letter to the editor

Moorad Alexanian (alexanian@UNCWIL.EDU)
Mon, 03 Nov 1997 09:16:47 -0500 (EST)

Our local newspaper, The Wilmington Star, just printed the following letter
I sent to the Editor. They choose the headline "Mind over Matter" for the
letter. I thought you would like to read it. Moorad

EDITOR: It is amazing how carelessly scientists make connections between
their meager studies and deep philosophical issues. The question was raised
in a recent article, "Brain lobe linked to spirituality" (Oct. 29), whether
God created the mind or vice versa.

Science deals with matter/energy and long ago the French philosopher Rene
Descartes said that matter cannot reason. Others even say that reasoning is
supernatural. Surely the brain is the physical seat of reasoning; however,
the ability to conceive and understand abstract and transcendent concepts
will remain forever a mystery.

Clearly scientific studies will eventually link the physical structure of
the brain and its accompanying neural activity to the genetic makeup of an
individual. Therefore, all such human traits as charitableness,
criminality, drunkenness, hatefulness, kindliness, licentiousness, etc.,
will be shown to have a foundation in the genetic code that determines our
physical bodies.

Man/woman have a free will and so genes alone do not determine our final
actions. For some it is belief in God that determine which choices we
actually ought to make. Such questions of value, purpose, and meaning are
usually derived from religious beliefs and are not the result of mere brain
flashes. The consequences for crime and punishment are immense. For
instance, a criminal cannot just excuse his/her crimes by saying "my genes
made me do it."

Moorad Alexanian
Wilmington, NC