Science and the Human Mind, Part 2

Morality, once the playing field of theologians and philosophers, is now being given serious consideration by neuro-biologists.

Years ago, psychologist B. F. Skinner proclaimed that all behavior is simply a matter of stimulus and response. In his book Beyond Freedom and Dignity Skinner argued that there is no such thing as freedom or dignity or even ideas. It takes a cleverly written book to explain the idea that there are no ideas!

Now, half a century later and armed with very sophisticated knowledge of the brain, neuroscientists are returning to Skinnerism, though in a more detailed way.

I am very interested in studies of the mind and brain, though I do struggle a bit with the technical jargon. Certain questions remain for me, questions which seem important but tend to be ignored in the popularized science I am able to follow.

– If the brain is nothing more than billions of interconnected neurons, what causes one kind of stimulus, such as light, to go to one part of the brain than another?
– The same question in different form: What causes the electrical signals to follow one path than another?
– If I decide right now to raise my hand in a meaningless gesture, what has caused that?
– What is happening in my brain when I am trying to remember something?
– When one part of the brain is damaged and another assumes some or all of its functions, what causes the adaptation?

Can you offer me any help with such questions?

[Tomorrow: “Free will” in a mindless brain]


About mthayes42

I am a retired pastor, interested in the Bible, cross-cultural ministries, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and the current and past history of western civilization.
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One Response to Science and the Human Mind, Part 2

  1. abigumbrella says:

    Free for lunch this week?

    Sent from my iPhone

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