Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Beyond Belief Video

Video recordings of the Beyond Belief conference can be seen at Edge.org, and they're a lot of fun.

I haven't had time to watch them all, but the most interesting presentation I've seen so far was given by V.S. Ramachandran. Ramachandran's description of a patient whose disconnected brain hemispheres have opposing views on God's existence is priceless:
So here is a human being whose left hemisphere is an atheist, and whose right hemisphere believes in God, and this finding should have sent a tsunami through the theological community, but barely produced a ripple. Because it raises all sorts of profound theological questions. If this person dies, what happens? Does one hemisphere...
We also get to hear Richard Dawkins relate a story about the former editor of New Scientist who was asked what philosophy it was he brought to the magazine which resulted in the publication's great success under the editor's tenure. The editor responded, "our philosophy is that science is interesting, and anyone who thinks it isn't can f*ck off!"

As a bonus, we get to see an equal-opportunity mauling of Stuart Hameroff by physicists, philosophers and neuroscientists alike. Hameroff goes down in flames for perpetuating a silly and nonsensical theory about quantum consciousness.

Love it!

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