A group of researchers have made the headline-grabbing claim that they can reduce belief in God with the application of magnetic coils to a patient’s skull.
Researchers at the University of York in York, England, say they used a technique used to treat depression, called transcranial magnetic stimulation, to alter Christians’ beliefs in God and, oddly, opinions about immigration.
The media being the way they are — mostly anti-Christian — it’s the claim about God beliefs that are getting the most attention for now.
The researchers targeted the posterior medial frontal cortex for the treatments, which create magnetic fields that extend into the interior of the brain, theoretically altering brain signals and chemistry.
The magnetic fields allegedly cut beliefs in God by one-third, as measured by a series of questions. They also made volunteers less likely to take offense at a letter purportedly written by a recent immigrant who slammed the volunteer’s country.
Anti-God types are happy about this report because they think it shows that belief in God is just an illusion created by malfunctioning brain signals.
But there’s another way to look at the results. Because all the volunteers were screened for mental capacity, that means the experiments were mucking up or shutting down a portion of a healthy brain to create atheists who don’t give a damn about the dangers to their country posed by unchecked immigration.
Sounds like they were making liberals.
I wouldn’t worry too much about this study.
The researchers were trying to explore questions about the origins of ideology and whether it could be controlled. But as much fun as it is to think of liberals and atheists as glitches, the accidental byproduct of modern life with its electric currents and abundant magnetic fields, it doesn’t really sound like the researchers accomplished anything that couldn’t have been done with a pitcher of beer.
I suspect the human mind is far more complex than a simple experiment like this suggests.
Human beings are not VHS tapes. It certainly takes more than a magnet to erase deeply rooted beliefs about reality, even if researchers have found a new way to screw with people’s heads.