Friday, January 11, 2008

What I say to people who think the human mind is a user illusion ...;

Here's a kind review of The Spiritual Brain by Canada's Donna Dawson, novelist and blogger:
I must say that I have never read a scientific book that has striven so much to remain close to evidence-based truth as this one has. Too often the scientist’s personal view is splashed liberally throughout the pages—something not done here for the most part. Doctor Beauregard and Ms. O’Leary worked hard to keep opinion out of the documentation as much as possible in the first nine chapters. It is only chapter ten where personal belief is brought into the picture. I was stunned by the overwhelming amount of data served up in a clinical, non-threatening style so as to cut through any previous unscientific agenda in order to present clear truth.

Donna is right about that. We strove very hard to present a clearly written and interesting account of the evidence for the spiritual nature of human beings. While researching the various topics, I found myself slogging through many books whose authors had somehow convinced themselves that the human mind doesn't really exist, and were not about to be persuaded by evidence. Here are the questions I want to ask them (but usually can't):

He: The human mind is simply the functions of the brain. It is merely a user illusion.

Me: Who's the user?

He: What? Look, there ISN'T a user. You're clearly not well educated so ...

Me: If there isn't a user, it's not a user illusion.

He: Okay, it's just an illusion plain and simple then. Modern science has discovered ...

Me: Modern science hasn't discovered anything that scientists didn't need their minds for. So you're saying that all those discoveries are just illusions?

He: No! Quit misquoting me! You people do that all the time. I'm saying that materialism is TRUE. If you don't believe it, you have a one way ticket to the Dark Ages.

Me: Funny thing, that religious weirdo who handed me a bunch of hellfire tracts in the shopping plaza told me something very similar: If I don't believe it, I have a one way ticket to hell. And he doesn't think I should use my mind either, actually. Do you two by any chance work together? ...

If my mind serves no other function in my life, it gets me out of the way of those types.