The Loom

All in the Australian Mind

It’s strange enough hearing yourself talking on the radio. It’s stranger still to see a transcript someone makes of you talking on the radio. Recently I was interviewed about Soul Made Flesh on Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s show "All in the Mind." Instead of an audio archive, ABC has posted a transcript of the show. While I can’t claim I spoke in perfect paragraphs, we had an interesting talk about how the brain became the center of our existence.


  1. #1 the bunyip
    June 1, 2004

    G’day, Carl

    Thanks for the reference. Is it safe to presume you were in Oz for the event? If so, did you encounter Phillip Adams [i know, i know. Oz is a big place, but after so many political hacking “Auntie”‘s a pretty closed community.

    Your book is sitting on my shelf demanding attention, which it will receive in due course. Your work is inspiring to all us young folks.

    the bunyip
    stephen a haines
    Ottawa, Canada

  2. #2 Tom Clark
    July 21, 2004

    In his interview on All in the Mind, Carl said: ďItís still very hard for us to accept the full implications of what Thomas Willis first realized, that these billions of cells in our head are producing our entire psychological life. That they can do it all! Now, this doesnít mean that we donít have an immaterial soul but science canít answer that sort of question because itís beyond the study of nature. But itís very strange and disturbing to think that yourself is this production of these synapses and all the receptors and so on and that they can be altered naturally or through manipulation. We still think of there being some self, kind of floating above all of this traffic in neuro-transmitters and so on and that somehow for example if you take a drug to treat depression youíre sort of just taking away this physical disease and leaving your quote/unquote self completely untouched.Ē

    I think Carl is wrong to suppose that science canít answer the question about the soul. Whether or not we possess souls is an empirical question, and thus far there is no scientific evidence we do. This, at the very least, should lead us to agnosticism about the soul, if not outright dismissal. Why believe in something for which there is no evidence?

    The discomforting strangeness of supposing that the brain does all that the soul was supposed to do turns to wonder when we start actually investigating the intricate mechanisms of consciousness, as Thomas Metzinger does in his book Being No One. Once we dispense with the soul, weíll have reenchanted the physical world, which includes the brain and all its marvelous, fully natural capacities.

    Tom Clark
    Center for Naturalism

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