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Re: Richard Dawkins, Knowledge, and Faith

Re: Richard Dawkins, Knowledge, and Faith

What I found relevant in the episode was that the person who had suffered the stroke could still sense color but could no longer use color pragmatically as a tool in puzzle-solving. As we know, there are also people whose brains don’t allow them to sense color and who have to use other environmental cues to perform pragmatic tasks effectively; e.g., the top light on the traffic signal means “stop,” the bottom one means “go.”

To solve jigsaw puzzles, people need brains that can both extract raw information like color from the environment (right brain) and transform those sensations into pragmatically useful information (left brain). When our brains are functioning properly the process linking environment to purposeful action is seamless, as if the environment is providing us with information that’s prepackaged to be useful for solving puzzles. But brains actively interact with and translate the environmental stimuli — stimuli that, I would contend, exist independently of the specific sensory organs used to detect them and the brains used to process them and the pragmatic tasks for which we use them.

Note also that the tasks of puzzle solving and driving incident-free through city traffic, while created by humans, still exist independently of whether you or I happen to have the puzzle or the steering wheel before us. Still, you and I must use our brains to perform these pragmatic tasks effectively.

Richard Dawkins, Knowledge, and Faith By: Jacob (60 replies) 6 February, 2010 - 01:49