Saturday, March 26, 2005

Still missing the implications of a dead upper brain

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Morality and Reality

I like David Brooks. He's a sensible, well-spoken, regular commentator on The News Hour and a New York Times columnist. In this piece he describes the contrast between social conservatives and social liberals with respect to issues of life. Brooks has the social conservatives coming from a morals perspective and the social liberals reflecting concerns about process.

But both of the groups Brooks describes seem to come, more fundamentally, from a mistaken definition of life. What differentiates human life from other life is the human soul. The distinction I'd like to press has to do with the nature of that soul, and when it is present and relevant.

Both of the groups Brooks discusses think there is a soul separate from the uniquely human functions of the brain, and that the presence of this spirit soul is what defines the live human being.

That's where both of Brooks' groups are mistaken. Whereas the live human being IS defined by the human soul, both groups fail to link this human soul to the human brain, and to realize that when the brain dies there is no human soul and all that remains is a shell, not a live human being.

The human soul is the emergent property of the complex human brain. When the brain dies, there is no soul.

Terri Schiavo is dead. She has been dead for 15 years. The tragedy of her death is only compounded by the present repercussions of dogma about spirit souls.

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