Friday, July 29, 2011

Full rebuttal to post titled "Dead as a Doornail: Souls, Brains, and Survival"

I am doing to go through piece by piece of his post only what i think that is important to address. My responses will be below each statement. Here is the link that I took certain points from the post at.

He mentions first, "Decades of evidence from stroke victims, motorcycle accidents, car wrecks, construction site accidents, fMRI scans, PET scans, brain imaging, and other medical studies have given us a detailed picture of which portions of the brain are active in conjunction with specific cognitive abilities and mental states. What that research has shown is that minds depend upon brains. Damaging a part of the brain destroys a part of our thoughts, eliminates a cognitive ability, or alters some personal or emotional capacity. Restoring the electrical, chemical functions of the brain renews the mental function".

True mind is dependent upon the brain what the issue at stake isn't the tight correlation between mind and brain but if the function as William James stated before is permissive/transmissive or productive. Too to get to the truth of the matter we have to look at both sides of the evidence with an open mind and then decide which model fits better.

"While most of us would acknowledge some connection between mental function and the brain, we may have failed to see just how deep the connection runs. Even the most abstract mental faculties and the most specific features and contents of our private, mental states can be mapped directly onto brain functions".

And no substance dualism denies that their is a strong connection.

"In a remarkable study in 2005, neuroscientists reported the discovery of what they deemed the Halle Berry neuron. In order to isolate the location of the electrical chaos that induced their epilepsy, patients brains were implanted with electrodes. Then the patient was shown a variety of pictures while the activity of the neurons in the vicinity of the probes was recorded. In several instances, single neurons could be singled out whose activity spiked in response to specific images such as Halle Berry, Bill Clinton, or the Eiffel Tower. One neuron fired when the subject looked at a picture of Halle Berry in an evening gown, in a cat woman suit, as a cartoon, and even the words “Halle Berry,” suggesting that the neuron played an integral role in a large web of neurons who were responsible for a variety of abstract and high level representations of Halle Berry rather than some simpler function such as edge discrimination. This neuron did not respond comparably to the hundreds of other images used in the study (Quiroga, et al., 2005). Again, the evidence is against the survival hypothesis; every aspect of a person’s mental function is produced by brain function".

Of course their is an different interpretation to this case and that is it shows very strong correlation but not cause.

"If there was empirical evidence for survival, that is, if consciousness persists without the brain, then we would expect to find some exceptions to the close, direct correlations between the electro-chemical events in the brain and mental states, cognitive capacities, and conscious experience. If there were cases where we could establish that some or all of the mind functions that we attribute to the soul occur in the absence of brain processes altogether, or in the absence of the particular brain processes that have been most closely correlated with those functions in other cases, then we would have some striking evidence for survival and against the first premise in our argument. Suppose that we found cognitive abilities and consciousness to be present or absent with no apparent relation to the state of the human brain. If brain damage of various sorts left cognitive functions unscathed, or if consciousness persisted despite alterations in brain chemistry and structure, then we might have some evidence to doubt the correlation and the causal connection. Likewise, if some mental function lapsed while the brain was completely intact and functioning, we might have an empirical indicator of mind/brain autonomy. But we find no such violations in either direction".

And we do have such violations as he would call them. Those violations are widely discussed in the Irreducible Mind book a Psychology for the 21st century.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Aware Update

I came across this new article with an update on the Nde Aware project and it looks like no one saw the picture facing the wall according to Dr.Russell Metcalfe-Smith.

Here is the article

On the other hand here is what Dr. Sam Parnia has to say.

Dr Parnia refused to speculate on the results of his study but said many people interviewed had similar experiences.

He said: “The evidence that is interesting to me is that, contrary to my training, the entity we call the human mind and consciousness appears to continue to exist during the early stage of death.”

Remember though this is probably just one hospital reporting that no one saw the picture. Their are over 25 hospitals that are also putting up pictures. So we don't know the final results yet. Dr. Sam Parnia says either by the end of this year or next year we should know the final results of the study.

Love grows where my Rosemary goes

This is a good song from the late 1960's