I had to read about Phineas Gage when I was in college – I believe I had to read about him in a psychology class I took.
After a metal rod went through his head, Gage’s personality was drastically altered (according to what I read in college).
One of a few reasons I find this an interesting story is that so many Christians give horrible advice to anyone who is suffering from a mental health disorder, that if they just pray hard enough, have enough faith, trust Jesus, or attend church weekly, that they will be healed of their mental health problems.
I wonder how such Christians would deal with Gage’s story? I doubt that his condition could’ve been changed from church attendance or Bible reading. Personal sin did not cause his issues.
The extraordinary case of Phineas Gage has been used and abused by neurologists and even the occasional creationist. Mo Costandisummarises what we know, and what we don’t
Phineas P. Gage (1823–1860) was an American railroad construction foreman remembered for his improbable[B1]:19 survival of an accident in which a large iron rod was driven completely through his head, destroying much of his brain’s left frontal lobe, and for that injury’s reported effects on his personality and behavior over the remaining 12 years of his life—effects sufficiently profound (for a time at least) that friends saw him as “no longer Gage”. [H]:14
…Phineas Gage influenced 19-century discussion about the mind and brain, particularly debate on cerebral localization, [M]:ch7-9[B] and was perhaps the first case to suggest the brain’s role in determining personality, and that damage to specific parts of the brain might induce specific personality changes.