Someone let the Insane Clown Posse know that magnets may have the power to steer people away from God.
According to researchers from UCLA and York, directing magnetic energy into certain parts of the brain can reduce the likelihood that you believe in religious nonsense:
In the study, half of the participants received a low-level “sham” procedure that did not affect their brains, and half received enough energy to lower activity in the target brain area. Next, all of the participants were first asked to think about death, and then were asked questions about their religious beliefs and their feelings about immigrants.
The findings, published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, reveal that people in whom the targeted brain region was temporarily shut down reported 32.8% less belief in God, angels, or heaven. They were also 28.5% more positive in their feelings toward an immigrant who criticised their country.
The common thread there is dogmatic thinking (for religion, against immigrants) and how people returned to it as soon as their beliefs were challenged. When the part of the brain that responds to those “threats,” the posterior medial frontal cortex, was shut down, people were less likely to resort to their ideologies when confronted with the idea of death or immigrants criticizing their country.
It’s all preliminary research, so take it with the usual grain of salt, but it’s another reminder that religion is just a mental construct. It’s a defense mechanism that helps you deal with difficult situations. If researchers can manipulate your beliefs to the point where you rely on religion less in certain situations, what does that say about divine inspiration?
Can’t wait to hear Dr. Ben Carson‘s rebuttal to all this.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Brian for the link)