What did you learned while doing a PhD in brain imaging that has informed your understanding of the Christian view that we are embodied persons?

Hi @Sharon_Dirckx,

I was wondering if you could comment a bit on what you learned while doing a PhD in brain imaging and how that has informed your understanding of the Christian view that we are embodied persons? Does the Christian view seem a bit outdated now that we have so much more information about how the brain works? Or, on the contrary, do you think that the most recent scientific understanding of the brain presents a greater challenge for naturalistic accounts of consciousness?

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Hi Carson
This is a really huge question and one that is hard to do justice to in this format. It’s worth saying that i have a book on this coming out on 1st May, entitled ‘Am I Just my Brain?’ that looks at this topic. The question at the heart is to do with the relationship between the mind (thoughts) and the brain (neurons). Neuroscience, and brain imaging in particular are showing that mind and brain are clearly very closely connected. When a person uses their mind, the brain gets involved, and vice versa. As with many topics, Christians hold a range of views on this subject. Some Christians hold a view that some atheists and agnostics also hold, that the brain generates the mind (non-reductive physicalism or emergentism, or Christian monism), others hold the view that the mind is distinct from the brain but interacts very closely with it (substance dualism). And there are myriad other views in between. Both views mentioned have explanatory power, and both have limitations and points of weakness. I wonder if scripture and medicine hints at both of them. We are embodied and physical, but the functioning of the mind (and consciousness therein) seems also to go beyond the workings of the brain. Watch this space for ‘Am I just my Brain?’ in early summer next year. Published with The Good Book Company, and should be available to buy in the USA.
Thanks for the question,
Sharon

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