Catmoon wrote: thoughts manifest in the real world as electrical phenomenae in the brain, on a very small scale where quantum effects become significant
I don't think it is really possible to specify what 'thought' is or 'mind' is in a general sense at all.
If you say that 'thought is something the brain does', I think you're making a category mistake. A thought is not a material object or thing at all. Certainly the act of thinking is correlated with some neural activity, but the correlation is not one of identity. Otherwise the meaning of a book, for example, would be dependent on the composition of the paper on which it is written, which it obviously isn't. Rather it is the case that 'meaning' and 'matter' exist on different levels. That is why to explain one in terms of the other is a category mistake.
Andrew108 wrote:There were schools of thought in Buddha's time that saw consciousness as an emergent property of matter, much in the same way that alcohol is a property of fermentation of ingredients that do not contain alcohol. It's an interesting point of view in that it goes against Vedic teachings in such a direct way.
That school of thought was 'the Carvaka', who were indeed materialist, in exactly the same way that Dennett and Dawkins are now.It also goes against Buddhism in a direct way.
It was stated by more recent materialists as 'the brain secretes thought as the liver secretes bile'.
Of course one of the consequences of such views is that they are meaningless, by their own definition. If they are true, there is nothing for them to mean, so they are not really even worth stating.
Andrew108 wrote: At one level science has worked out all of the mechanisms that make up the world we experience.
Science has not the remotest idea of how, or if, matter gives rise to mind, or how, or if, matter even gave rise to living beings. The way it proceeds is to reduce
such questions to the kinds of questions it can deal with, namely, those concerning measurable entities or force relationships. Then it wishes to find explanations for everything, in those terms. It is exactly as Abraham Maslow said, that if the only type of tool that you have is a hammer, then the only kinds of problems you're interested in involve nails.
Andrew108 wrote:There are laws or invariances that govern the universe.
Not so. The laws you are referring to are presumably those of physics, but what they describe
- which is not the same as 'governing' - is the behaviour of mass and energy. But to say that these laws 'govern the universe' is the essence of materialism, which is basically to put physical laws in the place of divine commandments. There is a clear historical process by which this emerged.