Tom Gilson

Your Brain in Love: Scientific American

Not long ago scientists “discovered” why we like music. Today, for Valentine’s Day, we learn why we love:

Men and women can now thank a dozen brain regions for their romantic fervor. Researchers have revealed the fonts of desire by comparing functional MRI studies of people who indicated they were experiencing passionate love, maternal love or unconditional love.

[From Your Brain in Love: Scientific American]

If I speak in the tongues of men and angels, but have not the “neurotransmitters and other chemicals in the brain and blood that prompt greater euphoric sensations,” I am nothing.

Or perhaps on this reductionist view I am nothing regardless. When scientism* speaks, what remains?

Happy Valentine’s Day to all who know better than this, and even to those who do not.

*Scientism is, roughly, the view that only scientific knowledge is real knowledge, and only that which science can investigate is real.

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13 thoughts on “Your Brain in Love: Scientific American

  1. I cannot believe you advertise yourself as a ‘thinkingchristian’ when you promote ignorance and bias. RE: Christianity: Not part of a menu of ideas, 2/13, Daily Press

    You are so narrow-minded as to believe that God can only reveal God’s self through one person? Even the Apostle Paul wrote, For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. Romans 1.20 (NASB)

    How dare you or anyone else condemn others for their belief? What of Judaism? Did God work to deceive the children of Israel? Some cruel cosmic joke? Christ said, Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Matthew 7.21 (NASB) and in Matthew 8.11, I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; (NASB)

    And this obsession with death…why is it more important that Christ died rather than lived? So people like you can go to heaven? What happened to revealing the kingdom of God in the here and now? I am equally repulsed by the fact, that ‘Christians’ such as yourself talk about the cruelty of Christ’s death and wholly ignore the suffering that occurs every single day. You would rather lazily settle for the pie in the sky, hope of heaven, rather than ease the suffering of others around you, as Christ himself did! I wonder if you would continue to boldly proclaim Christianity as your religion if there were no hope of heaven. That Christ suffered and died as all humans will, would you still proclaim Christianity, if Christ had only lived? No promise of heaven. But that, we should live our lives as God’s highest creation, human beings.

  2. Katherine,

    I wonder what motivates comments like your last paragraph. Have you read enough of my writings, on the Daily Press or elsewhere, to discover that I have such an obsession? How do you know that I am lazily settling for this pie-in-the-sky, not easing others’ burdens? Do you realize how incredibly judgmental that is of you to say that? Do you realize how contradictory it is to what you yourself, wrote, “How dare you or anyone else condemn others for their belief?”

    The death of Christ was relevant for the topic I was discussing; and one article does not an obsession make. I strongly recommend you take a look at what I wrote on What Is Christianity (it’s also linked in the sidebar), because you have somehow gained a very distorted picture of what I am saying.

    By the way, if you want to discuss the Daily Press article further, there’s another post where it would fit better. It’s slid down the page a bit since yesterday, but here it is.

  3. No. I do not read your column on a regular basis. The reason is because, belief in Christ ends in the resurrection. No clue, is provided on how one should live life day-to-day. Become a Christian…so others can be converted?

    I do not think I so much ‘judge’ your way of thinking as condemn it, as circular and wholly illogical.

  4. Katherine, belief in Christ, and the teachings about how to live life day-to-day, do not end with the resurrection. There are 23 books in the New Testament following the four that deliver the resurrection account, and they all speak to living life. In fact, a large proportion of those four books do, too, not to mention the Old Testament.

    I do not know where you find circular reasoning or illogic in what I have written. I can see multiple instances, as I have already said, where you have read it into what I have written. But what you’re addressing here is not what I wrote; it’s what you think I wrote, or what you have heard others say, possibly, but it’s not what I wrote. And to judge or condemn me on the basis of that false perspective is still very sloppy thinking on your part, not to mention contradictory to your own apparent values, as I mentioned already.

  5. Once again, I urge you to read what I’ve written on “What is Christianity?” Maybe then you might be able to engage with what I think rather than accusing me falsely of believing what I do not.

  6. Perhaps Katherine should be allowed to calm down so she can try to make her views known without the emotional rhetoric.

  7. Good idea, Bryan.

    I’m going to step out for an errand, which is convenient timing. Based on your advice here I would have stepped out of the discussion anyway to allow it to cool down.

  8. you sound like the apostle Paul, whom I believe was wholly misunderstood about what he said about women…

    But then, that keeps you men in a powerful mindset doesn’t it…always referring to God as male…the psalms say He shall take them as chicks under His wing…am I to believe that God is a hen?

    I am tired of the same old rhetoric that encourages people to hope and believe in some unproven after life. Maybe there is one, maybe there isn’t. The concern of the Bible is and Christianity should be the human condition. Which has nothing, nothing, nothing to do with scientific understanding. I am constantly amazed at how humans have the ability to move forward, technologically, but essentially remain unchanged in how humans interact.

  9. “Perhaps Katherine should be allowed to calm down so she can try to make her views known without the emotional rhetoric.”

    Sorry, Tom…Paul was far more educated…did not mean to imply the same about you. And the unfortunate fact the Paul is sadly and widely misinterpreted.

  10. Whose stereotype do you think was operating there, Katherine? Bryan had an objective reason, not a stereotyped one, to suppose there was emotion motivating your comments. If you think he was stereotyping, perhaps the reason you thought so was not because of anything he said, but because of your own stereotypes concerning what you thought he was implying. Could you pause a moment just to consider the possibility?

    My experience in blogging—communications with men, women, and people whose pseudonyms made it impossible to know which they were—supports his recommendation. I’m going to continue to proceed slowly from this point for that reason.

  11. “The reason is because, belief in Christ ends in the resurrection. No clue, is provided on how one should live life day-to-day.” I’ve read many comments about Christianity that totally miss the point of the Christian faith. However, I’m not sure I’ve ever read anyone who believes they understand the faith so well prove so convincingly they don’t. Katherine, I’m not exactly sure what you are so upset about. However, I am sure that whatever it is, it isn’t Christianity

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