Brain surface

Matthew Kirkcaldie m.kirkcaldie at removethis.unsw.edu.au
Sat Oct 16 21:26:40 EST 2004


In article <73+1ikCOsPcBFwrM at longley.demon.co.uk>,
 David Longley <David at longley.demon.co.uk> wrote:

> The extent of the 
> mythology created by "the decade of the brain" and its funding over the 
> past decade is both staggering and worrying. "Cognitive neuroscience" 
> (which isn't a soft-science but pseudo-science for reasons I've tried to 
> explain elsewhere) is metaphysics and is having pernicious consequences 
> through shaping public policies in areas where it has absolutely nothing 
> to contribute (e.g education) over traditional, more conservative 
> practices. Market forces are more likely to drive out conservative, 
> realistic scientific practices as the latter are far less popular, 
> "promising" and "comprehensible" to the majority. The problem is wider 
> than science of course.

Those words give me a chill of recognition - after all, who needs to do 
the expensive work of *understanding* anything, if we can look at a 
pretty picture and pretend we know?

My wife works in speech pathology and has often come away from 
"professional development" sessions, open-mouthed at the kind of rubbish 
being pushed because "brain research" says it's true.  Her colleagues 
have been a little suspicious of her when she actually seeks out 
evidence before forming an opinion.

Maybe it's time for a revival of vitalism.

      Cheers,

         MK.



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