Evolution Mind Neuroscience

Is human intelligence “close to its evolutionary limit”?

At Scientific American, Douglas Fox reports on “The Limits of Intelligence,” where  we learn that “The laws of physics may well prevent the human brain from evolving into an ever more powerful thinking machine” (June 14, 2011): Summary Human intelligence may be close to its evolutionary limit. Various lines of research suggest that most of Read More…

Culture Mind Neuroscience

Incognito even from ourselves? But …

“Are we all travelling “incognito“, my latest at MercatorNet June 21, 2011), looks at Baylor College of Medicine neuroscientist David Eagleman’s book Incognito, focusing on his proposed neuroscience fix for criminal law: “Those who break the social contracts need to be warehoused, but in this case the future is of more importance than the past.” Read More…

Intelligent Design Mind

Atheist philosopher Raymond Tallis trashes “Darwinitis,” strikes blow for reality of consciousness

In “Human consciousness is much more than mere brain activity,” Mark Vernon writes, “When we meditate or use our powers of perception, we call on more than just a brain” (The Guardian, June17, 2011): How does the animated meat inside our heads produce the rich life of the mind? Why is it that when we Read More…

Mind Neuroscience

Spotted!: “irreducible complexity” used (misused?) in popular literature

In Incognito, Baylor College of Medicine’s “rock star” neuroscientist David Eagleman argues for  neuroscience to determine prison sentences, using the term: Not everyone with a brain tumour undertakes a mass shooting, and not all males commit crimes. Why not? As we will see in the next chapter, it is because genes and environment interact in Read More…

Mind

Trying to boost intelligence when we don’t even know what it is

In a wide-ranging and thoughtful discussion, The European’s Martin Eierman asks Nick Bostrom, director of Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute about the potential for genetic engineering enhancements of the mind, and Bostrom replies,essentially, that “we’ll get used to it.” Bostrom: If you want to develop new drugs, you have to show that they are safe Read More…

Intelligent Design Mind Neuroscience

Capital punishment defendants unlikely to benefit from “neurolaw”

Recently, we noted Baylor College of Medicine neuroscientist David Eagleman’s new “neurolaw” book, Incognito. The basic idea, driven by evolutionary psychology, is that criminal law would improve if we dropped the illusion that people are responsible for their behaviour. Perhaps social justice minded supporters hope it will bring about prison reform, an end to capital punishment, Read More…

Mind

Does “recursivity” make us human?

Here, Liz Else (New Scientist, (3 June 2011) tells us, that “recursivity” or “thoughts within thoughts” make us human: Chimps, bonobos and orangutans just don’t tell stories, paint pictures, write music or make films – there are no great ape equivalents of Hamlet or Inception. Similarly, theory of mind is uniquely highly developed in humans: Read More…

Genetics Mind Philosophy

Looking for the ultimate knot that explains the sweater

Senior scientist at the Biologic Institute, Ann Gauger, reflects on “Life, Purpose, Mind: Where the Machine Metaphor Fails”, Evolution News & Views (June 1, 2011): Up until now, the materialist, reductionist method has been very successful, because cells can be ground up, probed, measured and tested in a way that life forces or agency can’t Read More…

Christian Darwinism Darwinism Intelligent Design Mind

Phillip Johnson’s “two-platoon” strategy demonstrated on free will

Johnson meant that real Darwinists say what Darwinism entails (materialist atheism) and then Christian Darwinists rush in to announce that we can somehow harmonize it with Christianity by not taking seriously what Darwinists actually say. Explained in detail here. The analogy is to American football. In The Moral Landscape, for example, new atheist and PhD Read More…

Human evolution Mind

Human Evolution: We walk upright in order to kill each other – researcher

The author of a new study claims that humans learned to walk upright primarily to beat each other: “The results of this study are consistent with the hypothesis that our ancestors adopted bipedal posture so that males would be better at beating and killing each other when competing for females,” says David Carrier, a biology Read More…

Atheism Culture Mind

Secular humanism is inevitably the enemy of freedom

Here vjtorley cites the unspeakable Johansson case (Sweden), asking “Are secular humanism and freedom of thought ultimately incompatible?” The short answer is: Of course. Secular humanism, as normally argued, denies the reality of the mind. On that, note this item at New Scientist on illusions, real and imagined*, which dramatically dismisses free will and just Read More…

Intelligent Design Mind

Psychology as if the mind is real: Precommitment contracts show promise as behaviour change tool

Few things in that area show much promise, but this one does. Two economists have spent some time studying precommitment, the idea of freely choosing what’s right and ten instructing others not to listen when you say you have changed your mind. The first well-known precommiter was Homer’s Odysseus (1000  BCE), who has been warned Read More…