Thank you so much for this post Matt. The neutral objectivity that scientists and materialists often lay claim to hides much of the social pretensions from with which they are operating. In this instance, the President of the United States is digging deep into the minds of his subjects and carrying a ideological bias toward economic efficiency in plain site.
Separating the religious from the scientific is not enough. Obama’s alleged “Pragmatism” does not account for Capitalist apologetics that turn the scientific pursuit of knowledge into normative political knowledge for an Imperial superpower. With a near-perfect understanding of the brain, the limits to keeping masses complacent would be extended farther than almost anyone could see. In the world of capitalism, research on consciousness via reductivist neuron tinkering has clear dangers for anyone who understands the power dimension of politics, but this is becoming less obvious to the lot of humanity.
BRAINS… BRAAAAINS… [economic growth] BRAAAAAINS!!!
Francis Collins, director of the National Institute of Health and author of The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (2006), introduces President Obama as the “scientist-in-chief.” Collins’ “BioLogos” theory is a brand of theistic evolution I have to admit I am not all that familiar with. But I do think he is a good choice to head the NIH since he believes in the compatibility of science and religion, as the majority of Americans seem to.
Obama, for his part, does not begin his speech by situating the latest public investment in brain research in the context of human spirituality. That, of course, is a private matter. Rather, he immediately places this government-funded research in its proper economic context (i.e., techno-capitalism). Investing in science is important, he tells us. Why? Because sometimes it leads to important inventions, some of which may eventually make their way…
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