one of the most interesting things i have read recently was in a book titled 'Why We Believe What We Believe' (one of the better books i have read, and i've marked like a general authority might mark their scriptures. The book is about the neurology of belief. I highly recommend it).
The study I'm writing about now was an attempt to see if atheists and theists(believers) brains operated in different ways and if that influenced their perception of the world.
The studies participants were shown a jumble of letters and a jumble of lines or shapes.
Sometimes the jumbled letters contained actual words sometimes not. Similarly sometimes the jumble of lines and shapes contained faces and sometimes not.
The god believers had a tendency to see words and faces in the jumble when there actually were none. Showing their minds tended to see things they were looking for that did not actually exist.
HOWEVER, when the atheists were shown the jumbles they tended to NOT see the faces and words when they WERE THERE! Indicated their minds had a disinclination to notice certain things that actually existed.
So, both the atheist and the theists had incorrect perceptions.
This gets even more interesting:
When the atheists were given L-Dopa which raises the levels of dopamine in a persons brain, the atheist would then percieve the jumble in the same way theists had.
I am curious how an agnostic would test in such a situation.
I think this shows interesting connections to mania. When manic, a person tends to make connections between everything, nothing ifeels like a coincedence but cennects into an intricate web the deluded mind has created. When manic a persons mind is FLOODED with dopamine .
Also while manic one feels hyper religious, euphoric and has a grandiouse sense of self.
Not unlike the religious person. They feel a sense of peace, a sense of self worh and love, and tend to see god's hand in everything. Kind of like a mild mania.
So it seems that the higher levels of dopamine a person naturally has, determined largely by genetic factors can have a strong impact on whether a person will be a believer or not. and can even influence whether they will be fundamentalist or not. i have a lot more to say about that last paragraph, hopefully will write it all out tomorrow.
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