I Win a "Golden Woo Award" -- But Where's My Stipend, Because I'd Like to Send a Gift...
Atheist/materialist 'Skeptico' (why are these guys/ladies so afraid to have their names associated with their ideas?) has announced the "Golden Woo" awards, which he-she has decided to bestow on people who have expressed views incompatible with Skeptico's personal ideology. Skeptico explains:
I decided I would start some of my own -- The Golden Woo Awards for outstanding work in the promotion of Woo in the previous year. It's a bit like the Golden Globes, only for, er, Woo.
What is "Woo"? Skeptico explains:
Now, some of you might notice that the award titles look similar to Randi's Pigasus Awards, with just the words "paranormal," "occult" etc. replaced with Woo, and might think I've just run out of ideas for posts and purloined Randi's idea as my own. (Cough.) Clearly that isn't true as I have at least one extra category that Randi doesn't have. However, if you were to view this post as my Golden Globes in advance of Randi's Oscars... then you could. Perhaps the great man might even read this and get some ideas for April 1st?...OK so here goes -- the Golden Woos for 2008. I hope you'll find them entertaining.Skeptico, who emulates atheist/materialist magician "The Amazing Randi," has decided to give out awards to other people that he believes are devoted to silly ideas. And the first Golden Woo Award recipient is...your humble neurosurgeon and atheism/materialism 'denialist':
The scientist or academic who said or did the silliest thing related to Woo...Michael Egnor for his tireless support of Intelligent Design Creationism, and especially his many recent assaults on materialism.
Skeptico, who believes that all life, including the genetic code and intricate nanotechnology inside living cells, arose from primeval mud by a process of chance and tautology (random heritable variation and natural selection), is certainly well-situated to recognize Woo. So what exactly is it about my scientific and philosophical views that Skeptico finds so...Wooful?
For an example of the latter, see his article 'Waiter, My Steak Isn't Altruistic Enough!'. ["] A snippet:There is no shared property yet identified by science through which brain matter can cause mental acts like altruism. Material substances have mass and energy. Ideas have purpose and judgment. There is no commonality["].
So I win this materialist's "Golden Woo Award" because I assert that there are properties of the mind, such as purpose and judgement, that are not properties of matter. Furthermore, I assert that this is a problem for materialism.I humbly accept the award, and I would like to thank... Aw, let's get down to the important stuff. I would presume that there is a stipend for winning a "Golden Woo Award", but I must admit that I feel a bit guilty collecting all of the money myself. I certainly haven't done all of this work on the immateriality of mental states alone.
After all, the observation that mental states have immaterial characteristics that are different from material (brain ) states is the fundamental issue in the debate about the mind-brain problem. Other purveyors of Woo -- 'the lack of commonality between mind and matter' -- include Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Descartes, Adler, Craig, Russell, Popper, Girard, Chalmers, Jackson, Putnam, Anscombe, Nagel, among many others.
Here's a more complete list of some of my neglected but just as worthy co-Woo-laureates.
Oh, and there are innumerable scientists who should share my "Golden Woo Award" for distinguishing mind from matter. They include Bacon, Galileo, Newton, Lavoisier, Faraday, Pasteur, Maxwell, Einstein, SchrÃ¶dinger, Bohr, Sherrington, Penfield, Eccles, Beauregard, Schwartz, and Libet, to name just a few.
The distinction between mental states and brain states has been the central issue in the philosophy of the mind-brain problem for several thousand years, and it's the central dilemma in the neuroscience of consciousness for the past century.
Skeptico seems unaware of these issues, which is characteristic of so many dogmatic materialists today. Materialists like Skeptico don't even understand the profound questions raised by functional biological complexity or by the immaterial nature of mental states.
But in a way I'm glad that Skeptico is so uninformed. Otherwise, I'd have to share my Golden Woo Award stipend with countless philosophers and scientists who have asked the same questions I have about the mind-brain problem. What's remarkable about materialists like Skeptico is how little they have engaged the real issues with which materialism must struggle. There's a willful ignorance among materialists about the real problems that biological design and the immaterial nature of mental states raise for materialist dogma. Rather than thoughtfully engaging these issues, they sneer.
Anyway, I've decided what to do with my award. I only need $12.98, and I'm going to buy a gift for Skeptico which might help him-her begin to move beyond materialism.