Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

CategoryNeuroscience

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Can Materialism Explain Abstract Thought? Part II

Now Dr. Ali argues with Dr. Ali

I know of no report in medical history of an abstract thought evoked by a seizure or by brain stimulation. Which is odd, if the brain causes abstract thought.

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Up! Up! Up! Keep Those Hippocampi Up!

The lighter side of neurobabble about our brains and ourselves

Neurobabble is a full-employment campaign for neuroscientists. Recast obvious social or psychological facts as brain events and you’ll never be out of work.

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J. P. Moreland’s Model of the Human Self Survived the Ultimate Field Test

Could the Christian philosopher rely on his model to help himself heal from psychiatric disorder?
To win the struggle with mental states that he knew to be aberrant, he had to clarify his view of the mind and the soul. But this time it was from the first-person perspective: it is not just my theory; this is happening to me. Read More ›
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Tales of the Mind: A Neurologist Encounters the House of Mirrors

Materialism is an intellectual trap, out of which neuroscience needs to climb

Yale University neurologist Steven Novella posted recently on the science of growing brain tissue in the lab. It’s interesting stuff, but then we come to the jumbled metaphysical musings that conclude his post: There is a layer of weirdness to the very idea of brain tissue in a vat, because I think we are naturally uncomfortable with the very notion that our consciousness is the result of a clump of tissue shuttling ions around. It breaks the illusion that our brains evolved to have, a very compelling and persistent illusion – namely that the reality we perceive is real, rather than a constructed representation. That internal representation has a strong relationship to physical reality, but the two are not the Read More ›

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Four Researchers Whose Work Sheds Light on the Reality of the Mind

The brain can be cut in half, but the intellect and will cannot, says Michael Egnor. The intellect and will are metaphysically simple

Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor was featured in a short film as a supplement to the Science Uprising series. There, he mentions four researchers who have shed light on the non-material mind nature of our minds: Wilder Penfield (1891–1976): Some of the earliest evidence came from neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield, who was the pioneer in epilepsy surgery in the mid 20th century. Penfield operated on over a thousand epilepsy patients while they were awake (under local anesthesia), and he stimulated their brains with electrodes in order to identify epileptic regions for surgical resection. He carefully recorded their responses to stimulation. In his book Mystery of the Mind, (1975) Penfield noted: “When I have caused a conscious patient to move his hand by applying Read More ›

Langzeit EEG

Do “forced thinking” seizures show that abstract thought is a material thing?

Epilepsy suppresses abstract thought, it does not evoke it
It’s worth noting that Wilder Penfield, (with Herbert Jasper, his neurologist colleague), was one of the first doctors to characterize forced thinking seizures and he asserted that there are no intellectual seizures. He understood that forced thinking seizures are not seizures of the intellect. Read More ›
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Do Epileptic Seizures Cause Abstract Thoughts?

A psychiatrist argues that “intellectual seizures” can occur

Seizures never evoke abstract thought. That is, if a seizure causes you to think about a triangle, it always causes you to imagine a particular triangle, not to define triangles abstractly.

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Atheist Psychiatrist Misunderstands Evidence for an Immaterial Mind

Patients with massive brain damage were shown to have a mental life

Here is one way of seeing it: If someone took a sledgehammer to your computer and pulverized it, yet it still worked fairly well, you would conclude that there was something rather strange about the computer that you had not previously considered.

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New Evidence That Some Comatose People Really Do Understand

Researchers found mental activity in response to verbal commands even in some “completely unresponsive” patients

There is growing evidence that many comatose patients are quite aware of what is going on around them. For example, nurses are often very careful not to say upsetting things that the patient can hear because blood pressure often rises dramatically, even in deeply “unaware” comatose patients.

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images from a computerized tomography of the brain.
images from a computerized tomography of the brain.

Can Buzzwords About “Neural Networks” Save Materialist Neuroscience?

No. Experiments that support an immaterial consciousness often involve split or massively damaged neural networks

The attribution of abstract thought to the material brain is philosophical and logical nonsense and has been repeatedly discredited by the best neuroscience over the past century.

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Science Points To An Immaterial Mind

If one did not start with a materialist bias, materialism would not be invoked as an explanation for a whole range of experiments in neuroscience

There may indeed be material explanations (at least from the perspective of neuroscience) but the simplest and most convincing explanation for the results of many experiments is that abstract thought is an immaterial power, not a material power, of the mind.

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New Mind-Controlled Robot Arm Needs No Brain Implant

The thought-controlled device could help people with movement disorders control devices without the costs and risks of surgery

Beyond that, such research raises a philosophical question: If the mind is an illusion, how can it act directly on external things, by the force of decision-making alone?

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Science Uprising: Stop Ignoring Evidence for the Existence of the Human Mind!

Materialism enables irrational ideas about ourselves to compete with rational ones on an equal basis. It won’t work
If materialism were true, we would probably already have found the consciousness gene and the wobbly free will knob in the brain. Instead, we are left with the infamously Hard Problem of Consciousness and bizarre materialist attempts to make it Go Away. Read More ›
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Non-Invasive Healing for the Wounded Brain

One method does not involve invasive surgery but rather stimulating the tongue

Jonathan Sackier emphasizes that, when dealing with sufferers from severe or chronic brain injury, medicine must not raise false hopes: “So we have a profound obligation to be honest, open, transparent, and to do darn good science!” But he is optimistic.

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Wasps can reason? Science media say yes, researchers no

Media stories explicitly claim that wasps use logical reasoning, which researchers disavow

The media’s monolithic obsession with denying human uniqueness comes at a cost. The remarkable fact that two life forms have the same number of neurons but one displays significantly more complex behavior than the other is drowned out by the volume of misrepresentation. 

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How the Injured Brain Heals Itself: Our Amazing Neuroplasticity

Jonathan Sackier is a pioneer in non-invasive techniques for speeding the healing of traumatic brain injuries

People who have come back from catastrophic injuries like Bill Zoller's intrigue neuroscientists because they offer a glimpse into the neuroplasticity that enables the brain to restore lost functions, which we can learn to augment.

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The Human Brain: Even Basic Facts Are Hotly Contested

Keep that in mind when AI boosters claim that their product will function like a human brain

When we read that “Scientists Are Closer to Making Artificial Brains That Operate Like Ours Do”, we might ask: If career researchers dispute the question of how the brain works at basic levels, how can non-experts be so sure they have replicated it?

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Researchers Identify a New Form of Brain Communication

Mouse studies find brain waves that can bypass synapses and gaps, even communicate with severed nerves

Such surprising new findings show that comparisons between a human brain and a computer greatly underestimate the complexity of the brain.

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Even the axons in our nerve cells are “smart PCs”

Your brain is not a computer, it is billions of them

Contrary to expectations, researchers say, far-flung regions (thousands of cell body widths from their nucleus) can even make independent decisions.

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