Posts tagged with neuroscience
But the idea that the mind is separate from the brain no longer makes sense. They are simply different ways of describing the same thing. To talk about the brain is to talk about physiology, neurons, receptors, and neurotransmitters; to talk about the mind is to talk about thoughts, ideas, beliefs, emotions, and desires. As an old and elegant phrase puts it, “The mind is what the brain does.
People often think that other people are staring at them even when they aren’t, vision scientists have found.
In a new article in Current Biology, researchers at The Vision Centre reveal that, when in doubt, the human brain is more likely to tell its owner that they’re under the gaze of another person.
You have to admit that some people are wrong about how we should live in this world. Some people care about the wrong things - they care about things that reliably lead to needless human misery. And it is not unscientific to say that. In fact, to withhold that judgment, from the point of view of science, is tantamount to saying we know nothing about human well being and we will never know anything about it. And that I think, at this moment of history, a intellectually dishonest thing to do and I think it’s actually a failure of compassion given all of the unnecessary misery in the world.
We’re hardwired not to be hardwired.
Remember people, our brains have amazing plasticity and change from experience. In fact, they change quite remarkably and a lot quicker then most proposed not long ago. Just 42 years ago, most believed that the nervous system was fixed throughout adulthood.
Ordinary people want to feel philosophically justified in hating evildoers and viewing them as the ultimate authors of their evil. This moral attitude has always been vulnerable to our learning more about the causes of human behavior—and in situations where the origins of a person’s actions become absolutely clear, our feelings about his responsibility begin to change. What is more, they should change. We should admit that a person is unlucky to inherit the genes and life experience that will doom him to psychopathy. That doesn’t mean we can’t lock him up, or kill him in self-defense, but hating him is not rational, given a complete understanding of how he came to be who he is. Natural, yes; rational, no. Feeling compassion for him would be rational, however—or so I have argued.
The firing of a single neuron is not enough to create the twitch of an eyelid in sleep, let alone a conscious impression…Millions of neurons must fire in unison to produce the most trifling thought.
Consciousness—the sheer fact that this universe is illuminated by sentience—is precisely what unconsciousness is not. And I believe that no description of unconscious complexity will fully account for it. It seems to me that just as “something” and “nothing,” however juxtaposed, can do no explanatory work, an analysis of purely physical processes will never yield a picture of consciousness. However, this is not to say that some other thesis about consciousness must be true. Consciousness may very well be the lawful product of unconscious information processing. But I don’t know what that sentence means—and I don’t think anyone else does either.
The whole blog post is awesome.
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Yes, I really like Sam Harris. I’ve read The Moral Landscape and his arguments are really solid. He’s not xenophobic, etc. He is tough on Islam but he’s tough on all religions really. His intentions are quite good. He even said in the video blog that he questions his methods sometimes and will continue to had an evolving opinion on how criticism of religion should be handled. I’ve also watched many many debates of his and he is quite the intellectual. Honestly, it feels like mental exercise when I listen to his arguments and ideas. Also, his “Ask Sam Harris Anything” blogs are incredible. He discusses free will, atheism, criticism, animal rights, vegetarianism, spirituality, morality, liberals, drug use and meditation.
He said he was thinking about writing an ebook about free will. Check out his thoughts of free will right here. His rebuttal to the claim that atheism takes away meaning from life is fantastic as well.