“How does the mind relate to the brain? This question is central to my professional life.”

More Than Material Minds: "As a Christian and a neuroscientist, I keep learning that to be human is to have a soul."

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Aaron Blumer's picture


Tiny-brained people with completely normal capacity to think, learn, and live. I don't think Aquinas had the right answer, but he at least understand that man and beast are profoundly different in certain important ways, and that humans have capacities that aren't generated by our brain chemistry.

Exactly how mind and brain co-function...  a question for the ages!

But the article speaks of humans "having" a soul, and that's an error. From the biblical anthropology angle, we are souls. And that inclines me to believe that the body-spirit union that is a human being includes a brain-spirit union of some kind. I suspect that brain chemistry...

  • Does not account for all of what makes a living soul
  • Does not operate independently of "mind"/soul
  • Both influences and is influenced by the non-material features of the human being

In the case of our genes, our being and character are greatly influenced and shaped by what we are physically as well as our environment--but not determined by them. I think the brain in particular works in a similar way.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.