Make Up Yer Mind, Already! Hemispheres and Souls

The question (Does this [the given example] disprove the notion of the soul) presumes that we have a complete understanding of the brain, of the soul, of the locus of faith and the relationships between the three. And in modernistic fashion, it assumes that, even if we had such an understanding of all of these things, that there is a direct connection between the brain and the soul.

I direct the asker to Shakespeare’s character Hamlet for instruction: “ There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio, / Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”


I was just answering to how we get a response from each side of the brain.

It’s true that the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body and vice versa. The left side of the brain also controls our ability to put tasks in sequence. There are many other differences. But this has nothing to do with religious faith.

No indeed, I was just answering your question on how to interrogate both sides of the brain.

Can we even know if there are really 2 minds in a split brain in the first place? It seems like a controversy from my layman’s analysis.

Also, might it be due to a less focused consciousness that these conflicting results show up?

I’d say we certainly don’t have a complete mind in either hemisphere. Our minds are the outcome of their joint effort. But there are many kinds and levels of specialization in exactly what each side takes care of. Both are almost always involved in every brain function. But since we bring our focused attention to it that means it will be our left hemispheres which overtly determine the outcome. We tend to identify more with that hemisphere and were we to undergo split brain surgery we would feel it is only our right arm which is still responsive to our will while the left arm will feel possessed and out of control.

What is it Cummings said? “One is not half two; it is two which are halves of one.” I do think this casts light on religious experience. But what it reveals is nothing simplistic. Certainly a soul is not the body’s jockey. It is interesting to me how strongly most Christians cling to the concept that the self is unitary. Of course so do most atheists in my experience.


Thanks, but it doesn’t answer my question.

It would be difficult to make absolute conclusions.

1 Like

Here a short video that might help.
You Are Two - YouTube


True DID is also very very very very rare…

1 Like

So you really believe that we have two minds? Or was this something you googled up recently?

1 Like

None of the above. CPG Grey is a youtuber I enjoy watching, when he posts, once in a blue moon. Its an interesting video that is directly linked to this debate and is at the very least a good introduction to this topic. I probably saw this video when it came out 5 years ago.

I have no were near enough expertise to have an opinion on the two minds hypothesis. Its an interesting observation and I can see how it can be tested which is what I explained but I don’t know nearly enough about psychology and the brain to go anywhere beyond that. Also it doesn’t say much about who you are either, as the video noted their are functions that are not shared by the brain but that are innately linked to who you are. It’s interesting that all.

1 Like

the video says the split brain refutes free will, why is that so?

It says it casts doubt on the concept of free will not refutes it. Also its not split brain that casts doubt but the mechanism by which our brain tries to construct a coherent scenario from event the brain was not involved in taking.

I assume its because of this. Since our brains attempts to explain event it was not involved in the decision making, it implies that any action we do could be explained by the brain but in reality it was not involved in the decision and their for free will is in reality an illusion.

If my assumption is correct, I find this argument is rather weak as their are other potential explanation. One could imagine is it would be linked to the mechanism to recall memories. Also our memory is not perfect so the brain will try to reconstruct the scenario that lead us to this situation and their for the next action that should be taken. But this is pure speculation on my part.


If cause and effect were the only rule, then the same stimulus would always create the same response, even if it were negative.

This doesn’t follow. For example, if the first stimulus has the effect of changing the response to subsequent stimuli of the same kind, subsequent stimuli of the same kind will produce a different

This is the principle behind habituation which is one of the most ubiquitous behaviours in living organisms; i.e. a repeated stimulus will produce a decrement in response which will recover after some interval. Its simplest form is the result of the exhaustion of the resources necessary to make the response. An interval after habituation occurs allows the organism time to renew those resources.

Slightly more complex sequences can involve each repeated stimulus causing the accumulation of some metabolite until a tipping point is reached, resulting in a completely different type of response.

Further complexity of response can produce simple learning behaviours, i.e. permanent or semi-permanent changes in behaviour in response to a repeated stimulus or combinations of stimuli, scaling right up to the sophisticated learning behaviour of the higher vertebrates.

So, no; the same cause can very easily have different effects.


I thought we were talking about the laws of physics, which deals with inanimate objects, not living organisms, who have nervous systems.

I was responding to the suggestion that “that the mind is a thinking machine that can transcend the laws of cause and effect.” and “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” which appears to be about living organisms. The mind, people, and animals don’t need to transcend the laws of cause and effect to learn from experience.

Even living organisms without nervous systems can show habituation - and more sophisticated learning responses.


Philosophy and theology have assumed that the brain/mind was more unified than science has found it to be. A brain that is not One, but is divided into specialized areas has raised questions for us.

Also, because often we must make snap decisions which cannot be thought through, our brains think that we make them at the time, even though they are made in advance. A baseball hitter usually does to the plate looking for certain pitch. If he gets it, he often swings, even though it is in a bad location. He might report that he decided to swing when he saw the pitch, but the evidence indicates it was a reflex based on the prior decision. Many scientists jumped to conclusion that something else made the decision to swing because they do not understand how the brain actually works.

Rocks do not learn from experience. They do not demonstrate habituation. Biota do because they have nerve cells which can think or in different ways their environment.

Rocks are not living organisms. The vast majority of biota are single cells - they demonstrate habituation and some of them have mechanisms for simple learning. Many multicellular biota, e.g. simple animals and plants, have no nerve cells yet can learn in surprisingly complex ways.


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

This is a place for gracious dialogue about science and faith. Please read our FAQ/Guidelines before posting.