Feeling the Spirit in an MRI Scanner

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oliver_denom
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Feeling the Spirit in an MRI Scanner

Post by oliver_denom » Tue Nov 29, 2016 11:24 am

A researcher has taken devout Mormons and exposed them to religious stimuli to produce a spiritual experience inside an MRI machine.

https://www.researchgate.net/blog/post/the-brain-on-god
http://www.sltrib.com/news/4617561-155/ ... s-light-up

It's interesting to me because it validates my understanding of my own indoctrination. Spiritual experiences are a conditioned response, and like Pavlov's dogs whose mouths water at the sound of a bell, the reward centers of our brains light up when exposed to certain faith promoting stimulus. It also validates the feeling of withdrawal that many of us feel while leaving. Being fully invested and raised from birth in the church literally affects us like a drug.
“You want to know something? We are still in the Dark Ages. The Dark Ages--they haven't ended yet.” - Vonnegut

L'enfer, c'est les autres - JP

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wtfluff
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Re: Feeling the Spirit in an MRI Scanner

Post by wtfluff » Tue Nov 29, 2016 12:12 pm

Now that they've used science to prove that feeling The Spirit™ is merely feeling / emotion...

They need to take the same RM's and show them their favorite Disney movie while in the MRI scanner, and show them it's THE SAME THING as when they felt The Spirit™ "during spiritually evocative, LDS Church-produced videos".

Easily manipulated emotions / feelings ARE NOT a good way to find truth.

Easily manipulated emotions / feelings are also a COMPLETELY AWFUL way to make life decisions.

Of these things I testify, in the name of HeartSell™, and Science; B****h!
Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. -Frater Ravus

Keep the company of those who seek the truth - run from those who have found it -Václav Havel

Brilliant.

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Corsair
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Re: Feeling the Spirit in an MRI Scanner

Post by Corsair » Tue Nov 29, 2016 12:19 pm

This is a great study and I have seen others like it. We cannot directly use this to show that the "spirit" is unreliable. The apologist interpretation is that God put physical structures in our brains that actually receive the promptings of the spirit. The MRI can only show that something lit up when the spirit was felt and the fact that gambling, games, drugs, and sex all use the same location does not mean they are equivalent. It means that followers of Christ must carefully hone their ability to feel the spirit so that it stands out from those other signals.

Unfortunately, we cannot simply say that "it's all in your head" when believers tell us their spiritual promptings. While we may believe this is true with our evidence, a believer may simply "know" that their prompting is from God. A believer usually needs their promptings to betray them before the second guessing can start.

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oliver_denom
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Re: Feeling the Spirit in an MRI Scanner

Post by oliver_denom » Tue Nov 29, 2016 12:36 pm

Corsair wrote:Unfortunately, we cannot simply say that "it's all in your head" when believers tell us their spiritual promptings. While we may believe this is true with our evidence, a believer may simply "know" that their prompting is from God. A believer usually needs their promptings to betray them before the second guessing can start.
Oh yeah, but I don't care too much what they believe. Mormonism has moved to a place where none of its claims can be tested. It's a closed loop. I think this is both useful and explanatory of my experience. I assume a believer would find a way to spin the findings, like the subjects themselves did in the Trib article, but it doesn't matter to me much. I'm not really an ex-mormon missionary. If someone wants to stay in, then that's fine, there are ways to do it. If not, then stuff like this is informative.
“You want to know something? We are still in the Dark Ages. The Dark Ages--they haven't ended yet.” - Vonnegut

L'enfer, c'est les autres - JP

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Red Ryder
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Re: Feeling the Spirit in an MRI Scanner

Post by Red Ryder » Tue Nov 29, 2016 1:01 pm

Where do we sign up for these studies?

Specifically the ones where we read NOM, Reddit, and RFM in a scanner?

More specifically, the ones where we imbibe in pleasure inducing activities that test the effects on breaking the word of wisdom AND the law of chastity?

What? You guys don't fantasize about drunken orgies in an MRI scanner? :shock:
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

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LostMormon
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Re: Feeling the Spirit in an MRI Scanner

Post by LostMormon » Tue Nov 29, 2016 2:07 pm

"Do we see the same type of patterns in other faith traditions? How universal is this library of brain responses?" Anderson asked. "We'd love to know that."
I think this pretty much sums it up, and I am pretty sure the answer is going to be a big fat YES! if it's not, then I guess the church is true after all right? Because only the Mormon faith can light up that part of the brain, well except for sex, drugs and gambling, but wait don't those things drive away the spirit, and are considered evil?

So is the spirit lighting up the evil part of our brains, or are evil things lighting up the spiritual part of our brains?

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Corsair
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Re: Feeling the Spirit in an MRI Scanner

Post by Corsair » Tue Nov 29, 2016 11:32 pm

Red Ryder wrote:What? You guys don't fantasize about drunken orgies in an MRI scanner? :shock:
If you do have that drunken orgy in an MRI scanner, be sure to remove your wedding band. Not because it will cause guilt, but because the magnetic field will cause other more serious problems with metal on you.

Also, you are suppose to hold still in an MRI. This does not sound like the best way to be involved in a "law of chastity" incident.

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moksha
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Re: Feeling the Spirit in an MRI Scanner

Post by moksha » Wed Nov 30, 2016 5:08 am

wtfluff wrote:Now that they've used science to prove that feeling The Spirit™ is merely feeling / emotion...
I imagine everything that evokes any feeling or importance to us resonates with some area of our brains. We are all biological creatures. Play the Flower Duet from Lakme and I would respond. It would be the same with seeing Edvard Munch's painting The Scream or smelling the aroma of a good Thai curry. Conjuring up an image of the vast Spiritus Mundi would have to make the colors shimmer on a brain scan. If any of these responses are desirable for us, then we must reserve some degree of latitude for that expression in others.

:D
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

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wtfluff
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Re: Feeling the Spirit in an MRI Scanner

Post by wtfluff » Wed Nov 30, 2016 11:11 am

moksha wrote:
wtfluff wrote:Now that they've used science to prove that feeling The Spirit™ is merely feeling / emotion...
I imagine everything that evokes any feeling or importance to us resonates with some area of our brains. We are all biological creatures. Play the Flower Duet from Lakme and I would respond. It would be the same with seeing Edvard Munch's painting The Scream or smelling the aroma of a good Thai curry. Conjuring up an image of the vast Spiritus Mundi would have to make the colors shimmer on a brain scan. If any of these responses are desirable for us, then we must reserve some degree of latitude for that expression in others.

:D
Of course.

Good Thai Curry is most definitely True™.
Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. -Frater Ravus

Keep the company of those who seek the truth - run from those who have found it -Václav Havel

Brilliant.

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MalcolmVillager
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The God of the shrinking gaps strikes again!

Post by MalcolmVillager » Thu Dec 08, 2016 1:50 pm

This is awesome stuff. I watched a show about a year ago, not too long after my shelf broke, where they looked at the neurological basis of near death experiences. They were able replicate them in the "lab" with living humans.

It turns out that when your brain is starved of oxygen, it gets tunnel vision as your brain tries to focus on the vital center of view. A feeling of immense peace and love surfaces as your brain fires off all sorts of hormones to keep itself alive.

Interestingly, NDE survivors typically experience "god" and "afterlife" in ways familiar to their religion or at least culture. It begs the argument that really the brain is trying to survive, then very incoherent. Those feelings, experiences, and visitations are retroactively put back together in a way that makes the most sense. Thus a vague person you see while feeling intense loving sensations is interpreted to be a passed loved one, god, or spiritual being.

Anyway, the God of the shrinking gaps strikes again!

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