God Pod: argument for existence of God based upon the "God part of the brain"

Arguments for the Existence of God
by Metacrock - edited by JMT
Used with Permission

God Pod


(1) Concept of Innate ideas is a contradiction to materialism.

This is so because innate ideas require a thinker to put the idea in the mind.

(2) The "God Pod" is indicative of an innate idea

this is so because the brain responds to mere God talk, to words about God, and not to other kinds of words. This is different from instinct because the mind would have to have a conception of word meaning.

(3) Therefore, "God Pod" is a contradiction to materialistic origin, which means it is indicative of designed origin.


God Part of the Brain

Scientists have identified a cluster of neurons in the brain which, when stimulated, produce feelings of ecstasy and thoughts about God and the transcendent. This is too great a coincidence that nature would just produce this by random chance, especially when taken together with all the other ways in which we are fit to be religious. It's an evidence of design, we are made to be a religious species.

http://www.seattletimes.com/extra/browse/html97/reli_102997.html NATION © 1997 The Seattle Times Company Wednesday, Oct. 29, 1997 Brain region may be linked to religion, Robert Lee Hotz
Los Angeles Times

Quote: "It is not clear why such dedicated neural machinery . . . for religion may have evolved," the team reported yesterday at a meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in New Orleans. One possibility, the scientists said, was to encourage tribe loyalty or reinforce kinship ties or the stability of a closely knit clan.

The scientists emphasized that their findings in no way suggest that religion is simply a matter of brain chemistry. "These studies do not in any way negate the validity of religious experience or God," the team said. "They merely provide an explanation in terms of brain regions that may be involved." Until recently, most neuroscientists confined their inquiries to research aimed at alleviating the medical problems that affect the brain's health, and to attempts to fathom its fundamental neural mechanisms. Emboldened by their growing understanding of how the brain works, however, scientists are now investigating the relationship between the brain, human consciousness and a range of intangible mental experiences.

Craig Kinsley, an expert in psychology and neuroscience at the University of Richmond in Virginia, called the new study "intriguing." "People have been tickling around the edges of consciousness, and this sort of research plunges in," Kinsley said. "There is the quandary of whether the mind created God or God created the mind. This is going to shake people up, but (any conclusion) is very premature."

God Pod = Evolutionary Instinct

God Module" found in human brains. Sunday Times, 11/02/97 http://www.sunday-times.co.uk/news/pages/sti/97/11/02/stinwenws01014.html?1339720 by Steve Connor
Science Correspondent


SCIENTISTS believe they have discovered a "God module" in the brain which could be responsible for man's evolutionary instinct to believe in religion. A study of epileptics who are known to have profoundly spiritual experiences has located a circuit of nerves in the front of the brain which appears to become electrically active when they think about God.

The scientists said that although the research and its conclusions are preliminary, initial results suggest that the phenomenon of religious belief is "hard-wired" into the brain.

Epileptic patients who suffer from seizures of the brain's frontal lobe said they frequently experience intense mystical episodes and often become obsessed with religious spirituality.

A team of neuroscientists from the University of California at San Diego said the most intriguing explanation is that the seizure causes an over-stimulation of the nerves in a part of the brain dubbed the "God module".

"There may be dedicated neural machinery in the temporal lobes concerned with religion. This may have evolved to impose order and stability on society," the team reported at a conference last week.

The results indicate that whether a person believes in a religion or even in God may depend on how enhanced is this part of the brain's electrical circuitry, the scientists said.

Dr Vilayanur Ramachandran, head of the research team, said the study involved comparing epileptic patients with normal people and a group who said they were intensely religious.

Electrical monitors on their skin – a standard test for activity in the brain's temporal lobes – showed that the epileptics and the deeply religious displayed a similar response when shown words invoking spiritual belief.

Reaction only to God

http://marijuana.newscientist.com/ns/971108/nreligion.html New Scientist Planet Science [Archive: 8 November1997] Touched by the word of God Alison Motluk


a specific part of the brain handles religious experience, claim scientists in California.

People with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) often become obsessively religious. It could be because seizures strengthen neural connections between the inferior temporal cortex and the amygdala, the emotional arbiter of the brain, so that everything takes on special meaning. Alternatively, seizures might alter neural circuits that deal with religious experience.

To test these ideas, Vilayanur Ramachandran and his colleagues from the University of California at San Diego studied people with TLE, highly religious volunteers and people whose religious status was unknown. They showed them 40 words including neutral ones, such as "wheel", sexual and violent words, and religious words. As they read, the team measured the conductance of skin on their left hands--a gauge for arousal and an indirect measure of the amount of communication between the inferior temporal lobe and the amygdala. Only sexual words gave the apparently non-religious subjects sweaty palms. Sexual and religious words excited religious controls. But the TLE patients were disproportionately aroused by religious words, says Ramachandran. "The surprise was that there's selective enhancement to some categories and not others." He speculates that the seat of religious experience is in the temporal lobe.

Newberg Proposes God as Answer

from Newberg's website

visited 4/17/05

The answer, proposes Dr. Andrew Newberg, may be found in the very nature of our minds, in the neurological architecture of our brains. Our brains may, in fact, be naturally calibrated to spirituality. While acknowledging that neuroscience cannot unravel the puzzle that perpetually entrances the human psyche—did God create our minds or did our minds create God?—Dr. Newberg does maintain that neuroscience can elucidate the nature of mystical experiences, their importance in human evolution, and why the abiding need for a concept of God is imperative for the survival of the human species.

Andrew Newberg, MD, is Director of Clinical Nuclear Medicine, Director of NeuroPET Research, and Assistant Professor in the Department of Radiology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Upon graduating from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in 1993, Dr. Newberg trained in Internal Medicine at the Graduate Hospital in Philadelphia—serving as Chief Resident in his final year—and subsequently completed a Fellowship in Nuclear Medicine in the Division of Nuclear Medicine, Department of Radiology, at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Board-certified in Internal Medicine, Nuclear Medicine, and Nuclear Cardiology.

Dr. Newberg has presented his research at national and international scientific and religious meetings; his numerous published articles and chapters cover the topics of brain function, brain imaging, and the study of religious and mystical experiences. In addition to the extensive press he has received, he has appeared on ABC’s World News Tonight and is co-author, along with Eugene G. d’Aquili, MD, of the book The Mystical Mind: Probing the Biology of Belief (Fortress Press).

Materialist Attempt at Explanation

God Module" found in human brains. Sunday Times, 11/02/97 http://www.sunday-times.co.uk/news/pages/sti/97/11/02/stinwenws01014.html?1339720 by Steve Connor
Science Correspondent
Evolutionary scientists have suggested that belief in God, which is a common trait found in human societies around the world and throughout history, may be built into the brain's complex electrical circuitry as a Darwinian adaptation to encourage co-operation between individuals.

The problem here is why not just attach the "good vibes" to feelings of organization and cooperation, why associate it with "religion" which requires a much more complex conceptual framework? If the "God Pod" was just the amalgam of cooperative feelings it looks like simpler cooperative feelings would trigger the effect, and it doesn't.

Moreover, this in a sense assumes that the brain has understanding of the concept of cooperation, and that it knows that religion requires a higher level of social structure and cooperation.

Answer to Materialist Objection that God Pod reduces Religious Experience to Neuroscience.

Argument from Miracles

I don't usually try to prove the existence of God through miracles. I think miracles are basically for those who already believe. On the other hand, with the bar lowered to "rational warrant," I think miracle claims do provide a good warrant for belief.

The important point is the proximity to prayer. The coincidence of an unexplained recovery form an illness, or other seemingly amazing event, in conjunction with prayer for some reaction, provides a good reason to believe that God has answered a prayer. This is an existential argument, as a rational warrant will always be a personal decision.

See my Miracle Pages for Details.

By Metacrock. Used with Permission.
For more articles by the same author, see Doxa.