Mind Blender

Slicing and dicing across neuroscience, tech, and medicine

The Evolution of Faith

I have told a wide variety of men and women that they have a diagnosis that is going to take their life. What they do after that, however, varies quite a bit. Read More

I guess that when all is

I guess that when all is lost, a made-up invisible man in the sky is all we have to hold onto.

What a load of tripe

Your understanding of biological evolution is very poor. Groups do not breed. There is no such thing as doing stuff to help the species propagate. Only individuals breed. Every single action you have ever taken is to make yourself happier. Even seemingly selfless acts to help others is done because of selfish reasons. Helping a neighbor in need is ONLY because it may help you somehow even if you don't know it. Our evolution led us down this path. Your assertions that belief in god/s may be a genetic inheritance is a huge claim and unsupported by any evidence. There is just so much wrong with this that I don't know what to point out. Of course people made up stories to explain things! Furthermore, the belief that you are not really going to die is an obvious comforting thought! I think it is just a denial to accept facts personally. I for one am perfectly okay with my mortality and accept this is the only life I will ever have.

first thought after a dire diagnosis

I imagine it differs from person to person -- and yet I was thunderstruck when I read that when Gloria Steinem was given her cancer diagnosis, her first thought was: "I had a fabulous life." That was essentially what happened in my case (I was 27). My first (and unforgettable) thought was, "I had a great life." Yet if anyone had asked the day before the unexpected diagnosis, I would have enumerated mainly my frustrations and shattered dreams.

I never forgot the sense of gratitude that flooded me after I realized that I'd had a rich life. I survived and eventually wondered if I'd perhaps become religious with age due to the fear of death. But that passed. My rejection of supernaturalism only deepened, along with my love of life and my gratitude for being able to experience this beautiful earth and witness the magnificence of the universe. And the death of Christopher Hitchens showed me how an atheist can die with grace.

A few issues

An interesting article but perhaps one lacking understanding.
I guess I need to debunk the sociology first. It seems that psychology has become the pawn of sociology and a type of religion with the infamous DSM series it's bible.
The statement

human society has done a lot of good for the propagation of the human species
suggests that the author has an inflexible belief system and simply spouts sociological nonsense without cognitive dissemination. From basics we see that the fundamentals of material life, being reproduction and propagation of the species,are individual. The consideration of two hunters working together to kill the same beast opposes the fact that they would kill each other first. Whilst the labour of multiples can accomplish tasks an individual is incapable of the clear method of choice is slavery and not co-operation. Indeed we may consider employment a form of slavery.
Society change in the western world circa the enlightenment period, when the ignorant masses were empowered and today still hold sway over democratically elected governments, albeit having been manipulated by sociological developments such as the media and internet in particular has had huge negative affects on mankind. There can be no doubt that democracy is a failure when considered against the likes of benevolent dictatorships.
If sociology is not damned for its removal of the last natural right, being that of freedom of mind, then it surely is for its manipulation of the nurturing Mother into a co-provider. Society is rife with unbalanced individuals having lacked the necessary maternal love.
In a direct sense society is also responsible for birth control and therefore acts against propagation of the species. The side effect of sexual promiscuity being common but as with substance abuse, anxiety and depression more of a development resulting from the maternal love loss.
The futility of this is that social control regulates the degree of deviancy to mediocrity and prevents mankind from finding their true selves or even voicing their opinions.
Faith is no more than cognitive and material functionality formulated by a belief system created by others. Sociology has reduced spirituality to an alarming extent. This has been an easy task as the understanding of spirituality can only come from experience, which few have, yet sociology is perceived to be understood through the massive brainwashing power of the media.

Faith is also a tool of power as seen in many years of the Roman Catholic church and Islam today. Its power lies in fear. Yet sociology is empowered by fear too, perhaps to a greater extent. Why would anyone fear the death of their material form, it is simply nature and we can not have any certainty of any negative effect. Indeed it can be argued that if there was a certainty of a positive aspect then suicide would be rife.

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Eric Leuthardt, M.D., is the director of the Center of Innovation in Neuroscience and Technology at Washington University School of Medicine, where he researches brain-computer interfaces.


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