Monday, August 8, 2011

Matthew Alper | The Brain & Spiritual Beliefs, August 7, 2011

Source: coasttocoastam.com, godpart.com



Author and philosopher Matthew Alper shared his contention that human beings are genetically hard wired to experience belief in spirituality and various paranormal phenomena, even though there is no scientific basis for it. According to sociobiology, there are regions in the human brain that generate these belief systems, and Alper concluded that the brain evolved this way as a coping mechanism to deal with the knowledge of our inevitable deaths. "I believe that the anxiety [about death] was so overwhelming that it forced the selection of this cognitive modification which...compels us to believe that there's this other transcendental force...through which, even though we know the physical body will die, we now believe this spiritual component will live on forever," he said.

Alper reported on studies of meditation and prayer, which show decreased blood flow in the amygdala region of the brain-- this helps to reduce anxiety and fear, which could account for the sense of spirituality. Similarly, he noted that the parietal lobe also gets a decreased blood flow, which can affect spatial and temporal consciousness. Many people who are "hyper religious" have epilepsy, he added.

Regarding NDEs, if someone is in the process of dying, decreased blood flow and oxygen cause the brain to release the neurotransmitter glutamate, which interacts with the temporal lobe and triggers religious experiences, he continued. Alper also suggested that giving credence to UFOs/aliens was another way for people to escape anxiety around death, through belief in a supernatural or transcendent power.