Being Human

Properly understood, neither evolution nor neuroscience represents a challenge to the Jesus Story. But their popular (mis)understanding suggests that humans are either "nothing but" animals ("evolution") or "nothing but" computers ("neuroscience") -- or both...

But it takes a "special education" to be convinced that humans are no different from animals. This text, for example, is being read on a device, perhaps over a wireless network, perhaps in a room with a comfortable chair and central heating (or perhaps air conditioning). Surely these kinds of "artifacts" set humanity apart from animals! Human beings also appear unique in their ability to dwell in the future 1 .

And while modern neuroscience is making great strides, it is still some distance from explaining all manner of important experience. Consciousness, rationality, emotion, morality, aesthetics, meaning ("intentionality", if you prefer), purpose: these are things that computers do not support -- and we have no idea how to program them.