Illuminating the dark world of biotechnology
(The London Free Press – Oct. 28, 2000)
ST. THOMAS, CANADA – Is the human soul just a vast bundle of nerve cells? Francis Crick, the Nobel laureate who set modern biotechnology in motion when he discovered DNA a generation ago, says yes.
In The Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific Search For The Soul, he suggests our joys and sorrows, memories and ambitions, personal identities and even our cherished notions of free will are nothing more than the biochemical reactions of a neural machine.
Brilliant as Crick is, the idea is more hollow than astonishing. It was the poet William Blake who said scientists, in trying to decipher that which should remain indecipherable, would “turn that which is soul and life into a mill or machine.”