The battles of the materialists, the reductionists, against those who believe that we are more than our brains go on and on. And on. Just this week, I see in the Guardian "The brain… it makes you think. Doesn't it?"
In Salon, we can follow an ongoing "discussion" between PZ Myers and neuroscientist Mario Beauregard about the latter's new book Brain Wars: The Scientific Battle Over the Existence of the Mind and the Proof That Will Change the Way We Live Our Lives. Salon ran an excerpt from Brain Wars titled "Near death, explained." Myers followed with "Near-death, distorted." This weekend we will see a response from Beauregard which I will link to here when it is posted. Later added: Click to read Beauregard's response. Added April 30, 2012: Myers's response to Beuaregard, also at Salon as of May 1.
If you want to read a well-written book about the non-materialist position, Brain Wars is excellent. In addition to drawing on his professional experience, Dr. Beauregard has researched his topic well. He persuasively makes the point that our lives are not determined by our brains and its chemicals. This message gives one more hope than provided by the determinism of the reductionists—and reminds us of our responsibility to make good decisions. Read the book.
Note: Mentioned in both Myers's and Beauregard's pieces is the story of Kimberly Clark and Maria. Before you decide what you think happened, I recommend you read "Who Will Watch the Watchers?" (Michael Prescott).