Sam Harris is up to it again, only less vitriolically this time.
He’s done brain-scans to find out how the brain reacts to things it believes vs. disbelieves, and finds the reaction to be associated with primitive areas of the brain associated with visceral perceptions and emotions. This response does not depend on whether the “truth” is subjective or objective.
I’d be interested in the details of the study, and in versions of it run by folks of less obvious an a priori ideological stance. Of course, I’m predisposed to like the conclusions, but I’m a bit skeptical about studies that rely, fundamentally, on semantic categories and subject self-reporting of belief or disbelief to correlate with more objective things like fMRI images. I can see the potential for skewing results in how the questions are framed and asked, how the subject responses other than the imaging are interpreted, etc. Still, I already believe that all we think/feel/believe etc is encoded in brain activity, so even if the paper were methodologically unassailable, it would be a bit ho hum to me, and still never accepted by those already convinced faith is given by god or some such.
Nah, false propositions are often the best stuff on which to base humor. I enjoy being a wise-ass and joking, and it usually entails some sort of twist on reality or “truth”. My humor may disgust others, but never does it disgust me.
Next Harris is going to be Rev. what’s his name of Landover Baptist Church, just to appease our “primitive” brains. Please! I don’t like that Rev even if he is “acting” and doing a satire of Evangelical Ministers. That man makes me sick and Harris is starting to make me sick.
I guess that multiple factors can affect the responses of the observed.
A typical reaction of a wife is rejection when she is told that her husband has died in an accidente minutes ago, but if she is sick in bed her reaction may be resignation and crying with great pain as soon she hears it. Who knows.
Lets say, “I do not reject anything but lazy people, I can’t handle a person who doesn’t want to produce something. My reaction is not to help them, neither to look for or to accept their friendship.”
Can the status or behaviour of laziness be included in the study? Can be this case used as a new cataloging?
Lastly, the attention given to this rather small study of only 14 people is testament to the influence Sam Harris can use. It is said that this is a first of it’s kind to study belief and disbelief, but as I point out above, so what.
14 people and his study made it to the Annals of Neurology? IMHO, a test group that size doesn’t give his results much meaning. I would take this with a grain of salt and wait for further and larger tests. IF they can repeat these results more than once, then amybe it’s worth paying attention to and um… believing. Damn! I was trying to avoid that word. Oh well, I’m still skeptical of this study.