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  1. #1
    Don't pet me. JAVO's Avatar
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    Default Is the brain the source of faith?

    Is the brain the source of faith?

    Can brain imaging prove or disprove that the brain is the source of faith?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Harris
    People who feel that religious faith is a singular operation of the brain--if they admit that it's an operation of the brain at all--would object to what I'm doing, since it may show that faith is essentially the same as other kinds of knowing or thinking. The whole thing will seem fishy to anyone who thinks we have immaterial souls running around in our bodies.
    Related article:
    What Your Brain Looks Like on Faith - TIME

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    filling some space UnitOfPopulation's Avatar
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    I haven't read about the idea that faith might be related to something immaterial. But then again, I know that the concept of "soul" is something immaterial, spiritual and intangible by the popular definition. I don't believe either. I go by the original, although little known definition of soul: a living creature. I was delighted by usehername's recent new sig btw

    Many religions seem to define faith as believing without reason. I'm sad that some support ideas they admit no reason believing in. Or then, perhaps they just have a poor choice for wording.

    My definition of faith is to trust something on the basis of strong but inconclusive evidence. This includes topics where no conclusive evidence can be gathered at the moment.

    Having faith in something with conclusive evidence against it would qualify as dogmatic stubbornness for me.

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    The brain itself is not a source of faith, the mind is. You can't see a mind.

  4. #4
    Oberon
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    Quote Originally Posted by Uberfuhrer View Post
    The brain itself is not a source of faith, the mind is.
    That's more than you know.

    Also, the mechanists around here (as I understand it) see cognition as no more than a data-processing function of the brain, so the point is moot.

    Sorry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JAVO View Post
    Is the brain the source of faith?
    I would have trouble imagining so otherwise... Faith is a thought process and all thought process are produced by the brain.

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    ish red no longer *sad* nightning's Avatar
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    It reminds me of what I've learnt in the psychology class on brain and cognition. How do people make decisions? "Hard decisions vs easy decisions" Types of decisions that can be made can be divided categorically by a tree. Impersonal decisions (where should I have my lunch today?) vs Personal decisions (how should I respond to his request?). Personal decisions are again subdivided before easy and hard. Easy decisions are without major conflicts. The logical and emotional aspect both points towards the same answer. Hard questions is when the two does not agree. Where you are forced to weigh and balance the two in coming up with your decision. Snuffling baby example. That was the notes for that class.

    Linking this to the Times article... If a hard decision is just a normal decision except it involves both the mental and emotional areas of the brain. Then there should be no surprise that brain activation when assessing objective vs subjective problems would be similar. Although it is a neat spin to relate brain activation to visualizing faith.

    Ventral medial prefrontal cortex (VMPC)... oh darn looks like I was correct. It's based on the same research afterall. People are speculating too much about what can be done with MRI results. Activation of brain regions tells you nothing about what is going on in there? Only that the region is involved in processing believes. Even the negative subtraction can only point out so much. A belief is a belief... Whether processing believes is the same or not cannot be readily answered using MRI. This is great for publicity though.

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    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAVO View Post
    Is the brain the source of faith?

    Can brain imaging prove or disprove that the brain is the source of faith?
    Anything a human being can process cognitively or emotionally must take place in the brain on some level. Why is this shocking? If you believe in faith, then you can believe that the brain is simply responding to the will of the soul or something. If not, it gives you an explanation of why people have faiths. I don't understand why anyone has a problem with this idea, really.

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    Quote Originally Posted by oberon View Post
    That's more than you know.

    Also, the mechanists around here (as I understand it) see cognition as no more than a data-processing function of the brain, so the point is moot.

    Sorry.
    I understand that. But you don't know what the chemical reactions in the brain represent. (If you can, then I have officially developed a phobia that people might try to read my thoughts.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by JAVO View Post
    Is the brain the source of faith?

  10. #10
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAVO View Post
    Is the brain the source of faith?

    Can brain imaging prove or disprove that the brain is the source of faith?
    Yes...

    (Is this not like asking "Can you have belief without a brain" and "does your brain register in brain imaging"?)

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