What Makes You Tick?

A New Paradigm for Neuroscience

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Summary
 


“This book addresses some thought provoking issues: Is the “mind” just a matter of “matter,” or is there something like “mind over matter”? What makes the mind different from the brain, and from everything that comes with the brain – cells, genes, DNA, molecules?
In order to answer such questions, this book takes you from the all too familiar, rock-solid world of molecules, genes, cells, and neurons to a world beyond the world of physics, which is the domain of meta-physics. We may not be used to looking beyond the boundaries of physics and physical things, but there is so much more beyond that horizon. I invite you to follow me on this journey into the “Grand Beyond”…
In the first chapters, I argue that it is not molecules, DNA, or not even neurons that make you “tick.” This is obviously contrasted with the current paradigm of neuroscience. The current paradigm of neuroscience—which I will now call the old paradigm—is too materialistic, too deterministic, and too reductionistic to do justice to the unique position of living human beings in the world. It calls for a more comprehensive one! So let us find out what this new paradigm for neuroscience would, could, or should look like.”


Table of Contents
 


FOREWORD by Paul J. Camarata, M.D., Neurosurgeon
PREFACE
1.	CLOCKWORK
2.	A DNA BLUEPRINT
3.	A NETWORK OF NEURONS
4.	THOUGHTS, HOPES, AND DREAMS
5.	WHAT OUGHT TO BE DONE
6.	HELP FROM BEYOND
7.	A NEW NEUROSCIENCE
8.	THE SHADOW OF A PARADIGM SHIFT


INTERMISSION 1A: A TECHNICAL DEFEAT OF DETERMINISM	
INTERMISSION 1B: THE DEBATE ON DETERMINISM IN PHYSICS
INTERMISSION 2A: FROM GENES TO DNA
INTERMISSION 3A: WHAT MAKES MENTAL CONCEPTS SO UNIQUE?
INTERMISSION 3B: ARE WE THE ONLY RATIONAL BEINGS ON PLANET EARTH?
INTERMISSION 4A: THE MIRROR TEST
INTERMISSION 4B: IS THERE A GHOST IN THE MACHINE?
INTERMISSION 5A: HUMAN DIGNITY
INTERMISSION 5B: IS THERE ALTRUISM IN THE ANIMAL WORLD?
INTERMISSION 6A: THE BOUNDARY CONDITIONS OF THE UNIVERSE
INTERMISSION 6B: WHAT OBSCURES THE GRAND BEYOND?	
INTERMISSION 7A: THINKING ANIMALS
INTERMISSION 7B: DO MACHINES THINK LIKE WE DO?



Reviews
 

"Like Sherrington, Penfield, Eccles, and other eminent scientists before him, Dr. Verschuuren has immersed himself and the reader with him in the search for an answer to the mind-brain problem. Using examples from modern neuroscience research, he takes us on a coherent journey from the molecular level of DNA and genes, through synaptic transmission and neuronal function to the physical substance of the brain in search of the mind. Far from dismissing science and physics, he demonstrates how any cogent theory of mind must also include metaphysical constructs. The author makes understandable the sometimes complex theories on the mind-brain conundrum. He gently reminds those of us who have the opportunity to work with the brain on a daily basis, that we are not mind surgeons. . . "

Paul J. Camarata, M.D., FACS
Chairman, Department of Neurosurgery
University of Kansas School of Medicine

"What Makes You Tick? is a helpful guide on the self and its brain. It brings together a number of related themes, making complicated concepts understandable and exposing the faulty thinking found in scientific reductionism. Verschuuren's book serves as an important reminder about what is at stake in the mind-brain discussion."

Paul Copan
Professor and Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics
Palm Beach Atlantic University

"This book is an engaging and fascinating read that will compel any scientist or philosopher who is capable of reflection to question some of his or her most fundamental assumptions. Verschuuren illuminates the deficits in the assumptions of the anatomical-genetic-chemical explanations of human behavior in part by going beyond the limits of simple quantifiable behavior into the realm of metaphysics in his search for tools to help us discern who we are both as individuals as well as beings.
This important book will compel psychiatrists, psychologists and others who work with patients within the neuroscience paradigm to reconsider some of the assumptions that drive their work while simultaneously encouraging clergy and pastoral counselors who do not traditionally work within that paradigm to engage with it."

John Siberski, M.D., S.J.
Associate Professor of Psychiatry
Georgetown University Medical School

"Dr. Verschuuren is a refreshing voice in this misguided, half-truthed neuro world we live in today. There is as much, if not more, to learn about what the brain isn't than what it is, and getting these illusions straight will help us all be able to live in truth.
Kudos to Dr. Verschuuren to have such a courageous voice...

Dr. Kevin J. Fleming
Founder of Grey Matters International, Inc.
A neuroscience-based consultancy firm

"Admittedly, knowledge is always a sort of simplification of reality, an abstraction from complexity and detail, but that doesn't mean that the simpler explanation is always the more knowledgeable. Complex realities demand complex explanations, at least for human rationality. And there are few earthly realities as complex—or as fascinating, or as sure to crisscross boundaries and transcend themselves—as the human brain. Recognizing this complexity, Dr. Verschuuren brings together ideas from philosophy, physics, genetics, and neuroscience to suggest a new paradigm for neuroscience. While the intra-disciplinary ideas will be subject to the criticism from each of these fields, Verschuuren has succeeded indirectly in raising anew the perennial question of how a university should be constructed to allow for interdisciplinarity. The brainy dialogue of disciplines undertaken in this book provokes the further question of what makes our universities tick."

Dr. Richard Schenk OP
President of the Catholic University of Eichstaett-Ingolstadt, Bavaria

"This welcome book brings neuroscience and metaphysics together in a way that does not seek so much to 'solve' the mind-brain problem as to manifest the mystery of the human person as both physical and spiritual. From that perspective it is able to unmask the pseudo-dilemmas of scientism and the false "solutions" of materialism and dualism.
Maintaining the unity of the human person by a judicious use of the philosophy of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas, it provides a way, in Verschuuren's astute phrase, for "telling the mental and physical apart without setting them apart.'"

Michael J. Dodds, O.P.
Professor of Philosophy and Theology
Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA

"What Makes You Tick? is ambitious. It discusses determinism in physics and then turns to genes, DNA, neural networks, and evolution in biology. Following C. S. Lewis, it shows the failure of “nothing buttery” reductionism in its attempts to displace concepts and intentionality with behaviorist surrogates. It reveals the basic difference between artificial intelligence (AI) and the human mind. […] a good teaching tool, especially for a course in human nature."

James G. Hanink,
Professor of Philosophy
Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA

"You may not agree with all of Dr. Verschuuren’s assertions, conclusions and evidence. But his book is well written, and his points are well argued. What Makes Us Tick? likely will stir up some new debates and possibly some expanded thinking, too, about where the mind actually resides within – and beyond? – the human body."

— Si Dunn
Review in Books, Books, and More (New) Books

"For general readers, Verschuuren, a human geneticist, writer, speaker, and consultant who works at the interface of science, philosophy, and religion, considers whether people are just walking brains or if the brain is different from the mind. He argues that the current paradigm of neuroscience is too materialistic, deterministic, and reductionistic in viewing the human brain as a clockwork mechanism and merely physical causes and effects, and does not fully encompass the uniqueness of human beings. [...] He argues that it is not molecules, DNA, or neurons that make people "tick"; considers whether the mind is merely matter and what makes it different from the brain and its cells, genes, DNA, and molecules; and describes what sets humans apart from other animals: rationality and morality."

— Review in Annotation ©2013 Book News Inc. Portland, OR