The Neurobiology of Religious Experience

This month the Secular Student Alliance is hosting a FREE event featuring Dr. Sarah Strand on the neurobiology of religion and religious experiences.

The Science

Dr. Strand will talk about how to induce an out-of-body experience and why people tend to feel a sense of peace and connection when they have one. To many people, this proves the existence of a spiritual world inhabited by god(s). Dr. Strand explains just how fallacious this argument is.

Evidence increasingly demonstrates that the feelings associated with religious experiences play a primary role in people being intensely religious. Andy Thompson of the Richard Dawkins Foundation has written about the ways in which religion latches onto human characteristics developed during our evolutionary history. Dr. Strand will focus on what cortices of the brain are associated with religion, and how religious experiences induce strong sensations of pleasure, providing an illusion of an invisible friend in a world beyond ours. She will tell you who William James, Olaf Blanke, and Michael Persinger are and what they have in common.

And if all that fails to convince you to attend, then come for a funny god cartoon and to see a woman wearing a football helmet who sees floating spiritual entities. How can you resist that?

Reviews

When Dr. Strand last gave this talk in Sacramento at a large atheist gathering, it was highly rated.

Here are some members’ comments:

“A great, succinct presentation. Very well done!”

“What a great talk! Now I see how my sister could have really seen angels around her bed at the age of 5. This is her trump card proof of God to this day.”

“Great presentation, fun and informative. I understand a bit better now that it’s not all about indoctrination and tradition.”

Dr. Strand is a Professor of Psychology at Sacramento State University and Research Supervisor of Neurobiology at UC Davis.

Parking

Daily parking passes are available for $6 in lots adjacent to the University Union.

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  • Becky M.

    Dr. Strand was a skilled public speaker and had a well-organized presentation. I will retain a lot of the information she presented which is a great credit to her.

    1 · October 24, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I saw it was videorecorded, please let me know when you or if you post it. We have a neuroscientist down here that has given similar lectures, and I'd like him to see it.

    1 · October 22, 2013

  • Dan P.

    Thank you all SO MUCH for coming out. I got to meet so many really interesting people, and the event was #6 of the top 10 events for Sacramento on Hugecity.

    Don't forget to check out our next event coming up, "Sexy Violence & Violent Sex".

    http://www.meetup.com/SacFAN/events/146899932/

    October 22, 2013

  • John L.

    This was an engaging topic, excellent presentation of the science and facts based assessment surrounding these experiences. Dr. Strand was exceptional!

    October 22, 2013

  • Robin

    Fascinating topic! Definitely inspired to do some more reading on my own.

    2 · October 22, 2013

  • Vernon

    I think it was an excellent speech. I would go to listen to her other speeches.

    1 · October 22, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Where will the talk be held on campus?

    October 3, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Thank you.

      October 14, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Are you guys here?

      October 22, 2013

  • Jim

    Where was it? In the main rooms were a blood drive and a workshop to help students get government jobs.

    October 22, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Thank you Dan for your reply and for finding this out for me. See you and everyone else tonight.

    October 22, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Are we allowed to bring a camera and take photos?

    October 22, 2013

    • Dan P.

      Yes, however, flash photography is not allowed. Also, if the camera sounds may be muted, please make the appropriate changes.

      Also, the Sac State SSA's resident photographer will be taking pictures.

      October 22, 2013

  • Peter M.

    My first SacFAN event! I attended the Dawkins/Savage lecture a few weeks ago in SF and it was excellent.

    1 · October 21, 2013

    • David J.

      I wanted to go to that one. do you have a link to a recording?

      October 22, 2013

    • David J.

      Peter, would you be interested in meeting and sharing the experience?

      October 22, 2013

  • David J.

    Anyone got a way to beat the $6 parking?

    I have a commitment at 7:30 that I likely will have to leave at 7. How long will it go?

    October 15, 2013

    • David J.

      Thanks for update and response. I'll be looking for the video. I won't be attending.

      October 16, 2013

    • Jim

      You can park just across the river and take that mini-golden gate bridge (Guy West). It's a nice little walk and it's free.

      1 · October 21, 2013

  • Ann E.

    I will be interested in the information

    October 21, 2013

  • Denyse

    Should we meet together before or after the talk?

    October 16, 2013

    • Denyse

      OK. Are you bringing the jesus statue so we can recognize you?

      October 16, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      I am the Jesus statue.

      3 · October 16, 2013

  • Tiffany

    This sounds like it is right up my alley, but I'll be out of town. Sorry to miss it.

    October 11, 2013

  • Eric C.

    Looking forward to it!

    October 3, 2013

  • October 1, 2013

  • Dan Pemberton changed the date and time to Tuesday, October 22, 2013 at 6:00 PM

    October 1, 2013

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