Recently, the Orwellian think tank “Science News” has hosted a series of essays on so-called “consciousness” by Laura Sanders, whose Brain Studies credentials consist in nothing more than degrees in earth and library sciences. The series threatens to have three parts, the first two already vomited – here and here.
The essence of Sander’s view is that all thinking goes on within the skull; furthermore, the thinking is fostered and constituted by electricity. On the medieval skull-centric view, note that I offered a refutation back in 2008. If you recall, my thesis (a distant cousin of the “Extended Brain” thesis of neuro-physicist David Chalmers) is that your brain is “everywhere.” Recall that my primary evidence came from the nature of pain, with a healthy dose of Occam’s Razor. Since then, of course, my “trans-brain” view has been endorsed by the New York Times, has enjoyed historical precedent, and has been empirically verified in other mammals.
So much for Sanders’ antiquated view of the brain’s location. Now what about the electricity allegedly surging throughout our bodies? Given what we otherwise know about the human body, this is actually impossible. Small children, as is well known, have the mushiest of skulls. This is because, as Europeans have shown, their bodies are mostly water. Now consider the fact that, among people who drop electric appliances into their bathtubs, the leading cause of death is electrocution. Since babies are so full of water – and since they generally have more active brains than adults, which is why they are so good at learning languages – then if they were full of electricity, they would be perpetually self-electrocuting. However, to the chagrin of the Social Security Administration, babies live to adulthood (and beyond) with alarming frequency. If Sanders doesn’t address this in part 3, then her charlatanism will be all the more apparent.