Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Can we play God?

Are there really such things as paranormal experiences? What about God? Do these really exist or are they just an elaborate trick of the mind?

Dr. Michael Persinger has found through research that areas within the temporal lobes of our brain are responsible for these thoughts and feelings. Using the Persinger and Makarec’s Personal Philosophy Inventory, a persons temporal lobe sensitivity is measured. Responses to this inventory show the range goes from extremely sensitive, such as those suffering from temporal lobe epilepsy, to very low sensitivity. Persinger found that the more sensitive a person is, the more likely they are to report having had paranormal experiences. Not surprisingly, there is also a correlation between paranormal beliefs and paranormal experiences.

So how can Persinger make us feel this sensed presence?

Persinger uses a helmet, now dubbed the “God Helmet” that has electrical coils attached. During the experiments, Persinger will send magnetic fields through the coils to stimulate the right hemisphere of the brain. The belief behind stimulating the right hemisphere is that it is in direct contrast to what happens in the left hemisphere of our brains. When the temporal lobe is stimulated in the left hemisphere, it creates an even greater sense of self. By stimulating the right hemisphere, Persinger hopes to create a sense outside of the self. There have been many participants in Persinger's experiment over the years with 80% having reported a sensed presence, sometimes even referring to the presence as an experience with God.

The work of Michael Persinger shows that there could be direct explanations for paranormal experiences. Could this be the answer to all of our problems?

When someone says they saw a ghost at the foot of their bed when they woke up in the middle of the night, could it simply just be our brains tricking us? Further research in the field of neurotheology could prove to debunk all of the myths currently existing about ghosts, aliens, angels, and other unexplainable experiences.

The "God Helmet" in action...

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  1. I remember reading about this a little while back. There's not a lot of research done in this area for obvious reasons, but I really think it should be looked into more. I mean, it's interesting to think that some of our paranormal experiences could be something that our minds conjoured up. The mind is such a powerful thing, and I don't even think we've even fully realized it's capabilities.

  2. I don't think this really means causation. But it is interesting maybe those who believe in god are more evolved neurologically in certain areas.