Re: Chapter 1: Enter Feelings
We may have seen the same documentary, as I too recall a similar theory. Maybe Damasio hits on this subject deeper into the book.
I think many of the spiritual leaders from the past and present that claim to have had visions are liars. Yes, there are undoubtedly those that genuinely believe, but there are probably a great percentage that are perpetrating a fraud...and justifying or rationalizing it by telling themselves that they are doing more good than harm.
Do you think John Edwards or James Van Praagh believe they truly talk to the dead? Of course not. They're charlatans and have been exposed as such on numerous occasions by people such as James Randi and Penn & Teller. And then there are those like Oral Roberts. He claimed years and years ago to see Jesus standing before him as a giant - maybe 50' tall. Jesus ordered/threatened him to get his flock to donate massive amounts of money or he would be killed.
What an evil bastard. Lying in the name of Christianity in order to extort cash from the masses to sustain his lavish lifestyle.
These are small examples, but I could go on and on for days. The point I am making is that I don't believe most religious leaders believe their own bullshit. They are the charismatic opportunists that are manipulating the normal human tendency to believe nonsense. They know its bullshit and are capitalizing on other people not knowing. This is my opinion, but I could make some very strong arguments to support it. Years of studying claims and finding 100% of them being proven as hoaxes and utter bunk provides a rather solid foundation for my reasoning.
Dawkins might have been resistant to the test. If someone tested me to see if hypnosis would work I doubt it would. I am too nervous about relinquishing control to be able to free my mind enough for it to take hold. I'm also rather skeptical about whether or not it works in the first place, but I wouldn't be comfortable enough to even play the game and let someone try.
The 4/5 statistic is impressive as hell and very convincing. If the experiment was done correctly there is an obvious biological link here. I think more studies are needed and then the world needs to be educated as to the findings. But how many theists are interested in knowing the truth? How many have the intellectual integrity to even consider the possibility that their brains are hard-wired to believe in Gods and demons and heaven and hell and all sorts of magical stuff? Not many. So the findings will remain buried in science journals while the blind continue down their paths of self-deception.
Now here is my question. Why is it so easy for some people to let go of these mystical beliefs? I have my own life story and everyone does. What happened in my life to push me over the edge and get me to value reason over blind faith? Is my brain lacking a particular structure? What's the scoop? I would seriously love to know.Chris "The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them"