Neuroscience and Pseudoscience

ep_atom.jpgHere’s a study that says we have a need to believe, and it doesn’t really matter what we believe in because the experience is all the same. According to these researchers, a beautiful sunset, Tibetan meditation and Catholic contemplation are no different. The evidence? Well, so they say, the observable brain activity is the same.

What this study overlooks is the fact that it’s looking entirely from the outside. Researchers have no reliable way of knowing exactly what different subjects experience–even if they exhibit similar brain activity and use the same kind of words to describe their experience. This issue is addressed in comparative religion and, in particular, comparative mysticism. Many authors and scholars have commented on it. But these neuroscientists make conclusions that extend beyond the limits of their observations, which isn’t science at all but mere storytelling.


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