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Offlinelovelight
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God on the Brain
    #3090476 - 09/04/04 08:42 AM (12 years, 8 months ago)

Is religion a by-product of evolution, which helps in motivation for survival? Religious believers often live longer and have physically healthier lives.

There is a new area of research called Neurotheology (interestingly, this term was initially used in studies of Shamanism). Scientists have found that there is a direct relationship between religion and the two Temporal Lobes of the human brain.

Sufferers of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy have seizures of the brain when there is abnormal electric activity, and in some of those effected this induces intense religious hallucinations , in the form of mystical experiences. It is known that there is a connection between the supernatural and electromagnetic fields ? the Northern Lights are a product of solar storms occurring on the sun ? and it is these fluctuating fields that cause seizures in the brain.

Scientists have now established that the Temporal Lobes are highly involved in our spirituality, even in people without this epilepsy. There seem to be specific neural circuits prone to religious belief, and they are more activated in some people (the epilepsy suffers being at the extreme end) than others. When studying the brain of a Buddhist while meditating , the activity in the lobes intensified, whilst the Parietal Lobes, responsible for the sense of time and place almost shut down.

One of the leaders in this research, Dr Persinger, has even developed a machine that can produce a mystical experience in most people by influencing the Temporal Lobes. Is Persinger?s technology a machine version of psychedelics?

So all this made me think about where entheogens are in the equation. I have found some mention of mushrooms and LSD influencing these lobes, but does anyone have further information?

And does this make spirituality less credible, purely a bodily function? What do you all think?

Here are some related links...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/horizon/2003/godonbraintrans.shtml (i watched this program)

http://www.egodeath.com/SimulationOfTraditionalFallacy.htm

http://www.sidestreet.org/sitestreet/winkelman/winkelman2.html


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Turn on your lovelight, let it shine on me


Edited by lovelight (09/04/04 06:11 PM)


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Offlinelovelight
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Re: God on the Brain [Re: lovelight]
    #3092015 - 09/04/04 06:19 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

And if no one is interested in science or the brain, then what is your opinion on the technical workings of psychedelics?

I am writing an essay on all this, and need some backup as to why psychedelics create a shift in consciousness, especially towards the mystical?


Edited by lovelight (09/04/04 06:20 PM)


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OfflineTodcasil
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Re: God on the Brain [Re: lovelight]
    #3092767 - 09/04/04 10:23 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

bodily functions, are human functions....

if sprituality is a bodily function, then i believe in it 100% morre than i did prior to reading this, which was already 100%.

i am my body. my body is not my vehicle. my mind is a part of my body. my sprit is a part of my body. the chemical s that occur (that you can chart in my brain) when i feel certain ways are predictable, but i sequence how i feel/react to any given situation. sprituality is physical. and functional.

there is much more that i will write in this thread, give me time...

peace


--------------------
Men look at themselves and they see flawed humans, we look at women and we see perfect
GODDESSES
Women look at themselves and they seem utterly human, when looking at men they see proud
GODS.


~Casil



:cactus:


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Invisibletruekimbo2
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Re: God on the Brain [Re: Todcasil]
    #3092827 - 09/04/04 10:36 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

ditto to what todcasil said.


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Invisible420Girl
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Re: God on the Brain [Re: truekimbo2]
    #3093699 - 09/05/04 02:35 AM (12 years, 8 months ago)

I think that people who are very spiritual tend to be more laid back and relaxed. Stress is a major cause of mental and physical breakdowns. Whenever I start to feel overwhelmed or stressed out, the first thing I do is stop, meditate and pray. I suffer from anxiety, so I rely on my religion a whole lot.

Spiritual people also tend to have hope and just this amazing peace about them. Most of the greatest people that ever lived that were loved by people of all races, religions and cultural backgrounds were very spiritual people.

I could go on and on for days about spirituality. It's the most important thing in my life. I try to witness to people not just to "win souls", but because I want those people to have the same inner peace & happiness that I have. It doesn't mean that life is always peachy-keen, but I always have my faith to hold me up when I can't stand on my own.


--------------------
_________________________________________________

Fuck this......let's go smoke a bowl.

"Weed will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no weed."  --Freewheelin' Franklin

"Life is not all....flowers and sausages!"

I <heart> Joe!


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OfflineAldous
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Re: God on the Brain [Re: lovelight]
    #3094179 - 09/05/04 07:17 AM (12 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

lovelight said: One of the leaders in this research, Dr Persinger, has even developed a machine that can produce a mystical experience in most people by influencing the Temporal Lobes.


This is not exactly true. It does produce spiritual experiences, but it doesn't always work. I think only about 40% of the people experience something that can be likened to a spiritual experience. The majority either feels a strange buzz, extreme fear, or even nothing at all. Nevertheless, Persinger's research is very interesting.

As to the evolutionary and survival advantage of spirituality, I've been thinking of that lately. If spiritual experience and belief are crucial to humankind's well-being, the question of the objective existence of a god or of any non-material reality loses all its importance. If it's all subjective, but at the same time healthy and having a positive impact on people's lives and on the planet, I'd say go for it.


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OfflineSamhehyum
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Re: God on the Brain [Re: lovelight]
    #3094344 - 09/05/04 09:53 AM (12 years, 8 months ago)

Im not sure if you have ever heard the saying, "Your brain is God"?


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Invisiblepsyka
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Re: God on the Brain [Re: Samhehyum]
    #3094600 - 09/05/04 12:10 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

I think the brain is an organ that "receives" "God."


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As the life of a candle,
my wick will burn out.
But, the fire of my mind
shall beam into infinite.



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OfflineSamhehyum
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Re: God on the Brain [Re: lovelight]
    #3097704 - 09/06/04 03:35 AM (12 years, 8 months ago)

Your post though has got me thinking, that infact the whole mentality and train of thought that comes with spituality, is infact a motivational thing in a way, motovational in the sense that not having that belief, that resurance that we are not just a fluke and that we can continue to 'be' after die, has to have a very possitive effect on life. FOr istance not believeing that anything happens when we die or that we are just here becuase we are, nothing more to it, can lead a very ...... well negative life.


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Offlineexclusive58
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Re: God on the Brain [Re: Samhehyum]
    #3099199 - 09/06/04 03:35 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

Well most people are motivated to live by the fact that they know they are going to die. I'd say that's more of a positive thing than a negative one...


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OfflineSamhehyum
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Re: God on the Brain [Re: exclusive58]
    #3100775 - 09/06/04 10:52 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

Yes but die and go on to something higer, something better. Im not saying that people who believe that nothing will happen when they die will lead a negative life, but, inst that belief in itself rather negative?


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Offlinelovelight
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Re: God on the Brain [Re: lovelight]
    #3112432 - 09/09/04 07:30 AM (12 years, 8 months ago)

thanks for your thoughts guys!

Quote:

bodily functions, are human functions....sprituality is physical. and functional.


very good way to put it!


Quote:

I suffer from anxiety, so I rely on my religion a whole lot.


Another good point. As health problems go Temperal Lobe Epileptics seem to have a silver lining to their suffering perhaps. Even if their mystical experiences are ruled out as purely inventions of the mind, perhaps one can learn to use this in a positive way, as hope. Spirituality is very much about well-being


Quote:

If spiritual experience and belief are crucial to humankind's well-being, the question of the objective existence of a god or of any non-material reality loses all its importance. If it's all subjective, but at the same time healthy and having a positive impact on people's lives and on the planet, I'd say go for it.


you pretty much sum up how I feel about it at the moment!


Quote:

Well most people are motivated to live by the fact that they know they are going to die. I'd say that's more of a positive thing than a negative one...


for some people this is not enough motivation though, they need an afterlife?


--------------------
Turn on your lovelight, let it shine on me


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Offlineexclusive58
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Re: God on the Brain [Re: Samhehyum]
    #3113519 - 09/09/04 02:59 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

Samhehyum said:
Yes but die and go on to something higer, something better. Im not saying that people who believe that nothing will happen when they die will lead a negative life, but, inst that belief in itself rather negative?




That's not how i would see it.
From a skeptical point of view, when you die, its over. There's no proof of the opposite. If you know this, and if you truly understand it, then you also understand that the fact you are living is an incredible chance you have been given and you have to makes the most out of it.

And if you somehow know that you are going to have an after life, then you could easily tell yourself "fuck this, i'm not gonna give a shit anymore about this world and all its problems, i'll just wait for something better to happen after i die". basically this could lead to very egotistical thought patterns that can seem justified by you.

Now you tell me which is negative and which is positive...


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OfflineElfWizard
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Re: God on the Brain [Re: lovelight]
    #3113785 - 09/09/04 03:35 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

Personally I think it comes down to energy. My brain is just something I use to contain the energy of my life if you get down to it we are chemical and energy beings. When I think sure a nuron changes a bit but why to receive and hold that little electrical charge that is me. As for after death, energy can not be destroyed only changed from one form to another. A car cannot run without energy but energy is fine without the car. this is a simplified version but I think it still is a good point. Both my parents are Phycologist I have seen people with brain trauma that should make the unable to move much less think but still they seem to function (not perfectly but more so then science says they should) I go back to the car Imagine your car isn't working right you the driver are the same and nothing about you has changed but when the car behind you looks they see someone who doesn't seem to be able to drive right. is that you no it's the car jerking to one direction stuttering ect. ect. but what does the other person see just a car not driving right.


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Offlinelovelight
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Re: God on the Brain [Re: ElfWizard]
    #3117794 - 09/10/04 10:41 AM (12 years, 8 months ago)

It does seem energy is a major player in these epileptics, and perhaps also with other forms of mystical experiences, as well as nature phenomena as i mentioned originally.

It was very funny, I was discussing this issue with a professor at my university, and he said it just shows how hard it will be for humans to ever get rid of religion, cos it seems we would have to do some extremely complex, and for now impossible brain surgery. However I doubt that it would come to this, as many religious leaders say that if this is true about the Temporal Lobes, then they are an "antenna" God put in place, so that we are perceptive to "him". Catholic philosopher Jean Guitton writes: If spirit and matter have a common origin, it becomes clear that duality is an illusion, due to the fact that one considers only the mechanical aspects of matter and the intangible quality of spirit. Spirit and matter form a single and same reality.

However I wonder: if religion has been a necessary by-product of evolution for our survival, how long might it be before it is no longer necessary? It's often believed we lost our tails somewhere along the line, right? Is the raising number of atheists today an indication of what's to come? And yet many athiests seem to be so in the looser sense of the term - they might not go to church, but still feel 'something' about the world.

And what about the Pineal Gland? Has it gotten smaller with time, or is it only on its way to developing? I keep finding these two opposing views. What do you all think???


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InvisibleFecalDildo
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Re: God on the Brain [Re: lovelight]
    #3117831 - 09/10/04 11:08 AM (12 years, 8 months ago)

there is definatly something "fishy" about the universe .. there must be a creator that created us and transmits his influence through every living thing on earth. To a certain extent our brain is god because we create pictures of heaven and hell.. This whole argument delves right into the open arms of metaphysics but im way to drunk and stoned to comment on that right now. go read your plato!

will formulate a better reply later.


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Offlinerecalcitrant
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Re: God on the Brain [Re: lovelight]
    #3117935 - 09/10/04 12:06 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

Just because it's physical, doesn't mean its not spiritual.

What is the spiritual world to a person who separates it from the physical world? Here we have science to explain the laws by which our universe operates. If there is a spiritual realm, heaven/ hell, or some dimension which spiritual forces inhabit, does it not also need laws by which it operates?

There has to be logical progression to a narrative framework. Or at least that's how it seems to this brain which only understands tlhree dimensions. The more I learn about string theory, the more it plays into my belief that we are the energy of a dream. Maybe this went too deep.

"And does this make spirituality less credible, purely a bodily function?"
I think science, especially science that seems to (or at least is trying to) explain spirituality scientifically, amplifies spiritualities truth.

We are energy.
All matter is energy.
Understanding the way energies congeal, and then interact with each other is science, our new faith.
A science that tries to explain our bodies interpretation and exchange with the energies of the universe isn't denying the spiritual. To me, it is identifying and confirming it.

It's easy to say that all matter is mearly energy condensed into a slow vibration, but to understand just what is Energy, blows my mind (especially when there are energies in molecular chains disrupting the normal processes of the energies in molecular chains which constitute my 'understanding')


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We have to answer our own prayers


Edited by recalcitrant (09/10/04 12:08 PM)


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Offlinen0xious
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Re: God on the Brain [Re: 420Girl]
    #3119654 - 09/10/04 07:47 PM (12 years, 8 months ago)

i agree with 420 girl, spiritual people generally are more relaxed and laid back but this isnt just religious people.


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Its only after you've lost everything that you're free to do anything.


You got the gun, I got a plant. Who's the criminal?


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Offlinelovelight
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Re: God on the Brain [Re: n0xious]
    #3137037 - 09/15/04 01:07 AM (12 years, 8 months ago)

Today I learnt that Temporal Lobe Epileptics also often experience deja vu before and during an epileptic fit. Adds another layer to it all, I think! I also read that neurotheologists studying the idea of religion as a Temporal Lobe function, have met with those in the fields of psychedelic drug research. I'm still trying to find out how much they know about the way psychedelics are connected with this 'spiritual' part of the brain....

Some great comments by Recalcintrant, and emmett my dearest, i know for a fact you are no longer drunk and stoned! where is the reply you promised? hehe



Edited by lovelight (09/15/04 01:50 AM)


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Offlinelovelight
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Re: God on the Brain [Re: lovelight]
    #3137169 - 09/15/04 01:51 AM (12 years, 8 months ago)

As for my previous questions: if religion has been a necessary by-product of evolution for our survival, how long might it be before it is no longer necessary? It's often believed we lost our tails somewhere along the line, right? Is the raising number of atheists today an indication of what's to come?

here is one more: If we lose religion, will we maintain spirituality?

I'm hoping someone will introduce the idea of what happened to the Third Eye during the course of evolution? ie. is its prgressive loss of ability to function more proof of the above?


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