Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis


Portrait of Neanderthal man tending to a fire in a primitive shelter, embodying protection and provider instincts.

Could Neanderthals Speak? It Depends on Who You Talk To

Theorists who will, sadly, never converse with a living Neanderthal imagine things they could and couldn’t do linguistically
Humans can tolerate mysteries quite well as long as we can fill them in with speculations, which in the end tell us mostly about ourselves. Read More ›
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At Scientific American, free will seems very much alive

The concept is incompatible with their “mind is just the brain” thesis but they can’t let go of it anyway
The debate will surely continue but it’s remarkable that it’s even HELD at Scientific American. Wasn’t materialism supposed to have disproved free will by now? Read More ›
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Neuroscientist: The “I” of Consciousness Cannot Be Explained Away

Skeptical philosopher David Hume tried it and, Raymond Tallis says, things collapsed almost immediately
To suppose that unthinking processes can somehow produce a thinking entity as an illusion is a sheer act of faith — faith in materialism but faith nonetheless. Read More ›
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Thinking of the “Bigger Picture”

New study on how transcendent thinking enhances and improves the brain in adolescents
Going beyond worksheets and standardized tests to grapple with "the bigger picture" looks to be the sort of education we all need the most. Read More ›
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Human Subject Moves Computer Mouse with Neuralink Chip

So Big Tech companies might know your inner thoughts, now. What could possibly go wrong?
Recent history tells us that corporations may be eager to get the upper hand and use it as an excuse to violate privacy even more than they already have. Read More ›
Physics or mathematical equations on a universe decorative LED background give the impression of interstellar space travel.

Fine-Tuning of Universe Makes a Top Neuroscientist “Very Hopeful”

Allen Institute’s Christof Koch talks about the assumptions underlying his consciousness theory — which led many other neuroscientists to try to Cancel him
When one of the world’s most prominent research neuroscientists goes off the classic materialist script — and gets away with it — things are changing. Read More ›
Abstract image of the brain in which synapses are represented as glowing lines symbolizing learning

Neuroscientist: How the Brain-as-Computer Myth Led Science Astray

Michael Merzenich explains neuroplasticity — how the brain organizes itself in detail — to Robert Lawrence Kuhn at Closer to Truth
The Dalai Lama asked Merzenich a question that cut to the heart of the question of the relationship between our brains and ourselves. Read More ›
A team of surgeons performing brain surgery to remove a tumor.

Neuroscientist: Human Brain More Complex Than the Models Show

The weird “homunculus” — the way the brain maps the body — was pioneer neurosurgeons’ best guess nearly a century ago
We shouldn’t be surprised if the brain is more complex than could be known earlier. Most modern research into human beings is turning out that way. Read More ›
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Is AI the Triumph of Left-Brained Thinking? What Follows?

Psychiatrist Iain McGilchrist argues that it is and asks us to consider what its cultural lean toward the “left brain” is doing to us
He notes, “ AI … has no sense of the bigger picture, of other values, or of the way in which context—or even scale and extent—changes everything.” Read More ›
Senior man looking at empty bench and remembering his friend, loss, memories

Why Can’t Our Memories Be “Stored” in the Brain?

The image of storing and erasing memories is popular due to computer technology but it is not relevant to how the human mind works
When we talk about memory, we often use word pictures that make it seem as though memories behave like material things but they don’t. Read More ›
Young african runner running on racetrack

A Philosopher Explains: How the Soul Relates to the Body

James Madden explains a philosophical approach to the soul called hylomorphism which, he argues, can benefit neuroscience
Hylomorphism, derived from ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle, unites the sou with the body without denying its immateriality or immortality. Read More ›
Endless reflections of mirrors in labyrinth house

Hall of Mirrors: The Many Ways Consciousness Baffles Researchers

Does consciousness have a seat at the table? Wait a minute. Isn’t consciousness the table? Or is it?
The human brain was bound to disappoint a pop culture quest for easy answers; brain imaging has not turned out to be a road map of the mind. Read More ›
Choosing the High Road or Low Road

How Neuroscience Disproved Free Will and Then Proved It Again

In this excerpt from Minding the Brain (2023), neuroscientist Cristi L. S. Cooper discusses the discovery of “free won’t” — the decision NOT to do something
Neuroscientist Benjamin Libet was skeptical of claims that he had disproved free will, so he continued to experiment and found that he hadn’t after all. Read More ›
X ray female head with implanted micro chip - 3d Illustration

Will Neuralink’s Brain Implant Help Paralysis Victims?

Addressing disabilities like paralysis, limb loss, and blindness seems a more realistic goal than the hyped (and feared) human–machine hybrids
When Elon Musk announced his first implant recipient late last month, a broad public first learned that many people with disabilities use implants now. Read More ›
Hemispheres of the brain front view

Could Human Consciousness Be a Recent Historical Development?

Julian Jaynes’s bicameral mind theory, popular in the 1970s, stated that until about 3000 years ago, humans were not really conscious
Julian Jaynes, a researcher at Princeton, developed his theory after he was not able to demonstrate the evolution of consciousness via animal studies. Read More ›
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Where, Exactly, Is Memory Stored in the Brain?

The hippocampus of the brain is important for memory formation but memories are immaterial and are not really “stored” anywhere
Memories during near-death experiences, when the mind is not in touch with the brain, are often clear, precise, and comprehensive. Read More ›
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What Christof Koch Misunderstands About the Mind and the Brain

In his revealing interview at Closer to Truth, the Allen Institute neuroscientist, though he doubts physicalism, attributed subjective experiences to “brains”
The brain does not see, hear, feel, taste, or smell. It is the *person* who sees, hears, feels, tastes, and smells. Read More ›
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Leading Neuroscientist Wavers on Physical View of Consciousness

On Closer to Truth, Christof Koch said last month, “Consciousness cannot be explained only within the framework of space and time and energy, but we need to postulate something additional”
Science is as dependent on the concept of public truth as the great religions are. Thus, when private truth rapidly gains power, it is just as vulnerable. Read More ›
Human brain with electric impulses in purple

Are Researchers Taking Mystical Experiences More Seriously Now?

One challenge is that many people know only the materialist dismissals, not the evidence that is ignored or dismissed. Read More ›
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How Quantum Theory Relates To Consciousness

Experimental physicist Rob Sheldon explains the background to Hameroff and Penrose’s contested quantum consciousness theory, which is beginning to be tested
“Penrose consciousness,” in Sheldon’s view, escapes the paradoxes of non-computable problems that plague the trendy Universal Turing Machine model of the brain. Read More ›