Atheist And Theist In Same Body (Awesome)

A friend on myspace sent me this video, it’s a neurologist speaking – WATCH IT : )

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About agnophilo

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21 Responses to Atheist And Theist In Same Body (Awesome)

  1. tsh44 says:

    I’ve learned how very complex the brain can be since my husbands brain injury. The video poses interesting questions.

  2. It’s a little unsurprising that, when separating the two sides of the brain, the side responsible for imagination is a believer and the side responsible for reason is not. Independent of each other, there was no necessity for them to reach consensus and they both drew the most obvious conclusion with the materials they had.

  3. agnophilo says:

    @ElliottStrange – Yeah.  I suspect that many people without that sort of brain damage achieve something similar through compartmentalization.  

  4. @agnophilo – That or early inculcation stunts the development of the critical thought areas of the brain, filling the gaps before there is a desire to ask questions. Which I suppose could be considered compartmentalization anyway.

  5. striemmy says:

    That’s not the only thing that’s a little unsurprising. :eye roll:In any event, I find it interesting.

  6. striemmy says:

    @agnophilo – I find it unsurprising that someone who favors critical thought and atheism would be take a stance that, from that one example, there is a correlative relationship between imagination and belief and that it would require the suppression of the critical centers of the brain to create an artificial environment to foster belief. Eerily convenient conclusions. 

  7. agnophilo says:

    @striemmy – Even most evangelists will acknowledge that faith is not rational.  Are you pretending that it is?

  8. striemmy says:

    @agnophilo – Incorrect. Most evangelists will acknowledge that having faith involves taking some things as givens in the consideration of an argument, like God existing and being all powerful or like the bible being the absolute truth or the word of God. If we haven’t had this discussion before I certainly think it’s time to do so now. The faith of many people is based directly upon personal experiences that they have concluded were divinely inspired or supernatural. Is it weak logic to conclude from any amount of experiences that one believes were divinely inspired that there is a God and that it possesses certain definite qualities such as omnipotence and omniscience. Yes, very weak. That doesn’t detract from the fact that it is logic being used. The problem that I have is with the hypocrisy. Read my last entry so I don’t have to explain please. There’s some imagination in your rationality and some belief in your skepticism.

  9. The_ATM says:

    Intelligence is not only measured with reason, but also with creativity and imagination.  Without creativity, a student could hardly produce any correct answers to coursework.  Without imagination, a person would have a difficult time producing any correct answers in life.

  10. AOK4WAY says:

    Hey agno, been a good while since we’ve chatted. My goodness, I’m in such intellectually rarified company today Hope all has been well with you man. This really does raise some great questions from a theological standpoint, and I think it’s one area where science and faith are in perfect agreement. Violent agreement may be a better way to put it lol. For what it’s worth, here’s my two cents:Neurobiology is at the core of my educational background (it was called psychobiology way back then). So far, the conversation makes perfect sense in a clinical light. But it isn’t complete in it’s consideration of the subject. I understand, I’m not knocking anyone, I just come from a different perspective.I believe there’s a dichotomy inherent in the thing we describe as “mind”; the mind of the spirit and the mind of the flesh. To be more precise as it pertains to this entry, I believe we’re addressing the brain rather than the mind here.Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, (Colossians 2:18)We all have both. The mind of the flesh is that part of the mind which attends to what I’m willing to call human instincts. The brain. Survival, reproduction, pleasure, aggrandizement.The mind of the spirit is that which compels us to act in ways that accomplish none of the things that the mind of the flesh attends to, There is no biological or anything-logical explanation for why we feel and do such things. Altruism, love, forgiveness, mercy. These things, especially when acted upon, can actually result in a weakening of our position from the vantage point of the mind of the flesh. We may wind up with less money, less food, less comfortable, with less status, and possibly even injured, whether physically or emotionally, or both, yet a part of our minds compels us to do such things.People of faith know that the human mind (the brain-generated mind) is corrupted. Like all people (whether they know it or not), we see the result of this corruption in our thoughts and actions. We struggle with knowing good and doing it. We want to do it, but many times we fail, many times we just aren’t able to do it. Our minds are divided against themselves. We want to avoid doing what we know is evil, yet we often fail there too. We (humans) are literally our own worst enemies!For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (Romans 7:18-24)

  11. agnophilo says:

    @striemmy – “Incorrect. Most evangelists will acknowledge that having faith involves taking some things as givens in the consideration of an argument”The problem with this is that if you get a few free assumptions you can reach any absurd conclusion.@The_ATM – Creativity is good but it’s useful for inventing things, not deducing reality.@AOK4WAY – Um, animals in the wild risk their lives for their offspring and other members of their species, have impulses against harming other members of their species etc too.These things are definitely neurological and a product of the brain.  They can actually map what parts of the brain activate when people feel romantic love or sex or altruism.  There is no reason to assume these are not functions of the brain, let alone evidence that they are not.

  12. striemmy says:

    @agnophilo – My point exactly. Again, munchhausen’s trilemma. 

  13. agnophilo says:

    @striemmy – You cannot justify an unsupported proposition by supposing all positions to be equally unsupported.  We can “know” many things in the every day sense of the word, the god of the bible is a non-phenomenon.  You cannot compare the supposition of his existence to that of a table or a chair.

  14. striemmy says:

    @agnophilo – No, but I can justify a proposition with support that also needs support ad infinitum by supposing that all positions require support ad infinitum, on both ends of the spectrum.Well, no, you can’t really know much of anything. Let’s evaluate something someone might suppose they know. I know that I’m sitting in a chair right now. I know I’m sitting in a chair because I feel the chair beneath me and I can see the chair. I perceive directly that the chair exists and that I’m sitting on it. However, stopping at that would be taking that for granted. For example, if I saw a purple elephant and told you that purple elephants exist you probably wouldn’t accept that until you perceive directly or indirectly (probably only directly) a pink elephant. In fact the fact that I perceive the chair beneath me is not enough support for you to believe that chairs exist and that I’m sitting in one. The only thing that convinces you that chairs exist is the fact that you’ve directly perceived them, and you may not have any reasonable basis to believe I’m sitting in one. Not even personal perception is absolute and it certainly operates on assumptions, including that you are of sound mind and sensory ability, that you’re actually perceiving reality and not a simulation, dream state or hallucination, and then in peer review, that others can perceive what you perceive. All of which require support which requires support which requires support… etc.For what I said earlier,”The faith of many people is based directly upon personal experiences that they have concluded were divinely inspired or supernatural. Is it weak logic to conclude from any amount of experiences that one believes were divinely inspired that there is a God and that it possesses certain definite qualities such as omnipotence and omniscience. Yes, very weak. That doesn’t detract from the fact that it is logic being used.”it doesn’t require direct perception of God much in the way that for any reasonable person it doesn’t take seeing an ominous storm cloud overhead if they hear thunder, see lightning, feel rain, etc. A better example, it doesn’t take seeing an electron split into a wave-function and hit a metal strip to know that that’s what happened. You just need to see the interference pattern as the result. Inference being the single greatest tool in the whole of science, I doubt you’re going to dispute me on this. Now, if we’re working with arguments of inference and all support in and of itself requires support which MUST either terminate in supporting the chain with a “common sense” or “fundamental” idea or a web of mutually supporting propositions., then the problem here is that science and religion do not share common sense or fundamental ideas. Even a web of mutually supporting evidence must in and of itself be supported as we see when the religious deny the validity of science and its findings and vice versa.So when a person cites a web of millions if not billions of individuals undergoing similar religious experiences as support for their claim it sounds to you the way you citing case studies. It’s the same form, with similar support, except that in the case of science there’s a deeper pit of regression before you reach the fundamental principles/ assumptions on which all of the support rests. In other words, there’s more unsupported support. Hey, this exchange reminds me of the scene in jesus camp where the fundamentalist mother is drilling her son on the logic flaws of science.

  15. agnophilo says:

    @striemmy – This “what if we’re all in the matrix” type of reasoning is an interesting academic discussion, but it has nothing to do with this blog, nor does it offer the slightest support for any supernatural claim of any religion.

  16. striemmy says:

    @agnophilo – Who said anything about us all being in the matrix? What if you’re suffering from a common form of insanity? Now, whatever side of the argument you stand for I’m certain you’re willing to admit that that may have some relevance. Also, totally didn’t say anything about the part that does support religious claims. 

  17. AOK4WAY says:

    @agnophilo – Sure they do, but those are all products of the survival instinct. Individual survival and survival of the species both come into play with all animals, including the human animal. But when a human being forks over every dollar in his wallet to a homeless person, there is no such benefit to be gained. We’re not dependent on the person we’re helping to help us hunt or defend our territory. It can be argued, in fact, that by acting in such a way as to help the weaker and less capable among us, we circumvent natural selection, thereby weakening the species as a whole and diminishing its prospects for survival in the long run. There’s no logic in it.Furthermore, animals do not act out of a sense of right and wrong. Humans, on the other hand, do. Yes, the human brain is designed to allow right, wrong, and other abstract concepts while the brains of other animals aren’t. In other words, the human brain is deasigned to operate in conjunction with the spirit. It’s a unique gift and a unique responsibility.Neurochemical reactions in the brain certainly may be mapped thanks to technological advances made over the past few decades. I’m familiar with much of the research you’re referring to. But none of that research establishes a causal relationship. It merely represents a phenomenon graphically. It does not explain, it observes and describes. There isn’t any evidence I’m aware of for causal relationship or a causal direction if a causal relationship indeed exists. In almost every study, subjects are exposed to some stimulus to which the brain reacts, and it’s reaction is then mapped. What is being observed is a reaction to a stimulus, and that’s the only causal relationship we can rightly point to there. Anything more is purely speculative.I’m not denying the necessity of brain function in every thought and action we have and take as humans. But the presence of spirit does not necessitate the suspension of biological brain function. In fact, it is what our human brains are designed for. Unlike any other animal in creation, the human brain is designed in such a way as to enable humans to commune with their Creator, and…God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)Have you ever driven a thought from your mind? I have. Forsaking observation and empirical science and relying strictly on common sense, my friend, what animal other than a human has ever done that? Metacognition is not something animals are capable of. Speaking in terms of the mapping of brain functions, animals (other than humans) lack the equipment to do so. Humans are uniquely designed in such a way that we are able to master our cognitive processes. We are able to train our minds, and with that ability comes the responsibility for doing so. And frankly, the more we learn about how our brains work, the more responsible we become in my opinion.You and I and most of your esteemed visitors know about neural development, synaptic formation and pruning, and the development of “memory circuits” which develop in the brain over time and with experience. When we learn, our brains change. Again, the causal relationship procedes from external stimulus to internal reaction and not vice versa. The Truth takes that into account without a whole lot of sciencey jargon:Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. (Matthew 22:37-38)And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:2)(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)When I keep my mind on the things of God my friend, what kinds of synaptic connections are being formed? We know that all experience has a transformative effect on the brain, so what is the nature of the transformation taking place in the brain of a human who keeps his mind focused on the things of God?Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. (Psalms 1:1-2)Yes. Reading God’s Word and meditating on it transforms not only the mind, but the brain, as does every other experience and stimulus. New synaptic pathways are formed. Pathways that increase the likelihood of a merciful, forgiving, generous, or otherwise altruistic (loving in my vocabulary) reaction to stimuli. Pathways that, as they continue to increase in number with regular exposure to the Truth and meditation upon it, move us in the direction of being a more and more perfect reflection of the God we worship. Our minds become more and more like the mind of God. One man’s mind was the exact copy of it. They killed him for it.I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings. Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God? (Psalms 77:11-13)What sanctuary would you say he’s talking about there friend? Remember. Remember. Meditate. The sanctuary of the mind. Everything we’re exposed to changes our brains and minds.Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. (1 Timothy 4:15-16)I, I am Jehovah; and there is no Savior besides Me. (Isaiah 43:11)Think about it

Speak yer mind.

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