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My lab:
Actually, he was supposed to attack brain science today. Prof. Dr. Freerk Huisken (Wikipedia) professor emeritus of the University of Bremen, was supposed to give a talk here in Berlin. He had been invited by the "Sozialreferat" of the AStA FU, the students' governing body of our university. However, due to the current strike of the engine-drivers, there was no train to bring him to Berlin. Unfortunately, every information about this guy is in German, but believe me it's pretty hair-raising. If you know German, you can read the content of his talk in an article (RTF) on his website, or you can listen to a previous recording from a different city. He basically puts up a strawman of some theoretical brain-philosopher by quoting mainly German neuroscientists such as Roth and Singer. This strawman is so absurd and ludicrous and the examples he quotes are so poor, that I can only assume that the quotes, if they indeed are correct, must have been taken completely out of context. Basically, this strawman claims that humans have no free will, are entirely predictable and determined, can thus have no responsibility nor culpability. Of course, this extreme form of determinism is utter nonsense.
He then beats down the strawman to further his social-science agenda: the relativism of scientific knowledge and the postulation of a non-material mind which exists somehwere outside of the brain (i.e., dualism).

He puts all of this under the title: "Brain scientists are mobilizing - against reason" and calls brain science "mental imperialism". Tough stuff! He even goes so far to use the word "mental dilapidation" in conjunction with brain science and implies a hidden fascist agenda underlying brain scientists who subscribe to the notion of a brain generating its own mind.

I was so prepared to give the guy a hard time! I was planning to get up after his talk, lift my arms up in the air and say something like "I'm Björn Brembs and I work in the neurobiology department here. I consider myself a brain scientist and I come unarmed. I have also not received any draft from some mobilization, as you seem to be alluding to!" devilmad.png I then wanted to refer to his strawman as absurd but a widely used rethorical means. After pointing out that brains indeed seem to have the capacity for a certain freedom of choice, I wanted to ask him what his reasons are for doubting that the brain could be able to generate reason, freedom of choice or creativity all by itself and why he needs to postulate a pseudo-religious construct such as a non-material mind. search.png
Now all this fun can't be had! cry.png They re-scheduled his talk to January 15th, 2008 and it seems this is exactly the day I leave for a certain handball tournament in Brazil. sad.png
Posted on Thursday 15 November 2007 - 15:27:57 comment: 0

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