The Creation Wiki is made available by the NW Creation Network
Watch monthly live webcast - Like us on Facebook - Subscribe on YouTube

Dualism

From CreationWiki, the encyclopedia of creation science
Jump to: navigation, search

Dualism in the more theological sense is a religious outlook that claims that the world is influenced by opposing forces of good and evil that are of approximately equal strength. In the academic philosophical sense dualism has to do more specifically with the nature of relationship between the mind and the brain. Dualism states that the human mind is not just physical matter, but transcends matter, being the spiritual or incorporeal component of the human being. Because the mind and brain are separate, when a person dies their mind (soul) continues to exist.

Dualism: Body and Soul

What is lost in studies of the brain is: what should we expect from the brain under Dualism. Under Dualism, for the soul and body to work as a single being, the soul and brain would have to work closely together, with constant two way communication and with each affecting the other. The result is that the action of the soul would trigger activity in the brain and activity in the brain would affect workings of the soul.

As a result when brain activity is triggered by a thought or a memory, it is the brain reacting to the action of the mind and not that those functions reside in the active portion of the brain. Furthermore, reacting to its biology, the brain sends signals to the soul often pressuring it do as the body wishes. If this did not happen then people could starve just because they did not want to eat. The fact the mind can override those biological pressures by force of its will, it a strong argument for Dualism, since if the mind were purely a product of biology, it would most likely be a helpless slave of that biology.

While a loss of memory due to brain damage could show that the memory resides in the brain, it could also mean that the mind is blocking memories that trigger activity in damaged sections of the brain, so as to prevent trauma.

The brain affects the soul’s perception of the world, and this perception would be affected by damage to the brain. Furthermore the soul’s desired actions are translated into bodily action through the brain and a damaged brain would miscommunicate the soul’s desired actions to the body. The result is that even if a person's mind (soul) is undamaged, a damaged brain would still affect actions, since it would cause either the soul to misjudge a situation or the body not to act as the mind (soul) wishes.

As a result, it is impossible to distinguish between Monism and Dualism simply by studying brain functions and the like. The main question is: can the existence of the soul be empirically and objectively studied? It turns out that in the early 20th century a study was done that provides objective empirical evidence for the soul. The main assumption of the study was that the soul would have mass. The study found when a human dies there is a small sudden loss of mass that cannot be accounted for by a final exhalation or loss of bodily fluids.

Types of Philosophical Dualism

There are two types of dualism within philosophy. They are weak and strong or property and substance dualism.

Property dualism

Property dualism supports that the mind and brain or only different properties of the physical brain. There is no difference in the substance.

Substance dualism

Substance dualism maintains that the mind is indeed separate and substantively different from the brain. The mind or soul is not just another property of the brain, but in fact a wholly different substance. What is lost in studies of the brain is a non materialistic approach as to what should be expected as activity from the brain under Dualism. Under Dualism for the mind/soul and body/brain to work as a single human being there would need to be close cooperation, with constant two-way communication and with each affecting the other. The result is that the action of the soul would trigger activity in the brain and activity in the brain effected by environmental stimuli would affect workings of the soul. (See: Free will)

As a result when brain activity is triggered by a thought or an occurrence of activating a memory, it is the brain reacting to the action of the mind and it is not that those functions and processes reside only in the active portion of the brain. Furthermore, reacting to its biology, the brain sends signals to the soul influencing thought life and thus the mind and soul. If these types of communication processes did not happen people could starve, simply because their self (the mind or soul), did not want to eat and could not be influenced to eat. The fact the mind can override those biological pressures by force of will highlights the strong arguments for Dualism.

If the mind were purely a product of biology, it would most likely be a helpless slave of that biology. While a loss of memory due to brain damage could show that the memory resides in the brain, it could also mean that the mind is blocking memories that trigger activity in damaged sections of the brain, so as to prevent trauma. The brain effects the souls perception of the world, and this perception would be effected by damage to the brain. Furthermore the desires (and/or thoughts) of the soul are translated into bodily action through the brain and a damaged brain would interpret wrongly or not at all the souls desire for particular actions of the body. The result is that even if a person's mind (soul) is undamaged, a damaged brain would still affect actions, since it would cause either the soul to misjudge a situation or the body not to act as the mind wishes in any capacity at all.

Theological Characteristics of Dualism

The apparent motivation for developing dualistic ideas is to explain the existence of evil. Since good rejects evil, the continuing existence of evil is attributed to good's inability to eliminate it. Similarly, good's continuing existence is attributed to evil's inability to destroy it. Hence the idea that the opposing forces are of equal strength.

Religious expression

Zoroastrianism is a dualistic religion; more importantly for Christianity, so are the various forms of the heresies of Gnosticism. Christianity is completely incompatible with any kind of dualism in reference to the nature of God. God is all-powerful, existing necessarily by His own nature, no other being can rival Him in any way. This is both implicit and explicit in the doctrine of creation, since it is evident that the creator of all things cannot in any way be rivaled by his creation.

Popular culture

Dualism is a powerful idea in popular culture. There is a longstanding dualistic belief that attributes more power to Satan than he actually has. The effects of this were seen in the witchcraft scares of the seventeenth century and in much superstition around the world. Dualistic ideas are strong in Science Fiction and Fantasy, such as the idea of the two sides of the "Force" in the Star Wars films and Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series.

Related References