Larry Randolph–Eye of Storm–12-30-2011

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The Existence of the Soul: Philosophy, Not Neuroscience

Melissa Cain Travis

In the first part of this series on the existence of the soul, “Man: Mind Over Matter or Mindful Matter?” I made the claim that “Some of the deep problems that plague physicalism cannot be solved by simply understanding the material brain better. They transcend neuroscience.” Remember, physicalism is the view that we are nothing more than our physical bodies and everything about us, from consciousness to higher rationality, can be explained by biochemical processes.[1] In philosopher-speak: I am identical with my material body. In this installment, I will discuss one of the several major problems with this view.

Many physicalists (both theist and non-theist) point to the great strides the neurosciences have made in correlating brain states (neuron firing patterns) with mental states (conscious experiences). For instance, if stimulation of brain region Q in a subject who is anesthetized but awake results in the subject reporting an experience of tasting an orange, the physicalist conclusion…

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#ThursdayTheologyBlogs :Why Did You Have So Many Kids?

joy of nine9

63520After the birth of our fourth child, Michael and I struggled to understand exactly how we were meant to live our lives. We were discussing an article by an author whose main premise was that letting go of control and trusting in God was not some abstract principle but a day-to-day practical call that included the surrender of our fertility. Of course, we practised natural family planning but I was one of those rare people who could conceive long before ovulation.

As my doctor said once, “Ah, I remember reading about a woman in New Zealand, two years ago, who conceived five days before ovulation.”

I raised my hand and chirped, “Well, you can add me to that list!”

Although we could not imagine how large our family would become, the words of that article resonated within both my husband and I. Guilt lifted off us and a surge of excitement…

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