Saturday, November 08, 2008

New Scientist hit piece an "unusually atrocious" article?

Merlijn De Smit, a linguist (17th century Finnish) notes in his blog, "Not Even Modern", that he found the hit piece in New Scientist against the non-materialist neuroscientists "unusually atrocious."

May I assume that he is not an enthusiastic reader of the British pop science press? Referring to two of the hit piece targets, J.P. Moreland and Henry Stapp, he notes,
I have a nasty feeling that at least some of the thinkers mentioned in the article as Creationist enemies have a viewpoint on some of the issues I mentioned above quite a bit more subtle than reflected in the writer's myopic focus on neuroscience. I haven't read J.P. Moreland, but glancing from the contents of his book, I would hazard a guess his place is within fairly mainstream philosophy of mind, rather than within some ID fifth column of neuroscience. And of Henry Stapp I know that he is working on a Whiteheadian process-philosophical interpretation of quantum mechanics, which has again everything to do with philosophical and metascientific frameworks and absolutely zilch with ID or Creationism.
In general, Merlijn, Gefter's article should have begun "Once upon a time, far, far away ..." That said, everyone mentioned in the article has a viewpoint "quite a bit more subtle" than you would ever guess from reading New Scientist. While we are here, you might like some of the more serious ID books. I recommend you try Mike Behe's Edge of Evolution for a biochemist's statement of the evidence against natural selection as the key engine of evolution.

De Smit concludes,
Popular science journalists ... should try their hand at reporting science. Not pseudo-science. Not politics or the intellectually barren perspective of left-liberal culture warriors. Not distort genuine, and interesting controversies through the lens of anti-religious hysteria.
And he is quite right. A thoughtful article could have been written about non-materialist neuroscience. For example, here's one by David Biello in Scientific American.

Also, here's an excerpt from Henry Stapp's talk at a recent non-materialist neuroscience conference at the UN. And here's J.P. Moreland.

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