By Justin L. Barrett
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Extra info for Cognitive Science, Religion, and Theology: From Human Minds to Divine Minds
Unless our minds fully escape our bodies, such limitations and predilections may never be completely avoided. But maybe being devoid of all such natural cognitive limitations or biases would mean no longer having a human mind. Suppose we did have better long-term memory or we could keep a few more chunks in working memory, or we no longer selectively processed some kinds of information as opposed to others. Such “enhancements” would radically change our human character. Perhaps we would no longer be human without the particular natural propensities of our minds.
You cannot teach a rabbit German because it does not have the right biological substrate. ” is always “Both,” and deciding if it is more one than the other may prove impossible because “nature” and “nurture” are so vague. If seeing requires exposure to retinal stimulation (environment), does that make seeing more nurture than nature? How do we quantify the amount of contribution of each? ” The term innate invites confusion. What would it mean for something to be innate? It cannot mean determined by our biology because nothing, strictly, is determined by our biology absent important Fe atur e s of Hum a n Thought • 27 environmental qualifications.
Ch a pt er 2 Features of Human Thought In the 1996 film Phenomenon, John Travolta plays George, an ordinary man who experiences a strange flash of light that changes his life. Suddenly he begins demonstrating astounding cognitive abilities such as being able to read full-length books in a matter of minutes, learning new languages by just flipping through language textbooks, and even moving objects with his mind (telekinesis). Later doctors discover that George is dying from a brain tumor, and we are led to believe that his amazing cognitive abilities are the result of this tumor stimulating more and greater brain functions than is normally the case.