Monday, July 29, 2013

New Andy Thomson video, The Neuro-physiology of Religious Belief & Spiritual Practice

The Neuro-physiology of Religious Belief & Spiritual Practice: Dr. Andy Thomson on YouTube

I love Andy's work. *But* early in the video he claims there is one religion.  That was misleading.  Perhaps it was just poor wording.  But the implication was that all religions are variations of an original religion.  Behaviorally and ritualistically he makes a good case.  And if we define religion as a set of rituals the claim would be supported.  But I don't think anyone would characterize a set of rituals/behaviors as a religion without a belief component.  So he didn't quite deliver on the thesis.  That's a little disappointing.

Aside from that he has delivered another commendable talk.  There was some overlap with previous talks he's given (and why wouldn't there be.)  But there was a wealth of new (to me) ideas and supporting evidence.  I would recommend this video to anyone interested in motivations for religious behavior, evolutionary psychology or general interest in why humans engage in rituals.

As is often the case I found myself cringing at some of the audience's questions.  There is a trend I've hyper-actively detected in follow-up Q&A sessions.  It seems a great many questioners bring an agenda thinly veiled as a question.  i.e. (paraphrasing) Why are Muslims so extremely violent while we Jews are passive nerds?  *facepalm*

Anyway, I enjoyed and learned from the video.  I'll link his video page as well below.  If you want a better understanding of the psychological and sociological origins and mechanisms of religions these videos are not to be missed.  Go.  Watch.  Now.  :)

Andy Thomson videos

I welcome comments and questions.

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