Patrick mcnamara where god and science meet

Where God and Science Meet: The neurology of religious experience - Google Книги

patrick mcnamara where god and science meet

How Brain and Evolutionary Studies. Alter Our Understanding of Religion. VOLUME 3. The Psychology of Religious Experience. Edited by Patrick McNamara. Where God and Science Meet: How Brain and Evolutionary Studies Alter Our Understanding of Religion – Edited by Patrick McNamara. Where God and Science Meet: How Brain and Evolutionary Studies (Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality): Patrick McNamara Ph.D.: Health.

In recent years, several lines of evidence have converged on the conclusion that religiousness is associated with a specifi c and consistent set of biological processes. Religion appears to be a cultural universal. There may be a critical period adolescence during the life cycle of normally developing persons when religiousness is best transmitted from an older to a younger generation see volume II, chapter 4.

Individual differences in religiosity are associated with consistent health benefi ts see volume I, chapter 7; volume III, chapter 2 as well as unique health risks see volume III, chapters 4 and 8.

Twin studies have shown that religiousness is moderately to highly heritable see volume I, chapter 3. Consistent with these preliminary genetic studies, neurochemical and neuropharmacologic studies have implicated limbic-prefrontal serotoninergic and dopaminergic mechanisms in mediation of religious experiences see volume II, chapters 1 and 2; volume III, chapters 1 and Neuroimaging and neuropsychologic studies have implicated a consistent set of neurocognitive systems and brain activation patterns in religious activity mostly limbic-prefrontal networks see volume II, chapters 2, 3, 8, and 9; volume III, chapter 7.

A cognitive psychology of religious belief has revealed both the unique aspects of religious cognition as well as its commonalities with other basic cognitive processing routines see volume I, chapters 6, 9, and 10; volume II, chapter Although the array of previously mentioned fi ndings suggests to some investigators that it is reasonable to speak about potential neurocognitive specializations around religiosity, caution is in order when attempting to interpret the fi ndings see volume II, chapters 3, 5, 6, and 8; and all three commentaries.

As in every other scientifi c enterprise, what is investigated in any given study is not the whole phenomenon of interest but rather only a small constituent part of the whole. That is too vast a phenomenon to be studied in a single project. Instead, they tried to operationalize religiousness in various ways—with everything from a score on an inventory about religious practices to measurements on those practices themselves.

Making inferences about the nature of religion as a whole from neurobiologic correlations of one aspect of religiosity is, of course, fraught with danger as all three commentators and several of our authors point outbut there is simply no other way to proceed.

Inference and extrapolation from observations you collect on operationalized measures of the phenomenon you are interested in is necessary if you want to make progress.

Where God and Science Meet » The McNamara Lab » BUMC

What is all-important, however, is to extrapolate, infer, and proceed with caution and humility. Constraints on incautious claims and inferences can often be obtained if you have a good theoretical framework from which to generate inferences about data meanings and from which you can develop falsifi able hypotheses.

When it comes to biologic correlates of religiousness, the best available theory is evolution.

patrick mcnamara where god and science meet

Thus, several of the essays in these volumes discuss potential evolutionary and adaptive functions of religion. Claims, however, about potential adaptive functions of religiousness also need to be treated with great caution and tested against the evidence. Several authors in these volumes address the question of whether religiousness can be considered an evolutionary adaptation see volume I, chapters 1, 4, 5, 7, 8, and 10; volume II, chapter 4; volume III, chapter 6; and all three commentaries.

For those scientists who think the evidence supports some variant of an adaptationist position see volume I, chapters 4, 5, 7, and 10; volume II, chapter 4; volume III, chapter 6the questions shift to what part of religiousness is actually adaptive and what functions might religiousness enact? The capacity for trance, placebo responding, and ASC, of course, would yield both health benefi ts and arational or even irrational belief states over time.

Other theorists who tilt toward some kind of adaptationist position emphasize both costly signaling theory as well as gene—culture interactions to explain particular associations of religiosity, such as its ability to promote character strengths volume I, chapter 2its ability to protect against death-related fears volume I, chapter 9; volume III, chapter 8its ability to generate life meanings volume III, chapter 3its ability to address attachment needs volume I, chapter 8; volume II, chapter 6its links with the sources and phenomenology of dreams volume III, chapter 9and its similarities with special perceptual capacities of the aesthetic sense volume II, chapter 7.

Several authors in these volumes have pointed out just how easy it is to get muddled when attempting to think through evolutionary approaches to a phenomenon as complex as religiousness see volume I, chapters 1, 8 and 10; volume II, chapter 6; and all three commentaries.

patrick mcnamara where god and science meet

It is all too easy to overlook the harmful and presumably nonadaptive aspects of religiousness see volume I, chapters 1 and 6; volume III, chapters 4 and 8.

Ignorance of the complexity of religious phenomena, an underappreciation of the pervasive effects of social learning and cultural transmission on cognitive functions, and confusion around technical terms in evolutionary biology such as adaptation, exaptation, and so forth all militate against progress in this new science of the biology of religion.

  • How Brain and Evolutionary Studies Alter Our Understanding of Religion
  • Where God and Science Meet
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To help think through problems of evolutionary change and adaptations in animals, the evolutionary biologist has often utilized the principles and methods of cladistics and phylogenetic analysis. Debates on potential adaptive functions of religion may benefi t by taking a look at these methods.

Where God and Science Meet

Cladistic methodology is used to analyze phylogenetic relationships in lineages that are recognized by the presence of shared and derived advanced characteristics.

These techniques have now been successfully used in the cultural arena, as in analyzing biocultural changes e.

Scholars of ritual and religious practices have now amassed a huge amount of data on the historical development of ritual practices and on ritual practices in premodern human groups.

Eminent contributors to this set help us answer questions including: How does religion better our brain function? What is the difference between a religious person and a terrorist who kills in the name of religion? Is there one site or function in the brain necessary for religious experience?

patrick mcnamara where god and science meet

Koenig and Thomas J. Religious Behaviors, Badges, and Bans: Bering The Ritual Healing Theory: A Neurochemical Perspective by Andrew B.

patrick mcnamara where god and science meet

Newberg Neuroimaging Studies of Religious Experience: A Critical Review by Nina P. Azari Religion and the Life Course: A Science of What? Hallucinogens and the Experience of the Divine by David E. Nichols and Benjamin R. Newberg and Bruce Y. Rogers and Raymond F.