Philosophers and theologians may disagree on whether or not humans have a soul, but nobody disputes that humans, like other animals, have bodies.
And bodies, to paraphrase Shakespeare, are heir to a thousand natural shocks.
Natural shocks like gas. Like runny noses. Like pimples. And smells. Things that people don't necessarily like to talk about in polite company.
All of these things are explored in their wonderfully loud, smelly and graphic reality in the exhibition, "Grossology: The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body," presented by St. Luke's University Health Network as part of the "Year of the Human Body" project, through Sept. 2, at the Da Vinci Science Center, Cedar Crest Boulevard and Hamilton Boulevard Bypass, Allentown.
"Grossology," based on Sylvia Branzei's best-selling book, has 10 interactive stations which allow visitors to explore body functions.
"Nigel-Nose-It-All" is an animatronic nose that shows visitors how their noses function, complete with allergies, sinuses, and attendant snot which flows copiously from Nigel's faucet-like nose when presented with the right irritants.
"Urine: the Game," set up like a video arcade game, shows visitors how the kidneys remove waste from the blood.
"Yu Stink" challenges visitors to pass the sniff test, that is, to identify which disgusting smell comes from which orifice.
"Look Inside' is a cutaway through which visitors can see food being digested, which brings you naturally to:
"The Vomit Center" explores the many reasons you can lose your lunch.
"Patients Please!" reminds me of that game I played when I was a child, "Operation," in which you remove body parts from a dummy.
"Toot Toot" and "Burp Man": These need no explanations.
When you step outside the main exhibit room, try the "Skin Climbing Wall," which is just a little more disgusting than a regular climbing wall because on this one you make your way up on pimples, warts, wounds, hair, moles and other skin blemishes.
At end of the tour, try "Let's Play Grossology," a multiple choice trivia game hosted by "Her Grossiness."
Four contestants compete with their knowledge of just how specifically gross the human body can be. The winner gets the satisfaction of knowing cool things like, for instance, why your brother always burps after a meal.
The exhibits are animatronics but it's not just for children.
"It's for people of all ages. It's for curious minds," says Dennis Zehner, Da Vinci Center spokesman.
Zehner, Da Vinci Center spokesman, says he expects between 15,000 and 20,000 to view the exhibit this summer.
Beginning July 6, The Da Vinci Science Center encourages visitors to get in touch with their crusty, smelly and slimy sides in a series of "Gross Games," which explain the nasty things that happen in our bodies.
The morning and afternoon winners of each "Gross Game" win Gross Medals and will have their pictures placed on the center's website and facebook page.
The schedule for the "Gross Games," 11 a.m. - 3 p.m., is: "The Perfect Stream," July 6; "Tic-Tac-Toenail," July 13; "Dare to Dangle," July 20; "Pop A Pimple," Aug. 3; and "Stay Sanitized" Relay Race, Aug. 10.