Are you just your brain? Part 1

This is the first part in a two part series. 

Neuroscience fascinates me.

As a Christian, there are certain things I believe are true about the world and about us as human beings.  One of those things is that we are not merely our brains.

I ran across this piece recently which outlines how researchers are now able to reconstruct images from our minds with a fMRI machine.  They have even be able to crudely reconstruct movies shown to subjects on YouTube.

If I’m understanding the article correctly, it works like this:  Scans are taken of the subject’s brain while he/she is viewing various images.  The computer begins to make connections between brain wave patterns and what the subject is looking at when these patterns arise.  As more images and data are recorded, the computer begins to correlate certain patterns with color, others with shape, and so on.  Eventually the subject is shown a picture or movie that is not in the database, and the computer has to reconstruct using other images what it decodes that the subject has seen.  At least that seems to be the basic premise.

The results are murky, but obviously close. Facial features and details are hidden, but when you see the video the subject watched and compare it with the computer reconstruction, you can see it works.

So what do we make of this?  Not just as someone of a particular belief system, but as a human being.  Does this demonstrate that our thoughts and perhaps our very selves are reducible to chemicals and electrical impulses?  Are we just meat machines?


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About Keith

Christian, Conservative, Husband, Father, Writer.

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  1. Are You Just Your Brain? Part 2 « Old Blue Truck - September 27, 2011

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