People are physical, rational, and spiritual

I had read his response which I am in full agreement with. This is why your comment about a device surprised me, as Mitchell was speaking about spirits being able to affect organisms. This is why I spoke of clairvoyance and not machines.

Incorrect. The operation of such a device would require a consistent pattern of interaction which I already explained would be excluded by the laws of nature.

The alteration of events by non-physical agents can always be dismissed as nothing more than chance and coincidence. Anything more than this would be an alteration of the probability distributions, which is an alteration of the laws of nature. This is why I describe the relationship between the physical and the spiritual as mostly epiphenomenal or one-way from the physical to the spiritual. The ideas of the spirit operating the body like a puppet or that things like love and hate are non-physical, rather than biochemistry and electrochemical impulses, are not supportable.

I think that you are confusing the brain with the mind. The brain is physical while the mind is not. The thinking portion of the person is similar to a computer.

The computer has three aspects, hardware, software, and operator. The hardw3are is the physical aspect of the computer, just as the physical brain is the physical part of the mind. The software is the non-physical part of the computer, just as what we call the mind is the non-physical aspect of the mind. The computer also requires an operator to turn it on and determine what the computer will do. This is basically the role of the spirit which actively directs the activities of the person. The3 spirit cause the body and mind to interact to create a human being.

The hardware is not software, and software is not hardware. They are very different, but they must work together to create the computer, which can think, do many but not all mental tacks.

The mind is not the body and the body is not the mind. Nor is the brain the mind nor the mind the brain. Many animals have brains, but they do not have a mind like humans do. Hominids had brains, which evolved into minds like we have, but they are not the same.

I think that you are confused because you are caught up in the old Greek understanding of nature, whereby the physical is different from the rational because each has its own nature. Thus if the brain has a physical nature, it cannot be anything else but physical, however its Function is Rational, to think, not to be or do.

We are all familiar with the distinction between white collar workers and blue collar workers. White collar works do primarily mental works and blue collar workers do physical work, even though often today they manage machines which do the work. Thus the distinction between the rational and the physical is real and important.

Calling the rational and physical both physical in nature does not make them both physical in nature and create monism.

Are you saying that I never do anything unless there is a physical cause? I never eat unless I am hungry. I never do something because I want to. I don’t do something because it is the right thing to do. I do not read a book or do research on the web because I as curious.

The question is Freedom. Do humans do things because they are forced to by physical cause, or are we free to determine what we want to do based on rational thought and /or personal preference?

@mitchellmckain > The ideas of the spirit operating the body like a puppet or that things like love and hate are non-physical, rather than biochemistry and electrochemical impulses, are not supportable.

No one is saying that the spirit is operating the body like a puppet. All I am saying is that the human being is different from other animals in that we can able to act out of thought and love, independent of physical needs. A person is not just a physical being acting on physical stimuli, we are physical, rational, and spiritual beings who seek to integrate all our physical, rational, and spiritual needs.

1 Like

Incorrect. The brain is a biological organ only. Its substance is biochemistry. The inheritance it passes to the next generation is via DNA/RNA only. No alteration of the brain after it has grown is passed on to the next generation. The mind is not a biological organism. Its substance are ideas and experiences as constructs of language. The inheritance is passes to the next generation is via the media of human language and communication media. Alterations of the mind after it has grown ARE passed to the next generation via human communication. This is the difference of a genetic organism versus a memetic organism.

It is YOU who are confusing biological with physical. The word “physical” has more than one definition and “bodily” is only one of those definitions and not the most important definition in modern times, which is pertaining to physics and produced by the forces of physics and operating according to the laws of nature. The mind is certainly not physical in the sense of biological, but is physical in the sense that its existence and operation is by and according to the laws of nature.

The analogy of software versus hardware for the relationship of mind and body is not a bad one. The only real difference is that in the case of the computer we are talking about something which is designed and thus a machine – both hardware and software are a product of design. But in the case of a person we are talking about something which is not designed but a result of self-organization, and indeed both body and mind are a product of growth and learning. However, while they are a product of the same KIND of process of self-organization which defines living organisms, they are not the same actual process and they are in entirely different mediums and develop on very different time scales. For the body and brain the process of development was genetic evolution taking billions of years. For the mind the process of development was experiential and social taking thousands of years – a million times faster. The inheritance of acquired characteristics in the case of the mind is a huge advantage.

I think that you are confused because you are caught up in the old Greek understanding which equates the soul and non-material existence with rationality. There is nothing non-physical about rationality for this is after all the very essence of the physical universe. It is all mathematical in nature. And take the computer as a case in point – completely and perfectly rational and not the tiniest bit of non-physicality about it.

No. It is demonstrable that the laws of nature are not causally closed. But it does not follow therefore that that you never do anything unless there is a non-physical cause. If everything you do is traced to a cause whether physical or non-physical then there is no free will. Thus even when you add the physical to the non-physical, it is still not causally closed. Not as long as you restrict causality to the time-ordered variety. The addition of a non-physical existence outside the temporal ordering of the physical universe does help in this. And I think this connection between physical and non-physical is essential for life, free will, and consciousness. But the mistake is in thinking that this just means something non-physical is controlling the physical and thus the mind must be non-physical. WRONG. That is not what is happening.

And I am saying the same thing. But right there you have that same confusion of the word “physical” with “bodily” again.

A person is not just a biological organism and not just a physical being either. We are mind and body which are both living organisms existing and operating by the laws of nature, and we also have a spiritual existence which takes its form and nature from the choices of the physical living organisms.

We have both biological drives and psychological drives deriving from the needs of the body and mind respectively which are both physical living organisms. But no, there are no spiritual drives. To be sure there is a matter of spiritual life but this is entirely a matter of choice and it is not a matter of anything driving us to live spiritually or obtain eternal life. Spiritual life comes from God alone.

I must disagree. The mind doe not work according to the laws of nature, it operates according to the laws of thinking. The laws of thinking are called logic. An important Law of logic is the Excluded Middle which sets up Western dualism. Unfortunately the Excluded Middle is not correct.

One would think that if the Mind is governed by Natural Laws, then people would generally think in the same manner, because everyone is govern3d by the laws of nature in the same way. Sadly this is not the case. In the USA we are deeply divided by the “cultural wars” based on how we think. When we get outside Western culture, we have another very deep divide. The mind is not governed by natural laws, but fortunately must of the world has a culture based on a common Western education. Boko Haram wants to destroy this commonality. .

The brain is designed by evolution. What Darwin and Dawkins have failed to understand is that organisms adapt to their environment. Since the environment is rationally organized, that is designed, organisms reflect the rational organization of the ecology.

The key evidence of this is that hominids were given an evolutionary advantage because they are able to think. If the universe did not have a rational structure, there would not be a rational evolutionary advantage. As they developed this advantage by using their rationality, changes in their brains and minds expanded this advantage and their abilities to think and to act morally.

All organisms are more than physical. They have the ability to adapt to their environment using their ability to find sustenance and avoid danger. They are spiritual in that they have meaning and purpose, particularly within the ecology and the scope of natural history.

But math is the most non-physical “thing” that exists. How is math made up of matter/energy. Math, geometry is the foundation of Greek philosophy, since is the non-material forms of math that govern the universe, even E = mc squared.

I understand that science does not agree with Greek philosophy, but the solution is to change our understanding of philosophy, not abandoning thinking. God is a Mathematician among many other things.

No one is saying that the non-physical is controlling the physical. The idea of Creation is that God, Father, Son. and Holy Spirit created the universe in such a way that the universe is not a part of God. God put the universe into existence and also maintained a connection to it so it would maintain its integrity and we would have the freedom of choice between good and evil.

People have a body and the body needs to eat, but people do not have to eat. They can refuse4 to eat. People can eat food which is not good for the body. People are nor forced to meet their physical needs.

People have a mind and the mind needs to think and study if it is to be healthy and useful, but many people hall into bad thinking habits and lose their mental acuity. People are not forced to think a particular way and meet their rational needs.

People have a spirit that needs to love, to do right, and uphold life and others. Sadly science has accepted the myth that evolution is based on competition, when it is not. Evolution is based on ecology or interdependence, so nature is moral, contrary to common opinion.

Still we see the impact of the view that selfishness is the way to success. Since Love of Self is the wrong way, the only right way is the Love of God from which follows love of others, love of self, and even God’s Creation.

Thus you are right the spirit comes from God as does the body and the mind, This does not mean that people can’t or don’t know that that need to be unselfish. We also need a life of integrity of body, mind, and spirit which comes only from God.


Your answer is predictable.

Mind (by @Relates’ definition) is a function of the spirit. There’s no mind without the spirit.

I have tried the idea that the spiritual things like emotions, feelings, wishes, logic, etc. are the mapping of the physical form of life. You can almost always find the aspect of a physical life to “map” a spiritual aspect, except one, music, which I haven’t found the “mapping”.

If it’s true, then the existence of spirit, either it arises from the physical form of life or exists independently, is to serve the physical life.

A very interesting article about life, nerve and spirit.

The authors also believe that nerve/brain/mind/spirit serves the physical form of life.

You mean that you predicted your inability to understand my answer? Yeah, that is becoming predictable on your part.

proof: If you had understood my explanation in post 68 you would never have suggested this nonsense about a machine.

Which disagrees with the evidence. Mind is a physical living organism which is not biological – a memetic organism rather than a genetic organism. All living organisms have a spirit. But you will not find any evidence for a causal role for the spirit in the events of the mind.

The spirit takes its form and nature from the choices of the physical living organism, but it exists independently and it serves no role in operation of physical life.

incorrect. The words “mind” and “spirit” are not used in this article. All living organisms have both consciousness and spirit, but this organism does not have nerves or a brain, and it certainly does not have a mind. This is as much a fantasy as people imaging that rocks or zygotes have a mind. They have no such thing.

Because you knew your theory would be checked in reality if you really tried and the failure of your answers would be exposed. You would surely avoid it, as predicted.

Ah… you must raised in some backwoods with no notion of science. Otherwise, why are you so surprised at this practice of conforming theories to fit the evidence? You must be more used to just sweeping anything like that under a rug so you can stubbornly repeat any old nonsense you like.

Thank you for the interesting articles that shows that an organism does not have to be large and sophisticated to be able to “think,” but why does one aspect of an organism have to serve another. Why can’t the physical and the mental work together to survive and thrive? The spirit comes into play as the organism has the will to live.

One cannot say that the physical in an organism exists without the mental or the spiritual. They are interdependent with each other, so they escape the quagmire of dualism, and establish the benefits of the three and one.

Hoe can the mind of a living organism not be biological? Every part of ne is biological.

How does a memetic organism work? Thinking is not physical, so how can it be physical?

If the spirit has no causal role, what evidence is there that it exists? I find that love and hope do cause people to act in new ways.

Life is a self-organizing process not a material. That process can occur in different materials and mediums. The material medium of biological organisms is biochemistry. They store information on what they have learned in DNA/RNA for the next generation. The human mind is the same kind of self-organizing process in a different material medium – that of electro-chemical information in the human nervous system organized into concepts and ideas. Human minds store information on what they have learned in the medium of human language in the form of oral traditions, books, and other human communication media.

Really? Not me. I have a biological part descended from a common ancestor with other living organisms, making me their brethren. I have a memetic part descended from God. And I have a spiritual part created by my choices alone.

Why do you use the language of tools for a living organism? Living organisms are not about fulfilling a function. They are about organizing themselves as something apart from but responding to their environment, altering themselves in response to changes and events in their environment in order to do this. We call this by such words as “learning” and “adapting” among others.

Thinking is measurable and can be altered by physical forces. It is entirely physical. We have overwhelming reason and evidence to conclude that thinking is physical, and we haven’t the slightest objective reason to conclude otherwise. And to put the final nail in that coffin, the fact is that we can build 100% material machines to do thinking better than any human to beat us all at our own thinking games.

We have no objective evidence whatsoever that the spirit exists. We have only subjective evidence and subjective reasons for believing in its existence from various religions and personal experiences. In a word, faith – surely you have heard of this.

Of course. We just have no objective evidence that these are anything other than physical.

Another interesting article.

The reason it is so difficult to study conscious experiences is that they are entirely internal and cannot be accessed by others. For example, we can both be looking at the same picture on our screens, but I have no way to tell whether my experience of seeing that picture is similar to yours, unless you tell me about it. Only conscious individuals can have subjective experiences and, therefore, the most direct way to assess whether somebody is conscious is to ask them to tell us about them.

They are honest about conscious experiences. There’s no way to tell or check. All is guess so far.


But just because all the evidence tells us that thinking, feeling, and consciousness are measurable physical activities most of which can be duplicated by machines and thus we have no objective evidence that the spirit exists or has it has a causal role in the operation of the mind does not mean that the spirit does not exist or that even that it has no causal connection to the body and mind. It just means we have to be careful with our arguments and overstating our case because doing that makes our belief in the spirit look blind and stupid. Our objective here is certainly not to argue that the spirit does not exist but only that we need to conform our beliefs, such as the belief in the spirit, to the scientific evidence… and not blindly follow antiquated ideas from before such evidence became clear.

1 Like

Emerging and self-organizing concepts that seem to have been adopted by some scientists, but are not scientific in the sense that they are scientifically verified by experiment or field study. If anything they are philosophical concepts because they cannot be scientifically verified.

Life is not self-organizing, because Life cannot think. God can and does think and God has structured Life so it is Rational, but it is not self organized, it is God or Nature organized.

The Mind is a thinking machine, so it is rational, not physical. It does have a different medium which makes it non-material. Words, concepts, information, and ideas are not physical, no matter how they are stored or communicated.

Faith, hope, and love: Values, morals, and ethics are spiritual aspects of life. They are rooted in God, but humans must accept or reject them for themselves. .

Only humans can to some extent self organize. We are talking about all plants and animals.

Can you measure the quality of a thought by physical forces. If machines can think better than we, then we should make them our teachers.

Just because something is not “objective,” does not mean that it does not exist. Beauty, Love, Peace, and Joy exist. They exist beyond religion. They also exist in the arts.

If only that which is real is that composed of matter/energy, this would not be a world worth living in. Since this is a world worth living in, the Spiritual must be real. Again this is not a scientific question. This is a philosophical question, which affirms that the spiritual is real.

Evidence is evidence, Why should objective evidence be the only standard.

…because all the evidence tells us that thinking, feeling, and consciousness are measurable physical activities most of which can be duplicated by machines…

Thinking involves encoding and decoding information. Yes, we have developed machines that can so this by imitating the human mind. This does not make thinking physical, but makes it clear that thinking is a very different process from doing physical work.

It upsets the old view that thinking was a purely non-material process, but not that it is basically a non-material activity.

incorrect. Just because they can be used in a philosophical manner doesn’t mean they are not scientifically verified. Self-organization is a widespread phenomenon that has been verified and experimented a great deal. The written procedures people can follow to get the same results verifying these phenomenon are quite numerous.

Frankly it is your use of the word “rational” which is not only incapable of verification but ill-defined and magical with a great mishmash of many ideal all confused and mixed up together to the point where we have to wonder if you even know what you are talking about.

Your premise that thinking is a prerequisite to self-organization is nothing but an absurdly concocted prop for your conclusions without the slight reason let alone evidence to support it. All the evidence supports the conclusion that life is self-organizing. And that is the only difference between life and a machine – the difference between what Dawkins calls “designoid” and actual design. It is a difference which is completely demonstrable in every way.

I will accept your assessment of your own mind as machine-like and you have my sympathies. But I know that my mind and the minds of many acquaintances aren’t machine-like in the slightest.

This claim has no meaning to me whatsoever because I do not acknowledge the rational reality apart from the physical as dreamed up by Plato and swallowed by NeoPlatonists and Gnostics.

Again the evidence simply doesn’t support the idea that the mind is anything but physical for all of its events are not only traceable to physically measurable quantities but can be demonstrated as alterable by purely physical forces.

Incorrect. The ability to abstract the words and concepts from the instances of electrochemical information in the nervous system in order to communicate them to others in different mediums cannot change the fact that the human mind and thinking is NOT abstracted from those specific instances. This is also 100% demonstrable.

They may indeed be attributable to God and spiritual aspects of life in some sense, but it doesn’t change in the slightest the fact that when it comes to specific experience of them by a particular person then they are entirely measurable as physical phenomenon, with no demonstrable need of any non-physical causation.

Incorrect. Self-organizing process can be demonstrated in non-living materials such as chemical reactions and meterological phenomenon. So this is even more basic than life itself, which is a more specialized example of self-organization.

Anyway… since it is becoming clear that you are talking without any knowledge of the science, I am simply going to point you to a book you can read on the subject: The Self-Organizing Universe by Erich Jantsch, and leave it at that and the conclusion that any discussion of the topic with you is pointless until you do so.

Please tell me where to find this evidence.

Please tell ne how a tree can self-organize itself since it cannot think.

Admittedly I use the word “rational” in perhaps a new way, but it means something is rationally ordered. Aren’t you able to know if something is rationally ordered or not?

First Dawkins said that organisms are not designed. Now he says they are semi-designed? If this is verified, please give me a reference.

Dawkins called all animals including humans, “survival machines,” so why don’t you accept that our minds are machines?

You said that machines can do what our minds can and better. Bro. it is a metaphor!

Jesus is the Logos. This is not Plato or Gnosticism. Christianity is rational, as well as scientific and spirituaL

Thinking is not based on abstraction. This is Plato. Thin king is base4d on relationships.

Yes., they are revealed to us by Jesus the Savior Who was born, lived, died, and arose from the dead for our salvation. If you think that you can measure these and thus prove that He is Lord, that is fine.

Thank you for the reference. I well do my best to get a copy. .

Gentlemen, the idea that the spiritual things are independent of physical world is more fantasy than fact.

Looks like it’s easy to explain the world (in one’s fantasy) with different things working together or interacting. But one simple question would sadden everyone who still lives in such a fantasy. The question is HOW could they work together or interact? (The spiritual input? The physical input? Do they need a converter between them? Is the converter something new to our knowledge?)

A much better alternative is to think the spiritual things are nothing but a new world based on the platform created by some brain activities, and the function of the new world is to map the physical world to help the physical life learn and make better decisions. The “how” question remains a challenge. But once it’s answered, a lot of other questions can be answered too.

1 Like

I must apologize for not getting a copy of this book as I said I would. I did not realize that it is out of print and expensive to purchase. Please let me know if there is an acceptible alternative.

Getting hard copies of old books has become rather difficult these days with changes in tax laws causing book companies to burn books rather than warehouse them. It is part of the whole shift to putting books online and that is where I suggest you go instead. Here is a link to a free download on a 30 day free subscription service.