Chugging Along Without 90% of My Brain

This man, missing most his brain, seems to have a largely normal existence. How? Maybe our brain learns and relearns how to be conscious.


I’m not surprised at this. I’ve seen earlier reports of hydrocephalus patients with similar conditions.

What I think it shows, is that there is something wrong with the idea that the DNA is a blueprint for the complete organism. Perhaps the DNA can be said to be a blueprint for a development program. But it would seem that the person is intelligently designed by the development program using whatever neurons are available.


Maybe the mind uses the brain, but is not the brain, so brain destruction does not necessarily destroy the mind.

The point is that reductionist explanations of the mind find this sort of thing harder to explain, whereas substance dualist explanations do not find this sort of thing problematic. Thus, substance dualism is a less brittle theory, and more robust.

1 Like

Maybe, but this is also the exception rather than the rule. The part of the story that substance dualists will struggle with is that usually there is a strong brain-mind effect.

Reductionism and dualism can both be misleading.

1 Like

i have read about these things and MDr Egnopr, on discovery, has used to them to make excellent cases against the brain being the seat of us.

a YEC , christian, or any christian should see the immaterial soul as the place of the thinking being.
Yet this soul must be attacjed to the body. i suggest strongly that its only attached at the memory. i think the mind in the bible means the memory.
Therefore removing “the brain” would not matter as long as none of the memory was removed.
Yes reductionist concepts can turn all human thinking into a interplay between the soul and the memory.
Removing the brain means nothing but drinking three beers would affect the memory and that guy would be stumbling…
We have no brain, well i don’t, but instead a soul and a mind.

There’s a strong body-food effect, but we don’t conclude we are cheeseburgers. Seems a fallacy sneaking around in here.

1 Like


The Christian view has always included “plus a Soul”!

1 Like

I’m not sure that is correct.

Yes, the Christian view has always assumed a soul for humans, but often not for cats, dogs, cattle, etc.


They mention at the end that his brain matter may have been more compressed than degraded. It seems like they should have given that more prominence. Still pretty amazing regardless.


Well, it was really Descartes who made that particular distinction: humans had God-given souls (res cogitans) and animals were part of the res extensa, merely automata. As many have agreed, the “mind-body” problem really stems from him.

Prior to that, Thomism distinguished types of soul, the human, intellectual soul differing from the animal and vegetable souls firstly in capacities, and secondly because intellect implied an immaterial (and to Aquinas, eternal) component. I think he got that aspect from Plato, who was big in earlier philosophical theology. To him, the “soul” was essentially the living form.

In biblical terms, the major thought was that we are a soul, a unity (which accords pretty well with the hylemorphic dualism of Aristotle), and animals, too, were occasionally referred to as souls, “nephesh” meaning something like “living being.”


The article seems quite deceptive as already mentioned by someone…

Here is what the update says:

“Update 3 Jan 2017: This man has a specific type of hydrocephalus known as chronic non-communicating hydrocephalus, which is where fluid slowly builds up in the brain. Rather than 90 percent of this man’s brain being missing, it’s more likely that it’s simply been compressed into the thin layer you can see in the images above. We’ve corrected the story to reflect this.”

However, there are many examples of normally functioning people with major brain deficiencies either because their brains never fully developed or the great majority of their brain mass was surgically removed.

Dr. Egnor has written extensively on the theme as proof of an immaterial soul that, in his view, can compensate for the missing parts of the brain.

A Map of the Soul

I have argued more than once against Dr. Egnor’s assumption as false since his own patients provide ample evidence that the soul can only compensate for the missing parts of the brain ONLY if the essential parts of the brain are present and functional, even if the great majority of the brain mass has been removed or it’s damaged.

Learn More

1 Like

In his view is this anything different than consciousness?

That is absolutely right.

Good question!
I’m not sure. It seems painfully obvious though that Dr. Egnor had committed himself to the belief system that mind and consciousness are immaterial, therefore the immaterial soul must be behind them…

1 Like

It seems pretty clear that consciousness emmeninates from, but is more than merely a brain. Even materialists would agree, in at least the agree that software exists, and is more than merely hardware. Technically, software isn’t material and materialists obviously agree it exists.

It is not clear then what Egnor is arguing for that a materialistic wouldn’t already grant as true.

Few materialists, including Roger Penrose and Stewart Hameroff, argue for quantum consciousness… Their view can at least explain why general anesthesia causes total unconsciousness while leaving other brain functions (other than indicators of consciousness) normal…

A post was split to a new topic: Dreaming Under Anesthesia