Your life is more than your body (5th Sunday in Lent)


All the certainties of the secular realm are falling into a vortex of skepticism, driven by the illogic of intersectionality and a (quite later) realization that the assumptions the Victorian scientists made when setting up their disciplines have little evidence.

The politically correct don’t like neo-behavioural biology because it does not meet the needs of their prejudices. For those who follow the experimental data, it has been a tightrope for a long time. Tom Wolfe wrote this well before the turn of the century.

He was not PC or liberal enough. Feminist protesters invaded a conference where Wilson was appearing, dumped a pitcher of ice water, cubes and all, over his head, and began chanting, “You’re all wet! You’re all wet!” The most prominent feminist in America, Gloria Steinem, went on television and, in an interview with John Stossel of ABC, insisted that studies of genetic differences between male and female nervous systems should cease forthwith.

But that turned out to be mild stuff in the current political panic over neuroscience. In February of 1992, Frederick K. Goodwin, a renowned psychiatrist, head of the federal Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration, and a certified yokel in the field of public relations, made the mistake of describing, at a public meeting in Washington, the National Institute of Mental Health’s ten–year–old Violence Initiative. This was an experimental program whose hypothesis was that, as among monkeys in the jungle—Goodwin was noted for his monkey studies—much of the criminal mayhem in the United States was caused by a relatively few young males who were genetically predisposed to it; who were hardwired for violent crime, in short. Out in the jungle, among mankind’s closest animal relatives, the chimpanzees, it seemed that a handful of genetically twisted young males were the ones who committed practically all of the wanton murders of other males and the physical abuse of females. What if the same were true among human beings? What if, in any given community, it turned out to be a handful of young males with toxic DNA who were pushing statistics for violent crime up to such high levels? The Violence Initiative envisioned identifying these individuals in childhood, somehow, some way, someday, and treating them therapeutically with drugs. The notion that crime–ridden urban America was a “jungle,” said Goodwin, was perhaps more than just a tired old metaphor.

That did it. That may have been the stupidest single word uttered by an American public official in the year 1992. The outcry was immediate. Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts and Representative John Dingell of Michigan (who, it became obvious later, suffered from hydrophobia when it came to science projects) not only condemned Goodwin’s remarks as racist but also delivered their scientific verdict: Research among primates “is a preposterous basis” for analyzing anything as complex as “the crime and violence that plagues our country today.”

Sorry our soul just died. Tom Wolfe

Thirty years later, the confidence shown in this paper is naive. The brain is a very plastic organ, changing with habits, mood, and monthly cycles. (I recall sitting in a presentation when a young child psychiatrist described the latter. She was interested in the changes bought on in boys going through puberty: to check her techniques she underwent the then new MRI herself. The scans were different, depending on her cycle — as she reported with a fair amount of irritation.

Things were not as fixed as they thought. Those who think that science is the answer, and only think materially, hate it when the data does not follow their model{ the wise among us hold any model lightly, for it a mathematical simplification of reality, not reality. The bigger issue is that the neuroscientists are playing with stuff they cannot understand. We cannot handle the infinite, nor can we understand the mind of God

What it eventually comes down to is the obvious and incontrovertible fact that science cannot explain that which falls outside its conceptual limits. As human souls, we are projections of the infinite into material reality, which is why both physics and neuroscience have been unable to quantify, or even meaningfully describe, the phenomena of life and consciousness. Scientists will only ever be able to wrestle with the materially observable effects of those phenomena, because they lack the ability to directly observe the infinite.

This is a very long introduction to the lesson for today, and not a usual one. We cannot comprehend the mind of God, but we can trust his description of himself, for he as no need to deceive. In his hand is the ability to protect us from the enemies: the invader, the reaver, the failed crop, and the infections lethality we fear. Note well that the materialist hate this, for their entire concentration is on their body and a sense of autonomy. But we are more than our bodies.

Collect One

We beseech thee, Almighty God,
look upon the hearty desires of thy humble servants,
and stretch forth the right hand of thy Majesty,
to be our defence against all our enemies;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Nook of Common Prayer, Church of Ireland

Romans 8:6-11

6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. 10 If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is [a]alive because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies [b]through His Spirit who dwells in you.

There is much in this time that we could fear. Our local press wants us fearful, cramped, waiting on the last word from our dear leader at her daily press conferences, without hope and with limited help but from the state they worship. But they forget that we should not fear any virus that can kill us, but that which can destroy our soul. Which is our self and the evil we do. Christ came to save us from ourselves.