Western religion would like you to believe you have a homunculus: a kind of unified decision-maker that takes input from the environment, processes it through your unified personality, memory, and will, and responds with certain thoughts or actions. Moreover, this homunculus is mostly non-physical, and makes up the bulk of your identity: it is “the real you,” and your body is merely a receiver of input and a puppet for which “the real you” pulls the strings.
The problem with this theory is that it’s just false. Our brains are distributed systems that produce only an illusion of a unified whole. And even if a homunculus was a spiritual being invisible to science, it makes little sense to say its effect in our brains would be distributed and automatic.
Below, Michael Gazzaniga summarizes recent neurological research on how the brain is not unified but why it feels that way to us.
More and more, religion will have to change its mind on things to fit with the way the world really works, or it will have to deny more and more science to cling to its ancient dogmas.
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