AHP readers will be interested in a new open access piece in the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences: “Franz Joseph Gall on God and religion: “Dieu et Cerveau, rien que Dieu et cerveau!”” by Paul Eling and Stanley Finger. Abstract:
Franz Joseph Gall’s (1758–1828) doctrine of many faculties of mind with corresponding cortical organs led him to be accused of materialism, fatalism, and even atheism. Yet little has been written about the specific charges he felt forced to respond to in Vienna, while visiting the German States, or in Paris, where he published his books. This article examines these accusations and Gall’s responses. It also looks at what Gall wrote about a cortical faculty for God and religion and seeing intelligent design in the functional organization of the brain. Additionally, it presents what can be gleaned about his private thoughts on God and organized religion. We conclude that Gall was sincere in his admiration for and belief in God the Creator, but that as an enlightened scientist was recognizing the need to separate metaphysics from the laws of nature when presenting his new science of man.