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Irrational beliefs,a neurological disorder?
Posted: 17 May 2005 02:58 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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Comedian Bill Maher has often said he believes religion (and for our purposes,we can say all irrational beliefs) has it's origins in a neurological
disorder.

  I would be interested to see the results of a study of the neuropsychological exams of people who hold irrational beliefs.
As far as I know,it has not been done so far. I wonder if common
traits would emerge? Traits that could only be attributed to neurobiological
aberrations and not environment. It may be that certain individuals with certain neurobiological idiosyncracies may gravitate towards a fundamentalist religion or similiar irrational belief. Perhaps it could be classified as some sort of learning disablity? There are countless learning disabilities,some have only been offically accepted in the very recent past. "Non-verbal" learning disability is one example.

  I am not saying that all or even most,irrational believers have a neurological disorder. I do believe that the more we learn about the brain,the more the baffling behavior of many human beings will be explained as having it's origins in neurobiological structures and many times having little,or nothing to do with nurture,education,etc….

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Posted: 18 May 2005 08:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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I suppose as a “guest” that you expect a meaningful discussion of anything you post?

it’s like having a discussion with someone who may throw darts from a closet

get off the “guest” wagon and be someone!

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Posted: 18 May 2005 07:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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First of all, I was “somebody”. I was Landulf a few months ago before
my computer crashed. When I restored everything, I could not use the name Landulf anymore on this forum. I tried signing on under a different username and for whatever reason,It did not work. Mabye there’s is something i’m doing wrong,if so I did’nt bother to find. Why not?,because
quite honestly I did not think it was really important, until your post^^^^.

  I am very sorry,for my part. I am not at all familiar with forum/internet
“etiquette”. Up unti a recent auto accident that has left me temporarily incapicated,(back in December) I really had never been on an internet forum before in my life. Technology and computers really never personally interested me much. Don’t get me wrong, technology and
computers have done wonders for mankind. They have also caused some harm, but overall, their benefits have arguably outweighed their negative
impacts IMO. I simply have always been a “nature person” and have spent the majority of my recreational time engaging in outdoor activities.
Naturally, my injuries have put a temporary restriction on those activities.
Generally, TV s*cks and I can only read,play guitar and do other things I enjoy around the house so much. So,after hearing about Sam’s book,I decided to come here.

  Sorry for the long explanation, but I hope it clarifies things a bit better.
Quite simply, I really did not realize it was so important to be “somebody” here or on other forums. If that makes me stupid,ignorant etc…well,to the best of my knoweledge, stupidity is yet to be criminalized. If it was,the majority of the planet,including myself would be looked up.
In any case, I again apologize for my part. ON THE OTHER HAND and with all due respect, I think you may wish to kindly consider lowering your “attack mode” and giving a person the benefit of the doubt.
You have made an assumption that was entirely false. As I hope the aforementioned shows,I had no ill intentions and I am not consciously trying to;“throw darts from a closet”.  Too many times in this cynical age,we are (I am guilty of this too) too eager to make negative assumptions about everyone and everything.

Perhaps our society could become somewhat more civil if
we could all learn to curtail this inclination. BTW, I see alot of people on this forum who sign on as “Guest”. Many of their posts have illicited few registered few complaints such as your own and have provoked many
lively discussions and got received many responses. Was there something
unique to my post that would require me to “be somebody”? I would suspect not since you said;“I suppose as a “guest” that you expect a meaningful discussion of ANYTHING you post”? Nevertheless,now that I know that its important to some people that they have a “somebody” to discourse with, I will see if it’s possible to obtain a new username without creating a new Email account. If not, I will simply sign my posts with the name “Landulf”. Now that you know who I am, continue the thread if you so choose.
    Sincerely,Landulf

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Posted: 18 May 2005 08:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Anyone who provides an email address attached to their username is a fool. WHat is the point? All you get for your trouble is a ton of spam. I’d advise everyone to deregister and use the guest sign-on, with a name attached to identify yourself to other users.

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Posted: 19 May 2005 12:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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[quote author=“Nietzsche”]Anyone who provides an email address attached to their username is a fool.


And/or has a better filter, and/or is just more computer savvy . . .

Byron

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“We say, ‘Love your brother…’ We don’t say it really, but… Well we don’t literally say it. We don’t really, literally mean it. No, we don’t believe it either, but… But that message should be clear.”—David St. Hubbins

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Posted: 19 May 2005 01:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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Guest (landulf): I don’t find your post(s?) meaningless at all, just that I cannot distinguish one “guest” post from any other “guest”‘s posts

Nietzsche is a guest who is at least identifiable

anyway, I guess my post was a little sour on the point about “guests”, so I might try to soften up the tone somewhat next time

about providing an email address, I have received emails from one participant in this forum who, I think, is in Saudi Arabia, and who calls himself “motasam” - they include citations from the koran with some general remarks about the connections with current society - I find them interesting (that’s about it though), but I would not have received them without having provided by email - as far as the spam is concerned, web spiders have already harvested my email from my web site, so I get spam anyway

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Posted: 19 May 2005 07:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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ok, back to the topic!

I’m a big Bill Maher fan myself… obviously he’s going to go for a bit of comic exaggeration, as that is his profession… but as he said to Alan Simpson recently (who chided him and other liberals for “mocking” religious people), how is it really possible to not scoff at these beliefs?  The Bible begins with a talking snake and ends with a 7-headed red dragon!  How can any rational adult NOT “belittle” this stuff, or the people who so proudly believe in it? 

I think Sam got it very right when he talked about this—about how otherwise rational people somehow manage to ‘compartmentalize’ their religious beliefs… so that PhDs and senators can have dinosaurs AND Noah, genetics AND made-in-His-image, Jesus’ faith healing AND germ theory, etc. (One Christian college student told me that dinosaurs died out because there was no room for them on the Ark.)

She’s just an example—smart people devoting such brainpower to “proving” (or at least rationalizing) false beliefs. 

Bill is right—religion is a neurological disorder, (usually) a childhood trauma.  How else could grown adults in the 21st century read stories about a talking donkey and “righteous” slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Egyptian children and Jesus flying to heaven like Superman, and literally believe them?! 

For the same reason that people can believe it’s okay to beat their spouses or children, or believe that their race is superior to others—because of childhood trauma.  Because of bad information and/or experience a child has before he/she is old enough to process it.

Just saw “Shallow Hal” recently… great example of this.  Hal’s father, on his deathbed, tells little Hal that he should only pursue hot chicks, and never settle for inner beauty… and so, the adult Hal, an otherwise good-hearted guy, is completely shallow when it comes to relationships with women. 

Religion does the same thing, from an even earlier age, often before the kids can even talk, much less think.  I had it done to me (with the best of intentions of course, by people who had it done to them as children, by people who had it done to them, etc). 

Fortunately, I realized instinctively what Sam has articulated—religion should be held to the same standards as any other form of ‘knowledge’.  Jesus was God incarnate and was resurrected from death and flew to heaven?  That’s either a historical fact or it isn’t.  There is an entity called Jehovah that created and controls all of Nature?  That’s a statement about the nature of the universe, just as the theory of relativity is.  Jehovah, and not random chance, created mankind?  OK, how?  By what force or process did he manipulate the molecules to form DNA?

The scientific and historical claims of religion do not deserve “faith”.  If they are true, they should be provable, just like any other truth.

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Posted: 19 May 2005 08:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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The original post makes an excellent point reminds me of Julian Jayne’s theory of the bicameral mind… See   .

The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind Presents a theory of the bicameral mind which holds that ancient peoples could not “think” as we do today and were therefore “unconscious,” a result of the domination of the right hemisphere; only catastrophe forced mankind to “learn” consciousness, a product of human history and culture and one that issues from the brain’s left hemisphere. Three forms of human awareness, the bicameral or god-run man; the modern or problem-solving man; and contemporary forms of throwbacks to bicamerality (e.g., religious frenzy, hypnotism, and schizophrenia) are examined in terms of the physiology of the brain and how it applies to human psychology, culture, and history.

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Posted: 19 May 2005 10:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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why not use fMRI to observe neurological disorders in willing subject who have such irrational beliefs?

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Posted: 19 May 2005 07:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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fjlomnix wrote:

why not use fMRI to observe neurological disorders in willing subject who have such irrational beliefs?

Or in Benny Hinn’s case dissection

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Posted: 20 May 2005 05:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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CreateFate mentions hypnotism as somehow equivalent to religious fanaticism in a neurological sense.  I can see that there’s somewhere to take this idea.  The people of faith appear to act as though they are hypnotized, perhaps they are?  Are they?

Bob

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Posted: 20 May 2005 07:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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according to him, we’re all a little crazy

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Posted: 20 May 2005 09:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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I seriously doubt Benny Hinn believes a word of what he says.
He is simply a slimy opportunist that represents the worst aspects
of capitalism. He takes advantage of ignorant people, who actually
take their irrational beliefs seriously.

  Landulf II

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Posted: 20 May 2005 09:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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Sorry, I should have said; “to BetaPaul”^^^^^.

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Posted: 20 May 2005 09:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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I think you all would be interested in taking a look at the table found on this page.  I’m certainly not an expert on Jayne’s theory but he does suggest that man’s ability to easily the “relative ease with which consciousness can be altered/turned off supports bicameral mind theory”.


“Jaynes’s theory draws evidence from a broad range of disciplines. The following table organizes the primary areas of evidence, explains their relevance to the bicameral mind theory, provides alternate or traditional interpretations, and identifies sources for further reading.”

.... 

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Posted: 20 May 2005 10:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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Hi Landulf II, I think Benny Hinn probably started out on the right foot. I do not think there are many who begin preaching with the thought about riches in the back of their mind. But greed is the root of all evil. And a taste of the big money can easily corrupt the best of intentions.

My thought on the matter is that all ministries that are on tv should open their financial books to the public. Ministers/preachers should have modest salaries and few perks. Outside of television expenses, the ministry should have a large benevolence fund and should actively be involved in missions and other good works, i.e. soup kitchens, Salvation Army, Goodwill, etc. Travel expenses should be free from extravagant hotels and restaurants. Ministry facilities and equipment should be top rate, but vehicles should be very modest. Preachers should preach that people will be blessed if they just send money somewhere (preferrably the local soup kitchen, the Red Cross, missionaries, etc.), not just to their ministry.

And there should be no “white suit.” I do not care for the preacher who always shows up in a white suit. I don’t think Benny Hinn is going to hell, I think he is off and I think his lavish lifestyle is not in keeping with a man of the cloth.

Basically, tv ministries should follow Billy Grahams and Greg Laurie’s examples.

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