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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Recent columns of interest : On neuroscience implications/applications of intelligent design

Here are some recent posts at my other blog, the Mindful Hack, on neuroscience implications of intelligent design and the actual existence of the mind. For links to all go here.

1. A recent ChristianWeek column: Faith@Science: The God gene? Spot? Circuit? Okay, maybe a Module?

(Note: This is the column I wrote shortly after finishing my work on The Spiritual Brain, explaining why notions of a God spot, gene, module, or circuit in the brain are completely ridiculous.)

For more go here.

2. Another recent ChristianWeek column:"Made in the image of God"? What does that mean?

Ever hear of a "humanzee"? Some would hail the hybrid of a human and a chimpanzee as a crowning achievement.

Because chimpanzees are our closest genetic relatives, hybrids have been attempted. According to recently unearthed documents, Joseph Stalin hoped to produce half-man, half-ape super-warriors, but the project came to nothing. The disgraced chief scientist died in the vast Soviet prison system.

But just as often, anti-religious motives fuel the wish for a humanzee. Zoologist Richard Dawkins, who promotes atheism from his chair at Oxford University, has proclaimed that such a hybrid would shake up all our value systems. He argues that differences between the human mind and the chimpanzee mind are only a matter of degree, not kind. Indeed, Spain has been considering giving great apes human rights, and some have argued seriously for reclassifying chimpanzees in the same genus as humans.

For more go here.

3. A third recent ChristianWeek columns: Faith as one of the healing arts

According to an article in Jewish World Review (October 3, 2006) hospitals in the United States have finally begun to pay attention to patients' religious beliefs. "The last thing you want to worry about while somebody is sick is that they might have to transgress on something they believe in," says Zahava Cohen, Englewood Hospital's patient care director (New Jersey). Cohen is surely right; and we can only hope that this trend spreads.

[ ... ]

The way in which we receive health care makes a huge difference to its ultimate effect. This reality has long been disguised under the misnamed and misunderstood "placebo" effect. Literally, the word means "I will please." Originally, it referred to sugar pills given to a patient who believes that they are potent. Over one third of patients get better simply because they think the placebo is a powerful medicine. The placebo effect probably underlies traditional shamanism. The reason so many tribal Christians continue to surreptitiously visit shamans is not that they are deluded into believing that shamanism works but because it so often does work. Unfortunately, the shaman typically attributes the healing to specific bizarre practices rather than to the power of belief to trigger healing processes.

For more go here.
My other blog is the Mindful Hack, which keeps tabs on neuroscience and the mind.

If you like this blog, check out my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.

Are you looking for one of the following stories?

My review of Francis Collins’ book The Language of God , my backgrounder about peer review issues, or the evolutionary biologist’s opinion that all students friendly to intelligent design should be flunked.

Lists of theoretical and applied scientists who doubt Darwin and of academic ID publications.

My U of Toronto talk on why there is an intelligent design controversy, or my talk on media coverage of the controversy at the University of Minnesota.

A summary of tech guru George Gilder's arguments for ID and against Darwinism

A critical look at why March of the Penguins was thought to be an ID film.

A summary of recent opinion columns on the ID controversy

A summary of recent polls of US public opinion on the ID controversy

A summary of the Catholic Church's entry into the controversy, essentially on the side of ID.

O'Leary's intro to non-Darwinian agnostic philosopher David Stove’s critique of Darwinism.

An ID Timeline: The ID folk seem always to win when they lose.

Why origin of life is such a difficult problem.
Why origin of life is such a difficult problem.
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