The Economist on Consciousness

I have, on these pages, repeatedly returned to the great problems science has with complexity, that often results in junky analysis and modeling that obscures the issues in cargo cult posturing and hype. Neuroscience is a good example, genomics, Climate Science, are good examples where computer driven inquiry by modeling and speculation piled on incomplete information and insight outrun the evidence.

Cargo cult science is often the backbone of psych theory and now neuroscience. Hard for the human brain to comprehend the human brain’s functionality.

The problem is seen in all complex system analysis, for example the big cellular functionality questions, evolutionary studies and climate science.

So the essay talks about self recognition and the claustrum as a key, but I know that the brain stem is also critical to consciousness.

After you read the essay, do you get the impression that this one is a big one and nobody has figured out the big picture.

Thomas Nagel, philosopher, University Professor at NYU, has written in his 2013 book Mind and Cosmos that complexity in the business of evolutionary studies and the study of consciousness create an enormous epistemological challenge. I agree.

However I also am willing to accept the uncertainties and unknowns of studying living things. When one considers the functional complexity displayed at the cellular of even the simplest things, we are like the blind men describing an elephant. Hard to get our small brains around consciousness too.

Junk Science on Thomas Nagel, who wrote the book described in the essay about what it would be to think like a bat. Not easy to imagine, considering their sonar world is a new dimension for us to contemplate. Did you know the researchers say that they have a personal (are bats persons?) or at least individual sonar signature so they don’t run into each other, imagine that, in a bat colony of hundreds, thousands.


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