Might as well pop this in here. Caught this on the way in from a series this week on NPR. Researchers are once again using psychedelics and technology to help answer our most fundamental questions.
GGD. If you are interested in brain chemistry and spirituality a decent book is ‘The God Gene’ by geneticist Dean Hamer. The interaction of a gene known as VMAT2 and it’s encoding for proteins that provide pathways for monoamines into brain cells (serotonin and dopamine among others) is discussed.
It kind of goes along with the article that you posted from NPR.
In ‘THE END OF FAITH’ Sam Harris writes:
“The history of human spirituality is the history of our attempts to explore and modify the deliverances of consciousness through methods like fasting, chanting, sensory deprivation, prayer, meditation, and the use of psychotropic plants. There is no question that experiments of this sort can be conducted in a rational manner. Indeed, they are some of our only means of determining to what extent the human condition can be deliberately transformed. Such an enterprise becomes irrational only when people begin making claims about the world that cannot be supported by empirical evidence.” (chapter 7, ‘Experiments in Consciousness’, page 210)
I just do not understand why this is such a big mystery to people and especially believers like Bruce Burleson. The human brain is an electro-chemical factory. We have dreams, visions, hallucinations, illusions etc., etc., It does not imply anything towards a supernatural realm. Maybe a trillion neurons firing across billions of synapes. It’s all physical, not metaphysical. Like with most things it is confirmation bias on the part of believers. They want or need to find a way to believe because they have pre-emptively decided to do so, so they choose the warm and fuzzy feelings as evidence? Come on, get real.
Thanks McC, I’ll look for the book at Border’s next time I’m there.
Yeah, of all the ways the brain may be activated by certain stimuli, god ain’t one of them, just the thought of god. If only they would admit, it’s believing in believing. They don’t seem to understand the concept.