Friday, February 12, 2010

SCIENCE CAN MAKE YOU HAPPY

No, this is not a pitch for miracle diet weight loss ohemgeez you fat ladies need to take these special SCIENCE PILLS omgwtfbbq

Or teeth whiteners.
Or a science based dating service.

*screeching halt*

This isn't about material happiness or daily contentment, either.
*serious*

Via Slashdot, I found an article talking about an intriguing new surgery that brings a sense of inner peace.
In Italy, doctors removed brain tumors from the parietal cortex and frontal regions of the brain. When questioned after recovery (hopefully once the anesthetic has worn off a bit) patients had to answer a series of questions regarding their general sense of well being and spirituality.

The results were very interesting, to say the least.
When the patients had tumors removed from the parietal cortex, they reported a great increase in self-transcendence.

For those with frontal region tumors removed, there was no change in their spirituality level.

So basically, tampering with the parietal cortex part of the brain can make you more spiritual, such as feeling as though everything is connected, or is part of a larger organism. Interesting. One must remember though that spirituality and religion are different, and are controlled by different regions of the brain.

Adam and Floating Brain God


Poking your brain isn't going to make you start worshiping a deity previously unacknowledged.

This raises some fun questions about the basis of human spirituality. For some people, this could be construed as a form of blasphemy. It could be difficult to maintain one's faith if spirituality, one of the basis of human religion, could be attributed to chemical processes and the intricate workings of the brain. Instead of a holy quality bestowed upon us by a higher being, our innate desire to feel closer to something is nothing more than biology, or...dare I say....perhaps evolution.

Personally, I don't feel like this is going to affect my particular spiritual proclivities. If our brains have a center specifically geared towards a feeling of spiritual fulfillment, then great. For all we know, the Creator (if you're into that) built the human brain that way, letting it evolve into its current state over millions of years. Big whoop.

Then again, religion really doesn't have anything to do with it. (see above regarding brain centers) One can be spiritual without belonging to a particular religion. It's just that those that DO conform to certain religious practices may be about to undergo a crisis in faith.
Or not.
Just something to think about.

On a side note, this whole post may be irrelevant. There are not any sources cited in the article, though it comes from Scientific American. Also, the test subject sample size was abhorrently low, so MUCH more testing will be necessary to make any real advances or claims.

Til later, Sooki

Sources:
Slashdot
Scientific American

Picture from Cracked.com

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