Monday, October 08, 2007

The Meta of Religious Experiences

Neuroscience and God - David Pescovitz, BoingBoing

I know the more we study the brain and how it acts the more we'll understand how we come to have certain types of thoughts and how we perceive certain experiences. Yet I can't quite escape the feeling that we still won't know where consciousness resides. We might even get to the point of moving consciousness from one brain to another or some other type of neural repository. But I think the problem is consciousness isn't an object in the same way we thing of physical objects. This isn't one of those "science can't answer all" reactions, but it is an argument for the continuation of the metaphysical study of the mind. Neuroscience itself doesn't answer the deeper 'why' questions but it does help arrive at those answers. The most important question that neuroscience will continue to have difficulty answering is why we have certain experiences, like religious epiphanies, naturally. What do these experiences add to the human experience? When neuroscientists ask these kinds of questions they're asking the meta question, the philosophical question. Those are the same questions that genres like cyber-punk attempt to answer, or at the very least pose. They're also the questions I love.

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