Brian Boyd's essay in the Spring 2009 issue of the SCHOLAR describes the purpose-driven life--purpose being the result of evolution rather than the cause. I would like to add to that concept by suggesting a description of the mind that includes purpose. The brain stores information about what was seen, heard, smelled, tasted, or felt a second, a minute, an hour, months, and years ago. It also stores a person's thoughts about this information. When a person senses a situation, a portion of the brain receives the sensory contact, and the body reacts instantly in accordance with its genome. The mind quickly accesses memory, remembers thoughts about other similar situations, controls the brain and body, and modifies the reaction. Thoughts in the mind are sequential memories from the brain.
The mind uses memory to create purpose, art, design, and philosophies that are beyond the genome of the brain and body. The mind depends on the brain, but it is not natural; it's supernatural. Thoughts in the mind range from scientific theories that can be proved to beliefs that do not need proof. This helps people adapt their diverse genetic characteristics to both the physical and social environment.
DANIEL M. KIRKHUFF
Professor Boyd's essay attempts to assuage feelings that many still have--that the theory of evolution paints a picture of life without purpose or meaning. Unfortunately, he fails in his task, and the muddled logic that often characterizes his efforts only serves to hint further at the difficulties of extending the theory beyond its origins and into the realms of thought and behavior. Boyd's...