A confluence of idiocy

You know how dumb Egnor sounds with his mind outside the brain cell-phone silliness? He sounds as dumb as Deepak Chopra writing more brain-dead new agey nonsense for the Huffington Post.

To gain credibility, the mind outside the brain must also be mirrored inside the brain. If your brain didn’t register what the mind is doing, there would be no way to detect the mind. Like a TV program being broadcast in the air, a receiver picks up the signal and makes it visible. The brain is a receiver for the mind field. The field itself is invisible, but as mirrored in our brains, it comes to life as images, sensations, and an infinite array of experiences.

The brain is like a cell phone receiving signals from above. Wait no! It’s like a TV!

This is how pathetic the proponents of intelligent design are, and for that matter, the crystal-clutching hippies that fall for Chopra woo. Without even meaning to, their arguments reflect each other, because they’re both based on magical thinking.

So far, the phenomenon of mirror neurons hasn’t been isolated to single neurons in the human brain. Due to the complexity of the laboratory work, it hasn’t traveled very far into the general public. This means that mirror neurons will be held captive for the time being by the belief system of neurology, which is overwhelmingly materialistic. That is, the brain being a solid object comes first while mind, if it exists at all, comes second. Yet I would argue that most of the things we most cherish about the mind, including empathy, language, and learning, depend on mind coming first, and the mirror neuron serves its purposes.

Maybe the brain really is like a TV set. Sadly, Deepak Chopra and Michael Egnor are both stuck on the same stupid channel.


9 responses to “A confluence of idiocy”

  1. Ex-drone

    Don’t try to understand it. ID’s hypotheses are irreducibly complex.

  2. Wait, so this whole thing comes from a misunderstanding of mirror neurons? Mirror neurons allow us to watch other monkeys performing tasks and to figure out how they’re doing them, without actually having to perform the actions.

    I’d argue not that mirror neurons are being held captive by materialists, but rather that they’re being held captive by people who understand them. The horror!

  3. ZacharySmith

    Wow! Chopra sounds almost just like the DI. They could swap scripts and I doubt anyone would be able to tell.

    I wonder what the fundie christians would say if they knew their ID champions were spouting the same nonsense as the reviled pot-smoking, acid dropping New Age hippies?

  4. Anonymous

    I’m no psychologist but I am a musician – with a keen interest in brain science. I can recall that learning to ski powder many years ago was greatly aided by my attempts to visualize and follow an expert skier down the mountain – trying to emulate not just their moves – but the feeling of their moves. OK – mirror neurons.

    I am also aware, however, of a different but seemingly related phenomenon. When I learn a new tune on my guitar – as soon as I have the basic pick and left hand patterns worked out – by simply imagining that I am playing those patterns and playing the tune back in my mind – perhaps when I’m falling asleep at night – it seems to me that I can improve the speed and accuracy of my playing the new tune without actually practicing with the guitar. I can “practice” in my mind – and my motor control improves.

    I also notice that whenever I play well – which doesn’t happen nearly enough of course – it is when I am playing back a mental image, not of what my fingers are doing, but an image of how I wish the tune sound to myself and others. (Although that could be because when I have mastered any tune I don’t have to worry about my fingers.)

    I wonder if all of this isn’t related and part of something larger than simply mirror neurons.

  5. You know, I always thought my brain was like a cell phone. One of those new, all-singing all-dancing jobs. Because fucked if I know how to answer it.

    On the other hand, it would explain the ringing in my ears.

    If the brain is then also like a TV, It would seem Chopra et all are tuned permanently to Fox News. Imagine mirroring Billo’s neurons? Erk.

    Be absolutely Icebox.
    The Batzman

  6. Ive heard similar proposals before, in religious debates, as a counter to my own argument against the existance of the soul.

    My own argument is simple enough: Show me a soul. Where is it? Why do all the functions that a soul is supposed to perform seem to occur in the brain? If the brain does everything, why need a soul?

    The responses I have seen are:
    – The soul doesn’t do anything, its just there, waiting for death.
    – The soul makes moral decisions, but everything else is handled biologically. The soul somehow pokes the biology into doing the right thing.
    – The brain is a reciever or container for the soul. It may look like its thinking, but its really just copying the soul.

    At no point have I seen a christian or other theist admit the possibility that there is no such thing as a soul

  7. Kinda funny how they’re both avoiding the most obvious analogy: that the brain is like a computer, i.e. it computes information inputs according to a set of programs hardwired into it. Of course, that analogy isn’t very compatible with mind-body dualism, so as far as they’re concerned it does not compute.

    Of course, even the analogy with TVs and cell phones is bad. They’re ignoring the fact that TVs and cell phones recieve information by purely natural, mechanical means. Radio waves aren’t magic.

    And ya gotta love Chopra’s attempt to revive a watered down version of Leibniz’s “pre-established harmony” argument to compliment his watered down version of Descartes’ “brain as a reciever for the soul” argument.

  8. sounds more like VNC than tv to me {sarcasm}

  9. Shlomo

    Brain like a cell phone? Hmmm. I’ll just let the voice mail handle that one.

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