Science in Christian Perspective
From: JASA 18 (September 1966): 90-92.
The paper represents an ingenious attempt to
interpret and apply existing information concerning brain waves by several interesting hypotheses
which the writer sets forth.
LARS I. GRANBERG, Contributing Editor for Psychology
Science however, has been making its greatest progress among such things, including all the space-force relationships which are known by what they do. Electrical forces within an atom or a brain cell, or sweeping along a power line or through the space about us as radio or TV carriers, are among these. Science courses now seek to introduce more and more students to the utility and technical, behavior of such forces. The inescapable question before us has to do with the contributions of these rather intangible space-force relationships to spiritual assurance and experience. Spiritual forces are also known to many by what they do. Yet some doubt them or even deny them.
Materialism may well have been a spontaneous and rather subconscious reaction. Psychotic fear of critical sensed evaluation from one's own autonomic endowment generates such mental conflict. As such it may smolder, handicapping a valuable mental asset. We need a way of demonstrating their own potential to students who have not studied mental science and its electrochemistry.
A technical term which may need explanation is electronics. It comes from the name of the very small but finite electron, the negatively charged particle present in all matter, all life and all electrical activities. Electronics deals particularly with the science of what electrons do.
Let us assume as quantity X, a lecture describing a distinguished personality. This lecture could of course
*E. V. Crane is secretary of the Spiritual Study Foundation, Inc., 334 31st Street, N.W., Canton, Ohio.
be transmitted from the mouth of A to the ears of B, C etc. Parts of it may be stored away in the brains of these listeners.
In these days the lecture may also be changed by a microphone into an electronic pattern. This form of it may be recorded or "attached" to the electrochemical structure of a magnetic tape. Later it may be "put on the air" to be transmitted through space to a larger audience or even to a distant satellite.
The personality, as described, thus becomes an entity in space. It might travel millions of miles. It is real, but inaudible and invisible, except as a suitable receiver might be tuned to change it back into sound waves. Such things are all about us.
Consider next the electronic mental assets of the distinguished personality himself.
That which he had learned or observed, came to him as sound waves, light waves, heat waves or odor waves, Fig 1. All of these had to changed as they arrived, to electronic patterns, Fig. 2 and 3. These were transmitted by and to the electrochemical brain cells, Fig. 4, which would store and use them. The natural equipment is just more compact and efficient than the commercial equivalents used in case X.
The point of view which made him a distinguished character has also become a part of this electronic record. The disciplined self determination which earned him distinction is exercised as conscious Self may will it. This distinctive conscious group of brain cells is organically quite apart from the subconscious memory group above it, and from the automatic endowment below it at the heart of the brain.
This last asset provides motivating, evaluating, adjusting and stabilizing services. Its electronic activities continue even while consciousness is relaxed in sleep. Without it life would not continue to exist. It is also known by things it does, Fig. 5, 6. Medical research calls it autonomic. Psychology calls it instinctive or unconditioned. Early wise men considered it a Divine gift. The recalcitrant would dismiss its sensed drives and evaluations as mere superstition. The student may detect among its activities, elements of what religions consider spiritual.
Some part of this asset had to arrive as an inherited electronic pattern on the electrochemical tape recording of the genes. That chemistry alone, is similar for man, monkey or mouse, but the instructions carried are different. Tiny but finite dimensions of electrons and of the relatively gross chemical structure which serves their material purposes, suggest that a major portion of this endowment may also arrive by some unidentified level of wave transmission. While difficult technical questions remain, Fig. I notes areas among the higher frequencies in which fish, rats, frogs and the human fetus demonstrate reception.
The character which made the man distinctive; whether learned, otherwise acquired or personally compounded, has now become an electronic unity. It is more detailed than the lecture to be sure, but it is electrochemically stored in his brain, a finite unity.
X plus Y:- just as the electronic pattern describing the man could be detached from the chemistry of the tape, for transmission as an entity in space, so also the electronic original might be detached from the chemistry of his brain, either in part for conversation, or as a spiritual entity at death. Scientifically it is quite as conceivable as other electronic conformations in space. Z, the sum of X + Y, might even be examined further. Recall that in dreams, the integration of inner electronic signals can produce images of faces and places in the "minds eye" area at the back of the brain. Some we recognize. Some are strange. This electronic accomplishment at least suggests that two such personality aggregations as Y, disembodied in space, might well recognize each other and communicate. Such a concept of surviving spiritual entities in space, is quite as soundly founded as the early "visions" of the submarine, the flying machine and the space ship have now proved to be. There is ample support in current technical theory.
Electronics in space assume ever widening clarity. Electronic storms from the sun threaten astronauts. The finite but transparent Van Allen rings about the earth, have electrical capacity to protect earthlings from ther measurable violence of such space storms. Yet the patterned entities of radio message transmissions have successfully traversed such competition for tremendous distances. In return, powerful radiofrequency and X-ray beams from distant star areas are now being studied as well as present instruments will permit.
Each of us, as we begin to think for ourselves, will seek to get the whole problem in perspective. Relativity is properly relating all contributing factors. Among the checks and balances provided within us, should either our physical, mental or sensed spiritual components be neglected? Among the materials of our construction can the chemical, electronic and magnetic reality in all things be overlooked? As we struggle to understand the basic laws of science, of nature and of behavior, can the overall unity thereof be successfully evaded?
The extent to which the finite electronics and the nonconscious services of mentality may help each of us to understand our spiritual experiences, will remain a personal matter. One educator stated with apparent self conviction that the hoary word spiritual "has no meaning". To others of us it remains a vitally present and valued reality. An open minded stance would appear to invite history, science and worthy experience to make their contributions to each of us. Or perhaps we will have to learn the hard way, as I did.