|Dan Dennett/Edge magazine photo|
Key takeaway? He junks a fair amount of what he's said in the past about the details of how the mind/brain is like a computer,
Still holds fast to the analogy that it's ... like a computer!
Let's look at some comments:
I guess he simply can't admit it's a crappy analogy that just doesn't work, and walk away from it.We're beginning to come to grips with the idea that your brain is not this well-organized hierarchical control system where everything is in order, a very dramatic vision of bureaucracy. In fact, it's much more like anarchy with some elements of democracy. ...
The vision of the brain as a computer, which I still champion, is changing so fast. The brain's a computer, but it's so different from any computer that you're used to. It's not like your desktop or your laptop at all, and it's not like your iPhone except in some ways. ...
Control is the real key, and you begin to realize that control in brains is very different from control in computers. Control in your commercial computer is very much a carefully designed top-down thing. I mean, with all that, there's no need to hang on to his analogy.
Because it was a crappy analogy a decade ago,. and it's in tatters now.
How do they thread the needle so that they don't offend the sophisticates in their congregation by insisting on the literal truth of the book of Genesis, let's say, while still not scaring, betraying, pulling the rug out from under the more naïve and literal-minded of their parishioners? There's no good solution to that problem as far as we can see, since they have this unspoken rule that they should not upset, undo, subvert the faith of anybody in the church.This means that there's a sort of enforced hypocrisy where the pastors speak from the pulpit quite literally, and if you weren't listening very carefully, you’d think: oh my gosh, this person really believes all this stuff. But they're putting in just enough hints for the sophisticates in the congregation so that the sophisticates are supposed to understand: Oh, no. This is all just symbolic. This is all just metaphorical. And that's the way they want it, but of course, they could never admit it. You couldn't put a little neon sign up over the pulpit that says, "Just metaphor, folks, just metaphor." It would destroy the whole thing.
Go read it.