DualismDualism – The concept
Dualism is the concept that our mind is more than just our brain. This concept entails that our mind has a non-material, spiritual dimension that includes consciousness and possibly an eternal attribute. One way to understand this concept is to consider our self as a container including our physical body and physical brain along with a separate non-physical mind, spirit, or soul. The mind, spirit, or soul is considered the conscious part that manifests itself through the brain in a similar way that picture waves and sound waves manifest themselves through a television set. The picture and sound waves are also non-material just like the mind, spirit, or soul.
The alternative concept is materialism. Materialism holds that everything in our universe is made from physical materials including the human mind or brain and that spiritual attributes do not exist in the universe. This concept holds that our mind and brain are one and the same.
Dualism – Expectations of a material only mind
If dualism is not true, the mind is limited to the physical brain. Assuming this scenario, what kind of a mind would we expect? We certainly would not expect to have consciousness strictly from materials. Perhaps we could expect to see a mechanical mind similar to a computer that is run by a program. We would not expect things like consciousness, sensations, thoughts, emotions, desires, beliefs, and free choice. Such a mind would behave in a deterministic way based upon the laws of matter. Many scientists and philosophers are now concluding that the laws of chemistry and physics cannot explain the experience of consciousness in human beings.
We would not expect people with such a mind to be responsible for their behavior because everything they do is determined by the attributes of matter. We all know that is absurd. Also, we could not trust our minds since they are just a random collection of materials not produced by an intelligent mind.
Dualism – Expectations of a spiritual mind
With dualism we would expect the spiritual mind to have similar attributes to that of its source. If the source is the God of the Bible, the concept of dualism is consistent with the Bible. Genesis 1:26 (NKJV) states, “Then God said, ‘let Us make man in Our image, according to our likeness...’” Genesis 2:7 (NKJV) states, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” Luke 23:46 (NKJV) states, “And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, ‘Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.’”
Dualism – Rational and scientific support
A British study published by the journal “Resuscitation” provided evidence that consciousness continues after a person’s brain has stopped functioning and he or she has been declared dead supports the truth of dualism. In their journal article, physician Sam Parnia and Peter Fenwick, a neuropsychiatrist, describe their study of sixty-three heart attack victims who were declared clinically dead but were later revived and interviewed. About ten percent reported having well-structured, lucid thought processes, with memory formation and reasoning during the time that their brains were not functioning. The effects of starvation of oxygen or drugs were ruled out as factors. Researchers also found that numerous cases were similar.
J. P. Moreland, PhD, author and theologian states during an interview with Lee Strobel, “People are clinically dead, but sometimes they have a vantage point from above, where they look down at the operating table that their body is on. Sometimes they gain information that they couldn’t have known if this were just an illusion happening in their brain. One woman died and she saw a tennis shoe that was on top of the hospital.” This is strong scientific evidence for the validity of her experience and the existence of a conscience mind that separates from the body at death.
There is no place in the brain where electric stimulation can cause a person to believe or decide.
When Roger Sperry and his team studied the differences between the brain’s right and left hemispheres, they discovered the mind has a causal power independent of the brain’s activities. This led Sperry to conclude that materialism was false.
Our thoughts can be true or false. However, brain states cannot be true or false.
Nobody can tell what we are thinking by measuring brain waves. We must be asked what we are thinking.
When empirical information is used to as a basis for validating dualism, we can come to a consensus that it is true. However, dualism vs. materialism is tied to the creation vs. evolution debate. Consequently, evolutionists need to take unrealistic positions against dualism to defend evolution. If dualism is true, we are created by God and macroevolution is false.
In a similar way, if only the objective scientific empirical facts are considered, evolution has no support and creation is true by default.