Friday, October 31, 2008

The God-bots Are Stirring

It seems that the meat bots are stirring and your brain is going to be the next big cultural battleground between the religious nuts and everybody else.

Gah, reading the propaganda piece over at Evolution News is an attack on the mind in and of itself. Essentially, it's one long, whinny rant against materialism, with pronouncements of the vile materialists' imminent defeat of the sort that would make the former Iraq Information Minister blush.
P.Z. Myers and Steven Novella have recent posts on a new front in the war between materialism and reality.

Having convinced only a small fraction of Americans that chance and tautology — i.e. Darwinism — adequately explains life (despite a court-ordered monopoly on public education for the last half-century), materialists are moving on to your mind.

Materialism posits that your mind is meat. No soul, no spirit, just chemicals, congealed by natural selection to dupe you into believing that you’re more than an evanescent meat-robot.
Geez, where to begin. Okay, first of all, calling their superstitions "reality" is a huge lie. Only a small fraction of Americans accept "Darwinism" (IDiot-speak for evolution) - that's lie #2. Describing evolution as a tautology - lie #3.

After the initial spate of lies, they finally move on to the heart of the matter - those evil materialists say that you're just a heap of matter! Oh noes! That's what really ticks off the religious nuts, the horrible indignity of scientists describing the mind in purely physical terms, with no mention of their much beloved invisible, weightless, and as-far-as-we-can-tell-nonexistent souls. Apparently, that idea is not only offensive, but also has vague and terrible "sociological implications".

Anyone else experience a little deja vu? Well, that's because they're all just repurposed creationist/ID talking points.
  • "Darwinists say humans are animals!" "I'm no monkey!"
  • "Darwinists say that we're animals and should treat each other as such!"
  • "Materialists say we're just cells/chemicals/atoms!"
  • "Materialists say that we're just heaps of matter and should treat each other as such!"
Ugggh. So stupid.

Being something of a materialist myself, I think I can address this objection:

Yes, you are just matter. Your pet dog is just matter. Your family is just matter. All the paintings in the Louvre are just matter. Even your favorite song is just a series of vibrations travelling through the air.

Obviously, the material makeup of things doesn't dictate their worth. Only an idiot or a creationist liar would make such a boneheaded claim.

And besides, how the hell do the IDiots expect to inject the soul into neuroscience? They're hundred years too late for that, science long ago moved moved on from that sort of nonsense. Seems like this is even more of a lost cause then their evolution denialism.

But it seems like the have another strategy in mind, instead of trying to get positive evidence for their mystical mumbo-jumbo, they'll just fall back to ye olde standby - the argument from ignorance - and point to real research and claim that the material explanations can't possibly fully explain the phenomenon, therefore an unknown soul-like entity must be the cause. Mark my words, it'll happen.

It's all so stupid, not the least of which is the problem that even the devout don't seem to understand exactly what they're saying when they speak of souls (not unlike Intelligent Designers). Sure, they're believed to be some ethereal vehicle that somehow stores our consciousness and personality and survive our deaths - but even simple folk have figured out that all the soul talk runs headlong into the problem of brain damage. If you change the brain, you change the mind. So even assuming that souls actually exist, they're irrelevant because of the massive extent that the brain determines personality.

DI's latest foray into the world of science is just going to be a huge headache.

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