I’ve called Michael Egnor the philosophical neuroscientist. That’s because unlike some well-known atheist scientists, who are pure amateurs when it comes to philosophy, Dr. Egnor brings it all together: the latest scientific research and the search for wisdom about the fundamentals of reality from Aristotle to today. He is featured in the second episode of Science Uprising, making the case that human beings are not, per evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne, “robots made out of meat.” Here, in a supplementary video, Egnor has the time to further unfold his arguments:
Is the mind simply another word for the brain, an organ in the head that fools us into thinking that the self, the “inescapable I,” is a genuine entity? Dr. Egnor explains the materialist view in its several successive historical manifestations, and why, despite its pervasive influence, it hardly qualifies as a serious perspective. Egnor details the findings of his own field, neuroscience. These indicate that something extra, something immaterial, is joined with the material body to form the complete human being. That something extra is traditionally designated as the soul.
You are more than a physical creature alone. Egnor cites, among other pieces of evidence, a 2006 study in the journal Science reporting that patients in a persistent vegetative state, contrary to how their condition appears clinically, are not all absent as personalities. Even with a severely damaged, shrunken brain, the non-material person is somehow still there, and aware. For example, as functional magnetic resonance imaging shows, many such patients, just like healthy people, can distinguish the sound of meaningful sentences from syntactical gibberish. That should be impossible under materialist assumptions.
It’s fascinating stuff that flies in the face of the viewpoint treasured and defended by prestige academia and the mainstream media.Watch the episode of Science Uprising here:
Photo: Professor Michael Egnor, Stony Brook University, in a scene from Science Uprising.