John Eccles was one of the world’s leading neurophysiologists. After a lifetime of research and scientific publication that culminated in a Nobel prize and a knighthood, he concluded that only a divine creator can explain the existence of the human brain. He also concluded from his research that naturalism could not explain life, contradicting the common claim that science by definition requires naturalism. This definition of science is still used to reject even considering ideas, such as intelligent design, that look for evidence of intelligence in the biological world.
Sir John Carew Eccles (1903–1997) was born in Melbourne, Australia. He graduated with first-class honors in medicine from Melbourne University, and went on to earn a Rhodes Scholarship that allowed him to pursue an M.A. and Ph.D. at Oxford University. Eccles studied under the world’s leading neurophysiologist of day, Charles Scott Sherrington, and collaborated with him on some of his most critical research. Eccles’ distinguished career culminated in the 1993 Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology awarded for his work on the neuron synapse and for determining the relationship between nerve cell inhibition and cell membrane repolarization. He became professor of physiology at Oxford and “helped lay the cornerstones of modern neurophysiology”.1
Eccles’ many important contributions to science in the area of brain research include an understanding of nerve impulses and neuromuscular transmissions. He proved that when a nerve cell is stimulated, it releases a neurotransmitter that binds to a membrane receptor of a neighboring cell, thereby allowing the message to continue its journey. This system functions as a switch that helps to regulate many body functions. Eccles also demonstrated that the same mechanism could be used by a nerve cell to inhibit the electrical activity of nearby nerve cells.2 Specific neurotransmitters, such as acetylcholine and serotonin, are involved in this complex system. Eccles also proved that message transmission from nerve cell to nerve cell was chemical and not electrical as had been widely assumed by scientists.3….
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