Friday, October 30, 2009

Being a Thinker

"As a man thinks in his heart, so is he."

--Proverbs 23:7

I love science and have often said that man is discovering what is already known. This point was made clear while watching an excellent discussion among eminent brain researchers on the Charlie Rose Show yesterday evening.

Among the scientists were Eric Kandel of Columbia University and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Cornelia Bargmann of Rockerfeller University, Tony Movshon of New York University, John Searle of the University of California Berkeley, and Gerald Fischback of the Simmons Foundation. It was an enlightening session and I listened to it on TV once and then online again. You can listen to it here. It is an hour long, but well worth the listen.

All of the scientists had wonderful discoveries to share. But Cornelia Bargmann was outstanding in the delivery of her brilliant research. She studies worms in order to understand the functioning of the human brain. There are many similarities of wiring and function. Dr. Bargmann said many things of interest, but one thing struck me profoundly: "A thought that you have is turned into a biological physical reality by your brain."

You are what you think.


septembermom said...

Judith, I appreciate your sharing this link. I will definitely check it out. Dr. Bargmann's thought is worthy of future discussion and study. I love watching Charlie Rose. I get immersed in his interviews. I love having opportunities to push my thinking into new areas. Happy Friday dear friend!

Judith Ellis said...

Pleasure, Kelly. Yes, Dr. Bargmann's research is quite awesome. Regarding Charlie Rose, I used to watch him all the time, though by far less now, and still really appreciate his diverse guests. The show covers a wide range of topics. Although, sometimes Rose is a bit challenging to listen to. :-) The show helped me through an incredibly rough patch many years ago. It allowed me to engage my mind diversely when what was happening around me was challenging indeed. For this, I am forever grateful.

Corrie Howe said...

Your scripture verse and one of your "take-a-ways" from the interview reminds me of the documentary called Expelled with Ben Stein. The scientist work which started based upon the assumption that there was intelligent design has opened some fascinating discoveries. (Don't ask me what because it was awhile ago. I only remember being amazed at the "engineering" involved at the DNA level.)

Judith Ellis said...

Thanks, Corrie, for the mention. I'll look for it.

wmmbb said...

Slightly tangential Judith, but otherwise on topic.

Traditional wisdom and religious teaching, not least as your quote indicates the Bible, are always emphasizing the importance of compassion. That response it seems is linked to the mirror neurons (Isn't this quy a talent?).

Judith Ellis said...

Wmmbb - I understand well that there are various interpretations of scripture and that there are many that without faith in God altogether. I respect you, my dear friend. But I disagree with your notion of what is even "slightly tangential" here. This seems to be precisely what this data is pointing too, not that I needed scientific verification. I trust and believe, yet "study to show myself approved." Science is not about creating what is not known or what does not exist. Science is about the discovery so what is known already exists, no? Yes, there is a question as to how, but it is my belief that "traditional wisdom and religious teaching" as that above explains precisely what science is discovering. What I find incredibly interesting is our unadulterated "faith" in science as it is about discovery and experiments. Love it, I do. But what we thought was a reality just in recent years changes, not to mention that the most important discoveries of the brain happened within this time. We trust in what we can see and what others know. But we do not have faith to believe in what is otherwise unknown. Yet, we have faith in the fallible often wholeheartedly even when discovery and experiments change from year to year, let along decade to decade, etc. Many thanks for the link. I'll check it out.

zorro said...

"I love science and have often said that man is discovering what is already known."

There in no reason to believe this to be true even if there is a God. God might have kicked the universe off and gave it the laws of physics, but there is no reason to believe that God knows how the laws combine to drive forces like the evolution of life. Science could very well be discovering things that are not known. It just depends on how much detail God would keep track of.

Judith Ellis said...

Zorro - The Christian God is omniscient so your response does not exactly fit within this particular belief system. God would have kept a pretty good "track" of detail. :-) Here's a heads up: I rarely, if ever, discuss whether there is a God or not. Faith is belief. To discuss such is futile. To each his/her own. If God exists, and He does for me, he knows. But I respect the choice of others. I will, however, discuss scripture and certain aspects of science, having been a student of both for many years. There is so very much I need to know and I'm most happy to continually read more, listen and learn.