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Old 08-30-2006, 09:12 AM   #1
TheAmazingPinball
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Didn't see this already posted anywhere here on the forums:

http://www.livescience.com/humanbiol..._god_spot.html

No 'God Spot' in the Human Brain
By Ker Than
LiveScience Staff Writer
posted: 29 August 2006
01:43 pm ET


The human brain does not contain a single "God spot" responsible for mystical and religious experiences, a new study finds.

Instead, the sense of union with God or something greater than the self often described by those who have undergone such experiences involves the recruitment and activation of a variety brain regions normally implicated in different functions such as self-consciousness, emotion and body representation.

The finding, detailed in the current issue of Neuroscience Letters, contradicts previous suggestions by other researchers that the there might be a specific region in the brain designed for communication with God.

What it means

"The main goal of the study was to identify the neural correlates of a mystical experience," said study leader Mario Beauregard of the University of Montreal in Canada. "This does not diminish the meaning and value of such an experience, and neither does it confirm or disconfirm the existence of God."

In the study, 15 cloistered Carmelite nuns, ranging in age from 23 to 64, had their brains scanned while asked to relive the most intense mystical experience they had ever had as members of the religious order.

The nuns were not asked to try and actually achieve a state of spiritual union with God during the experiment because, as the nuns put it, "God cannot be summoned at will."

Joy and love

Nevertheless, the researchers believe their method was justified because previous studies have shown that actors asked to enter a particular state activated the same brain regions as people actually experiencing those emotions.

As a control, the nuns were instructed to relive the most intense state of union with another human ever felt in their lives while in the Carmelite order.

The study found that mystical experiences activate more than a dozen different areas of the brain at once. One of the regions, called the caudate nucleus, has been implicated in positive emotions such as happiness, romantic love and maternal love.

The researchers speculate that activation of this brain region during mystical experiences is related to the feelings of joy and unconditional love the nuns described.
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Old 08-30-2006, 09:59 AM   #2
Kate
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Bastardo! You suckered me into looking at this thread with your titillating title! :mad:

:P

"I do not intend to tiptoe through life only to arrive safely at death."
Some drink at the fountain of knowledge. Others just gargle.
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Old 08-30-2006, 10:08 AM   #3
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Kate, me too... I share your pain :(
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Old 08-30-2006, 11:21 AM   #4
TheAmazingPinball
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Kate wrote
Bastardo! You suckered me into looking at this thread with your titillating title! :mad:

:P
Hehe! I thought that would be eye catching.

And it is an interesting bit of information though I can't help being disgusted by the writer practically tripping over him/her self to make sure to placate the potentially hurt sensibilities of any godidiot by stating that it isn't proof of the non-existence nor does it diminish the value of the experience blah blah blah... As if anyone should be obliged to apologize for the truth.

And on that note I'd apologize for the slightly misleading title but as I am an Evil Atheist I remain unapologetic. :thumbsup:
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Old 08-30-2006, 11:37 AM   #5
Kate
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Apologies accepted :)

Besides, I got to put in my subliminal command of "suck tit" in there....heh heh heh...... :cool:

"I do not intend to tiptoe through life only to arrive safely at death."
Some drink at the fountain of knowledge. Others just gargle.
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Old 08-30-2006, 11:42 AM   #6
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Kate wrote
Apologies accepted :)

Besides, I got to put in my subliminal command of "suck tit" in there....heh heh heh...... :cool:
That would explain my sudden arousal. Damn you, Kate!
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Old 08-30-2006, 11:45 AM   #7
Kate
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<eeeeeeeeeevil laughter>

"I do not intend to tiptoe through life only to arrive safely at death."
Some drink at the fountain of knowledge. Others just gargle.
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Old 08-30-2006, 11:46 AM   #8
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Kate wrote
...Besides, I got to put in my subliminal command of "suck tit" in there....heh heh heh...... :cool:
Ah, that explains my sudden and urgent need for some quick manual release. I admit I've always been susceptible to such suggestion.
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Old 08-30-2006, 11:54 AM   #9
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Yeah, a number of limitations here, namely that the so-called spiritual/mystical "states" were not true spiritual/mystical states, rather they were memories of those states.
Memory has been proven to engage numerous areas of the brain.
The states referred to in the actor samples used by way of comparison, appear to be emotional states, therefore this study seems more like an exercise in emotional memory than any valid attempt to measure any "true" spiritual/mystical experience.

Certain other areas such as the temporal lobe would probably yield more phenomenologically similar results (yes Cal, I'm referring to Persinger ;))

Besides haven't genetic studies found some evidence for the "god gene" or genetic propensity for faith? (Not my area - any takers?)

Invisibility and nothingness look an awful lot alike.
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Old 08-30-2006, 12:22 PM   #10
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I've read explanations of mystical feelins like this before -- ie that people who feel at one with god etc are in a state where the areas of the brain concerned with awareness of the body and the ego are temporarily disactivated. This applies to meditation too, godly or otherwise. You can see it might be possible to train yourself to expleience certain states where the mind shuts off awareness of problems and the outside world, and even being an individual being separate from others and the world, etc and feels a sense of peace. But that does not prove the person is therefore connecting with anything actually outside their head.
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Old 08-30-2006, 12:26 PM   #11
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The Judge wrote
Yeah, a number of limitations here, namely that the so-called spiritual/mystical "states" were not true spiritual/mystical states, rather they were memories of those states.
Memory has been proven to engage numerous areas of the brain.
The states referred to in the actor samples used by way of comparison, appear to be emotional states, therefore this study seems more like an exercise in emotional memory than any valid attempt to measure any "true" spiritual/mystical experience.

Certain other areas such as the temporal lobe would probably yield more phenomenologically similar results (yes Cal, I'm referring to Persinger ;))

Besides haven't genetic studies found some evidence for the "god gene" or genetic propensity for faith? (Not my area - any takers?)
Don't forget the other major problem with this whole thing: specifically, that there's no such thing as god!
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Old 08-30-2006, 12:29 PM   #12
TheAmazingPinball
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The Judge wrote
Besides haven't genetic studies found some evidence for the "god gene" or genetic propensity for faith? (Not my area - any takers?)
As I understand it there isn't anything even approaching a conclusion regarding this. But certainly others here should know more than I do about it.
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Old 08-30-2006, 12:32 PM   #13
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Los Pepes wrote
Don't forget the other major problem with this whole thing: specifically, that there's no such thing as god!
That's self-evident, naturally. All I was doing was exposing the flaws in this study who's claims could be takrn by religiodiots to prove that "god" is real, simply because no neurlogical causes of the experience of "god" could be found in this one study.

The study looks pretty pointless to me. Just didn't want theists to jump up and down and slobber all over it thinking that somehow this one study is any kind of evidence disproving that the whole "god" bullshit is nothing more than a psychologcal phenomenon.

Invisibility and nothingness look an awful lot alike.
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Old 08-30-2006, 12:43 PM   #14
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The problem with study of brain activity like this is how to distinguish between activity occuring becasue of imagination and activity occurring becasue of an objective extrernal force/being etc. As it says above, I imagine it;s hard to tell scientifically a difference between someone imagining or remembering a mystical experience and the 'real thing', other than that the latter might be more intense I guess.
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Old 08-30-2006, 12:46 PM   #15
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The Judge wrote
That's self-evident, naturally. All I was doing was exposing the flaws in this study who's claims could be takrn by religiodiots to prove that "god" is real, simply because no neurlogical causes of the experience of "god" could be found in this one study.

The study looks pretty pointless to me. Just didn't want theists to jump up and down and slobber all over it thinking that somehow this one study is any kind of evidence disproving that the whole "god" bullshit is nothing more than a psychologcal phenomenon.
I was just fuckin witchya judge... :cheers:
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