Monday, July 27, 2009

Stewart Goetz On Why "Mind" Is Not the Same as "Brain"

(Linda, in Windsor, Ontario)

Way back when I was 21 and a new Christ-follower I was plugged in to two campus ministries at Northern Illinois University, Judson Fellowship (led by John & Ruth Peterson), and Campus Crusade for Christ. John Peterson was one of the most influential persons in my entire life. He's a real Jesus-follower with an active faith and a sharp mind. Thanks John for your friendship and mentorship and, among other things, taking me deep into C.S. Lewis.

My CCC mentors were Marshall Foster (who introduced me initially to the Real Jesus), Steve Kovic, Bill Craig, Stu Goetz, and others. I'm eternally grateful to them all for their input into the early shaping of my life.

Stu went on to get a Ph.D in philosophy and has become a great scholar and apologist. I just finished reading his brilliant book Naturalism, which intends to show the failure of metaphysical naturalism to provide an adequate account of human action. (Co-authoried with Charles Taliaferro.)

Stu writes, among other things, on brain-mind-soul issues. On naturalism the mind is identical. Recently he responded to this question: Doesn't neuroscience justify the claim that our minds are identical with our brains? Stu wrote: "I am not convinced that evidence from neuroscience supports the view that our minds are identical with our brains. The reasons for my not being convinced are several." Here, in brief, are his reasons.

"First, neuroscience contributes nothing substantively new to our understanding of ourselves and our relationship to our bodies."

"Second...: not everything that goes on in our minds is causally determined by what goes on in our bodies."

"Third, is important to note that some of the world’s foremost neuroscientists have believed that the mind is immaterial."

Fourth, "there is no good reason to believe that psychological events are identical with brain events simply because the two are correlated."

Check out the link above to get Stu's explanations of these four points. See especially Naturalism for a full treatment of this issue that is much-discussed and extremely relevant today.