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Is This Your Brain On God?

Is This Your Brain On God?
Brain Interactive More than half of adult Americans report they have had a spiritual experience that changed their lives. Now, scientists from universities like Harvard, Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins are using new technologies to analyze the brains of people who claim they have touched the spiritual — from Christians who speak in tongues to Buddhist monks to people who claim to have had near-death experiences. Hear what they have discovered in this controversial field, as the science of spirituality continues to evolve.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=110997741

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From Minister To Atheist: A Story Of Losing Faith hide captionTeresa MacBain walks her dog, Gracie, at a park near her Tallahassee, Fla., home. After a lifetime in the church, MacBain came out as an atheist at an American Atheists' convention in Bethesda, Md. Colin Hackley for NPR

Neural correlates of consciousness Figure 1: The Neuronal Correlates of Consciousness (NCC) are the minimal set of neural events and structures – here synchronized action potentials in neocortical pyramidal neurons – sufficient for a specific conscious percept or a conscious (explicit) memory. From Koch (2004). The Neural Correlates of Consciousness (NCC) can be defined as the minimal neuronal mechanisms jointly sufficient for any one specific conscious percept (Crick & Koch 1990). What Is Consciousness? Neuroscientist May Have Answer to the Big Question Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com/Lightspring The following is an excerpt from the new bookConsciousness and the Social Brain by Michael S. A. Graziano (Oxford University Press, 2015): Shop ▾

On being an atheist diagnosed with MS It was pretty well exactly at this time last year, in the middle of writing the sixth of my columns on Marx for Comment is free that I had to take a quick break and go and get the results of an MRI scan from the doctor. Thinking it would just show that the prolapsed disc that I had to have removed 20 years ago was giving me some problems, I was actually left floundering when the doctor read the report, handed it over to me and explained that in fact I had multiple sclerosis. All of those weird symptoms that I had put down to stress, overwork, RSI, the prolapsed disc and all sorts of other things suddenly fell into place.

Why Do Astronauts Experience God? By Rebecca Sato Source: Daily Galaxy In February, 1971, Apollo 14 astronaut Edgar Mitchell experienced the little understood phenomenon sometimes called the “Overview Effect”. He describes being completely engulfed by a profound sense of universal connectedness. Without warning, he says, a feeing of bliss, timelessness, and connectedness began to overwhelm him. He describes becoming instantly and profoundly aware that each of his constituent atoms were connected to the fragile planet he saw in the window and to every other atom in the Universe. He described experiencing an intense awareness that Earth, with its humans, other animal species, and systems were all one synergistic whole. He says the feeling that rushed over him was a sense of interconnected euphoria.

The Roots of Consciousness: Theory, Consciousness and the New Physics Consciousness and the New Physics Space-Time According to Einstein The special theory of relativity, formulated by Albert Einstein in 1905, is based on the experimentally confirmed idea that the velocity of light is the same universal constant, c= 3x1010 cm. Interesting comments! Alain de Botton, a prominent writer and outspoken atheist, has a grand vision to nurture a truly secular society. He foresees awe-inspiring monuments dedicated to nature. Museum and hotel designs would encourage contemplative thought and self-improvement. Psychotherapists would occupy offices in accessible yet glamorous boutiques, providing easy opportunities for supportive interactions with others. Although such a radical transformation of civic life—religion for atheists, as he calls it—is unlikely to make it beyond the blueprints, de Botton is on to something.

Gabriel Kreiman Tests Free Will with Single-Neuron Measurements of Pre-Conscious Activity It was an expedition seeking something never caught before: a single human neuron lighting up to create an urge, albeit for the minor task of moving an index finger, before the subject was even aware of feeling anything. Four years ago, Itzhak Fried, a neurosurgeon at the University of California, Los Angeles, slipped several probes, each with eight hairlike electrodes able to record from single neurons, into the brains of epilepsy patients. (The patients were undergoing surgery to diagnose the source of severe seizures and had agreed to participate in experiments during the process.) Probes in place, the patients—who were conscious—were given instructions to press a button at any time of their choosing, but also to report when they’d first felt the urge to do so.

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