God on the brain

What would otherwise have been a merely interesting article on neurotheology from Wired becomes a whole other thing when you add commentary from Bruce Sterling… Bruce’s bits in (((triple parentheses))):

“In a way, this is a very cold look at religious belief,” said National Institutes of Health cognitive scientist Jordan Grafman, co-author of a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “We’re only trying to understand where in the brain religious beliefs seem to be modulated.” (((Oh. Merely that? Gosh, no problem there, Dr. Darwin.)))

Though scientific debate about God’s existence has transfixed the public, Grafman’s findings fit into a lesser known argument over why religion exists. (((“The Atheism Gland.” Hoo boy, can’t wait to see the neutraceutical biz here. “Hey fundie. Smoke this reefer. God goes away.” And then evangelists return fire with, you know, consecrated wafers brimming over with fourteen-initial deoxyhydro-entheogenic something-or-other. The Civil Cold War moves onto its final battlefield, the prefrontal cortex.)))

Some scientists think it’s just an accidental byproduct of social cognition. They say humans evolved to imagine what other people are feeling, even people who aren’t present — and from there it was a short step to positing supernatural beings. (((Cut to the chase, boys. Chimps are religious. Now go prove that.)))

(((Saint Francis said that BIRDS were religious. Go put the little scanner on their peanut parrot brains — they flock, they’re highly sociable, so maybe birds are MUCH MORE RELIGIOUS THAN PEOPLE. As noted spiritual enthusiast William Blake used to put it: “How do you know but ev’ry Bird that cuts the airy way, Is an immense world of delight, clos’d by your senses five?”)))

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