No “God spot” to be found in the brain

Phrenologychart(Cross posted in Religion Compass Exchanges)

Reuters have reported the recent publication of How God Changes Your Brain. This book takes a neurotheological – ‘the study of the brain’s role in religious belief’- approach to prayer and meditation in an effort to understand the biological processes involved. The writers, Andrew Newburg and Mark Robert Waldman have used brain scans on individuals who were either praying or meditating, to identify what they describe as “God circuits”. Continue reading “No “God spot” to be found in the brain”

Are Scientists allowed to have Faith?

The_hand_of_godThe recent debate about Barack Obama’s nominee Dr. Francis Collins as the next director of the National Institutes of Health highlights a problem that is seldom discussed within philosophy of science. One leading opinion within the philosophy of science seems to be that in order for someone to be a good scientist or philosopher of science, one has to be at least an agnostic, if not an atheist. The general idea seems to be that it is absolutely irrational to believe in some higher being whose existence cannot be proven, and to be a good and dedicated scientist at the same time. The deeper reason for that idea seems to be that scientists that do believe have an “easy way out” if they encounter a difficult problem. Continue reading “Are Scientists allowed to have Faith?”

Crabs In Love

Horseshoe_crab_pair Interpreters of Plato’s Symposium continue to disagree over the ‘theory of desire’ presented by the dialogue. Does the figure of Socrates suggest that our embodied love relationships serve as the mere tools by which we are propelled ‘upward’ to the love of higher, intelligible things (i.e., the Beautiful, a ‘God’)? Or, might the interruption within the text by the beautiful Alcibiades mark a clear re-valuation of our desirous experiences in the sensible realm? Continue reading “Crabs In Love”