RSS 2.0 Feed

» Welcome Guest Log In :: Register

    
  Topic: Creationists declare war over the brain, Anti=evolution< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
Peter Henderson



Posts: 298
Joined: Aug. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 28 2008,17:44   

This may be of interest. From New Scientist:

http://www.newscientist.com/channel....in.html

Quote
Creationists declare war over the brain
22 October 2008

Amanda Gefter

"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.

In August, the Discovery Institute ran its 2008 Insider's Briefing on Intelligent Design, at which Schwartz and Michael Egnor, a neurosurgeon at Stony Brook University in New York, were invited to speak. When two of the five main speakers at an ID meeting are neuroscientists, something is up. Could the next battleground in the ID movement's war on science be the brain?

Well, the movement certainly seems to hope that the study of consciousness will turn out to be "Darwinism's grave", as Denyse O'Leary, co-author with Beauregard of The Spiritual Brain, put it. According to proponents of ID, the "hard problem" of consciousness - how our subjective experiences arise from the objective world of neurons - is the Achilles heel not just of Darwinism but of scientific materialism. This fits with the Discovery Institute's mission as outlined in its "wedge document", which seeks "nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies", to replace the scientific world view with a Christian one.

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.

But William Dembski, one of ID's founding fathers and a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, praised Schwartz's work as providing "theoretical support for the irreducibility of mind to brain". Dembski's website shows that he is currently co-editing The End of Materialism with Schwartz and Beauregard.

Meanwhile, Schwartz has been working with Henry Stapp, a physicist at the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, who also spoke at the symposium. They have been developing non-standard interpretations of quantum mechanics to explain how the "non-material mind" affects the physical brain.

Clearly, while there is a genuine attempt to appropriate neuroscience, it will not influence US laws or education in the way that anti-evolution campaigns can because neuroscience is not taught as part of the core curriculum in state-funded schools. But as Andy Clark, professor of logic and metaphysics at the University of Edinburgh, UK, emphasises: "This is real and dangerous and coming our way."

He and others worry because scientists have yet to crack the great mystery of how consciousness could emerge from firing neurons. "Progress in science is slow on many fronts," says John Searle, a philosopher at the University of California, Berkeley. "We don't yet have a cure for cancer, but that doesn't mean cancer has spiritual causes."

And for Patricia Churchland, a philosopher of neuroscience at the University of California, San Diego, "it is an argument from ignorance. The fact something isn't currently explained doesn't mean it will never be explained or that we need to completely change not only our neuroscience but our physics."

The attack on materialism proposes to do just that, but it all turns on definitions. "At one time it looked like all physical causation was push/pull Newtonianism," says Owen Flanagan, professor of philosophy and neurobiology at Duke University, North Carolina. "Now we have a new understanding of physics. What counts as material has changed. Some respectable philosophers think that we might have to posit sentience as a fundamental force of nature or use quantum gravity to understand consciousness. These stretch beyond the bounds of what we today call 'material', and we haven't discovered everything about nature yet. But what we do discover will be natural, not supernatural."

And as Clark observes: "This is an especially nasty mind-virus because it piggybacks on some otherwise reasonable thoughts and worries. Proponents make such potentially reasonable points as 'Oh look, we can change our brains just by changing our minds,' but then leap to the claim that mind must be distinct and not materially based. That doesn't follow at all. There's nothing odd about minds changing brains if mental states are brain states: that's just brains changing brains."

“This nasty mind-virus piggybacks on reasonable worries”That is the voice of mainstream academia. Public perception, however, is a different story. If people can be swayed by ID, despite the vast amount of solid evidence for evolution, how hard will it be when the science appears fuzzier?

What can scientists do? They have been criticised for not doing enough to teach the public about evolution. Maybe now they need a big pre-emptive push to engage people with the science of the brain - and help the public appreciate that the brain is no place to invoke the "God of the gaps".

Evolution - Learn more about the struggle to survive in our comprehensive special report.

The Human Brain - With one hundred billion nerve cells, the complexity is mind-boggling. Learn more in our cutting edge special report.

Amanda Gefter is an editor with the Opinion section of New Scientist

From issue 2679 of New Scientist magazine, 22 October 2008, page 46-47

  
stevestory



Posts: 10127
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 28 2008,18:04   

Quote
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.


Dumb dumb dumb.

Quote
In fact, these experiments are entirely consistent with mainstream neurology - the material brain is changing the material brain.


Yep.

I have to say, though, I think we have much less dog in this particular fight. Minds, Brains, dualism, these are all perfectly ordinary things in Philosophy 101. They are parts of a good education. Promoting creationism in high schools is not part of a good education. While the same people--Denyse O'Leary, Mario B--may have the same goal in mind, of damaging materialism, the practical effects of promoting dualism are not antithetical to transmitting the basic science of evolution to high schoolers.

   
Erasmus, FCD



Posts: 6349
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 28 2008,18:09   

<mutters>god dammit there is a soul in here somewhere...

bowling ball, nope.  golf clubs, nope.  lego collection, nope.  neuron hardware, nope.  i'll keep looking.




--------------
You're obviously illiterate as hell. Peach, bro.-FtK

Finding something hard to believe based on the evidence, is science.-JoeG

the odds of getting some loathsome taint are low-- Gordon E Mullings Manjack Heights Montserrat

I work on molecular systems with pathway charts and such.-Giggles

  
khan



Posts: 1525
Joined: May 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 28 2008,18:15   

Quote (Erasmus, FCD @ Oct. 28 2008,19:09)
<mutters>god dammit there is a soul in here somewhere...

bowling ball, nope.  golf clubs, nope.  lego collection, nope.  neuron hardware, nope.  i'll keep looking.



"There's got to be a pony here."

--------------
"It's as if all those words, in their hurry to escape from the loony, have fallen over each other, forming scrambled heaps of meaninglessness." -damitall

That's so fucking stupid it merits a wing in the museum of stupid. -midwifetoad

Frequency is just the plural of wavelength...
-JoeG

  
JohnW



Posts: 2767
Joined: Aug. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 29 2008,12:07   

Evolution?  Bugger!
Cosmology?  Feh!
Neurology?  Worth a try - maybe that's got some gaps we can stick a god into...

--------------
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

  
k.e..



Posts: 3746
Joined: May 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 29 2008,12:30   

Quote (JohnW @ Oct. 29 2008,20:07)
Evolution?  Bugger!
Cosmology?  Feh!
Neurology?  Worth a try - maybe that's got some gaps we can stick a god into...

So did she....




--------------
"I get a strong breeze from my monitor every time k.e. puts on his clown DaveTard suit" dogdidit
"ID is deader than Lenny Flanks granmaws dildo batteries" Erasmus
"I'm busy studying scientist level science papers" Galloping Gary Gaulin

  
rhmc



Posts: 340
Joined: Dec. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 30 2008,19:37   

Quote (khan @ Oct. 28 2008,19:15)
"There's got to be a pony here."

da.  :)

  
Spottedwind



Posts: 83
Joined: Aug. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 31 2008,09:29   

Quote
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."


What does '...God "is" consciousness...' mean and why can he just state that?

The other thing that gets me about this is how hard they are looking for something in the material realm when

Quote
"the theist has no need to explain how consciousness can come from materials bereft of it. Consciousness is there from the beginning."


If consciousness can't come from material things...WHY LOOK FOR IT THERE?

Ahem, pardon.

I know what I'm saying has been said before, but...the intellectual bankrupt way in which they have set up their search...they can't be wrong.

Find an unknown portion of the brain:
Evidence soul exists as this is the source of the soul that we have been looking for.  How do we know it's the source?  Well, no one knows what this section of the brain does and, interestly, we have conciousness.  As we all know, souls are conciousness, ergo, this section is the soul.  Q.E.D.

Find use for previously unknown portion:
The soul exists despite a lack of physical evidence because said soul is non-material and thus a material source won't be found.  Scientists are wasting their time looking for evidence that God hasn't provided.  You can't weigh the soul, you can't measure it.  Constantly searching for evidence of the soul is just a way to try to deny non-materalistic claims and keep Darwinian explinations in power.  But deep down inside, you know you have one.

It just makes my head spin.

  
Erasmus, FCD



Posts: 6349
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Oct. 31 2008,09:39   

i dig it spottedwind.  it throws sand in the gears of their argument for human exceptionalism.

squirrels, jellyfish and rotifers thus have some portion of consciousness.  unless they are going to redefine 'consciousness' to exclude non-humans.  surely they wouldn't do that....

--------------
You're obviously illiterate as hell. Peach, bro.-FtK

Finding something hard to believe based on the evidence, is science.-JoeG

the odds of getting some loathsome taint are low-- Gordon E Mullings Manjack Heights Montserrat

I work on molecular systems with pathway charts and such.-Giggles

  
Assassinator



Posts: 479
Joined: Nov. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 03 2008,03:27   

Quote (Spottedwind @ Oct. 31 2008,09:29)
What does '...God "is" consciousness...' mean and why can he just state that?

I think it has something to do with the "soul". According to certain theďsts, consciousness is the soul, and the soul is the "breath of God" recieved at conception (wich is why they're so anti-abortion). Hence, conciousness/the soul is a part of God or something like that. Makes my head spin as well, how do they come up with that? Has nothing to do with science ofcourse, this "new development" is just creation science as usual.

  
bystander



Posts: 301
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 03 2008,14:21   

The interesting thing is that I think that scriptures actually support a more materialistic view of the mind. Remember that Jesus (and a few of the old testament dudes) get taken up "bodily" to heaven. The whole end of the world stuff revolves around the dead rising and getting new bodies.
From what I have learned, the idea was that the soul doesn't have a mind or any real existence without a body.

  
Henry J



Posts: 4565
Joined: Mar. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 03 2008,14:29   

Quote
and the soul is the "breath of God" recieved at conception

Whenever somebody makes that claim I have this temptation to ask what they think about a pair of identical twins, since the claim implies that a pair of twins would share one soul.

Henry

  
khan



Posts: 1525
Joined: May 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 03 2008,14:37   

Quote (Henry J @ Nov. 03 2008,15:29)
Quote
and the soul is the "breath of God" recieved at conception

Whenever somebody makes that claim I have this temptation to ask what they think about a pair of identical twins, since the claim implies that a pair of twins would share one soul.

Henry

And not to mention chimeras.

--------------
"It's as if all those words, in their hurry to escape from the loony, have fallen over each other, forming scrambled heaps of meaninglessness." -damitall

That's so fucking stupid it merits a wing in the museum of stupid. -midwifetoad

Frequency is just the plural of wavelength...
-JoeG

  
RupertG



Posts: 80
Joined: Nov. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 03 2008,16:45   

It's all very high woo. The best thing about it is that you really don't get very far in the philosophy of mind stakes without some pretty swish thinking; it's all so ethereal that there are any number of daft ideas swirling around, so the IDers will have tough competition in there. It's not like evolutionary biology, where there's not much competition in the "anywhere but the mountain of facts" niche.

And besides, there's nowhere to go with non-materialist ideas of materialist phenomena. Well, apart from religion and fiction.

--------------
Uncle Joe and Aunty Mabel
Fainted at the breakfast table
Children, let this be a warning
Never do it in the morning -- Ralph Vaughan Williams

  
Venus Mousetrap



Posts: 201
Joined: Aug. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 03 2008,17:27   

I know this is a little gruesome, but I wondered, if a person was bisected down the middle in an instant, which side has the soul?

  
jeffox



Posts: 667
Joined: Oct. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 03 2008,18:41   

Comin' to ya
on a dusty road
good lovin'
I got a truck-load
so when ya get it
ya got somethin'
so don' worry
'cuz I'm comin'



Now, THAT'S soul.  Man.   :)    :)    :)    :)     :)

  
bystander



Posts: 301
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 03 2008,19:33   

Quote (RupertG @ Nov. 04 2008,04:45)
It's all very high woo. The best thing about it is that you really don't get very far in the philosophy of mind stakes without some pretty swish thinking; it's all so ethereal that there are any number of daft ideas swirling around, so the IDers will have tough competition in there. It's not like evolutionary biology, where there's not much competition in the "anywhere but the mountain of facts" niche.

And besides, there's nowhere to go with non-materialist ideas of materialist phenomena. Well, apart from religion and fiction.

I that is the problem that it is still discussed at the level of philosophy. I heard a radio program where the scientists studying this stuff want the philosophers to STFU as the physical science is bolting ahead of the philosophy.

  
keiths



Posts: 2041
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 03 2008,19:41   

Quote (Venus Mousetrap @ Nov. 03 2008,15:27)
I know this is a little gruesome, but I wondered, if a person was bisected down the middle in an instant, which side has the soul?


And when a split-brain patient attacks his wife with his left arm (controlled by the right hemisphere of his brain) and defends her with his right arm (controlled by the left hemisphere), is his soul guilty of battery?

--------------
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: Nov. 03 2008,19:49   

Quote (keiths @ Nov. 03 2008,20:41)
Quote (Venus Mousetrap @ Nov. 03 2008,15:27)
I know this is a little gruesome, but I wondered, if a person was bisected down the middle in an instant, which side has the soul?


And when a split-brain patient attacks his wife with his left arm (controlled by the right hemisphere of his brain) and defends her with his right arm (controlled by the left hemisphere), is his soul guilty of battery?

Hmm. The man who mistook his wife for a hack.

--------------
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

  
Henry J



Posts: 4565
Joined: Mar. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 03 2008,20:02   

khan,
Quote
And not to mention chimeras.

Well if they're not to be mentioned, then don't mention them! I didn't even know there was such a thing until I googled it to find out what the term meant.

Henry

  
Erasmus, FCD



Posts: 6349
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 20 2008,08:08   

that's the best thing i have seen from creationists in a long time.  I trust those folks are married!

--------------
You're obviously illiterate as hell. Peach, bro.-FtK

Finding something hard to believe based on the evidence, is science.-JoeG

the odds of getting some loathsome taint are low-- Gordon E Mullings Manjack Heights Montserrat

I work on molecular systems with pathway charts and such.-Giggles

  
J-Dog



Posts: 4402
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 20 2008,09:11   

Do we have a Troll Of The Month Award???

--------------
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

  
Henry J



Posts: 4565
Joined: Mar. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 20 2008,10:24   

Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Nov. 03 2008,18:49)
Quote (keiths @ Nov. 03 2008,20:41)
Quote (Venus Mousetrap @ Nov. 03 2008,15:27)
I know this is a little gruesome, but I wondered, if a person was bisected down the middle in an instant, which side has the soul?


I thought the soul was presumed to leave the body at death? Ergo, in that case neither side would have the soul.

Then again, if souls are non-material, then that person's soul presumably wouldn't have a specific spatial location anyway, so the question might not be meaningful even if individuals do have souls.

Henry

  
Erasmus, FCD



Posts: 6349
Joined: June 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 20 2008,12:48   

this feller had soul, no doubt about it.




--------------
You're obviously illiterate as hell. Peach, bro.-FtK

Finding something hard to believe based on the evidence, is science.-JoeG

the odds of getting some loathsome taint are low-- Gordon E Mullings Manjack Heights Montserrat

I work on molecular systems with pathway charts and such.-Giggles

  
JohnW



Posts: 2767
Joined: Aug. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 20 2008,13:28   

I'd just like to say what a great thread title this is.  It suggests that creationists only have the one brain, and they're fighting over it.

--------------
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

  
Henry J



Posts: 4565
Joined: Mar. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 20 2008,13:41   

"Brain, brain, what is brain?" - Imorg leader

  
Venus Mousetrap



Posts: 201
Joined: Aug. 2007

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 20 2008,14:15   

Quote (Henry J @ Nov. 20 2008,10:24)
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Nov. 03 2008,18:49)
Quote (keiths @ Nov. 03 2008,20:41)
 
Quote (Venus Mousetrap @ Nov. 03 2008,15:27)
I know this is a little gruesome, but I wondered, if a person was bisected down the middle in an instant, which side has the soul?


I thought the soul was presumed to leave the body at death? Ergo, in that case neither side would have the soul.

Then again, if souls are non-material, then that person's soul presumably wouldn't have a specific spatial location anyway, so the question might not be meaningful even if individuals do have souls.

Henry

That's if a bisection is an instant death; I was considering the more gruesome possibility that both halves live for at least a few seconds. However, I've kind of worked out an answer myself; either the soul is in the middle, in which case it gets destroyed for an insta-death, or it's in the half which stays 'alive'. Thus it's an undecidable question.

If the soul was outside, both halves would surely still be attached to it, and you'd have a person split in half but still aware of the other side. That's impossible to test as well, but since it relies on magic I reckon it's less likely. :p

  
EyeNoU



Posts: 115
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 20 2008,14:58   

Quote (Venus Mousetrap @ Nov. 03 2008,17:27)
I know this is a little gruesome, but I wondered, if a person was bisected down the middle in an instant, which side has the soul?

In Germany, is this referred  to as "splitting Herrs"?

  
  27 replies since Oct. 28 2008,17:44 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

    


Track this topic Email this topic Print this topic

[ Read the Board Rules ] | [Useful Links] | [Evolving Designs]