Mind Neuroscience

Last call: Pop science not quite too stupid to parody properly?

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A good laugh will help you sleep:

Brain area for empty news stories discovered

Satirical website Newsbiscuit has a cutting article making fun of the regular ‘brain scans show…’ news items that are a staple of the popular science pages.

Scientists are heralding a breakthrough in brain scan technology after a team at Oxford University produced full colour images of a human brain that shows nothing of any significance.

‘This is an amazing discovery’, said leading neuroscientist Baroness Susan Greenfield, ‘the pictures tell us nothing about how the brain works, provide us with no insights into the nature of human consciousness, and all with such lovely colours.’…

A couple stories like this have whizzed past recently. It sounds like I’m not the only one who gets irritated by potted-up weekend litter box-liner.

In fairness, there are absolutely no worthwhile insights into human consciousness at present because, as Greg Peterson said, “To study the brain is to study ourselves, but in a way that makes us both subject and object. It is as if we were trying to look both in and out of the window at the same time.”

Denyse O’Leary is co-author of The Spiritual Brain.

Hat tip: Stephanie West Allen at Brains on Purpose

3 Replies to “Last call: Pop science not quite too stupid to parody properly?

  1. 1
    jbowman says:

    Here’s a parody for the Onion. “Anthropologists Trace Human Origins Back to One Large Goat.”

    http://www.theonion.com/articl.....-la,19191/

  2. 2
    anonym says:

    I can’t find a good source just now, but apparently neuroscientists themselves complain about “fMRI porn”: fMRI studies that add little or nothing to what has already been discovered about the brain by other, more boring, methods can still get into Science and Nature because the glowy pictures look way-cool on a full-page colour plate.

  3. 3
    O'Leary says:

    Well, anonym, that suggests they are honest scientists.

    As for the rest, my cat thanks them.

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