segunda-feira, abril 30, 2012

"Brain Wars: The Scientific Battle Over the Existence of the Mind" by Mario Beauregard





(Original Review, 2012-04-30)




I have recently read books by Dr. Mario Beauregard and Dr. Rupert Sheldrake and I'm inclined to believe that the answer to “The Hard Problem” is not beyond us to comprehend and it would be a shame in terms of our evolution if we were to think it so.

I believe ALL areas of science should be open and up for debate. Now, scientific materialism seems at a loss to explain irrefutable accounts of mind over matter, intuition, willpower, the "placebo effect" in medicine, of near-death experiences on the operating table, and of psychic premonitions of a loved one in crisis, to say nothing of the occasional sense of oneness with nature and mystical experiences in meditation or prayer. Traditional science explains these away and other occurrences as delusions or misunderstandings, but I think many people are growing tired of being told they live as computers in a cold and rational world when they have experiences and evidence to suggest that it clearly isn't so.
No mention of the indeterminacy principle? Or is that too spooky?

It seems to me that, while it may be true that psychologists are a bit poor on this subject (or any other - vision, language, etc.) and just wait for other disciplines to sort the problem for them, physicists, computer scientists, artificial intelligence researchers, and cognitive scientists were definitely thinking about this stuff well before 1994.

My completely non-thought-out theory that I've just made up on the spot: consciousness is made up of dark matter. Doesn't make any sense, but probably as plausible as some other ideas.

I have to say consciousness isn't something we're really trying to tackle. We want to understand all the mechanisms underlying cognition. If we achieve this (and we're getting pretty close to working out things like memory), we will naturally understand more abstract concepts like emotions and personality. I imagine this divide between philosophy and science is similar to that in astrophysics. "What was there before the universe existed?" These questions are limited by the vocabulary of language. For example, do humans have souls? Since the soul is a philosophical term with no real strict definition, this question is of no relevance to neuroscience.

It is quite a three doobie problem, and I beg that you won't speak to me for fifty minutes.