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Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 02 2008,22:10   

A review of The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist's Case for the Existence of the Soul
Reciprocating Bill

Should you happen to pick up The Spiritual Brain, I suggest you begin by reading the last three pages. There Mario Beauregard describes the experiences and convictions that motivate his book, convictions that are not grounded in neuroscience at all. This passage begins on page 293:

"In this last section of this final chapter, I want to present, very briefly, key elements of a nonmaterialist view of mind, consciousness, self, and RSMEs [religious, spiritual, and mystical experiences]. This personal view...is based not only on the findings of various scientific disciplines (some of which are presented in his book), but also on a series of mystical experiences that I have had since my childhood....

"One of these experiences occurred twenty years ago when I was lying in bed. I was very weak at the time because I was suffering from a particularly severe form of what is now called chronic fatigue syndrome. The experience began with a sensation of heat and tingling in the spine and the chest areas. Suddenly, I merged with the infinitely loving Cosmic Intelligence (or Ultimate Reality) and became united with everything in the cosmos. This unitary state of being, which transcends the subject/object duality, was timeless and accompanied by intense bliss and ecstasy. In this state, I experienced the basic interconnectedness of all things in the cosmos, this infinite ocean of life. I also realized that everything arises from and is part of this cosmic intelligence."

Beauregard concluded, "Individual minds and selves arise from and are linked together by a divine Ground of Being (or primordial matrix). That is the spaceless, timeless, and infinite Spirit, which is the ever-present source of cosmic order, the matrix of the whole universe, including both physis (material nature) and psyche (spiritual nature). Mind and consciousness represent a fundamental and irreducible property of the Ground of Being. Not only does the subjective experience of the phenomenal world exist within mind and consciousness, but mind, consciousness, and self profoundly affect the physical world...it is this fundamental unity and interconnectedness that allows the human mind to causally affect physical reality and permits psi interaction between humans and with physical or biological systems. With regard to this issue, it is interesting to note that quantum physicists increasingly recognize the mental nature of the universe."

In reading The Spiritual Brain I made my own discovery: Contact with The Matrix does not, apparently, confer the ability to organize a book-length argument, or even write coherently with any consistency. This is a pretentious, flawed, often self-contradictory, and sometimes downright peculiar work.

Pretensions and Flaws

The Spiritual Brain announces its grandiose pretensions in its title: "A Neuroscientist's Case for the Existence of the Soul." We are advised on page 3 that "thousands of books" published in dozens of disciplines that advance naturalistic accounts of human origins and functioning are plain wrong. Daniel Dennett is appointed proxy for these "materialist" views. "This book will show that Professor Dennett and the many neuroscientists who agree with him are mistaken...It will show you why he is mistaken." The peculiarities of this work are quickly evident as well. Although this is to be "A Neuroscientist's Case for the Existence of the Soul," the word "soul" appears just once in the direct (unquoted) text of the book and remains undefined and unaddressed. And while Daniel Dennett is early appointed villain, his work is itself never addressed.

Nevertheless, in asserting the above Beauregard and O'Leary assume some responsibility to at least attempt to approximate the level of scholarship employed by their primary targets. They fail miserably in this respect. Beauregard and O'Leary frequently draw uncritically upon secondary and tertiary sources. Weirdly, although Dennett is early designated proxy for the evils of "materialism," and the text mentions in passing titles such as The Minds Eye, Brainchildren: Essays on Designing Minds, Kinds of Minds, Freedom Evolves and Breaking the Spell, Beauregard and O'Leary never really describe or engage Dennett's work, and only Kinds of Minds appears in the bibliography. And, to a degree that quickly becomes maddening, they repeatedly declaim pretentious assertions that are entirely unsupported and uncited. On page 33 we learn, "experiments have shown that, because your brain is a quantum system, if you focus on a given idea, you hold its pattern of connecting neurons in place." Srsly?

Ignorance or omission of other primary literatures is rampant throughout. Astoundingly, while Robert Trivers is cited in passing (on pages 9-10) during a discussion of the origins of altruism, Beauregard and O'Leary fail to mention his classic and seminal work on reciprocal altruism, game theory, and the prisoner's dilemma which he first described in 1971 (The Evolution of Reciprocal Altruism. The Quarterly Review of Biology, Vol. 46, No. 1, Mar., 1971, pp. 35-57). Similarly, in an exceptionally weak passage intended to deny the significance of research into the social-cognitive resources of other great apes to an understanding of human cognition (p.17), Beauregard and O'Leary indirectly report, without identification or citation, the work of Brian Hare and others at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology regarding the relative sensitivity of chimpanzees and dogs to human gestures (such as pointing). Worse than relying upon tertiary sources neglecting citations, this passage omits mention of the extensive and often astonishing research findings regarding primate social cognition that this team has reported in recent years (much of which was documented in a recent, quite excellent, broadcast of NOVA earlier this month). In all, the scholarship informing The Spiritual Brain is piss poor, and Beauregard, at least, should know better. One can only conclude, as one meanders across this dismally incomplete landscape, that Beauregard and O'Leary can't be trusted as guides.

Although less important to the thesis presented in this book, irritating stylistic quirks disrupt any semblance of sustained argument. Blocks of quoted material appear on at least half the pages of this book, as though Beauregard and O'Leary can't quite marshall the resources to make arguments for themselves. Oftentimes, such quotes, when supportive of their position, are offered as though a few sympathetic words settle the matter at hand. Sprinkled throughout the text are sidebars with titles such as "The View From Neuroscience" (isn't that what the entire book purports to be?) and "The Mind Brain Problem" (isn't that what the entire book purports to address?) - as well as other topics that beg for integration into the main text. Also rather odd is the voice of the book, which vacillates from that of "this book" to, sometimes startlingly, the first person singular, although we are left to guess which of the two authors is addressing us.  

Contradictions

But these are quibbles, and there are bigger problems afoot. Several arguments presented in The Spiritual Brain flatly contradict one another. On page 5 we are asked, "If materialism is true, why don't most people believe it?" This is followed by a recitation of statistics regarding the widespread religiosity of Americans. On page 7 Beauregard and O'Leary continue, "By contrast, most humans have never believed in atheism or materialism. Indeed, religion may well have been around as long as humans." All well and good. But on pages 40-41 we find the following passage, which remarks upon a 2005 display at the London Zoo that presented human beings in animal pens. One participant commented, "A lot of people think humans are above other animals. When they see humans as animals, here, it kind of reminds us that we're not that special..." Beauregard and O'Leary remark, "Yes, we are physically members of the animal kingdom and participate in all its risks and opportunities. But the participant's comment...shows how entrenched philosophical materialism has become in our society. Faced with obvious differences between humans and the typical zoo denizens, many assume that they have actually seen similarities."

Which is it? When Beauregard and O'Leary wish to deny that "materialism" has never had attraction for many people, they say that. When they wish to portray "materialism" and atheism as threatening movements within our culture, materialism is "entrenched in our society" and governs our everyday experience. I don't see that either author has detected this ridiculous contradiction. Perhaps neither has read the other's contributions to the book.

A more problematic contradiction has bearing upon the centerpiece neuroimaging studies that are presented within this book: that of Carmelite nuns. The object of those studies is "mystical experiences." On page 191 we are told, "Mystical experiences are rare even for mystics. One reason is that the desire for such an experience poses a barrier. As Sister Diane of the Carmelite convent in Montreal explains: 'You can't search for it. The harder your search, the longer you will wait.' Most mystics spend considerable time in prayer and contemplation; these practices reduce mental noise and pave the way for mystical consciousness, although they do not directly produced that consciousness." On page 190 we learn that mystical union is often difficult to attain, an experience that came to be designated the "dark night of the soul" by 16th century Carmelite John of the Cross. On page 200 we learn that Mother Teresa had four mystical experiences in 1946 and 1947 - and never again had such an experience, "which caused her personal sadness."

Against this background, which established that "mystical experiences are rare, even for mystics," we are to believe that Beauregard placed 15 Carmelite nuns into his fMRI and all attained mystical experiences that became grist for his scanner. "The fifteen nuns were scanned while they recalled and relived their most significant mystical experience (mystical condition) as well as their most intense state of union with another human (control condition) ever felt as members of the Carmelite order" (p. 268). Beauregard expressed confidence that the nuns had indeed attained mystical union by means of this procedure. "During the qualitative interviews at the end of the experiment, the nuns said that they had felt the presence of God and his unconditional and infinite love as well as plenitude and peace." During a subsequent study entailing EEG rather than fMRI, "several nuns mentioned that during the mystical condition they felt the presence of God, his unconditional and infinite love, and plenitude and peace. The also felt a surrendering to God." He concluded, with confidence that seems unwarranted given the above observations regarding the scarcity of true mystical union, "In other words we had succeeded in measuring brain activity of the nuns while they went on to an actual mystical state."

If Mother Teresa were still here, she'd be pissed.

Own Goals

Most damaging to the aims of this book are the "own goals" that Beauregard and O'Leary inadvertently score. Indeed, they repeatedly score "own goals" with respect to the central, dualistic thesis of the book: that mind and brain differ, and that mind controls and modifies brain. Beauregard and O'Leary cite the example of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). "My friend an colleague Jeffrey Schwartz, a nonmaterialist UCLA neuropsychiatrist, started working with OCD sufferers in the 1980s because he sensed that OCD was a clear case of an intact mind troubled by a malfunctioning brain." Schwartz determined by means of scans the cortical and subcortical brain circuitry that appears to underlie OCD, and devised a "mindfulness" treatment protocol that draws upon cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy to treat the disorder. When treatment succeeded, "he was not simply getting patients to change their opinions, but rather to actually change their brains. He wanted them to substitute a useful neural circuit for a useless one....in this therapy, the patient is entirely in control. Both the existence and the role of the mind as independent of the brain are accepted; indeed, that is the basis of the therapy's success" (p. 130). Further neuroimaging disclosed areas of patients' brains that displayed modified activity following treatment.

The problem with all this is that the imaging in fact disclosed something quite other than minds operating independently of brains. By means of imaging, "Schwartz noted that the most recent (and thus most sophisticated) prefrontal parts of the human brain, in evolutionary terms, are almost entirely unaffected by OCD. That is why patients perceive compulsions as alien. They are alien to the most characteristically human parts of the brain. To the extend that the patient's reasoning power and sense of identity remain largely intact, they can actively cooperate with their therapy" (p. 128).

There you have it. Reasoning power and sense of identity are hosted by recently evolved prefrontal areas of the human brain, those areas that render us most characteristically human. We know that the human brain is organized hierarchically, with loops of regulation culminating in highly abstract frontal modeling and monitoring of self relative to one's physical and social environment and related goals, and we know that prefrontal areas of the brain are crucial to these high level representational and planning activities. Schwartz's imaging again confirms this view. The upshot of this research is not that a mind independent of brain monitors and modifies that brain; rather, this imaging confirms once again that the brain regulates and modifies itself by means of these neurally instantiated high level representations of self. Own goal. Similar own goals are evident in Beauregard's description of his scans of subjects asked to "down regulate" emotions, sexual arousal, etc., all of which demonstrate the marshaling of highly specific frontal areas to accomplish the tasks that Beauregard insists upon interpreting as mind acting upon brain. And, because we note that the cortical areas that host these crucially human functions are recently evolved, some version of evolutionary psychology must in fact be correct, Beauregard and O'Leary's repeated dismissals of this new discipline notwithstanding.  

Indeed, the same may be said about the scans of Carmelite nuns who claimed mystical union while within Beauregard's fMRI scanner. Beauregard is eager to refute the hypothesis that RSMEs are explained by seizure-like activity in the temporal lobes of the mystics. Rather, "The results of the two studies, taken together...dispose of the notion that there is a God spot in the temporal lobes of the brain that can somehow 'explain' RSMEs. The results of our fMRI and QEEG studies suggest that RSMEs are neurologically instantiated by different brain regions involve in a variety of functions, such as self-consciousness, emotion, body representation, visual and motor imagery, and spiritual perception. This conclusion correlates well with subjects' descriptions of RSMEs as complex and multidimensional (p. 274).

It is not entirely clear to me why a highly unique pattern of activation of many brain components is more appealing to Beauregard than a single "God spot." But never mind. Were I to assert that mystical states of consciousness were grounded in brain states, because I believe that all forms of phenomenal, experiential, and representational consciousness are somehow ultimately instantiated in brain tissue, Beauregard's images are exactly the result I would expect. Indeed, ALL of the results of ALL of these studies demonstrate nothing less than the thoroughly neurobiological bases of these experiences. It doesn't follow from that conclusion that there are no "selves," no "you" enabled by these exquisitely organized tissues. But what does follow is that that "we are spirits made of bodies," and that our bodies and brains display sophistication and subtlety sufficient to host even our most complex and ineffable experiences.

But it gets a bit worse for Beauregard and his scanning nuns. Above I quote him denying the existence of a temporally based "God spot," and instead pointing to findings that demonstrate the number and complexity of the brain structures and interactions that accompany these (so-called) mystical experiences. Yet on the page 273, in a "The View from Neuroscience" sidebar, the areas seen to be active during mystical union are listed and their putative functions described. While other brain areas are thought to account for phenomenal experiences such as changes in the emotional state of the subjects, visual imagery, and the spatial perception of self, "We hypothesized that the right MTC [right middle temporal cortex] was related to the subjective impression of contacting a spiritual reality." Should this be filed under "contradictions," or "own goals?" Never mind.

Promissory Mentalism

Throughout The Spiritual Brain we hear complaints about what Karl Popper called "promissory materialism," reflecting the (still correct) assertion that many materialistic IOUs regarding the nature of things, including human consciousness, have yet to be cashed. But the mentalism advocated by Beauregard and O'Leary is worse: if materialism has yet to make good on promissory notes, the mentalism advocated by Beauregard is pure counterfeit currency, printed in his basement. The most egregious example of such a counterfeit explanation is his "Psychoneural Translation Hypothesis." This is presented on pages 150-151:

"I posit that the mind (the psychological world, the first-person perspective) and the brain (which is part of the so-called "material" world, the third-person perspective) represent two epistemologically different domains that can interact because they are complementary aspects of the same transcendental reality.

"The PTH recognizes that mental processes (e.g., volitions, goals, emotions, desires, beliefs) are neurally instantiated in the brain, but it argues that these mental processes cannot be reduced to and are not identical with neuroelectric and neurochemical processes. Indeed, mental processes - which cannot be localized in the brain - cannot be eliminated....according to the PTH, conscious and unconscious mental processes are automatically translated into neural processes at the various levels of brain organization (biophysical, molecular, chemical, neural networks). In turn, the resulting neural processes are further translated into processes and events in other physiological systems, such as the immune or endocrine system."

That's it. No posited mechanism, location, or other pathetic levels of detail are offered regarding this heretofore undiscovered, yet pervasive and metaphysically powerful mechanism. Indeed, one wonders if it is implemented in the mind, or in the brain. Nor does this astonishing, multilevel translation mechanism receive another mention in the book. The PTH remains completely empty. I looked around a bit; Beauregard's presentation of his PTH in the journal Progress in Neurobiology (Mind does really matter: Evidence from neuroimaging studies of emotional self-regulation, psychotherapy, and placebo effect, 2007, issue 81) is equally empty.

A Single Wise Moment

The wisest passage found in The Spiritual Brain is found within a sidebar presented on page 112:

"We must keep in mind that the whole human person, not merely a part of a brain, thinks, feels, or believes. Indeed, the human person cannot be redued to brain processes and events, and it is difficult to understand a whole human person without understanding the sociocultural context in which the person lives."

Indeed. Many of the phenomena that Beauregard and O'Leary assert demand the resuscitation of an unworkable dualism - a view of "minds" as wholly independent of brains -  don't really call for such a drastic solution. Rather, they need to be seen as embedded in and dependent upon the biological and sociocultural contexts within which they arise. Had Beauregard and O'Leary heeded their own words in this respect, they might have written a better book.

(Thanks to Albatrossity2, who passed his copy of The Spiritual Brain on to me.)

[minor edits]

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Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
Amadan



Posts: 1332
Joined: Jan. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 03 2008,02:34   

To summarise:

1. Observations of the brain doing what the brain does show that the brain is not doing the doing.

2. The immaterial doer doing the doing is by definition unobservable and distinct from the brain. Observations confirm this and suggest relevant sites in the brain.

3. Now that you've bought my book, buy my book.

A good review, Bill. Thanks.

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"People are always looking for natural selection to generate random mutations" - Densye  4-4-2011
JoeG BTW dumbass- some variations help ensure reproductive fitness so they cannot be random wrt it.

   
Albatrossity2



Posts: 2780
Joined: Mar. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 03 2008,06:20   

Excellent and insightful review, Bill. I presume that you will be posting this on one of Denyse's blogs  ;)

Srsly, I think you should port it over to Amazon, where I predict it would rapidly rise to the top-ranked 1-star review.

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Flesh of the sky, child of the sky, the mind
Has been obligated from the beginning
To create an ordered universe
As the only possible proof of its own inheritance.
                        - Pattiann Rogers

   
J-Dog



Posts: 4402
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 03 2008,07:53   

Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Mar. 03 2008,06:20)
Excellent and insightful review, Bill. I presume that you will be posting this on one of Denyse's blogs  ;)

Srsly, I think you should port it over to Amazon, where I predict it would rapidly rise to the top-ranked 1-star review.

How do I report, and to whom do I report that I experienced a transcendental moment while reading Bill's review of The Spatula Brain?

As I was projectile vomiting in response to actual quoted passages, I was blessed with a vision of a dog walking backwards, wearing spectacles.  Dressed as a circus clown, she muttered curses in French.  I felt extremely close to El Diablo at this moment, and we shared a wry smile at the absurdity of the content.

Shakespeare appeared then, stabbed himself in the eye with a long knife, and as he expired exclaimed "Zounds, there it is, my mood is much improve-ed.

After  a white flash of light, Milton cried tears of blood, and sorrowed that he was in the ninth circle of hell, when again I was Tron-like within the depths of a calculator, and the true design of life was laid out like a feast before me.  

It was a Paint-By-Numbers fill in the blanks Soduko, and here is the answer, evident to all that could use their brain:  "The Best Design, Is No design.  Do It For The Money"

Then a bartender called out "Last Call For Alcohol", and the vision faded.

I wiped my mouth off with the back of my hand, drank some Scope, and fell back into a restful sleep.

Thank you Bill for diving into the depths, so that we don't have to.  A brush with hell is enough for me!

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Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
BopDiddy



Posts: 71
Joined: Nov. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 03 2008,10:05   

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Mar. 02 2008,22:10)
A review of The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist's Case for the Existence of the Soul
Reciprocating Bill

...

If Mother Teresa were still here, she'd be pissed.
...

Free associating, given the reference to Momma T and the wonderful review of the twaddle of Beauregard and O'Leary (both Canadians), I thought I'd share an interesting piece of Canadian trivia:

French Canadians call cinnamon buns "nun's farts" ("pettes de soeurs").

Srsly.

Back to our regularly scheduled admiration of Reciprocating Bill, his missing hat, and his strong stomach.

  
bystander



Posts: 301
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 03 2008,15:05   

I assume (because you didn't mention it) that the writing is the usual appalling O'Leary style. I wonder who proof read it for her?

Secondly, I am convinced that O'leary has never read any material first hand. I heard her on an interview once. After spending many minutes criticizing Dawkins, she revealed that she had never read any of his work. This was because she didn't find him interesting. I wouldn't be surprised that she had only read reviews of Dennett's work and that is why it's arguments aren't discussed.

  
keiths



Posts: 2041
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 03 2008,16:23   

Well done, RB.

What astonishes me about Maryse O'Learegard is that they see Schwartz's OCD studies, the placebo effect, etc., as irrefutable demonstrations of a non-physical mind.  They take it as settled fact.  Nowhere in their book, their articles, or their radio interviews have I heard them even acknowledge the existence of the obvious counterarguments, much less address them.

O'Leary is terminally blinkered, and probably avoids reading things that threaten her sacred cows.  But can Beauregard possibly be unaware of the simple and obvious challenges to his view?  Can he possibly believe that his bloviations will carry weight in the scientific community if he doesn't even attempt to refute informed criticism of them?

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And the set of natural numbers is also the set that starts at 0 and goes to the largest number.  -- Joe G

Please stop putting words into my mouth that don't belong there and thoughts into my mind that don't belong there. -- KF

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 04 2008,08:47   

I posted a slightly modified version of my review at Amazon.com. I took out "pissed" and "piss-poor" to avoid running afoul of Amazon's policies.

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Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
Richardthughes



Posts: 10756
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 04 2008,09:55   

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Mar. 04 2008,08:47)
I posted a slightly modified version of my review at Amazon.com. I took out "pissed" and "piss-poor" to avoid running afoul of Amazon's policies.

Linky, please Bill.

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"Richardthughes, you magnificent bastard, I stand in awe of you..." : Arden Chatfield
"You magnificent bastard! " : Louis
"ATBC poster child", "I have to agree with Rich.." : DaveTard
"I bow to your superior skills" : deadman_932
"...it was Richardthughes making me lie in bed.." : Kristine

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 04 2008,10:22   

Quote (Richardthughes @ Mar. 04 2008,10:55)
 
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Mar. 04 2008,08:47)
I posted a slightly modified version of my review at Amazon.com. I took out "pissed" and "piss-poor" to avoid running afoul of Amazon's policies.

Linky, please Bill.

Read it at Amazon.com.

--------------
Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
J-Dog



Posts: 4402
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 04 2008,12:13   

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Mar. 04 2008,10:22)
Quote (Richardthughes @ Mar. 04 2008,10:55)
 
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Mar. 04 2008,08:47)
I posted a slightly modified version of my review at Amazon.com. I took out "pissed" and "piss-poor" to avoid running afoul of Amazon's policies.

Linky, please Bill.

Read it at Amazon.com.

Bill - Your review is still beautiful.  Much more beautifuler than O'Leary's prose.  

ps: Dave - I liked your "Too Bad We Can't Rate It A Zero" rating!  I think you should get to rate The Spatula Brain a Double Zero for accuracy.

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Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
Lou FCD



Posts: 5402
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 04 2008,12:47   

Excellent review, RB.  Very detailed and explicit, a thorough job well done.

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Lou FCD is still in school, so we should only count him as a baby biologist. -carlsonjok -deprecated
I think I might love you. Don't tell Deadman -Wolfhound

Work-friendly photography
NSFW photography

   
JohnW



Posts: 2767
Joined: Aug. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 04 2008,13:34   

I'm highly impressed that you had the forbearance to put yourself through that, RB.

If the mind and brain really were separate, your brain would have been granted a cease-and-desist order against your mind by now.

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Math is just a language of reality. Its a waste of time to know it. - Robert Byers

There isn't any probability that the letter d is in the word "mathematics"...  The correct answer would be "not even 0" - JoeG

  
Amadan



Posts: 1332
Joined: Jan. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 04 2008,16:01   

Is this what Americans refer to as 'taking one for the team'?

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"People are always looking for natural selection to generate random mutations" - Densye  4-4-2011
JoeG BTW dumbass- some variations help ensure reproductive fitness so they cannot be random wrt it.

   
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 04 2008,16:04   

Quote (Amadan @ Mar. 04 2008,17:01)
Is this what Americans refer to as 'taking one for the team'?

It's actually "taking one for the meat."

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Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
C.J.O'Brien



Posts: 395
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 04 2008,16:15   

Terry Bisson is a twisted genius.

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The is the beauty of being me- anything that any man does I can understand.
--Joe G

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 04 2008,20:49   

The mind-brain thing is not all that mysterious.

See, atop the brainstalk and under the noodlepacks are two rumballs.  Everything harvested by the eyestalks and earwigs and bodybag echoes through the rumballs, which hum and sing and strobe and scan the noodlepacks through massive bundles of sparky angelhair. Yet ten times more information descends from the noodlepacks into the rumballs than the reverse (hence the phrase “the remembered present”) as the noodlepack-rumball echochamber is gaited by the reticularactionbaiting system, which is stretched over the brainstalk and rumballs like a cheap stocking.

I know, you’re thinking that the frontal noodlepacks and the mesobrainstalk danglingbasil also grow echoing motorplants through more massive bundles of sparky angelhair. And you’d be right.  All goosed and framed and valence-tagged by intrinsic mammaryanimal noodlepaths for SEEKING, RAGE, FEAR, PLAY, ATTACHMENT, and PANIC.

Beauregard missed that.

(Deja Vu all over again.)

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Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
J-Dog



Posts: 4402
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 04 2008,21:11   

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Mar. 04 2008,20:49)
The mind-brain thing is not all that mysterious.

See, atop the brainstalk and under the noodlepacks are two rumballs.  Everything harvested by the eyestalks and earwigs and bodybag echoes through the rumballs, which hum and sing and strobe and scan the noodlepacks through massive bundles of sparky angelhair. Yet ten times more information descends from the noodlepacks into the rumballs than the reverse (hence the phrase “the remembered present”) as the noodlepack-rumball echochamber is gaited by the reticularactionbaiting system, which is stretched over the brainstalk and rumballs like a cheap stocking.

I know, you’re thinking that the frontal noodlepacks and the mesobrainstalk danglingbasil also grow echoing motorplants through more massive bundles of sparky angelhair. And you’d be right.  All goosed and framed and valence-tagged by intrinsic mammaryanimal noodlepaths for SEEKING, RAGE, FEAR, PLAY, ATTACHMENT, and PANIC.

Beauregard missed that.

(Deja Vu all over again.)

Does Denyse know you go around quoting her without proper attribution?

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Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4265
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 05 2008,06:20   

Quote (J-Dog @ Mar. 04 2008,22:11)
Does Denyse know you go around quoting her without proper attribution?

I asked her because I knew it was copyrighted material. But when she didn't respond after a couple months I went ahead and used it anyway. I did nothing wrong, but I am very sorry for the consternation you may have caused by suggesting that I did.

brainstalk = hindbrain and midbrain
noodlepack = cerebral cortex
rumball = thalamus
eyestalks, earwigs, bodybag = sensory input
sparky angelhair = massive axonal projection twixt thalamus and cortex
reticularactionbaiting system = reticular activating system
mesobrainstalk = midbrain
danglingbasil = basil ganglia
motorplants = motor plans
mammaryanimal noodlepaths = mammalian brain structures (limbic system)
goosed and framed and valence-tagged = limbic/affective motivation/evaluation of cognition
SEEKING, RAGE, FEAR, PLAY, ATTACHMENT, PANIC = Jaak Panksepp's wired-in emotional neurodynamics

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Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

"Here’s a clue. Snarky banalities are not a substitute for saying something intelligent. Write that down."
- Barry Arrington

  
J-Dog



Posts: 4402
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 05 2008,07:24   

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Mar. 05 2008,06:20)
Quote (J-Dog @ Mar. 04 2008,22:11)
Does Denyse know you go around quoting her without proper attribution?

I asked her because I knew it was copyrighted material. But when she didn't respond after a couple months I went ahead and used it anyway. I did nothing wrong, but I am very sorry for the consternation you may have caused by suggesting that I did.

brainstalk = hindbrain and midbrain
noodlepack = cerebral cortex
rumball = thalamus
eyestalks, earwigs, bodybag = sensory input
sparky angelhair = massive axonal projection twixt thalamus and cortex
reticularactionbaiting system = reticular activating system
mesobrainstalk = midbrain
danglingbasil = basil ganglia
motorplants = motor plans
mammaryanimal noodlepaths = mammalian brain structures (limbic system)
goosed and framed and valence-tagged = limbic/affective motivation/evaluation of cognition
SEEKING, RAGE, FEAR, PLAY, ATTACHMENT, PANIC = Jaak Panksepp's wired-in emotional neurodynamics

Now your post is even funnier!

My "proper attribution" post was just a snarky comment about Denys'es well-known lack of writing skilz.  

Your code substitution on the other hand, is waaay up there on the genius scale, and deserves a special run through the Nixplanatory Bible-Code Filter for Deistic Inspiration.

Even More Well-Done Sir.

--------------
Come on Tough Guy, do the little dance of ID impotence you do so well. - Louis to Joe G 2/10

Gullibility is not a virtue - Quidam on Dembski's belief in the Bible Code Faith Healers & ID 7/08

UD is an Unnatural Douchemagnet. - richardthughes 7/11

  
C.J.O'Brien



Posts: 395
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 05 2008,13:15   

RB is also a twisted genius. Thanks for bein' you, man.

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The is the beauty of being me- anything that any man does I can understand.
--Joe G

  
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