Recently, I have been noting the current backlash against materialist neuroscience (here, for example.)
No surprise, there is a “rebacklash.” At the New Yorker, Gary Marcus, defending the mind as merely the brain in motion, warns,
The worst possibility of a full-scale, reckless backlash against neuroscience, to the exclusion of the field’s best work, is that it might sacrifice important insights that could reshape psychiatry and medicine. A colleague at N.Y.U., the neuroscientist Elizabeth Phelps, wrote in an e-mail: “It would be ridiculous to suggest that we shouldn’t use brain science to help in the treatment/diagnosis of mental disorders, but if one takes the [current backlash] to the extreme, that is the logical conclusion.”
And who but her ever suggested any such thing?
If I could take climbing the tree in the back yard to an extreme, I would end up on the moon. And so?
The backlash against materialist neuroscience is based on the fact that brain scanners do not really read minds, and the field has been mercilessly exploited by vendors of nonsense in the meantime.
Gary Marcus helpfully says,
Perhaps as neuroscience progresses, it is possible for objective, physiological assessment of the brain to win out as the ultimate arbiter of truth when it comes to the mind. But that’s a long way off, if it ever will be possible at all. For now, we still need fields like psychology and psychiatry, which take the mind as their starting point, rather than the brain, to complement neuroscience.
Note the little words “For now.” The materialists are not going away, they are just waiting for a new gimcrack to come along.
And they honestly believe it will.
Denyse O’Leary is co-author of The Spiritual Brain.