Friday, November 14, 2008

Brain science supports traditional view of soul

In "Brain Science and the Soul," (October 20, 2008) R.R. Reno writes:
We often hear that modern science requires us to reject traditional Christian views of the human person. The argument goes something like this: If we can see the physical process by which ideas are associated or feelings felt or decisions made, then surely we must admit that human beings are nothing more than physical entities. The concept of a soul, so we are told, is irrelevant.

Well, it turns out that science now points us in a different direction. These days, cognitive scientists are doing experiments that use MRI technology to visualize the brain while subjects undergo experiences, solve problems, and make decisions. This approach allows scientists to see and theorize about the significance and sources of patterns in our brains, patterns that shape the way we respond to the world. We are learning about the highway system of neurological movement, which turns out to be decisive for the way our minds work.

The new emphasis on patterns of neural activity suggests an important support for the traditional Christian understanding of the soul. The cutting edge of brain science makes it clear that it is as foolish to say that our brains are just neurons as it is to say that highways are just concrete and asphalt. After all, what matters to the motorist is the way in which the concrete is organized to create an interlocking system of usable roads. The same holds for the gray matter inside our heads.
The rest here.

In case you missed it ...

“Who needs a God who suffers?” is just one of many discomforting questions God on Trial dares ask, intending to provoke and challenge believers and nonbelievers alike. The compelling and disturbing television drama, to be broadcast on PBS stations Sunday, November 9, is as powerful as anything you’ll encounter on the stage or big screen this year.

It opens with a bus arriving in modern-day Auschwitz, Poland. The tourists on board are informed that, for a mere ten zlotys extra, they can peruse the grounds, see the death camps. Among the tour troupe is someone who needs no introduction to the camps. He is an Auschwitz survivor.
- here's Anthony Sacramone's meditation on radical evil.