Goodenough Gismo

  • Gismo39
    This is the classic children's book, Goodenough Gismo, by Richmond I. Kelsey, published in 1948. Nearly unavailable in libraries and the collector's market, it is posted here with love as an "orphan work" so that it may be seen and appreciated -- and perhaps even republished, as it deserves to be. After you read this book, it won't surprise you to learn that Richmond Irwin Kelsey (1905-1987) was an accomplished artist, or that as Dick Kelsey, he was one of the great Disney art directors, breaking your heart with "Pinocchio," "Dumbo," and "Bambi."



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Pastor_Jeff

Amba,

Yes. Thank you. This kind of reporting drives me crazy, too.

Ann Althouse had a thread going on this today and it was largely an exercise in frustration reading through the comments. Some people talked about the "irrational" belief in undetectable mystical forces. But that's only irrational if you're precommitted to materialism and a belief in only material causes.

This kind of discovery doesn't shake my faith, but deepen it. I think it's so cool that God wired our brains to dream, to love, to value art and beauty.

Of course those things happen through physical means -- we're physical beings. But that doesn't mean there is nothing non-material in the cosmos; it's just that science can't measure it.

Donna B.

Maybe the source of your frustration lies with the reporters paraphrasing the scientists than with the scientists' actual work.

I also don't think they are reassured or trying to be reassuring. The reporters are trying to sound like they understand something about which they haven't a clue.

CNN did a better job than the NYT on this one. They quote Dr. Blanke: "Lots of people try to explain something away which is for many people, an amazing experience that has transformed their lives. I hope we can add some precise neuroscience and try to collaborate with people in many fields."

Did you know there's a guy sells a gizmo you can strap to your head that uses magnetic waves to stimulate various parts of the brain. See here.

It's sort of funny that the right angular gyrus have been on my mind the past several months, and now they're in the news.

amba

Donna, how did the right angular gyrus come to be on, as well as in, your mind?

amba

Maybe it is just the journalists saying it enthusiastically and badly. The best scientists aren't that reductionistic; it may be a certain class of popularizers (e.g. Dawkins and Dennett).

Donna B.

I definitely think 'popularizers' play into the hands of enthusiastically bad, sloppy reporters.

As for my recent interest in the angular gyrus, I have a brain tumor (relatively small benign menigioma) that may (or may not) be compressing my right angular gyrus.

I've been reading everything I can find on the right posterior parietal area, the place those gyrus call home.

The best thing to come from all this is the discovery that I like my self the way I am and the way it is. My greatest fear of surgery is that I will come out of it with a different personality.

This is not to say I don't fear losing my vision or language processing abilities, but I think I could handle that much better than losing the essence of my self.

In the meantime, I'm going to milk this situation for all it's worth - for everything stupid or clumsy I do or silly thing I say, my excuse is "Well... I have a brain tumor."

You can see images from the MRI here.

amba

Donna,

The word "benign" shines out of that bunch of bad news. I am very glad to hear that word.

A friend of ours had a meningioma -- I think (meninges are the membrane covering the brain? -- so it is near or on the surface?). His was quite large. He must have had it without knowing it for quite some time before he had a couple of seizures. It was very successfully removed.

"It's not me, it's my brain tumor" is a suggested locution in the meantime. :) (A neuropsychiatrist I wrote a book with teaches people with obsessive-compulsive disorder to say to themselves, "It's not me, it's just my brain." Yes, he believes that the essence of us is not totally the product of the brain and therefore can influence what the brain does, not just be the effect of it -- a cheering thought, no?)

BrianOfAtlanta

Rather like someone discovering a typewriter and announcing that he now knows how Shakespeare did it.

amba

EXACTLY, Brian, I LOVE that analogy.

I used to say that the "selfish gene" theory was like saying that music existed to perpetuate scores.

realpc

Boy did I have to go through contortions to get my account re-activated just now.

I understand why scientists think they have explained away something mysterious just because they noticed some brain cells firing. It's because they are determined to deny the supernatural.

There is no reason for science to be restricted to studying the material world. Science has already gone way beyond matter into investigating strange worlds inhabited by quarks and time reversals, action at a distance, fields without dimensions or substance.

It isn't matter and the 4-dimensional world that science insists on. Physicists already believe there are higher order dimensions, dark matter, black holes, all kinds of unfathomable mysteries. What they insist on denying is not the immaterial, it's the ancient and mystical perspectives on the immaterial.

This is what the enlightenment was all about -- getting free of our dark fears of evil spirits, magic, demons, etc.

Parents can tell their children, and mean it, that there are no ghosts in the closet. There probably are ghosts in the closet but our educated enlightened thinking lets us deny and ignore.

You can't have angels without devils, heaven without hell.

amba

Boy did I have to go through contortions to get my account re-activated just now.

Sorry, real, and thanks for persevering. I hate this, but I was deleting scores of spam comments a day. After a while, we'll take it off, stick our heads up and see if the spammers have stampeded elsewhere.

The sticking point here is whether or not there is meaning, consciousness, and intent in the universe that is not just imagined and projected by the human mind. The observer alters the observed and a human mind may be required to detect or to activate or attract or decode or focus these forces, constructive and destructive ("twenty centuries of stony sleep/Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle"). But that is not the same as saying that they are only phantoms of the human imagination.

Pastor_Jeff

Amba,

I just wanted to add one thought on this that came to me earlier.

Those who argue for pure materialism are literally self-denying. In a purely materialistic world there can be no such thing as personality, will, choice, or significance because there is no you, no "ghost in the machine."

Ultimately even the idea of materialism is irrelevant and self-defeating because it is espoused by biological machines whose "choices" are determined completely by evolution and electro-chemical brain signals.

It's an incredibly sad and dehumanizing thought. And it's ironic that those who propose it claim to do so in the name of humanism and freedom.

realpc

"The sticking point here is whether or not there is meaning, consciousness, and intent in the universe that is not just imagined and projected by the human mind."

Of course there is. Scientific atheism says that matter creates mind, but they have no evidence for their claim. Everyone else believes that mind creates matter, and that claim is supported by evidence, common sense, and the experiences of people in all times and cultures.


It isn't an easy question to prove, scientifically, one way or the other. Even though common sense and experience say mind creates matter, scientific atheists can still deny it. I think the answer has to come from parapsychology. Like the Gary Schwartz medium experiments, for example, and many others.

brerabbit

I agree totally! I have watched for years as skeptics patronize people who have had unusual experiances. They are either hoaxes, hallucinations, mistaken identifications,etc. The idea that we may not have the Universe and it's mysteries all figured out, frightens these people. this obsession with the idea that matter is all there is, and there is nothing more, belies human experiance. I have had friends who lived in a haunted house. I can assure you they were not hallucinating about what they saw and experianced. It would be SO refreshing if the science community just admitted, that it can't explain everything, just yet. Science is alienating the public with sillines like this posing as evidence. this is along the line of Pharoah's magicians turning thier rods to snakes after Moses did it. We all know that it wasn't really the same thing....

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