Re: [asa] scientific fact vs. ideology?

From: Preston Garrison <>
Date: Tue Mar 17 2009 - 08:52:47 EDT

>I'm pretty sure C. S. Lewis was aware of the great scientific
>discovery that is 'drinking booze has a noticeable effect on
>subjective experience and reasoning.' More often, the scientifically
>inclined just don't know enough philosophy on the point.
>Moreover, the idea that dualists of all varieties (or even most)
>don't see the brain as necessary for many/most mental operations
>doesn't ring true. Hylemorphic dualists would emphatically disagree.
>As would, I believe, very many dualists of cartesian, property,
>emergentist, and other varieties. A functioning brain could be a
>necessary but not sufficient requirement for thought, and 'the
>classical physical can do it all!' position is fraught with
>problems, some of which make the "but what about alcohol?" objection
>pale in comparison.

Oh no, someone has taken me seriously, even when I led in with Dilbert.

I was just reacting to the assertion that reason is "supernatural"
when it is obviously very dependent on the physical. I know that
Lewis knew this. I do think that he was a bit naive about biology and
evolution and how much of the basis of reason might come out of
animal reasoning. Also, I think he knew virtually nothing about
computers, and this limited his ability to see how much the function
of nerve cells in large networks might be the basis for reason. None
of this is surprising given his education and biases. I don't think
he found it easy to like modern science.

If we are agreed that the normal function of the brain is necessary
for our reason, I am satisfied for the moment. Personally, I suspect
that what is supernaturally given that makes humans unique is not
reason or even language but moral and spiritual freedom, but of
course I can't demonstrate that scientifically or any other way.

The greatest gift the magnamimity
of God, as He created, gave, the gift
most suited to His goodness, gift that He
most prizes, was the freedom of the will;

Dante, Paradiso, Canto V

I was a philosphy major in college, but it's a bit of a mystery to me
how people come to such definite and specific positions on such an
issue. I guess I'm just afflicted with the ability to see multiple
sides of an issue. I take comfort in the fact that Jesus said the
Spirit would lead us into all truth. And I try to remember that he
didn't give us a schedule on that process.


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Received on Tue Mar 17 08:53:26 2009

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