God-Spot Scepticism

  (10 March 09)
  by Greg Spearritt

MRI scans, it seems, are all the rage. And they seem to be telling us we have God hard-wired into our brains, as Leigh Dayton (rather vaguely) suggests in a recent article in the Oz.


But is MRI all it’s cracked up to be? Sceptic Michael Shermer brings us back to earth with some common sense.






I dont think the Oz article is saying God is hardwired into our brains therefore God exists! More that religious concepts like any social construct activate certain areas in our brain. Its all very nonspecific, nearly worthless really. Thanks for the link to SCIAM.

Posted by Chris

My reading on links between human genetics, biology and spirituality, suggests a part of the brain (about 2%)which is wired to process spirituality, and links to the hypothalamus which activates our extra-sensory responses. This gives rise to the suggestion that our brains are hard-wired for spirituality. Helpful references include:
*Hamer 'The God Gene'.
*Newberg, D'Aquili & Rance 'Why God won't go away - Brain Science and the Biology of Belief'
*Newberg & D'Aquili 'Mystical Mind - Probing the Biology of Religious Experience'
*Teasdale 'The Neurology of Spiritual Transcendence'

Cheers, Peter

Posted by Peter Robinson

Even if we found a definite 'God-spot', I think Chris is right: it would not be evidence either way about the existence of God. But I do think we deserve better reporting on science than the
Leigh Dayton article offers us.

BTW, I understand there's some interesting work linking temporal lobe epilepsy with an increased incidence of religiosity/religious experience. As to what that means...? (Eg http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16919503?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DiscoveryPanel.Pubmed_Discovery_RA&linkpos=2&log$=relatedarticles&logdbfrom=pubmed)

Posted by Greg Spearritt

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