It’s the fate of common sense that we are worried about
In “Surely by now we’ve outgrown the soul?” (The Independent , 16 October 2011), neuroscience PhD student Martha Robinson informs us,
Although no branch of scientific thought has all the answers, we have known for some time that there is no theoretical need to look outside of the human body for a explanation of the many and varied phenomena that we collectively refer to as ‘consciousness’.
Apparently, she has not noticed the utter failure of materialist explanations to even get a handle on what the materialist would explain.
She writes as though the problem is that we are “afraid” that materialists would discover the secret of consciousness. Actually, most people are afraid of the cascade of nonsense we will be subjected to as they fail, decade after decade.
The nonsense, she concedes:
Neuroscience certainly hasn’t done itself any favours in this argument. We’ve all read over-hyped and nonsensical reports in national newspapers about scientists discovering the neural location of love or the brain areas responsible for iPhone addiction. Even more accurate stories, exemplified by the recent fantastic work by Professor Mintz’s lab in Tel Aviv, tend to be over-sold: while amazing, replacing one functional loop does not an ‘artificial cerebellum’ make. This kind of ‘neurotrash’ allows eminent fuzzy-dualists like Ray Tallis to bandy around accusations of ‘Neuromania’ with some credibility – which is then used to shore-up the rejection of any and all scientific approaches to the explanation of human consciousness. To do this is to wastefully throw the baby of good science out with the sensationalist bathwater.
Hey, just a minute!
Martha Robinson, we don’t have any reason to believe that a “baby of good science” exists in this case. They faked up the pregnancy. That’s how the situation came to be overwhelmed in the media by nonsense.
When good science is being done, there is a distant pop pop fizz fizz of nonsense in the background (NASA is hiding space aliens, cell phones cause cancer … ) but it does not dominate.
It dominates the foreground where science has lost its way.
Hat tip: Stephanie West Allen at Brains on Purpose