The neurochemistry of the brain is astonishingly busy, the circuitry of a machine more wonderful than any devised by humans. But there is no evidence that its functioning is due to anything more than the 1014 neural connections that build an elegant architecture of consciousness.
If I were to spit upon the revered black stone in Mecca during the height of the annual pilgrimage, I would be slain on the spot by enraged pilgrims for daring to profane the sacred symbol of Islam. An Israeli soldier's bullet in the back would be my deserved fate for scrawling graffiti upon the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. . . . Life would not be pleasant for me if I took a hammer to the Pietàs in the Vatican, for we humans hold our creations dear, and we deal harshly with those who fail to share our reverence for old stone walls, meteorites, marble statues, icons, and architecture. . . . Yet each and every day, humans enter the most sacred and reverential cathedrals of the natural world — the redwood forests of northern California or the rain forests of Amazonia — and each and every day we profanely rape these great mysteries with chain saws and bulldozers.