2 years ago • 40.0X social lift

The Neuroscience of Bullshit

Mind Hacks, 2011:

This does not mean all porn is helpful or healthy, either to individuals or society, but we should be criticising it on established effects, not on misunderstood and poorly applied neuroscience deployed in the service of bolstering shaky conclusions about its personal impact.

Nature, February 2012:

“The whole neuroscience community will be in trouble ten years from now” when the implied predictions don’t come true, says another INI researcher, who worries that the politicians will be right there saying, “But you promised!”

The Spectator, March 2012:

In 1986 Patricia Churchland published Neurophilosophy, arguing that the questions that had been discussed to no effect by philosophers over many centuries would be solved once they were rephrased as questions of neuroscience. This was the first major outbreak of a new academic disease, which one might call ‘neuroenvy’. If philosophy could be replaced by neuroscience, why not the rest of the humanities, which had been wallowing in a methodless swamp for far too long? Old disciplines that relied on critical judgment and cultural immersion could be given a scientific gloss when rebranded as ‘neuroethics’, ‘neuroaesthetics’, ‘neuromusicology’, ‘neurotheology’, or ‘neuroarthistory’ (subject of a book by John Onians). Michael Gazzaniga’s influential study, The Ethical Brain, of 2005, has given rise to ‘Law and Neuroscience’ as an academic discipline, combining legal reasoning and brain imagining, largely to the detriment of our old ideas of responsibility. One by one, real but non-scientific disciplines are being rebranded as infant sciences, even though the only science involved has as yet little or nothing to say about them.

The Guardian, April 2012:

Yes, of course, everything about us, from the simplest sensation to the most elaborately constructed sense of self, requires a brain in some kind of working order. Remove your brain and bang goes your IQ. It does not follow that our brains are pretty well the whole story of us, nor that the best way to understand ourselves is to stare at “the neural substrate of which we are composed”.

New Statesman, September 2012:

An intellectual pestilence is upon us. Shop shelves groan with books purporting to explain, through snazzy brain-imaging studies, not only how thoughts and emotions function, but how politics and religion work, and what the correct answers are to age-old philosophical controversies. The dazzling real achievements of brain research are routinely pressed into service for questions they were never designed to answer. This is the plague of neuroscientism – aka neurobabble, neurobollocks, or neurotrash – and it’s everywhere.

This post's short URL is http://tmblr.co/Z8qtbyTc-e2E

You have been reading a blog.