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Regarding Paul deLespinasse's March 2 "Interfaith Voices" column: Professor deLespinasse wrote: “The relationship between religion and science has long been troubled.” But not in the professor’s essay. There was no religion in his column, save one use of “God,” and no science of the brain, either.

Instead, the professor attempted to draw the reader into that dark hole of “junk science.” He began the junk with “the body and a nonphysical mind not located in space or time ... functions of the mind rather than of the brain ... our nonmaterial minds."

Antonio Damasio, a neuroscientist and professor at the University of Southern California, wrote in 2010: “Minds emerge when the activity of small circuits is organized across large networks so a to compose momentary patterns.” More below.

The evidence that the mind is in the brain is palpable. When otherwise “normal” humans suffer a decline of mental functions faster than that from ordinary aging, usually the diminution has been preceded by physical damage to the brain, e.g., through a football collision or a fall, Alzheimer’s disease, alcoholism, etc. This evidence, while circumstantial, is present in overwhelming abundance.

Professor deLespinasse belittled scientists’ efforts to understand memory. Yet there is direct experimental evidence that an event of elementary capture of a memory is accompanied by physical strengthening of the synaptic connections between neurons.

Professor Damasio’s “circuits” consist of neurons and chemical ions and neurotransmitters — all of it physical, electrochemical material.

Benedictus Spinoza wrote in 1677: “We thus comprehend ... the human mind is united to the body.”

Leo Quirk

Corvallis (March 6)

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