Steven Novella claims this study on mice 'destroys dualism'

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This came to my attention via that NDE Twitter account. Apparently, Novella posted last month about a recent study on the behaviour of mice and how their brain regions are involved in decision making. The original study can be found here

Despite the original study not making any such claims to my knowledge, Novella says this:

Quote:I also feel obligated to point out that research like this completely destroys any notion of dualism – that mental function exists somehow outside of or separate from the biological functioning of the brain. So far, the “neuroscience” hypothesis, that mental function is brain function, is working quite well. The brain is a complex biological computer, and we can figure out how it works by studying it. Even the most sophisticated cognitive processes, such as analytical decision-making, are demonstrably happening in the brain. Further, not only is there zero evidence for the dualist hypothesis, it is completely unnecessary, which is a fate in science even worse than being wrong.
You can find his full blog post here.

Considering Novella and his fans continue to insist any other philosophy/theory of mind besides materialism lacks any evidence, and Novella has apparently been dishonest about research in the past implying otherwise, I express doubt. Isn't this still just correlative? The conclusion he writes here feels very...off. Like, you can clearly tell he's giving an opinion here, an interpretation. It ironically reminds me of Egnor. 

Which versions of dualism does this 'destroy' exactly?

I noticed in the comments there was also very brief argument over the Libet experiments as well and whether or not they were 'debunked'. 

I'm interested to know what relevance this study has to such a bold claim from Novella. Novella claims that 'mice brains and human brains are similar enough' for this to apply to humans apparently...comparing rodent brains to human brains? Where have I heard that before...

Anyways, does this study hold any relevance to consciousness in terms of dualism?
(This post was last modified: 2020-12-03, 08:27 PM by OmniVersalNexus.)
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This seems like it belongs in the debate section, since it's about a debate over dualism with the skeptic Novella being involved.

As to whether it negates dualism, probably just the caricature of dualism in Novella's head.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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I have heard it said Novella conflates dualism with 'vitalism' or something? Or he tries to compare it to that. 

I'm personally surprised at how critical his comments section are of him from time to time. I noticed on his blog he decided to, for some reason, complain about Bem's psi research. 

I suppose I'm troubled by him more than Carroll though, given Novella is a neuroscientist.
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(2020-12-03, 01:52 AM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: This seems like it belongs in the debate section


Moved there with Omni's consent.
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Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor in Mind Matters has commented on Novella's new screed. He takes him apart as he should be. Of course some here will discount Egnor in guilt by association because of his association with the DI.

Quote:"In the study, the mice were trained to choose holes from which food is provided. Their brain activity was measured as they learned and decided which holes were best. The research looks specifically at quick and intuitive decision-making vs. decision-making that is slower and involves analysis of the situation. The investigators found that analysis-based decisions in the mice involve brain activity in the anterior cingulate cortex, which is a region of the brain in the fissure between the hemispheres.

From the standpoint of understanding the mind-brain relationship, this study is unremarkable. There is no doubt that thinking usually involves brain activity of some sort. Dualists (who think that the human mind uses the brain but is not identical with it) and materialists (who think that the mind is just what the brain does) have no disagreement here. This study details the correlative brain activity in mice, which is nice to know.
.............................................
Nonsense. Novella has been trying to sell his materialist ideology in the guise of neuroscience for more than a decade. This is only the most recent in a host of his bizarre claims, including his 2008 assertion that “The materialist hypothesis– that the brain causes consciousness—has made a number of predictions, and every single prediction has been validated.”"

Then Egnor patiently enumerates some of the areas of empirical evidence and philosophy of mind that firmly establish that the mind is not the brain, and that data such as the mouse experiment merely demonstrate correlative activity of mind interpenetrating the brain and using its mechanisms in its interaction with physical reality.
(This post was last modified: 2020-12-03, 05:25 PM by nbtruthman.)
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The neuroscientist Mario Beauregard's dualist (as in the soul/body distinction) work.

=-=-=

Marjorie Hines Woollacott, PhD, has been a neuroscience professor at the University of Oregon

(I think she's an Idealist?)

Quote:“This remarkably engaging account by a prominent brain scientist of her personal spiritual odyssey both describes and contributes to a rapidly emerging revolution in how we think about our minds, our selves, and our existence.”
—Edward F. Kelly, professor of research, Division of Perceptual Studies, University of Virginia, and co-editor of the books Irreducible Mind and Beyond Physicalism: Toward Reconciliation of Science and Spirituality

“In Infinite Awareness, Marjorie Woollacott provides an admirably lucid survey of the challenges various phenomena pose to the materialist paradigm, leading persuasively to a new worldview in which consciousness is primary.  It is a wonderful introduction to this material, one filled not just with important information, but also with heart and considerable wisdom.”
—Jim B. Tucker, MD,  Bonner-Lowry Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences and Director of Division of Perceptual studies, University of Virginia and author of Return to Life: Extraordinary Cases of Children who Remember Past Lives and Life Before Life: A Scientific Investigation of Children’s Memories of Previous Lives

“Woollacott has written an intellectual adventure story of the highest order. Drawing on her own experience as a highly regarded neuroscientist and a long-term meditator, she skillfully and engagingly invites readers to reassess the common scholarly prejudice against parapsychology. In doing so, she brings us to the threshold of a genuine paradigm shift in thinking about the mind and the brain.”
—Thomas B. Coburn, visiting scholar, Brown University; president emeritus, Naropa University

“Woollacott takes us on a voyage of discovery as she integrates her neuroscientific expertise and meditative insight. A candid, lively exploration in which scientific curiosity and spiritual seeking nourish each other, and in which mind is revealed to be much more than brain.”
—Paul Marshall, scholar of religion; author of Mystical Encounters with the Natural World

“Woollacott has written a gripping account of her evolution after an unexpected experience forced her to question her neurophysiological training and explore the scientific research on expanded consciousness. What she learned challenged her basic assumptions about who we are, and it may permanently change yours as well.”
—Bruce Greyson, Carlson Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences Division of Perceptual Studies, University of Virginia Health System


=-=-=

While he's not a dualist, Raymond Tallis is a neuroscientist who rejects materialism ->



See also his articles on New Atlantis and Philosophy Now.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(This post was last modified: 2020-12-03, 06:49 PM by Sciborg_S_Patel.)
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I've mentioned this podcast before and I highly recommend it. Quite a good resource. I've heard of her before and her credentials are impressive to me at least, as is some of her work. I don't really buy into kundalini stuff based on what I've seen, but nevertheless I am intrigued.
(This post was last modified: 2020-12-03, 07:06 PM by OmniVersalNexus.)
Heh, seems Novella knows who Tallis is:
https://theness.com/neurologicablog/inde...ciousness/

Quote:Raymond Tallis is an author and polymath; a physician, atheist, and philosopher. He has criticized post-modernism head on, so he must be all right.

And yet he takes what I consider to be a very curious position toward consciousness. As he write in the New Scientist: You won’t find consciousness in the brain. From reading this article it seems that Tallis is a dualist in the style of Chalmers – a philosopher who argues that we cannot fully explain consciousness as brain activity, but what is missing is something naturalistic – we just don’t know what it is yet...

...In my opinion Tallis does not put forward one valid argument against a purely materialistic neuroscience view of consciousness – that consciousness is brain function. His evolutionary arguments misrepresent evolutionary theory. His neuroscientific arguments are simply false, and do not reflect the state of the science. And his philosophical arguments are failed semantic gambits that are ultimately incoherent.

But I am curious as to what Tallis thinks consciousness is, if it is not brain function and its existence cannot be explained by Darwinian evolution. I acknowledge he has written a great deal that I have not read – I do not claim to have exhaustively searched for an answer. But he is certainly being coy in these two articles, which is an interesting omission.

I am especially curious as Tallis seems to be an intellectual with whom I likely agree about a great deal. I’ll have to do some more digging.

Yikes. Oh, and based on this being his only post on Tallis (from 2010), Novella hasn't done 'any more digging'. Why am I not surprised?

He accuses Tallis of misunderstanding evolution and 'overthinking'. But Novella often seems to counter this with his own assertions and opinions, at least some of which are based on assumptions. He does this in the comments as well and simply says he sides with Dennett. But Dennett has been criticised countless times to my knowledge. As one of the commenters noted, if Novella is going to say that, he needs to deal with the many critics of Dennett as well. 

He and some of his fans have the nerve to call Tallis ignorant, and even a 'pseudoscientist' who is 'not qualified' because of his references to qualia and such. The irony.

I'd still recommend reading the several more critical comments of Novella's take. There are actually quite a few there. 
(This post was last modified: 2020-12-03, 08:11 PM by OmniVersalNexus.)
(2020-12-03, 12:44 AM)OmniVersalNexus Wrote: This came to my attention via that NDE Twitter account. Apparently, Novella posted last month about a recent study on the behaviour of mice and how their brain regions are involved in decision making. The original study can be found here

Despite the original study not making any such claims to my knowledge, Novella says this:
Quote: Even the most sophisticated cognitive processes, such as analytical decision-making, are demonstrably happening in the brain.


You can find his full blog post here.

I'm interested to know what relevance this study has to such a bold claim from Novella.
Novella argues from the metaphysical assumption of the causal closure of the physical.  I don't take his positions as relevant to the evolving discussion about the role of mind in reality.  As an informational realist - the argument of causal closure has left the barn.

While not disparaging Truth with a capitol T, the path forward in the sciences is the use of truth tables.  They frame outcomes so that the inner structure of information in a process (or process model) is working logically.  It discovers tautologies.

Novella's tautological claim is for "happening" to confer full causality.  During a time duration of brain activity we can observe electro-chemical processes that are related to decision outcomes.  Informational realism predicts this to be exactly true.  Changing information being processed by mentation is expressed through order and organization.  The chemistry is subject to entropy and is only functional due the information objects evolving from the relational structures in mind.

Minds organize the semantic information as objects (such as emotions and thoughts) that make information structures persist.  Minds make changes in the physical realm by instructions, as organized stimulus to respond.  Intention persist as long as a mind can focus.  Minds organize the chemistry.  The chemistry is needed to physicalize mental outcomes.

I found the paper Novella referred to as good science, exploring how mind messages the body with its decisions.  It is in Novella's mind that the results support the denial of the environment of informational causality.
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