Monday, February 14, 2005

Two pages that interested me today:

(1) from Red Nova : Can this black box see into the future?

The Princeton site to which this refers : Global Consciousness Project

has a page of various attempt at visualisation.

Almost all psychology textbooks have a demonstration of how slight changes in the visual field are picked up by the brain. The oxford Companion to the Mind has quite a few monochrome ones of varing complexity. Even in a simple page of Ys with one tipped at a slight angle (just 5-10 degrees from vertical) the odd man out stands out a mile.

(2) New York Times : God and Evolution

This reminds me of the idea they had a few years back about religious mania in people with temporal lobe epilepsy. "Religious feeling" can be switched on by stimulating a single part of the temporal lobe. But it is difficult to grasp just how the possession of one different gene makes the difference. What exactly does it switch on or off?

A lot of this work falls down because what exactly spiritual means is hardly discussed. If it was [ i.e. they got a few philosophers in] they would give up. Too little is made of the fact that belieiving in God can be a choice rather than an overwhelming feeling.

Most of the people I known who "went" religious did so after a traumatic experience like a marriage breakup or a death, where for a period they had a nervous breakdown. As they began to recover and the mind starts to work properly again, someone conveniently pops up to say: God will solve all your problems. Somehow making such a suggestion at this sort of stage results in someone who feels they have discovered God. Rational thinking willl not shift their mind-set.

The biologist Alistair Hardy wrote a book which I think was called The Biology of God.

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