Returning from the world of metaphor, though the details are important to understanding, what is more important is the reality of which they are a small part. Even though the details, in this case neuroscience, may seem to give contradictory information, I am confident that the balance of reality will prevail, and that over a long enough time course, the scientists will find themselves saying, with Eliot:
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Every piece of the whole, eventually, leads us to a greater understanding of it. Einstein's famous theory may have changed the way we understand the orbit of Mercury, but it does not change the singular experience of watching that beautiful planet arrive over a ridge line just before the sunrise. Bernoulli's famous principle may have allowed us to fly, but it does not alter the wonder with which we watch a flock of geese winging south.
Though on the balance, I dislike the man, Walt Whitman reached a similar conclusion, and summarized it better than I can, when he wrote the following:
When I heard the learn’d astronomer;
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;
When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them;
When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;
Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.
We can do little less. I may know progressively more about the way my patients think, and the fact that they are crying before a procedure may tell me their amygdala is working overtime, but it doesn't change the reality that they are scared, and it doesn't change my responsibility to hold their hand and talk them through it. The reality of our perceptions is where each of us must live, and as a Christian, I must interpret that reality through the lens of Christ, who asks each of us to act as if we had free will, whether or not we truly do. He asks each of us to have compassion, whether or not that can be reduced to a set of electrochemical principles. Doing less, on the basis of conjecture, would be irresponsible and wrong. And those are two things for which we cannot write an equation. We must simply know their reality.