complex conscious minds really are
“Pro attempts to argue that “the more complex the information available the more complex the mind.” But he equivocates mind with brain again”
I agree and it would be more correct to say that ‘the more complex the information processed the more complex the mind.’ This keeps it clear that by mind we are referring the vast number of running processes that make up a mind.
“Now what reason does Pro give for thinking that a “disembodied mind would need some kind of switch or hardwired change to store each individual piece of information.”?”
Con misrepresents me here. My first example of why a mind would need memory storage is that the only minds we are aware of need a brain. All memory storage requires some kind of a mechanism to store each piece of information. The more information the more complex the storage.
“There is nothing incompatible with the notion of a unembodied substance capable of intention”
Complex intention (will) to create is by definition part of a mind.
III. Here Con is trying to define God as simple because he doesn’t exist in our reality
That a God mind would not be composed of matter and energy just means that he is composed of something we have no reason to believe exists. It does nothing to demonstrate simplicity. Con references a mind to describe another being. All creative minds we are aware of are incredibly complex. All creative intentional causes we are aware of, and your analogy for this being, i.e. minds are very complex.
IV. Here Con makes unjustified assumptions about a mind that are nothing like the minds we are aware of
Hypothetical refers to a hypothesis that we intend to supply evidence to support and does not give permission to define things into existence. Con has given no reason why he suggests that a creator mind would be exist outside of time, not have a creator or be efficient. The only examples we have are none of these things. He has also suggested near omnipotence while suggesting a simple entity.
“Such a being by definition is simple since it fills no space!”
That this mind does not fill physical space we are aware of only suggests that it exists in some other zone of reality, not simplicity. I would expect something similar to matter and energy since all minds we are aware of are made of matter and energy.
“wholly apart from any thought processes or behavior it may or may not have.”
“An unembodied mind which is causal isn’t composed of matter, space or energy and so it would be a very simply entity.”
How have you demonstrated this? You are only stating what the mind is not. This says nothing about simplicity.
“An unembodied mind by contrast is a substance that is aware but not composed of what it's aware of, it thinks but isn't the sum total of its thoughts, experiences but isn't its past collection of experiences, reasons but isn't the product of its reasoning, understands but isn't what it has understood.”
Thinking, experiencing, reasoning and understanding are what we are referring to by mind.
This concept you have provided is completely baffling and you cannot explain a creator mind by what it is not. This does not establish anything about what it would be.
“Thus I declare victory.”
Interesting way to close the second round.
Con attributes complex characteristics of a mind and uses a mind as an analogy for a creator God. He then argues that these characteristics are not a mind when by definition they are. We are talking about the complexity of a being that would require something like a very complicated, disembodied brain to function.
Pro’s entire case boils down to three blunders. The first two are fallacies of equivocation, one equivocates unembodiment with embodiment, the second equivocates an unembodied mind with that mind’s capabilities.
The last blunder is a red herring fallacy, and it deals with Pro bringing up the existence of an unembodied mind rather than dealing with the question of whether such an entity would, in principle, be complex or simple if it existed. Thus the relevent issue is an unembodied mind’s comlexity or simplicity, not its existence. We’re asking how it would exist, not if it does. Let us deal with the equivocations first.
Unembodied Mind, not its Capabilities
It’s strange to call the concept of a brain-independent mind “non-standard” … from Plato’s soul to Descartes’ cogito, Freud's id to Hasker’s emergentism, the concept of a brain-independent mind has held strong as a top contender for explaining human experience or self-hood and identity.
But even if the mind originates in the brain, that doesn’t imply the impossibility of an unembodied mind no more than the generation of a magnetic field from iron filings implies the impossibility of the field itself.
Furthermore, none of Pro’s definitions is incompatible with there being an unembodied mind. Such an entity can interact with physical things and states; like how God would interact with the natural world, or like how we as immaterial selves would interact with our bodies. Insofar as this is possible it follows that an unembodied mind is concievable, and such a conception is distinct from the things it causes, namely physical composites. So Pro is mistaking the things an immaterial mind can interact with with the mind itself. Things secondary to the mind itself, like its thoughts and actions, are not relevent to this debate. So here is the issue, Pro knowingly mistakes,
1) an unembodied mind itself, as an individual whole
… with that mind’s,
2) capabilities (e.g., thoughts, actions, experiences, reasons, understandings, predicting, planning, interactions … etc)
The capabilities (#2) are an irrelevent a fallacy of equivocation for our debate. As I’ve argued, these capabilities are emergent from a mind, not the other way around. Why? Because remove a mind’s thought or action and the individual remains, remove the mind and what’s left? How can we even speak of a “thought process” or “action” existing if there is no mind to ground such phenomena? Again, remove the mind, and we are no longer talking about an individual, but remove the mental processes, like thinking logically, and we’re still left with an indivicual (albeit irrational one). Minds are necessary for thoughts, not the other way around.
All Pro says to support his case is that, “complex thoughts are needed for intricate actions.” Right, but a mind itself is needed for complex thoughts and its subsequent actions. And we’re talking about the mind, not its complex thoughts and later intricate actions. Pro says,
“Every complex thought or process [attributed] to the creator are exactly what we are referring to when we say a mind.”
… But Pro hasn’t dealt with the fact that such complex thoughts and actions are necessarily dependent upond the existence of the mind itself, not the other way around. Insofar as this is the case, Pro’s statement (from which he builds his case) is false. So it is false that we are referring to God’s thoughts and actions when referring to God… how would that even work? God could be thinking of calculus while training lions. So is God therefore calculus and lion training?
Imaginations don’t create things, persons or minds do. Imaginations may be used to create something, but so are tools, is a construction worker a hammer? An unembodied mind just is the individual, not its mental processes, etc.
Nor is an unembodied substance intention, it’s just capable of intention, and why think intention itself is complex? In what sense is it complex? I intend to shower, how is that intention itself complex? But leave that aside, why think an unembodied substance is complex if what it is capable of may be complex? Pro is leaving us disatistfied here.
Nor is the mind a complex process, it may be involved in certain processes but it doesn’t exist as the process itself, so it’s irrelevent what sort of processing power it is capable of. All that follows from that is that the mind is causally active.. how does this imply that the mind itself is complex? It may use a medium for memory but it isn’t that medium itself, it may collect but it isn’t collecting itself, it may store but it isn’t the processes of storing or retrieving. Nor is a mind mere information or a task, it’s a substantial self.
Thales once said,
“mind is swiftest, for it runs through everything.”
… He never said,
“mind is everything it moves through.”
Unembodiment, not Emobodiment
Pro says that an unembodied mind requires a disembodied brain… that’s saying that a disembodied being requires embodiment. But how can a mind be unembodied if it is in a brain (which is a type of embodiment)? Even if this weren’t such an obvious a contradition, it’s still irrelevent to our debate.
So if the brain is an embodiement, not an unembodiment, then since the debate isn’t about whether a mind requires a brain for its existence, but rather about whether an unembodied mind is complex or not, then every objection Pro raises that appeals to the complexity of brains is wholly irrelevent to our debate.
Even if his point were relevent the burden would be on Pro to demonstrate that embodiment in terms of a brain is “necessary for all minds.” But this isn’t the only thing he must demonstrate, he must also demonstrate that embodiment in terms of a brain is “necessary for all minds” including unembodied minds.
Yet how does the complexity of embodiment in terms of a brain illustrate and imply that an unembodied mind itself is complex? Here Pro only appeals again to an embodied mind and also phenomena that are emergent from it, like thoughts, emotions, will, memory and imagination. But as we’ve seen, these emergent phenomena may be complex… but that’s not the mind, nor is it an unembodied mind, nor is an embodied mind an unembodied mind. A mind’s storage for information isn’t the mind itself, so it’s irrelevent how many microprocessors are used, is an unembodied mind a collection of anything like a microprocessor suite? If so, then it is embodied, not unembodied.
So the debate again isn’t about whether or not the human mind is incredibly complex. Rather the debate regards the question of the simplicity or complexity of an unembodied mind.
Pro just asserts that the “mind, or consciousness, is complex in and of itself.” He gives no further support for this other than to appeal again to an embodied entity, the brain. He says it “demonstrates the enormous number of complex thoughts and processes that combine to form a conscious mind.” But recall again that thoughts and thought processes don’t form a mind (much less an unembodied one) they are formed from a mind. So again the brain is irrelevent since it is a type of embodiment.
I never conceded that “an elaborate form of memory storage would be necessary for a creator mind.” All I said was that “an unembodied mind may sift through memory (in whatever form or medium) as a librarian sifts through a library.” But a person who just so happens to be a librarian can still exist after the library burns to the ground. Likewise an unembodied mind is still an entity long after any medium it uses for memory is gone, or is changed. And a mind is at issue here, not whatever medium it uses for storage if it chooses to use storage at all.
The burden is on Pro to show that “there is no immaterial self-using the brain.” Nevertheless this too is irrelevent, we’re not debating whether an immaterial self uses the brain or not, we’re debating whether the immaterial self is itself complex or not.
Pro even agrees that he is guilty of equivocating a mind with a brain, he admits to this fallacy of equivocation. It is irrelevent to the question of the simplicity or complexity of an unembodied mind whether the only minds we are aware of require embodiement in terms of a brain. Why? Because we’re wondering about an unembodied mind, not an embodied one.
Complexity or Simplicity, not Existence
We’re not asking about the existence of an unembodied mind, we’re asking about the complexity of such an enity were it to exist. Pro still doesn’t understand the debate.
So this debate is not a matter of “defining things into existence.” I’m not attempting to prove or disprove the existence of an unembodied mind here, I’m asking the question, “why think an unembodied mind is complex?”
Pro hasn’t gone one inch in answering the question, all he’s done is bring up points that are only mildly relevent to embodied minds (even if all his points are true!). For instance, another “zone of reality” is itself a spatial term, and if an unembodied mind doesn’t fill space by definition, then its doesn’t fill zones of reality, it just is part of the real world if it exists. But its existence is irrelevent to whether or not it would be complex if it did exist.
Nevertheless, I didn’t just explain an unembodied creator mind by what it is not, I also explained what it would be, namely [a causal substance capable of intentionality and extreme power] … this is sufficient information for our debate. And such capabilities isn’t the mind itself, it is its capabilities, and its existence isn’t relevent to the question of its possible simplicity or complexity.
I Declare Victory!Thus I continue to declare victory, starting from the second round, since there is no possible way Pro can demonstrate that an unembodied mind is embodied, and so since only embodied beings can be complex, it follows that unembodied beings are starkly simple.
Give Pro sources, he'll need em...
Con did not establish ground rules for this round and is very confident for a victory so I will continue. I will stick to rebuttals and bring up new points only in direct response to Con clarifying existing arguments. This debate makes a good case for solid definitions up front. Standard definitions for embodied are:
1. Free from a corporeal body; disembodied; as, unembodied spirits .
2. Not embodied; not collected into a body; not yet organized; as, unembodied militia.
Con has dragged several assumptions about the idea not justified by the definition or clarified in the opening round. The relevant unembodied definition simply suggests that something is not made of the matter that we are familiar with. This does not imply the entity would be timeless, spaceless, not made of energy, simple etc.
In fact, using a complex mind as an analogy implies it would have all the similar aspects of minds we are familiar with expressed in some other form. This would also be consistent with a being from another dimension, zone of reality or universe that impacts our own. Con’s assumptions reflect a bias towards a common God concept not supported in this debate.
Unembodied Mind, not its Capabilities:
-“Because remove a mind’s thought or action and the individual remains”
No nothing remains. Since mind refers to active ‘mental processes’ when these stop the mind/consciousness no longer exists. We can measure mental processes in the only mind we are aware of, as supported by a brain in the human mind, and when they stop we refer to this as brain death . Legally this is the point at which the individual no longer exists and their organs can be removed to be transplanted to others.
The brain tissue is still alive and many of the organs are viable but the mind has ceased to exist. This is because consciousness is a collection of active mental processes and when these processes stop the individual mind ceases to exist.
-Con is throwing out any distinction between minds
As I have explained a mind is a collection of running processes. When I say a creator mind is more complex than a human mind or that a human mind is more complex than a chimpanzee I am referring to the complexity of consciousness. This is often demonstrated by comparing specific thoughts or actions that derive from thoughts.
A chimpanzee may have the creative power and thought capacity to form and execute a plan to use a stick as a tool to dig for termites to eat. Their brains are very similar to ours but the mind is much simpler. A human mind is more complex, able to use similar skills to make a wheelbarrow or, standing on shoulders of giants, create an automobile. A single God mind capable of planning and creating the universe would have been extremely complex.
“It’s strange to call the concept of a brain-independent mind “non-standard” …”
Yes, philosophers ignorant of modern studies of the brain commonly held that minds were independent of the brain but we now know every aspect of consciousness is dependent on the brain.
Con tries to differentiate a mind with its actions, again ignoring the standard definitions of a mind. He is either equating mind with brain, a mistake he has accused me of, or working off of a personal nonstandard definition of mind.
“The mind is typically defined as the organized totality or system of all mental processes or psychic activities of an individual .” By mind we are referring to all mental processes that work together to form consciousness. These processes culminate in thoughts, emotions, imagination intention and active memory.
-Brains, not minds, are necessary for thoughts.
Brains are necessary for thoughts. Thoughts as a combination of mental processes refer to a mind. A mind that doesn’t need the type of physical hardware we require would still likely have something similar. If it does not, by mind we are still referring to these running processes that make up consciousness.
““complex thoughts are needed for intricate actions.” Right, but a mind itself is needed for complex thoughts and its subsequent actions.”
Here Con concedes that in order to perform complex actions, such as creating a universe, complex thoughts relating to intention, imagination, immense knowledge etc would be necessary.
“God could be thinking of calculus while training lions. So is God therefore calculus and lion training?”
No, God would be the collection of all running processes expressed by their specific capabilities such as thinking of calculus. The specific thoughts are relevant because they show the complexity the processes that make up a mind.
Conscious minds are manifested in specific thoughts but a mind does not equate to specific mental actions. Minds are not single intentions or thoughts specifically. The collections of active processes that can produce specific intention are what a mind refers to.
Unembodiment, not Emobodiment
“Pro says that an unembodied mind requires a disembodied brain… that’s saying that a disembodied being requires embodiment.”
No Con is misusing the term unembodied and embody defined as:
1: to give a body to (a spirit) : incarnate 
2 a: to deprive of spirituality
b: to make concrete and perceptible
Embodiment simply refers to placing something spiritual into a physical form in the physical world we are aware of. It does not say anything about what a spiritual existence would be like. A non-material existence is completely consistent with a being existing in another zone of reality, another universe, dimension etc that somehow overlaps with our own.
That a brain is necessary for all minds we are aware of indicates that any other minds would also need an unembodied or ‘spiritual’ version of a brain. That brains are incredibly complex is relevant because they indicate the extreme complexity of the running processes that together form a mind. That they are necessary also indicates they are a complex addition to this identity.
No, it was Con who chose mind as an analogy for a creator. All minds we are aware of require a complex brain to function. We have every reason to suspect that other minds would require the same thing since all minds we are aware of require it. Why assume otherwise?
“A mind’s storage for information isn’t the mind itself, so it’s irrelevent how many microprocessors are used, is an unembodied mind a collection of anything like a microprocessor suite?”
It is relevant because the mind is a collection of running processes that together form consciousness. Because by complexity we are referring to many different processes that work together it is central to the debate. There are a baffling large number of processors all running to produce a mind. They never stop running until death
Complexity or Simplicity, not Existence
“We’re not asking about the existence of an unembodied mind, we’re asking about the complexity of such an enity were it to exist.”
I agree and I have not suggested otherwise. Based on this statement the necessary complex unembodied brain would also be a part of this entity. When I said Con was defining things into existence I was referring to many unwarranted assumptions. These include that a unembodied mind would exist as absolutely nothing by definition. Con has not in any way demonstrated this and it is not verified by standard definitions.
“For instance, another “zone of reality” is itself a spatial term, and if an unembodied mind doesn’t fill space by definition, then its doesn’t fill zones of reality, it just is part of the real world if it exists. But its existence is irrelevent to whether or not it would be complex if it did exist.”
These are major unsupported assumptions that Con has attempted to use throughout the debate. Every term we could use would be from our reality. That a being is not manifested in a material body does not mean it would not take up space. Being an entity not made of matter we are aware of tells us nothing about what it would be or would be made of. All you can conclude by standard unembodied definitions are that the being does not have a physical body of the form we are aware of.
Con’s burden of proof and information for voters
Con explicitly stated that we both had a burden of proof at the end of round 1. He has not established that an unembodied mind would be simple. Con’s arguments boil down to an assertion that a spiritual creator being would be simple only because it is not made of matter.
Con has declared victory twice since round two and equated my arguments to three ‘blunders’ a word defined as a, ‘stupid or careless mistake.’
Con indicated that any readers should give sources to me adding, “he’ll need ‘em.”
I have explained how complex minds are in general and related the complex processes that build a mind to the complexity of tasks. A mind that creates universes would need to be much more complex than ours. Such an unembodied creator would also need some type of complex non material brain to support it.
Con references an extremely complex collection of running processes, or a mind, as an analogy for a creator and then asserts that because the mind is not produced by matter we are aware of that it would necessarily be simple. He ignores standard definitions of ‘unembodied’ and ‘mind’ throughout the debate using personal definitions that he has not clarified.
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