Psychology literally means the study of the soul or mind, not the brain. Are not the soul and mind both areas which only the Holy Spirit alone can renew and transform?  How is it that we have abdicated the necessity of God’s Word and working through the power of His Holy Spirit for vain philosophies devised by men?  For an overview of popular psychology, two excellent and free e-books are strongly recommended: “Christ-Centered Ministry Verses Problem-Centered Counseling” and “Person to Person Ministry- Soul Care in the Body of Christ”.  Both are written by Martin and Deidre Bobgan. 

For the remainder of this blog, I plan to do three simple things.  First, I will provide several quotes revealing what many research scientists are saying about the so-called science of right brain/left brain teaching.  Second I will provide the Scriptural support, if any, for these teachings.  And finally I will provide two excellent links for further reading. 

Although there are areas within science today that should more aptly be labeled science falsely so-called, i.e. evolutionism and popular (counseling) psychology, there are many fields of science which can be observed and are repeatable.  There are fields of research psychology which unlike the over 400 theories of counseling psychology are credible and act much like watchdogs for the many ‘theories’ that have made their way into both the secular and Christian mainstream.  There are also those doing serious study in the fields of neurosciences that have become somewhat frustrated at the simplification of certain right brain/left brain research in order to make it more palatable and understandable to the general public.  Carefully consider the following quotes:

·         Nobelist Dr. Roger Sperry says, “The left-right dichotomy . . . is an idea with which it is easy to run wild.” 1 Sperry also says:

The more we learn, the more we recognize the unique complexity of any one individual intellect and the stronger the conclusion becomes that the individuality inherent in our brain networks makes that of fingerprints or facial features gross and simple by comparison.2

·         Dr. Michael Gazzaniga, in a book titled The Social Brain, has a chapter titled “Left-Brain, Right-Brain Mania: A Debunking.” He says:

Where does all of this conjecture come from? How did some laboratory findings of limited generality get so outrageously misinterpreted? Why were they picked up so hungrily by the press and then embraced by every sort of scientific dilettante? There are several reasons. The left-brain/right-brain dichotomy was simple and understandable and provided a way to talk about modern brain research and how it applied to everyday experience. Certainly no one was going to argue that people have artistic-intuitive skills and logical-linguistic skills. Prima facie there are manifestly different activities of mind. So science is used to prove that one set of skills is in the left brain and another in the right, which in turn proves that mental skills are different, and therefore able to be differentially trained. The image of one part of the brain doing one thing and the other part something entirely different was there, and that it was a confused concept seemed to make no difference. . . . The runaway fervor for such ideas relates, in part, to the difficulty in communicating scientific ideas to the general public. To really understand concepts arising out of experimental data is a serious business, and most people do not have the time or interest to assess information at that level. There is an extensive and usually foreign vocabulary to learn. The necessary qualifying remarks and constraints on the ideas prove to be too much of a burden for the potential audience. So scientific journalism purveys its stories on simple to-understand claims that most people can relate to, preferably at a personal level. This wouldn’t matter for the present story except for the fact that the distortions get in the way of why split-brain patients are truly interesting. And the oversimplifications and outright erroneous information have also tended to trivialize the complexity of the integrated processes of our minds.3 (Emphasis added.)

 

·         After interviewing several researchers in the field, Kevin McKean says:

The problem arises when the right-brain movement implies that its conclusions are based on hard fact, rather than an essentially metaphorical interpretation of scientific discoveries. The differences between the hemispheres are still not well understood, and Gazzaniga, like Springer, says that the newest research tends to emphasize the way the two cooperate with one another during the normal functioning, rather than how they differ. 4(Emphasis added.)

 

·         McKean also says:

Scientists are understandably annoyed when they see careful but often inconclusive work popularized and exploited so glibly. As Deutsch puts it: “I get bothered by people saying, ‘This is all based on neurological theory, therefore it’s true.’ It’s not legitimized by neurological theory. There is no evidence that people favor one portion of the brain or the other—-that’s pure speculation.5(Emphasis added.)

 

·         Neurologist Dr. John Mazziotta at the UCLA School of Medicine says:

Even on the most trivial tasks our studies showed that everything in the brain was in flux—-both sides, the front and back, the top and bottom. It was tremendously complicated. To think that you could reduce this to a simple left-right dichotomy would be misleading and oversimplified.6 (Emphasis added.)

 

Next, I planned to provide Scriptural backing for right brain/left brain teaching, however I could find none.  But consider this quote- “What must be said for those who reinterpret the Bible and counsel Christians based upon this humanistic myth? 2 Timothy 4:3-4 warns, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”  The fulfillment of that prophecy seems to have come upon today’s church with a vengence.” Dave Hunt, TBC Newsletter, “Science Falsely So-Called, Feb. 1, 1989.

As we daily seek the Lord, may we always be willing to set aside the lies of this world so that both hands are free to cling tightly to the truth and sufficiency of God’s Word!

Finally, here are two excellent resources on this topic-  

·         E-Book- Chapter Fourteen of Prophets of PsychoHeresy II, written by Martin and Deidre Bobgan

·         Science Falsely So-Called”, The Berean Call Newsletter, Feb. 1, 1989, written by Dave Hunt.

 

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End Notes

1.       Roger Sperry, “Some Effects of Disconnecting the Cerebral Hemispheres.” Science, Vol. 217, 24 September 1982, p. 1225.

2.       Ibid.

3.       Michael S. Gazzaniga. The Social Brain: Discovering the Networks of the Mind. New York: Basic Books, Inc., Publishers, 1985, pp. 48-49.

4.       Kevin McKean, “Of Two Minds: Selling the Right Brain,” Discover, 1985, p. 40.

5.       Ibid.

6.       John Mazziotta quoted by Kevin McKean, p.38.

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