Thursday, March 5, 2009

Raisin of Reason: Religious people don't use their brains

The proof is in the science: Religious people do not think.

In two studies led by Assistant Psychology Professor Michael Inzlicht, participants performed a Stroop task – a well-known test of cognitive control – while hooked up to electrodes that measured their brain activity.

Compared to non-believers, the religious participants showed significantly less activity in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), a portion of the brain that helps modify behavior by signaling when attention and control are needed, usually as a result of some anxiety-producing event like making a mistake. The stronger their religious zeal and the more they believed in God, the less their ACC fired in response to their own errors, and the fewer errors they made.

At the rally before the California Supreme Court this morning, I heard a religious asshole with a bullhorn this shouting at someone from his own side saying:

"People need to stop thinking for themselves, and start reading the Bible instead.

If [you] have an opinion different from someone else's [sic], you should keep your mouth shut." (Oblivious to the irony that he was shouting this through a bullhorn.)

Self-evident, too.

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