Mind Neuroscience

Michael Egnor asks if materialist neuroscience is an unwitting Sokal hoax

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He is thinking of Francis Crick (1916–2004) and his famous astonishing hypothesis: “You are nothing but a pack of neurons.” As in The Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific Search for Soul.

Michael Egnor thinks that while physicist Alan Sokal hoaxed postmodern journals (the famous Sokal hoax. of 1996), materialists like Francis Crick (1916–2004) seem to hoax themselves:

Philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein saw that much materialist neuroscience was neither true, nor false, just nonsense.

Wittgenstein was a philosopher of mind — in my view, the most profound since Aquinas. He was harshly critical of the suffocating layers of nonsense that choke modern neuroscience. One example is the mereological fallacy, which is the fallacy of attributing to parts of a thing what can only be attributed to the whole.

For example, it is metaphorical but not really true that my eyes see or my mouth speaks or my legs run. To assert that body parts see or speak or run makes no sense. I see, I speak, I run, using my eyes, mouth, and legs. Wittgenstein believed that the mereological fallacy is at the root of many deep misconceptions in modern neuroscience: he noted that “Only of a living human being… can one say ‘it has sensations; it sees, is blind; hears, is deaf; is conscious or unconscious.’ (Philosophical Investigations, p. 281).”

Michael Egnor, “How much of neuroscience is an unwitting hoax?” at Mind Matters News

You may also wish to look at this article by Michael Egnor: Contradictory, illogical beliefs are a feature, not a bug, of Critical Theory. As a historian of totalitarianism has pointed out, “The aim of totalitarian education has never been to instill convictions but to destroy the capacity to form any.” Critical theory “education” extinguishes the capacity for rational thought and leaves students without the mental tools to evaluate sense vs. nonsense.

2 Replies to “Michael Egnor asks if materialist neuroscience is an unwitting Sokal hoax

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    I doubt that the sentence “You are nothing but a pack of neurons” is intended as anything but a throwaway line in response to unproven and possibly unprovable claims about the existence of souls.. It is no more a carefully thought out scientific hypothesis than describing a human being physically as nothing but a bag of chemicals. Yes, in one limited sense the brain is a pack of neurons and the body is a bag of chemicals but that is not all they are, not by a long way, and I think scientists of the caliber of Crick are well aware of it.

    I think this is more like Egnor’s usual strategy of trying to undermine what he regards as a materialist science that poses a threat to his religious beliefs.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky states,

    “I doubt that the sentence “You are nothing but a pack of neurons” is intended as anything but a throwaway line in response to unproven and possibly unprovable claims about the existence of souls.”

    Too funny, in an article where Dr. Egnor points out that, “Pervasive linguistic nonsense afflicts not only cultural studies and philosophical discourse but scientific discourse as well”, Seversky claims that Crick merely said a ‘throwaway line’. In other words, Seversky basically admits that Crick made a completely useless statement that is garbage, i.e. a line that can be ‘thrown away’. i.e. he made a useless and therefore nonsensical claim.

    In other words, Seversky is making Dr. Egnor’s point for him. And yet, somehow, Seversky sees this as a rebuttal of Egnor’s position since Crick’s ‘throwaway line’, (i.e. his nonsensical claim), that, “You are nothing but a pack of neurons”, was made “in response to unproven and possibly unprovable claims about the existence of souls.”

    That is to say, in Seversky’s eyes, Crick’s saying a sentence that makes absolutely no linguistic sense is perfectly fine as long as he was making his nonsensical claim against the existence of souls.

    Seversky basically admits that he is all for being deceptive in one’s use of language as long as that deception is used as a cudgel against the existence of souls.

    Yet, others who are not so biased against the existence of souls may not be so forgiving as Seversky is as to the use of deceptive language in order to argue against the existence of souls.

    Moreover, contrary to what Seversky believes, we, (particularly with advances in quantum biology), now have far more scientific evidence for the existence of souls, than we have ever had scientific evidence for Darwinian evolution.

    In fact, Darwinian biologists, with their current reductive materialistic framework, are not even on the correct theoretical foundation in order to properly understand biology in the first place. As Jim Al-Khalili explains, “Physicists and Chemists have had a long time to try and get use to it (Quantum Mechanics). Biologists, on the other hand have got off lightly in my view. They are very happy with their balls and sticks models of molecules. The balls are the atoms. The sticks are the bonds between the atoms. And when they can’t build them physically in the lab nowadays they have very powerful computers that will simulate a huge molecule.,, It doesn’t really require much in the way of quantum mechanics in the way to explain it.”

    “,, Physicists and Chemists have had a long time to try and get use to it (Quantum Mechanics). Biologists, on the other hand have got off lightly in my view. They are very happy with their balls and sticks models of molecules. The balls are the atoms. The sticks are the bonds between the atoms. And when they can’t build them physically in the lab nowadays they have very powerful computers that will simulate a huge molecule.,, It doesn’t really require much in the way of quantum mechanics in the way to explain it.”
    – Jim Al-Khalili

    And as Jim Al-Khalili further explains, “at the molecular level living organisms have a certain order. A structure to them that’s very different from the random thermodynamic jostling of atoms and molecules in inanimate matter of the same complexity. In fact, living matter seems to behave in its order and its structure just like inanimate cooled down to near absolute zero. Where quantum effects play a very important role. There is something special about the structure, about the order, inside a living cell.”

    “To paraphrase, (Erwin Schrödinger in his book “What Is Life”), he says at the molecular level living organisms have a certain order. A structure to them that’s very different from the random thermodynamic jostling of atoms and molecules in inanimate matter of the same complexity. In fact, living matter seems to behave in its order and its structure just like inanimate cooled down to near absolute zero. Where quantum effects play a very important role. There is something special about the structure, about the order, inside a living cell. So Schrodinger speculated that maybe quantum mechanics plays a role in life”.
    Jim Al-Khalili – Quantum biology – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOzCkeTPR3Q

    And even though life is “very different from the random thermodynamic jostling of atoms and molecules in inanimate matter of the same complexity”, Darwinists still, when push comes to shove, treat the atoms and molecules of life as if they were subject to the same exact ‘random thermodynamic jostling’ as inanimate matter is.

    Just how wedded Darwinists are to this fallacious ‘random thermodynamic jostling’ view of life is illustrated at the beginning of the following video,

    Darwinian Materialism vs. Quantum Biology – Part II – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSig2CsjKbg

    As was stated in the preceding video, “Research,, has shown that humans can detect the presence of a single photon, the smallest measurable unit of light”.,,, “it is remarkable: a photon, the smallest physical entity with quantum properties of which light consists, is interacting with a biological system consisting of billions of cells, all in a warm and wet environment,”,, and the researched added, “The response that the photon generates survives all the way to the level of our awareness despite the ubiquitous background noise. Any man-made detector would need to be cooled and isolated from noise to behave the same way.”,,, “What we want to know next is how does a biological system achieve such sensitivity? How does it achieve this in the presence of noise?”

    Study suggests humans can detect even the smallest units of light – July 21, 2016
    Excerpt: Research,, has shown that humans can detect the presence of a single photon, the smallest measurable unit of light. Previous studies had established that human subjects acclimated to the dark were capable only of reporting flashes of five to seven photons.,,,
    it is remarkable: a photon, the smallest physical entity with quantum properties of which light consists, is interacting with a biological system consisting of billions of cells, all in a warm and wet environment,” says Vaziri. “The response that the photon generates survives all the way to the level of our awareness despite the ubiquitous background noise. Any man-made detector would need to be cooled and isolated from noise to behave the same way.”,,,
    The gathered data from more than 30,000 trials demonstrated that humans can indeed detect a single photon incident on their eye with a probability significantly above chance.
    “What we want to know next is how does a biological system achieve such sensitivity? How does it achieve this in the presence of noise?”
    – per physorg

    And just as reductive materialists have no clue, “how does a biological system achieve such sensitivity? How does it achieve this in the presence of noise?”, Darwinian materialists also have no clue how any organism might achieve it basic biological form,

    “At present, the problem of biological form remains unsolved.”
    – Linde-Medina, M. On the problem of biological form. Theory Biosci. 139, 299–308 (2020).

    In fact, Darwinian evolution, besides not having any realistic clue how any organism might achieve its basic biological form, Darwinian evolution also conflicts, if not directly contradicts, with the main principle behind the second law of thermodynamics.

    The main, (unproven), claim of Darwinian evolution is that simpler organisms will become more and more complex as time goes on. Yet the main principle behind the second law of thermodynamics, (one of our most powerful, and verified, laws of science), is that complex systems will degrade into simpler and simpler states until what is termed thermodynamic equilibrium is reached.

    Darwinists have simply never meaningfully addressed this gapping hole in the foundation of their theory that is found with the principle of entropy.

    As should be needless to say, living organisms are very far from being in what is termed ‘thermodynamic equilibrium’.

    In order to explain why life is so far out of thermodynamic equilibrium it is necessary to appeal to (immaterial) information.

    As the following article states, “the information to build a human infant, atom by atom, would take up the equivalent of enough thumb drives to fill the Titanic, multiplied by 2,000.”

    In a TED Talk, (the Question You May Not Ask,,, Where did the information come from?) – November 29, 2017
    Excerpt: Sabatini is charming.,,, he deploys some memorable images. He points out that the information to build a human infant, atom by atom, would take up the equivalent of enough thumb drives to fill the Titanic, multiplied by 2,000. Later he wheels out the entire genome, in printed form, of a human being,,,,:
    [F]or the first time in history, this is the genome of a specific human, printed page-by-page, letter-by-letter: 262,000 pages of information, 450 kilograms.,,,
    https://evolutionnews.org/2017/11/in-a-ted-talk-heres-the-question-you-may-not-ask/

    To state the obvious, that is a massive amount of ‘positional’ information’ that is constraining a human to be so far out of thermodynamic equilibrium. Information that cannot possibly be contained within the 3 billion DNA base pairs of the fertilized egg of a human.

    So just where is this massive amount of ‘positional’ information coming from in the developing embryo if it can’t possibly be contained within the DNA?

    Well, at about the 41:00 minute mark of the following video, Dr. Wells, using a branch of mathematics called category theory, demonstrates that, during embryological development, ‘positional information’ must somehow be added to the developing embryo, ‘from the outside’, by some ‘non-material’ method, in order to explain the transdifferentiation of cells into multiple different states during embryological development.

    Design Beyond DNA: A Conversation with Dr. Jonathan Wells – video (41:00 minute mark) – January 2017
    https://youtu.be/ASAaANVBoiE?t=2484

    Moreover, as the following video highlights, (a video which I have already referenced), there is now found to be a massive amount of non-local, beyond space and time, quantum entanglement and/or quantum information within living organisms. (i.e. quantum information is now found in DNA, proteins, and all the important biomolecules of our bodies)

    Darwinian Materialism vs. Quantum Biology – Part II – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSig2CsjKbg

    The thing about quantum entanglement that is so interesting to think about is that it requires a ‘non-local’ cause that is beyond space and time. As the following article states, ““Our result gives weight to the idea that quantum correlations somehow arise from outside spacetime, in the sense that no story in space and time can describe them,”

    Looking beyond space and time to cope with quantum theory – 29 October 2012
    Excerpt: “Our result gives weight to the idea that quantum correlations somehow arise from outside spacetime, in the sense that no story in space and time can describe them,”
    http://www.quantumlah.org/high.....uences.php

    On top of all that, and as far as science is concerned, quantum information is also held to be ‘conserved’.

    As the following article states, “In the classical world, information can be copied and deleted at will. In the quantum world, however, the conservation of quantum information means that information cannot be created nor destroyed.”

    Quantum no-hiding theorem experimentally confirmed for first time – 2011
    Excerpt: In the classical world, information can be copied and deleted at will. In the quantum world, however, the conservation of quantum information means that information cannot be created nor destroyed. This concept stems from two fundamental theorems of quantum mechanics: the no-cloning theorem and the no-deleting theorem. A third and related theorem, called the no-hiding theorem, addresses information loss in the quantum world. According to the no-hiding theorem, if information is missing from one system (which may happen when the system interacts with the environment), then the information is simply residing somewhere else in the Universe; in other words, the missing information cannot be hidden in the correlations between a system and its environment.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....tally.html

    The implication of finding ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, and ‘conserved’, quantum information in molecular biology on such a massive scale, in every important biomolecule in our bodies, is fairly, and pleasantly, obvious. That pleasant implication is, of course, the fact that we now have very strong empirical evidence suggesting that we do indeed have an eternal soul that is capable of living beyond the death of our material bodies. As Stuart Hameroff states in the following article, ‘the quantum information,,, isn’t destroyed. It can’t be destroyed.,,, it’s possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body. Perhaps indefinitely as a soul.”

    Leading Scientists Say Consciousness Cannot Die It Goes Back To The Universe – Oct. 19, 2017 – Spiritual
    Excerpt: “Let’s say the heart stops beating. The blood stops flowing. The microtubules lose their quantum state. But the quantum information, which is in the microtubules, isn’t destroyed. It can’t be destroyed. It just distributes and dissipates to the universe at large. If a patient is resuscitated, revived, this quantum information can go back into the microtubules and the patient says, “I had a near death experience. I saw a white light. I saw a tunnel. I saw my dead relatives.,,” Now if they’re not revived and the patient dies, then it’s possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body. Perhaps indefinitely as a soul.”
    – Stuart Hameroff – Quantum Entangled Consciousness – Life After Death – video (5:00 minute mark)
    https://radaronline.com/exclusives/2012/10/life-after-death-soul-science-morgan-freeman/

    Thus, very much contrary to Seversky’s assertion about “unproven and possibly unprovable claims about the existence of souls’, the fact of the matter is that we do indeed now have very strong empirical evidence suggesting that we do indeed have an eternal soul that is capable of living beyond the death of our material bodies.

    Verses

    Mark 8:37
    Is anything worth more than your soul?

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

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