Thursday, July 25, 2013

The ancients didn't think the brain did anything important, for some people that's true

Religion is often treated as a 'mystery' of the ancients who allegedly interacted directly with God. It's really based on the ancient 'knowledge' of people that found goat herding gave them enough free time to write weird stuff down. Let's apply some science to this 'knowledge'.

There are approximately 200 areas of the human brain that are capable of independent thought. The prefrontal cortex is supposed to process the output of all of these 'areas' to form a complex organic computer. The output is the co-ordinated, sorted and censored thoughts of all these specialized brain areas to create what we choose to cling to in our ignorance as 'human consciousness'. The random crazy stuff is supposed to be rejected. The Easter Bunny, those random noises in the night and the faces in the clouds or on wet plaster are supposed to be ignored, and not taken as signs from one of the voices in your head that you take to be God.

People whose prefrontal cortex doesn't work very well can have a number of psychological  diagnosis that at the extreme end we simply call insane. Those people with more minor abnormalities in brain function are often referred to as 'spiritual', or up the scale a bit they are called 'very religious'.

To put a sharp point on this, 93% of the national academy of sciences members are admitted atheists or agnostics. It's 96% among biologists, probably from their exposure to creationists. Personally I'll defer to the really smart people that I can follow along with if they talk slow, as opposed to the people who are impressed with the writing skills of goat herders. Twitter @BruceEnberg You can send me your prayers, but that only impresses the goats.

8 comments:

Paul said...

Bruce,
this is poetry to my ears. It didn't make laugh out loud, but I did smile quit wide. T bible is such a load of sh*t. Three thousand years ago: We go to neighbors village kill everything men, women, children, everything, and steal their goats. After a year or so we write down a bunch of bs about how God told us to do it. Then we come up with a wiz bang idea of why. They all were apparently buggering their goats, and that pissed off God. (Note to self, stop buggering the goats, God doesn't like it.) What a load, and the bible is full of this *stuff.

*promised myself not to say sh*t more than once in a comment.

prairie2 said...

"God Module", you don't get to post crack-pot made up 'science' stuff on my Blog.

Anonymous said...

Umm.. Gawd does not play dice with the universe [Albert E]. Intelligence is a mutation {Accredited to same}. The dummies will win. We can only watch. Not sure that I have sufficient intellect, but sure do question the whole "Sunday Magic Show" thing. Especially when so many people die in the name of the Lawd (sp). Never been splashed, guess I'm going to hell. Love the concept, no matter how bizarre. ////fype

Dave said...

The other day on the radio I heard discussions of humans being more than we appear, our mortal lives being but only one stage of our existence. The idea was that we're more miraculous than we know.

It's an interesting point and I can't say it is or isn't so. No one really knows such things. However it made me think that a more basic point was being missed.

As Bruce said human beings have 200 areas of the brain that are capable of independent thought. The very existence of such a mind is amazing. Let's not forget all the other life-forms on Earth. They have their own miracles as well.

I can't prove it so I understand that you shouldn't have to live by this(Wish some others got this). However I find evidence of there being something more than what we see in the wondrous aspects of what's right in front of us.

prairie2 said...

Einstein is often pointed to by the religious as 'proof', but they only base this on 'quotes' attributed to him. In his actual private writings he ridiculed religion as "childish fantasies", and was disgusted that they would try to use him.

prairie2 said...

I'm afraid Dave's comment illustrates another point. Complexity doesn't provide proof of anything. Proof has to be logic supported by verifiable facts & more importantly once you produce a 'theory', it should provide new insight that can then be demonstrated to be true. Otherwise it's just feel good wishful thinking at best.

Archdude of Madison said...

Bravo and well put. I have studied all of the major religions over the last almost 60 years, and really, what I have is an appreciation of how much we try to make sense of random and often senseless chaos. Neolithic myths become dogma and we will fight over rocks and walls. Please humanity, we can be kind and compassionate, honest and ethical without the myths and violence. Probably more so.

Ronmac said...

Does God exist? I don't know. I'm more worried about that other question. Does the devil exist?

Reminds me of a quote some years ago from a Belgian missionary, escaping the massacres in Rwanda. "There are no devils left in hell," he said. "They are all in Rwanda."

With all this talk about changes in the laws allowing banks to trade in commodities and bringing back the Glass-Steagal Act, I expect hell (if there is such a place) will be vacated soon and its devils (the suit and tie variety) heading up Washington way.