Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Neuroscience Cannot Explain Transcendent Experience

Flower in my backyard

In "Sensing God and the Limits of Neuroscience," University of Indiana's Richard Gunderman (MD, PhD) makes a credible case for a reality that cannot be understood in purely material terms. Especially using music as an example, Gunderman states that "the mere fact that neurochemical changes are taking place does nothing to help us distinguish between good and bad, the great and the merely insipid. The truth or falsehood of such expressions is not simply a matter of correspondence with some verifiable material state. It is also a matter of elegance, rhythm, balance, and above all, beauty, qualities that are to some degree transcendent."

"Ultimately," he writes, "we cannot define the beautiful in strictly material terms."

Hence, the epistemic limits of science as descriptive of the material world.