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At Mind Matters News: Brain activity can’t reveal our minds, it turns out


There is poor correlation between different scans of even the same person’s brain, experienced researchers say:

At one time, we were told that, one day, machines will read our minds. But, now researchers say, the more we know about the brain (set aside the mind for a moment), the more reasons we have for doubt:. …

Our minds read things but it doesn’t follow that we can read our minds. We can’t even read brains. Which is not the same thing.

News, “Why brain activity doesn’t reveal our minds” at Mind Matters News

Further reading:

We will never “solve” the brain. A science historian offers a look at some of the difficulties we face in understanding the brain

How far has AI mindreading come? Further than we may think. And some trends are troubling


Elon Musk’s myths about the mind. According to Musk, everything in the brain is an electrical signal. That’s pretty naive

In his blog article entitled: Triple Fail: Big Science Blunders, Dave Coppedge at crev.info has some great insights on this article/issue here: https://crev.info/2020/06/triple-fail-big-science-blunders/ Copied from the blog article: "Neuroscience Fail fMRI images measure blood flow as a proxy for brain activity. Studies of Brain Activity Aren’t as Useful as Scientists Thought (Duke University). For years, neuroscientists have merrily observed their patients perform tasks in MRI machines, figuring out how the brain works. The MRI machine records the data obediently, yielding nice images of blood flow, a proxy for brain activity in a well-known, highly-trusted process known as “functional MRI” (fMRI). Well, that proxy orthodoxy has just collapsed. Look what the press release from Duke U says: "Hundreds of published studies over the last decade have claimed it’s possible to predict an individual’s patterns of thoughts and feelings by scanning their brain in an MRI machine as they perform some mental tasks. But a new analysis by some of the researchers who have done the most work in this area finds that those measurements are highly suspect when it comes to drawing conclusions about any individual person’s brain." Even readings taken on the same person a few weeks or months apart can be so different as to be useless for drawing conclusions. Look how bad this is. The correlations don’t even rise to “fair” like a C grade; they’re more like a D or F, according to Ahmad Hariri, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University who led the reanalysis. "Functional MRI measures blood flow as a proxy for brain activity. It shows where blood is being sent in the brain, presumably because neurons in that area are more active during a mental task. The problem is that the level of activity for any given person probably won’t be the same twice, and a measure that changes every time it is collected cannot be applied to predict anyone’s future mental health or behavior. Hariri and his colleagues reexamined 56 published papers based on fMRI data to gauge their reliability across 90 experiments. Hariri said the researchers recognized that “the correlation between one scan and a second is not even fair, it’s poor.” The best that can be done is to test a large number of people and compute averages, the article says, but how can that be? Bad data based on wrong presumptions averages out to bad averages, it would seem. Hariri is flabbergasted by this revelation. “This is more relevant to my work than just about anyone else’s!” Hariri said, his voice rising. “This is my fault. I’m going to throw myself under the bus. This whole sub-branch of fMRI could go extinct if we can’t address this critical limitation.” Hariri has been using fMRI data as part of a long-term study of 1,300 undergraduate Duke students. By combining brain scans, genetic testing and psychological assessments, Hariri is searching for biomarkers of individual differences in the way people process thoughts and emotions, such as why one person comes away from a traumatic event with PTSD or depression and another does not. “We can’t continue with the same old ‘hot spot’ research,” Hariri said. “We could scan the same 1,300 undergrads again and we wouldn’t see the same patterns for each of them.” In short, fMRI is completely unreliable for what neuroscientists and psychologists thought it was showing. All those papers go out the window. Should Hariri be fired? Pulling himself out from under the bus, he tries to think of ways to carry on somehow. His colleague Russell Poldrack, a psychologist at Stanford who is also guilty of publishing phony fMRI “scientific findings” tries to help: “There’s three things you can do,” Poldrack said. “You can just up and quit, you can stick your head in the sand (and act as if nothing has changed), or you can dig in and try to solve the problems.” It’s an admirable spirit. But neither Poldrack or Hariri seem to know what exactly to do. Maybe they could follow the adage, “When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.” That should cause some interesting images of blood flow in the MRI scanner."tjguy
June 8, 2020
01:52 AM
as to: "For six out of seven measures of brain function, the correlation between tests taken about four months apart with the same person was weak. The seventh measure studied, language processing, was only a fair correlation, not good or excellent.",,,
STUDIES OF BRAIN ACTIVITY AREN’T AS USEFUL AS SCIENTISTS THOUGHT - June 3, 2020 Excerpt: Hariri and his colleagues reexamined 56 published papers based on fMRI data to gauge their reliability across 90 experiments. Hariri said the researchers recognized that “the correlation between one scan and a second is not even fair, it’s poor.” They also examined data from the brain-scanning Human Connectome Project -- “Our field’s Bible at the moment,” Hariri called it -- and looked at test/retest results for 45 individuals. For six out of seven measures of brain function, the correlation between tests taken about four months apart with the same person was weak. The seventh measure studied, language processing, was only a fair correlation, not good or excellent. https://today.duke.edu/2020/06/studies-brain-activity-aren%E2%80%99t-useful-scientists-thought
Juan Uriagereka. linguist at the University of Maryland, would disagree with the claim that language processing had even a fair correlation. Specifically he stated that, "Some considerable distance remains between the observation that the brain is doing something and the claim that it is manipulating various linguistic representations."
Kept in Mind - Juan Uriagereka - March 2019 Review of: Language in Our Brain: The Origins of a Uniquely Human Capacity by Angela Friederici Excerpt: Which part of our brain carries information forward in time? No one knows. For that matter, no one knows what a symbol is, or where symbolic interactions take place. The formal structures of linguistics and neurophysiology are disjoint, a point emphasized by Poeppel and David Embick in a widely cited study.2,,, No one has distinguished one thought from another by dissecting brains. Neuroimaging tells us only when some areas of the brain light up selectively. Brain wave frequencies may suggest that different kinds of thinking are occurring, but a suggestion is not an inference—even if there is a connection between certain areas of the brain and seeing, hearing, or processing words. Connections of this sort are not nothing, of course, but neither are they very much.,,, Some considerable distance remains between the observation that the brain is doing something and the claim that it is manipulating various linguistic representations. Friederici notes the lapse. “How information content is encoded and decoded,” she remarks, “in the sending and receiving brain areas is still an open issue—not only with respect to language, but also with respect to the neurophysiology of information processing in general.”5,,, Cognitive scientists cannot say how the mass or energy of the brain is related to the information it carries. Everyone expects that more activity in a given area means more information processing. No one has a clue whether it is more information or more articulated information, or more interconnected information, or whether, for that matter, the increased neuro-connectivity signifies something else entirely.,,, ,,, present-day observational technology does not seem capable of teasing apart these different components of syntax at work,,,, https://inference-review.com/article/kept-in-mind Juan Uriagereka is a linguist at the University of Maryland.
Of related interest, in 2014, a group of leading evolutionary scientists, who are experts in this area of language research, authored a paper in which they, in unison, honestly admitted that they have,,, "essentially no explanation of how and why our linguistic computations and representations evolved.,,,"
Leading Evolutionary Scientists Admit We Have No Evolutionary Explanation of Human Language - December 19, 2014 Excerpt: Understanding the evolution of language requires evidence regarding origins and processes that led to change. In the last 40 years, there has been an explosion of research on this problem as well as a sense that considerable progress has been made. We argue instead that the richness of ideas is accompanied by a poverty of evidence, with essentially no explanation of how and why our linguistic computations and representations evolved.,,, (Marc Hauser, Charles Yang, Robert Berwick, Ian Tattersall, Michael J. Ryan, Jeffrey Watumull, Noam Chomsky and Richard C. Lewontin, "The mystery of language evolution," Frontiers in Psychology, Vol 5:401 (May 7, 2014).) Casey Luskin added: “It's difficult to imagine much stronger words from a more prestigious collection of experts.” http://www.evolutionnews.org/2014/12/leading_evoluti092141.html
Noam Chomsky reiterated that sentiment in 2017,
The Galilean Challenge - Noam Chomsky – April 2017 Excerpt: The capacity for language is species specific, something shared by humans and unique to them. It is the most striking feature of this curious organism, and a foundation for its remarkable achievement,,, One fact appears to be well established. The faculty of language is a true species property, invariant among human groups, and unique to humans in its essential properties. It follows that there has been little or no evolution of the faculty since human groups separated from one another,,, There is little evidence of anything like human language, or symbolic behavior altogether, before the emergence of modern humans.,,, --- Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor and Professor of Linguistics (Emeritus) at MIT. http://inference-review.com/article/the-galilean-challenge
The late best selling author Tom Wolfe was so taken aback by this honest confession from leading Darwinists that he wrote a book on the subject. Here is a general outline of his main argument;
“Speech is 95 percent plus of what lifts man above animal! Physically, man is a sad case. His teeth, including his incisors, which he calls eyeteeth, are baby-size and can barely penetrate the skin of a too-green apple. His claws can’t do anything but scratch him where he itches. His stringy-ligament body makes him a weakling compared to all the animals his size. Animals his size? In hand-to-paw, hand-to-claw, or hand-to-incisor combat, any animal his size would have him for lunch. Yet man owns or controls them all, every animal that exists, thanks to his superpower: speech.” —Tom Wolfe, in the introduction to his book, The Kingdom of Speech
In other words, that humans should master the planet due to his unique ability to communicate information is completely contrary to the ‘survival of the fittest’ thinking that undergirds Darwinian thought. Although humans are fairly defenseless creatures in the wild compared to other creatures, such as lions, bears, sharks, etc.., nonetheless, humans have, completely contrary to Darwinian ‘survival of the fittest’ thinking, managed to somehow become masters of the planet, not by brute force, but simply by our unique ability to communicate information and also to, more specifically, infuse information into material substrates in order to create, i.e. intelligently design, objects that are extremely useful for our defense, basic survival in procuring food, furtherance of our knowledge, and also for our pleasure and entertainment. And although the ‘top-down’ infusion of immaterial information into material substrates, that allowed humans to become ‘masters of the planet’, was rather crude to begin with, (i.e. spears, arrows, and plows etc..), this top down infusion of immaterial information into material substrates has become much more impressive over the last half century or so. Specifically, the ‘top-down’ infusion of mathematical and/or logical information into material substrates lies at the very basis of many, if not all, of man’s most stunning, almost miraculous, technological advances in recent decades.
History of Invention http://www.explainthatstuff.com/timeline.html
What's more interesting still, both the universe and life itself, are now found to be ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis. Vlatko Vedral, who is a Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford and a recognized leader in the field of quantum mechanics, states,
"The most fundamental definition of reality is not matter or energy, but information–and it is the processing of information that lies at the root of all physical, biological, economic, and social phenomena." Vlatko Vedral - Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford, and CQT (Centre for Quantum Technologies) at the National University of Singapore, and a Fellow of Wolfson College - a recognized leader in the field of quantum mechanics.
It is hard to imagine a more convincing proof that we are ‘made in the image of God’ than finding that both the universe and life itself are ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis, and that we, of all the creatures on earth, uniquely possess an ability to understand, communicate, and create information, and have come to ‘master the planet’ precisely because of our ability to infuse information into material substrates. Of course, a more convincing proof that we are made in the image of God could be if God Himself became a man, defeated death on a cross, and then rose from the dead to prove that He was God. That just so happens to be precisely the proof claimed within Christianity.
Shroud of Turin: From discovery of Photographic Negative, to 3D Information, to Hologram https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-TL4QOCiis Minimal Facts vs. Maximal Data Approaches to the Resurrection: A Conversation with Dr. Lydia McGrew (Two Apologetic Approaches to the Resurrection Of Jesus) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUt3r3dXBr4
Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. John 1:1-4 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and that life was the Light of men.
June 7, 2020
02:49 AM

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