Is the brain a pasta maker or radio receiver, for thoughts?
|April 6, 2014||Posted by News under Intelligent Design, Mind, Neuroscience, News|
In a recent article in Chronicle of Higher Education, Jeffrey H. Kripal discusses the way materialism prevents lines of evidence from being considered, usually by ruling them out in principle. One familiar materialist theme is that the mind is simply the buzzing of neurons in the brain, and “science” does not permit or admit any other possible view.
Actually, another possible view is that the brain is to the mind what a radio system is to a broadcast. As a matter of fact, the radio image accounts just as effectively for what we actually see. The reason for its unpopularity is that it is not materialist.
Baylor College of Medicine researcher David Eagleman (author of Incognito who may be starting to get the picture), offers an analogy in the form of a parable, relayed by Kripal, of what the present scene would look like if that were th correct state of affairs:
Imagine that you are a Kalahari Bushman and that you stumble upon a transistor radio in the sand. You might pick it up, twiddle the knobs, and suddenly, to your surprise, hear voices streaming out of this strange little box. … Now let’s say you begin a careful, scientific study of what causes the voices. You notice that each time you pull out the green wire, the voices stop. When you put the wire back on its contact, the voices begin again. … You come to a clear conclusion: The voices depend entirely on the integrity of the circuitry. At some point, a young person asks you how some simple loops of electrical signals can engender music and conversations, and you admit that you don’t know—but you insist that your science is about to crack that problem at any moment.
Assuming that you are truly isolated, what you do not know is pretty much everything that you need to know: radio waves, electromagnetism, distant cities, radio stations, and modern civilization—everything outside the radio box. You would not have the capacity to even imagine such things. And if you could, Eagleman says, “you have no technology to demonstrate the existence of the waves, and everyone justifiably points out that the onus is on you to convince them.” You could convince almost no one, and you yourself would probably reject the existence of such mysterious, spiritlike waves. You would become a “radio materialist.” Eagleman points out at the end of his book: “I’m not asserting that the brain is like a radio, but I am pointing out that it could be true. There is nothing in our current science that rules this out.”
Nothing in science but lots in materialism.
Incidentally, the Bushman might not be nearly as isolated, these days, as some materialists.
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