Intelligent Design Mind Neuroscience

Why simple but useless theories of consciousness get so much attention

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Because science writers need simple sound bites and catch phrases:

Dennett’s integration of popular evolution theory into his work appeals to many science writers, as this snippet from a BBC news item shows:

From an evolutionary perspective, our ability to think is no different from our ability to digest, says Dennett.

Both these biological activities can be explained by Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection, often described as the survival of the fittest.

We evolved from uncomprehending bacteria. Our minds, with all their remarkable talents, are the result of endless biological experiments.

Our genius is not God-given. It’s the result of millions of years of trial and error. Anna Buckley, “Is consciousness just an illusion?” at BBC News

BBC writer Buckley makes these statements with remarkable self-assurance but the trouble is, not one of them is defensible science.

Take, for example, “our ability to think is no different from our ability to digest”: That’s nonsense. There is a Hard Problem of consciousness; there is no hard problem of digestion.

Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection does not and cannot address the Hard Problem (the first person perspective).

No evolutionary biologist thinks that humans “evolved from” bacteria either; we belong to a quite different kingdom of life from bacteria.

And whether or not our genius is God-given is certainly a matter of opinion.

Not all science writers are mere fans; some examine the philosopher’s claims in more detail. Dennett’s use of the term “illusion” is a source of confusion, says John Horgan… More.

Denyse O’Leary, “Has science shown that consciousness is only an illusion?” at Mind Matters

See also: In one sense, consciousness IS an illusion (Michael Egnor)

How can consciousness be a material thing? Maybe it can’t. But materialist philosophers face starkly limited choices in how to view consciousness. In analytical philosopher Galen Strawson’s opinion, our childhood memories of pancakes on Saturday, for example, are—and must be—”wholly physical.”

Panpsychism: You are conscious but so is your coffee mug

and

Consciousness Studies Is a “Bizarre” Field of Science

2 Replies to “Why simple but useless theories of consciousness get so much attention

  1. 1
    johnnyb says:

    The easiest way to see the philosophical bias in science is to look at the ridiculous papers that the science establishment *doesn’t* condemn in the same way they condemn ID. Let’s pretend for a moment that ID is a ridiculous theory. Now, let’s compare the outrage, shunning, and publication-prevention of ID compared to ridiculous origin-of-life theories or origin-of-consciousness theories, or other ridiculous papers you may have read (and there are plenty). While a ridiculous paper may get one or two complaints, only ID-related papers get thousands of complaints (possibly more than the entire subscription base of the journal). They aren’t trying to avoid bad science – bad science, at most, gets a slap on the wrist (generally, bad science, depending on in what way it is bad, gets no repercussions whatsoever, and may even lead to career advancement). They are trying to avoid thought crimes.

  2. 2
    tjguy says:

    In the past, scientists did a lot of damage and caused a lot of harm and suffering by interpreting the brain through their evolutionary paradigm. Remember the lobotomies they performed? I guess we haven’t learned our lesson yet.

    https://crev.info/2019/01/frontal-lobotomies-holocaust/

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