Non-materialist neuroscience is the latest front in the war on science. The battle has been a long time coming and it is surprising it has taken so long to get going. Modern neuroscience is rapidly reducing much of human thought, emotion and behavior into component pieces of neuronal interactions. The combination of computational modeling and non-invasive imaging of living brains has allowed researchers to begin describing how complex thought emerges from the firing patterns of neurons. In a way neuroscience is the death knell of dualism. When materialist causes become both necessary and sufficient to explain all of human thought then parsimony dictates that references to a soul or other supernatural entities can be tossed out.
Non-materialist neuroscience is a reaction to these discoveries, a rallying cry for dualism. Like creationism and intelligent design this "new" neuroscience is a reactionary movement against science. Rather than a hypothesis that leads to predictions and experiments, it is simply a catalog of things modern neuroscience supposedly cannot yet explain.
Unsurprisingly, the movement is spear-headed by intelligent design lackeys from the Discovery Institute and related affiliates. The primary proponents of the movement are Michael Egnor, a neurosurgeon and recent contributor to the Discovery Institute blog, Denyse O'Leary a Canadian "journalist" who runs her own blog dedicated to non-materialist neuroscience and likes to copy and paste these entries over on William Dembski's blog as well, and Mario Beauregard the author with O'Leary of a recent book on the subject of non-materialist neuroscience The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist's Case for the Existence of the Soul.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Here is an discussion on what the authors call the latest installment of the war on science. From their introduction: