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January 22, 2008


Alex Marshall

Along similar lines:

There's a very good argument (at least, I think its good) against naturalistic thinking such as this by Christian Philosopher Alvin Plantiga (of Notre Dame University). Essentially, the argument takes naturalistic assumptions to their logical conclusion: Naturalism assumes that our traits are developed and/or adopted for their survival value to a creature. Applying this to human reasoning, our minds and their thought processes would be developed for their ability to help us survive, not to help us develop true beliefs, under naturalistic logic. Its not hard to think of a scenario where a false belief might help you survive just as easily as a true one, so based on naturalistic assumptions, we have essentially no reason to trust our reasoning or the conclusions it reaches. Plantiga's conclusion based on this is that naturalism is essentially self-defeating or irrational. It also supports Dr. Doug's conclusion that this kinda reasoning is arrogant, or at least definitely pretty risky.


so do you have a definition for the human mind? what is it exactly anyway? is there a scriptural basis for it? Would I be correct in assuming form the above discussion that you hold a bipartite view of man? LW readers want to know...

Doug Matthews

The human mind, or at least a definition of it, is likely one of those things that most people have a definition of and this definition differs. How might you define it?

I do tend to hold to a bipartite view (you theologian you) although I've been a bit hesitant to think of them as two completely separate things but instead think of them as meshed in action with each other, at least in this world, yet able to maintain their unique identity.

In terms of scriptural support perhaps we might think about Matthew 22:37 (or Mark 12:30). Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." Granted this separates mind and soul but given the Naturalist position, that soul doesn't exist, I think mind as Kandel uses it encompasses both what we'd call mind and soul.


A neurologist friend of mine would likely subscribe to Kandel's view of "knowing." He has pronounced the Torah to be "myth and legend," and he would like to prove it. He grasps at whatever evidence he "thinks" disproves God or creation. If I question him about the origins of DNA or intelligence, he has no answer, so he sends me "information" similar to that above. When I read it, I feel tired. When I read Truth, I become enthused. Now, that tells me something!

Doug Matthews

Hi Mrs

I'd strongly encourage you to encourage your friend to try and disprove the Torah. CS Lewis, Josh McDowell, Lee Strobel and Francis Collins, to name a frew, all became Christians because they set out to disprove God's word.


Good idea, Dr. Doug! I will do that.


Dr. Deeeeee - always the professor eh - answering questions with questions. nice. It was really an honest question - trying to study something you can't define is very difficult - like theology in that way I guess. You know things about God but cannot define Him. In the sane way you know things about the mind but cannot really define it. I can see why scientists focus on the material.

I do like Deut 6:5 when it comes to describing man: You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

(I think a case can be made to equate heart with will and spirit)

Doug Matthews

You weren't suppose to notice that I didn't answer your question.

I've enjoyed the bit I know about Willard's thoughts on heart, will and spirit. Spirit I see as different from heart which to mea seems to imply physical. Will is what I see as the interesting conjunction in that our will can be transformed by the spirit and in effect change are heart. This is one application I think of 2 Cor 5:17.

In terms of the scientist though their position seems fraught with the fact that they a priori cut spirit from the equation. However, if it is true that spirit can modify the will then it seems reasonable that science could study the will and have an insight into the functioning of the spirit. However, to do so requires that one does not toss the spirit out at the beginning and this is where I think science is incorrect.

With all this said I could see a tie between human mind and human will where will is the conscious state of thought that reflects the state of my spiritual health played out through my physical apparatus.


Dr. D
What is addiction? How does science explain addiction? How does addiction affect the brain and its ability to reason right and wrong? Is it possible for an addictive feeling (the urge to satisfy) to overcome a sober mind to the point of comprimise or is it strictly a case of self-control? How does one overcome addiction? How does one surmount withdraws from their addiction?


p.s. I figure this is enough for you to answer at one sitting at LW. I have so many more questions and thoughts.


"a tie between human mind and human will where will is the conscious state of thought that reflects the state of my spiritual health played out through my physical apparatus."

I think you're onto something there. To roughly paraphrase an author I like - the soul is the thing that integrates spirit (or mind) and body.

Doug Matthews

Hi Bo
you ask a variety of interesting questions, to put a small teaser in I'll work up a post directly addressing your questions (at least I hope they directly address them).

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