Mind, senses, science and the spiritual

“Saying there’s no soul because the brain has consciousness structures is like saying there’s no light because a lightbulb has filaments.”
John Shirley

Saying there’s no soul because the brain has consciousness structures is like saying there’s no light because a lightbulb has filaments.” – John Shirley

A thought which needs further development…

It’s a common statement by modern scientists – especially the strain of no-ghost-in-the-machine rationalism espoused by the likes of Pinker and Blackmore – that there’s a part of the brain which acts as though it has some contact with a higher consciousness or God. Of course in their minds this part is either some kind of bizarre evolutionary holdover like the appendix or else just a glitch in the way we think. It can’t be actually be sensing anything, because what it reports doesn’t fit their model of the universe.

It occurs to me that the same thread of scientific enquiry has found many interesting flaws and glitches in our senses – in fact many optical, sonic and other sensory illusions are often offered as a kind of explanation for why people see or report non-ordinary phenomena. Yet, knowing this, those scientists do not automatically dismiss all sensory data.

Why is it so hard to consider the possibility that the ‘god-sensing’ part of our minds is at least as valid a sense organ as the others?

Prone to confusion and mistake, sure. Full of holes and possible to trick, certainly. But since that’s exactly what all our other senses are like, why dismiss it completely?

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2 Responses to Mind, senses, science and the spiritual

  1. Mark says:

    I think the reason it tends to be dismissed is unverifiability. Two random people looking at the same thing are likely to observe the same physical characteristics and pointing a camera or other light sensing device will also usually agree (within the range of the eye of course).

    But: the spiritual feelings “sensed” vary wildly from person to person and any devices designed to measure it always seem highly suspect.

    I love that first quote though.

  2. McGarr says:

    I think that the connection with the divine is achieved through the amplification of quantum noise and this happens through out the brain..

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