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codonya's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by codonya

I think you are right about the forum...I'll share a couple thoughts, and then we can continue elsewhere. You can name the forum.

I think there is lots of scientific evidence that spoken words directly affects other's brain physiology and thoughts. Sound waves are transduced into signals that travel chemically/electrically via neurons to the brain where they are processed in neural nets, etc.. My orignal intent was to say that if you don't follow the gist of what is written above in this paragraph that you are not on very solid ground to be critiquing Dennett's use of language in his article/post. I don't question your "right" to say it, you certainly have every right. I meant rather to question the credibility of your criticism and was using "right" in that sense.

Your words:
Because "B" follows "A" then "A" must be the "cause" of "B"

I agree that is a fallacy, however, it is not the case that saying that spoken words cause thoughts is an example of that fallacy. It would only be so if one's only warrant for saying that thoughts are caused by the spoken word was that one followed the other.
Rather we know it to be the case not simply because thought follow spoken words, but because we can trace a good deal of the physiological processes in impressive detail. If you don't agree that this is the case, then probably our discussion won't get either of us, or anyone else, anywhere of value.

I have to mention that your idea that no one else's actions / words etc. can cause any internal response sounds an awful lot like Albert Ellis' Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy or the folk wisdom attributed to Elenor Roosevelt along the lines that no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. It is a nice thought, but it simply isn't true in any strict sense. It hints at truth in the loose sense that I can have some influence over what my internal response will be to what someone else says to me, but is show to be false in that I would rightly be held responsible if I walked up to a stranger and told him I was going to kill him. It would cause a cascade of thoughts, hormones, and brain activity that would cause suffering.

You are correct that my thinking that your question that was combined by your expressed disappointment with Dr. Dennett metaphoric use of language was basic is an evaluation on my part. On the other hand, I think a good number of credible people could be found who would agree that 2 + 2 = 4 is a relatively basic computation. Basic is merely an evaluation that is not contained in the equation, you are right, but I disagree if you're saying that saying that the statement "2 + 2 = 4 is a simple math problem" would hold no meaning beyond my personal evaluation. Large numbers of people could be found who would readily agree. It holds conveys a useful public meaning.

I look forward to talking more in the forum of your choice. Perhaps you could post it here so I can find you.

Wed, 08 Nov 2006 14:34:00 UTC | #7258