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InnerSpace

Does Our Brain/Environment Create God?

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InnerSpace
Thanks so much Inner Space - you really are an absolute gem! :wub:

Thank you Belqis. :blush::wub:

I believe it will be very healing for her.

It reminds me of when I had a few 'demonic' SP attacks when I was a teen (which I have recounted ad nauseum to the poor Ghost forum people upstairs). I know I felt much better when a few years later I found out about sleep paralysis.

Yep, I can relate. :tu:

P.S hopefully you will be right about the fortunate bit lol.

I know I'm right, lol. She's a lucky lady! :yes:

With the utmost respect,

~V

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Sherapy

IS, excellent post on death...I appreciated the referrence to children alot , because a good friend of mine who we have many converstations about death concur with you on this (he is also a psychologist....) I feel that we do more harm by instilling a fear of death by pretending it doesnt happen or creating myths to deal with this fear and denying one has it.. ...yes kids do make up stories for a time but they also move towards questioning their immortality and many, many parents make a huge mistake here by denying this is a reality...I feel we have a huge cultural dysfunction called fear of death...

My grandfather would die of throat cancer, from diagnosis to his death it was exactly one year and i as a very young girl, you see my grandfather felt we should deal with it head on and he felt we should take the time he had left to celebrate his life, not mourn it..We had many discussions about life and death that year... .it was possibly the single most functional experince of my life....

Thankyou so much for sharing your ephiphany V that takes incredible courage to be so frank and candid.... .so real, so human, so transparent........

We had a wake which is a celebration of life my grandfather was not religous at all and was not attached to any fairy tales , it was profound for me and quite a gift ,

Of course we die its natural to life...

.

Mon amie you have the makings of a book here and a sound one...

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greggK
I would like to explore the possibility that perhaps environmental and biological/neurological factors might play a major role in our belief in God. I hope people (believers) are not offended by what I'm going to share. I do not mean to offend in any way. While it may seem that some of the information I'm about to share belongs in a blog, I'm sharing details and background with you so you can have a better understanding of where I'm coming from with my questions. I apologize for the length of my post.

When I was around 4, I started having experiences that I didn't understand. Neither did the doctors or my parents. I had hallucinations, sort of like night terrors, yet I was wide awake. I use to lived close to fault-line in California. After moving from CA, the hallucinations stopped. I had been experiencing them on a regular basis for 5 or 6 years. I would not experience these type of hallucinations again until I became a young adult.

I had been raised Catholic, however, I wasn't very religious... per se. After the passing of my husband, I started having "spiritual" experiences...seeing angels, demons, etc. As a side note: my late husband experienced a closed-head injury, and afterwards became very religious and started seeing "demons". Becoming very religious is common, neurologically speaking, after head trauma. I didn’t know that at the time, and believed he was having spiritual warfare, because his pastor told him that was the case. Before his head trauma, he was not religious at all, and bordered on being a skeptic.

After his death, I became very involved in church. I wanted to become a Christian counselor. I continued to have "spiritual" experiences, and they seemed to be confirmed by religious (Christian) teachings. I studied the Bible fervently. I knew it from cover to cover, and could quote scripture in my sleep, lol. I ended up with a double major in Theology & Psychology. It seemed that the more I studied the Bible, the more I seemed to be under "demonic" attack. When I shared my experiences with other Christians, they would tell me I was experiencing "spiritual warfare". I believe them. It made sense, and certainly was confirmed by what the Bible taught.

I started having sleep paralysis, but wasn't aware that I was experiencing SP at the time. I shared these experiences with pastors and was again told I was under satanic attack. I was put through 3 horrifying deliverance experiences. There efforts to "deliver" me of these so called demons were fruitless, and unfortunately, I was told that I must have some unforgiven sin in my life. I did a lot of soul searching and spent a lot of time praying and fasting. I began to experience serious depression, and I felt like God was disappointed in me, yet I was determined to draw closer and closer to “him“. The more I drew closer to god, the more I came under “demonic” attack, it seemed.

Believers told me this was common, as did the Scriptures. Several years later, my studies led me out of Christianity. I was in spiritual crisis. Then, I had a vision of “God” and angels. This had a profound effect on me and my depression lifted. I was experiencing shear bliss like I'd never experience before. I had left Christianity, so this seemed strange to me.

Because of my late husbands condition, I became very interested neurology and studied in the neurobehavioral science field. This led me to neurotechnology. I started experimenting with brainwave entrainment, which uses frequencies in the form of binaural beat or isochronic pulses. To my surprise I was able to induce these same "spiritual" type experiences. I had visions of angelic beings and would become completely euphoric. This really amazed me, and I poured myself into more neurological studies with emphasis on environmental effects on the brain. I eventually got a degree in the neuroscience field so I could incorporate this technology in my counseling practice.

I began to use this technology on patients/clients to help them cope with stress, etc., and I noticed that when I gave them certain frequencies between the 5 to 8 Hz range (Theta/Alpha), some would have “spiritual” experiences just like I did. Experienced meditators have learned to slow their brainwaves down to the Theta/Alpha states, and encounter these same type experiences.

Being a member of a neurology forum, I shared my personal childhood experiences with colleagues. What I was to discover would change my life forever. I was diagnosed with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. This isn’t the same kind of epilepsy that most are aware of, such as the Tonic Clonic aka Grand Mal, where you have outward signs of seizure activity, i.e., falling to the ground, convulsing, etc. These microseizures were only affecting my temporal lobes, and I learned that my “spiritual” experiences were actually hallucinations caused by scaring on my temporal lobes. Hyper-religiosity is a symptom of TLE as well.

Temporal Lobe Epilepsy is a very misunderstood condition, and many go undiagnosed or they are misdiagnosed as having mental illness. The reason I brought up the fact that I use to lived close to a fault-line was because studies have shown that people with TLE or who have a low threshold due to perhaps some type of scaring in the temporal lobe regions, are especially affected by seismic activity. I was living in an area that has some of the highest seismic activity in the world. Isn't it odd that my hallucinations discontinued after I moved away from this seismically active area, and they didn’t start back up until after experiencing trauma in my life.

I can’t honestly tell you if there is a god or not, due to my own personal experiences. How can one ever know if they’ve actually had a “spiritual” encounter, when conditions such as TLE and technology such as brainwave entrainment and magnetic signals placed on the temporal lobes can induce visions of Christ, angels, demons, etc. In other cultures, TLE & technology produce visions of their own version of god.

Studies have shown that during brain surgery, doctors have induced “spiritual” phenomena on patients by stimulating the temporal lobes, (the source of mystic and religious experiences), so how can we ever be certain that what we’ve experienced is actually a true “God” experience, and not something induced by electromagnetic/geomagnetic energies fields, neurotechnology, neurological/biological phenamena. Through my studies, I’ve learned that most everyone has had at least one TL phenomena in their life-time, and for some it changes their personality forever. Many become very religious, which again, can be quite common with TLE. Also, if you look at the Middle East (the hub of 3 major religions), there is a lot of seismic activity in that region. How do we know that those who had so called visions of god, weren’t actually having some form of Temporal Lobe phenamena brought on by neurological/environmental factors. I find it interesting that having these types of microseizures can cause people to become compulsive writers as well. It's called hypergraphia. Since my TLE is now being managed, I no longer have spiritual/visual type experiences, unless I deliberately create them via technology.

It appears to me that the brain, along with the right environmental/neurological factors may create god experiences, and that perhaps one of the reasons mankind created religion was to explain this phenomena. I am not completely discounting the existence of God, but in reality, how can one really be certain of their own beliefs & experiences. Thank you for taking the time to read my post, and again, my apologies for the length. What are your thought?

Edited:typos

Being a former head injury patient and currently experiencing a recurrence of the actual event; see, you have a memory that lingers, I would say that you are right in your first statement. Environmental and biological/neurological factors are the factors that create our beliefs in God. But, the belief in God could be just one of your beliefs. With you, it was the total belief; you went into theology. That was the education of my grandfather in Holland, he was a Dutch Presbyterian minister. My Dad is a space pilot. Retired Major in the Marine Corp, retired flight commander for the Army, and he's still alive!

He sits with his wife every Sunday morning and watches the services at one of the local Presbyterian church.

Was it environmental factors that drives him to do that? Well, really it is.

Was it biological/neurological? Definitely. In more ways than one.

But, it's me that I worry about. It is not God that I worry about, but me. God's a big fellow.

Do I rely on God to do anything? Like, do I expect God to digest my food? Or do I expect Him to go shopping for me? What am I to expect God to do?

. . .

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InnerSpace
*Snip*I was told that I must have some unforgiven sin in my life. I did a lot of soul searching and spent a lot of time praying and fasting. I began to experience serious depression, and I felt like God was disappointed in me, yet I was determined to draw closer and closer to "him".

*snip*...our culture, our conditioning's, our fugues from childhood, being fed on a steady diet of hellfire and damnation all color and shape our experiences, our perspectives...

loosing our true sense of reality & self worth early on in our mental and or even physical development of who we really are as spiritual human beings as opposed to human doings.

First, let me again apologize for the length of this post. :blush: This will, no doubt, be the most difficult subject for me to discuss, because it will address very personal issues with regard to our need to be loved, nurtured and accepted. It will hone in on some of our behavior ("sin"/"neediness"), and the motives behind them. This insight may cause one to truly ask themselves why they want to serve God, and the possible motives behind their desire to witness and/or become a humanitarian. My late husband also had Psychology degrees, and the one thing he told me that later caused me to question my desire/motive to serve God and mankind, was this: He said he initially went into Psychology to have a better understanding of himself. I never really gave that comment much thought until I experienced a spiritual crisis, which forced me to look deeper within myself. During this dark time in my life, I realized I had a deep longing for parental acceptance, to feel loved and nurtured, and I felt a sense of low self-worth. This turned out to be my motive for becoming a Christian counselor. I was attempting to meet my own unmet needs by meeting the needs of others.

I became acutely aware during my days of Christian counseling, that most of the people I had counseled with were racked with guilt, fear, insecurity, low self-worth, and for the most part, had not had their emotional needs met as a child. Please understand that I am not saying that this is the case with everyone involved in religion. I will discuss the "7 Deadly Sins", from a psychological point of view, and why I believe that mankind, not God, addressed these as "sin", rather than a need to be loved. The condemnation by organized religion of certain acting out behaviors as personal moral shortcomings, shows that the founders and theologians of our faiths did not recognize that these "sins" were in reality symptoms of not having one's emotional needs met, along with other possible factors beyond one's control.

The seven Deadly Sins are listed as the sins of Pride, Covetousness, Lust, Anger, Gluttony, Envy, and Sloth. They are the cornerstones on which morality, as defined by traditional religion, is based.

Pride, the first sin, can be defined as inordinate sense of self-worth or of importance. Many who succumb to feelings of pride are more likely attempting to cover up feelings of inferiority. It is not an intentional defense but again, one chosen to cover-up deep feelings of inferiority. Even its counterpart, humility, should not always be considered a virtue since profound humility is often present in people who have feelings of inferiority and inadequacy and as such can be a symptom of their emotional neediness. Behavior, driven by one's repressed pain, or exposure to environmental factors, no matter what its manifestations, cannot be considered a personal virtue for which one builds up credit. As the "sinners" of the world are not responsible for their sins (due to unawareness of cause), neither can many so called "saints" take credit for their acts of charity and moral goodness. We are, all of us, only automatons in this life, our behaviors following our early programming and again, possible physical/neurological conditions and/or exposure to environmental factors.

Pride is also defined as an excessive love of our ability rather than having the virtue of humility. The normal person does not suffer from false pride. For the so-called normal individual, those two feelings are non-existent. His abilities please him but do not make him feel unduly proud. Groveling humility is not present, either. Self-confidence is his forte.

The second Deadly sin is Covetousness, which is an excessive desire for material things. Covetousness is a common symptom for many, and can also be a "god given" instinct in our need to survive in an hostal environment. Money and possessions are sometimes defenses which help a person with low-self worth to not feel his insecurity, but since he cannot feel his early deprivations which caused him to feel insecure, he continues to want to accumulate an inordinate amount of possessions. Since the things he owns do not quell his unfelt needs, he is on a perpetual treadmill seeking more and more of everything. It means that for him, savings and accumulations do not take on a symbolic meaning.

Lust, or the desire for illicit sexual pleasures, is the third Deadly sin. It is well known that a large amount of sexuality is purely for the relief of tension. For others, hypersexuality and the perversions may also be symbolic attempts to meet unfelt needs or neurological conditions. The equating of sex with love is common and operates on both a conscious and an unconscious level with a higher degree of strength than would normally be justified by the sexual instinct alone.

The desire for revenge, or excessive negative feelings directed against a person or thing, is termed Anger and is the fourth Deadly sin. Anger can be a normal and appropriate emotion. It is only when the feeling is triggered by an early repressed need from the past or neurological/environromental factors that it may be termed "unhealthy". Its twin feeling of jealousy is closely related to anger and usually has its origin in childhood/infantile deprivation. When early needs have been met, there is no jealousy.

Gluttony, the excessive desire for food or drink, is the fifth Deadly sin. Here again we have the desire for excessive food, alcohol, or drugs used as a defense against feeling the real underlying primal feelings. Without repressed needs, one is not anxious for more food than one's body requires and hunger and food intake remain in equilibrium. As with other unreal needs, the hunger for more food than is needed shows that the food is a symbol for another need, which need, whose origins when felt over time, ultimately reduces the need for overeating. Alcohol/drug abuse or the excessive consumption of food are not used by someone for thrills, but for the relief of mental and/or physical suffering. Without nervous tension or depression the person would have no need to tranquilize oneself with overeating or excessive alcohol/drugs.

Envy, the sixth Deadly sin, is the sorrow at another's good fortune or being happy at the misfortune which befalls someone and is another example of a misplaced feeling. Without repressed hurts, one cannot be happy at another's misfortune, nor sorrowful when someone is happy. The normal person's peace of mind is not disrupted by another's good fortune; when one is gladened by someone's misery, he has projected his early repressed feelings on the wrong person. The well-adjusted person is without envy and hatred.

Sloth, the seventh Deadly sin, is laziness of mind and body, resulting in neglect of ones duties. From a psychological viewpoint, laziness is a psychosomatic illness. A healthy body, one not burdened by tensions or depressions, will automatically operate at an optimal level which will assure proper functioning. Neurasthenia, nervous fatigue, is a common condition among chronic sufferers, and can readily be cured by making the blocked feelings felt so that their energy will be dissipated and not exhaust the energy level of the person.

It appears to me that man seems to have created God in "his" own image, rather than the other way around. No "all knowing" God would subject his children to such rules, having a lack of understanding of instinctive human nature, knowing the "true" nature of one's actions, be it biological, neurological, psychological, and/or environmental. jmo

God, according to traditional religion, is omniscient and therefore should know that this kind of behavior is not subjectively sinful behavior, but in reality, is an acting-out behavior by persons who were exposed to any number of neurological, psychological and/or environmental factors in their lives. But God, through religion, condemned these "sins" as behavior to be punished either now or after death. And the more severe the deprivations and exposures to other factors a person suffers, the more serious the "sin" and the more severe the punishment will be due for his/her moral transgressions.

The "sinner" thus suffers a triple whammy!

He/she suffers initially from the original trauma(s).

He/she suffers from their mental anguish and shame during his/her lifetime because of his physical and/or psychological trauma.

He/she suffers from everlasting hell in the hereafter because of his acting-out behaviors while on earth.

The person who has had a good intrauterine life, a subsequent gentle birth, and loving parents who met his/her needs, who was never exposed to negative physical/environoment factors, will have a happy life and again wins the sweepstakes and goes to Heaven when he dies. Hmmm, that's some justice system!

But some will counter-argue that even a "sinful" person can change his behavior through prayer, penitence, sacrifice, or accepting their version of "God" as his personal savior. This perhaps may work for the person suffering from slight deprivations but this hit-or-miss approach may or may not work to defend against the force of psychological, physical or environmental factors effecting compulsive behavior. Why would God have placed so much emphasis on proper behavior and say nothing at all about those factors which drive behavior?

Perhaps "right" behavior can be compelled by fear, but how, other than making one feel ashamed and unworthy, can such change be enforced? The words "love" and "compassion", come to mind. Would the founders of religions, and their writtings, if truly inspired by God, not have known these "sins" for what they really are? Would "God" have condemned "sinners" to everlasting damnation because they became automatons and engaged in behaviors compelled by their earlier traumas or environment? The philosophical problem of the existence of evil has certainly troubled many throughout history. It would appear that an all knowing God allows great suffering. One should not expect a god to act as a human who can so easily tolerate the sufferings of others. But if we're created in the image of God, as my religious indoctrination has taught me, then we, like God, must have an extraordinary capacity for indifference towards human suffering.

I'm not a Buddhist, but I agree with this saying from the Buddha". . . if God permits such misery to exist, He cannot be good; if He is powerless to remedy it, He cannot be God."

Respectfully,

~V

Edited for modifications & to say thank you to Sheri and Gregg for your comments, and for sharing so personally. :)

Sheri, I'm sending you a PM shortly. :wub:

Edited by Inner Space

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greggK

Sorry, I had to take that out; it was something already posted, but the Vatican added to the list.

Edited by greggK

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Sherapy

V you have brought in an interesting point one i have questioned often, the incredible lack of human compassion as a whole....

this is what concerns me the most about religion....the problems of 'evils" are human made in my opinion and I really wonder about the exploitatiion factor when it comes to imposing a doctrine that teaches one is unworthy and hopeless till death unless they have spent a life doing certain things and even this may not be enough depending on soul count ...

How this 'indifference' to human plight of any kind is called love...and deserving such as katrina, or world hunger, wars etc...

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InnerSpace
V you have brought in an interesting point one i have questioned often, the incredible lack of human compassion as a whole....

Just as a side note, humans aren't the only ones capable of compassion. Chimpanzees, dolphins and elephants are compassionate towards ailing or dead members of their species. Source

Scripture teaches that "As a man thinketh, so is he" Proverbs 23:7

French philosopher Blaise Pascal comments that “all our dignity lies in thought…let us strive, then, to think well.”

Humans are capable of much compassion and goodness, but, imo, herein lies the problem:

If we are indoctrinated from the time we are born that there is "no good thing in us, no not one" and that the world is evil because people are inherently evil, it can and does create a dispassionate mentality, which affects society as a whole.

Think about this...at birth, the human brain is in a remarkably unfinished state. Most of its 100 billion neurons are not yet connected in networks. Forming and reinforcing these connections are the key tasks of early brain development. Connections among neurons are formed as the growing child experiences the surrounding world and forms attachments to parents, family members, other caregivers and perhaps "God".

In the first decade of life, a child’s brain forms trillions of connections or synapses. Axons hook up with dendrites, and chemicals called neurotransmitters facilitate the passage of impulses across the resulting synapses. Each individual neuron may be connected to as many as 15,000 other neurons, forming a network of neural pathways that is immensely complex. This elaborate network is sometimes referred to as the brain’s “wiring” or “circuitry.” If they are not used repeatedly, or often enough, they are eliminated. In this way, experience plays a crucial role in “wiring” a young child’s brain. Source

So, neurologically speaking, the more we are told and therefore think of ourselves as evil, the more we will believe it to be so, thus these beliefs become hardwired in our brain. This in turn, has an effect of society. What's the saying "garbage in, garbage out!!!

"New imaging techniques in the last quarter century have enabled researchers to precisely map functioning of different parts of the brain, down to the millimeter. What has been discovered is that new neural pathways are being forged in the brain throughout our whole lives, depending on how we use our mind. Wherever we focus our attention is where new neural connections will be made." Source

Just as the physically weak man or woman can make himself strong by careful and patient training, so the man or woman of weak (negative/evil) thoughts can make them strong by exercising themselves in right thinking. Religion has attempted to address this with scriptures i.e., “...what-so-ever things are true, what-so-ever things are honest, what-so-ever things are pure, what-so-ever things are lovely, what-so-ever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if any praise, THINK on (about) these things.” Philippians 4:8,9

Problem is, it can become most difficult to think about these things if we have been hardwired into believing that "our own righteousness is as filthy rags" and that we can never take credit for our own goodness.

How many ancient (religious) writings attribute mankind as being good, compared to being evil?

So what is considered the source of evil?

The earliest Hebrew writings depicted no devil or demon of evil. "No evil in this city is without God's will. "(Amos 3:6)

"I make peace and I create evil. I the Lord do all these things."(Is. 45:7)

"Out of the most high precedes both evil and good."(Lam. 3:38)

How do we reconcile a God who is supposed all good with being the enactor of evil as well?

IMO, we've projected our own nature, influenced by our environment and psychological reinforcements, onto something outside of ourselves, be it god, angels, satan or demons.

~V

Edited by Inner Space

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InnerSpace

I'm posting this scientific article to show that neuroscientists are beginning to discover that neurological factors may drive "sinful" behavior, that would give the impression, to those who have such beliefs, that these people are/were "demon possessed". This is only one of many studies all seeming to come to the same conclusion. If something goes wrong with the brain, it can create "evil" actions. I'm not trying to justify these actions, but only to shed light on possible causes of such actions.

What makes a sexual predator?

For months before he reportedly killed, anyone could follow the epic struggle in the mind of Joseph Edward Duncan III ---- live, on the Internet. "It is a battle between me and my demons," Duncan wrote in his Web logon April 24. "I'm afraid, very afraid. If they win then a lot of people will be badly hurt." Three weeks later, authorities allege, the demons won. Three members of an Idaho family were bludgeoned to death. Two children were dragged to a remote part of Montana, where both were sexually molested and the 9-year-old boy was murdered.

Brains or youth?

It's hard to conceive a heart black enough to commit such evil acts. But researchers are beginning to understand how another organ, the brain, can conjure the demons that haunt Duncan and other violent sexual predators. Many, perhaps most, dangerous sexual predators appear to possess one or more brain abnormalities that predispose them to their extreme criminal behavior. Those defects can be caused by traumatic childhood, experiences, genetics or events that happen as a person's brain develops in the womb before birth. But whatever their source, they might eventually be used as a neurological "mark of Cain," offering both a warning of what a person might be capable of and an opportunity to prevent them from realizing that potential. Freudians might find the seeds of Duncan's behavior in his youth ---- a lonely childhood, a domineering mother, his parents' tumultuous relationship. An unhappy upbringing certainly increases a boy's chances of growing up to be a violent sex offender. But if an unhappy childhood were all it took to create a sadistic pedophile, every town in America would live under perpetual Amber Alert.

Preoccupation

Authorities allege that when Duncan drove up to the Groene home in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, it wasn't the first time he had unleashed his demons on the world. In 1980, at the age of 17, he earned a 20-year prison sentence for raping and torturing a 14-year-old boy at gunpoint. After his arrest for that crime, he told authorities that he had raped 13 boys by the time he was 16. And authorities now believe that while free on parole in 1997, Duncan kidnapped, raped and murdered 10-year-old Anthony Martinez in Riverside County. "His preoccupation with deviant sexual fantasies of one kind or another date back to the age of 12," one therapist wrote after evaluating Duncan in 1982. "Mr. Duncan continues to conform to the statutory definition of a sexual psychopath."

Psychopathy

Psychopathy is a personality disorder that afflicts a tiny fraction of the general public, but about 25 percent of the prison population. Psychopaths are impulsive and self-centered, with little capacity for guilt, fear or remorse. They take great pleasure in manipulating and exploiting other people to get what they want and tend to live disorganized, nomadic lives on society's fringes. "Psychopaths do know right from wrong; they can tell you right from wrong. They just don't care," said Kent A. Kiehl, a psychiatrist at the Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center in Hartford, Conn.

Dennis Rader, the BTK serial killer, was the perfect picture of a psychopath during recent televised court appearances. His emotionless recollection in June of murdering 10 people illustrated a complete incapacity for guilt or remorse. And his bizarre attempts to make himself seem human at his sentencing by drawing parallels between himself and his victims ("Dolores Davis ---- she loved animals and I worked in animal control") revealed an utter lack of empathy. Kiehl's research suggests that psychopaths have abnormalities in the paralimbic system, a far-flung network of brain structures associated with emotion and emotional memories.

People with brain damage in one component of the paralimbic system, the orbitofrontral cortex, often behave impulsively and selfishly. When epilepsy causes damage to the anterior temporal lobe ---- another element of the system ---- the result can be inappropriate sexual behavior, problems maintaining personal relationships and a lack of empathy. And damage to the amygdala, a part of the paralimbic system related to emotional memory and perception, can render people cold and fearless. Experiments indicate that psychopaths have decreased brain activity in all of those regions. Now Kiehl and his colleagues want to know why. "Most likely, as with most disorders, there's multiple pathways," Kiehl said. For example, abuse or stress during childhood could affect how the paralimbic system develops. Brain damage due to a head injury might induce psychopathic behavior.

Environment (not including the behavioral effects of electromagnetism/geomagnetism on the brain, which I will discuss later.)

A child who grew up in an abusive clan might produce high levels of cortisol ---- a stress hormone. The majority of people might have genes for psychopathic behavior that are turned on only in a cortisol-rich brain. So children who grow up in controlled, nurturing environments become perfectly productive and law-abiding citizens. Growing up in chaotic, abusive conditions, on the other hand, creates a monster. If Duncan ever did have a chance to become a well-balanced individual, he lost it early. Court records indicate that his family moved constantly because of his father's military career. His parents fought incessantly and he rarely, if ever, made friends. He was often teased by his peers. By his own admission, Duncan committed his first sexual assault at the age of 12. The victim was a 5-year-old boy.

How could Duncan have developed his deviant sexual attraction at such a young age? Like psychopathy, pedophilia appears to originate in a number of ways. But just as the various elements of psychopathy all appear to relate to the paralimbic system, the various paths to pedophilia all seem to pass through a particular part of the brain. Located just above the ears, the temporal lobe is involved in face and object recognition, musical ability, personality and sexual behavior. If epilepsy or some other condition causes damage to the temporal lobe, a person can become sexually attracted to inappropriate stimuli, even inanimate objects.

"They have all kinds of deviant behaviors," said Igor Galynker, a psychiatrist at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. Working with several colleagues, Galynker has performed brain scans on 22 pedophiles and found that they had below-normal activity in the temporal lobe. Other studies have found a similar pattern. And medical journals describe cases of men who began molesting children when tumors invaded the same part of their brains; when the tumors were removed, their pedophilia subsided.

Source

Edited by Inner Space

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War Eagle
I'm posting this scientific article to show that neuroscientists are beginning to discover that neurological factors may drive "sinful" behavior, that would give the impression, to those who have such beliefs, that these people are/were "demon possessed". This is only one of many studies all seeming to come to the same conclusion. If something goes wrong with the brain, it can create "evil" actions. I'm not trying to justify these actions, but only to shed light on possible causes of such actions.

What makes a sexual predator?

For months before he reportedly killed, anyone could follow the epic struggle in the mind of Joseph Edward Duncan III ---- live, on the Internet. "It is a battle between me and my demons," Duncan wrote in his Web logon April 24. "I'm afraid, very afraid. If they win then a lot of people will be badly hurt." Three weeks later, authorities allege, the demons won. Three members of an Idaho family were bludgeoned to death. Two children were dragged to a remote part of Montana, where both were sexually molested and the 9-year-old boy was murdered.

Brains or youth?

It's hard to conceive a heart black enough to commit such evil acts. But researchers are beginning to understand how another organ, the brain, can conjure the demons that haunt Duncan and other violent sexual predators. Many, perhaps most, dangerous sexual predators appear to possess one or more brain abnormalities that predispose them to their extreme criminal behavior. Those defects can be caused by traumatic childhood, experiences, genetics or events that happen as a person's brain develops in the womb before birth. But whatever their source, they might eventually be used as a neurological "mark of Cain," offering both a warning of what a person might be capable of and an opportunity to prevent them from realizing that potential. Freudians might find the seeds of Duncan's behavior in his youth ---- a lonely childhood, a domineering mother, his parents' tumultuous relationship. An unhappy upbringing certainly increases a boy's chances of growing up to be a violent sex offender. But if an unhappy childhood were all it took to create a sadistic pedophile, every town in America would live under perpetual Amber Alert.

Preoccupation

Authorities allege that when Duncan drove up to the Groene home in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, it wasn't the first time he had unleashed his demons on the world. In 1980, at the age of 17, he earned a 20-year prison sentence for raping and torturing a 14-year-old boy at gunpoint. After his arrest for that crime, he told authorities that he had raped 13 boys by the time he was 16. And authorities now believe that while free on parole in 1997, Duncan kidnapped, raped and murdered 10-year-old Anthony Martinez in Riverside County. "His preoccupation with deviant sexual fantasies of one kind or another date back to the age of 12," one therapist wrote after evaluating Duncan in 1982. "Mr. Duncan continues to conform to the statutory definition of a sexual psychopath."

Psychopathy

Psychopathy is a personality disorder that afflicts a tiny fraction of the general public, but about 25 percent of the prison population. Psychopaths are impulsive and self-centered, with little capacity for guilt, fear or remorse. They take great pleasure in manipulating and exploiting other people to get what they want and tend to live disorganized, nomadic lives on society's fringes. "Psychopaths do know right from wrong; they can tell you right from wrong. They just don't care," said Kent A. Kiehl, a psychiatrist at the Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center in Hartford, Conn.

Dennis Rader, the BTK serial killer, was the perfect picture of a psychopath during recent televised court appearances. His emotionless recollection in June of murdering 10 people illustrated a complete incapacity for guilt or remorse. And his bizarre attempts to make himself seem human at his sentencing by drawing parallels between himself and his victims ("Dolores Davis ---- she loved animals and I worked in animal control") revealed an utter lack of empathy. Kiehl's research suggests that psychopaths have abnormalities in the paralimbic system, a far-flung network of brain structures associated with emotion and emotional memories.

People with brain damage in one component of the paralimbic system, the orbitofrontral cortex, often behave impulsively and selfishly. When epilepsy causes damage to the anterior temporal lobe ---- another element of the system ---- the result can be inappropriate sexual behavior, problems maintaining personal relationships and a lack of empathy. And damage to the amygdala, a part of the paralimbic system related to emotional memory and perception, can render people cold and fearless. Experiments indicate that psychopaths have decreased brain activity in all of those regions. Now Kiehl and his colleagues want to know why. "Most likely, as with most disorders, there's multiple pathways," Kiehl said. For example, abuse or stress during childhood could affect how the paralimbic system develops. Brain damage due to a head injury might induce psychopathic behavior.

Environment (not including the behavioral effects of electromagnetism/geomagnetism on the brain, which I will discuss later.)

A child who grew up in an abusive clan might produce high levels of cortisol ---- a stress hormone. The majority of people might have genes for psychopathic behavior that are turned on only in a cortisol-rich brain. So children who grow up in controlled, nurturing environments become perfectly productive and law-abiding citizens. Growing up in chaotic, abusive conditions, on the other hand, creates a monster. If Duncan ever did have a chance to become a well-balanced individual, he lost it early. Court records indicate that his family moved constantly because of his father's military career. His parents fought incessantly and he rarely, if ever, made friends. He was often teased by his peers. By his own admission, Duncan committed his first sexual assault at the age of 12. The victim was a 5-year-old boy.

How could Duncan have developed his deviant sexual attraction at such a young age? Like psychopathy, pedophilia appears to originate in a number of ways. But just as the various elements of psychopathy all appear to relate to the paralimbic system, the various paths to pedophilia all seem to pass through a particular part of the brain. Located just above the ears, the temporal lobe is involved in face and object recognition, musical ability, personality and sexual behavior. If epilepsy or some other condition causes damage to the temporal lobe, a person can become sexually attracted to inappropriate stimuli, even inanimate objects.

"They have all kinds of deviant behaviors," said Igor Galynker, a psychiatrist at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. Working with several colleagues, Galynker has performed brain scans on 22 pedophiles and found that they had below-normal activity in the temporal lobe. Other studies have found a similar pattern. And medical journals describe cases of men who began molesting children when tumors invaded the same part of their brains; when the tumors were removed, their pedophilia subsided.

Source

Correct me if i'm wrong here, but just on reading that upper part of that post helps explain why most of these sexual predators (child molesters/pedophiles etc) can be some of the most 'smartest intellectual & or even respected' people on the planet/community, ones the general populace would never ever suspect. It's just for lack of a better word, they seem to have 'something vitally missing up top' the rest of us don't.

Edited by REBEL

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Sherapy

V :D thankyou my friend, you remembered on my question in pm.. I can't thank you enough for taking the time to post about kids and the brain...what wonderful data, i did all of this with my kids and i can tell you they have a passion for leanring ....I know this isnt about kids but when we are moldng the future generations it is a good idea to research and ask questions ..even when we have been a mommy for 20 years, I have a few sound guiding principes but everyday is a new day in the life of a parent and i am always learning and open to self correction and redefinig based on new data that comes in..... each child is different and as parent this is a key point....I think better/informed parenting skills collectivley could help alot in creating a functional humanity as a whole.....

I have a notebook started , honestly i am taking notes and sharing them with others that I know who have these sorts of quetions and who are open to learning....My home school group ..please know how much I am apprecaiting all this....

i concur with you i have had many conversations with a few freinds that have the same concerns aobut the damges of teaching one they are evil and worthless how this goes along way in creating these very behaviors.....

V-question how much if at all does sexual repression and being taught to fear ones sexuality or call it evil and wrong play a part in creating sexual dysfunctions of various kinds .....

i can't help but wonder if this gives rise to deviancy ????

Edited by Supra Sheri

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InnerSpace
Correct me if i'm wrong here, but just on reading that upper part of that post helps explain why most of these sexual predators (child molesters/pedophiles etc) can be some of the most 'smartest intellectual & or even respected' people on the planet/community, ones the general populace would never ever suspect. It's just for lack of a better word, they seem to have 'something vitally missing up top' the rest of us don't.

Putting The Brain On Trial

May 5, 2003

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA -- He was a schoolteacher, a husband, a father. Then he became a pedophile preoccupied with sex.

Doctors who treated him at the University of Virginia hospital in 2000 believe that the man's powerful sex addiction was caused by an egg-sized tumor in his brain.

"It turned out he was a guy who had made it into his 40s without having any problem with this," said Dr. Russell Swerdlow, a UVa associate professor of neurology.

"He had a brain tumor that was damaging the part of the brain that controls impulse."

Once the tumor was removed, the man's sexual obsession disappeared.

Swerdlow and Dr. Jeffrey Burns, a former UVa physician, have written an article on the case. It was published in the March edition of Archives of Neurology.

"The most interesting part of this is getting into the hardwiring of morality and free will," Swerdlow said. "It raises the question, how free is free will?"

This philosophical question is being investigated by doctors across the country. And the answers they find through their research could have serious implications - not just for individual treatment but for the criminal justice system as well.

Brain scans conducted on murderers, for example, show that there is sometimes damage or poor function of the prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain that lies just behind the forehead and eyes.

Such scans and other scientific studies of the mind may one day be widely used in courts as evidence for the defense, as it was for Swerdlow's patient.

"This guy was going to go to prison and what he needed was an operation, not incarceration," Swerdlow said.

Dr. Burns first met the man after he showed up at UVa hospital complaining of headaches and saying he feared he would rape his landlady.

Burns described his behavior as impulsive and hypersexual. "He was propositioning the nurses and the female residents," Burns recalled. "He had no concern that he urinated on himself or how he was perceived by other people. He would stop the conversation between the doctor and himself and ask women to get into bed with him."

Neurological exams showed the man was unable to write or copy drawings normally. An MRI was ordered.

"We found a very large brain tumor replacing the entire orbitofrontal lobe," Swerdlow said.

Swerdlow said the man was relieved that the tumor provided an explanation for his sociopathic behavior.

"He's grateful that he was properly diagnosed and properly treated," Swerdlow said. "He's relieved to know that he isn't the 'evil' person that he thought he was destined to be."

According to Swerdlow's paper on the case, the man secretly visited child pornography Web sites and solicited prostitutes during 2000. The patient said that he had never participated in these activities before.

"It started with a fascination of pornography, including child pornography, and as the tumor grew the symptoms worsened," Swerdlow said.

When the man's wife found out he had made subtle sexual advances toward a young girl, she kicked him out of the house. He was found guilty of child molestation and medicated with drugs intended to produce chemical castration.

A judge ruled that he had to pass a 12-step sexual addiction program or go to jail. But the man was thrown out of the class after he solicited sexual favors from staff and classmates.

Coincidentally, he showed up at UVa's emergency room the night before his sentencing."There was some concern he was malingering in an effort to avoid his court date," Burns recalled.

But then the tumor was found. It was located in the right lobe of his orbitofrontal cortex, which is known to be tied to judgment, impulse control and social behavior.

"The brain tumor was resected and the symptoms were resolved," Swerdlow said. "He was given a second chance at a program for sex offenders. He successfully completed the program."

But seven months after the tumor was removed, the headaches began anew. And the man again started viewing porn. An MRI revealed tumor regrowth. In 2002, a tumor was removed for the second time. And for the second time, the behavior disappeared.

"He's doing great, but there is always the possibility that it could grow back," Swerdlow said. "It's a really bizarre, Kafkaesque situation."

Swerdlow argues that the case legitimizes the question of whether some sociopathic behavior is caused by brain disorders.

"Will we one day find that people perform criminal acts because they have some kind of damage or abnormality to this part of the brain?" Swerdlow asked. "I think that we are just beginning to scratch the surface of how personality is hardwired." Source

V :D thankyou my friend, you remembered on my question in pm..

You're welcome. :)

V-question how much if at all does sexual repression and being taught to fear ones sexuality or call it evil and wrong play a part in creating sexual dysfunctions of various kinds .....i can't help but wonder if this gives rise to deviancy ????

Sheri, I've got some studies I think you'll find interesting. I'll send them via PM, as time permits. :)

Edited by Inner Space

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Mabon

Hello Inner Space!

This thread continues to get more interesting as it grows! The subject matter is fascinating. Thank you for starting this thread, YOU ROCK!!!!

:nw:

Warmest regards,

Mabon.

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War Eagle
Putting The Brain On Trial

May 5, 2003

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA -- He was a schoolteacher, a husband, a father. Then he became a pedophile preoccupied with sex.

Doctors who treated him at the University of Virginia hospital in 2000 believe that the man's powerful sex addiction was caused by an egg-sized tumor in his brain.

"It turned out he was a guy who had made it into his 40s without having any problem with this," said Dr. Russell Swerdlow, a UVa associate professor of neurology.

"He had a brain tumor that was damaging the part of the brain that controls impulse."

Once the tumor was removed, the man's sexual obsession disappeared.

Swerdlow and Dr. Jeffrey Burns, a former UVa physician, have written an article on the case. It was published in the March edition of Archives of Neurology.

"The most interesting part of this is getting into the hardwiring of morality and free will," Swerdlow said. "It raises the question, how free is free will?"

This philosophical question is being investigated by doctors across the country. And the answers they find through their research could have serious implications - not just for individual treatment but for the criminal justice system as well.

Brain scans conducted on murderers, for example, show that there is sometimes damage or poor function of the prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain that lies just behind the forehead and eyes.

Such scans and other scientific studies of the mind may one day be widely used in courts as evidence for the defense, as it was for Swerdlow's patient.

"This guy was going to go to prison and what he needed was an operation, not incarceration," Swerdlow said.

Dr. Burns first met the man after he showed up at UVa hospital complaining of headaches and saying he feared he would rape his landlady.

Burns described his behavior as impulsive and hypersexual. "He was propositioning the nurses and the female residents," Burns recalled. "He had no concern that he urinated on himself or how he was perceived by other people. He would stop the conversation between the doctor and himself and ask women to get into bed with him."

Neurological exams showed the man was unable to write or copy drawings normally. An MRI was ordered.

"We found a very large brain tumor replacing the entire orbitofrontal lobe," Swerdlow said.

Swerdlow said the man was relieved that the tumor provided an explanation for his sociopathic behavior.

"He's grateful that he was properly diagnosed and properly treated," Swerdlow said. "He's relieved to know that he isn't the 'evil' person that he thought he was destined to be."

According to Swerdlow's paper on the case, the man secretly visited child pornography Web sites and solicited prostitutes during 2000. The patient said that he had never participated in these activities before.

"It started with a fascination of pornography, including child pornography, and as the tumor grew the symptoms worsened," Swerdlow said.

When the man's wife found out he had made subtle sexual advances toward a young girl, she kicked him out of the house. He was found guilty of child molestation and medicated with drugs intended to produce chemical castration.

A judge ruled that he had to pass a 12-step sexual addiction program or go to jail. But the man was thrown out of the class after he solicited sexual favors from staff and classmates.

Coincidentally, he showed up at UVa's emergency room the night before his sentencing."There was some concern he was malingering in an effort to avoid his court date," Burns recalled.

But then the tumor was found. It was located in the right lobe of his orbitofrontal cortex, which is known to be tied to judgment, impulse control and social behavior.

"The brain tumor was resected and the symptoms were resolved," Swerdlow said. "He was given a second chance at a program for sex offenders. He successfully completed the program."

But seven months after the tumor was removed, the headaches began anew. And the man again started viewing porn. An MRI revealed tumor regrowth. In 2002, a tumor was removed for the second time. And for the second time, the behavior disappeared.

"He's doing great, but there is always the possibility that it could grow back," Swerdlow said. "It's a really bizarre, Kafkaesque situation."

Swerdlow argues that the case legitimizes the question of whether some sociopathic behavior is caused by brain disorders.

"Will we one day find that people perform criminal acts because they have some kind of damage or abnormality to this part of the brain?" Swerdlow asked. "I think that we are just beginning to scratch the surface of how personality is hardwired." Source

Truly thought provoking info there IS :tu: Lets just hope it's carefully used and not abused in the future if & or when it's introduced into the Criminal Judicial System...

I recall reading a thread started by Sars a while back with a member posting that science has already begun to 'back engineer the human brain'(?) whoa!

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InnerSpace
Hello Inner Space!

This thread continues to get more interesting as it grows! The subject matter is fascinating. Thank you for starting this thread, YOU ROCK!!!!

:nw:

Warmest regards,

Mabon.

:blush: Wow, thank you Mabon!!! :D

Truly thought provoking info there IS :tu: Lets just hope it's carefully used and not abused in the future if & or when it's introduced into the Criminal Judicial System...

I recall reading a thread started by Sars a while back with a member posting that science has already begun to 'back engineer the human brain'(?) whoa!

Yeah, I hear ya REBEL, it could be a double-edged sword.

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SS79

This thread is fantastic, I don't have anything to add to it really . just thought i'd say how great it is and that i've learnt a lot from reading it .very thought provoking . :tu:

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War Eagle
Putting The Brain On Trial

May 5, 2003

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA -- He was a schoolteacher, a husband, a father. Then he became a pedophile preoccupied with sex.

Doctors who treated him at the University of Virginia hospital in 2000 believe that the man's powerful sex addiction was caused by an egg-sized tumor in his brain.

"It turned out he was a guy who had made it into his 40s without having any problem with this," said Dr. Russell Swerdlow, a UVa associate professor of neurology.

"He had a brain tumor that was damaging the part of the brain that controls impulse."

Once the tumor was removed, the man's sexual obsession disappeared.

Swerdlow and Dr. Jeffrey Burns, a former UVa physician, have written an article on the case. It was published in the March edition of Archives of Neurology.

"The most interesting part of this is getting into the hardwiring of morality and free will," Swerdlow said. "It raises the question, how free is free will?"

This philosophical question is being investigated by doctors across the country. And the answers they find through their research could have serious implications - not just for individual treatment but for the criminal justice system as well.

Brain scans conducted on murderers, for example, show that there is sometimes damage or poor function of the prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain that lies just behind the forehead and eyes.

Such scans and other scientific studies of the mind may one day be widely used in courts as evidence for the defense, as it was for Swerdlow's patient.

"This guy was going to go to prison and what he needed was an operation, not incarceration," Swerdlow said.

Dr. Burns first met the man after he showed up at UVa hospital complaining of headaches and saying he feared he would rape his landlady.

Burns described his behavior as impulsive and hypersexual. "He was propositioning the nurses and the female residents," Burns recalled. "He had no concern that he urinated on himself or how he was perceived by other people. He would stop the conversation between the doctor and himself and ask women to get into bed with him."

Neurological exams showed the man was unable to write or copy drawings normally. An MRI was ordered.

"We found a very large brain tumor replacing the entire orbitofrontal lobe," Swerdlow said.

Swerdlow said the man was relieved that the tumor provided an explanation for his sociopathic behavior.

"He's grateful that he was properly diagnosed and properly treated," Swerdlow said. "He's relieved to know that he isn't the 'evil' person that he thought he was destined to be."

According to Swerdlow's paper on the case, the man secretly visited child pornography Web sites and solicited prostitutes during 2000. The patient said that he had never participated in these activities before.

"It started with a fascination of pornography, including child pornography, and as the tumor grew the symptoms worsened," Swerdlow said.

When the man's wife found out he had made subtle sexual advances toward a young girl, she kicked him out of the house. He was found guilty of child molestation and medicated with drugs intended to produce chemical castration.

A judge ruled that he had to pass a 12-step sexual addiction program or go to jail. But the man was thrown out of the class after he solicited sexual favors from staff and classmates.

Coincidentally, he showed up at UVa's emergency room the night before his sentencing."There was some concern he was malingering in an effort to avoid his court date," Burns recalled.

But then the tumor was found. It was located in the right lobe of his orbitofrontal cortex, which is known to be tied to judgment, impulse control and social behavior.

"The brain tumor was resected and the symptoms were resolved," Swerdlow said. "He was given a second chance at a program for sex offenders. He successfully completed the program."

But seven months after the tumor was removed, the headaches began anew. And the man again started viewing porn. An MRI revealed tumor regrowth. In 2002, a tumor was removed for the second time. And for the second time, the behavior disappeared.

"He's doing great, but there is always the possibility that it could grow back," Swerdlow said. "It's a really bizarre, Kafkaesque situation."

Swerdlow argues that the case legitimizes the question of whether some sociopathic behavior is caused by brain disorders.

"Will we one day find that people perform criminal acts because they have some kind of damage or abnormality to this part of the brain?" Swerdlow asked. "I think that we are just beginning to scratch the surface of how personality is hardwired." Source

"The most interesting part of this is getting into the hardwiring of morality and free will," Swerdlow said. "It raises the question, how free is free will?"

Brought the above post forward again because of something i recalled reading a while back, a documented article about how the German general populace POWs included back in the 30s & 40s were intentionally swindled into drinking through the water supply with 'higher than average levels' of fluoride & calcium which was & is known to effect part of the brain that distorts & or damages free thinking (a 'dumbing down' think it was coined?) with of course other unhealthy implications caused to the human body that is scientifically now known today.

Thats it thats all :tu::D

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Leonardo

Some unbelievably great posts on here!!! Everyone should take a bow...especially IS!!!

Reading the last few posts has made me wonder...what is Good and Evil???

Most people would define paedophiles or other sexual predators/criminals as 'evil', and I would be hesitant to disagree, but when 'evil' is simply the result of trauma to the brain then we have to look closely at how we perceive those who commit such crimes. I'm not suggesting all, or even most, of those who prey on the vulnerable in such a way are suffering physical trauma, nor am I abrogating the fact there is nearly always a choice involved, yet there are cases, such as IS posted above, where the perpetrator could be described as a victim himself.

Some people would suggest the influences leading people to commit horrendous crimes such as rape, paedophilia etc can be attributed to some external agency - yet we see direct evidence that, in some cases at least, those influences are purely physiological. If 'evil' is aberrant behaviour influenced or attributable to physiological, or psychological, trauma, then what of 'Good'? Good and Evil is a human condition and does not exist in nature. Were we (humanity) not to exist then would Evil, would Good? If not then surely the Devil (evil) and God (good) are human creations - concepts given a literary and mythological existence to explain why we have this unnatural condition of duality?

Of course, there is still room for god despite this - but would that god be the divinity described in any religion today?

I hope this doesn't detract from the gist of your thread, IS, and I hope it doesn't send the discussion in a direction other than that you wish to explore. I feel there are serious questions we need to ask ourselves though, given the information we now have available to us regarding our natures and how this is defined by our experiences and our physiologies.

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OldTimeRadio

One of the things I recall from my old critical thinking class is that the human mind simply can not conceive of the truly non-existent. (By the way, this was a secular class, NOT some religiously-oriented course.)

If that's the case, how did a mindless, soulless, ultra-materialist, blind watchmaker evolution ever manage to create such a wide-spread belief in the existence of such a "non-existent" thing as God?

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Leonardo

Conceiving of something as existing is not 'conceiving of non-existence' and I suspect you have misunderstood what is being stated in some of the posts here, OTR. Evolution did not generate the concept of god - humanity did.

If you wish to suggest that conceiving of god as a fantasy - a device to quiesce our fears of death and our own, sometimes cruel, nature - is impossible if 'god does not exist' (and no-one here is saying that) then perhaps you could explain how we can conceive of dragons, aliens etc?

Belief, OTR, does not require that which is believed in to exist for the belief to be held true.

Edited by Leonardo

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Sherapy
Some unbelievably great posts on here!!! Everyone should take a bow...especially IS!!!

Reading the last few posts has made me wonder...what is Good and Evil???

Most people would define paedophiles or other sexual predators/criminals as 'evil', and I would be hesitant to disagree, but when 'evil' is simply the result of trauma to the brain then we have to look closely at how we perceive those who commit such crimes. I'm not suggesting all, or even most, of those who prey on the vulnerable in such a way are suffering physical trauma, nor am I abrogating the fact there is nearly always a choice involved, yet there are cases, such as IS posted above, where the perpetrator could be described as a victim himself.

Some people would suggest the influences leading people to commit horrendous crimes such as rape, paedophilia etc can be attributed to some external agency - yet we see direct evidence that, in some cases at least, those influences are purely physiological. If 'evil' is aberrant behaviour influenced or attributable to physiological, or psychological, trauma, then what of 'Good'? Good and Evil is a human condition and does not exist in nature. Were we (humanity) not to exist then would Evil, would Good? If not then surely the Devil (evil) and God (good) are human creations - concepts given a literary and mythological existence to explain why we have this unnatural condition of duality?

Of course, there is still room for god despite this - but would that god be the divinity described in any religion today?

I hope this doesn't detract from the gist of your thread, IS, and I hope it doesn't send the discussion in a direction other than that you wish to explore. I feel there are serious questions we need to ask ourselves though, given the information we now have available to us regarding our natures and how this is defined by our experiences and our physiologies.

Great point Leo, i have read that frontal lobe damage and early childhood esepcially if it is abusive or teachings that teach one is evil and beyond hope or extreme repression around ones sexual essence are factors that have a huge impact on later dysfunctions...I look forward to IS's work on this....

when we take the reesearch we have and create avenues of rehabilitation that work we have a win win for us all we serve no one least of all humanity by dubbing 'evils" and writing them off to beyond help or evil ..I do feel compassion and understanding is a very reasonable first step towards prevention of dysfunctions that are so devasting to all involved..

if i may also add V~ that creating childhood environments that are loving and encouraging and free of violence and punishment/reward systems or fear based systems of guiding ( this isn't inferring no age appropriate limits) is one of the best steps as a humanity we can take for preventing future psychopaths....

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OldTimeRadio
Evolution did not generate the concept of god - humanity did.

But in a totally blind watchmaker universe evolution dictates what Man can conceive. That was the point I was attempting to make.

....perhaps you could explain how we can conceive of dragons, aliens etc?

Surely. We have "dragons" because ancient Chinese "proto-paleontologists" attempted to "flesh-out" saurian fossils they unearthed....and did a remarkably good job of it given the limitations of their day. We can conceive of "aliens" because the concept of "stranger" has been around since nearly forever, probably clear back to the time when uni-cellar organisms were the most advanced life-forms on earth.

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Leonardo

And we have the concept of god because early humans could not explain the world around them in a scientific manner. Your point is???

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OldTimeRadio
Your point is???

My point, which I thought I had expressed clearly twice, is that a wholly materialistic evolution should not be able to result in a belief in God. Now I may be just flat-out wrong, of course, but I don't see how I could possibly explain my views any clearer than I already have.

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Lt_Ripley

Atlas didn't shrug: mapping the human brain

By Michele Solis

Emboldened by the success of its mouse brain map, Seattle's Allen Institute for Brain Science announced this week that it is taking on three new, similar "mapping" projects: the human brain, the developing mouse brain, and the mouse spinal cord. Using techniques honed on the mouse brain project, the Allen Institute will catalog the activity of thousands of genes within neural tissues.

Like maps, these "atlases" reveal a whole world of structures that are used as landmarks for scientists studying the brain. A thin slice of brain is first stained and then examined under a microscope. In these atlases, the "landmarks" are fluorescent spots that indicate places where a certain gene has been turned on, allowing the protein it encodes to be made. This technique is useful for understanding the biochemical processes, or "genetic personalities," of different parts of the nervous system, and can be used as a reference when trying to understand what has gone wrong in various neural disorders.

Each Allen Institute project adds a new twist to the atlas business: The human brain atlas will be 2,000 times larger than the original mouse atlas; the developing mouse brain atlas will show how gene activity patterns change over time, from the fetus to adulthood; and the mouse spinal cord atlas is notable because the spinal cord is often overlooked in the scramble to study the brain.

Taking inventory of the active genes in a particular brain or spinal cord region is an enormous, maybe even tedious, endeavor. But the excitement lies in the resulting massive databases that will, like the original mouse brain map, be freely available on the Web. The hope is that sharing this mother lode of data with other scientists will expedite research into neural disorders such as schizophrenia, epilepsy, autism and spinal cord injuries, and help design appropriate drug treatments.

http://www.crosscut.com/business-technolog...he+human+brain/

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Lt_Ripley
One of the things I recall from my old critical thinking class is that the human mind simply can not conceive of the truly non-existent. (By the way, this was a secular class, NOT some religiously-oriented course.)

If that's the case, how did a mindless, soulless, ultra-materialist, blind watchmaker evolution ever manage to create such a wide-spread belief in the existence of such a "non-existent" thing as God?

The God gene

The God gene hypothesis states that some human beings bear a gene which gives them a predisposition to episodes interpreted by some as religious revelation. The idea has been postulated and promoted by geneticist Dr. Dean Hamer, the director of the Gene Structure and Regulation Unit at the U.S. National Cancer Institute. Hamer has written a book on the subject titled, The God Gene: How Faith is Hardwired into our Genes.

According to this hypothesis, the God gene (VMAT2), is not an encoding for the belief in God itself but a physiological arrangement that produces the sensations associated, by some, with the presence of God or other mystic experiences, or more specifically spirituality as a state of mind.

Simply put, the gene is involved in the breakdown of monoamines, a class of neurotransmitters which contribute to an individuals emotional sensitivity. The loose interpretation is that monoamines correlate with a personality trait called self-transcendence. Composed of three sub-sets, self-transcendence is composed of "self-forgetfulness" (as in the tendency to become totally absorbed in some activity, such as reading); "transpersonal identification" (a feeling of connectedness to a larger universe); and "mysticism" (an openness to believe things not literally provable, such as ESP). Put them all together, and you come as close as science can to measuring what it feels like to be spiritual. This allows us to have the kind of experience described as religious ecstasy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_gene

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