Science in Christian Perspective
Brain, Mind and Computers
STANLEY L. JAKI
Department of Physics
Seton Flail University
South Orange, NewJersey 07079
From: JASA 24 (March 1972): 12-17. Comment by Richard H. Bube
A Search for a Proof
Originally, my book Brain, Mind and Computers was supposed to be a chapter with the title, "Physics
and Psychology," in another book of mine, The Relevance of Physics. I must therefore say something about The Relevance to help you understand the real aim of the Brain, Mind and Computers. The Relevance grew out of air experience which I had in 1952 as a young professor of systematic theology. In that year the lectures had to he on the essence, existence and attributes of God. It was then that the idea seized me that I should work out a watertight and overpowering proof of the existence of God based modern physics' and astronomy.
In retrospect this was brashness itself, but perhaps natural for a scholar still in his twenties. I must say, however, that I vent about the business rather methodically. Providence too helped. Through a surgical mishap I lost my voice and had to give up teaching. It did not take too long to decide what to do with all the time on my hands. Since I already had a B.S., I entered graduate school in the fall of 1954. My hopes were that by the time I had my Ph.D. in physics I would have the proof in my hands.
I received my Ph.D. four years later, but not the scientific proof of the existence of God. Luckily enough, I was still without my voice. This meant ample time for further studies. During my graduatestudent years it became evident to me that the question of a scientific proof of the existence of God had a very important history to it. As a result, I spent the years 1958-60 reading history and philosophy of physics at Stanford and Berkeley. It was there and then that I received the answer to my problem. For reasons inherent in the method of physical science, no watertight proof of the existence of God can be built on its data and conclusions. But this also meant that no refutation of the existence of God could he built on physics either.
This was my first glance in depth on the limitations of exact science and of its method. I also soon began to realize that I learned something which had tremendous bearing on the whole context of modern scientific culture. It was not difficult to see that the major ills and woes of our modern society come from an undue emphasis on the scientific or quantitative method. In all this there was no basically new insight. Others said it long before me, but one aspect of the problem was still to be spelled out in detail. This special aspect consisted in giving a detailed documentation of the limitations of physics through the very words of its best practitioners. To present the limitations of physics convincingly, it had to be done by physicists themselves and by physicists of all ages.
This is what The Relevance of Physics is about. It is a multidimensional analysis of the history of physics through the reflection of physicists on their own aims, hopes, accomplishments and failures. By multidimensional analysis I mean that the book retraces the history of physics through eight different angles. Four of these relate to the frustrated hopes of reducing other areas of studies to a branch of physics. In The Relevance I tried to illustrate this failure with respect to biology, philosophy, ethics and theology. Originally I also planned in that section of the book one more chapter that has grown into a separate book with the title Brain, Mind and Computers. In it I did not aim at producing a resounding proof of brain-mind dualism. I merely tried to show that when it comes to the problem of brain-mind interaction the positions known as physicalism, reductionism and behaviorism, fall very short of their high-flying claims.
Defense of Dualism
In other words, if I have made any contribution to the question of the brain-mind relationship, and to the defense of dualism, it was a negative one. What I tried to do was to clean the air, to dissipate some heavy fog, to unmask a very systematic and very successful publicity campaign which tries to create the illusion that every notable investigator of the topic has turned his back on dualism.
Whether I succeeded is really unimportant. But we must recognize that in every major field of human endeavor, proofs and demonstrations have a restricted role. Much depends also on creating or dissipating a mental or cultural atmosphere. To take an example, nobody has ever proved that the universe was a clockwork mechanism, but for two centuries everybody came to believe it. How did this happen? Any student of cultural history knows it or should know it. It came about by a combination of wishful thinking and of a systematic publicity campaign. Those of wishful thinking wanted a disarmingly simple solution; those of the publicity campaign had an ax to grind. Voltaire and the encyclopedists made no secret about that.
Future history will tell how much planning has been behind the attack on the world of values and on dualism in particular by 20th-century physicahism and behaviorism. Preliminary conclusions can, however, be safely drawn by those who have some insight or first hand experience into the hiring policies of many departments of psychology, sociology and philosophy. The presence of wishful thinking should be all too evident for those who can read between the lines, or Who have read, for instance, Skinner's Walden Two.
Of course, as long as theological and philosophical values were the target of this campaign and wishful thinking, the academe, society and publicity-media kept applauding. There was no particular concern shown either when man's mind became equated with a feedback mechanism. Things, however, suddenly went sour when a new generation began to implement a basic tenet of their elementary, high-school and college education. The tenet is that ethical values are merely patterns that can and must keep changing. Consequently, all that is needed for the justification of a new morality or new social philosophy is that a sufficient number of individuals should act it out. The reasoning is that if you have a certain number of people behaving in a specific manner, you have a pattern which however distasteful or destructive, should be acceptable, because it is a pattern.
There is an inner logic in everything, or in a more colloquial form, one has to pay the piper one day. Nowadays, modern society is doing just that, but I wonder if its own havoc would bring it to its senses. At least, I (10 not see any sign that a serious reconsideration of false and destructive premises would already be under way. Twenty-five years ago history had witnessed the conclusion of a great crusade fought for human rights, for the inalienable rights of any individual whatever his color and social status. Today, expressions like inalienable rights of the individual, are frowned upon in the sophisticated academe as conceptual dinosaurs.
Modern secular and technological society still has to come to terms with an unavoidable reconsideration. It still must admit that there is no escaping from the labyrinth of patternphilosophy except by recognizing that there is something eternal and spiritual in man which should be given unconditional respect. Herein lies the existential background of the ultimate explanation of the presence of consciousness and thoughts in man. As I said before, the fashionable and prevailing presumption is that mind and soul are only names and are of concern only for theologians and clergymen.
This was rather bluntly put two years ago by Mortimer Adler in his book, The Difference of Mon
and the Difference it Makes. There he stated that the defense of an immaterial principle in man, call it soul or mind, is today a matter of concern only for Roman Catholics and Orthodox Jews. His failure to mention Protestants should be rather revealing. At any rate I am most pleased to be among scientists who are un
compromising Christians as well, who refuse to sell out to pattern-philosophy and to a sophisticated godlessness prevailing even among Christians.
I also have to tell you that few things can shock me more than when I am told by fellow Roman Catholic theologians, mostly younger ones, that we should not be concerned with the defense of dualism. It is outmoded, they say, and we can very well do without it. Well, I asked one of these whether he would still exist after his body had been duly cremated and his ashes scattered into the nearby river? Then and only then did he realize the obvious, namely that Christian existence is inconceivable without the acceptance of dualism.
Vindication of Dualism
A reacceptance of dualism by secular society is the only road toward social health. Vindication of dualism
For reasons inherent in the method of physical science, no watertight proof of the existence of God can he built on its data and conclusions. But this also means that no refutation of the existence of God can be built on physics either.
means, of course, far more for us believing Christians. It means for
us the securing
of rational grounds without which faith cannot survive in any thinking man.
Vindication of dualism also means for us a basically
favorable climate in which one could speak more confidently about the Magna Carta of Christianity, the resurrection of Christ and our eventual resurrection on the last day.
The problem has a very deep relevance for each of us personally. Moreover, a thorough acquaintance with the problem can help a great deal in strengthening Christians, especially the younger ones, and increasing their number. I said "great deal" and frankly I am somewhat uneasy' about it. I should have rather said "great deal, yes and no".
A "great deal" is a quantitative expression. It refers to measurement and measurement is always a comparison, along a scale. A good grasp of the "grain, Mind and Computer" problem should mean a great deal in a sense. But I doubt that good philosophy and good scientific philosophy alone can produce many convinced adepts for dualism. If dualism is still around and strong, it is largely because there are still Christians around, and Christians are generated not so much by lengthy arguments as by the immediate, instinctive grasp of the incomparable greatness of Christ.
That Beethoven's Ninth Symphony or Rembrandt's Nightseateh are incomparable masterpieces, such a proposition must be grasped largely instinctively. By instinctive I do not mean mystical or mysterious. What I have in mind was once very forcefully expressed by the Nobel-laureate physicist, and a great Christian, A. H. Compton. As he discussed in a lecture at Yale the claim that the laws of physics left no room for the freedom of will he raised his little finger, bent it and said: if the laws of physics ever should come to contradict my conviction that I can move my little finger at will then all the laws of physics should be revised and reformulated.
Of course, most people would say that they know that they can move their little finger at will, and that they are conscious of that. But very few are those who are able to see the immensity of such obvious experiences. Technical discussions about "Brain, Mind and Computers" can help a great deal to deflate modern biases against dualism. Such discussions can clear the atmosphere but would not necessarily prompt one to an enthusiastic appreciation of the clean air, much as lie may suffer from its pollution.
Arguments for Dualism
So much about some background factors that determine the value and effectiveness of those airclearing arguments. The rest of this paper should deal with the arguments themselves. The arguments are in a sense negative. They probe on four fronts the phvsiealist claim that with the advent of electronic computers one has on hand a physical model on which the phsicalist explanation of mind can safely be based. But a physicahst explanation of mind also presupposes that the human brain is really analogous to some specifically known mechanism, and preferably to the electronic computer. Again, a physicalist explanation of mind presupposes the successful analysis and classification of all psychological processes along a quantitative framework. Finally, it is the burden of the phvsiealist explanation to show that human reasoning corresponds to the combination of atomistie concepts, which in turn are faith images of sense perceptions.
Do Computers Think?
It is these four major claims that are placed under close scrutiny in the four chapters of the Brain, Mind
and Computers. Of the contents of the first chapter, entitled, "Computers and Physics", I would here recall only one point. It is about the endlessly repeated claim of many present-day computer engineers and writers on computers that computers do really think. They indeed succeeded in building up a consensus, an atmosphere in which it has become an infallible sign of progressive thinking to attribute at least some rudimentary thinking ability to computers. To unmask the fallacy of this consensus the historical approach seemed to be rather appropriate.
Computers, it is generally believed, are the products of our own age. Actually, they have a very long history. They have been in the making for the past 300 years ever since Pascal constructed the first adding machine. The next genius to work on computers was Leibniz. Another mathematical genius, Charles Babbage, built in the 1820's the first modern digital computers, and the first analog computer was designed in the 187O's by Lord Kelvin and by his brother, Professor James Kelvin. The twentieth century merely witnessed the electrification and electronization of those machines in the hands of Vannevar Bush at MIT and Aikcn at Harvard. If there was in our century a truly creative addition to computer theory it was the work of John von Neumams. It concerned mainly the generalization of memory storage and of combinatory procedures.
All of these men, so distant from one another in time, temperament and background had at least one thing in common. They all took pains to emphasize that computers do not think in any sense of the word. You can find the detailed documentation of this in the first chapter of my honk. To bring together that documentation was a rather straightforward task. All I had to do was to dig up the material which was at most hinted at, hut usually passed over in silence in all hunks on "thinking machines". Well, frankly, why that silence? The art of burning bunks, of an nihilating records, or of removing them from easy circulation, or of keeping a methodic silence about them is more with us than ever. It certainly does not indicate scholarship or objectivity or unconditional love of truth. But how would you expect the recognition from plssicalists, allegedly respectful only of facts, that all the great creative contributors to' computers had a view diametrically opposite to the physiealist claim about computers.
Physicalists, I am sorry to say, are more concerned about creating an atmosphere favorable to them, than about the careful, balanced presentation of facts. A
When it comes to the problem of brain-mind interaction, the positions known as physicalism, reductionism and behaviorism, fall very short of their high-flying claims.
very good illustration of this is the way in which Babbage is handled in modern
computer literature. Take, for instance, the best modern monograph on Babbage,
Charles Babhage and his Calculating Engines, written by Philip and
There, in a short footnote, you find mentioned that Babbage based a
proof of the
possibility of miracles on the theory of digital computers. Well, actually lie
wrote a whole book on this which was published as The Ninth
a famous series of apulogetieal works discussing problems of natural theology.
Babbage was a must devout Episcopalian, of which no mention is made
in the Murrisons'
monograph. To crown the comedy, if not conspiracy, there is an excerpt from The
Ninth Bridgewater Treatise in the work by the Morrisons, but the excerpt is an
Appendix in the Treatise. It has little if anything to do with the
train of thought
which represented a most integral and important part in Babbage's intellectual
convictions, namely his religious and dualistic belief.
One may, of course, argue that Babbage was mistaken in basing a scientific proof of the possibility of miracles on computer theory. But this is purely a secondary matter. The important point is that no one can gain an objective picture about Babhage's theory and philosophy of computers without a careful study of The Ninth Bridgcwater Treatise, a very fine theological work. But giving an adequate account of that work would also reveal in one stroke that the most creative contributor to calculating machines was also a most literate advocate of brain-mind dualism. It is of these and similar facts that the physicalists do not like to remind their readers or their audiences.
Physicalists do not like to dwell either on the long series of rebuffs administered to them by brain research. Special emphasis should here be put on the expression "long series," as intellectual debates often bog down in the gossip of the moment. How often do we hear stated that such and such a discovery led us to the threshold of a major breakthrough and yet somehow that magic threshold is never crossed. A sobering monograph could, for instance, he written on the role of wishful thinking in the evaluation of recent biomolecular research into the secret of life. But even more sobering should be a detailed illustration of the fact that recent failures to produce life in vitro are merely the last phase of at least a centurylong process. This is not to suggest that a dualist should be alarmed if selfreproducing units would be formed in test tubes. The step from the non-living to the living is enormous. But it should dwarf in comparison with the gap that separates the living from what is living and self-conscious. So far there is no physicalist explanation for the former, and of this phvsicalists should constantly be reminded. The burden of producing quantitative, experimental proofs is on him and not on the dualist. Physiealists like to appear ten-feet high. Actually they are stooped under the gigantic burden of producing two proofs, of which not even the far easier is in sight yet.
Christian existence is inconceivable without the acceptance of dualism.
The incomparably more difficult of the two is the still awaited
of memory and consciousness. Here again, the disparity could hardly he greater
between the physicalist claims and the profound mysteriousness that envelopes
the two areas. In the second chapter of my book, entitled "Computers and
the Brain" I dwelt at length on the enormous com
plexity of human memory, and of its dogged resistance
to any classification neat enough for the purposes of physicalists.
But in addition,
there remains the problem of identifying memory units, memory storing
retrieval processes in the brain. Headlines in the New York Times and
American notwithstanding, ignorance on these points is complete. The same holds
true about consciousness. There is no indication whatever that a physiological
explanation of thinking and consciousness is anywhere near.
Sir Charles Sherrington, the foremost student of brain in this century, took indeed the view that four hundred years of research would still be needed to have that physiological explanation. Well, four hundred years is an awful lot of time and prophecies of this type demand a great deal of faith. Sir Charles himself wrote and spoke during much of his career in a style that could give no real comfort to a dualist. Being a great scientist, he did not sweep under the rug the enormous difficulties which a physiological explanation of human thinking had to face. But he looked askance at the notion of an immortal, immaterial principle of human cogitation as a violation of causal reasoning. While recognizing that "mind, for anything perception can compass, goes in our spatial world more ghostly as a ghost," he also insisted in the same breath that
With the insertion into the human individual of an immortal soul . 'i trespass is committed. The very
concomitance of the two concepts, which seems a basal condition of our knowledge of them, is thrown aside as if forgotten. Such amplification of the one concept may he legitimate for a revealed religion. Its evidence then rests on the ground we do not enter upon here. But as an assertion on the plane of natural knowledge it is an irrational blow at the solidarity of the individual; it seems aimed against that very lsarmouy which unites the concepts as sisterconcepts. It severs them and drives oft one of them, lonely enough, on a flight into the rainbow's end.
This statement, made in 1940, was probably his most publicized utterance on the
matter, but not his last one. Twelve years later, he asked to his home Sir John
Eccles whom he considered his intellectual heir. I have the privilege to know
some details of that conversation from Professor Eccles himself, a good friend
of mine. Sherrington spoke a great deal about the mystery of
and concluded: "For me now the only reality is the human soul." What
follows are the words of Professor Eccles who is, as you know, a
leader in brain
research and a Nobellaureate. "I did not break in to ask if this statement
was an act of faith expressing a religious conviction, though I thought he so
implied. Five days later he was dead."
The soul to which Sherrington gave his vote refers today to a clearly metaphysical or theological reality. The original Greek name for soul, psyche, has of course no metaphysical connotation when used to describe a major preoccupation of our time, the study of psyche, or psychology. This change in semantics can easily he understood if one takes a quick look at the origin of modern psychology. Modern psychology was horn in the wake of the first triumphs of Newtonian or mechanistic physics. Beginnings in intellectual history are difficult to define but Locke is as good a choice as any to represent the start of modern psychology. It was made in the hope that a physics of the soul could be written. Such was at least the perspective in which Voltaire and Hume saw Locke's chief merit. A hundred years later, during the early nineteenth century, textbooks of psychology often carried titles, "intellectual Physics", "Mind Physics", and the like. That the 18th and 19th eentury-assoeiationist phychologists looked at physics as their idol, should he well known. The start of psychophysics with Fechner was also motivated by the hope that the data of psychology lend themselves to a systematization exactly similar to the laws of physics.
Feehoer, most of the earl)' associationists, and Locke, were still dualists. For them the existence of a soul in a metaphysical sense was a tenet which they refused to doubt. The first major modern psychologist who combined physicalism in psychology with materialistic monism was Sigmund Freud. As he knew very little physics, he boldly drew up in 1895 the plan of a "Project for Scientific Psychology." By this he meant the total and rigorous reduction of psychology to physics. Within a year he gave up working on the plan but not the hope. His system based on the libido was still a physicalist account of psychology but without physics and its terminology. Freudian terminology was in fact so "unscientific" (opposite to quantitative and physical) that it served as a chief target of the behaviorists. Watson, for one, derided the "demonological terminology of the Freudians" while Freud described behaviorism as a theory "naive enough to boast that it has put the whole problem of psychology out of court.
In this patently bitter conflict you have in a nutshell the rest of the frustration of 20th century physicalist psychology. On the one hand, there is the deep seated antagonism between psychoanalysts and behaviorists. The former claim that introspection and empathy are basic tools of research, but for behaviorists introspection is an anathema, in the camp of psychoanalysis the clashes are very sharp between the followers of Jung and Freud. Equally uncompromising is the opposition in the behaviorist camp between theWatson-Skinner school and the Gestaltists. And please remember, the hone of contention is always physics, or rather the measure of carrying physics into psychology. Jung parted with Freud because he saw in Freud's posiealism an abdication of human personality, of its strivings and its goal-directed attitude. The Gestaltists in turn accused \Vatson and his school of their failure to make use in psychology of the conceptual wealth developed by modern physics.
However that may he, one thing should he certain for any unbiased student of 20th-century psychology: it is not a science in the sense physics is a science. The data and the subject matter of psychology are as com
plex as ever, and have such strange features that their handling by the methods and concepts of physics is simply impossible. This is a lesson which a dualist cannot afford to forget. It is also a lesson of which physiealist should be constantly reminded. For if man is truly a servomechanism and nothing else, then why is it that the great realm of man's psyche just cannot be pigeonholed into the narrow and simplistic categories of mathematical and physicalist psychology?
There is no indication whatever that a physiological explanation of thinking and consciousness is anywhere near.
Such questions do not cut much ice, I know, with most cultivators and
of psychology. The reason for this is their tragic philosophical shallowness.
Gone are the day's when a giant of psychology, like William James, no friend of
dualism, could still have a clear perception about the anguish of monists, and
about their true predicament: "The monists," he wrote, ...writhe like
worms on the hook to escape pluralistic or at ]east a dualistic language, but
they cannot escape it." Gone are the days of plain logic and
recognition of such basic truths that no one can make a silk purse
out of a sow's
ear. The most relevant truth about physicalist psychology is still
made by Priestlcy, one of the founders of associationist psychology:
clearly and acknowledge readily, that matter and motion however subtly divided,
or reasoned upon, yield nothing more than matter and motion still." Much
of the confusion in today's psychology comes from the fact that
be so forgetful of such an elementary truth.
Whether they are forgetful can only be known by inference. All one knows is that they do not talk or write about these things. And you know, pbysicalists are fond of pointing out that all that man can observe are material, physical signs. However that may be, physicalists talk and write profusely and by this very fact they unwittingly trap themselves. Language and its written symbolism are the very rebuttal of physicalism. True, we know about thoughts and concepts only through spoken or written words, but it is also well known that concepts are not strictly codified in words. There is always some overlap, some undefinable margin of uncertainty, the like of which does not and cannot occur with machine components. Wittgenstein learned that through his frustrating failure to find atomistie concepts, from which the rest of thought could be mechanically built up. His failure was rather inexpensive as compared with the failure of those who tried to do something similar with languages. What I have in mind is the highly subsidized program of machine translation. After two decades and after millions of dollars, it has now been largely shelved. Yet, machine translation is only the most elementary part of the so-called quantitative systematization of language.
Science of the Quantitative
This reference to "quantitative" should serve as an opportunity to clear up one possible misunderstanding. Perhaps I gave the impression that I conceded to the physicalist whatever was quantitative in human thought and experience. Far from it. I merely tried to emphasize that phvsicalists have not even reached first base unless they have succeeded ssith the quantitative systematization of brain research, of psychology and of conceptual analysis. As far as the record shows they do not seem to have any chance in this respect. But suppose they do. Should then a dualist throw up his hands? Not at all. He has not vet used his most effective weapon, which really strikes the phvsiealist in his presumed stronghold, the realm of the quantitative, and especially the realm of quantitative proofs. These latter rest on our ability to count and to do arithmetic in a consistent way. As consistency presupposes laws, counting too makes sense only if it is done according to some laws of arithmetic. Depending on the extensiveness of the arithmetic one uses, its laws too form a more or less extensive set. This set also must have its proof of consistency or else 2 and 2 will not always and necessarily make 4 and the whole enterprise will collapse.
In 1931 Godel proved that no sufficiently broad set of laws of arithmetic can have its proof of consistency within itself. To have the proof, one must reach after assumptions lying outside the set and to prove these assumptions the same step should he repeated again and again. This means that to prove the consistency of the science of the quantitative one must rely on considerations which the prevailing jargon calls metaquantitative or metamathematical. In older times when there was still more courage to call a spade a spade, one would have said not metamathematical but metaphysical. Well, I do not wish to argue about words. The explanation of man by machines completely breaks down if one admits at least the realm of metamathematieal. Steps that are metamathematical or metaquantitative, cannot have by definition quantitative symbolization which as machine parts could he built into a computer.
Machines Cannot Even Add
My last remark, in this connection, should be a warning about an often heard interpretation of Gödel's theorem with reference to the mind-computer problem. The mind, so goes the typical saying, can therefore do something that the machine camot do, namely to formulate Godel's theorem and therefore the mind is still superior to machines. Implicit here is the admission that machines can do some or a great many
One thing should he certain for any unbiased student of 20th-century psychology: it is not a science in the sense physics is a science.
things that the mind can do, such as addition, multiplication,
roots, performing numerical integration and even proving some
theorems of geometry.
Herein lies the worst fallacy of the whole modern discussion about
minds. Machines do not add, they do not calculate, they do not
integrate any more
than a gutter does not add or integrate by collecting millions of raindrops. In
an electronic computer not raindrops but electronic impulses are collected and
channelled along strictly predetermined routes. In the process no addition is
performed. It takes a mind, always a mind, to abstract meaning from
each step through which the machine is directed by its specific
The ultimate proof of this has little or nothing to do with expertise in computer science. The ultimate proof rests on having a mind sensitive enough for the enormous magnitude of such basic human experiences as one's ability to move one's little finger at will. Among these basic experiences is the uncanny sense of having proved something. It need not be an esoteric theorem in integral equations. It may be as simple as Pythagoras' theorem which in my schoolboy days was called pons asinoruln, or the bridge for donkeys or rather dunces. Well, it certainly saved some poor students as a last resort question, but it also doomed, legend has it, the Pythagorean, who discovered it. The Pythagoreans, as you know, were in a sense the first physicalists. They claimed that everything was composed of unit lengths. But the hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle with unit sides is neither two nor one, but the squareroot of two, an irrational number.
It is the privilege and marvel of mind to find rhyme and reason even in what may appear irrational. It is the privilege of human mind to take for real what are so aptly called imaginary numbers. Only the human mind can imagine, that is perceive, meaning under the layer of disconnected sense data. Only the human mind can grasp facts and also respect them. In this attitude of respect, which is definitely not machine like, is comprised the whole dignity of man. Perception of truth is only part of the story: man also must respect facts and truths to survive and to make progress. No one put this more impressively than T. H. Huxley, Darwin's champion and a sharp antagonist of dualists: "Sit down before fact as a little child, follow humbly wherever and whatever abysses nature leads, or you shall learn nothing." Since this is my favorite quotatint) which I have been carrying in my breastpocket for years, I should tell you something about it. It is from a letter of Huxley to an Episcopalian minister, Kingsley, who in a long letter tried to comfort Huxley and to raise his eyes to things eternal following the death of Huxley's seven year old son. Huxley's reply was polite but defiant. He urged Kingsley to have full respect for the facts of nature, which in Huxley's view excluded soul, God and eternity.
Well, if facts are only the facts of nature then perhaps Fluxley was right. But there are also the facts of human experience and the facts of history. Nothing shows better their paramount importance than the fact that the facts of human experience and history cannot be repeated. Unlike the facts of nature, they are unique.
Without respect for these facts, there can he no true respect for facts of any kind, including the facts of nature.
I wonder if Iluxley ever sat down before one fact in particular, the fact of the child from Bethlehem and with the open receptive eyes of a child, with the same unconditional respect which he advocated for the lifeless facts of nature. Clearly, somewhere, there was some bias, some oversight. This is all the more regrettable as Kingsley's letter to Huxley made it sufficiently clear, that dualism rests ultimately' on respect for facts, for all facts without any restriction and on one's willingness to be led by them even if the journey is hound to eternity.
Richard H. Bube
Department of Materials Science
Stanford, California 94305
From: JASA 24 (March 1972): 14-15.
Models of the relationship between body and soul can be classed as belonging to one of four groups.
Strict Dualism. A strictly independent soul is viewed as living in a strictly independent body. The soul is the true person, and it manipulates the body during life. At death, the body passes away as the vehicle of the soul, and the soul continues its existence in a disembodied state.
Piano-Player Analogy. The whole human personality is compared to the music produced by the cooperative interaction of the piano
(body) and the piano player (soul). The soul is independent of the
body, but the
functioning of the person requires interaction between body and soul.
can be affected either by interacting with the piano alone (the body)
or by interacting
with the piano player alone (the soul). Although the soul remains upon death of
the body, the person per se does not function wholly until the
Emergent Systems Property. The soul is still presented as a reality, but a reality which is produced as an emergent property of the living system of a human being. As life is produced as an emergent property of a non-living system by the appropriate patterned in teractioo of the non-living subsystems, so soul is produced as an emergent property of non-soul subsystems when they interact according to the appropriate pattern. At death the identity of the person is retained in the mind of God, and he himself passes from death to new life in the resurrection.
Materialistic Exclusionisns. In this model man is describable simply in terms of the physics and chemistry of the matter of which he is composed. There is no such a reality as soul, and all apparent experiential evidence to the contrary is only an illusion. When the body dies, the man dies totally and permanently.
In his paper, Dr. Jaki speaks as if only the first and last of these options were available. Since the model of materialistic exclusionism is strongly non- Christian, he is forced to the defense of strict dualism. It is quite possible, however, that the realities he seeks so devoutly to maintain may be advanced with even greater fidelity by investigating the possibility and the significance of the second or third options. It is my own opinion that the third option is by far the most helpful in tackling problems in which a coherent picture of the relationship between body and soul is mandatory.