RE: HEA report on religion and mental health

Chris Lofting (
Tue, 19 Oct 1999 19:02:25 +1000

From: "Chris Lofting" <>
To: <>
Subject: RE: HEA report on religion and mental health
Date: Tue, 19 Oct 1999 19:02:25 +1000
In-Reply-To: <>

> -----Original Message-----
> From: []On Behalf
> Of Gatherer, D. (Derek)
> Sent: Tuesday, 19 October 1999 5:12
> To: ''
> Subject: RE: HEA report on religion and mental health
> Chris (previous):
> Religion is a phenotype. Your [Derek's] comments read as if you
> think it is
> a genotype.
> Derek:
> What I meant to say was that there is some evidence that religiosity, ie.
> the tendency to be religious and to adopt religious behaviour, is a
> deep-seated personality trait, with a hard-wired neurological underpinning
> (ie. you need some stiff drugs or epilepsy to modify it) and a strong
> genetic basis. That doesn't mean "it is a genotype".


Derek, I think your use of the term religious etc comes across as too
restricted; you write as if *religion* is fundamental and so genotypal.
Fundamentalist behaviour is applicable to Darwin as well as Jesus but Darwin
is not considered the son of God (well, in most cases :-))

The attraction is a sense of oneness and this attraction is found in any
discipline that emphasises a rigid context consisting of the assertion of an
absolute state i.e. there is a god or there is evolution etc etc

The sense of oneness is related to object thinking. I have put-up a draft
webpage on this see:

I think we can trace object thinking back to the emergence of concepts such
as waypoint mapping where a primitive form of emotion, of meaning, develops
in the form of the mine/not mine dichotomy applied when marking/asserting
territory etc (research has explicitly seen this form of mapping in the
hippocampus of rats as they run a maze. The mapping is "A to B to C" etc In
a territorial sense so each capital letter manifests a reference marker, a
waypoint which is coloured with an emotion in the form of 'mine/not mine')

Abstracting this dichotomy through feedback and brain development and we
have the syntax biased meaning of 'correct/incorrect'. This has been
determined as a strongly left hemisphere (object oriented) behaviour
(A.Damasio et al).

I think you need to use a different term than emphasising religion. Perhaps
fundamentalist is more appropriate although it too has a link to religious
rather than the secular, perhaps we would need to flesh out the secular

I do understand what you are trying to say but I think you are being too
casual in so introducing a turn of phrase that could become embedded over
time (as in "Religion is genetic" and so everyone sees crosses and crescents
as hard coded into our psyche. George Hammond (look on the web) has done
this suggesting that the discovery of three dimensions that make up persona
in some way reflect the 'truth' in the cross being hard coded 'in here'!!
George's motive for his indepth analysis of personality determination is his
need to prove the existence of God. IMHO there is no need for this
hypothesis (Poincare).



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