Mechanism Behind Mind-body Connection Discovered

"The study reveals how stress makes people more susceptible to illness." Science Daily Article.
This is a datum to support my assertion that the hypothesis that the "Problem of Evil/Suffering is a Test" is demonstrably false.

Every cell contains a tiny clock called a telomere, which shortens each time the cell divides. Short telomeres are linked to a range of human diseases, including HIV, osteoporosis, heart disease and aging. Previous studies show that an enzyme within the cell, called telomerase, keeps immune cells young by preserving their telomere length and ability to continue dividing.
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UCLA scientists found that the stress hormone cortisol suppresses immune cells' ability to activate their telomerase.
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The study reveals how stress makes people more susceptible to illness.


If the problem of Evil/Suffering is a test then it is a test that degrades the performance of the participant resulting in a negative feedback loop where the participants ability to cope is degraded as the test proceeds. If we are to be judged on our ability to cope with hardships, and our ability to cope with hardships is demonstrably decreased over time under the influence, and no two people have the same hardships, then there can be no consistent standard to judge by. This is not consistent with sound testing methods.

If the participant can only think and make decisions with the biological material they have at hand, namely their brain, and their brain is susceptible to degradation as is the rest of the body, then the problem of Evil/Suffering as a test is not as much a test of spirit as it is a test of biological integrity.

If however the spirit is a separate entity and is not susceptible to degradation, then while this may be a hypothesis, it is not consistent with any known observations and is only supported by anecdote and writings, some of which are of unknown origin. However, the degradation of spirit during hardship over time has been observed so much that it has become an expected outcome of hardship. Notable exceptions to this outcome are not limited to Christians and should not be used as a datum to support the Christian view of "The problem of Evil/Suffering as a test". Therefore it is a dubious hypothesis, if it can be considered a hypothesis at all.

24 comments:

Insanezenmistress said...

Hello Lee,

i hear you saying...' sin as a test is not a good poke at solving the issues of the problem of evil. Because our brains deteriorate?'

Because a Study, compared to a seris of related stress studiest suggest that the brain deteriorates. Thus makeing a Person less able to learn , endure or grow from a negitive happening in later life.

And this make you claim; 'The existance of evil cant have such a purpose, because we are engeneered to not be able to over come it.'

I need to restate how i veiwed your post, in case you mistake where my answer is comming from.
IN case i need to make corrections.

But in my vein, Though we ourselves deteriorate, those around us have oppurtunity to learn and grow while they are still good. I dont think a human is capible of cureing themselves thru tests and negitive trials alone anyway. Overcomming our evils is a life long human interest. Insurmountable by us, it seems, regardless of the biological perfection of our brains.

All our knowledge and science builds upon what others limited brains figured out before us.

SO the problem of evil, and thus sin as a test. Mean that over comming our evil is partilly gained in the experience of suffering the results of evil or bad human interests.
It may still stand as a hypothisis because humans do build on the limits of their prediessors knowledge. And we are also able to preserve anchient wisdom that still works. Even if and in fact dispite the fact that our brains still deteriorate, the species still grows mentally generation to generation....(we may also be deevolved thru bad education but that is a separate issue for the politically paranoid)

Jessy

Lee Randolph said...

so then all improvement is one off, logically meaning that either the participant
* won't pass
* will pass anyway and its all futility
* is meant in any case to edify someone else while the someone else is deteriorating just the same edifying someone else

meaning that overall, stated simply, that the only one who gets the best shot is the last participant standing.

is that right?

Rich said...

Hi Lee,
I am trying to get a clear picture of what you are saying here. Are you saying that as we deal, or cope, with evil and suffering, that causes stress that decreases our ability to remain healthy and makes it harder as we get older to not sin? And this is part of why the "test" is not a good one?

Robert_B said...

Mr. Randolph, your brilliant observation is spot on and points heartward to Christianity's major confusion in conflating what is biological with a fantasy of the "spiritual." Telomerase degradation from cortisol exposure is a purely physical phenomenon. But Christianity not only wishes to conflate the notion of "sin" with suffering, as noted by insanezenmistress, but asserts that which is demonstratively physical is instead something else. I would expect nothing less from a religion based and founded on lies.

Jason said...

Lee,

Do you know how God judges people? Do you know what His criteria is? Assuming not, there's really no reasonable way you can state the testing methods aren't 'sound'.

God is the judge - we're not told how He does it or in what manner. This admittance seems to be absent from your findings.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Rich,
not that it makes it "less harder" but that suffering is actually increased. Its the old "suffering is built in" angle that I'm fond of. This is a datum to support that. God intended there to be suffering because he built it into us. As we participate in the test of the problem of evil our the pace at which our bodies degrade increase and our mental facilities degrade. I'm sure there are unique examples that contradict this, but overall, as I stated, the problem of evil/suffering demoralizes.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Jason,
thats your whole argument? Since I don't know the mind of god I'm wrong? I could just as easily turn that around and say that since you don't know the mind of god you are wrong.

In fact, I'll say, logically, that you are going to hell because you are only good for gods sake, while I am good for goodness sake, therefore I am more deserving than you so I'll get to watch you flail about in the abyss.

in any case, to argue that I can't say one way or the other is evoking an argument from impossible precision, since I have plenty of data to draw from prior tests in different categories of which avoided any situations that would be considered 'unfair' such as causing participants to become more handicapped by the test as the test proceeded.

To say that god doesn't have to stick to sound testing principles is to evoke an argument of "special pleading" where god isn't compelled morally or ethically in any way to stick to principles.

Unless we are talking about intentionally destructive testing such as in laboratory animal experiments then the problem of evil as a test violates a sound principle of testing.

If we are talking about intentionally destructive testing then the problem of evil/suffering as a test fits pretty well.

1. Either the problem of Evil/Suffering is a test of our mettle and loyalty and suffering is built in as the factor to judge by,

2. or the problem of evil/suffering is no problem at all and is just chance and circumstance, with no interest by god at all,

3. the problem of evil/suffering is no problem at all and is just chance and circumstance with some apparently random interest by god in which he will "save" one or two out of a hundred in a catastrophe.

Observation supports option 2 more than the others.

If you do a "null" hypothesis test on the problem of evil, then what you wind up is testing the observational data like the following.

Would we expect everything we observe if we knew there was no god at all? The answer is yes.

gotta run, gone for the rest of the day.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi robert_b,
brilliant? thanks!
your check is in the mail. ;-)

Jason said...

Lee,

Unless someone can determine the criteria God uses to judge individuals or determine whether or not the same criteria is used for every person irrespective of their circumstances, passing judgment on the process is impossible.

We are saved only by the grace of God, not by something which one can test or measure. When you consider the final results won't be known until after the fact, it's an exercise in futility, both for the believer and non-believer. The only thing we can do is try our best to live a life pleasing to God, pray for His mercy and leave judgment in His more then capable hands.

Lee Randolph said...

Jason,
yea, yea, yea,
why should I believe in god anyway?

Rotten Arsenal said...

Jason:

Unless someone can determine the criteria God uses to judge individuals or determine whether or not the same criteria is used for every person irrespective of their circumstances, passing judgment on the process is impossible.

I'll have to agree that we don't know the criteria god uses... it's painfully evident this is true (if god actually existed) since there are a gazillion denominations and a gazillion different ideas about how a christian should behave. It makes it difficult to play by the rules when the rules are unclear and open to interpretation. If god and only god makes the rules but he doesn't share them with the players, then it's only rewarding for god and those that just happen to get the rules right. No benevolent entity would hide the rules and then condemn another entity to eternal torment because the rules weren't followed. That's idiotic at best and purely evil at worst.

Imagine if you were subjected to this strategy in school. Would you worship your teacher and believe them to be wonderful if they didn't tell you how to pass the course but graded you anyway?

As for suffering... if god tests people with suffering and pain, how do they pass? Do they only pass if they maintain their faith in god but ultimately die because of the suffering? If they could end the suffering, but don't because of that faith in god, isn't that technically suicide?

If the way to pass the test is to end your own suffering, then why did god bestow the suffering upon you to begin with? That's not benevolence... that's lab testing on animals.

Jason said...

Rotten,

Except God does tell us the rules and the rules are simple - live your life according to the commandments of Christ. Our problem is that we constantly fail because of our own vices. Therefore, salvation is given as a gift out of grace and in turn, prevents us from passing judgment on each other.

In other words, even though we're bound to fail in our efforts, God is willing to save us nonetheless. Personally, I'm infinitely thankful for this kind of mercy.

J.L. Hinman said...

The connection between mind and body was proved at the University of Rochester in the early 90's. They found that there is a link between the central nervous system and the immune system.

They showed that the mind can determine what your body does. They gave rats poison with a flavor and then gave the flavor without the poison and the rats continued to die even though they weren't getting enough poison to kill them anymore. Control rats got the same amount of poison but did not die.

That doesn't prove materialism, quite the opposite. It prove spirit. It proves that mind controls body. mind = spirit. So mind cannot be reduced to brain chemistry alone because what we think is happening can determine the chemical reactions.

J.L. Hinman said...

I never thought the test idea as a good theology anyway. That by no means to be construed as the "standard Christian answer."

Evan said...

The body is the mind and the mind is the body and the idea that they are separate is a crippling one.

Remove the brain from someone, they are mindless, remove the body from the brain (which can happen to some degree with certain neurological conditions) and activity in the brain goes away. The brain works with the body. When the body is ill, the brain is ill. There's simply no point at which the body stops.

It's very easy to prove naturalism with regard to mental states now with fMRI and PET scans and the position that there is some supernatural "ghost in the machine" is simply untenable at this point given the amount of fine tuning of specific areas neuroscience has been able to demonstrate.

For more, read Antonio Damasio, I believe everyone should understand his position and internalize it.

Lamar said...

Clever...very clever indeed.

ismellarat said...

I'd been wondering about a closely related phenomenon for years: If you care about the suffering of others (love your neighbor, in other words) - and thereby share in some of it - you will be less happy. And God makes you sick.

If you don't give a dam about anyone but yourself (a simple willful ignorance will do the trick: imagine how good you feel watching a ball game, as opposed to a documentary on genocide), you can often be happy, and you will be healthier as a consequence.

I never did get that.

Some things about Christianity seem indispensable, while others seem ludicrous and cruel. I wish I knew a tenable way of not accepting the whole package.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Evan,
I've heard about Damasio from podcasts, but never got the impression that he was doing work of that magnitude. In fact I have a book that I have yet to read by susan blackmore called "conversations on consciousness" in which she interviews twenty experts and he was not one of them nor was he listed in the index (although Darwin was).

I'm going to see which podcasts featured him and listen again. Thanks for the heads up.

I'd like to see an article from someone in the medical field discussing the "mind-body" problem.

Lee Randolph said...

Joe,
you are so wrong.
By your reasoning then, mentally handicapped are hanidcapped in spirit.

there is a feedback loop between the mind and the body. The endocrine system affects what happens in the brain, and the brain can affect what is released by the endocrine system. You get affects from, for example, strobelights, pheromones, a pinch, habanero peppers, etc.

I can show a mechanism for all this. I challenge you to show me a mechanism for the minds influence on the body separate from the biological.

J.L. Hinman said...

It's very easy to prove naturalism with regard to mental states now with fMRI and PET scans and the position that there is some supernatural "ghost in the machine" is simply untenable at this point given the amount of fine tuning of specific areas neuroscience has been able to demonstrate.


easy to see you have never read chalmers. No. you clearly are not well read on this. the dualists ae winning. becasue the funcitonsits take as proofs areas that haven othign to do with consciousness.

cognative function is not consciousness. it's easy to claim victory when you just ignore the information.

you cannot expalin top down causality in any other way but dualism.

J.L. Hinman said...

When I was doing doctoral work, I published an academic journal. We did an article by a grad student form MIT who attacked Dennett's ideas on brain/mind reductionism. To referee that article I contacted some nueo=scientists at TU Dallas to to look at it. Those guys, immanent in the field, said "Dennet is full of shit." that's exactly what they told me.

Simplistic arguments "if you shoot someone in the head it kills them" is not kind of proof. That doesn't begin to prove anything, Neither does stuff like lobotomy, hitting people with bats, car wrecks brain damage in general doesn't prove a thing.

MRI's prove nothing. None of that stuff has anything to do with it.

top down causality and veto power do have to do with it, they prove a non physical center that controls brain function.

Journal of consciousness studies is doing better than ever. Chalmers still sells tons of books. thousands of people from all walks of the academy are still producing literature on consciousness. It is far from a settled issue.

J.L. Hinman said...

Joe,
you are so wrong.
By your reasoning then, mentally handicapped are hanidcapped in spirit.


you are confusing mind and brain. Mind is not rerdiceable to brain.

there is a feedback loop between the mind and the body. The endocrine system affects what happens in the brain, and the brain can affect what is released by the endocrine system. You get affects from, for example, strobelights, pheromones, a pinch, habanero peppers, etc.

that has nothing to do with the mind bing the spirit. The thing the Bible speaks of when it speaks of spirit, is the mind. I'm not saying the mind is a little ghost, I"m saying what the Bible calls spirit is actually the mind, consciousness. the ability to be aware.

I can show a mechanism for all this. I challenge you to show me a mechanism for the minds influence on the body separate from the biological.

I just did. top down causality. an the Rochester data on the cns.

Evan said...

Joe would you mind explaining what you mean rather than pooh-poohing?

You say:

I just did. top down causality. an the Rochester data on the cns.

Mind unpacking that?

I have no idea what you mean. At all.

I can point to the periacqueductal gray areas and the superior and inferior colliculi as areas of consciousness. I can disrupt those areas in organisms and cause them to lose their consciousness. This destroys any executive function in that organism.

So what exactly do you mean?

Additionally, have you even read Damasio? Have you taken neuroanatomy? Have you dealt with brain damaged people?

I have and I deal with them every day. And I can tell you that there is no executive function outside of the brain and damage to the brain disrupts executive function. So I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

I'm not sure the neuroscientists you were were talking to were immanent (God manifesting in physical bodies), but I'm also not so sure they were eminent.

Lee Randolph said...

HI Joe,
its hard to believe you are arguing seriously. You seem to be acting like you are at a cocktail party.

easy to see you have never read chalmers. No. you clearly are not well read on this.

One guy makes your case? In a thousand experts this guy makes a difference? What does he say? give me some idea of what his views are.

the dualists ae winning. becasue the funcitonsits take as proofs areas that haven othign to do with consciousness. cognative function is not consciousness. it's easy to claim victory when you just ignore the information.

Consciousness has many different states. You can iterate through them by going to a Rave Party for a night. Take a designated driver though. If you don't want to do that, just stay awake for as long as you can and interact with people, you can iterate through some of them that way.

you cannot expalin top down causality in any other way but dualism.
I can. Just I like I can explain the "coldness", "Sweetness" and "viscosity" in ice cream in some other way than "It comes from somewhere else, like from god, but I don't know how".

Consciousness demonstrably arises from the brain in whatever biological state its in at the time. You can remove pieces of consciousnessness as you take parts away from the brain just like you can take viscocity away from ice cream as you take away its coldness, or just like you make a "bicycle" less of "bicycle" as you take parts away. There will be a point when you can't point in the direction of a bicycle that has had it parts removed and still call it a bicycle.

To referee that article I contacted some nueo=scientists at TU Dallas to to look at it. Those guys, immanent in the field, said "Dennet is full of shit." that's exactly what they told me.
And these guys matter why? Once again you throw out an exception like it breaks the rule. Maybe Dennett is full of shit, I think a lot of people are full of shit, but that doesn't make it so. Magical thinking is more prevalent than not even in the ranks of highly educated people, but when it comes down to the brass tacks of providing a non-biological mechanism for consciousness, they are left holding thier jock-straps.

you are confusing mind and brain. Mind is not rerdiceable to brain.
you are unwarrantedly (is that a word?) separating mind and brain. So here is my rebuttal, you are confusing ice cream with sweetness, sweetness is not in ice cream or any of its components, it comes from somewhere else........It comes from outside space and time.
woooooeeeeeeoooooo!