Re: Article in NATURE / Cause and Effect

Moorad Alexanian (
Thu, 06 May 1999 09:52:22 -0400

C.S. Lewis was speculating in one of his books and stated that perhaps
before the Fall man's spirit totally controlled his body. After the fall the
reverse was true. Makes a lot of sense to me. The body manifestations of the
result of prayers are by-products, not the main product--communication with
God is. However, from chemical and physical studies one cannot understand
the relationship or the existence of a spirit in man.


-----Original Message-----
From: Paul K. Wason <>
To: <>
Date: Thursday, May 06, 1999 9:10 AM
Subject: Re: Article in NATURE / Cause and Effect

>Rather than step into the current debate (I haven't read the article yet),
>I just wanted to highlight something EGM wrote that I think is of immense
>importance, though easily overlooked:
>> I am one who believes that there is a
>>fine connection between the physical and supernatural; the scientists
>>finding a chemical responsible for my persistant prayer life (I wish)
>>would be finding the "physical" cause of my experience without access
>>to the pre- or supra- physical cause. However, the crucial point of
>>the questions was not address by your short comment. Thanks anyway.
>I believe this is important because there is a tendency among scholars (and
>in the "popular imagination") to assume that when chemicals are involved,
>they are the cause. I realize that when put baldly like that most people
>would recognize that this is an inadequate view of the world, but in
>practice, I believe many people think of chemicals as basic and more likely
>to cause other phenomenal than the reverse.
>I don't know if this is what this article claims or (regardless of what
>they claim) how people will want to interpret their work, but I suspect
>that if an experiment correlates chemical conditions with spritual
>experience, many people will skip the fine print and jump to the conclusion
>that they can now dismiss spiritual experience as simply a result of
>certain chemical conditions which, thanks to Science we can now identify.
>But EGM makes the crucial point that the chemical condition may itself be a
>Result -- if a result of one's prayer life, then it would be a result of
>real contact with the supernatural. Finding chemical markers for spiritual
>experience would not be evidence that spirituality is merely an
>epiphenomenon of chemistry, even though it is likely that our experience
>itself is, like any human experience, has been mediated by the chemical
>Paul K. Wason tel (207) 786-6240
>306 Lane Hall, Bates College fax (207) 786-8342
>Lewiston, Maine 04240