Friday, April 22, 2011

The Possibilian


The April 25th New Yorker has an article [Page 54 ff.] by Burkhard Bilger about David Eagleman, an assistant professor of neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine in Houton.


Eagleman has founded a movement called Possibilianism, a denomination of his own invention based upon ruminations (by him).

Science taught him to be skeptical of cosmic certainties and as he wrote in a book of short stories [Sum], “Why not imagine ourselves as bit of networked hardware in a cosmic program, or as particles of some celestial organism [See Teilhard de Chardin for a similar hypothesis], or any of a thousand other possibilities, and then test those ideas against the available evidence?”

He is quoted thusly: “As Voltaire said, uncertainty is an uncomfortable position. But certainty is an absurd one.”


He believes that “memories are often radically revised” and “how much of what we perceive exists outside of us and how much is a product of our minds?”

Francis Crick, the discoverer of the DNA sequence and a mentor to Eagleman, before he died in 2004, gave him (Eagleman) this advice, “Look, The Dangerous man is the one who only has one idea, because then he’ll fight and die for it. The way real science goes is that you come up with lots of ideas, and most of them will be wrong.”


I’m recommending the New Yorker piece and Eagleman for his quasi-religious thrust [Possibilianism for Nick Redfern]; Eagleman’s views from Voltaire [for Paul Kimball], Eagleman’s intuition about memory [for CDA, Gilles Fernandez, and other Roswell witness-promoters] and the idea of various mental intersects [for Bruce Duensing].

The article may be read here (thanks to Frank Stalter):

David Eagleman: The Possibilian

1 comment:

Parakletos said...

I'd love to hear this guy's opinion of Occam's Razor...