Re: [philosophy-31] Suggestion for Science and Religion study

From: Heide
Sent on: Friday, February 6, 2009 12:29 AM
We (David, Jacq, Bobbie, Karl +wife,  and I went to the Brown symposium at Southwestern University and it was very interesting and informative. Both of you would have enjoyed it (or not....no predictive measures taken LOL). Andrew Newberg MD. associate professor in the deparments of radiology and psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania showed brain imagery of nuns in a prayer setting (not reciting prayers but more like meditative states with the focus on the word God) and then an Atheists brain imagery imagining the word God. Well of course he came up with two different images and I thought ok, no big surprise there but he showed what happens in the brain during religious practices, such as prayer and meditation.
 
The problem I had with this "show of evidence" for how God changes the brain are two fold. The first being that one of the first things you learn research is that you have to check for reliablity and validity. You must make sure you are measuring the very thing you trying to measure. This sounds circular but it isn't.  The word God itself has a very emotional trigger which changes the chemistry in the brain. Ok so far so good both on equal footing, the problem is that the Atheist doesn't have a "positive" emotional trigger which doesn't release the same chemicals (no data on this just deduction on my part). The nuns have an emotional "love" affair with God (after all aren't they married to God...I may be wrong on this I went and played in the playground instead of attending religious training...explains a lot) which would I suspect induce "positive" chemical such as endorphins or dopamin. Now the question I put to the panel to explain tomorrow's seminar is " If given the test or "control" group equal footing such as newly weds who are still very much in love with each other (we hope) wouldn't the results be the same or about the same as the nuns and therefor the word God or the imagining of God has no relevance it's just the similar chemical releases that he was measuring and the word God was just a "function" of the trigger of chemicals". We will see what happens tomorrow.
 
The scientific method can only go so far in that we need to be careful what is being measured and make sure that the "interpretations" of the data isn't skewed to favor the "selling" of books or ideas.
 
Just something else to keep in mind. Thanks see ya Sat.

 


From: Steve <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Thursday, February 5,[masked]:20:17 PM
Subject: Re: [philosophy-31] Suggestion for Science and Religion study

Good idea. I strongly recommend Descartes Bones by Russell Shorto. This book explains how Descartes introduction of what came to be known as the scientific method changed the way Western man thinks  and gave rise to the questioning of religious dogma.


--- On Fri, 2/6/09, Bill Meacham <[address removed]> wrote:

> From: Bill Meacham <[address removed]>
> Subject: [philosophy-31] Suggestion for Science and Religion study
> To: [address removed]
> Date: Friday, February 6, 2009, 12:50 AM
> As we go through the course on Science and Religion I would
> like us to
> think about what justifies belief.  The scientific method
> is a very
> powerful way to justify our belief in and reliance upon
> facts about the
> physical world.  It relies on publicly-observable and
> replicable events,
> such as observed results of experiments.  The realm of
> religious faith is
> not, in general, observable publicly.  It is the domain of
> private
> experience, which is difficult, if not impossible, to
> replicate publicly.
> Does that mean that religious beliefs are nonsense or
> meaningless?  Or are
> there ways to justify one's religious beliefs?  What,
> if anything, makes it
> reasonable to believe things based on private, not public,
> experience?
>
> (This is a different question from what justifies adoption
> of social or
> legal policy, such as, for instance, what to teach in
> public schools about
> the theory of evolution.)
>
> To get started thinking about this, I recommend reading an
> essay by William
> James titled "The Will to Believe," located here:
>
> http://falcon.jmu.edu/~omearawm/ph101willtobelieve.html
>
> I look forward to our discussion on Saturday morning.
>
> Regards,
> ---
> Bill Meacham
> * [address removed]
> * Home office: (512)[masked]
> * Mobile: (512)[masked]
> * http://www.bmeacham.com
>
>
>
>
>
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