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Showing posts with label epileptologists. Show all posts
Showing posts with label epileptologists. Show all posts

6/8/09

Materialism Spirituality? “The Science Of Spirituality - Is This Your Brain On God?”

National Public Radio (NPR) has produced a little ditty on “The Science Of Spirituality - Is This Your Brain On God?
Atheism is Dead has previously considered neuroscientific issues in the post Love the Lord Your God With All of Your Mind.
Some of their musing on the subject is as follows:

Part 1: The God Chemical
The bottom line issue posed in the form of the question, “is God a delusion created by brain chemistry, or is brain chemistry a necessary conduit for people to reach God?”

Part 2: The God Spot
States that “Some epileptologists believe that many of the great religious figures, such as Moses and St. Paul, had epilepsy. Now neurologists believe they've found the sweet spot for spiritual experience…the seat of spirituality. It's also where epileptic activity takes place.” Interesting, apparently only Jewish and Christian religious figures were epileptic; I suppose that “many” means “Those whom we are afraid to offend.”



Part 3: Spiritual Virtuosos
Neurotheologians think that prayer has an effect on sculpting the brain in that it produces increased activity in the frontal lobe (involved in concentration) and decreased activity in the parietal lobe (involved in a sense of orientation in time and space).
In that case Neuroillogican such as Sam Harris are those who already have their minds made up and are becoming “scientists” aka militant activist atheists and in Sam Harris’ case mystic Buddhist atheists who seek to erect a façade of scientific respectability around their atheist presuppositions.
Sam Harris has stated:

What I believe, though cannot yet prove, is that belief is a content-independent process. Which is to say that beliefs about God—to the degree that they are really believed—are the same as beliefs about numbers, penguins, tofu, or anything else…
What I do believe, however, is that the neural processes that govern the final acceptance of a statement as ‘true’ rely on more fundamental, reward-related circuitry in our frontal lobes—probably the same regions that judge the pleasantness of tastes and odors…
Once the neurology of belief becomes clear, and it stands revealed as an all-purpose emotion arising in a wide variety of contexts (often without warrant), religious faith will be exposed for what it is: a humble species of terrestrial credulity. We will then have additional, scientific reasons to declare that mere feelings of conviction are not enough when it comes time to talk about the way the world is. The only thing that guarantees that (sufficiently complex) beliefs actually represent the world, are chains of evidence and argument linking them to the world…
Understanding belief at the level of the brain may hold the key to new insights into the nature of our minds, to new rules of discourse, and to new frontiers of human cooperation…[1]

Note the future-hopes qualifiers, “…yet…Once…will be…We will then…”

Notice his staked deck: religious faith is a humble species of terrestrial credulity and once the neurology of belief becomes clear religious faith will be exposed for what it is: a humble species of terrestrial credulity.

Sam Harris is clearly setting out to prove what he already believes to be true—no doubt, he will prove his beliefs even by gyrations that will strain the very neurons upon which he will be experimenting. It appears that his goal is not to become an unbiased scientist who merely reports conclusions and is prepared to throw away a lifetime of research if it happens to be disproved.



Part 4: The Biology Of Belief
Psychoneuroimmunology is “the idea is that thoughts affect your body” and “New research suggests that spiritual thoughts and prayers have an enormous effect on a person's ability to heal or stave off disease.”

Part 5: Near-Death Experiences
Materialists say the visions that people report experiencing when they come close to death are hallucinations. But a small but increasing number of scientists posit that consciousness is related to, but not dependent on, the material brain. One scientist has found that the brains of people who have near-death experiences closely mirror those of nuns and monks, who are considered spiritual adepts.

I recall that Ann Coulter proposed a TV show wherein liberals would be hooked up to lie detector and question about their views: I wonder if the same can be done with atheists.



Now a truly brilliant scientist has actually found the God spot:

[1] Edge - The World Question Center, “What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it?


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