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Dawkins, Professor Richard - Unweaving the Rainbow - Prosopagnosia



Type of Spiritual Experience


Proof, if proof were needed, that there is brain, but there is also mind.

A description of the experience

Professor Richard Dawkins - Unweaving the Rainbow

The rare brain disorder that destroys our ability to recognise faces is called prosopagnosia.  It is caused by injury to specific parts of the brain.  This very fact supports the importance of a 'face cupboard' in the brain... Francis Crick discusses prosopagnosia in his book The Astonishing Hypothesis (1994), together with other revealing clinical conditions.  For instance, one patient found the following condition very frightening which, as Crick observes, is not surprising:

objects or persons she saw in one place suddenly appeared in another without her being aware they were moving.  This was particularly distressing if she wanted to cross a road, since a car that at first seemed far away would suddenly be very close ....she experienced the world rather as some of us might see the dance floor in the strobe lighting of a discotheque.

This woman had a mental cupboard full of images for assembling her virtual world, just as we all do.  The images themselves were perfectly good.  But something had gne wrong with her software for deploying them in a smooth changing virtual world....

The technology of virtual reality gives us a language to think about such skills...

The source of the experience

Dawkins, Professor Richard

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Brain and its functions

Activities and commonsteps



Brain damage
Inherited genes