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Neofascism: Why “your mind evolved to thwart you”

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From Smithsonian:

A Neuroscientist Tells You What’s Wrong With Your Brain

Dean Burnett’s new book, Idiot Brain, explains why your mind evolved to thwart you

People should be free to write what they want, including idiocy, but these neurosciencey claims about how our brains are constantly fooled and our minds do not really grasp anything undermine the idea that adults, citizens, voters, can make valid decisions. And that has been going on for decades.

Good news for long-running corrupt rackets of every kind. Less good news for responsible government.

That said, Burnett notes, in response to a question,

Research seems to show that more intelligent people use less brain power. Why?

[Researchers were] putting people into fMRI machines and giving them intelligence tests—deductions and puzzles. It turns out the people who are better at doing the tests, who can solve them faster and more efficiently, were showing less activity in the intelligence part of the brain. Which is obviously puzzling—if that’s the intelligence part of the brain, why are people who are more intelligent not using it? The main theory now is that it means this area is more efficient. It doesn’t need to work as hard to do the same effort as one who is less intelligent because it’s better connected, it’s more integrated. More.

Or maybe the main point is that no one should take this updated phrenology seriously in the age of information.

See also: Neuroscience tried wholly embracing naturalism, but then the brain got away

Would we give up naturalism to solve the hard problem of consciousness?

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4 Replies to “Neofascism: Why “your mind evolved to thwart you”

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    As to

    [Researchers were] putting people into fMRI machines and giving them intelligence tests—deductions and puzzles. It turns out the people who are better at doing the tests, who can solve them faster and more efficiently, were showing less activity in the intelligence part of the brain. Which is obviously puzzling—if that’s the intelligence part of the brain, why are people who are more intelligent not using it?

    Perhaps the material brain gets in the way of the spiritual mind to a certain extent? And people who use more of their mind and less of their brain to solve a problem will ‘naturally’ do so more intelligently?

    Near-Death Experiences: 30 Years of Research – 2014
    Excerpt: Improved Mental Functions With an Impaired Brain
    Bruce Greyson, M.D. and director of the Division of Perceptual Studies at the University of Virginia, said NDEs are reliable because the accounts by near-death experiencers (NDErs) of these events remain unchanged over time. He compared a group of NDErs’ accounts about their NDEs made 20 years apart and found that they remained closely identical over time.
    Greyson believes that NDEs are an indication that the mind is independent of the brain because impaired brain functions would be expected during the clinical situation that the NDErs underwent, but his research found no corresponding impairment of mental functions in NDErs.
    “In most cases, people’s mental functioning is better in the NDE than [it] is during our normal waking life,” Greyson said during an interview with The Epoch Times.
    “Their thinking is faster, is clearer, is more logical, they have more control over their chain of thought, their senses are more acute, their memories are more vivid.
    “If you ask somebody about their near-death experience that happened 15 years ago, they tell it as if it happened yesterday. If you ask them [about] other experiences from their life at the same time, they are very fuzzy memories, if they have any at all.
    “[…] When you think that these experiences, which are characterized by enhanced thought processes [that] takes place when the brain is not functioning well or sometimes not functioning at all since it is in cardiac arrest or deep anesthesia—times when brain science would tell us that you shouldn’t be able to think or perceive or form memories—it becomes quite clear that we can’t explain this thing on the basis of brain physiology.”
    Eben Alexander, M.D., a neurosurgeon who also spoke at the conference, had an NDE that’s a case in point. He contracted acute bacterial meningitis, which damages the neocortex, in 2008 and went into a coma, spending six days on a ventilator.
    The glucose level of his cerebrospinal fluid was 1 mg/dl (milligram per one-tenth of a liter), while normal levels are between 60 and 80 mg/dl. When the level drops to 20 mg/dl, the meningitis infection is considered severe. For days after the coma, Alexander struggled to speak and recall memories before the coma. No one with this kind of severe brain damage is expected to fully recover.
    However, during his NDE, Alexander had such vivid experiences involving multiple senses, such as vision, hearing, and smell, that he said he couldn’t describe how amazing it was.
    “My brain right now—I think it recovered pretty well—could not do anything close to what my brain was doing,” Alexander said. “How does a dying brain end up getting far, far more powerful and able to handle these tremendous loads of information instantaneously and put it altogether?”

    Of related note:

    “they would seriously undermine the assumption that, in such diseases as Alzheimer’s, the mind itself is destroyed in lockstep with the brain (e.g., Edwards, 1997, pp. 295–296). Like many of the experiences discussed in this chapter, such cases would suggest that in some conditions, consciousness may be enhanced, not destroyed, when constraints normally supplied by the brain are sufficiently loosened.”
    – Irreducible Mind, Edward F. Kelly

    Also of related interest, although the girl in the following videos was written off as hopelessly retarded by everyone who saw her, eventually a breakthrough was made that gave her the ability to communicate with the outside world. A breakthough that revealed there was/is indeed a gentle intelligence, a “me”, a “soul”, a “person”, within the girl that was and still is trapped within her body. And that that “me” was not able to express herself properly to others simply because of the neurological disorder of her brain.

    Severely Handicapped Girl Suddenly Expresses Intelligence At Age 11 – very moving video

    Carly’s Café – Experience Autism Through Carly’s Eyes – video

    Also of related note: One of the more fascinating branches of Near Death Studies have been the studies of people who were born blind who have had NDE’s, who could see for the first time in their life during their NDE. This simply has no explanation within the materialistic framework, whereas, in the theistic framework, this is expected:

    Blind Woman Can See During Near Death Experience (NDE) – Pim von Lommel – video

    Kenneth Ring and Sharon Cooper (1997) conducted a study of 31 blind people, many of who reported vision during their Near Death Experiences (NDEs). 21 of these people had had an NDE while the remaining 10 had had an out-of-body experience (OBE), but no NDE. It was found that in the NDE sample, about half had been blind from birth. (of note: This ‘anomaly’ is also found for deaf people who can hear sound during their Near Death Experiences(NDEs).)

    Coast to Coast – Vicki Noratuk’s Near Death Experience (Blind From Birth) part 1 of 3

    Moreover, if the mind of a person were merely the brain, as materialists hold, then if half of a brain were removed then a ‘person’ should only be ‘half the person’, or at least somewhat less of a ‘person’, as they were before. But that is not the case, the ‘whole person’ stays intact even though the brain suffers severe impairment:

    Removing Half of Brain Improves Young Epileptics’ Lives: – 1997
    Excerpt: “We are awed by the apparent retention of memory and by the retention of the child’s personality and sense of humor,” Dr. Eileen P. G. Vining,,
    Dr. John Freeman, the director of the Johns Hopkins Pediatric Epilepsy Center, said he was dumbfounded at the ability of children to regain speech after losing the half of the brain that is supposedly central to language processing.
    ”It’s fascinating,” Dr. Freeman said. ”The classic lore is that you can’t change language after the age of 2 or 3.”
    But Dr. Freeman’s group has now removed diseased left hemispheres in more than 20 patients, including three 13-year-olds whose ability to speak transferred to the right side of the brain in much the way that Alex’s did.,,,

    In further comment from the neuro-surgeons in the John Hopkins study:

    “Despite removal of one hemisphere, the intellect of all but one of the children seems either unchanged or improved. Intellect was only affected in the one child who had remained in a coma, vigil-like state, attributable to peri-operative complications.”

    Strange but True: When Half a Brain Is Better than a Whole One – May 2007
    Excerpt: Most Hopkins hemispherectomy patients are five to 10 years old. Neurosurgeons have performed the operation on children as young as three months old. Astonishingly, memory and personality develop normally. ,,,
    Another study found that children that underwent hemispherectomies often improved academically once their seizures stopped. “One was champion bowler of her class, one was chess champion of his state, and others are in college doing very nicely,” Freeman says.
    Of course, the operation has its downside: “You can walk, run—some dance or skip—but you lose use of the hand opposite of the hemisphere that was removed. You have little function in that arm and vision on that side is lost,” Freeman says. Remarkably, few other impacts are seen. ,,,

    How Removing Half of Someone’s Brain Can Improve Their Life – Oct. 2015
    Excerpt: Next spring, del Peral (who has only half a brain) will graduate from Curry College, where she has made the dean’s list every semester since freshman year.

  2. 2
    Robert Byers says:

    Amen and well put. phrenology is all this mind stuff and thats all. intelligence in humans is more then wiring and indeed is found in the soul.

  3. 3
    kairosfocus says:


    I must repeat and slightly adjust a comment just made regarding Coyne:

    There is a reason we are cautioned about how easily self-referential statements can become self-refuting, like a snake attacking and swallowing itself tail-first. Any human scheme of thought that undermines responsible [thus, morally governed] rational freedom undermines itself fatally. Coyne [–> Burnett] has here provided yet another inadvertent, inherent self-falsification of evolutionary materialism. But, “inadvertent” counts: it can be hard to recognise and acknowledge the logically fatal nature of the result. Of course, that subjective challenge does not change the objective result: self-referential incoherence and irretrievable self-falsification.

    I think this point needs to be hammered home again and again until it breaks through the armour-belt of psycho-social and institutional defenses. Evolutionary materialistic scientism — in all its guises — is irretrievably false, due to refuting itself.

    That has to be acknowledged before we can progress.

    Like unto it, it must be recognised that we are inescapably morally governed, even in our rationality; that sense of urgency to truth and right tells a long tale. So, schemes of thought that lead to amorality are inescapably absurd. For, they would tell us that so central a faculty of mind is delusional, that this taints all of our inner life.

    Again, the snake attacks itself and begins to swallow itself tail-first.

    If it does not wake up and stop in time, the result is fatal.


  4. 4
    carlgrant says:

    Another great post, bornagain77. I value your thoroughness.

    Carl Grant

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