Thursday, September 19, 2002

This is what I'm talking about.

"A tiny part of the brain behind the right ear can cause out-of-body experiences and could explain the many stories of near-death patients who say they have looked down at their own bodies, a team of Swiss scientists announced yesterday...[cut away nearly the entire article, until...]

"The new research 'holds up some hope that the ultraskeptics will see that there is something interesting happening and the ultra-spiritualists will see that it is something happening in the brain,' Blackmore said. 'Maybe this will close that awful gap.'"

So, we'll close the gap by showing the skeptics that the nutjobs weren't really nuts, just deluded, and we'll show the nutjobs that the skeptics were right on the merits, but wrong on the substance.

The problem with this kind of thinking is so annoying. As a Catholic, I believe that the body and the spirit interact. So, when you tell me there's a part of the brain where this kind of stuff happens, my response is going to be, as Plato once said, "Well, duh!" This is the classic mistake that I frequently rail against of mistaking "how" for "why."

What these scientists don't realize, and what would probably make them shudder, is that such research gives the most ammunition to people who support some form of "Intelligent Design," since, as a place where body and spirit interact, it can be considered the sort of incredibly, mind-bogglingly useful thing that could not have evolved by chance. (Douglas Adams fans of the world, unite!)


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