Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Retarded Michael Egnor Uses Technology Analogy

...and Respectful Insolence nails him on it:

There are a lot of problems with Dr. Egnor's analogy. For example, noises coming out of a cell phone are meaningless without a human being who understands language and emotion is there to hear them. Absent that, they're just noises. Even so, Egnor's actually sort of correct; any credible theory of the mind does need to have a basis for discerning whether properties of the mind are inherent to the brain. The problem for Egnor and other dualists is that we do have such a basis for making that call scientifically. Let's go back to the cell phone example, as silly as it is. If specific alterations in the circuitry of a cell phone could result in substantive changes in what the voices coming through say and the emotions they express, then it would be possible to argue credibly that the voices are inherent to the phone. If changing such circuits could not substantively change what the voices coming through the phone or the emotions being expressed, then the more likely explanation is that the content of the voices coming through is not a property of the phone itself. See where I'm going with this? Specific damage and alterations to the brain do indeed cause changes to the content, emotion, and "personality" of the "voice" of a person. Such changes can involve everything that makes us human: emotion, intellect, sexuality, and, yes, even altruism. Of course, if I really wanted to take it down to Dr. Egnor's level, I could trash his analogy by simply pointing out that putting a cell phone into a lead container would make the voices go silent, while taking it out would let the voices speak again, pretty clearly indicating that the function of the phone depended on an extrinsic electromagnetic signal reaching it, a signal that lead could block.

But there's more evidence against dualism. We can study the brain to see if properties of the mind depend upon the intact functions of the brain. We have mapped many aspects of mental activity to specific anatomic structures or groups of neurons in the brain in reproducible ways, and scientists continue to map more and more each year, making the map finer and finer. We know this through functional MRI studies that produce maps of brain metabolism as different mental tasks are carried out or various emotions provoked. We know this from the study of brain injuries to specific structures in the brain and how such injuries result in defined changes in personality and brain function, including--yes--altruism. We know this because we can alter mental states in reproducible ways with drugs, be they antipsychotics, anti-depressants, or recreational drugs.

I was right all along: Technological devices can be used as analogies to the human brain, and Michael Egnor is a fucking retard.


breakerslion said...

"Technological devices can be used as analogies to the human brain, and Michael Egnor is a fucking retard."

As a computer geek and former programmer, I feel obligated to point out that the two thoughts expressed in the statement above are not mutually exclusive. Even if technological devices could NOT be used as analogies to the human brain, Michael Egnor would still be a retard.

Aaron Kinney said...

Beakerslion For The Win! :D

Anonymous said...

Mr. Hitchens does not know anything about sub- atomic electron, neutron, or proton speeds in Albert Einstiens M= 1/1 - v squard over c squared equation. He and other atheist need to debate only against me, to show that he is wrong. The bermuda triangle shows some of it, but it displace objects in time. If you do not believe it go there with a high powered radio tranmiter on to activate it.

Aaron Kinney said...


You are a retard.

You should know better than to invoke EINSTEINS name, of all people, to support your ridiculous bermuda triangle voodoo beliefs.

Dont you have some rune stones to throw around or something?