What the Neocortex Does

Harry Erwin herwin at gmu.edu
Sun Aug 20 10:43:51 EST 2000

Ray Scanlon <rscanlon at wsg.net> wrote:

> "Harry Erwin" <herwin at gmu.edu> wrote in message
> news:1efk4vs.1p3o5v2f8rvu0N%herwin at gmu.edu...
> > Side comment: I would estimate the percentage of neuroscientists and
> > cognitive scientists who are concerned with the soul at less than 1%.
> > Why? Because there's good experimental evidence (from studies of people
> > who have had lesions due to stroke and other causes) that the soul does
> > not exist in any sense meaningful to a religious person. The scientific
> > concerns are with the mind and brain.
> You are confused by the endless struggle to show that "mind" and "soul" are
> not synonymous. Once it is clear that they are synonyms, everything falls
> into place. Few neuroscientists (other than the seekers of the NCC) are
> interested in the soul (mind). This is one of the things that they agree to
> "put to one side" while they study the brain. On the other hand, the
> cognitive scientists are interested in little else.

But the mind is not a synonym of the religious believer's 'soul'.
Neuroscientists are almost always monists, believing in mind/brain
unity; I know of very few dualists. If you study brain lesions, you
discover that the various aspects of the mind seem to be associated with
the integrity of specific brain regions, and you see no evidence that
there is an intact soul trying to work past the damage to the brain.
John Eccles--the best example of a dualist I know of--believed in a
separable soul and he was searching for a mechanism for it to couple to
the brain. He was unsuccessful. There is no scientific evidence for a
separable soul.

Harry Erwin, PhD, <mailto:herwin at gmu.edu>,Computational Neuroscientist 
(modeling bat behavior), Senior SW Analyst and Security Engineer, and 
Adjunct Professor of Computer Science, GMU. Looking--CV available at: 

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