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Brain Surgery Linked To Sensation of Spirituality 380

the3stars writes "'Removing part of the brain can induce inner peace, according to researchers from Italy. Their study provides the strongest evidence to date that spiritual thinking arises in, or is limited by, specific brain areas. This raises a number of interesting issues about spirituality, among them whether or not people can be born with a strong propensity towards spirituality and also whether it can be acquired through head trauma." One critic's quoted response: "It's important to recognize that the whole study is based on changes in one self-report measure, which is a coarse measure that includes some strange items."
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Brain Surgery Linked To Sensation of Spirituality

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  • Not a new idea (Score:5, Informative)

    by Idiomatick ( 976696 ) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @05:49PM (#31105598)
    Neuroscientist VC Ramachandran (sp?) a bunch of years ago was dealing with patients that had temporal lobe epilepsy. The temporal lobe is in control of 'meaning', it is the part of your brain that recognizes objects for their significance. He found that after an episode the patients had overwhelming feeling of spirituality. The idea is that they were seeing meaning and importance in everything down to individual blades of grass. One of his patients refused any support since he believed he was a prophet and that it was his link to god. (I since have read that many prophets historically have been epileptics such as Ezekiel and Mohamed).

    You can find the guy in NOVA (secrets of the mind). He also gave a talk or two on www.TED.com .
  • Try LSD (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 11, 2010 @05:52PM (#31105632)

    It does the same thing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 11, 2010 @05:58PM (#31105740)


  • Not quite precise... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 11, 2010 @05:59PM (#31105764)

    He painted himself into a corner logically when he thought about religion. It wasn't that he was blissfully spiritual. He came to the conclusion that it was better to bet there being a God than there being no God. His reasoning was, if there is no God and he follows the bible, then there is no loss. However, if there is a God and he doesn't follow the bible, then he is doomed to eternity in Hell.

  • by notjustchalk ( 1743368 ) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @06:05PM (#31105872)

    ...Just because people believe in God(sorry, but he does not exist and only a fool would attempt to "prove" otherwise)

    There, fixed that for you. Seriously though, shouldn't the burden of proof be on those that seek to change others and not the ones to be changed?

    Since a majority of humans believe a creator, or some entity/force outside of humanity(essentially, the spirituality this study links to), then I would tend to believe that the minority is missing something.

    Belief != truth. If it was, we would still be flat-earthers (just one example).

    I will agree with one thing though, belief or non-belief does not give anyone the moral high-ground from which to denigrate others.

  • by XanC ( 644172 ) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @06:25PM (#31106138)

    You're thinking of Blaise Pascal.

  • Re:The church (Score:5, Informative)

    by amirulbahr ( 1216502 ) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @06:31PM (#31106240)

    Some people around here seem to think the Pope is in charge of all of the Christian world. A post like that getting modded insightful shows the audiences ignorance in this regard. The truth of the matter is that the most fervent bible bashing, science hating, ultra-conservatives come from the ranks of American new age evangelicals.

    The Catholic Church does not preach creationism. I went to Catholic schools and there was no blurring of the line between religion and science education.

    I too am worried when people start giving scientific reasoning and religious dogma equal weight. I hate when people think they can solve their problems just by saying a prayer. Worst of all is when people look to trivial tricks and oddities and claim they are miracles as though the universe around them isn't miraculous enough as it is. I am not however too worried about the Catholic Church trying to take down science and reasoning as it doesn't have a recent history of doing so and even if it did most Catholics would resist that because they haven't been brought up that way.

  • Re:Try LSD (Score:2, Informative)

    by xealot ( 96947 ) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @06:50PM (#31106478)

    I think most intelligent people who have used psychedelic drugs would attest to this. There's definitely certain things hardwired into our brains, and certain drugs can open up those areas for exploration. LSD and psilocybin both induce a predisposition for religious and spiritual thoughts, as well as many of the patterns and images found in the earliest of art.

  • by slasho81 ( 455509 ) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @06:53PM (#31106530)
    If you're interested in a quick introduction (19 minutes) to the neurobiology of religion, check this out: Part 1 [youtube.com] Part 2 [youtube.com].
  • by Mister Whirly ( 964219 ) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @06:54PM (#31106542) Homepage
    They already have it. It is called MDMA, which you already seem to be aware of. Get some of the pure crystalline form and I guarantee you a religious experience. (Not just some random pill that could contain any number of substances.) Listening to the first Stone Roses album also helps.
  • by __roo ( 86767 ) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @06:54PM (#31106546) Homepage

    It's pretty well known that religious epiphanies and other feelings of religiosity, spirituality, or sensations of a "presence" can sometimes be linked to neurological events such as some temporal lobe seizures. (Wasn't this the plot for an episode of House?) It's common enough that there's a section on religious and paranormal experiences [wikipedia.org] in the temporal lobe epilepsy Wikipedia page. There was a good BBC documentary a few years ago on this called "God on the Brain" [bbc.co.uk] (here's a transcript [bbc.co.uk]).

  • Re:Flamebait (Score:4, Informative)

    by cjb658 ( 1235986 ) on Thursday February 11, 2010 @06:56PM (#31106570) Journal

    It's just a metaphor.

  • by GNUALMAFUERTE ( 697061 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <etreufamla>> on Friday February 12, 2010 @02:01PM (#31115826)

    You did get a hangover, it lasts the rest of your life, and manifests itself as delusions and interest in tall hats.

    There is no god. Deal with it.

The moon may be smaller than Earth, but it's further away.