the homunculus

kkollins at pop3.concentric.net kkollins at pop3.concentric.net
Sun Dec 13 21:10:01 EST 1998


Ray, if you wonder, I stand on what I've posted. Everything you say will
happen 50-75 years hence happened 18 years ago. K. P. Collins

Ray Scanlon wrote:
> 
> The homunculus is the little man who sits in the center of the head,
> watching a TV screen and punching buttons. We laugh at those who are so
> naive that they believe in the little man. We have a much more sophisticated
> homunculus. We have a mind that selects from the data proffered by the
> brain, manipulates that data, reaches a conclusion, and forwards the
> decision to the brain for execution. No! It is the brain that thinks and
> decides, its thoughts are the result of molecular activity.
> 
> Science is the examination of the material universe. The brain belongs to
> science, the homunculus belongs to religion. This is not to deny religion
> but to be clear minded about what is science and what is religion. To this
> end I suggest that we use the word soul instead of mind, self, intelligence,
> whatever when speaking of that which is aware.
> 
> Anyone who ascribes causal powers to soul, anyone who speaks of free will,
> invokes the homunculus. Anyone who says a thought is other than our
> awareness of a constellation of activated neurons, invokes the homunculus.
> Awareness belongs to religion.
> 
> Worship of man as emergent, as social animal, is not science, it is
> religion.
> 
> It is too easy to invoke the homunculus. The only defense is to point out
> every time that someone slips into religion and calls it science.
> 
> There is no use in attempting to revive usages of the past, they are gone.
> In 1998 "science" means examination of the material universe, biological
> science is molecular, physical science is quantal.
> 
> It is my conjecture that during the next fifty to seventy five years
> neuroscience will work out the how the neurons of the brain function and
> place their activity on a firm molecular basis. When this is done it will be
> plain that the material world has no place for soul. Man will leave
> cognitive science and turn to religion.
> 
> Ray
> Those interested in how the brain works might look at
> www.wsg.net/~rscanlon/brain.html



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