Thursday, September 13, 2007

MN at the end of its tether

Recently, I wrote to a friend who was discussing methodological naturalism - the view that science can only consider natural (= material) causes. My comment was:
In The Spiritual Brain, Mario and I discuss the problems created by MN - as it relates to neuroscience - as follows:

MN more or less requires denying the reality or efficacy of the mind, as opposed to accepting a mind-brain complex (dualistic interactionism, the view that my lead author Mario Beauregard espouses).

The result is that one must accept any hypothesis that fits into MN - no matter how ridiculous - as opposed to any hypothesis that does not fit into it - no matter how demonstrable in practice.

That's at the root of all the silly explanations of spiritual experiences (God gene, module, helmet, etc.), which we discuss in considerable detail in the book, before presenting another view.

The people offering these explanations are not silly people. Their problem is that they are trapped by a paradigm that doesn't really work for understanding the mind-brain complex.

Note: Good for you, kind reader, if you picked up the pun in the title - yes, it is a reference to H.G. Wells's despairing book, Mind at the End of Its Tether (1945).

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