Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Inaccessible to Modern Science

Science: we depend on it for answers.  Are there areas inaccessible to scientific inquiry?  If you ask a scientist, the answer is no.

So ask them what their favorite music might be and how they arrived at that preference.  And why.  Surprisingly, there's no scientific answer.  (Give it a try yourself, if you like.*)

Similarly, that freedom of speech which we so sincerely defend is scientifically unexplainable.  It suggests an underlying independence of thought which requires free choice and will, all of which are unsupportable concepts.  The deeper we delve into neuroscience, the more conclusive the argument that we are just programs running on a bio-computer.

There is agreement now in the scientific community that the firing of neurons determines not just some or most but all of our thoughts, hopes, memories, and dreams.

That's the best that hard science offers.

In 1924, Max Wertheimer gave a now-famous talk about Gestalt Theory, “Über Gestalttheorie.”  ('Gestalt' is a whole, greater than the sum of the parts, for those of us who might wonder.)  His interesting speculation, that when we pursue a scientific answer exclusively, it can leave us without the whole of what we were looking for.

*What's your favorite music?  Why?  How do you feel when you hear it?

  1. It's a style I enjoy or a particular song or preformance. 
  2. It really speaks to me, it transports me to ____.
  3. So how do the mechanics of this music (but not that other music) transform my feelings? 
  4. In my brain, do I hear and choose to enjoy this but not that?
  5. Or is it an unconscious process?  A program running in my brain?  And another running in the brain of the composer and performers?
  6. Neuroscience maps the brain activity, and science insists it's a bio-computer process, not a 'self'.
  7. So I'm not an autonomous individual, just a helpless passenger in an automatic vehicle.  Hmmm.
  8. Do my choices come from me or from the brain program?  Science says it's just neurons following specific processes, all deterministic.  All.  Composer, performer, listener, ... all.
  9. So why my music preference?  According to modern science, I'm just an electro-bio-machine that follows its programming.  Apparently 'I' don't exist.  😃  And the jazz I like just randomly happened.
Modern science can disassemble and explain the parts, but it can, on occasion, miss the greater whole.  This is just one of hundreds of such examples.  Read the references for a beginning point.  It's a fascinating inquiry.  Do 'we' even exist?

So, does 2+2=4?  Of course it does, but I'm not a number, and neither, I suspect, are you.