Friday, September 21, 2007

Consciousness: How much depends on your brain?

Here's an interesting article by Bruce Bawer in Science News on the attempt to understand consciousness,
In October 2004, Swedish neuroscientist Bjorn Merker packed up his video camera and joined five families for a 1-week get-together in Florida that featured several visits to the garden of childhood delights known as Disney World. For Merker, though, the trip wasn't a vacation. With the parents' permission, he came to observe and document the behavior of one child in each family who had been born missing roughly 80 percent of his or her brain.

Overall, most interesting. I suspect that the effort to locate consciousness in one single area of the brain is doomed.

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Write a bestselling "anti-God" book!

Pssst! Wanna write a best-selling anti-God book? Hey, go here for free details.

Don't know nuthin' 'bout what you don't believe? Relax. Nada problem. Only eight easy steps. For example,
5) Religious experience is easy to dismiss: it's all in the head. Remind your readers that Freud proved that religious beliefs were just illusions (without asking exactly what he meant by that word) and then make a reference to Michael Persinger's "God Machine" and the psilocybin trip you took during your hippy days in college (it was, like, intense, man, one-with-everything and all that). And of course any attempt by theists to argue that neurology and God might not be competing causes of religious experience is just a desperate attempt to ward off the relentless advance of science. Don't bother to mention the work of Caroline Franks Davis, Fraser Watts or Philip H. Wiebe. The latter in particular will cause serious trouble.

And, whatever you do, DON'T read The Spiritual Brain on the strange tale of Michael Persinger's God helmet.

(Persinger's device was a helmet, not a "machine." But everything would have turned out the same if his deviceSeptember 21, 2007 had been last year's fruitcake or Aunt Martha's longjohns.)

But it gets easier from there. Honest. Hey, you don't need talent or years of study or thousands of hours of research ... ya just gotta know what ya t'ink ain't so!

Hat tip: Raskolnikov, Lost in the Cosmos, blog