Friday, November 21, 2008

What will happen to the Souls after a Brain Transplant Operation?

Wanted: Amateur Theologians to answer my philosophical poser.

Now, before you start I want you to forget any ethical or medical considerations, whilst pondering ‘what will happen to a soul after a brain operation?

So, here we go……..

Fred is brain dead and kept alive by medical science, but for all intents & purposes nothing is registering ‘up-stairs’ and doctors have no medical avenues for a cure.

As a quadriplegic Jack, has lost use of his limbs and has a low quality of life.

A pioneering brain surgeon suggests to both parties, care givers etc ‘a brain transfer’.

Jack would make use of Fred’s redundant, but functional body.

Fred’s inoperative brain, would find a new home in Jacks paralysed form.

For the purposes of this exercise, the parties agree to proceed with this radical operation.

The question I’m asking is “what will happen to Jack & Fred’s souls?”

It won’t too long until operations of this kind will soon be reality, & this question will move being merely a theoretical one.

Leave your theory in the comments section.


Anonymous said...

Well, I'm game.

If there's actually a soul, I think it resides in the mind rather than the body. All feelings register through the brain, whether they be emotional or physical, right?

The real concern would be rejection of the new brain, but even if that wasn't an issue, maybe rejection of Jack's psyche in the new body. Would Jack still feel like Jack if he was walking around looking like Fred? Can the mind cope with a change that drastic?

It'd be worse than what people do to mutate themselves through plastic surgery - at least those people still get to look at themselves with their own eyes. Jack would forever be looking through Fred's. It'd be more than a little disconcerting and he might never get used to it.

Then there'd be all the problems of Fred's old pals thinking he was in there when Jack had possession of the body. Jack's voice would be whatever Fred's had been. Jack's abilities would be limited to whatever Fred was capable of. If Jack had been a gymnast or diver prior to his paralysis, he'd have to get used to Fred's physique which might be leaning towards bacon burgers and all night keggers.

So, from a rational standpoint, I think the nature of the soul would be the least of the worries.

Toby Ricketts said...

Iwant to know what happens if you graft someone's 'higher' brain onto thier spinal cord. So you'd have all the thought of one person and all the reflexes and behavior of another... wierd if it was possible

Dromedary Hump said...

Actually, according to Romans 5:5 the spirit and soul resdies within the heart.

The theme of the heart being the focal point of emotion and thought goes back to the old testament [Isaiah 65:14; Jeremiah 24:7;
1Kings 3:12, et al]. Just one more misunderstanding of human anatomy and science by pre-sceintific peoples.

So, given THAT we'd have to change the scenario to be a heart transplant for the dilemma to work.

But modern day theists (that sounds almost like an oxymoron) will tell you that the soul cannot be separated from the body except through death; that it permeates the entire being. Thus, a transplant of an organ would not transplant / release ones soul.