Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Love - Not Just About Chemicals Anymore!

Here is some standard materialist thinking about emotionality.  In a nutshell:

              1. Physical existence is the only kind of existence
              2. People experience emotions, therefore
              3. Emotions have a physical cause

For many years we have been hearing about the causal link between the experience of love and a chemical called Oxytocin. The story went something like this:

              1. People have genes
              2. Genes have a "drive" to reproduce
              3. Evolution selected Oxytocin to help ensure that parents would care for their offspring
              4. "Love" is really just Oxytocin tricking us into keeping our genes going

So leaving aside the high improbability of a functional gene ever randomly developing and not attempting to account for how a chemical arrangement like a gene would come to "want" something like reproduction and not bothering to ask how the species could have survived before it had evolved its Oxytocin, materialists have a new problem - Oxytocin, it seems, doesn't even do what they thought.

A science writer known as Neuroskeptic has recently published a piece in Discover entitled "Oxytocin: Two New Reasons For Skepticism."  Apparently, according to researcher James C. Christensen "quite a lot of previous Oxytocin research may be flawed."  Later in the study, Chistensen details how he and his team extracted and measured Oxytocin levels in people who were asked to play "the Prisoner's Dilemma" game (which requires participants to make decisions based on trust or lack thereof).  They assumed that there would be an obvious relationship between the Oxytocin levels and the level of trust but what they found was that there are "no significant correlations between Oxytocin and behavior."

And there's the rub.  Maybe there's not much of a correlation between chemicals in the body and behavior overall.  Could it be that chemical changes generally occur on the heels of emotional ones and not the other way around?  If so, what would then be the true source of our emotional experience?  Theists have long asserted that there is both a physical and non-physical component to a human being. These components work in tandem to create the full experience of being human. 

Science is at a loss as to how to explain many aspects of human behavior and experience .  The main reason for this lack of explanatory prowess is rooted in materialist assumption #1 above.  Once science comes to acknowledge that there are aspects of existence that are not rooted in physicality but rather in metaphysicality they may be able to explain the human experience of love.

Science is great, but always remember that it's constantly being revised.  Always take it with a few grains of salt when they make their proclamations - especially ones that seem to fly in the face of spiritual reality. 


  1. No Dear Rabbi - Science is not constantly being revised. The basics rarely change. New theories overthrow old ones rarely and the new ones must pass rigorous tests and explain things better than an old theory.

    "Always take it with a few grains of salt when they make their proclamations - especially ones that seem to fly in the face of spiritual reality."

    There is no evidence for the reality of spiritual, if you mean by that supernatural. And scientific proclamations are rooted in significant evidence unlike religious proclamations. It is the latter that must be taken with a grain of salt.

  2. Well I think this piece is a good example of how it is. Food science would be another as would the age of the universe, evolutionary theory, quantum physics, the Copernican revolution and just a ton of other examples. Those rigorous tests are often woefully biased, non-replicable or just plain wrong.

    To say that there is "no evidence for the reality of the spiritual" is simply untrue and reflects either a great ignorance of the many arguments and approaches that have been put forth or an unfortunate bias against them.