Human Brain Mapping, past, present & future (@CFI)

The Center for Inquiry Canada has invited me to speak about Brain, Self and Society. In this lecture, I will be covering, mostly, the topic of Human Brain Mapping.  

Our beliefs, to a great extent, are a function of our ability to see. With the invention of microscopes, and telescopes, illness was no longer blamed on witches, and the earth was no longer the center of the universe. New brain imaging technologies and neurogenetics are promising a similar scientific revolution. But what is the current state of the art, how far have we come and where are we heading to?

By focusing on the past, present and the future of this scientific method, I hope to provide a basis for understanding how these methods work. This aims to create a discussion about the myths debunked and the beliefs generated, also the hopes and the hoax that arise from the scientific interest in mapping the brain's work!

This will be a good opportunity for those of you who have missed our early sessions to get a glimpse of where we come from and where we are headed at.

Please find the announcement: http://centreforinquiry.ca/event/brain-self-and-society-a-talk-by-dr-naj-mahani/

The Center for Inquiry (CFI) Canada (headquartered in Toronto) is an advocacy group for education and secularism, and driven by volunteers. It is under the umbrella of CFI transnational, but an independent national organization (with charity status, since 2009). CFI transnational is a non-governmental organization (NGO) with special consultative status under the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). 

Tickets: $5 for members of this group ($10 for guests), to cover the costs of room rental and speaker honorarium.

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  • Naj

    I came across this written in 1815 by Gall & Spurzheim, the fathers of phrenology, who would perhaps not be approving some methods we use in morphological neuroimaging today:
    “Many natural philosophers have expected to succeed in pointing out the organs of the intellectual faculties by means of the anatomy of the human brain in particular, or at all events by comparative anatomy in general. […] Who, in seeing the structure of the stomach, could conjecture its digestive power? Who, in seeing the structure of the liver, could decide that the liver secretes bile, the kidney urine? Who from the structure and form of the nerves, can determine what kind of impressions they propagate? It is the same with the brain. Let the directions of its fibers be known; and let anatomists distinguish their greater or less consistence, their more or less white colour, their different size, length and etc. What conclusion as to the functions can they draw from these circumstances; None.”

    November 30, 2013

  • Naj

    Hi everyone,
    Thank you to those who braved the chilly night and attended the meeting. It was the largest audience I have had, and it was a great attentive audience. I think I should think of setting up a meeting to cover some basics of neuroscience, what are neurons, and how they communicate. I will think of it!

    October 26, 2013

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