Intelligent Design

Neuroscience: Skeptic Mag’s Review of The Spiritual Brain

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Doug Mesner writes asking me to respond to a review of The Spiritual Brain which he published in Skeptic Magazine, and he has now helpfully made the review available on line. He writes,

The book distresses me in that I see in it an early Creationist assault on the Cognitive Sciences, and the formation of the false scientific arguments that may be brought to the stem cell debate in years to come.

Mesner appears to want to be the male Amanda Gefter. (Hey, I am all for gender equity.)

He wants a free exchange of views, but sadly, one thing that is not free is my time just now, so I must decline.

I am not sure why he references the stem cell debate, but if people like Gefter and Mesner are entitled to private definitions of creationism, I guess they can apply their definitions and worries to the stem cell debate, wind energy, or the assignment of parking spaces in municipally owned garages – or anything else they want to.

Having almost finished Alva Noe’s thoughtful Out of Our Heads Why You Are Not Your Brain, and Other Lessons from the Biology of Consciousness and having read Norman Doidge’s The Brain That Changes Itself, I would say that the skepticism (= materialism) espoused by Mesner is dead in the water and electrification of the corpse by a long discussion will not help. Things have just moved on.

And we all should too.

Also at The Mindful Hack

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Spirituality: Michael Gerson on Andrew Newberg’s new “How God Changes Your Brain” book

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5 Replies to “Neuroscience: Skeptic Mag’s Review of The Spiritual Brain

  1. 1
    Hamlet says:

    Denyse says,

    He wants a free exchange of views, but sadly, one thing that is not free is my time just now, so I must decline.

    But here you are, posting at UD. And you’ve told us you do it for free.

  2. 2
    Hamlet says:

    Having almost finished Alva Noe’s thoughtful Out of Our Heads Why You Are Not Your Brain, and Other Lessons from the Biology of Consciousness and having read Norman Doidge’s The Brain That Changes Itself, I would say that the skepticism (= materialism) espoused by Mesner is dead in the water and electrification of the corpse by a long discussion will not help. Things have just moved on.

    It’s ironic that you should allude to the vitalism exemplified in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. What are you about, if not a Big-Tent revival of vitalism (electricity -> intelligence / consciousness)?

  3. 3
    JTaylor says:

    I’m surprised Denyse that you would turn down this opportunity. Whatever you may think about Skeptic magazine, it does have an honorable tradition of allowing opposing views to be published, sometimes at length. As an author, not only would you be able to defend your honor, but you may possibly generate some book sales, or at the very least publicity for your writing. And isn’t it ultimately in the free exchange ideas that we learn best?

  4. 4
    uoflcard says:

    I would take up the opportunity, too. JMO

  5. 5
    nullasalus says:

    From a purely ‘Any way to promote my book!’ perspective, I’d entertain the thought. On the other hand, I can see O’Leary’s (I think) point. If his invitation to speak about this book involves reference to creationism and (of all things) stem cells, that doesn’t bode well for a productive debate. She’d have to spend too much time explaining what the book is not about if that’s any indication.

    Nice to see it continues to draw attention though. Congratulations!

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