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Saturday, January 04, 2014

MooPig Brain Industries :: "This is your Brain on Religion"

Learning to Think with your Heart?
mashed articles by Pat Darnell  |  Jan 4, 2014  |  Bryan TX

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For some crazed reason organized Religion and Spirituality do not mesh. We go to a spirit-filled church and find a heart-felt appeal for the human condition, then we go to an organized catechism-like liturgy and find a mini-government of pharisees. Go figure. And then when you want to find that spirit-filled church again later, you find that that church has split into factions. So, I say that the history of religion is that churches split. Not so much unlike cells in our bodies divide to create new cells -- you remember meiosis in plants and mitosis of our tissues, right?

Meanwhile on the route to finding a biological basis for belief in God:

Whereas "... VMAT2 preliminary findings: (versicular monoamine transporter) has a direct correlation between it and the TCI scores. Thus, his conclusion is that those individuals with a high level are likelier to exhibit a temperament of self-transcendence, self forgetfulness, and mystical insights. Therefore, there is a scientific notion of spirituality. God occurs in a particular gene, VMAT2, and is an expression of monoamines designed to make us feel better about life, stress, and death. Linked to and embedded in the deepest structures of the brain , shows the poverty of reductionist thinking.". ? (mark brenneman. August 29, 2007. LINK) ..."
Debunked -- " ... It's nothing but modern molecular preformationism. Palmistry for the genome. We've been fighting against this simplistic notion of the whole of the organism prefigured in a plan or in toto in the embryo since Socrates, and it keeps coming back. We've moved from imagining a little homunculus lurking in the sperm to one hiding in the genome. It's just not there. You can't point to a spot on a chromosome and say, "there's the little guy's finger!", nor can you point to a spot and say, "there's his fondness for football!" ... Kristof, for instance, points to a particular gene as the source of piety. Piffle. Here's his shining locus of sacredness, VMAT2: (ribozyme. Mar 11, '07. LINK) ..."
There is always lots of books on God and its correlation in the brain. Unfortunately like organized religion, books explain one facet, and are often too rigid, and not leaving room for the unknowable. Besides, when we talk biological basis for God, most of us are frightened of tiny little live things that mutate.

This is your brain on religion: Uncovering the science of belief -  EXCERPT  |  " ... Around 95 percent of Americans say that they believe in God, 90 percent pray, 82 percent believe that God can perform miracles, and over 70 percent believe in life after death. It’s striking that only 50 percent believe in hell, which shows a certain lack of consistency."

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"... In 2006, during a symposium in Istanbul, Herman van Praag, a professor of biological psychiatry, taking his lead from the 95 percent of believers in the United States, tried to convince me that atheism was an “anomaly.” “That depends on who you compare yourself to,” I replied. In 1996 a poll of American scientists revealed that only 39 percent were believers, a much smaller percentage than the national average. Only 7 percent of the country’s top scientists (defined for this poll as the members of the National Academy of Sciences) professed a belief in God, while almost no Nobel laureates are religious. A mere 3 percent of the eminent scientists who are members of Britain’s Royal Society are religious. Moreover, meta-analysis has shown a correlation among atheism, education, and IQ. (D.F. SWAAB. Jan 4, 2014. LINK) ..."
" ... Dean Hamer believes that he has identified the gene that predisposes our level of spirituality, as he describes in “The God Gene” (2004). But since it will probably prove to be simply one of the many genes involved, he’d have done better to call his book “A God Gene.” The gene in question codes for VMAT2 (vesicular monoamine transporter 2), a protein that wraps chemical messengers (monoamines) in vesicles for transport through the nerve fibers and is crucial to many brain functions. (ibid. D.F.SWAAB.) ... "
 'via Blog this'

So do we need that broken down for us plebeians? Yes, but it, like so many things, is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to brain science.
" ... Last night I [STEVE A. WIGGINS, PhD] finished reading Dean Hamer’s The God Gene, the latest in a long series of such books I've picked up over the years. While much of the technical and statistical information was beyond the comprehension of a simple humanities scholar such as myself, it became clear that a genetic basis likely does exist for a sense of spirituality among people. Quantifying spirituality, obviously, is a task open to long and serious debate, but the general traits of spirituality are nevertheless instantly recognizable. (STEVE A. WIGGINS, PhD. June 24, 2010. LINK) ..."
If believing in something greater than yourself makes your heart and brain healthy, then by all means do that.


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