After reading this i must conclude once again that evolutionists can´t argue philosophically, and that they are as blinded by belief as their religious opponents. I mean:
"There's a reason evolution gave us depression and sadness and pain – it's supposed to motivate you to do what you have to do to get back to a state where you feel better."
What excacly is the evidence of this? Am i right that the only reason to believe in this is that it is taken as a given due to the infallability of the evolution hypothesis?
And the comment about consciousness is also nonsense, very little can be said with security about the nature of consciousness and its connection to the body.
So why attack Chopra when he makes claims in areas that are far from proven to be the other way? Are you interested in the truth or just the dogma of evolutionary thinking?
Let's take that short message apart, shall we. First line: "After reading this i must conclude once again that evolutionists…" The use of the word "evolutionists" clues me into the fact that Martin is not an evolutionists himself, which probably means he is a creationist. The use of the phrase "once again" clues me to the fact that he has read arguments for evolution and learned nothing.
Also, I don't even make an argument for evolution in my Deepak post. I argued against Deepak's position on what he calls "Evolutionary Psychology" simply by pointing out Deepak doesn't know what the term means, I say "he's not out of the starting gate." There is no argument for Evolution or Evolutionary Psychology needed in my Deepak post or used because Deepak doesn't even know what the term means. Deepak actually argues, badly, against neurophysiology thinking it's the same thing as Evolutionary Psychology.
Martin thinks "evolutionists can´t argue philosophically" and that clues me into the fact that Martin is a pretentious poseur.
What exactly does it mean to "argue philosophically" as opposed to argue generally? It means to argue philosophical points. I don't actually do that. I argue definitions and logic. I point out that Deepak doesn't know what Evolutionary Psychology is and then I demonstrate that his example of the drunk driver means the opposite of what he thinks. What I wrote was a logical argument, not a philosophical one. It was about Deepak Chopra's phoniness, a phoniness Martin shares. Those are points only loosely related to the underlying philosophies involved.
Martin then claims "we" are as blinded by belief as our religious opponents. To call an acceptance of a scientific theory a "belief" and comparing it to religion shows a gross misunderstanding of what religion and science are. He then quotes me saying this: "There's a reason evolution gave us depression and sadness and pain – it's supposed to motivate you to do what you have to do to get back to a state where you feel better."
That was a mistake, but not the mistake Martin thinks. Here's what happened; in Deepak's blog he had said "Let's say a man loses his job, becomes depressed, and wants a prescription for Prozac. What made him depressed isn't the imbalance of serotonin in his brain but the loss of his job." There is confusion here about two uses of the term "depression." On one hand there is clinical depression which needs to be treated with a drug like Prozac, at least for awhile, and then there is the street use of the term "depression" which can mean you're a little sad, worried or blue in a completely normal and healthy way. If you're blue about losing your job you may have somewhat lower serotonin levels, I assume but don't know that and normal sadness may not even alter serotonin levels, but you certainly do not have an imbalance of serotonin in normal sadness. No doctor who knows what he is doing is going to give you Prozac for the kind of normal, in balance, sadness that would be caused by nothing more than losing your job. Prozac is meant only for the chemically imbalanced, clinical depression and related serious conditions. Now, maybe losing your job might trigger a susceptibility to having your serotonin levels go out of whack but losing your job can not be called "the cause" simply because it's too normal an experience to lose a job and most people don't go clinical as a result. Deepak is just dead wrong to imply that losing your job will cause clinical depression of the kind you need Prozac for.
In my rush to get to my point about the drunk driver example I took on Deepak's confusion about these two uses of the term depression and said "There's a reason evolution gave us 'depression' and sadness and pain – it's supposed to motivate you to do what you have to do to get back to a state where you feel better."
Yikes! My bad! I did not mean there is that kind of evolutionary psychological explanation for clinical depression. Evolutionary psychology, as I understand it, is about what is adaptive, not what is maladaptive. Papers on Evolutionary Psychology that I have read, which is not many, have all been about the mystery of the normal not the abnormal. Why is religion normal, why do we like movies and art, why are we altruistic, etc..
More than an hour before Martin's comment was recorded I edited what I had written because mark, making another comment in my Deepak comments section, pointed out a mistake I made. I then edited my post, correcting and clarifying, by adding quote marks around the word "depression." Mark was right, I had let Deepak's confusion of the meanings of "depression" stand. However, Martin didn't understand mark's post. That's why I say he has the reading comprehension of a turnip.
The point of my saying; "There's a reason evolution gave us depression and sadness and pain…" was to be an example of the kind thinking Evolutionary Psychology deals with. I did not mean there is that kind of evolutionary psychological explanation for clinical depression. I meant "depression" in the street sense of feeling sad or blue.
However, like I originally said, Deepak isn't even out of the starting gate when it comes to Evolutionary Psychology. Deepak seems to confuse Evolutionary Psychology with neurophysiology. He is so ignorant he doesn't know there is a difference between the two. It's all science and materialism to him. He probably makes this "mistake" because there is a lot more academic criticism of Evolutionary Psychology and no criticism of neurophysiology. The legit criticism of Evolutionary Psychology gives Deepak's attack on neurophysiology more of an aura of credibility. Yet it is neurophysiology which really deals the most crippling blows to Deepak's world view. He benefits from any confusion he can cause here and that's why I put quotes around "mistake" here.
There is a remote possibility that Deepak is not really ignorant and stupid, but rather "evil." The confusions he wants to give his readers are not his own, but simply the tools of his trade, used for his con job that require him to have ignorant fools, like Martin, as his marks.
Evolutionary Psychology and neurophysiology are linked. Neurophysiology asks how our brains work right now while Evolutionary Psychology asks how did our brains become what they are, how did they get to this present state from past states through evolutionary steps. This distinction is never made by Chopra.
And I also slip and get confused by the link between them which is another level of error on my part. When I said "There's a reason evolution gave us 'depression' and sadness and pain – it's supposed to motivate you to do what you have to do to get back to a state where you feel better," that was a very shallow and half-assed example of a kind of theory in Evolutionary Psychology. Simply and more generally, we have aversive experiences so we will learn to avoid the things that cause them. It's the history guessing that distinguishes Evolutionary Psychology from psychology and neurophysiology. Again, note that Deepak doesn't seem to know that.
Evolutionary Psychology is distinct from neurophysiology because it guesses at our evolutionary history. It's an attempt to use our knowledge of evolutionary biology to answer the why questions about the structure of the human mind. It is not about how things work now, not about how an imbalance of serotonin causes depression, that's neurophysiology.
Evolutionary Psychology assumes something Deepak Chopra doesn't want you to believe in (and Martin is one who doesn't believe it). It assumes we have an evolutionary history made of gradual, contingent, evolutionary steps. In both neurophysiology and Evolutionary Psychology there is the assumption that the mind is a set of materialistic information-processing machines. Evolutionary Psychology adds the assumption that our mind was "designed" by natural selection to solve the adaptive problems faced by our hunter-gatherer ancestors living on the African savannahs.
There is evidence for it. But I was not writing about that - yet.
Martin wants to know "What exactly is the evidence of this?" Well, Martin, why don't you Google "Evolutionary Psychology" and find out? Are you still here? Do you want to argue about it? Or are you just a drive by creationist spilling your stupidity into my comments section and leaving?
Martin then asks "Am i right that the only reason to believe in this is that it is taken as a given due to the infallability of the evolution hypothesis?" No, Martin you are not right. And it's spelled "infallibility" note the "i" not an "a."
Click here to learn the difference between how science and religion answer questions.
Martin next reveals he has the reading comprehension skills of a turnip by saying this: "And the comment about consciousness is also nonsense, very little can be said with security about the nature of consciousness and its connection to the body." Note that the only thing I said about consciousness was this: "What Deepak is really talking about here is "souls," the "Thetan" in scientology, Deepak's own bogus ideas about 'consciousness.' It's the homunculus, the ghost in the machine." And in that sentence the word "consciousness" has quotes around it and I specifically refer to Deepak's ideas about consciousness, not my own. It's much easier to know what Deepak is talking about when he uses the word "consciousness" than to know what consciousness is because Deepak has gone on and on about it before.
As for me, I think consciousness is produced by the "material" processes of the brain. I like what Marvin Minsky said about consciousness, that it's a suitcase term. Google it.
Then Martin delivers the clincher which proves he's an idiot, he writes: "So why attack Chopra when he makes claims in areas that are far from proven to be the other way?" Dude, my whole point was that Deepak Chopra doesn't even know what Evolutionary Psychology is! He's got it confused with neurophysiology. My point is he's an idiot – just like you. So, you're obviously going to miss that.
There's a difference between being ignorant and being stupid. Ignorant people can still learn. Chopra has proven that he can't learn (not obvious from one post by me but Deepak has a history of this, people comment on his blog and he never learns from them). You can't learn either until you improve your reading comprehension skills.
I goofed, I got sucked into the vortex of Deepak Chopra's ignorance. It turns out Deepak was more ignorant than I first noticed. I have since edited the post where I made my mistake so it's not there any more. I owe the guys commenting here for the correction. This was a learning experience for me.
So, keep commenting and correcting me guys. I'll give you credit when you get it right. I can learn, unlike Martin and Deepak.
If you want to know more about my attitude towards Chopra, look here:
I'm taking over for PZ Myers on Chopra
I'll have to send him an apology for not living up to his standards of clartity since he was kind enough to link me.