The President has announced his desire to pursue a publically funded project of "brain mapping." Although there is certainly a correlation between the structure and function of the brain and the cognitive and emotional processes of the mind, this research is based on the faulty premise that we are NOTHING but physical beings. They approach this from examining the brain (which is a physical organ), but then proceed as though there is nothing but brain, that is no mind (which is non-physical or immaterial). From an atheist worldview that begins with the premise that ONLY material things exist (matter, energy, space, and time) all they can hope to do is study material properties. This is incorrect thinking due to a faulty premise. Let me give you an example:
We know that light of a certain wavelength triggers a physical reaction in your eye. This causes electrical impulses to travel to part of your brain (the occipital lobe). You can perceive the color green...but does this fully capture "green-ness" in your mind. If you recall a beautiful spring day in a green field during a picnic with your fiance, where does this experience happen? This re-experiencing is not something localized within a physical structure, it is a non-physical event that occurs in your mind. Certainly your optic nerve is triggering electrical activity in your occipital cortex. Memory association areas in your brain can be triggered. Damaging those structures in your brain may even impact your ability to experience this memory. BUT: the memory experience you are having is immaterial (that is non-material or non-physical).
If you are still reading at this point AND you believe that God exists, ponder this. We understand God to be this immaterial, intelligent, loving, righteous, eternal being. All of these characteristics are aspects of the MIND. God can be understood as Mind (including thought, emotion, and morality) taken to the ultimate degree. An Immaterial Being of unfathomable intellect, power, and goodness...that frightens those who would make themselves "gods" or All Powerful Leaders. They cannot do battle with an immaterial being. So they choose to believe in a world that ONLY includes physical objects which they can attempt to control and influence. And so it is with the mind. They think that they have "ultimate" knowledge of brain structures and know everything. Funny thing is, the ONLY knowledge God did not want us to have was the knowledge of good and evil, as the ONLY way to know this was to DO EVIL (disobey Him as rebels). These same people have been working for years to redefine good and evil to suit their purposes. May God have mercy on their souls!
Progress in neuroimaging has certainly been useful in addressing some disease states. Further research is always needed. But in my cynical mind I believe that the underlying motive here is not necessarily purely altruistic, but about furthering a particular worldview, and perhaps seeking ways to control what we think.