Belief and the Brain study by Sam Harris

topic posted Sat, October 3, 2009 - 9:59 AM by  Rocky
Belief and the Brain study by Sam Harris

Belief and the Brain

Fact Impact
"New study of the brain shows that facts and beliefs are processed in exactly the same way."

I thought the last two paragraphs had particular significance:

"Harris proves what is self-evident from observing countless faith-versus-reason debates: each side believes firmly in its own truth claims; each side believes that the other's truth claims are absurd. If Harris is saying that Christians and atheists regard their beliefs the same way they regard uncontested facts ("tables and chairs"), it's no wonder that few conceptual bridges are ever built or crossed. (He even noted, with asterisks as to its significance, what he called the "blasphemy reaction": that when atheists disagreed with a Christian belief, or when Christians affirmed one, their pleasure centers lit up—proof that the combatants in the faith-versus-reason wars really do enjoy the fight, equally.)

But for those of us who yearn for resolution, Harris's experiments offer a glimmer of hope. While the brains of believers and nonbelievers do not differentiate between beliefs about God and about mathematics, the believers themselves do, a little. Participants retrieved their religious beliefs and their historical facts from the same place and in the same way, but they showed less certainty when thinking about the religious statements. It took them a little longer to push the button, and a part of the brain having to do with uncertainty, or cognitive dissonance, lit up. If even the strongest believers are a little unsure about God, and the strongest atheists are a teeny bit anxious that they might be wrong, there's room, perhaps, for one person to begin to try to imagine the world view of another, no matter what the brain sees as true. "

I thought this was really interesting. The study makes sense to me because in my own experience the theist vs. atheist debate really does seem endless. Common sense, facts & evidence that actually exist seem to have no effect. That's why I think the mythicist position may do well as a bridge between theism vs. atheism.

What is a Mythicist?

I'm also reminded of this study which is NOT the same:

God on the Brain

* Join the "Solar Mythology ~ Astrotheology" tribe

* Join the "Separation of church and state" tribe

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