Monday, April 09, 2018

Newtonian (and more cuts to resist )

I was reading about Douglas Adams the other day and saw that he described himself as a Devout Atheist  - well I can understand why one might wish to be seen in this way,  certainly before you reach the grand old age of 50.

On the other hand is being agnostic (or even believing)  such a bad thing? If you believe (in whatever of the major religions) and follow the spirit of the teachings there's a reasonable chance that you behave towards others in a reasonable way.

Thinking about this and also focusing on the current 'state of the art' in neurosurgery (also partly sparked by hearing a radio programme about the brain surgery performed on  vet Adam Tjolle), I'm drawn to ask if there is more to us (homo-sapiens)  than a slightly cleverer ape.

Here's a nice general diagrammatic portrayal with the breakdown of major areas of the human brain  - what is interesting s how a 'dog's ' brain has some similarities (and differences) to the human brain which help this domestic pet work well with humans.

A clearer picture may emerge 

We're getting to the stage where we're seeing quite well how the mechanics of the brain work - for example - okay this bit does speech (Broca's area), and that's long term memory (that's in the The hippocampus) - but do we have the chance to exercise 'free' choice?


How responsible are we for actions when we're drunk or under the influence of drugs?


Can we do the 'right thing' by choice or despite pressures to do something we think is wrong?

If we can do the 'right thing' who/what should we attribute it to? Are we deserving of some credit ot is some 'greater' being that we need to attribute our good behaviour to?

The rapid speed of developments in understanding the human brain will inevitably mean that more will be revealed to us, but the revelations will perhaps bring us no closer to a full understanding (whatever that is)- are ultimately we down to chemical and mechanical engineering? (but more questions would follow - as (perhaps) signposted by Douglas Adams in his Hitchhiker's guide to the Galaxy ruminations by some 'unionised' Philosophers

Why do we construct narratives?

Cuts


We've had time to reflect with disasters on our streets attributable to reduced policing that (like free lunches) there's a consequence to reducing funding now more reality.

There's something a bit shocking going on when you see the Daily Mail front page warning of cuts to the Open University - The Guardian agrees. 
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