Daniel Tammet is a well known "savant" who has been studied by psychologists. He is famous for remembering the value of pi
to over twenty
thousand digits, for learning Icelandic in two weeks, and for being able to do very difficult calculations in his head.
When he thinks of pi
, he sees an extensive landscape
in his mind, with each feature of the landscape representing a digit. When he sees
written out in numbers he is aware
when a wrong digit has been introduced into the number, because the "landscape" in his mind is
marred in the numerical representation.
Materialistic science would say that Tammet, and all of us, "store" facts in the brain, as if in a large filing cabinet, or on a magnetic disk.
What makes Tammet interesting as an object of study is that his awareness
is acute enough to actually observe
this procedure as a
physically perceived reality in his brain.
is accessing the filing cabinet and checking the files for accuracy. Tammet is both carrying out the process and observing the
What is the "something"?
How does this something "know" when the number on the blackboard deviates from the number in his interior landscape? Tammet doesn't talk about "two
landscapes", the right landscape and the wrong landscape, being compared. Why not?
Does this unexplained "something" have another, unobserved source of data that it consults in a way that is unobserved by Tammet?
Materialists would say that we are at the edge of a sort of "black box" the workings of which are impossible to observe, except through the study of
, using modern scanning instruments and rigorous applications of inductive logic.
When Tammet does extremely difficult calculations in his head, he is aware of the numbers as "blobs" of different shapes. The blobs merge
form a single blob, which is the answer to the calculation.
That's a problem.
Nobody teaches that. That's not in the repertoire of "speed math" tricks, which is another way of saying, that knowledge
was not filed in the
filing cabinets of his brain, the way the rest of us get our mathematical knowledge.
Scientific materialists would say, well, that is still theoretically explained by the black box analogy. Some physical process is clearly taking
place, as Tammet attests, and he is aware of that process and able to interpret it, through material means, which are not as yet understood.
These are two instances of mental phenomena, quite distinct, but with a common element. The common element is the "black box", the unknown factor or
process by which these mental operations are carried out, observed and interpreted.
Spiritual people might say that in these two instances, science itself has proven or at least strongly suggested the presence of a transcendant
element, within the body which carries out those operations, something that even Tammet himself, cannot observe.
Spiritual people also would say that the failure to accept this as a possibility is proof of the existence of a Church of Science
admit the possibility
of facts which transcend the current materialistic model, despite indications of it from their own observations.
Suppose there is nothing found in the black box? That would be a spiritual person's expectation.
From the materialist's point of view, there is some process
consisting of material, within the black box.
This process must be carried out by so called "interneurons" one of the three
count'em, three kinds of neurons. There are billions of neurons
in the brain, theoretically capable of transmitting immense numbers of electrical signals and of storing, according to Carl Sagan in his book
Dragons of Eden
more information than there are atoms in the universe.
The sensory neurons handle sense perceptions, the motor neurons handle body movements and the interneurons handle communications and "make
For all biological references see:
Imagine having to make everything out of three kinds of lego blocks. The people at Lego will likely tell you that it can be done.
Maybe they are right.
They may even believe that you could make a catalogue, out of lego blocks to keep track of it all.
The black box materialists take it as an article of faith
that thought that a human being is capable of is not only an arrangement of lego
blocks, but the arranging of the blocks is also done by the blocks themselves, who receive directions from other blocks, who conceive of these
directions . . . how?
Well, materialists would say that, a more fundamental level black box takes care of this.
Does anyone other than a spiritual person see an "infinite loop" looming in this argument?
This is a logical argument for a transcendant "entity".
The Church of Science is reluctant to accept the logic of this argument, but they should be aware that this is only the tip of the iceberg. People in
the religious life have gone much further than this.
At some point in the black box analogy a lego block (neuron) will be expected to do something that even a scientific materialist will acknowledge,
might be beyond it's capabilities. The Church of Science does not want to go to that place, just as many other churches will not deviate from their
There is too much money, too much status, too much ego, too much pride too much shame involved, to change, on such a fundamental point.
edit on 12-6-2011 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)