Dale Gentry, a biology prof from University of Northwestern, has started a project to make short science/faith YouTube videos. They are animated and kind of remind me of Bible Project videos, if you are familiar with those.
A new one is out today on reconciling knowledge gained from science and Bible interpretation and finding harmony in the tension.
It’s a good resource for introductory, conversation starter type material for those of you who like to prompt discussions on Facebook or for those of you who lead small groups that discuss science/faith topics. Check it out.
One question I have regarding reconciling knowledge from science and the Bible is how do Christians accommodate the scientific view that the body is a machine with the soul? Is the soul involved in bodily functions and changes or not? And if not, is it a bystander?
Christianity has a long history now of having taken onboard Greek influence (Plato) into what has become a fairly entrenched dualist view such as what you mention (a physical body - the alleged ‘machine’ that is home for a ‘soul’ or ‘spirit’ - the ghost in the machine). Science has never had anything to say about any souls or spirits - other than to note that there doesn’t seem to be anything empirically detectable about any ‘soul’ leaving a body after the body dies. So with regard to a view of souls, I suggest there is nothing on the science side for the Christian to accommodate to, since science has nothing to say about any souls.
Recently it’s probably become more common for Christian to challenge this dualistic philosophical history - either by suggesting something like “monism” (one body and it is your soul), or something else. But those challenges come from the philosophical / theological side rather than science. Science is on the sidelines when it comes to discussion of souls and spirits.
It certainly is. It is the result of reductionism in modern medicine. Have a look.
Three centuries after Descartes, the science of medicine is still based on the notion of the body as a machine, of disease s a consequence of breakdown of the machine and the doctorʼs task as the repairer of the machine.
“They have all sorts of proteins that are their processing devices. They make decisions, they interact with each other due to their biochemistry and molecular biology, and decide whether they’re going to proliferate, make more copies of themselves, differentiate, enter a new cell type, activate, or release some molecule to talk with another cell. They’re really like little computers and we want to know how they work.”
Richard Dawkins interview: 'It must be possible to construct life chemically, or in a computer’
‘Your animal life is over. Machine life has begun.’ The road to immortality
In California, radical scientists and billionaire backers think the technology to extend life – by uploading minds to exist separately from the body – is only a few years away
The greatest of all creations is man himself, the marvellous machine—precise and efficient.
neuroscientist Dean Buonomano sets up the meat of his new book, Your Brain is a Time Machine – and an intriguing difference between the way we animals navigate time as opposed to space.
All your post shows is that metaphors provide helpful conceptual tools for understanding complex concepts. No scientist I know or have read believes the human body is demonstrably a literal machine or that the mind/body connection or integration is something irrelevant or fictional.
Every scientist that has worked in the area knows that the body at the cellular level is literal machinery.
And this molecular machinery far more complex and sophisticated than anything the humankind have ever produced.
These are the molecular machines inside your body that make cell division possible. Animation by Drew Berry at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research.
There are plenty more longer videos if you look on youtube.
The mind/body connection or integration is NOT something irrelevant or fictional. But what is the mind? You will find that the mind is considered as nothing more than brain activity and /or an emergent property out of the brain’s complexity. SO still just part of the meat robot.
When the brain is considered hardware and the mind is the software, then you can see research into areas like depression and anxiety go down this road. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20021996/Associations between serum lipids and major depressive disorder: results from the Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety (NESDA)
Anyone who takes into account “the mind” in physical disease as for instance the bodily reactivity as a result of beliefs (ideas treated as true or real) is called out as “not knowing anything about science” or a conspiracy theorist.
If they are a doctor they may be maligned. See here Dr. Sarno is a case in question and he didn’t even go so far as seeing the mind as non-physical. He used the psychology of Dr. Freud, who was a neurologist. A neurologist is a medical doctor who specializes in evaluating, diagnosing, and treating diseases that affect the nervous system.
Dr. Sarno simply helped people overcome back pain instead of having surgery by helping them realize that there was nothing wrong with their back. That the idea was incorrect. Sure he had also some admirers. https://www.sfgate.com/nation/article/Dr-John-Sarno-peers-dismissed-pain-theories-11251453.php