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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Medical -- and Metaphysical -- Mystery

via Mike Flynn: The Instrumentality of the Brain ... "the cerebellum is essentially absent."

* That is, it's a metaphysical mystery for materialists.

11 comments:

Joan of Argghh! said...

A lovely observation!

Ilíon said...

Miss Argghh! It's nice to see you again.

Drew said...

I'm not real sure what it really proves, just basically the body healing itself. It doesn't seem that much different from a wound which heals, or from someone who is blind and develops better hearing.

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

Drew:

Do you think "the body" is something over and above its constituent parts? Materialists certainly don't. More to the point, the brain is the golden fleece of materialist anthropology, though neurocentrism has been taking steady, serious hits for decades now, whether the brights in academia want to take notice or not. This boy's case undermines neurocentrist materialism because he, as a whole, integrated self, is doing things that defy scientific orthodoxy. For what it's worth, I wrote about a similar case a couple years ago: http://veniaminov.blogspot.com/2008/08/no-brainer.html

Ilíon said...

"Do you think "the body" is something over and above its constituent parts? Materialists certainly don't."

Or, as I might put it, do you think that "the body" constitutes the entirety of the human person? Or, is the whole human person something over and above his constituent physical/material parts?

Or, in simpler terms: is there more to a man than his body? Is it true that: Man shall not live by bread alone ...

Ilíon said...

This ties into the question of whether it ever can be true that "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" (answer: it never can be true), concerning which I have a couple of old posts.


It also dramatically highlights the very important truth, which almost no one in this scientistic age grasps, nor wishes to grasp, that we *never* can trust that 'science' has delivered to us actual truth about anything! Any given scientific statement may be true -- which means that it may be false -- and ‘science’ has no trustworthy way to determine which it is. The best/strongest claim we can make of any scientific statement is: “It hasn’t been show false. Yet.

Drew said...

//This boy's case undermines neurocentrist materialism because he, as a whole, integrated self, is doing things that defy scientific orthodoxy.//

So I guess we could basically prove the same point any time we encountered a human whose wisdom or intellect exceeded his expected brainpower. And we might suggest that the person just had a really powerful will/spirit, or perhaps that he had been gifted with wisdom by the Holy Spirit or something. And then this boy just makes the argument more blatantly, because his physical brain seems to be REALLY messed up.

It's an interesting argument, but the scientists will just say that we can't look closely enough at the brain to know what the exact brainpower is.

JS Allen said...

Fascinating. I had seen the post about the Frenchman before, too.

In the past 15 years or so, there has been much greater appreciation of the level of plasticity in the brain, as well as a belief that much of our basic behavior arises from mimicry via mirror neurons. So that's probably where the materialist scientist would start by way of explanation.

Ilíon said...

If I recall correctly, the Frenchman is missing most of his cerebrum, the "higher" porion of the brain.

cathy said...

To be absurdly simplistic -- the brain does a lot of important stuff; why wouldn't God build in a back-up system? (It is fascinating, isn't it? And I think much more profound than someone losing one sense and finding that another becomes more acute. It's more like someone losing their optic nerve and still being able to see.)

As for the whole being greater than the sum of its parts -- I imagine it looks like that sometimes because we don't yet know how to identify, observe, or measure some of the parts. Maybe we weren't intended to sense some of those parts.

word verification = bless
I kid you not.

JS Allen said...

@Ilion, you're exactly right about the Frenchman. This is very interesting stuff, because it has implications even under the materialist's frame of reference.

I'm glad you shared this.

I tend to think of supervenience naturalism and hylemorphic dualism as being the same thing, but things like this can tip the scales toward a preferred interpretation.