Re: Dawkins on Channel 4 tonight

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Mon 16 Jan 2006 - 20:22:50 GMT

  • Next message: Ben Dawson: "Re: Dawkins on Channel 4 tonight"

    >From: "Kenneth Van Oost" <>
    >To: <>
    >Subject: Re: Dawkins on Channel 4 tonight
    >Date: Sun, 15 Jan 2006 17:24:46 +0100
    >----- Original Message -----
    >From: Derek Gatherer <>
    >To: <>
    >Sent: Tuesday, January 10, 2006 2:42 PM
    >Subject: Re: Dawkins on Channel 4 tonight
    > > I was a bit disappointed there wasn't more explicit memetical
    > > content, but then at the end he said that the "viral" stuff will come
    > > in the second episode. As far as the first episode went, he made his
    > > usual arguments:
    > >
    > > a) Religion varies from benignly bizarre to frighteningly dangerous.
    > > b) It is non-rational (which is bad)
    > > c) Science is rational (which is good)
    > > d) You can't be both religious and a scientist, because it requires
    > > you to be both rational and irrational at the same time
    >Is this of any interest !?
    ><< Neuroscientists do engage themselves in more than the search for
    >what is good and bad_ they search also for the very bias of religion.
    >One of those scientists is Norman Geschwind.
    >He says that temporal-lobe-epilepsis plays a part.
    >Vincent van Gogh could be one of those who had this. Van Goghs
    >madness is well documentated.
    >Was is less more known are his days of extreme religiosiousness.
    >" Van Gogh had any symptom of what is known as the Geschwind-
    >syndrom ", writes Mike Gazzaniga in his book The Ethical Brain.
    >" During epileptic attacks people can hear abnormal sounds, can get
    >visions, smell scents and can get tactial sensations. Sometimes these
    >features are there when they don 't have an attack. One of the symptoms
    >is the tendency to be extreme religious, sometimes it leads to more than
    >one religious convertion. As a young man, van Gogh predicted the
    >protestant belief, he punished himself by not eating one bit. He had
    >also mystic visions, even one of the ' resurrected Christ '.
    >So is religion than still a disease, a malfunction in the brain !?
    >And was, for that matter, Christ himself a patient !?
    >Though, religion, like Socrated realized, is a source of moral knowledge
    >because religious leaders know which moral laws God wants is a bad
    >Says God that something is good because it is just that, Good, or is
    >something good because God says it is !? If it was the last, God laws
    >would be very arbitrary.
    There are several views on religion. The adaptionist "God-module" of temporal lobe religiosity would be one. Gould's Freudian spandrel argument about the big brain evolved for other reasons allowing for contemplating of mortality is another. Then there's the behaviorist (Skinnerian) version of superstition emanating from some adventitious reinforcement scheme.

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