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neurotrash

September 20, 2010

[BQ] This “science without theory” and “observation without concepts” has little or nothing in common with the patient collecting of evidence, and the tentative formulation of causal laws, that we observe in the work of Darwin. And the result is seized upon precisely because it seems to shoot us forward to a predetermined goal, which is that of reducing the human being to a biological computer.

Brain science is undeniably making important discoveries, as it maps the workings of the mind onto the wrinkles of the cortex. The problem is not with the science, but with its hasty and motivated application. The brain is an important part of the human being, but it is not the whole human being. And it is not the part that we relate to, when we address each other I to I. Religion arose from the attempt to make sense of our condition as responsible and self-conscious individuals: it claimed the territory of human relations and built its great castles there, in the open terrain of rational dialogue. Neurotrash has invaded that terrain and knocked down the castles. But it has also laid waste the land. What it tells us about the terrain of thought and emotion is not more true than religion but less true. (read)

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