Thursday, October 1, 2009

New study - New hope

New hope on the horizon

With knowledge comes wisdom and there's no better way to get wise than by gaining a little more knowledge - something religions have always been fearful of acknowledging and doing.

Sam Harris isn't fearful. He and some others have embarked on a new quests for knowledge, most recently, its an effort to get a grip on how our human brains apparently differ only in opinion according to our learned beliefs. His work: "The Neural Correlates of Religious and Nonreligious Belief"

(A) The MRI signal was greater when subjects evaluated religious statements compared with nonreligious statements in areas throughout the brain, including the precuneus, anterior cingulate, insula, and ventral striatum. (B) Increased signal was found for nonreligious statements compared with religious statements in several left hemisphere regions including the parahippocampal gyrus, retrosplenial cortex, temporal pole, middle temporal gyrus and hippocampus.

This is science, real science. Its an article describing the process of discovery applied and used in a single effort to learn and, most importantly, its being shared publicly as all good science is. We are all invited to read not only the findings but also the steps and methods which lead to those findings; and, to offer criticism if we have any. We are all given full license to reuse what these scientists have learned so far, to prove it over again, to improve upon it or to discredit it. There is nothing of real science that is hidden away or tucked into the dark corners of the catacombs beneath the cathedral.

Now that we have this additional new hard evidence to consider, that the brain activity seen in opposing opinion holders on the any pair of given questions (like 2+2 equals 4 vs. 2+2 does NOT equal 4) are similar enough to be considered "equal" in their mode of processing and that nothing exceptional occurs for one that does not also occur similarly for the other; we must take an even harder look at the answers derived from the questions: does 2+2 really NOT equal 4? Are there gods or are there not? Someone has made a mistake.

So what's the new hope...? Its simply this: that more work like this will be done by Sam and his kind to help bring us a little closer to our own godly greatness - to the wisdom we might all wish to know.

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