Vanessa Bell Armstrong. Joy to the World. Beverly Crawford. It's Christmas Time. O Little Town of Bethlehem. Lewis Redner. Yolanda Adams. Hallelujah Chorus.
The McClurkin Project. Holy, Holy, Holy. Reginald Heber. Track Listing - Disc 2. O Come. Israel Houghton. This Christmas. I mean, he became fairly obsessed with Buddhism. But he began to wonder, could his newfound spirituality have anything to do with his brain? So the next time he visited his neurologist, he asked to see a picture of his brain scan, the most recent one. And, in fact, the temporal lobe was very different — he saw the before and after the surgery.
It was very different. It had kind of pulled away from the skull. His temporal lobe was smaller, a different shape, it was covered with scar tissue, and those changes had begun to spark electrical firings in his brain. He essentially developed temporal lobe epilepsy. But there was no question in his mind that his faith, his newfound love for his fellow man, all of that, came from his brain. I want to propose that how you come down on that issue depends on whether you think of the brain as a CD player or a radio.
Most scientists who think that everything is explainable through material processes think that the brain is like a CD player: The content, the CD with the song on it, for example, is playing in a closed system, and if you take a hammer to the machine, you know, destroy it, the song is not going to play. In other words, no God exists outside of the brain, no God that is trying to communicate exists outside of the brain.
All spiritual experience is inside the brain, and when you alter the brain, God and spirituality disappear. Now there is some scientific support for this line of thinking. These days scientists can make transcendent realities, or God, disappear or appear at will. Recently a group of Swiss researchers found out that when they electrically stimulated a certain part of the brain in a woman, she suddenly felt a sensed presence, that there was another being in the room enveloping her.
A lot of people describe God that way: a sensed presence, a being nearby enveloping them. So they could conjure up God just by poking part of the brain. Making spiritual experiences disappear is, of course, far more common. You remove part of the temporal lobe or you medicate the brain and tamp down the electrical spikes and, voila, God disappears, all spiritual experience goes away.
Now in this analogy, everyone possesses the neural equipment to receive the radio program in varying degrees. So some have the volume turned low. I would suspect that Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens have hit the mute button. Other people hear their favorite programs every now and again, maybe some of you all, like me, who have had brief transcendent moments.
Maybe St. Another argument that God is all in your head comes from neuropharmacologists. They propose that God is nothing more than chemical reactions in your brain. I remember thinking about this a couple of years ago as I sat for 11 hours, from 9 p.
I was at a Navajo peyote ceremony in Lukachukai, Ariz. There were about 30 of us. Everyone but me had ingested a whole lot of peyote — the active ingredient is mescaline. I kind of wish I had as I watched everyone looking pretty happy, their heads bobbing to the beat of the drummers like little bobbleheads.
But, alas, I was there to observe. So there I sat cross-legged for 11 hours. Around midnight the woman who was the center of the ceremony broke her silence. Her name was Mary Ann, and she suffered from shingles.
She had had it for a couple of months. It had gone untreated, and this was a healing ceremony. Around that time she confessed that 20 years earlier she had accidentally run over a man on the highway. She stated he was already dead when she ran over his head. But at any rate, for the past 20 years, a headless man kept haunting her dreams, and she wanted forgiveness.
She wanted the peyote, which Navajos consider to be the mediator between the spirit world and the human world — she wanted the peyote to kind of broker the deal between this guy whose head she had run over and her. So I looked around to see if anyone else had noticed that we may have just had a confession to vehicular homicide. Everyone was just smiling happily and nodding. A few hours later, after a lot more peyote, Mary Ann announced that the shingles were gone.
I called her a couple of months later, and, in fact, she had never suffered from shingles after that moment. I called her just a few days ago and it never recurred. Peyote is like other psychedelic drugs, including LSD and magic mushrooms — magic mushrooms and psilocybin are kind of the same thing. They seem to prompt mystical experience. Scientists have discovered recently that these psychedelic drugs have a couple of interesting things in common.
Chemically, they all look a lot like serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that affects parts of the brain that relate to emotions and perception.
Now scientists at Johns Hopkins University have discovered that they all target the same serotonin receptor, serotonin HT2A. So what that receptor does is, it allows the serotonin or the psilocybin or the active ingredient of these psychedelics to create a cascade of chemical reactions, which then create the sounds and sights and smells and perceptions of a mystical experience. So now they can get a sense of what happens in the brains of mystics or you and me when we have a spiritual experience.
This has really opened the door for understanding the brain mechanisms of spiritual experience. So the question is, does that mean that God is just a chemical reaction? I think probably a lot of scientists would say, yes. One is that people who have spiritual experiences can do this without help from their chemical friends, right? They can do it through meditation and prayer and chanting and fasting — all of these can spark spiritual experience. And he uses this analogy: He says, when you eat a piece of apple pie, all sorts of things happen in your brain.
The part of the brain that mediates smell will light up or taste will light up. Probably the part of the brain that handles memory will light up as you think about the last time that you had a piece of apple pie. So maybe, Griffiths says, this brain activity is chronicling an interaction with the divine. He raises a third issue, which Francis alluded to, which is, why? Why are we wired to have mystical experiences in the first place? We may actually make some headway about it.
There may be a way to tackle this issue in a definitive way. I just have one more story to tell you to illustrate a point. In , there was a woman named Pam Reynolds. Have you all heard of her? She was found to have had an aneurysm on her brain stem.
Her doctor told her that it might rupture at any moment and that she could die at any moment, and so she decided to undergo what was then a very experimental surgery called a standstill operation. Essentially what they did was they put her under anesthesia, they taped her eyes shut, they put in molded speakers in her ears that emitted really loud clicks — about 90 to decibels. So loud clicks were firing in her ears.
Then when her brain no longer responded to the clicks, the surgeons knew that they could proceed. The way they proceeded was, they lowered her body temperature and drained the blood out of her head — kind of like draining oil out of a car engine. The aneurysm sac collapsed for lack of blood. The surgeons then went into her skull, snipped the aneurysm, sewed it up, warmed the blood back up, reintroduced it back into her body, raised her body temperature and brought her back to consciousness.
So she was basically without blood in her head or in a deep coma-like state for over an hour. When she awakened, she had quite a story to tell.
Basically, she said that she floated upwards — she had an out-of-body experience and watched part of the operation — not all of it because she had a near-death experience in the middle of it.
But what was interesting was, she could describe the operating theater — how many people were there, who was placed — she could tell where men and women were. She could describe a very unusual-looking bone saw called the Midas Rex bone saw and the blade container. She heard conversations, including the one where a female surgeon said that her arteries were too small in the left groin for a tube and so the chief surgeon told the other surgeon to try the right side — she heard this kind of conversation.
So she saw things, heard things even though her senses were apparently blocked. And then she had a typical near-death experience — the white light, seeing the dead relatives, yada, yada, yada, yada. I thought they were interesting, but not conclusive stories. A doctor named Michael Sabom got all the hospital records and the transcripts from this operation and found that when Pam said something happened, that in fact did happen in the order that she suggested. It seemed to corroborate her account.
I interviewed the chief neurosurgeon, Robert Spetzler, who confirmed that she was in a deep coma for an hour and could not have seen or heard any of the operation.
I just want to conclude by observing that in my year of interviewing scientists, I learned something about scientists. When they like a story, they call it case history. Now most scientists would probably say this challenge to a materialist worldview is an anecdote.
First, this question of consciousness is the next big battle in the emerging science of spirituality. And second, how a scientist comes down on the debate about consciousness will be as much a matter of his own belief system as it will be of the science. I now realize that I have completely misunderstood the G-spot all these years.
Alas, my first question is for Dr. I wonder if you would just speak briefly on how you see the current debate in light of your scientific outlook? For things that you would think might throw equilibrium off, there seems to be a tendency to regain it. God, for whatever reason, apparently was interested in giving humans free will. And that carried with it some expectation that we might screw up, which we did from the very first moment that we had the chance to do so, and continue today.
So this is our responsibility, I think, to perceive the ways in which free will can, either on an individual basis or on a basis that extends to the whole planet, be misused to cause trouble and then be used to try to find solutions, as we are increasingly now beginning to realize we have to do. If you want to postulate a circumstance where humans do not have free will, you could come up with that kind of model.
PARKER: A lot of people on the far right, now being represented by Rush Limbaugh almost exclusively, claim that global warming is — that God is too great and we are too minor to actually have affected Earth to that extent, and so we ought to just back off and let things resolve themselves. But you would refute that, clearly? But also, one of the things that I thought was very interesting, Dr. Most organisms leave no trace of their having been on this planet.
Only in exceptional circumstances is that something that we would find a record of. Go and look at the Canadian outcroppings where this amazing organism now called Tiktaalik was discovered, which clearly would represent a very good example of that, with the kinds of forelimbs that could both support weight on land and could be used also for locomotion in water, and with a breathing apparatus that might also be successful in both environments.
Not true. Just the same, I think it is not going to be the case that we find every possible connection between every possible species. Recognize, of course, most species became extinct before they gave rise to anything. I think for anyone to try to use the fossil record as an argument against evolution is not well-supported, just in terms of what the expectations would be anyway. Regius professor of modern history, Cambridge University, —9. Rector of Eversley, Hampshire, — Chaplain to the queen, — Martineau, James — Unitarian theologian, writer, and lecturer.
Younger brother of Harriet Martineau. Ordained, Had ministries in Dublin and Liverpool. Professor of mental and moral philosophy and political economy, Manchester New College, ; professor of mental, moral, and religious philosophy, by which time the college had moved to University Hall, Gordon Square, London.
Principal of Manchester New College, Gave up preaching owing to ill health in Wallace, A. Collector in the Amazon, —52; in the Malay Archipelago, — Independently formulated a theory of evolution by natural selection in Lecturer and author of works on protective coloration, mimicry, and zoogeography. President of the Land Nationalisation Society, — Wrote on socialism, spiritualism, and vaccination. Wedgwood, F. Second child of James Mackintosh and Catherine Allen.
Married Hensleigh Wedgwood in Wedgwood, Hensleigh — Qualified as a barrister in , but never practised. Police magistrate at Lambeth, —7; registrar of metropolitan carriages, — An original member of the Philological Society, Published A dictionary of English etymology — Married Frances Emma Elizabeth Mackintosh in Wedgwood, Josiah, I — Founded the Wedgwood pottery works at Etruria, Staffordshire.
Chapter 16 Sep 19, Chapter 15 Sep 17, Chapter Miko-Chan 3 hour ago. Chapter Rant Sep 16, Chapter Sep 12, Chapter Chapter 4 hour ago. Chapter Half Asleep 1 day ago. Chapter A Guest 2 day ago. Chapter 32 4 hour ago. Chapter 31 Sep 07, Chapter Round Mad Man 4 hour ago. Chapter Round Ulterior Motive Sep 08, Chapter Round Backlight Aug 25, Chapter 5: A Really Quiet Dance 4 hour ago.
Chapter 4: A Strange Looking Person 4 hour ago. Chapter 3: Transformation 4 hour ago. Chapter 7 5 hour ago. Chapter 6 Aug 15, Chapter 5 Jul 30, Chapter 84 5 hour ago. Chapter 83 Sep 16, Chapter 82 Sep 10, Chapter 58 6 hour ago. Apologist Hugh Ross believes that the discovery of ten or more dimensions, as predicted by string theory, would be an important discovery about the nature of God. God, he claims, operates "extra-dimensionally.
And suppose that science could tell us more about the nature of God? Wouldn't option 2 also take on the appearance of "one improbable thing after another"? Giving God "carte blanche" to be or do anything creates the illusion that option 2 is a far simpler explanation than option 1. But it really is not.
I've coined a phrase to describe the "fine-tuning" argument. I call it the "astonishment index. It is quite amazing that it exists. And the "fine-tuning" argument seems to argue that the more astonishing the universe is, the more unlikely it is to exist without a creator. Thus, Collins seems to be saying that the probability of the universe existing without cause is inversely proportional to the astonishment index. But no matter how high the universe ranks on the astonishment index, God must rank even higher.
So the probability that God has no creator must be even lower than the probability that there is no creator of the universe! Stephen Hawking has calculated that if the rate of the universe's expansion one second after the Big Bang had been smaller by even one part in a hundred thousand million million, the universe would have collapsed into a fireball" p. No doubt this ranks pretty high on the astonishment index; I can see how someone might conclude that the fact that we exist at all points to an intelligent designer.
Yet when one contemplates how much power and intelligence would be required to design or control the universe with such precision, it seems that an intelligent designer must rank even higher on the astonishment index. Again, no matter how high the universe ranks on the astonishment index, God must rank even higher. Thus, if the probability of the universe's existence is exceedingly low given the astonishment index, then the probability of God's existence would seem to be even lower.
Returning to Strobel's interview, after discussing some multiple universe or "multiverse" theories with Collins, Strobel proceeds to confess that "I found myself agreeing with the iconoclastic Gregg Easterbrook," whom he then quotes as saying: "The multiverse idea rests on assumptions that would be laughed out of town if they came from a religious text" p.
Yet in the introduction to this book, Strobel said that he would "stand in the shoes of the skeptic" and follow the evidence wherever it leads p. Given the overt bias evident in such ridicule, however, it is hardly surprising that Strobel comes to the conclusions that he does.
Collins maintains that a theory is more likely to be true if it is a "natural extrapolation" from what we already know p. According to Collins, however, multiverse theories require conjecture that does not constitute a natural extrapolation from what we know.
Moreover, the concept of a mind capable of designing things is easy to conceive, and hence the idea of a great mind that can fine-tune the universe is a natural extrapolation. Collins' line of reasoning is flawed in several ways. First, we know that one universe exists. Aren't multiple universes a natural extrapolation of our knowledge of one universe?
Second, our scientific picture of the world encompassing the biological nature of minds does not include disembodied spirits capable of thinking "finely tuned universes" into existence, making Collins' appeal to natural extrapolation unbelievable. Finally, it is simply disingenuous to argue that the validity of multiverse theories depends on whether they seem like natural extrapolations or not.
Plenty of things in physics are counterintuitive. Should we discount the validity of quantum mechanics because it does not seem to be a "natural extrapolation" of everything else that we know? Granted, even slight changes in our physical laws and constants would make life as we know it impossible.
But that doesn't take into account that different laws and constants could produce different sorts of life. If we could run experiments, picking random laws and constants and generating universes based on them, probably very few universes would generate life. And if that's true, Collin is right to say that our existence is improbable. But Collins cannot honestly say that it is any less probable than a creator who willed the universe into existence, as there is no way for him to know that.
Though Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez and Dr. Jay Wesley Richards do not speculate on whether Earth is the only planet with intelligent life in the universe, they do argue that intelligent life is at best extremely rare. Gonzalez argues:. We've found that our location in the universe, in our galaxy, in our solar system, as well as such things as the size and rotation of the Earth, the mass of the moon and sun and so forth -- a whole range of factors -- conspire together in an amazing way to make Earth a habitable planet p.
Although Dr. Gonzalez has a doctorate in astronomy, his position is clearly a minority opinion in his field, and the REH is not accepted by most astrobiologists. What matters is whether any of Earth's [unique] circumstances are not only unusual, but also essential for complex life. So far we've seen nothing to suggest that there is" op. Suppose, for the sake of argument, that the REH is true. How would this potential fact provide evidence that God exists?
At first blush, the special conditions we find on Earth might appear to point to a designer who had a special interest in human life and so wanted to bring about precisely those conditions. But then other features of the universe would seem to make this hypothesis unlikely. If life, particularly human life, is the Designer's prime interest -- his crowning achievement, as it were -- then why did he bother to create billions of other galaxies that are completely lifeless?
Gonzalez and Dr. Jay Wesley Richards do try to provide some answer to this. They claim that Earth is not only uniquely suited for life, but also uniquely situated in the universe for exploration. Gonzalez writes:. Our location away form the galaxy's center and in the flat plane of the disk provides us with a particularly privileged vantage point for observing both nearby and distant stars The very same conditions that allow for intelligent life on Earth make it strangely well-suited for viewing and analyzing the universe.
And we suspect this is not an accident. In fact, we raise the question of whether the universe has literally been designed for discovery p.
In other words, God must have wanted us to see his grand creation. A fantastically huge universe was created merely for us to say, "Golly, look at that! There are billions of galaxies, most of which we'll never know about. They have existed for billions of years, long before man or any other form of life. Did God create them so that a few astronomers might happen to see them? What percentage of human beings -- or even just those fortunate enough to be educated -- really knows much about astronomy?
Richards depict the universe as a play toy God created for a relative handful of astronomers. In any case, evidence for the rare Earth hypothesis is weak. And if it is true despite the weakness of that evidence, it doesn't seem particularly helpful to theism anyway.
Michael J. Behe is the author of the popular book Darwin's Black Box. The term "black box" refers to something with a defined function where the mechanism for performing that function is unknown.
In his Case for a Creator interview, Dr. Behe illustrates this with the example of a computer, which many people use without any idea of how it actually works p. He then proceeds to argue that, for Darwin, the living cell was a black box -- its functions were known, but how it performed those functions was not.
Of course, Darwin's contemporaries didn't have the technology to see into the inner workings of a cell.
Behe argues that, for this very reason, they too quickly assumed that cells were simple mechanisms. Now that we see how complex the inner workings of a cell are, Dr. Behe argues that they could not have evolved by Darwinian evolution. As noted earlier, although Dr. Wells argues against common descent in his early "Doubts About Darwinism" interview, Dr. Behe concedes it in his own Darwin's Black Box , writing: "I find the idea of common descent that all organisms share a common ancestor fairly convincing, and have no particular reason to doubt it" op.
On Dr. Behe's account, an intelligent designer created the first cells, but let evolution take over from that point on. It is rather striking that Strobel makes no note of this stark difference between Wells and Dr.
Behe, but he appears to be satisfied that they agree on the existence of an intelligent designer. Behe's main thesis raises a rather fundamental problem: If the cell was Darwin's black box, then God or the Intelligent Designer is Dr.
Behe's Ultimate Black Box. God is a Black Box that can never be peered into. If God exists and performs miracles, how he performs miracles will always be a mystery. Thus there is something ironic about Dr. Behe criticizing Darwin's contemporaries for presuming the simplicity of their black box, the living cell, when Dr. Behe himself presumes the simplicity of yet another black box and an entirely hypothetical one at that , an intelligent designer.
Behe does have a doctorate in biochemistry, but again, his opinion is a minority one in his field. There are dozens of criticisms of Dr. Behe's work available online and in print. In one online critique of Darwin's Black Box , " A Biochemist's Response to 'The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution' "[ 15 ], David Ussery writes: "There are many places where, when the arguments presented can be put to the test, they fail miserably.
For example, his insistence of the absence of literature about molecular evolution. This is easy to test, and see that what he is claiming is clearly wrong. Behe describes, concluding that none of them are really "irreducibly complex. As far as whether a partially functioning flagellum provides any benefit at all -- experiments in which some of the proteins have been mutated show that the flagellum can still aid in swimming -- but not as well.
I would rather be able to partially swim away from my predator than to not swim at all. In fact, I'd stand a much better chance of not getting eaten by a shark if I was in a boat and had even a crude piece of wood to use as an oar, and my friend had nothing to paddle with at all! If I manage to survive, and am not eaten, then I can pass on my crude oar to my children, and so have established "selection.
Once you allow for this, the idea of "irreducible complexity" loses its punch. In the second interview with Dr. Meyer, a number of topics concerning DNA and the origin of life are discussed, even though Meyer's doctorate is in philosophy and his undergraduate degree is in geology. He is not an expert on DNA or origin of life studies. Moreover, the first topic discussed concerns information theory, which is also outside of Dr.
Meyer's area of expertise. It is little wonder, then, that Dr. Meyer simply reiterates the conclusions of Dr. My comments on this topic will be brief, as I am not well-versed in the mathematics of information theory.
And while there are a number of online articles concerning information theory, they are not generally accessible. Comments on divinity What made you want to look up divinity? Get Word of the Day daily email! Test Your Vocabulary. Love words? Need even more definitions? The awkward case of 'his or her'.Similar to a choice of believing in god or not. Darwin effectively crushed the notion of creationism. Science destroyed the faith in a literal interpretation of the bible for those who are intellectually misprinlohagreirweb.bilviequigengsenjuchererangastparming.cos: