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At Mind Matters News: Why so many neuroscientists are unreflective materialists

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It’s part of a larger commitment to the belief that materialism will one day refute dualism by explaining away all of the apparent immaterial aspects of the mind:

Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor has contributed a chapter of The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith: Exploring the Ultimate Questions About Life and the Cosmos (2021): “Have science and philosophy refuted free will?” (Ch 18) and “Can materialism explain human consciousness?” (Ch 19). In it, he notes a reality of modern neuroscience: Materialism (the mind is simply what the brain does) is not a discovery so much as a pledge of allegiance:

News, “Why so many neuroscientists are unreflective materialists ” at Mind Matters News (November 19, 2021)

One might think that the logical problems with materialism would insulate 21st-century neuroscience from its influence, but that is not so. Most contemporary neuroscientists work from an implicitly materialist perspective — in part because they’re unreflective, in part because materialism is the metaphysical correlate of the atheistic scientism that infests modern science, and in part because public admission of a dualist perspective is perceived (correctly) to be a career impediment in neuroscience. I recently had a friend (a tenured and accomplished neuroscientist) who is a devout Christian tell me privately that if he ever publicly questioned materialism, he would never get another grant.

MICHAEL EGNOR, “DUALISM AND MATERIALISM IN MODERN NEUROSCIENCE” AT EVOLUTION NEWS AND SCIENCE TODAY (NOVEMBER 16, 2021), P. 215 IN THE BOOK

Takehome: In his chapter of a new anthology, The Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith: Exploring the Ultimate Questions About Life and the Cosmos (2021), neurosurgeon Michael Egnor looks at the growing evidence that the mind is not simply what the brain does and defends a dualist view.

You may also wish to read:

Dualism is the best option for understanding the mind and the brain. Theories that attempt to show that the mind does not really exist clearly don’t work and never did. Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor reviews the mind-brain theories for East Meets West: Theology Unleashed. He think dualism makes the best sense of the evidence.

and

Trying to disprove free will shows that materialism doesn’t work Michael Egnor: If you have a metaphysical theory and it contradicts science, logic, and everyday experience, then your metaphysics should be abandoned. To deny free will, biologist Jerry Coyne tries, once again, to defeat the implications of quantum mechanics, neuroscience, and logic.

7 Replies to “At Mind Matters News: Why so many neuroscientists are unreflective materialists

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    At Mind Matters News: Why so many neuroscientists are unreflective materialists

    Why are so many converts zealously committed immaterialists? As a neurosurgeon, Egnor must be aware there is no evidence of consciousness existing apart from a physical substrate and certainly not after death. The only conclusion is that his commitment to that belief is not driven by science but by the presuppositions of his faith.

  2. 2
    Upright BiPed says:

    .
    Seversky,

    A very astute scientist once asked a question. He asked, how do you know when an observation has been made. His answer? When there is a record of it.

    Science has demonstrated that life requires an epistemic cut, Seversky — a separation between the description and the described. It requires a record. It requires a language. Just as predicted.

    You only fool yourself when you point to others and sneer that they are not following the science. You run from science and history with every comment you make.

  3. 3
    William J Murray says:

    Dualism is the best option for understanding the mind and the brain.

    Dualism was killed with the same quantum “gun” that killed materialism/physicalism. Both are just dead men walking at this point.

  4. 4

    Dualism, the distinction between subjectivity and objectivity, is also the basis of the logic used in common discourse. Everyone who uses common discourse is practically a dualist, a creationist.

    We should respect the logic used in common discourse as it being a scientific theory. And the quantum theory is generally consistent with the common discourse theory.

    The only difference is that in quantum theory a thing may be in an undecided state in the present, while in common discourse it appears that possibilities are only in the future of an object, and in the present the parameters of an object are in a fully decided state.

    So in quantum theory a parameter of an object, like position, may consist of possibilities A and B, while for common discourse it appears that an object must always have a decided position of either A or B, but may have future possibilities of either A or B.

  5. 5
    EDTA says:

    Why are so many neuroscientists unreflective materialists? Well, why are so many neuroscientists unreflective? Why are so many people in general unreflective? It’s just easier, and doesn’t require a change of career afterwards.

  6. 6
    AaronS1978 says:

    I really hate it when I see comment that assumes there’s absolutely no evidence of the afterlife or the mind existing outside the body

    That’s an absolute and one thing is for certain in this world is nothing is absolute

    This I s the banter of an atheist that only wants their particular point of you to be correct

    Are you one of those people that thinks “science is going to solve everything given enough time” sev?

    If so, apply that exact same logic to the afterlife please So you’re less of a raging hypocrite

    Also it’s assumed there’s dark matter too, but there’s really no evidence of it, just a lot of hypothetical stuff

    And you can use a lot of the science that justifies dark matter to justify an afterlife and the mind

    Furthermore there is evidence it’s just blatantly ignored and everybody thinks it’s fake or a myriad of excuses of why it’s not real but nobody ever definitively just disproves it

    So when you say there’s absolutely no evidence you’re absolutely wrong it’s just evidence you don’t approve of

  7. 7
    doubter says:

    AaronS1978@6

    Hear, hear!

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