Materialist Neuroscience and the ‘Hard Problem’ of Consciousness

Materialist neurologist Dr. Steven Novella recently took Deepak Chopra to task for Chopra’s support for mind-body dualism. Chopra, a respected physician and professor of medicine who has written and lectured extensively on spirituality in medicine, had pointed out the numerous problems raised by a dogmatic materialist understanding of the mind-brain problem. Materialists believe that the mind in a sense doesn’t exist as a separate entity; it’s merely a state of the brain, caused entirely by neurons and neurochemistry. Novella states:

P.Z. Myers: Darwinists Know What’s Best for Your Children

P.Z. Myers recently put up another post supporting censorship of criticism of Darwinism in public education. Democratically elected school board officials in Florida and Texas are moving closer to policies that would include teaching students that some aspects of Darwin’s theory can be questioned scientifically. In other words, they’re proposing that Darwinism can be taught just like any other scientific theory. Florida State School Board Member Linda Taylor put it this way: I would support teaching evolution, but with all its warts. I think that some of the facts have been questioned by evolutionists themselves. I would want them taught as theories. That’s important. They could be challenged by others and the kids could then be taught critical thinking and Read More ›

I Disagree with Mac Johnson

Mac Johnson is a columnist at Human Events who writes columns with which I often agree. Last month he posted a column with which I, and many commentators on his blog, disagree. His column, Intelligent Design and Other Dumb Ideas, attacks a theory not held by any advocate of Intelligent Design. Perhaps I can help clear up his misunderstanding. Intelligent Design in biology is a straightforward idea — one that Mr. Johnson, who is a medical researcher and is well acquainted with the methods of science, should have no trouble getting right. Understanding what advocates of intelligent design are saying is a necessary prelude to a thoughtful critique, which Mr. Johnson has not yet offered.

Atheist Fundamentalism and the Limits of Science

Juno Walker at Letters from Vrai has responded to my post Dr. Pigliucci and Fundamentalism in Science Education. Dr Massimo Pigliucci published an essay in The McGill Journal of Education in which he made the absurd claim that effective science education would dissuade students from a belief in Heaven. I pointed out in my post that Heaven wasn’t exactly a proper subject for the scientific method and that the assertion that science education was even applicable to a belief in Heaven was fundamentalism — a kind of atheist fundamentalism. The conflation of methodological naturalism and philosophical naturalism — science and atheism — is no more acceptable pedagogy than the conflation of science and creationism. Atheism and creationism are philosophical inferences, Read More ›

Dr. Pigliucci and Fundamentalism in Science Education

Dr. Massimo Pigliucci is a colleague of mine here at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He’s a professor of evolutionary biology and philosophy. I don’t know him personally, but by all reports he is a fine scientist and teacher. He’s written an essay in the McGill Journal of Education about improving science education in light of the controversy between Darwinism and intelligent design. It’s a fascinating essay. Dr. Pigliucci writes well, and he reveals much about Darwinists’ approach to the scientific and educational conflict between intelligent design and Darwinism. His abstract sums it up: