Understanding through Discussion


Welcome! You are not logged in. [ Login ]
EvC Forum active members: 158 (8123 total)
Current session began: 
Page Loaded: 09-16-2014 3:28 PM
102 online now:
Chatting now:  Chat room empty
Newest Member: taiji2
Upcoming Birthdays: AdminPhat, Spiritual Anarchist
Post Volume:
Total: 736,084 Year: 21,925/28,606 Month: 1,012/1,410 Week: 214/524 Day: 39/87 Hour: 3/4


Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
  
1
2Next
Author Topic:   Neurology, the next debate frontier in the controversy?
Kairyu
Member (Idle past 53 days)
Posts: 162
From: netherlands
Joined: 06-23-2010


(1)
Message 1 of 19 (651406)
02-07-2012 10:54 AM


In the eyes of some people on both sides of the debate, Christianity has been in a long uneasy battle with Science. Others may deny that this is happening in the mainstream, or hold the personal belief that they are in harmony. However, this very forum is evidence of the debate between secular scientific viewpoints and Christianity wotj its claims about the world, humanity, and the existence of a supernatural Creator.

There have been struggles about certain viewpoints once held in the past, ones that shook Christianity's claims about the world.

A famous overcited example: The claims about Galileo about the earth not being the center of the solar system caused quite a struggle back in the day, but the issue has long been resolved in the favor of Galileo.

The next famous example is in this forum's very name, with far deeper theological implications: evolution. Most of science has accepted it, along with secularists and a large number of religiously inclined people. Christians have both claimed that evolution can be harmonized with Christianity, or that it is ''just a theory''. I disagree with the latter, and frequently doubt the former. However, it's quite clear Evolution used to be/still is a major frontier in debate about Christianity's exact nature, and possibly, truth. However, evolution is not my topic's main subject.

That neurology itself as a valid branch of science is undisputed. Neurology is often used to support evolution in debate. However, over recent decades radical progress has been made in our understanding of the brain, and it has reveals opportunities for new research. Among these discoveries, many facets of the brain don't seem to quite match up with the views Christianity have of humans. It has shed light on many things, such as the workings of sexual attraction, aggression, morality, and much more. The other implication of increasing knowledge is that is becomes harder to pinpoint the role of the soul, or even to prove if the soul is necessary. It was not a single theory that did the job, it was slow but steady progress over a few decades.

Christianity claims humanity is sinful, and Jesus eventually died on the cross to atone for these sins. Humanity has a knack for being ''sinful'', I have never doubted that. However, take the new findings on neurology, and the picture changes. While the ''sinful'' traits are true, neurology is showing that these traits are intrinsically present in humanity. Doesn't Creationism teach God did design us to the smallest detail? Then why do we have natural neurological traits, that make use prone to unnecessary agression (especially males, which is another proof for it being a neurological trait), hard to control sexual desires, that makes us want sex far too often and early (From a conservative POV), and in general is focused on physical attraction. A related concern is our natural bias for Charismatic people. Humans naturally trust good looking people, with certain body language, or a rousing voice, even if there may be ugly, twitchy people, who may have better ideas in the end. This is quite hard to match up with ''being made in God's imagine'' at times. The soul being nowhere to be found is also problematic, for reasons that speak for themselves.

And despite all the discoveries, neurology is still in a developing phase. If we know that much by this point, what about 30 years in the future? Conservative Christians will have a hard time providing answers. In my opinion, it's an even larger problem for Christianity than evolution. It hasn't come to large-scale debating yet, but even the current neurology is a huge problem for creationists. Even without bringing evolution up (although that is eventually needed to make any sense of the ''why is it so'' aspect of neurology, should creationism fail to do so). And it's not ''just a theory'', it's objective evidence, that is gradually being understood as it is studied more and more. Eventually, it could be possible it becomes mainstream education, and then, would the US get lawsuits again, trying to prevent it from being taught as truth? My own prediction is that, yes, eventually it will become the next frontier of the secularism vs Christianity debate, and that Christians will have a disadvantage.

So, I'd like to invite Creationists/Christians to comment on my prediction, and perhaps give evidence why neurology is not a problem. So, I request this to be placed in a subforum with no restricted posting for creationists. And since my own knowledge is still currently lacking on the specifics, some supportive evidence and reasoning from those with better knowledge would be appreciated.

Edited by Admin, : Fix typos and spelling and grammar errors.


Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by Perdition, posted 02-07-2012 12:41 PM Kairyu has responded
 Message 4 by Straggler, posted 02-07-2012 12:55 PM Kairyu has not yet responded
 Message 15 by jrchamblee, posted 02-13-2012 9:17 PM Kairyu has responded

  
Admin
Director
Posts: 11425
From: EvC Forum
Joined: 06-14-2002
Member Rating: 1.3


Message 2 of 19 (651408)
02-07-2012 12:04 PM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Neurology, the next debate frontier in the controversy? thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
Perdition
Member (Idle past 299 days)
Posts: 1592
From: Wisconsin
Joined: 05-15-2003


Message 3 of 19 (651426)
02-07-2012 12:41 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Kairyu
02-07-2012 10:54 AM


So, I'd like to invite Creationists/Christians to comment on my prediction, and perhaps give evidence why neurology is not a problem.

I'm not a Creationist or a Christian, but I can see a few options open to them.

1) The Fall. Humans were created in God's image, but when Adam ate of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, his brain was altered, since before, he didn't know about good and evil, so anyhting we're studying in the brain is studying a damaged organ.

2) If you go dualistic, you can say that the actions of the brain that we associate with thoughts and actions are really just where the soul interacts with the body in order to make immaterial desires manifest in a material world.

3) Another, more honest, approach would be to say that they're not entirely sure why or how things are the way they are, but that they believe there is a higher purpose.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Kairyu, posted 02-07-2012 10:54 AM Kairyu has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by Kairyu, posted 02-07-2012 1:38 PM Perdition has responded

    
Straggler
Member
Posts: 9943
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 3.0


(1)
Message 4 of 19 (651429)
02-07-2012 12:55 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Kairyu
02-07-2012 10:54 AM


Soul Destroyer
I think you are absolutely correct that neurobiology is destined to become the next big battle ground between science and religion.

We've had our notion that we hold a special place in the universe challenged by physics. We've had our specialness as a species challenged by biological evolution.

The next frontier will be the challenge of what we mean by the "self" and the intuitive notions we hold about freewill and why it is that we behave the ways we do.

I think this will increasingly become an area of conflict between those who adopt a scientific approach and those who rely on various forms of mysticism.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Kairyu, posted 02-07-2012 10:54 AM Kairyu has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 5 by Perdition, posted 02-07-2012 1:27 PM Straggler has responded

  
Perdition
Member (Idle past 299 days)
Posts: 1592
From: Wisconsin
Joined: 05-15-2003


(1)
Message 5 of 19 (651435)
02-07-2012 1:27 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by Straggler
02-07-2012 12:55 PM


Re: Soul Destroyer
I think this will increasingly become an area of conflict between those who adopt a scientific approach and those who rely on various forms of mysticism.

This could have a very profound effect on many people, even those who aren't particularly religious but still believe in free will. It could have great effect on legal systems, morality, and mental health.

This could be a much more fundamental revision of our world view, as a species, than any other scientific discovery with the possible exception of what the discovery of intelligent, extra-terrestrial life might do.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by Straggler, posted 02-07-2012 12:55 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 6 by Straggler, posted 02-07-2012 1:37 PM Perdition has responded

    
Straggler
Member
Posts: 9943
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 6 of 19 (651436)
02-07-2012 1:37 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Perdition
02-07-2012 1:27 PM


Re: Soul Destroyer
Yes. It may well require a significant change in mindset not only for those of a religious disposition.

I don't want to re-hash what has recently been discussed here The Illusion of Free Will but I think we are going to have to take a more compatibilist approach to things like freewill and moral culpability in areas such as law.

On the other hand people are quite good at intellectually knowing one thing whilst intuitively behaving as if something completely different were true. So I am not sure how much effect the findings of neurobiology will have on a day to day basis.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by Perdition, posted 02-07-2012 1:27 PM Perdition has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by Perdition, posted 02-07-2012 2:59 PM Straggler has responded

  
Kairyu
Member (Idle past 53 days)
Posts: 162
From: netherlands
Joined: 06-23-2010


Message 7 of 19 (651438)
02-07-2012 1:38 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Perdition
02-07-2012 12:41 PM


1) I know about the fall problem, but I opted to not include it in the OP. Personally I explain it looking at the nature of the brain. Many ''altered'' traits do not really correspond to ''gaining knowledge of good and evil'' Far from it, in many cases.

The second approach I often see is that the fruit/God's punishment corrupted us, and also, our brains design. The fact that that the rest of nature is so needlessly cruel compared to paradise supports this ''option''. I see 2 problems with this. If God personally corrupted us to make us sinful, this creates a logical paradox with his indignation and sorrow of the corruption of mankind, especially since he drowned most of creation during the flood, and sacrificed his own son to atone for humanity's sins, that, is you take the corruption option, he inflicted himself as punishment... It makes no sense at all. The other problem is that, while our brain is ''sinful'', many of the traits are rough and primitive, but have some pragmatic logic to them. What orgin has this pragmatic logic? Evolution accounts for it, but a creationist doesn't believe in that. They may bring up corruption, but that brings us back to my first issue, the paradox of corruption and subsequent indignation.

(2) True, but the origin of thoughts and actions is getting better understood by neuroscience by the day. The other problem with dualism, is that when due to a defect in development, or a illness like cancer, can make certain parts of the brain malfunction. In fact , I've read that a lot of brain parts got their function revealed when a tumor make them malfunction. And the results can be loss of human morality, emotions no longer playing a part in decisions, failure to form new memories. The ''soul'' is powerless to do anything about this. And it's only a small leap of logic to assume, these functions may be normally governed by the brain as well. This also can be seen in the differences in morality, temper, etc. Science may be able to detect them in a relatively normal brain eventually. And yet the soul is believed to be the core of our being, what dictates our actions and our morality. It's hard to fully disprove dualism, but this seems to make it very shaky.

3) This is what happens when somebody knows most of the facts made in 2). The same applies. You can't really 100% disprove the soul by definition, but it can be make extremely unlikely. The facts about the brain are rather harsh. The more evidence, the more higher purpose becomes ''wishful thinking''. I'm still in this group myself, partially, even though I can't justify it at all, and I don't really like it either. But if people are brought up with this, it's extremely hard throw it away, or lose the doubt there there has been make a mistake.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by Perdition, posted 02-07-2012 12:41 PM Perdition has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 8 by Perdition, posted 02-07-2012 2:54 PM Kairyu has responded

  
Perdition
Member (Idle past 299 days)
Posts: 1592
From: Wisconsin
Joined: 05-15-2003


Message 8 of 19 (651445)
02-07-2012 2:54 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Kairyu
02-07-2012 1:38 PM


If God personally corrupted us to make us sinful, this creates a logical paradox with his indignation and sorrow of the corruption of mankind

All of God's punishments result in logical paradoxes if you assume he created everything and is omniscient and omnipotent. This hasn't stopped people from clinging to this explanation thus far, so I don't see how one more mountain of evidence in the mountain range we already have is going to change that.

The ''soul'' is powerless to do anything about this.

That may be entirely true. Again, I'm not a dualist, but you can consider the soul to be like a game cartridge and the brain is the game console. You can damage the console such that parts or all of the game don't work, so that scrambled images appear on the TV, but that doesn't mean the cartridge is broken or at fault.

True, this means the soul has very little influence to control things...but that's true of humans in general, so I don't see how this would be an insurmountable obstacle no matter what we find out about the brain for people committed to this idea.

You can't really 100% disprove the soul by definition, but it can be make extremely unlikely.

The soul is extremely unlikely because there has never been a need to invoke one to explain anything. The fact that people have done so, and continue to do so means that they will likely continue to do so, regardless of what is found. They will either redefine soul to fit into the increasingly shrinking gaps in knowledge, or they will simply admit that they don't understand how it all fits together but that they believe it does anyways.

Thi second approach is the most honest way to keep a faith in something supernatural for which there is absolutely no need or evidence.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by Kairyu, posted 02-07-2012 1:38 PM Kairyu has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 10 by Kairyu, posted 02-07-2012 3:24 PM Perdition has not yet responded

    
Perdition
Member (Idle past 299 days)
Posts: 1592
From: Wisconsin
Joined: 05-15-2003


Message 9 of 19 (651446)
02-07-2012 2:59 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Straggler
02-07-2012 1:37 PM


Re: Soul Destroyer
On the other hand people are quite good at intellectually knowing one thing whilst intuitively behaving as if something completely different were true.

This is true. I act as if I have free will even though I "know" I don't.

But it is easier to believe something when there is at least a little wiggle room. As the wiggle room gets smaller and smaller, it leads to cognitive dissonance, and there will be people who lash out.

I guess I really don't think it will affect most people's day to day activities, but I do think there are some for whom it will be extremely unnerving or even cause some to spin into depression. And I don't think all of them will necessarily be religious.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Straggler, posted 02-07-2012 1:37 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 11 by Straggler, posted 02-07-2012 4:55 PM Perdition has not yet responded

    
Kairyu
Member (Idle past 53 days)
Posts: 162
From: netherlands
Joined: 06-23-2010


Message 10 of 19 (651452)
02-07-2012 3:24 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Perdition
02-07-2012 2:54 PM


Yeah, I hear this sort of thing often, Usually combined with ''some things science can't explain''. I personally are not able to just ignore such evidence, but I can see how other would. Perhaps more research, and shifting opinion in the majority would be able to slowly change this, but only time will tell. I know that people are naturally like this, they won't concede on this easily, it's the ultimate question about humanity, one could say. It annoys me greatly, but I admit that you're right on this.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by Perdition, posted 02-07-2012 2:54 PM Perdition has not yet responded

  
Straggler
Member
Posts: 9943
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 11 of 19 (651472)
02-07-2012 4:55 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Perdition
02-07-2012 2:59 PM


Re: Soul Destroyer
Perdie writes:

This is true. I act as if I have free will even though I "know" I don't.

Ha! Very clever! Anyway - Likewise. So straight back atya.

Perdie writes:

But it is easier to believe something when there is at least a little wiggle room. As the wiggle room gets smaller and smaller, it leads to cognitive dissonance, and there will be people who lash out.

It might well be the issue that sorts the men from the boys in terms of genuinely accepting scientific conclusions over intuitive notions.

Perdie writes:

I guess I really don't think it will affect most people's day to day activities, but I do think there are some for whom it will be extremely unnerving or even cause some to spin into depression. And I don't think all of them will necessarily be religious.

I think you are right. It might even be the case that some turn to religion as a direct result of what they see as the nihilistic materialistic deterministic assault on everything they believe themselves to be.

The findings of neuroscience could result in a backlash of mysticism.

(**Straggler waves his hands around in wild conjecturised gesticulations**)


This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by Perdition, posted 02-07-2012 2:59 PM Perdition has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 12 by Kairyu, posted 02-08-2012 4:10 PM Straggler has not yet responded

  
Kairyu
Member (Idle past 53 days)
Posts: 162
From: netherlands
Joined: 06-23-2010


Message 12 of 19 (651629)
02-08-2012 4:10 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by Straggler
02-07-2012 4:55 PM


mental backlash
I can see what you mean. Last summer, on vacation I had a frenzied mental conflict trying to be a atheist in my mind but still not having a full answer to anything. After a few days I had utterly exhausted myself mentally and psychologically. I mentally argued about free will, and then suddenly free will was illogical to me. I already held that position for a while before this, but, this time, I was struck with depression, everything feeling meaningless, me not even having the will to stand up and get moving anymore. I still managed to keep myself going though, that there was still meaning to things, I still had a strong will to live.

It's oblivious now that strong reaction was due to mental instability, but still, it wasn't a pleasant experience. I am a bit ambiguous about free will again, but the core neurological arguments against it have not been refuted. But people often have this kind of backlash, especially when they are fatigued or hungry. Some people who cease to believe in God have a small depression as well. But in most cases, we make sense out of the new situation eventually, have a will to keep going.

It's important, that should people have trouble with things neurology has proven/may prove, that somebody takes care to help them get a hold of things.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by Straggler, posted 02-07-2012 4:55 PM Straggler has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 13 by Warthog, posted 02-08-2012 5:00 PM Kairyu has not yet responded

  
Warthog
Member (Idle past 397 days)
Posts: 84
From: Earth
Joined: 01-18-2012


Message 13 of 19 (651634)
02-08-2012 5:00 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Kairyu
02-08-2012 4:10 PM


Re: mental backlash
quote:
It's important, that should people have trouble with things neurology has proven/may prove, that somebody takes care to help them get a hold of things

You could actually say the same thing about most discoveries. People have had to adjust to the demystification of the world around them for a long time. There will always be a group that fights every new discovery as wrong according to their predetermined philosophy. There is little difference between the flat earthers, the creationists and the new mystics showing up to demand that the soul is indisputable.

There is nothing that science seems to discover that doesn't offend some archaic belief. This is not just about religion - scientists disputed Darwin and Galileo too. Neurology will be no different.

Eventually, all of these groups clinging to their preconceptions begin spinning towards unreality and lose sight of their principles in defense of them.

everyone knew that sin was evil, and that no good could come from evil. But he did feel good; he felt positively marvellous. Consequently, it followed logically that telling lies and defecting from duty could not be sins. The chaplain had mastered, in a moment of divine intuition, the handy technique of protective rationalisation, and he was exhilarated by his discovery. It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honour, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice.
Joseph Heller, Catch-22 (1953)

This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by Kairyu, posted 02-08-2012 4:10 PM Kairyu has not yet responded

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 2346
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 2.3


Message 14 of 19 (651640)
02-08-2012 7:38 PM


I'm not going to disagree as I said this in a thread that discussed the same issues

Neurology kills Free Will

Then neurology is going to make a bigger dent in the Abrahamic religions than Darwin did. 'All' Darwin did was show that we don't have to invoke a God to explain how species got here.

Demonstrating that Free Will isn't actually free or equal and is mutable removes religion's claim on morality, kills original sin and does not require a saviour to sacrifice himself to save us from it.

You may find some of the papers mentioned interesting.

http://www.evcforum.net/dm.php?control=msg&t=16015


Life, don't talk to me about life - Marvin the Paranoid Android

  
jrchamblee
Junior Member (Idle past 791 days)
Posts: 14
Joined: 02-08-2012


Message 15 of 19 (652472)
02-13-2012 9:17 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Kairyu
02-07-2012 10:54 AM


Doctors know where your soul is located in your body,an also you can not live with out your soul, your body will die ,that is a known fact with heart an lung Doctors who do transplants on people.
Neurologists know all the locations of your brain an what it does now as the last ten years been the most productive in this area.I know because I found out all my locations are in the wrong places in my brain,I am the first person Doctors ever found like me. The best Neurologists flew in from around the world to help read my MRI scans an figure out why my brain wasn't similar like other peoples,They know your brain can rewire itself, but just how far they did not know.Now they know because of my scans. They said I should not even be alive, but I live.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Kairyu, posted 02-07-2012 10:54 AM Kairyu has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 16 by subbie, posted 02-13-2012 9:25 PM jrchamblee has not yet responded
 Message 17 by Panda, posted 02-13-2012 9:27 PM jrchamblee has not yet responded
 Message 18 by Coragyps, posted 02-13-2012 10:12 PM jrchamblee has not yet responded
 Message 19 by Kairyu, posted 02-15-2012 3:36 PM jrchamblee has not yet responded

    
1
2Next
Newer Topic | Older Topic
Jump to:


Copyright 2001-2014 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

™ Version 4.0 Beta
Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2014