Now the Feser passage on which he preaches is:
"Thoughts and the like possess inherent meaning or intentionality; brain processes, like ink marks, sound waves, and the like, are utterly devoid of any inherent meaning or intentionality; so thoughts and the like cannot possibly be identified with brain processes."which he found quoted on an Intelligent Design website. His incisive critique ran as follows:
Only a creationist could be so utterly moronic. While Feser and his friends are declaring it impossible, real neuroscientists and neurophilosophers are busy figuring it out.
That is, a bit of name calling and an appeal to the imminent parousia of the neuroexperts, but no actual reasoning. It did not seem to occur to him that Feser might be, like many Aristo-Thomists, a critic of the Intelligent Design theory. Nor that the point that Feser was making in that passage was the same point made by staunch atheists like Searle and Nagel. Nor does he evidence having read Feser's post from which the ID site was quoting out of context.
His three commentators were no more perceptive:
Even ordinary people understand that the impossibility of a married bachelor is not simply due to lack of empirical evidence. Havok evidently has no clue what is meant by inherent meaning or he would not confuse it with merely "processing" and "storing" things.What the Pope has to do with any of this is unknown. One suspects the mention is simply a reflex spasm, like a knee struck with a rubber mallet. Deepities is also undoubtedly a technical term known only to the gnosis. There is nothing "deep" about "meanings," and one shudders at the barbarous understanding of one who does regard it as a deepity!
Let's take an example:
Suppose wind and rain have eroded a rock, scoring it with two parallel line and a third at right angles so that it looks like this:
НThere is no meaning to this chance occurrence, despite a passing resemblance to an alphabetic character, because the meaning does not reside in the physical configuration of matter. Now, a human being might assign it a meaning -- the sound "en" because of course it is a Cyrillic letter; but again, the meaning is not inherent in the physical marks. (This, Paul, is what is meant by "inherent.") The same is true whether the marks are made in ink or on-off switches or neurons. These are themselves without inherent meaning. Someone else might assign those marks the sound "aitch" or the sound "mi." Still others, the cross section of an I-beam. Still others, the location of a hospital on a map.
It ratchets up. What is there in the sequence c - a - t that gives it meaning? It's not the curve of the first symbol, not the cross-bar of the third.
Or take a sequence like: "The cat sat on the mat." It might mean that a beatnik (a "cat") held for someone ("sat on") an offset printing plate (a "mat").
It becomes more and more obvious that meaning does not reside in the matter. The association of a material symbol with a meaning is one that is assigned to the symbol, not one inherent in it. Hence, since thoughts do have meanings, the thoughts cannot be simply the neural patterns or the marks on the paper or the symbols on the computer screen.
For that matter, a computer, as Searle pointed out, is not a computer unless we choose to regard it as one. Materialistically, it is simply an arrangement of plastic, metal, etc. But certain states of the equipment have been assigned meanings, so that this arrangement of switches is the numeral 3 and that arrangement is the operation + and so on.
Hope that was coherent.