"One of the problems in the contemporary neuro-scientific study of consciousness, I think, is really sort of a basic fundamental one, which is that we’ve been looking for consciousness in the wrong place. We’ve been looking for it inside of us. For me, that’s a sort of profound mistake. It’s a little bit like trying to find the dancing in the musculature of the dancer or trying to find the value of money in the chemical composition of the dollar bill. It’s the wrong kind of place to look."
"An imperfect analogy can be made to computers. Brains are a bit like hardware (e.g., microprocessors, hard disks, etc), and minds are something like software. The circuits do control the software. But if you want to figure out how to use your computer to do your taxes, you should look for tax software. The last thing you should do is open up your computer and start digging through silicon looking at circuits."
"René Descartes’s theory of mind-body dualism suggests the existence of a material body and an immaterial mind - parallel to one another, but capable of communication via a metaphysical LAN line. . . . Science is a contemporary rebuttal to metaphysics by which the mysterious elements of the universe are broken into component parts and observed, perturbed, and reassembled in myriad ways in order to seek out some objective, material truth. . . . While humbly recognizing the impossibility of knowing all, scientists hold fast to the assumption that all things are inherently knowable. "
"The modern world bustles with magical thinking. Some of us pick up pennies for good luck, believe we missed a flight for a reason or become convinced that a computer tried to ruin our day by crashing. . . . Richard Dawkins is an example of kind of an über-skeptic. He would probably deny that he demonstrates any kind of magical thinking, but in the book I mention one example where he does demonstrate magical thinking. There’s a documentary about Darwin, and in it Richard Dawkins goes to a museum in England that’s housing some of the bird specimens that Darwin used in his research. And so Dawkins is picking up and touching these birds and saying, “Wow this is crazy, these are the actual birds that Darwin handled!” . . . So he apparently believes, on some level, that objects can carry the essences of people who have touched or owned objects beforehand, this sort of non-physical property — as if some part of Darwin was still in the birds. That underscores how magical thinking is a natural human instinct that we all have, even the Richard Dawkinses of the world."
How about you? Do you engage in magical thinking? Know that there must be a ghost in the machine? Or are you totally rational and believe eventually everything is knowable?