Creationists declare war over the brain.

thingy
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Creationists declare war over the brain.

Source: New Scientist.

Quote:
"YOU cannot overestimate," thundered psychiatrist Jeffrey Schwartz, "how threatened the scientific establishment is by the fact that it now looks like the materialist paradigm is genuinely breaking down. You're gonna hear a lot in the next calendar year about... how Darwin's explanation of how human intelligence arose is the only scientific way of doing it... I'm asking us as a world community to go out there and tell the scientific establishment, enough is enough! Materialism needs to start fading away and non-materialist causation needs to be understood as part of natural reality."

His enthusiasm was met with much applause from the audience gathered at the UN's east Manhattan conference hall on 11 September for an international symposium called Beyond the Mind-Body Problem: New Paradigms in the Science of Consciousness. Earlier Mario Beauregard, a researcher in neuroscience at the University of Montreal, Canada, and co-author of The Spiritual Brain: A neuroscientist's case for the existence of the soul, told the audience that the "battle" between "maverick" scientists like himself and those who "believe the mind is what the brain does" is a "cultural war".

Schwartz and Beauregard are part of a growing "non-material neuroscience" movement. They are attempting to resurrect Cartesian dualism - the idea that brain and mind are two fundamentally different kinds of things, material and immaterial - in the hope that it will make room in science both for supernatural forces and for a soul. The two have signed the "Scientific dissent from Darwinism" petition, spearheaded by the Seattle-based Discovery Institute, headquarters of the intelligent design movement. ID argues that biological life is too complex to have arisen through evolution.

Now the institute is funding research into "non-material neuroscience". One recipient of its cash is Angus Menuge, a philosophy professor at Concordia University, Wisconsin, a Christian college, who testified in favour of teaching ID in state-funded high-schools at the 2005 "evolution hearings" in Kansas. Using a Discovery Institute grant, Menuge wrote Agents Under Fire, in which he argued that human cognitive capacities "require some non-natural explanation".

In June, James Porter Moreland, a professor at the Talbot School of Theology near Los Angeles and a Discovery Institute fellow, fanned the flames with Consciousness and the Existence of God. "I've been doing a lot of thinking about consciousness," he writes, "and how it might contribute to evidence for the existence of God in light of metaphysical naturalism's failure to provide a helpful explanation." Non-materialist neuroscience provided him with this helpful explanation: since God "is" consciousness, "the theist has no need to explain how consciousness can come from materials bereft of it. Consciousness is there from the beginning."

To properly support dualism, however, non-materialist neuroscientists must show the mind is something other than just a material brain. To do so, they look to some of their favourite experiments, such as research by Schwartz in the 1990s on people suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder. Schwartz used scanning technology to look at the neural patterns thought to be responsible for OCD. Then he had patients use "mindful attention" to actively change their thought processes, and this showed up in the brain scans: patients could alter their patterns of neural firing at will.

From such experiments, Schwartz and others argue that since the mind can change the brain, the mind must be something other than the brain, something non-material. In fact, these experiments are entirely consistent with mainstream neurology - the material brain is changing the material brain.

Those are just some choice paragraphs from the article.  Click on the link to read the whole thing.

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Quote:"YOU cannot

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"YOU cannot overestimate," thundered psychiatrist Jeffrey Schwartz, "how threatened the scientific establishment is by the fact that it now looks like the materialist paradigm is genuinely breaking down.

That's rich.  In psychology, we call this "projection."

 

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Ah, yes. The Christian

Ah, yes. The Christian mantra: "Brainz. BRAINZ! EAT BRAINZ!"

Christians and zombies. Sometimes it's hard to tell them apart.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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Hamby, correct me if I'm wrong, here...

...but if it were true that "brain" and "mind" were two different things, with "mind" being immaterial...wouldn't that mean that no mere injury to the brain could possibly change the "mind," (i.e., personality)?  Don't all those cases of personality change due to brain injury mean precisely that the brain and the mind are the same thing...or, better yet, that the "mind" is a phenomenon of the functioning of the brain?

 

Just asking.

 

Conor


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My thoughts exactly Conor. 

My thoughts exactly Conor.  These look like the exact same arguments made when theists thought the mind was in the gut and then in the heart.  It's nothing new, it's just getting louder to the newfound acceptance in society of snakeoil and sugarpills in the forms of homeopathy and "traditional medicines".

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The 'Mind' is immaterial in

The 'Mind' is immaterial in the sense that it is not a physical, material object in itself, it is more like a process, referring to a linked sequence of events, ie 'thoughts', which are also not explicitly bits of 'matter', but are closely linked to changes of state in networks of material objects, ie, neurones.

The 'materialism' these people are ridiculing is a idea that relates to an obsolete philosophy which assumes that there is 'nothing but' matter. This ultimate reductionism is the other end of the spectrum from the opposite error, namely Platonic Idealism. Ironically, Plato was still mired in the same misconception, that for 'something' to 'exist', it had to be constituted of some analogue of matter, but on a 'higher' plane.

My point is that there are nouns which refer to genuine abstract concepts, ie no 'substance', but describe attributes of physical objects, static or dynamic relationships between bits of matter (patterns, structure and processes).

Even simple things like 'height' - it is a noun, but it is not made of matter, it is an attribute of a a physical object. It would be nonsense to say 'height' is a supernatural entity, it is meaningless outside a physical universe.

It seems to me that 'mind' and/or 'consciousness' are referring to yet another process, or perhaps better seen as a set of processes made up of the interactions of neurones in a brain.

Rambling a bit here as I try to convey these ideas...

It is important to realize that to understand 'reality' we have to organise our observations and ideas into a hierarchy of 'levels of description'.

These days we start at the level of quarks, leptons, etc and their interactions. We have quite a lot of workable theories, especially Quantum Mechanics, describing the way these entities behave, altho far from complete.

Then we could jump to the level of atoms, which are made up of these more 'elementary' particles. For many purposes, rather than describing everything in terms of the motions of sub-atomic particles, we use Quantum Theory etc to explain and predict the properties of atoms, then have a whole new level of description where we are only concerned with the behaviour of collections of atoms, and the structured groups of atoms we call molecules. At this level we can start to talk about gases, liquids and solids, and develop theories and laws about the behaviour of these collections of atoms, which are themselves collections of sub-atomic particles, without having to express everything in terms of quantum mechanics.

The patterns of interaction of large collections of atoms and molecules shade into Chemistry, where we talk about acids and alkalis, salts and other categories of 'chemicals'. So, while quantum theory may shed some insight into the nature of chemical interactions, it would be totally unmanageable to describe the chemical process of, say, extraction of gasoline from crude oil in terms of quantum wave-functions.

And so on through bio-chemistry into biology, into the behaviours of living organisms, group dynamics of social animals (including homo sapiens). Other parallel disciplines such as systems theory, especially the study of complex systems, which actually in no way depend on quantum ideas, give us tools and frameworks to help understand complex real-world phenomena, all the way up to human society and economies, etc, and of course, probably the pinnacle of this hierarchy of complex phenomena, at least from our point of view, consciousness and the mind.

My point is that you can in principle explain the universe in terms of interacting quarks, etc, but examined at this level it is extremely unlikely that you make sense of the concept of 'living organisms' - you need to step back and up several levels in the hierarchy of ideas to deal with such entities. The "materialism" these people refer to seems to me to describe a world-view stuck at the lowest levels of description, blind to the full scope of the modern 'naturalistic' perception of reality.

 

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Quote:if it were true that

Quote:
if it were true that "brain" and "mind" were two different things, with "mind" being immaterial...wouldn't that mean that no mere injury to the brain could possibly change the "mind," (i.e., personality)?

Depends on what "immaterial" means.  I can't imagine these fools are foolish enough to espouse this view, as a simple experiment with the claw end of a hammer proves them wrong.

Quote:
Don't all those cases of personality change due to brain injury mean precisely that the brain and the mind are the same thing...or, better yet, that the "mind" is a phenomenon of the functioning of the brain?

I have never understood why this is so difficult for theists to grasp.  Mind and brain are not synonymous.  The brain is a hunk of matter.  Mind is a process.  Anyone claiming that mind is independent of brain has a brobdingnagian task set before them.  The evidence supporting mind as an emergent process of brain is staggering to say the least.  To say the most, it's the only evidence there is for either side.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Conor Wilson wrote:...but if

Conor Wilson wrote:

...but if it were true that "brain" and "mind" were two different things, with "mind" being immaterial...wouldn't that mean that no mere injury to the brain could possibly change the "mind," (i.e., personality)?  Don't all those cases of personality change due to brain injury mean precisely that the brain and the mind are the same thing...or, better yet, that the "mind" is a phenomenon of the functioning of the brain?

 

Just asking.

 

Conor

They already have a bullshit explanation for this one. I saw a youtube video of some dualist talking about how are brains are like antennas. If you damage an antenna then the signals it receives will be distorted. Using that explanation they get to believe that souls are real and your personality will be ruined if your brain is damaged.

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."
British General Charles Napier while in India


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Jormungander wrote:

"They already have a bullshit explanation for this one. I saw a youtube video of some dualist talking about how are brains are like antennas. If you damage an antenna then the signals it receives will be distorted. Using that explanation they get to believe that souls are real and your personality will be ruined if your brain is damaged."

 

I should have known...

 

Conor


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Hambydammit wrote:

"I can't imagine these fools are foolish enough to espouse this view, as a simple experiment with the claw end of a hammer proves them wrong."

 

My comment: OUCH!

 

Hambydammit also wrote: "I have never understood why this is so difficult for theists to grasp.  Mind and brain are not synonymous.  The brain is a hunk of matter.  Mind is a process.  Anyone claiming that mind is independent of brain has a brobdingnagian task set before them.  The evidence supporting mind as an emergent process of brain is staggering to say the least.  To say the most, it's the only evidence there is for either side."

 

My comment: Uh...at least I got it somewhat right on the second try...right?  Even if I didn't...at least I'm learning (...or, in some cases, re-learning...) now.  Mind is an emergent process of the brain...got it.  But could you direct me to some discussions of the evidence supporting this?  Thanks in advance.

 

Conor


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Jormungander wrote:They

Jormungander wrote:

They already have a bullshit explanation for this one. I saw a youtube video of some dualist talking about how are brains are like antennas. If you damage an antenna then the signals it receives will be distorted. Using that explanation they get to believe that souls are real and your personality will be ruined if your brain is damaged.

Hahahaha! Oh, that's a good one. I guess, then, that the different parts of the brain are "attuned" to different "frequencies" of the soul components (which now must have different aspects to it) so that the soul still remembers stuff that you don't. And somehow doesn't have any access to your brain all-of-a-sudden because you physically "tuned out" of just one aspect of an immaterial plane.

Right.

Where do people come up with this shit?

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HisWillness wrote:Hahahaha!

HisWillness wrote:

Hahahaha! Oh, that's a good one. I guess, then, that the different parts of the brain are "attuned" to different "frequencies" of the soul components (which now must have different aspects to it) so that the soul still remembers stuff that you don't. And somehow doesn't have any access to your brain all-of-a-sudden because you physically "tuned out" of just one aspect of an immaterial plane.

Right.

Where do people come up with this shit?

Their souls transmit it to them.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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Quote:Uh...at least I got it

Quote:
Uh...at least I got it somewhat right on the second try...right?  Even if I didn't...at least I'm learning (...or, in some cases, re-learning...) now.  Mind is an emergent process of the brain...got it.  But could you direct me to some discussions of the evidence supporting this?  Thanks in advance.

Well, the first thing to do would be to head here:


Consciousness Explained by Daniel C. Dennett (Paperback - Oct 20, 1992) {Edited for correct image}  

 

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Thanks, Hamby! Conor

Thanks, Hamby!

 

Conor


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Yes, 'Consiousness

Yes, 'Consiousness Explained' - excellent book. Dennett manages to explain complex topics remarkably well, without over-simplifying, at least IMHO. Strongly recommended, as with any of his books on the mind and evolution, etc.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

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Material is all there is , I

Material is all there is , I AM a material man, as is the

Madonna Material Girl

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      NO MAGIC EXISTS

 ... just a fun reality reminder , WE ARE GOD, every moment of everything.

 YOU are GOD ... thermodynamics explains reality best this day.  Today's gospel ....

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nigelTheBold

nigelTheBold wrote:

HisWillness wrote:

Where do people come up with this shit?

Their souls transmit it to them.

Awesome.

What's even funnier is that I think we can safely conclude that their antennae are broken.

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nigelTheBold wrote:Ah, yes.

nigelTheBold wrote:

Ah, yes. The Christian mantra: "Brainz. BRAINZ! EAT BRAINZ!"

Christians and zombies. Sometimes it's hard to tell them apart.

Especially when the zombies talk.

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When god believers get

When god believers get caught in a lie they cop out by playing the "poof card"= god did it.

I am not a neurologist, but I know a bullshit claim when I see one and even a monkey can understand the absurdity of this claim.

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Conor Wilson wrote:...but if

Conor Wilson wrote:

...but if it were true that "brain" and "mind" were two different things, with "mind" being immaterial...wouldn't that mean that no mere injury to the brain could possibly change the "mind," (i.e., personality)?  Don't all those cases of personality change due to brain injury mean precisely that the brain and the mind are the same thing...or, better yet, that the "mind" is a phenomenon of the functioning of the brain?

 

Just asking.

 

Conor

 

Stop trying to use logic to fight creationists. It's like using the queens gambit against someone who thinks you are playing checkers.


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 "To properly support

 "To properly support dualism, however, non-materialist neuroscientists must show the mind is something other than just a material brain. To do so, they look to some of their favourite experiments, such as research by Schwartz in the 1990s on people suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder. Schwartz used scanning technology to look at the neural patterns thought to be responsible for OCD. Then he had patients use "mindful attention" to actively change their thought processes, and this showed up in the brain scans: patients could alter their patterns of neural firing at will.

From such experiments, Schwartz and others argue that since the mind can change the brain, the mind must be something other than the brain, something non-material. In fact, these experiments are entirely consistent with mainstream neurology - the material brain is changing the material brain."

So... 

Are they saying that because you can use your brain that proves it's an antenna?

 

 

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It is an interesting shift

It is an interesting shift the Xians have made. It used to be that every scientific discovery was a work of the devil. Now every scientific study is evidence for Yahweh. You could produce a study demonstrating that most people find that shit smells bad and somehow this is evidence that God exists.

“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca


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That_Guy wrote:

"Stop trying to use logic to fight creationists. It's like using the queens gambit against someone who thinks you are playing checkers. "

 

Me:  Thanks for the reminder.  This is something that I keep forgetting.

 

Conor