There Are No Ghosts in Your Brain:
Materialist Explanations for the Mind and Religious Belief
Minnesota Atheists meeting, Sunday, July 22, 2007, 1-3:30 p.m., Roseville Public Library
P.Z. Myers, biologist at the University of Minnesota in Morris, host of the website Pharyngula (http://scienceblogs.c..., and indefatigable defender of evolution, will share his expertise and insight on brain function, explaining how research into the brain reveals the evolutionary causes of religious belief.
According to Myers: "We've made great strides in the past century towards understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms that drive brain function and I will briefly present an overview of some of the major conclusions of that work. In short, though, what we have are sophisticated molecular regulators and sensors and effectors and modulators that generate patterned impulses in pathways throughout the brain, and the mind is ultimately reducible to highly organized chemistry - there's no room for ghosts, souls, or spirits, and no need for them either."
"Recently, researchers have made progress in identifying the neural substrates of higher level patterns of thought. This work is much more tentative and we have to be aware of the limitations of our interpretations, which is a consequence of the complexity of the data. I will discuss one narrow aspect of this research, the neural basis of religious belief and explanations for its evolution."
"Religious belief is an emergent consequence of much broader genetically determined properties of the brain. I will make the argument that there is no 'god gene,' no specific hard-coding of religion into human brains, and that religion itself is a kind of conceptual parasite that takes advantage of other desirable and even 'virtuous' intrinsic qualities of the brain."
The presentation will be followed by a business meeting, after which those who wish may join us for dinner at the Panda Garden Buffet.
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August & Bjorn
MN Atheists Meetup organizers
Roseville Public Library
2180 Hamline Avenue North
(Hamline Ave. & County Road B)
Roseville, Minnesota 55113
1:00 p.m.: Social Time
1:30-2:30 p.m.: Presentation
2:45-3:30 p.m.: Business Meeting
4:00 p.m.: Dinner
Panda Garden Buffet
1706 Lexington Ave. N.
(Lexington Ave. & Larpenteur Ave.)
Roseville, MN 55113