Religion

Gene Expression

Category archives for Religion

God is too cute to be a literalist

And God Said: How Translations Conceal the Bible’s Original Meaning is a litany of how the mapping from Hebrew to other languages has resulted in a distortion of the precise idiom of the original. I actually thought the best example of this given was a non-Biblical one, the fact that English-speakers are totally clueless as…

Billion year contract

This is funny: Raised as Scientologists, Christie King Collbran and her husband, Chris, were recruited as teenagers to work for the elite corps of staff members who keep the Church of Scientology running, known as the Sea Organization, or Sea Org. They signed a contract for a billion years – in keeping with the church’s…

Brain damage = transcendence

The Spiritual Brain: Selective Cortical Lesions Modulate Human Self-Transcendence: The predisposition of human beings toward spiritual feeling, thinking, and behaviors is measured by a supposedly stable personality trait called self-transcendence. Although a few neuroimaging studies suggest that neural activation of a large fronto-parieto-temporal network may underpin a variety of spiritual experiences, information on the causative…

The rise of the irreligious Left

Barry Kosmin at CUNY has published the results of three surveys of American religion since 1990. These “American Religious Identification Surveys” (ARIS) were done in 1990, another in 2001, and finally in 2008. One of the major findings of the ARIS has been the rise of those who avow “No Religion”. Looking through the data…

Tom Rees reports on an analysis of the GSS which point to the correlation between low verbal skills and a Biblical literalist outlook. Well, I’ve talked about this at length. Religion & IQ, Biblical literalism or low IQ: which came first?, Pentecostals are stupid? Unitarians are smart? and Educational levels & denomination. Poking around the…

Who believes in the evil eye?

A friend pointed me to a new Pew survey, Many Americans Not Dogmatic About Religion. It shows the general finding that though Americans are a religious people, they’re moderately ecumenical in their practices and beliefs. I was concerned in particular though with the resurgence of supernatural beliefs with the decline of institutional religious orthodoxy. The…

Which nations have state religions?

One thesis in regards to the vitality of religions is that state sponsorship tends to result in disaffection because public monopolies offer sub-standard product. In contrast, separation between the public sector and religion results in a free market of ideas which promotes vigorous diversity and competition which satisfies the tastes of all (or nearly all).…

New Agers are more delusional

Relative to atheists, and conventional religious people (though conventional religious people are more delusional than atheists). Tom Rees has more: Overall, the New Agers were more delusional than the Religious. That was particularly true for belief in witchcraft and telepathy (not shown in the graph). But the New Agers were also more likely to think…

Religion & cognitive neuroscience

Neuroanatomical Variability of Religiosity: We hypothesized that religiosity, a set of traits variably expressed in the population, is modulated by neuroanatomical variability. We tested this idea by determining whether aspects of religiosity were predicted by variability in regional cortical volume. We performed structural magnetic resonance imaging of the brain in 40 healthy adult participants who…

The bleeding of American Catholicism

I remember back in the early 1990s that there was some talk about the United States going from a plural majority Protestant nations, to a Roman Catholic one at some point in the early 21st century. This in itself wouldn’t be that big of a deal today, Canada already has more Catholics than Protestants (44%…