Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id LAA00301 (8.6.9/5.3[ref email@example.com] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from firstname.lastname@example.org); Wed, 25 Apr 2001 11:33:25 +0100 Message-ID: <2D1C159B783DD211808A006008062D3101745DE6@inchna.stir.ac.uk> From: Vincent Campbell <email@example.com> To: "'firstname.lastname@example.org'" <email@example.com> Subject: RE: Darwinizing Culture: The Status of Memetics as a Science Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2001 11:29:29 +0100 X-Mailer: Internet Mail Service (5.5.2650.21) Content-Type: text/plain Sender: firstname.lastname@example.org Precedence: bulk Reply-To: email@example.com
This isue of perceiving God is discussed in a really interesting article in
New Scientist this week. I think if people can get a hold of this article
they'd be very interested (I don't have it to hand typically, so can't be
more exact -it is the cover story mind).
Bascially the neuroscience argument of perception of gods, or experiences of
religiosity, is that they are products of particular patterns of brain
activity. Sometimes natural phenomena can cause these states (e.g. temporal
lobe epilepsy, or variations in magnetic fields- the work of Michael
Persinger is important here), but also, as the article suggests, experiments
on people who meditate, or pray, appear to produce through their practices
the same kind of states. IIRC its to do with these practices reducing
activities in parts of the brain that are involved in conceptions of
identity and self (I may have misremembered this).
Of course, whether one interprets that as achieving a state of awareness of
god, or the dissolution of the self, say, is matter of cultural influence.
For some, me included, it represents merely the pretty straightforward idea
that religious belief is the product of physiology, and not indicative of
divine intervention, nor a route to revelation of the "reality" of the
universe or whatever it is people claim. But to believers in such things,
these can be confirmatory experiences of their beliefs, and I, for what its
worth, wouldn't condemn people for responding to personal sensations in this
way, given that until recently we've not been able to explain such
experiences in any other plausible way. But to continue to believe after a
plausible empirically demonstrable explanation is offered, well then out
comes the piece of black cloth...
> From: Wade T.Smith
> Reply To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Sent: Sunday, April 22, 2001 8:54 pm
> To: Memetics Discussion List
> Subject: Re: Darwinizing Culture: The Status of Memetics as a Science
> Hi Trupeljak Ozren -
> >In that sense, I would argue that both science and religion are
> >strustures whose primary function lies in defining our perceptions of
> >the Universe;
> _Our_ perceptions of the universe mean very little to science.
> But our gathered facts do.
> >Aggregations of facts are usualy called knowledges.
> >science is a set of rules for finding the truth
> >about the universe
> Truths about the universe are facts.
> Science is the desire to know these truths. The scientific method is one
> way of delivering sets of these to the seeker.
> Religions have no such need to know the universe. They only seek to
> define the ways of the people within their boundaries.
> >Most of the Christians living around me would vehemently disagree
> >about not being able to actually perceive God(s). Who am I to claim
> >knowledge of what they perceive?
> Ask them to prove it.
> Every fact is backed up by the entire universe. There is nothing about
> the godless universe that you cannot show them. They have only anecdotes,
> beliefs, and other fictions.
> In other words, they have perceptions without evidence.
> Science will not move without evidence for perception.
> - Wade
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> Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
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This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
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