[Comp-neuro] Re: (3) A Matter of Religion

Malcolm Dean malcolmdean at gmail.com
Sat Aug 23 21:28:16 CEST 2008

On Fri, Aug 22, 2008 at 4:31 PM, james bower <bower at uthscsa.edu> wrote:

> Sorry, this requires a response.

I did hesitate before venturing into these waters. The phrase "requires a
response" often indicates the entry of dogma.

Selection is the engine of evolution --

No, it is a theory of evolution. Even if it is the *right* theory, it is not
the *only* scientific theory, and many evolutionary theorists who include
Selection in their work place it in one relation or another to other
factors. Darwin himself was interested in other factors, and indicated that,
with time, deeper evolutionary causality would be discovered.

and, I have stated previously, biology specifically organizes across levels
> -- in my view, that is how it attains its efficiency and its performance.

Hierarchy (levels), efficiency and performance, key terms in thermodynamics
and cognition, are factors in several major alternative or hybrid theories
to Selectionism. Selectionists frequently ignore or subsume scientific
alternatives while quietly suppressing publications which propose and
explore them.

Finally, evolutionary theory has nothing to do with religion, although it is
> unfortunately often taught that way to our children.
To confound evolution with religion is to fail to understand either, but
> usually indicates another purpose altogether.

> Jim Bower

This thread is about incipient religious dogmatism in neuroscientific
discourse. Evolutionary theory (of which Selectionism, again, is only a
portion, and the most dogmatic portion) is always present, no matter how
unrecognized, because religions are the cultural forms of evolutionary
theory. The claim that they are separate is a particular view with its own
ancient history, a view which is continuously disproved by cultural
evolution, to this day.

In the neuroscientific literature of recent years, several categories have
evolved concerning the development and function of religious and cultural
cognition. The original observation which began this thread noted how these
phenomena are present, even in a forum such as this.

Malcolm Dean
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