Friday, June 8, 2012
I Can Has Consciousness
I'm in the habit of listening to podcasts while driving. As a matter of fact, I've come to hate most of my local radio stations as I find it rather depressing to listen to news which are usually focused on one sole thing: keeping their audience by tackling fearsome topics. I've found myself to be in a much better general mood since I decided to let go of local radio stations and started to pick the shows I wanted to listen to while driving.
I've only discovered "The Skeptic's Guide To The Universe" recently and must say I really enjoy it.
The last episode I listened to (Ep. #358) dealt with theories of consciousness which I find to be a much more interesting topic than the global economy. Facts & theories were presented in a very clear manner and left for the audience to decide towards which side they personally leaned:
- Materialism: this is the theory that considers everything to be anchored in the physical world hence consciousness can only be a product of our physical brain.
- Dualism: in this philosophy, both material and immaterial realities coexist. Think of it as our brain being a receiver or tuner that would receive some kind of metaphysical signal responsible for consciousness. This puts the emergence of consciousness outside of the brain.
- Idealism: in this theory, the physical universe doesn't exist and is just an illusion created by consciousness which is the only "reality" in a non physical universe.
Steven Novella, one of the hosts of the show, is an academic neurologist and this mere fact should only encourage you to download and listen to this podcast as it truly upholds scientific standards.
Make sure you also read Steven Novella's blog: the NeurologicaBlog: I love his post about the "Boiron Settlement - Homeopathic Active Ingredients Are Neither". In fact, in late April a US federal court approved a class action settlement against Boiron (the world's largest manufacturer of homeopathic products) as a result of a class action lawsuit alleging Boiron sold products under false claims. To make it simple, the plaintiffs argued that Boiron could not prove that the ingredients in their products were active but most importantly they could not even prove that they were present as they were diluted to a large extent.