If the brain causes mind, then:Novella thinks that all six predictions have been well-established empirically.
1- Brain states will correlate to mental and behavioral states.
2- Brain maturity will correlate with mental and emotional maturity.
3- Changing the brain’s function (with drugs, electrical or magnetic stimulation, or other methods) will change mental function.
4- Damaging the brain will damage the mind – producing specific deficits that correlate to the area of the brain damaged.
5- There will be no documentable mental phenomena in the absence of brain function.
6- When the brain dies, mental function ends.
We should remember that the traditional philosophical case for the immaterial mind does not deny that much of mental phenomena has a physical origin. In fact, the philosophers in the Aristotelian tradition insist that only one specific mental faculty - the intellect - requires an immaterial foundation. So if we are concerned with evaluating the classical philosophical case for the immaterial mind in terms of contemporary neuroscientific evidence, the only interesting evidence is that which relates to the intellect. Evidence that emotions or the sense of self have a physical origin may be interesting but it is irrelevant to the classical philosophical position, since the classical philosopher (and here I am taking Aquinas as the exemplar) did not deny such a thing. The interesting evidence relates to the question of whether the intellect is purely a material function of the brain.
Why did the classical philosophers make an exception for the intellect? Because the intellect is that which understands universals, and it is hard to see how a universal effect can have a material cause. Consider the emotion of anger. If I am angry, the emotion is restricted to me; even if you are simultaneously angry, your experience of the emotion is your's alone and my experience is mine alone. Each is a singular. There is no conceptual problem with thinking the emotion has a purely physical origin, since we encounter singular effects from material causes every day. I turn on my stove and it heats this pot of water, but not every pot of water in the universe. I throw a baseball and it breaks a window, but not every window in the universe, let alone every possible window in the universe. But instead of being angry, suppose we instead think about the emotion anger. (And I will italicize anger when referring to the idea of anger rather than the experience of being angry.) Now any number of emotions, and perhaps no emotion at all, may accompany our thinking about anger. We may be sad, happy, indifferent or, yes, angry when thinking about anger. Thinking about anger is something radically different than having the emotion anger.
But more importantly, when I think about the idea of anger, the idea doesn't merely apply to my own emotion, but your's and everybody else's as well. I may only be able to experience my own anger, but I can think about everybody's anger, and I can think about them all at the same time. Furthermore, you and I can engage in a conversation about anger and discuss exactly the same thing; I can only experience your emotion of anger as analogous to a similar emotion of my own, but we can both think about one and the same idea of anger.
This is close to what contemporary philosophers of mind call the problem of "intentionality", but it is not quite it. The problem of intentionality refers to how an idea can be about something, e.g. how my conscious thinking about the moon can be about the large rock orbiting the Earth and not just about itself. What I am talking about is the classical problem of universals, which is not so much about how thoughts can be about things, but about how different thoughts can be about the same thing as well as how a single thought can be about an infinite number of things (as my thinking about anger can be about everyone's personal experience of anger.)
Let's consider Novella's first line of evidence in terms of the intellect rather than conscious states that have a non-controversial physical origin (like emotions): "Brain states will correlate to mental and behavioral states." It is easy to see how this is possible with emotions like anger. I am not familiar with the specifics of the evidence, but it is not hard to imagine some particular regions of the brain becoming active in a specific way when one is angry, and a different region when one is happy (or, perhaps, the same region in a different way.) Now consider what might happen when you think about anger rather than become angry. Is there some specific pattern of neural firing that accompanies the state of thinking about anger? Is this pattern identical across subjects? Such identity doesn't matter so much in the case of emotion, since we need not require that your emotion of anger be identical to my own. But if we are to think in the abstract about anger, and have a conversation about it, then we do require that our ideas of anger be exactly the same, not only in terms of being just like each other, but in terms of being exactly the same idea. Suppose that measurements show that, physiologically, your thinking of anger is not exactly the same as my thinking of anger. Does this shows that your idea of anger is not exactly the same as my idea of anger, in which case our conversation (and perhaps all conversations) involve a fundamental misunderstanding because we aren't really talking about the same ideas when we think we are? Or is there some way in which we are still talking about exactly the same idea of anger even though the physiology between us is not precisely identical? The former alternative involves a whole train of unpleasant philosophical consequences, and the real challenge is to establish, even in principle, how the latter alternative might be true. If the physics is all there is, and the physics is not identical, it is difficult to see how we can say the ideas are identical. Or, put in empirical terms, if an idea is a "brain state", then variations in brain states just are variations in ideas; saying two ideas aren't the same is the same as saying two brain states aren't the same and vice versa. But I am convinced that we can talk about identically the same ideas, whatever the similarity of our brain states, which is one reason Novella's summary of evidence does not yet convince me.
Suppose, however, that physiologically your thinking of anger is identical to my own to some degree of precision. In other words, the neuroscientists are successful in identifying a brain state correlated to anger that is identical among all human subjects. Another problem surfaces, and it is easier to see in the case of mathematical ideas. I am thinking of the number "one", which presumably correlates to a brain state. Now I think of the number "two", which presumably correlates to a different brain state. The brain is a finite physical organ; it is capable of assuming a vast but not infinite number of states. How many states can the brain assume in theory? A trillion? A quadrillion? A trillion trillion trillion? Whatever the number is, and let us call it a trillion for the sake of argument, what does it mean if I think of the number a trillion plus one? If thinking of a number corresponds to a brain state, then the potential numbers I might think about are finite, since the brain is finite. But this is clearly false; since I might potentially think about any number - and in particular, the number one more than whatever you say is the number of brain states. It must be true, then, that multiple numbers correspond to identical brain states in my thinking. How does, the materialist, then, account for a diversity of numbers derived from identical brain states? It is hard to see how the materialist case could possibly be sustained, since the distinction of numbers in this case would seem to require something immaterial - which is why the classical philosophers thought the intellect (that which conceives ideas) must be immaterial, even if the rest of mental life could be accounted for physically.
These sorts of questions are the real challenge (as far as I am concerned) for the materialist, and the classical philosophical case for the immaterial mind hasn't even been challenged until they are addressed. There are some conclusions to be drawn here about the interesting directions of scientific investigation. Instead of investigating brain state correlation to things like emotions or the sense of self - which even Aquinas held could have a purely physical basis - the investigation should correlate brain states to intellectual states. What is the brain state correlating to the thinking of the number "three?" Or thinking about the Pythagorean Theorem? Or thinking about the theory that the mind has a purely material basis? If we can stimulate brain states like emotions artificially, can we also stimulate intellectual states artificially? Can we stimulate someone to think of the number "three?" Or to think of the Pythagorean Theorem? I would find the results of such research extremely interesting. (I strongly suspect, of course, that there is no way to stimulate the brain to think of the number "three", precisely because multiple numbers (in fact, an infinity of numbers) must correspond to identical brain states. Merely physical stimulation would be "underdetermined" as far as what number would be thought.)