Friday, October 31, 2008

2 Reveal that a popular villain is behind it all (cue "evil" music)

At this point, Gefter, Philadelphia-based opinion editor at New Scientist, devotes a fair amount of space to the Seattle-based intelligent design think tank, Discovery Institute - an ever popular villain among her readers. They would believe anything of Discovery Institute (DI). So Gefter implies that DI is a key force behind non-materialist neuroscience:
In August, the Discovery Institute ran its 2008 Insider's Briefing on Intelligent Design*, at which Schwartz and Michael Egnor, a neurosurgeon at Stony Brook University in New York, were invited to speak. When two of the five main speakers at an ID meeting are neuroscientists, something is up. Could the next battleground in the ID movement's war on science be the brain?
Conspiracy thinking is a weak substitute for information. Discovery Institute is sympathetic to non-materialist neuroscience** (no surprise there), but it is not in any sense a key player. Non-materialist neuroscience probably owes much more to the Templeton Foundation, about whose science efforts Gefter is quite ambivalent, to say nothing of the Nour Foundation, which co-sponsored the recent symposium. But that would not fit the picture she is trying to paint.

Incidentally, will Templeton sour on non-materialist neuroscience, if Discovery gets more involved? Templeton and Discovery are not on friendly terms. Maybe, but Templeton may refuse to cede a fruitful area to a hated upstart. You don't get to be big that way, and Templeton is big.

*Note 1: A blind link was removed from the original at this point.

**Note 2: For the record, I spoke at Discovery's 2007 "Insider's Briefing," introducing The Spiritual Brain, which was released in hard cover that month by Harper One. That was where I first learned about Ben Stein's Expelled movie, and pelted back to my hotel room to blog about it - which is why that post originated in Seattle, not Toronto. Does Expelled - in which Jeffrey Schwartz makes a cameo appearance - mean that Stein and the Discovery Institute also intend to declare war on Hollywood? Hey, connect the dots, and ... celebs, shed those three-inch heels and run for the exits!!

Next: 3 Haul out the goblins that scared them before

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