Francis Crick () was a British molecular biologist, physicist, and neuroscientist, who was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or. Astonishing Hypothesis by Francis Crick – Traditionally, the human soul is regarded as a nonphysical concept that can only be examined by psychiatrists and. Review of The Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific Search For The Soul by. Francis Crick. Bill Webster. Department of Psychology. Monash.

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Aug 30, Hypothesiw rated it it was amazing Shelves: Rcick reached the point now where I’ve read so many popular science books about the consciousness and cognition that I’m starting to see a lot of redundancy. Can’t wait to read the discussion on free will that he promises. On the face of it, this is indeed a fairly extreme claim; a reductionism which stops just short of denying the actual existence of consciousness.

While animals allow greater observational resolution, human subjects can provide linguistic feedback. Oct 21, Sam Vesuna rated it it was amazing.

However, I do not share the pessimism of some who think that our brains are inherently incapable of grasping such ideas.

I consider Astonishing Hypothesis a very significant book that opened new directions in neuroscience thinking. The third reason why the Astonishing Hypothesis seems strange springs from our undeniable feeling that our Will is free. We need, therefore, to state the idea in stronger terms. Can we find a neural correlate of events we consider to show the free exercise of our Will?

Astonishing Hypothesis

We now know that all living things, from bacteria to ourselves, are closely related at the biochemical level. The life of an animal in the wild, whether carnivore or herbivore, is often brutal and short compared to its life in captivity. He seems to have been temperamentally inclined to working in collaboration with a partner – having cracked the mystery of DNA with Watson, he now developed a fruitful partnership with Christof Koch.

Broadly speaking, after the initial acquisition from the retina, information gets handled between feancis of subsequent processing units. Indeed, without a detailed knowledge of the nature of matter and radiation, and of biological frwncis, such myths appear only too plausible.


Traditionally, the human soul is regarded as a nonphysical concept that can only be examined by psychiatrists and theologists. The author discusses visual cortical neurons in some detail. Personally, however, I think the focus on vision dooms the enterprise from the start, at least as far as consciousness is concerned.

This book ignites thoughts and numerous questions. But, as Crick speculates, that there is no such being is astonishing. But for the conditions we normally have to deal with on earth when an atom will only change into another atom under very special circumstancesmost scientists think that francsi incompleteness of our knowledge probably matters very little, if at all, in our attempts to understand the mind and the brain.

Having tried and failed to read the high level and quite poorly written The Quest for Consciousness by Christof Koch, I am delighted to find that this book is accessible and aims at explaining the same hypothesis, i. Mar 21, Sina Homayooni rated it really liked it.

This topic crivk discussed at greater length in the Postscript on page Jul 20, Dan Burke rated it did not like it. A modern neurobiologist sees no need for the religious concept of a soul to explain the behavior of humans and other animals. I will read this again! It’s difficult to be absolutely clear about Crick’s philosophical position, however. Now, to a first approximation, the mass and charge of the nucleus of an atom never change, at least in the mild environment in which life flourishes on earth.

Where does this process end? Is there such a thing as a soul, or are we nothing more than an immensely complex collection of neurons?

Each atom consists of a heavy atomic nucleus, carrying a positive charge, surrounded by an organized cloud of light, negatively charged nimble electrons. Before Galileo and Newton our knowledge of basic physics was primitive. It does not come easily to believe that I am the detailed behavior of a set of nerve cells, however many there may be and however intricate their interactions.

The Astonishing Hypothesis – Wikiquote

One can see now how hollow such objections have turned out to be. What else could make their behavior so regular? Is this world real? Indeed, the existence of atoms was doubted by some physicists asotnishing late as the beginning of the twentieth century. His view of consciousness, however, was summed up in his own book ‘The Astonishing Hypothesis’.


Some, such as neurologist and Nobel Laureate Gerald Edelman believe astonising neural Darwinism is a more satisfactory explanation for the emergence of complex intelligence in humans.

This is a very thorny issue. A comfortable read for non-scientists, educating and thought-provoking too. I believe that the subtitle is misleading, and I think that even Cr When I read this book, more than 10 years ago, I felt “astonished” with the Crick’s angle of attack on the subject.

But the fundamental reason is that Crick is really interested in telling a scientific story, not a philosophical one.

It might seem a category mistake to believe cruck is merely another way of talking about the behavior of neurons, but we have just seen that arguments of this type are not always to be trusted. At the very top is the so called archicortex Hippocampus.

Thus the mature brain is the product of both Nature and Nurture. In many cases time has shown these predictions to be incorrect.

Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific Search for the Soul

Brain Anatomy Crick talks about the lateral geniculate nucleus in the thalamus, which has been called the gateway to the visual cortex. Books by Francis Crick. Ideas about our brains are likely to have the same general character. It seemed inconceivable that this dramatic doubling of a living creature could ever be explained on a biochemical basis — that is, using the properties of organic and other molecules and their interactions. In his book, The Astonishing HypothesisCrick examines the understanding of consciousness.

Most religions hold that some kind of spirit exists that persists after one”s bodily death and, to some degree, embodies the essence of that human being.