Solving The Mind-Body Problem in Five Minutes

What is the relationship between mind and matter? Materialism holds that the mental is a product of the physical – the mind is what the brain does. By contrast, dualist accounts are consistent with our common sense notion that the mental is fundamentally different from the physical. How much does a thought weigh? a dualist … Continue reading

Interested in the Cognitive Science of Meditation, Mindfulness, Intelligence and Cognitive Function?

I recently discovered a great blog on ScienceBlogs entitled Developing Intelligence. Produced by University of Colarado at Boulder Cognitive Neuroscience graduate student, Chris Chatham, Developing Intelligence profiles fascinating current Cognitive Science research on mindfulness meditation and other means of training attention. Specifically, Chatham discusses demonstrated effects of mental training techniques on attention, meta-cognition and executive … Continue reading

Scientology Psychobabble: The brain & mind according to Hubbard

In this video, a Scientologist makes a number of apparently absurd and/or far-fetched L. Ron Hubbard-based claims. Firstly, he (i.e., the speaker; though “he” could just as easily refer to Hubbard, as this person is clearly well indoctrinated into Hubbard’s dogmatic cult of personality) claims that the function of the brain is to act as a shock absorber for the … Continue reading

Electromagnetic spirituality: Seeing God and becoming one with the universe using the “God Helmet”

 In an article in Wired, Jack Pitt discusses the research of Laurentian University Cognitive Neuroscientist Dr. Michael Persinger on the “spiritual” brain. Persinger and colleagues have developed an apparatus which by altering electromagnetic brain fields can induce “spiritual” experiences, such as “seeing God” or feeling an altered sense of self and a sense of oneness … Continue reading

Cafe Inquiry: Can we be good without God?

The next University of Toronto Secular Alliance event is this coming Wednesday. The event is a part of the ongoing program entitled Cafe Inquiry. Cafe Inquiry is modeled after Cafe Scientifique, a grassroots endeavor to provide an opportunity for citizens both within and especially outside of the university community to learn about and discuss important issues … Continue reading

Interested in the scientific study of meditation, mindfulness and contemplative practices?

Deric Bownds has provided a link to the Mind and Life Institute, which offers a quarterly bibliography with short descriptions of research done on the effects of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT). I post these links here as well, for those interested in the science of meditation, mindfulness, and contemplative practices, as well as other bridges … Continue reading

Does belief in free will affect moral behaviour? Can we reconcile free will and determinism?

Deric Bownds profiles a study by Vohs and Schooler of the University of British Columbia, which found that the presenting arguments for determinism increases the likelihood of selfishness and cheating.