A pet peeve of mine is the over-use of the phrase “mind controlled.” We’ve discussed the mind-body problem a few times before here, so hopefully you’ll see the problem with an article like this:
…we have this robotic leg prosthesis that is fully controlled using brain waves, making it a potential game changer for those who suffer from spinal cord injury.
This prosthetic lower limb’s predecessor can be controlled in real time by EEG (electroencephalogram) signals that are fed into a computer, and it works great as long as you have a brain, regardless of whether you are able-bodied or otherwise. It takes around 10 minutes to master the new mind-controlled robotic leg…
This isn’t “mind control.” It’s brain control.
Certainly, having particular kinds of thoughts can influence EEG patterns. That’s not in doubt. But, controlling an external device using electrical activity patterns in the brain is not the same thing as “mind control”. If it is, then so is driving a car or typing on a keyboard, or any other physical action we do. Sure, the driving of the car is the result of processes that began in the mind. But, the nervous system is simply one proxy layer of the manifestation of those mental events into physical actions. Those nervous system signals are not, themselves, the mental activity.
All these researchers have done is take one of the proxy layers off of the stack. They are not tapping into the mind directly, which is impossible.
Why impossible? Because mental events, such as thoughts, beliefs and willings are non-physical things. We know this. And, it’s this lone fact that makes me convinced that a supernatural world, and ultimately a God, exists. Whether that God is the Christian one is a completely separate topic.
I’m not just being nit-picky over words. This stuff matters.