For a little background on what I’m talking about…read this link. (culled from the comments section of a Pharyngula post. Actually, go and read this as well. It’s important.)
OK, now for the summary:
1. Link number one is about how a bunch of brain scientists measured brain activity during a bunch of moral mental experiments. They concluded that moral dilemmas are in part due to different areas of the brain having an argument. Also, when we do something we know is good…our brain gives us a warm fuzzy chemical bath in our blood stream (actually more complicated than that. Go read the article. I’m just the wise-ass telling you about it. Don’t count on my summaries I might accidently leave out important stuff, like the involvement of the area of the brain that responds to s-e-x). They also conjecture that these reactions are more or less consistent throughout humanity regardless of culture, language, religion, etc. (in other words, the much maligned “we’re not as different as we think” sentiment is about to make a come-back, much to the chagrin of its detractors)
2. Link number two is about PZ Myers mocking Michael Egnor and giving him a verbal spanking. Don’t miss it. Particularly, The good Prof. points out that we KNOW that people who suffer particular brain injuries can become incapable of empathy and altruism.
3. Link number three is Michael Egnor whining about how altruism CAN’T be a function of the brain because you can’t bend a spoon with your mind. Therefore, the mind can’t interact with matter. Or something like that. Mike can be quite obtuse. What I DO know from reading his essay is that I would rather he not operate on my brain. I can see it now: “Oh, don’t worry, I cut away a little extra in the frontal lobe area, it’s not like you NEED sociability and self-control. God will provide”.
This is the great battlefield of our time. Science verses superstition. I don’t mean science verses faith or piety or veneration of and gratitude toward a creator. I mean Science versus the insistence that the evidence before us, provided all around us by creation MUST NOT BE SO because it is in opposition to pet dogmas and prejudices.
Interesting. If I were a brain scientist right now, my next project would be to get a bunch of fundies in a room and tell them that their brains are great-big chemical-electric computers that make them believe they have a soul…and measure the brain activity, and see if an electromagnetic image emerges of the researcher being hauled around by a flaming pitchfork up her nose, wielded by a little spike-tailed devil.
After further consideration, that’s probably why I’m not a brain scientist. That, and my math grades.
[New improved UPDATE: NOW! WITH LINK FEST IN PROGRESS!!!]
BioBlog - Ineresting in that it addresses some objections to this information, for in stance, the fear that if psychopathic murders can be shown to merely have malfunctioning brains, we will be obligated to allow them to roam freely to kill again because they can't help it. Obviously, we can't do that. We still have to restrain them because they cannot restrain themselves. Still, it challenges us to be more compassionate in our moral judgements.
The Design Interference - Slime molds display acts of self-sacrifice despite being un-aware. I wonder. Is God making them do it to make us less special?
Denialism.com - Yeah...what ABOUT LSD?
Arbitrary Marks - Did he just argue himself out of his own argument? Michael Egnor: Breaking the wind he's p***ing into.
Tired of the Egnor flavor? A Blog From Hell slices and dices (just like Julia Child!) a little brain-related Chopra Woo to cleanse the pallet.