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Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience
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2013 > Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience

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message 1: by Roger (new) - added it

Roger Morris (roger_morris) | 34 comments "In recent years, the advent of MRI technology seems to have unlocked the secrets of the human mind, revealing the sources of our deepest desires, intentions, and fears.

As renowned psychiatrist and scholar Sally Satel and psychologist Scott O. Lilienfeld demonstrate in "Brainwashed", however, the explanatory power of brain scans in particular and neuroscience more generally has been vastly overestimated.

Although acknowledging its tremendous potential, the authors argue that the overzealous application of the burgeoning field of brain science has put innocent people in jail, prevented addicts from healing themselves, and undermined notions of free will and responsibility.

A provocative challenge to the use and abuse of a seductive science,"Brainwashed" offers an essential corrective to determinist explanations of human behavior."

message 2: by David (new)

David Mcdivitt | 65 comments Your icon is Mr. Spock, Roger, which is cool. Spock is logical and not realistic. Logic is not the same as reality, does not prove reality, and does not synchronize with reality in some mystical, magical way. The same can be said for science, which is a type of logic, and empiricism. May we continue to improve logic and science, whether or not they ever align with arbitrary views of realism.

message 3: by Jennifer (new) - added it

Jennifer | 2 comments The summary of the book above sounds like it's a good read with an important point to make. But on further reading about the book and others she has written... ugh. One of her books sounds like it is basically denying the entire study of psychology, in favor of some primitive "suck it up and move on with your life" philosophy.

message 4: by Michael (new)

Michael Bruzenak | 6 comments On the other hand. I have used a little knowledge of neuroscience to solve a number of problems with my own brain. Understanding the connection between conscious attention and learning has given me the ability to reliably remember what I want to remember and to change certain habits that aggravate me.

An idea that is just barely a theory has given me the ability to get around those aggravating tip-of-the-tongue moments. The idea is local minima and the solution is to distract yourself away from what you are trying to remember. It works like magic.

Granted, getting carried away with these things is not a good idea but the point is that learning that our brains are made of meat and finding out how that meat works gives us some remarkable possibilities.

I, being a recovering addict, have even used some of those ideas to help me stay in line with a program. I have a mechanistic view of 12-step spirituality and have essentially made neuroscience my 'higher power'. One would think that this could drain the life out of spirituality but in fact the opposite has been the case with me.

message 5: by David (last edited Jun 07, 2013 08:37PM) (new)

David Mcdivitt | 65 comments I've made use of these podcasts Ginger has done. I guess that would be using neuroscience.

I've had a double vision problem for a number of years as a result of a car accident. I corrected very well the first two or three months, then less, and the last little bit never went away. Hearing about the plasticity of the brain, I gave myself a successful treatment plan. I found a neuro ophthalmologist who supported my idea and gave me tools to use.

Hearing contemporary descriptions of the right and left brain caused me to look at the world differently. I no longer try to force myself through problems I must solve. Having stress does not mean I have to try harder, but think differently. I try to look at the world and problems in ways that might facilitate the right brain, and recognize an improvement. Just let the brain do what it does by nature. Expect results but do not force.

Recently I started dabbling in stocks again. In '85 I traded futures with heavy analysis and programming. I burned out on that and always wanted to get back. Neuroscience got me interested again. I made some neat software with no rules, but pictures and certain types of charts with the point being to avoid cognitive load. After looking at stuff for awhile the brain begins making associations. It's been an exciting experience as I evolved the software while looking at the market differently than I once did.

As we go through the day experiencing this and that and remembering things, it's amazing to think the brain is forming whatever connections at that moment to facilitate that. It's a different view to have of self and I feel enhanced by that view.

I need to add I've been reading and listening to other sources, but Ginger's podcasts got me started.

message 6: by Scott (new)

Scott | 21 comments Michael, your post reminded me of a great podcast I just heard recently. It's not one of Gingers, but it's about neuroscience and addiction.

message 7: by Michael (new)

Michael Bruzenak | 6 comments Thanks for the link. I'll check it out.
I have recently been greatly influenced by Evan Thompson and Varela. Thanks to Ginger. My view on the neural correlate and many other things has been shifting rapidly. It is very remarkable to me that my early hippie-Buddhist view is merging like magic with what I'm learning in neuroscience.

It's been an odd, incredible journey. Many things about addiction and living problems in general are making a new kind of sense. May be off topic for this thread. I'll see if I can dig up one on Evan T.

message 8: by Scott (new)

Scott | 21 comments Michael,
BTW, Evan Thompson has also been a guest on the Upaya dharma podcasts. I'm a Varela-Thompson fan, too. I found my way to them via Gregory Bateson.

Bateson was the scientist-in-residence at Lindisfarne (the east coast Esalen, perhaps), run by Evan Thompson's dad. Varela was scientist-in-residence the following year. That's how Evan met him.

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