Adventures in Yonderland

A log of my adventures, both real and imagined.

Philo Post


I was at some of my program friends’ house and the subject of religion briefly came up somehow. It’s interesting for us Americans because unlike the French, I think we just sort of slip into discussions of politics and religion as opposed to just going for it. Anyway, one of my friends cited a study wherein people prayed and their brains were scanned for activity. In those people, the areas related to two-person communication were activated, so it was as if the brain was having a conversation with another being. However, when the study asked atheists to pray to a deity, the brain was found to have none of the two-way activation that was found in the religious fellows.

Now obviously, I have no specifics on the study. I doubt it has been repeated and I don’t know what level of deviation or criteria were used. However, I am going to assume that the study is correct.

My friend interpreted that information to mean that people who believe in a diety create the being by the simple fact of believing in it. This is a theory I’ve come across in literature (if anyone ever read the Everworld series). My immediate reaction was to recount another experiment called “Spooky Action at a Distance” which I can post about at request.

But now I’m thinking. Does it really mean that we “create” God? I mean, on a really basic level I think all it really can be said is that the person believes themselves to be having a conversation…but we already knew that by the very parameters of the study. So what does it mean, if anything?

Here’s another sidenote. There has been discussion about “uploading” oneself into a computer. Some people even claim to be able to perform the feat within the next few decades. But here’s the thing: no one knows how to program emotion. Or, get this, a conception of the self. Here’s an article about that: click here.

Chew on it. Think about it.

Really, stop right now and take thirty full seconds to let that sink in.

I don’t believe anyone really understand how that works in the brain either. It just happens. But stop there for a minute. We don’t know where our conception of self comes from or why we have one exactly. We don’t know why we feel certain emotions (yes, I understand that there are a lot of identified mechanisms, but why). How do we know that we’ve been programmed “correctly” in regards to ourselves? How do we know that maybe there’s not another way to conceive of “self” that is “higher” than what we do now.

I know that’s all fairly disconnected. And I don’t have a conclusion yet, but think about those two things in relation with one another. And maybe take a minute to wonder about it.

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