Re: [UFOnet] Fwd = Brain storm
- Exactly, Modern Man is Homo Religious.
But knowing just that does not help one much with deciding what is true
reality, and what is religious delusion for reality.
Did Modern Man naturally evolve into Homo Religious, or did Alien
manipulators intervene to create that result ?
A belief in 'Aliens here to help us' can be as much a delusion, as a denial
of 'Aliens here.'
----- Original Message -----
From: "Frits Westra" <fwestra@...>
Sent: Monday, November 26, 2001 9:29 PM
Subject: [UFOnet] Fwd = Brain storm
> Forwarded by: fwestra@... (Frits Westra)
> Original Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2001 11:58:11 -0800
> ========================== Forwarded message begins ======================
> From: The Times
> Brain storm
> BY ANJANA AHUJA
> Neurotheology is the belief that religion is all in the mind
> Religious devotees can usually pinpoint the precise moment that they
> knew of the existence of a divine force. They often recall how their
> surroundings melted away, and how they became at one with the
> Universe. They remember feeling an invisible presence, and imagined
> themselves to be gazing into eternity.
> Such an experience would be memorable, purely because it is so
> different from the usual. Yet sacred moments, whether they happen to
> Muslims, Buddhists, Christians or New Age believers, sound remarkably
> similar in detail. There is the same loss of orientation, the same
> feeling that one is frozen in a moment.
> To adherents of a controversial, fledgeling science called
> neurotheology, these moments of serenity are little more than common
> blips in brain chemistry. The explanation for religious beliefs and
> behaviours is to be found in the way all human minds work, declares
> Pascal Boyer, an anthropology professor at Washington University, in
> his new book, the modestly titled Religion Explained, which does not
> wholly live up to its promise.His is an audacious attempt to demystify
> spirituality by saying that it is a throwback to the way that our
> ancestors brains were wired up. The thesis could hardly be more
> challenging to theologians instead of God creating our brains, he
> claims that our brains created God.
> The architecture of this complex organ, Boyer states, has made it
> receptive to supernatural ideas. For example, every human being exists
> today because his or her ancestor was able to outwit predators. This
> requires a wariness, a vigilance, against unseen enemies.
> Such a way of thinking, Boyer argues, can foster a belief in similarly
> invisible spirits and gods. As a result, our brains have developed
> into willing receptacles for the airy nothing of religion, and eager
> hosts for illusions of the divine. To his mind, this explains handily
> why religion sprang up more than 50,000 years ago, in tandem with
> an-atomically modern human beings. Like a kind of cerebral virus,
> religious thinking began to manifest itself as soon as the human brain
> was sufficiently evolved to embrace it.
> Boyers is far from a lone voice, however. Since the brain is the
> vehicle through which we process all our experiences, several
> scientists have tried to seek the neurological basis for religion,
> which is one aspect of the human experience. Even in its infancy, this
> contentious field is seeing some answers emerge.
> Famously, the late Eugene dAquili and Dr Andrew Newberg, of the
> University of Pennsylvania, scanned the brains of meditating Tibetan
> Buddhist monks and praying Franciscan nuns to map what they believed
> was the brains spirituality circuit. They were trying to find out how
> brain waves change, and which bits of grey matter are switched on or
> off. In the experiments, the volunteers meditated or prayed until they
> had reached what seemed to them another plane of being. After
> signalling this to researchers say, by tugging a piece of string the
> volunteers were injected in the arm with radioactive tracers that
> would reveal blood flow in the brain.
> Newberg and dAquili, who subsequently co-wrote a book called Why God
> Wont Go Away, discovered that some regions of the brain fizzled into
> action (namely, those involved in attention and concentration) while
> other parts stalled. Those that quietened down included the superior
> parietal lobe, which allows an individual to orient him or herself in
> space and time. This is what allows me to be aware that I am sitting
> at my desk with my feet on the floor and my hands on the keyboard. If
> activity in this area of the brain is quelled, people lose their sense
> of self in relation to their surroundings.
> Does this mean that religion is no more than an artefact of brains?
> Newberg does not say so it is possible that we create religious
> experiences in our heads, but also possible that we are detecting a
> spiritual reality. Interestingly, Newberg declines to say whether he
> has religious beliefs, arguing that such a revelation would prompt
> accusations of an agenda.
> Equally provocative is research conducted by Michael Persinger, from
> Laurentian University in Ontario. He has found a way of inducing
> religious experiences, or a sensed presence, simply by bathing the
> skulls of volunteers in a mild but precisely controlled
> electromagnetic field called the Thomas pulse, named after the
> researcher who developed it. Four out of five of those who don the
> magnet-laden helmet in Persingers human consciousness laboratory
> report some kind of mystical experience.
> We have systematically removed most of the illusions about ourselves,
> such as being at the centre of the Universe, says Persinger, who is
> not religious. The last illusion, or delusion, is that we are special
> creations who are looked after by someone in a big-parent kind of way.
> The only way to verify this is by the scientific method, and my
> research shows that religious experiences are created by the brain.
> The experiences are real enough to the person undergoing the
> experiment, but we are activating the areas of the brain that produce
> the phenomenon.
> Religious volunteers, he says, fit their feelings around their
> beliefs, so they attribute them to God. Less religious individuals
> tend to feel that there was a benevolent stranger, or perhaps a dead
> relative, standing over them.
> Persinger believes that when someone feels spiritual, his or her brain
> is being jolted by a miniature electrical storm similar to the Thomas
> pulse. Controversially, he believes that such storms can be triggered
> by changes in the Suns magnetic field, earthquakes, sleep deprivation,
> emotional trauma, or rituals such as fasting. Illness, both physical
> and mental, may also spark a religious experience.
> Fascinatingly, Persinger is exploring how the Thomas pulse can be used
> to therapeutic effect: If you are dying of cancer and I can stimulate
> you so that you no longer feel the dimensions of the Universe, so that
> you can see into infinity, you no longer feel that there is an end.
> That can relieve anxiety. He also hopes that the research will help to
> pinpoint how religious epidemics arise, not to eradicate them but to
> understand them.
> Importantly, Persinger says that he is not seeking to address the
> thorny issue of whether God exists. Which is just as well, since
> critics and believers are already fighting back against what they view
> as a reductionist view of religion.
> Dr Daniel Batson, a psychologist at Kansas University, argues that
> religion is about more than what is happening in the brain. To say
> that the brain produces religion is like saying that a piano produces
> music, he says.
> Copyright 2001 Times Newspapers Ltd.
> ========================== Forwarded message ends ========================
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