individuals hear sounds ... when they see things move or flash. ..."

(Top Posts - Science - 0080707)

Someone wrote ...

> [...]

> If there is an all-powerful god, then he can prevent
> stuff like this happening.

> Could have prevented the Holocaust, could have
> prevented the massacres in Rwanda, could have
> prevented the murder of innocent people.

> If there is a god, how come he designed the world
> with hurricanes and tornadoes and earthquakes; how
> come he designed our bodies so that we are subject
> to all kinds of horrible diseases.

> Either he doesn't exists or he is the biggest jerk of all
> time.

The arguments regarding God are, from a
religious viewpoint, typically admirational
towards all of the naturalistic facts which are
viewed as positives (for humans). Sometimes,
the religious view the positives of naturalism
as 'miraculous', and see God as responsible
for those positives.

When it comes to the negative, the responsi-
bility for that shifts to humans and/or satan
among believers, typically, although some
view even that as a God deal. Even so, quite
a few of the religious find some way to blame
all the downsides on human 'sin' (standard
part of the religious guilt-tripping program),
with God viewed as 'innocently' vindictive
towards humans.

From a strictly naturalistic viewpoint, all that
is reflects the physics of nature.

The following, from a strictly naturalistic view-
point, shows a startling aspect of how evolution
has resulted in amazing exceptions to the way
multi-cellular creatures (in this case, the species
homo sapiens) sense the world.

- - -
Neurobiologists Discover Individuals
Who 'Hear' Movement
- - -


ScienceDaily (Aug. 7, 2008) - Individuals with
synesthesia perceive the world in a different
way from the rest of us. Because their senses
are cross-activated, some synesthetes perceive
numbers or letters as having colors or days of
the week as possessing personalities, even as
they function normally in the world.

Now, researchers ... have discovered a type
of synesthesia in which individuals hear sounds ...
when they see things move or flash. Surprisingly,
the scientists say, auditory synesthesia may not
be unusual--and may simply represent an en-
hanced form of how the brain normally proces-
ses visual information.

Psychologists previously reported visual, tactile,
and taste synesthesias, but auditory synesthesia
had never been identified.

Caltech lecturer in computation and neural sys-
tems Melissa Saenz discovered the phenomenon
quite by accident.

"While I was running an experiment at the Cal-
tech Brain Imaging Center, a group of students
happened to pass by on a tour, and I volunteered
to explain what I was doing."


"As part of the experiment, a moving display was
running on my computer screen with dots rapidly
expanding out, somewhat like the opening scene
of Star Wars. Out of the blue, one of the students
asked, "Does anyone else hear something when
you look at that?"

After talking to him further, I realized that his exper-
ience had all the characteristics of a synesthesia:
an automatic sensory cross-activation that he had
experienced all of his life," says Saenz.

A search of the synesthesia literature revealed that
auditory synesthesia--of any kind--had never been

Intrigued, Saenz began to look for other individuals
with the same ability, using the original movie seen
by the student as a test. "I queried a few hundred
people and three more individuals turned up," she

Having that specific example made it easy to find
more people. That movie just happens to be quite
"noisy" to the synesthetes and was a great screening
tool. When asked if it made a sound, one of the indi-
viduals responded, "how could it not?"

I would have been less successful had I just gener-
ally asked, "Do you hear sounds when you see
things move or flash?" because in the real environ-
ment, things that move often really do make a sound,"
for example, a buzzing bee.


Saenz and Koch suspect that as much as 1 percent
of the population may experience auditory synesthe-


View the video used to identify auditory synesthetes,
in a quiet location, at

- - - end excerpts - - -