Kurt Gödel's Open World
1 hour ago in The Curious Wavefunction
Most religions endorse the idea of a soul (or spirit) that is distinct from the physical body ... However, as neuroscience begins to reveal the mechanisms underlying personality, love, morality, and spirituality, the idea of a ghost in the machine becomes strained. Brain imaging indicates that all of these traits have physical correlates in brain function. Furthermore, pharmacologic influences on these traits, as well as the effects of localized stimulation or damage, demonstrate that the brain processes in question are not mere correlates but are the physical bases of these central aspects of our personhood. If these aspects of the person are all features of the machine, why have a ghost at all? [Emphasis mine.]While not at all detracting from their point, it's interesting that neuroscience does not yet seem to be a major target of religious conservatives. The authors argue that such a backlash is a brewin' ("'Nonmaterialist neuroscience' has joined 'intelligent design' as an alternative interpretation of scientific data"), but the evidence is a recently published book. The term gets a paltry number of Google hits, the first few of which, at least, are people attacking the concept.
When this bureaucracy asked me for a plan to manage conflicts in my own research, I wrote one that described all of the steps involved in peer review – and the COI committee sent it back as “too much.” In their view the process that scientific publications go through was more rigorous than necessary.This reads as if the committee thought it would be too much work for him, but it sounds like too much work for the peer reviewers. Peer reviewers are not professional peer reviewers: they are typically volunteers from within the community who review papers partly out of a sense of social responsibility. Any proposal for expanding peer review has to keep in mind that the reviewers might not want the extra responsibilities.