God on the Brain
(Top Posts - Science - 042003)

Some excerpts from the article:

Why do people experience religious visions? BBC Two's
Horizon suggests that in some cases the cause may be
a strange brain disorder.

... Professor VS Ramachandran, of the University of
California in San Diego, believed that the temporal lobes
of the brain were key in religious experience. He felt that
patients like Rudi and Gwen could provide important evi-
dence linking the temporal lobes to religious experience.

... We will never know for sure whether religious figures
in the past definitely did have the disorder but scientists
now believe the condition provides a powerful insight
into revealing how religious experience may impact on
the brain.

They believe what happens inside the minds of temporal
lobe epileptic patients may just be an extreme case of
what goes on inside all of our minds.

For everyone, whether they have the condition or not, it
now appears the temporal lobes are key in experiencing
religious and spiritual belief.

- - - end excerpts - - -


Baby Brain Development: Temporal Lobe


The temporal lobe (aptly named because it's near the
temples) controls hearing, some aspects of language
and smell, and some portions of memory and emotions,
especially fear.

Hearing is the first sense to develop completely in babies.

Within minutes of birth a newborn will startle and cry at
loud noises. That's because much of the early physical
development occurs long before your baby is born.

Research shows that the inner ear is the only sense organ
to fully form before birth. In fact, it reaches its adult size by
the middle of pregnancy ...

- - - end excerpt - - -


God and the Temporal
Lobes of the Brain,
A talk given by Dr. V.S. Ramachandran


... while the world itself may be real enough, our own indivi-
dual sense of being a "self" that is in some way aloof from
that "creation" is an illusion. Several object lessons were
presented to this effect. ...

- - - end excerpt - - -


While reading the article, I reflected on a recent experience
I had watching an Extreme Engineering TV show called
"Sky City". In Tokyo, there are plans to build a gigantic
building 2/3rds of a mile high. During the show they placed
the viewer in a virtual world of construction underway on an
over 1,600 foot tall building in Taiwan. While watching that,
I actually felt I was one with the camera, was on top of that
tower, was inches away from falling ... the experience, one
that people who suffer from fear of heights have, was totally
illogical, but my body/nerves reacted as if I was really in

I was merely viewing an image on a small box that was in
no way, shape, or form a real danger, a real threat, a real
experience close to falling over a thousand feet, but my
brain "decided" to invoke fear throughout my body and legs
as if I was really one with the camera. For some reason, the
small box of video information was translated by sight into
a perception by my brain that there was great risk, and my
knowing there was no risk could not compensate for the
naturalistic fear response which invoked the feeling that a
real danger was present.

The other day, I chose to climb on my roof to try to remove
a branch that was interfering with satellite reception. Same
deal, same exact fear response, though that fear response
was regarding an actual risk. I chose to not go near the edge
of the house where the branch was, and later on climbed a
ladder and (with a lesser degree of fear, but still a fear of
heights at the mere height of my feet being about 7 feet
from the ground) sawed off the branch.

So, what does all that convey in terms of who/what each of
us really is? In my view, it tends to support the notion that we
are naturalistic stimuli-response entities, and those with fear
of heights are genetically (in large measure) predisposed to
fearing many things having to do with heights. But why can
I fly in an airplane with no fear of heights? For some reason,
my brain views the airplane innards as safe, even though the
airplane is tens of thousands of feet in the sky ... yet, in a tall
building, if I go near the edge of a window and look out, yikes !!!
fear-of-heights sets in big time ... actual physical reactions in
the nerves.

Another example of involuntary responses, every time I watch
a show referring to the 9-11-01 attack, and images are shown
of the twin towers, my eyes tear up and sadness ensues ... like
right now, just thinking about it causes that physical reaction to
occur ...