Day: December 11, 2012

195. Dr. Mario Beauregard Sees an End to the Era of Biological Robots

Interview with Dr. Mario Beauregard about his new book, Brain Wars, and the battle between old brain science and new brain science.  Join Skeptiko host Alex Tsakiris for an interview with neuroscientist and author Dr. Mario Beauregard about his new book, Brain Wars: The Scientific Battle Over the Existence of the Mind and the Proof That Will Change the Way We Live Our Lives.  During the interview Beauregard discusses the coming revolution in the way science understands consciousness: Alex Tsakiris: Near the end of your book, Brain Wars, you talk about a shift in consciousness within science. I’d like you to talk about whether you really think that is likely.  I mean, we are so enmeshed -- we are so married to this materialism -- can we really get beyond it? Dr. Mario Beauregard:   Well, I can say that at least in my own field there’s an increasing number of scientists and also in other disciplines challenging the old materialist worldview, so it’s done not only by scientists but also by philosophers themselves. In the last few years we’ve seen books come out about the waning of materialism and so on.  Now several different scientists are starting to question this. We’re in a transition period, like I said before, and in certain circles scientists are creating a sort of union where they’re getting together and trying to get organized. For instance, there’s a special issue of a mainstream journal in neuroscience called, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, and next year there will be a special issue about the possibility of non-local mind. This is a sign of the times because only 10 years ago or 15 or 20 years ago, this would not have been possible at all.  Now it’s becoming possible to discuss these important issues publicly and even to challenge the mainstream view overtly. This was not possible at all before. There’s a progress regarding this evolution in our field.  I think that there eventually will be another big revolution in science and this will be about mind and consciousness. The same kind of revolution that they’ve had about 100 years ago in physics from classical physics to quantum physics. We’ll have probably the same in our own field. At the same time in parallel, like you said at the beginning of the interview, if you talk to laypeople, most people do not believe that they are strictly biological robots and don’t have any influence over their brain activity or what’s happening in their body.  So, if there’s the start of really a transition within science, it will go quickly because the rest of the world is very sympathetic regarding a non-materialist view of consciousness and of human life and the universe. Mario Beauregard's Website Click here for YouTube version Click here for forum discussion Play It: Listen Now: Download MP3 (46 min.) Read It: Today we welcome Dr. Mario Beauregard to Skeptiko. Dr. Beauregard is an Associate Research Professor at the Neuroscience Research Center at the University of Montreal. He has a Ph.D. in neuroscience also from the University of Montreal. He also has two post-Doctorate fellowships in experimental neuropsychology. He's the author of over 100 publications in neuroscience, psychology, and psychiatry. And he’s here today to talk about his latest book, Brain Wars: The Scientific Battle Over the Existence of the Mind and the Proof That Will Change the Way We Live Our Lives. Mario, thank you very much for joining me today on Skeptiko and welcome. Dr. Mario Beauregard:   Thanks to you.