Dissecting God and the Soul
I've read posts by theists who attempt to justify their beliefs scientifically by pointing to universal experiences among theists, particularly altered states of consciousness (meditation, prayer, etc) which are said to produce "cosmic, trancendental experiences". The uniformity among those who have reported such experiences has been cited as "proof" that these experiences are "real". Well no one doubts the reality of an experience, but is just having this experience REALLY evidence that it stems from a common, supernatural source? Does it prove that consciousness is something separate and independent from the brain and does it point to evidence of a personal god? Many theists, no doubt would want to claim it as such, for such experiences are often the chief motivation for folks to embrace a theistic stance. They cite changed lives and a host of "feelings' that they claim are "indescribable" as "evidence". Is this really evidence and what is it evidence of?
Enter Dr. Michael Persinger of the Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario.
Dr. Persinger is the inventor of the "God helmet", a device that he says can duplicate any religious/mystical experience by bathing the paretial lobes with weak electromagnetic energy. Subjects have reported everything from a feeling of being one with the cosmos to having conversations with dead relatives and religious figures. Richard Dawkins tried it, but only experienced mild relaxation. It appeared that the type of experiences subjects had was dependent on their own psychological background and beliefs.
I wish I had a dime for every time a theist told me something like,"I know Jesus (or Allah if talking to a Muslim)is real because I have a close personal relationship. It's not something that I can tell you about, it's something that must be experienced."
Apparently science has found a way many can enjoy the religion trip without the danger of ingesting the religion drug.
"Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings."