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Textbook distortion of effect of brain injuries: Phineas Gage

On the iconic lecture room psychopath, fFrom the British Psychological Society Research Digest: So the textbooks mostly won’t tell you about Gage’s rehabilitation, or provide you with the latest evidence on his injuries. Instead, you might hear how hear never worked again and became a vagrant, or that he became a circus freak for the rest of his life, showing off the holes in his head. “The most egregious error,” says Griggs, “seems to be that Gage survived for 20 years with the tamping iron embedded in his head!”. Does any of this matter? Griggs argues strongly that it does. There are over one and half million students enrolled in introductory psychology courses in the US alone, and most of Read More ›

Neuroscience and popular materialism: What makes the human brain unique?

Here’s a great reason for rejecting pop neuroscience, titled “We are neuroscientists and we come in peace”: Peace? Hmmm. Just try coming to war here and see what happens. Just when it seemed things could get no worse, Hank Greely of Stanford Law School pointed to several areas of potential friction between neuroscience research and widely held religious beliefs (findings that point to consciousness, or a form of it, in nonhuman animals, for example, might undermine the notion that humans occupy a unique position in the world) and asked whether neuroscientists might get dragged into the type of culture war waged by evolutionary biologists and creationists. … “What Makes The Human Brain Unique”? What makes the human brain unique?: Has Read More ›

Phineas Gage: The cheat goes on

I must move on to other stories about false knowledge infesting the sciences and social sciences, but realized that I should notice this comment to this post: Bottom line is that even if the Gage story is wrong it does not show what is currently known about TBI. Whether Gage is true or not does not invalidate or falsify this, although O’Leary seems to imply this and I guess hopes it will stick. I replied: Taylor, I am glad I came back one last time. You speak as a true Darwinist!! It is clearly of NO consequence to you that the Phineas Gage story is probably false – as long as it fronts your agenda. You are not ashamed of the Read More ›