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    My last edifying voyage into the world of podcasts while working away in my monastic resident existence at the hospital this past month was a rebroadcast of the fantastic Speaking of Faith episode on Depression and the Soul.  It really hammered home my own experience in a jarring and powerful way.  Read the rest of this entry »

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    As mind/brain and spirit/body dualism have slowly broken down over the past century, puzzling consequences have been left in its wake.  Nowhere are these consequences more evident than in psychology and neurology.  We take seriously the charge to heal the mind and the brain.  We research it, learn about it, ponder over it, all in the hope that someday we will be able to cure illnesses that are currently untouchable. 

Dementia, Schizophrenia, Stroke, Traumatic Brain injury, to name just a few all have permanent and dire consequences for the individuals involved.  The individual’s very mind, consciousness, personhood, spirit, whatever you choose to call it–their very essence or being is changed,  irreversibly at present, by the disease.  To have a sick brain is to become less human in a very real sense.  Read the rest of this entry »

I get some very offbeat searches thrown my way every now and then. For example, wanderers of the Ethernet have come in search of Strong powers to help me fight, which I am not so sure I could provide. It seems this would be important as mechanic vs. doctor is a search category. Is this a no holds barred grudge match or a freaky Friday type takeover of one another’s job?

Apparently I am more Christlike than I realize, as news of Jesus social phobia reached me. Another mistook my blog for Orson Scott Card’s Children of the mind with two body with one soul. One searcher sought info on wheelchair user pretender experience, which brought to my mind visions of George Costanza madly scooting away from a gang of the angered elderly, also on scooters, eager to expose his walking ability and take him down, classic, but not really available on my blog. Some masochist wants a kazillion question test and another surfer, truly fearful of the insidious Mormon collective sought out the secrets of the mind reprogramming Mormon.

There is one search this week intrigued me beyond all these, to the point I had to make it my next post. This is for that intrepid voyager who sought science for the soul. Read the rest of this entry »

Joseph Smith taught that

A very material difference [exists] between the body and the spirit; the body is supposed to be organized matter, and the spirit, by many, is thought to be immaterial, without substance. With this latter statement we should beg leave to differ, and state the spirit is a substance; that it is material, but that it is more pure, elastic and refined matter than the body; that it existed before the body, can exist in the body; and will exist separate from the body, when the body will be mouldering in the dust; and will in the resurrection, be again united with it

Teaching of the Prophet Joseph Smith. p207

As you may have guessed by now, one of my pastimes is comtemplating what exactly the spirit is, and what its relationship is with the mind and body.   It is an endlessly fascinating subject for me.  The idea of spirit as matter makes sense to me. Read the rest of this entry »

More and more lately, I hear from those who would reduce man to a machine. Certain outspoken scientists proclaim life as random, the result of chemical interactions and natural processes, and free will as an illusion. As I have stated before many neuroscientists are seeking to unlock the mystery of the brain and explain away consciousness. Others are convinced that we have evolved logic and can now leave primitive emotion behind. Occasionally this logic is overpowered by the primitive structures labeled by Arthur Koestler as the Ghost in the machine, a derogative term for mind-body dualism. Apparently, the Vulcan race is what these fellows aspire too. We could solve all the problems of the world if we could just be strictly logical, and lose emotion. It seems simple enough doesn’t it? Read the rest of this entry »

Our technology has caused us to radically redefine our concept of death. The advent of the mechanical ventilator greatly prolonged our ability to preserve vital functions in comatose patients. We now have a arsenal of drugs that maintain the function of very sick hearts. In fact, we now have machines that can actually pump blood and oxygenate it on their own, called extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation. It is often used in babies with severe lung disease.

Death has historically, and continues legally, to be defined as the presence of the heartbeat. This technology presents a unique challenge to this idea. Technically, it we use a heart/lung machine during an open heart operation, we are operating on a dead patient. Thus the surgeon, legally if not in actuality, is raising the dead with the operation. Is this playing God, or was the patient really dead A legal rethinking of the matter was inevitable. Read the rest of this entry »

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