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A Skeptic's Guide to the Mind: What Neuroscience Can and Cannot Tell Us About Ourselves
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Neuroscience News > Neuroscience Needs Its Einstein

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message 1: by Roger (new)

Roger Morris (roger_morris) | 34 comments "Reading the news, you might be excused for thinking that scientists are on the verge of understanding the human brain.

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health are diligently mapping all 100 trillion neural connections between our 86 billion neurons, and President Obama has just announced a $100 million Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative that will study all those networks in action.

The neurologist Robert Burton is skeptical, to say the least. His new book, “A Skeptic’s Guide to the Mind,” is a scathing indictment of reductionism in all its guises, and a stirring call to consider whether scientists are even asking the right kinds of questions. Recently I met with Burton in his Sausalito, Calif., home. Over coffee he explained to me what neuroscientists are getting wrong, how neurology can be improved, and why the mind is so perplexing in the first place."

Full article here:

message 2: by David (new)

David Mcdivitt | 65 comments I heard Robert Burton on the recent Skepticality podcast, expressing the sentiment you describe. It was a good interview.

I would like to see intelligence pursued independent of the biology that supports it, similar to a JPG image being independent of the computer hardware that originally made it. Language came into being. Can we think outside language? Try it. Does it make any difference? The life we have and know is in terms of language. Without language we could form no concepts. The presence of language itself is possibly more important than the biology of humans that think it. We interpret all through language and whatever concepts. Realism and reductionism are interpretations. The only way to say these are not interpretations is to fantasize authority which imposes or enforces realism/reductionism apart from our interpretation, or what we think they are, and that scheme does not work. This is the ultimate confirmation bias. It is why realism is circular reasoning. We must begin appreciating intelligence as a thing of it's own and stop anchoring self back to realism and supposed reality concepts. We are facilitators of intelligence. Trying to trap or bottle it, kills it. Logic is not reality. These are two different ways of thinking. We know where mankind was before the scientific method and the subjectivity of empiricism. No new authority scheme will work. No new fantasy of authority will work.

All we have and know in this life, empathy, emotion, reason, behavioristic interpretations, are intelligence that we facilitate. Without such there would be no life. Where? Who can say where it is? As soon as one begins trying to describe it, language is used and intelligence is present to do that.

Virginia MD (gingercampbell) | 321 comments Mod
I assume you both realize that Robert Burton has been on the Brain Science Podcast twice:

BSP 43

BSP 96

His most recent interview focuses on A Skeptic's Guide to the Mind: What Neuroscience Can and Cannot Tell Us About Ourselves.

message 4: by David (new)

David Mcdivitt | 65 comments Thanks for mentioning, Ginger. I listened to both again.

message 5: by David (new)

David Mcdivitt | 65 comments Nice eSKEPTIC review of Robert Burton's recent book:

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