An intermezzo in my series of consciousness posts. It's been a while since I posted, so I needed to oil the chain.
In conversations about consciousness, the voice of the garden-variety biologist (Mr B) often gets drowned out. This is typically due to blithely confident philosopher-types who act as if the armchair provides just as much authority as the lab bench when it comes to consciousness. Equally perplexing is that some folk's confidence actually becomes bolstered by the paucity of theoretically significant experimental results about consciousness. A lack of data makes good scientists less confident, not more confident, about a topic. (There are interesting parallels with creationism here.)
I am happy to start by inverting this antiscientific bias about consciousness. In that spirit, I will grant Mr B sole control of the lectern until he has finished saying what he has to say. Only then will I entertain questions from those armchair pilots who believe they have deadly objections to Mr B's project. At that point we will be better posed to see if they are right.
While I am not Mr B, for the above reasons I do consider myself his advocate. Because it is becoming a distraction to talk about him in the third-person, I will simply speak in his voice for a bit. Because confusion is likely to follow such a grammatical shift, this post will serve as a handy reference (especially for those tempted to bemoan my ignorance of what the philosophers have (putatively) contributed to our understanding of consciousness).
Next up, we'll get back to the science.