SCIENCE and SPIRITUALITY - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Loading...

PPT – SCIENCE and SPIRITUALITY PowerPoint presentation | free to download - id: 68dc8e-M2E4O



Loading


The Adobe Flash plugin is needed to view this content

Get the plugin now

View by Category
About This Presentation
Title:

SCIENCE and SPIRITUALITY

Description:

SCIENCE and SPIRITUALITY Neil Greenberg Departments of Ecology, Medicine, and Psychology University of Tennessee, Knoxville ORICL April 2008 – PowerPoint PPT presentation

Number of Views:65
Avg rating:3.0/5.0
Slides: 43
Provided by: notesUtkE
Learn more at: http://notes.utk.edu
Category:

less

Write a Comment
User Comments (0)
Transcript and Presenter's Notes

Title: SCIENCE and SPIRITUALITY


1
SCIENCE and SPIRITUALITY
Neil Greenberg Departments of Ecology, Medicine,
and Psychology University of Tennessee, Knoxville
ORICL April 2008
2
BELIEFS
Neil Greenberg Departments of Ecology, Medicine,
and Psychology University of Tennessee, Knoxville
ORICL April 2008
Tiffany, Education (1890)
3
MAIN POINTS SO FAR
  • We have an innate NEED to enlarge our experience
    to serve our biological fitness
  • An artifact of this adaptive activity is its
    extension into areas not immediately relevant to
    meeting needs
  • Stress energizes motivation and can elevate a
    real or perceived need to high intensity and
    seeming urgency
  • One of those needs is the resolution of cognitive
    dissonance when confronted with an unsolvable
    mystery.
  • If sufficiently intense, this is recognized as a
    mystical experience and its resolution as
    spiritual, implying that the resolving insight
    derives from an unintended or non-rational
    source, often attributed to a transcendent power.

4
MAIN POINTS TO COME
  • Perceived reality is tested for authenticity
    and validity and rejected or represented within
    us with more or less CONFIDENCE
  • High confidence strongly implies TRUTH.
  • The testing processes are more or less
    conscious and involve neurological procedures
    that determine correspondence and coherence,
    enabling the most efficient memorization and
    recall.
  • The neurological substrate is delicately
    balanced.
  • Truth is recognized VALIDITY after being
    subjected to We learn to neglect stimuli that
    are irrelevant to survival but in certain
    contexts they can be huge
  • Curiosity leads to mysteries leads to wonder
    and a more or less urgent need to know
  • The need to know can extend to a mystery that
    cannot be solved
  • But solving the mystery can seem very urgent
  • the efforts expended can force an assimilation or
    accommodation which can be perceived as an
    epiphany or mystical experience

5
The war between TRUTH and REALITY
  • Assumptions
  • There is a reality outside our minds
  • We perceive fragments of that reality, filtered
    through our past experiences
  • Those fragments, when validated, are organized
    into coherent beliefs

6
Assumptions There is a reality outside our
personal consciousness. Reality can never be
perfectly known. We strive to know reality as
best we can by developing a scaffold of
successive approximations
7
Assumptions Whatever aspects of reality we do
feel we know can never be perfectly
communicated. The organism tests experiences to
see if they are the best possible representations
of reality.
8
Assumptions tests of reality engage our
perception and the integrative function of our
brains, which has a modular organization that is
delicately balanced and easily disorganized.
9
The Star (1960) by Alexander Calder
10
An aside on TRUTH as a work of ART
11
The aggregate of our beliefs is arguably a work
of art
  • "Une oeuvre d'art est un coin de la creation vu a
    travers un temperament"

12
Art is a lie
  • that I use to tell the truth
  • --Picasso

13
  • That willing suspension of disbelief for the
    moment, which constitutes poetic faith.
  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge 1817

14
The war between TRUTH and REALITY
  • TRUTH represents BELIEFS in which we have very
    high CONFIDENCE
  • That confidence may be ill founded, but it can be
    very comforting
  • Flawed beliefs are often better than no beliefs

15
We NEED explanations
  • Coherence helps us feel better A world that can
    be explained even with bad reasons is a familiar
    world. But on the other hand, in a universe
    divested of illusions and lights, man feels an
    alien, a stranger. . . .

Albert Camus
16
ATTITUDES about FAITH
  • FAITH, as a source of BELIEF, can be powerful at
    resoving dissonance BUT
  • is highly subjective, making it very vulnerable
    to individual bias and thus error.
  • "Faith is to believe what you do not see the
    reward of this faith is to see what you believe."
    --Augustine

17
ATTITUDES about FAITH
  • "Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical
    belief in the occurrence of the improbable." HL
    Mencken
  • "Crede, ut intelligas" ("Believe in order that
    you may understand") (Augustine)
  • All knowledge is based on faith

18
NEED for FAITH
  • The need to know serves the need to consolidate
    information into a coherent theory.
  • coherence is a requirement of the nervous
    system for accurate storage and retrieval of
    information necessary to cope and prevail with
    real or apparent survival and fitness needs
  • In the absence of valid information, an
    unvalidated belief can be inserted to maintain
    coherence. The God of the gaps.

19

Are MIRACLES MYSTERIOUS?
  • "Miracles happen, not in opposition to Nature,
  • but in opposition to what we know of Nature."
  • --St. Augustine

20
CREATIVE FAITH
  • Intuition and imagination draw on implicit
    (nonconscious) cognition not easily available
    to validation
  • The voice of God you hear is your imagination!
  • Of course, said Saint Joan, how else does God
    speak to us?
  • The VOICE OF GOD for a medieval adolescent, or
    a troubled adult you cant have better authority.

21
IMAGINATION?
Not only is the universe stranger than we
imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.
(Sir Arthur Eddington)
  • There is no excellent beauty that hath not some
    strangeness in the proportion. (Bacon, Essays
    (1625) Of Beauty).

22
The Triumph of Faith
  • Nicolas Lebrun 1660

23
(No Transcript)
24
WHAT is BELIEF?
  • Belief is the psychological state in which an
    individual is more-or-less confident in the
    validity of a proposition.
  • (confidence can translate into biological
    fitness)
  • If confidence is sufficiently high, the belief is
    recognized as TRUE ! And we may rest satisfied

25
CONFIDENCE is a biologically important quality
  • Much of our behavior is structured by the
    possession and pursuit of confidence in the
    validity of our beliefs their truth.
  • The neuroethology of consciousness and its
    dysfunctions have helped us identify the manner
    in which establishing correspondence and
    coherence function and converge to create a sense
    of doubt or confidence in the veracity of a
    belief.

26
HOW IS the VALIDITY of BELIEF ESTABLISHED?
  • Internal validity
  • Limited to the case observed or experienced
  • (is this just me? am I crazy or did I just see
    )
  • External validity
  • Extends to other cases, (transcends the
    immediate case) is generalizable

27
We derive our beliefs
  • through argument and experience.
  • Argument brings conclusions and compels us to
    concede them,
  • but does not cause certainty nor remove the
    doubts
  • in order that the mind may remain at rest in
    truth,
  • unless this is provided by experience.

Roger Bacon (1268)
28
HOW IS BELIEF ESTABLISHED? The source of
knowledge claims
  • CORRESPONDENCE Empiricism and Reality-Testing
  • data-based, induction-driven
  • PERCEPTS CORRESPOND to reality
  • COHERENCE Rationalism and Story-Telling
  • theory-based, deduction-driven
  • PERCEPTS COHERE with each other

29
An aside about how beliefs are derived
  • We each bring congenital (relatively fixed),
    acquired (experiential, relatively flexible), and
    circumstantial personality to new information.
  • For example, our disposition to assimilate /
    preserve tradition versus accommodate / innovate
    could be attributable to subclinical stress
  • Learning styles are also part of this
    personality (Kolb)
  • Concrete Experience - (CE)
  • Reflective Observation - (RO)
  • Abstract Conceptualization - (AC)
  • Active Experimentation - (AE)

30
Are beliefs more important than truth? TRUTH and
STRESS
  • SELF-DECEPTION serves a vital function (Daniel
    Golemans use of Ibsens term Vital Lies
    1985)
  • You cant handle the truth! (Jack Nicholson
    in In A Few Good Men, 1992)
  • DENIAL ---The more-or-less willing suspension
    of disbelief (Wordsworth) is that the
    function of art? to provide a safe zone for
    exploring the otherwise troubling, stress-evoking
    truth?
  • Or of myth? (theory used to be an enchanted
    circle)

31
DISORDERS of BELIEF?
  • Acceptance of experience that doesnt correspond
    to external reality kinds of hallucinations
    Bonnets Syndrome (filling in scotoma)
    dismorphic body pareidolia. (False positive
    (confident match with memories) Type I Error
    gullible, trusting)
  • Denial of experience that corresponds to external
    reality agnosias eg, visual (left occip),
    associative, anasognosia (denial of dysfunction /
    right cerebral cortices), prosopagnosia (faces)
    (False negative (failure to match with memories)
    Type II Error skeptical, wary)

32
PLACEBO EFFECT
  • EXPECTATIONS the power of coherence
  • Acupuncture IS effective in many cases, but
    application at arbitrary site is comparable
    (Melchart et al. 2005)
  • Antidepressant medications can be 80 replicated
    with placebo (Kirsch et al. 2002)
  • Parkinsons patients experience an endogenous
    dopamine rush when nigrostriatal system
    activated by placebo (expectation of reward
    Fuente-Fernandez 2001)

33
PLACEBO EFFECT not merely subjective?
  • Extra endorphins were also released from sites
    not usually engaged in analgesia, including
  • rostral anterior cingulate (perception of degree
    of pain)(ACC autonomic, error-detection,
    conflict resolution or management)
  • insular cortex (receives somatic pain
    information)
  • nucleus accumbens (assesses urgency of pain)
  • dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (involved in
    decision making, interpretation, and selective
    attention) BUT, only in those that expected
    relief.

  • (Zubieta et al. 2005) . . .

34
Anosognosia
  • ANOSOGNOSIA (from the Greek A nosos (disease)
    gnosis (knowledge)
  • Ignorance or denial of the presence of disease
  • Most famously of paralysis in patients with
    non-dominant (usually right) parietal lobe damage
    -- patients deny their hemiparesis, confabulate
    rationalizations
  • Detection of discrepencies impaired
  • When the right hemisphere is denied input from
    the reality-testing of the left hemisphere
    internal model is untested by feedback, leaving
    left-side function seemingly hallucinated.

35
Putative Causes of Anosognosia
  • Freudian denial avoidance of confrontation with
    dysfunction, preserve self image.
  • Phantom function as with phantom limbs, signals
    from motor cortex go to parietal monitoring area
    AND to muscles (that no longer exist). In the
    absence of feedback (confirming dysfunction)
    parietal area prevails
  • Right hemisphere impairment by muting
    emotionality, and flattening affect, might create
    the appearance of indifference

36
Confabulation The illusion of coherence
  • The production of coherent but fictitious
    stories
  • First observed by Korsakoff in alcoholics
  • Can be provoked (eg., to avoid embarassment) or
    spontaneous (Schnider 2003)
  • Involve anterior limbic structures
    (orbitofrontal)
  • Impressive when right hemisphere (and its
    reality-check on the left hemisphere) is
    damaged

37
Causes of Confabulation
  • Right hemisphere stroke denial of left side
    paralysis.
  • Korsakoffs syndrome inability to form new
    memories due to temporal lobe dysfunction.
  • Acting out after a hypnotic suggestion will be
    rationalized with improvised confabulations
  • Schizophrenia confabulations to rationalize
    hallucinations or to justify paranoia
  • Capgras syndrome incomplete sense of who
    owns a familiar face alien imposters?

38
LEFT - RIGHT HEMISPHERE LATERALITY

  • When separated, EACH hemisphere is UNAWARE of the
    ipsilateral world
  • Yet neither is aware of being incomplete
  • Each functions as best it can with the
    information available

39
LEFT HEMISPHERE Coherence creates a consistent
belief system works to save appearances (Ramac
handran 1998) Probabilistic reasoning (Osherson
et al 1998) Abstract object recognition (Marsolek
1999) Activated by familiar
percepts (Goldberg 2001)
RIGHT HEMISPHERE Correspondence skeptical,
tests reality and if damaged, confabulation runs
rampant (Ramachandran 1998) Deductive
reasoning (Osherson et al 1998) Specific object
recognition (Marsolek 1999) Activated by
unfamiliar percepts (Goldberg 2001)
40
Kant "The senses cannot think, the
understanding cannot see.
41
(No Transcript)
42
  • "Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth that
    around every circle another can be drawn that
    there is no end in nature, but every end is a
    beginning, and under every deep a lower deep
    opens"
  • --Ralph Waldo Emerson
About PowerShow.com