Make Up Yer Mind, Already! Hemispheres and Souls

Pax Christi, everybody!

When hemispheres are split, sometimes they disagree and develop our own personalities; according to a certain Dr. V S Ramachandran, a split-brain patient was asked whether they believed in god or not, and each hemisphere responded differently. Does this disprove the notion of the soul? Also, what happens to people with DID come The Second Coming and Bodily Resurrection?

I believe that split brain surgery, severing the corpus collosum, is done to help people with severe epilepsy. It can help the epilepsy from spreading. (The corpus collosum handles communication between the two brain hemispheres.) But your story sounds suspicious. How do you get an answer from each hemisphere about belief in God? Have you any quality documentation on this? I’ve heard of simple conditioning experiments on split-brain patients, but nothing more.

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The main purpose of the corpus collosum seems to be to allow separate processing without interference from the other side. I understand the biggest complaint from those undergoing split brain surgery is interference from the other hand, something that doesn’t happen when the corpus collosum is intact to allow each hemisphere to inhibit the other from straying from its ‘lane’.

The left hemisphere specializes in re-presenting the world. Though like everything else both hemispheres are involved with language. The left hemisphere has the larger vocabulary and it handles our conscious deliberation and all activities involving focused attention. The right hemisphere is the one more broadly focused on everything going on in the world around us. It is the first to take note of danger and opportunities and I believe it has a role in choosing which features come to our conscious attention.

I find the situation with our hemispheres very interesting in relation to religious belief. Our left brain is where we reason and make decisions in its capacity as the hemisphere in charge of re-presenting the world. The right hemisphere can make its views and values known by intuition and the imagination. If we define our selves as the sum total of our own deliberative efforts, then we are likely to be either atheists or else approach theology very legalistically. But I think the apprehension of there being something more which supports God belief comes through the right hemisphere. That is why it is very hard to pin down what God is: for us to understand that would be to reduce something which comes in directly in the presentation of the world and make of it a tool for our conscious attention. But that is impossible. This is why religious experience requires openness and humility. Whatever God may be it will never be just one more conceptual tool in your deliberations.

This is mostly from my reading of Iain McGilchrist’s The Master and His Emissary. I wonder, @jstump, if this squares with your understanding of McGilchrist’s thought?


How understated can an understatement be? Infinitely, here, maybe.

Wait … you’re agreeing with me? I feel faint. I’d better alert the mods to see if someone has hacked Dale’s account!


I’m accusing you of infinite understatement, so I sort of agree with your statement? :wink:

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I do sort of chafe at the ‘it’ pronoun, so out of respect for the rest of us here that do believe in God (many of us, I hope, even saying we know him), do you think you could use ‘he’? (Not so much out of respect for me at all, since I’m not so respectable, as too many know. :woozy_face:)

It might help to realize the “it” I’m referring to is what it is we experience that makes belief in God compelling to so many.

I know, but that is not the way it reads.

Yeah I see it now. Sorry for ruffling your feathers.

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The rational soul of the Gnostics and Greek philosophy as well as any other notions of a nonphysical entity operating the body like a puppet hasn’t been credible in the face of a great deal of scientific evidence for quite a while. Clinging to such notions in spite of the evidence is the only reason I can see for someone to be troubled by this recent discovery.

But, I don’t believe in any such thing. I believe in the spiritual body talked about by Paul in 1 Cor 15, while taking a physicalist position on the old mind-body problem. This is not to say that the mind is just a function of the body, but it is to say that the mind is completely physical (i.e. of the laws of nature). It is the spirit, not the mind which is non-physical (existing apart from the laws of nature), and it takes its form and essence from the choices of both the mind and body.

It is common when making up our mind about something, to weigh and compare competing opinions before making a decision. Why shouldn’t the two hemispheres come to different conclusions based on the different ways in which they think?


Why believe in a soul to have to disbelieve in?

I’m hoping @Combine_Advisor will come back and answer my questions instead of doing a post-and-run

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Sorry Beagle Lady, I had to run somewhere!

There’s a certain Thomas Westerbrook on YouTube who calls himself Holykoolaid. He is known for attempting to debunk Christianity, though he sometimes combats New Age stuff as well. He made a video attempting to debunk the soul and especially appealed to split-brain patients in order to do so. If I’m remembering this correctly, he plays a clip of a certain Dr. V. S. Ramachandran, who explains the man of two minds about God. I’ll link it here:

And I’m supposed to take Holykoolaid on YouTube seriously?

The clip was under 20 seconds. Why should I give two poops about this guy? Unless you have a scholarly article please don’t waste my time.


I think that we are missing something important if we miss the fact that the mind is a thinking machine that can transcend the laws of cause and effect. People and even animals can learn from our experiences so we do not have to repeat them. If cause and effect were the only rule, then the same stimulus would always create the same response, even if it were negative. Instead, our minds are capable of analyzing the stimulus and our responses to determine which will bring the best results.

This is not a physical response of our muscles, but a non-physical mental response of our brain/mind. The mind seeks the best option, while the spirit or will ratifies and executes that decision.

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From what I know, since each sides of the brain pilotes each a side of the body you can get responses from each hand writing.

From what I know, since each sides of the brain pilotes each a side of the body you can get responses from each hand writing.

And your point is what?

This whole thing about one side of the brain having faith but not the other side is just silly. If a person of faith suffers serious brain damage from a stroke or accident, and ends up in a coma from which he never recovers, do we then say that he is now an atheist?


“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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