Consciousness Connections Meeting
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
6:30p Social, 7:00-9:00p Program
Austin Center for Spiritual Living
Note – New Location
Visitors are welcome, the meeting is free.
Book donations are welcome.
Documentary and Panel Discussion
“God on the Brain”
From BBC Horizon (2003)
Rudi Affolter and Gwen Tighe have both experienced strong religious visions. He is an atheist; she a Christian. He thought he had died; she thought she had given birth to Jesus. Both have temporal lobe epilepsy.
Like other forms of epilepsy, the condition causes fitting but it is also associated with religious hallucinations. Research into why people like Rudi and Gwen saw what they did has opened up a whole field of brain science: neurotheology.
The connection between the temporal lobes of the brain and religious feeling has led one Canadian scientist to try stimulating them. 80% of Dr Michael Persinger’s experimental subjects report that an artificial magnetic field focused on those brain areas gives them a feeling of ‘not being alone’. Some of them describe it as a religious sensation.
“…a high probability [Ellen White] had temporal lobe epilepsy” says Prof Gregory Holmes, Dartmouth Medical School. His work raises the prospect that we are programmed to believe in god, that faith is a mental ability humans have developed or been given. And temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) could help unlock the mystery.
What side are you on, science or spiritualism? Be prepared to defend your position.
The documentary will be shown followed by a discussion. Is Illumination, cosmic consciousness, Kundalini and various religious sensations a spiritual manifestation, or is it simply the neurological manifestation of the brain? If there are volunteers from the audience, a panel will be selected for a debate and Q & A. Please prepare for a lively debate.
Why God Won’t Go Away
Brain Science and the Biology of Belief
Andrew Newberg, Eugene A’Quili, Vince Rause
Over the centuries, theories have abounded as to why human beings have a seemingly irrational attraction to God and religious experiences. In Why God Won’t Go Away authors Andrew Newberg, M.D., Eugene D’Aquili, M.D., and Vince Rause offer a startlingly simple, yet scientifically plausible opinion: humans seek God because our brains are biologically programmed to do so.
Researchers Newberg and D’Aquili used high-tech imaging devices to peer into the brains of meditating Buddhists and Franciscan nuns. As the data and brain photographs flowed in, the researchers began to find solid evidence that the mystical experiences of the subjects “were not the result of some fabrication, or simple wishful thinking, but were associated instead with a series of observable neurological events,” explains Newberg. “In other words, mystical experience is biologically, observably, and scientifically real…. Gradually, we shaped a hypothesis that suggests that spiritual experience, at its very root, is intimately interwoven with human biology.” Lay readers should be warned that although the topic is fascinating, the writing is geared toward scientific documentation that defends the authors’ hypothesis. For a more palatable discussion, seek out Deepak Chopra’s How to Know God, in which he also explores this fascinating evidence of spiritual hard-wiring. –Gail Hudson –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The Brain in the Soul
The Cerebral Basis of Language, Art, and Belief
Michael R, Trimble, M.D.
“There have been a flurry of books recently on God and the brain, written either from the cold hard world of a neuroscientist or the more abstract but less brain-informed pulpit of a spiritual leader. Trimble tackles this most important topic with his unique knowledge and perspectives gained as a knowing and caring physician, a critical neuroscientist, a gifted historian, and a superb storyteller. He fuses these fields to address the simplest and most important questions: Why do we cry when we listen to music, or pay money to go and weep in the theater? This book is a remarkably new approach to understanding why we behave, think, and feel as we do.” — Mark S. George, Medical University of South Carolina
Inspired by the writings and reflections of his patients — many of whom have epilepsy, psychosis, or affective disorders — Trimble asks how the human species, so enamored of its own logic and critical facilities, has held from the dawn of civilization strong religious beliefs and a reverence for the arts. He explores topics such as the phenomena of hypergraphia and hyper-religiosity, how religious experiences and poetic expression are neurologically linked with our capacity to respond to music, and how neuropsychiatric disorders influence behaviors related to artistic expression and religiosity by disturbing brain function.
NeuroNews – A Toyota Unbash
Toyota technology has brain waves move wheelchair
The Associated Press
TOKYO – Toyota Motor Corp. says it has developed a way of steering a wheelchair by just detecting brain waves, without the person having to move a muscle or shout a command. Toyota’s system, developed in a collaboration with researchers in Japan, is among the fastest in the world in analyzing brain waves, it said in a release Monday.
Past systems required several seconds to read brain waves, but the new technology requires only 125 milliseconds , or 125 thousandths of a second. The person in the wheelchair wears a cap that can read brain signals, which are relayed to a brain scan electroencephalograph, or EEG, on the electrically powered wheelchair, and then analyzed in a computer program.
Research into mobility is part of Toyota’s larger strategy to go beyond automobiles in helping people get around in new ways. The new system allows the person on the wheelchair to turn left or right and go forward, almost instantly, according to researchers. Coming to a stop still requires more than a thought. The person in the wheelchair must puff up a cheek, which is picked up in a detector worn on the face.
Japanese rival Honda Motor Co. is also working on a system to connect the monitoring of brain waves with mechanical moves. Earlier this year, Honda showed a video that had a person wearing a helmet sitting still but thinking about moving his right hand. The thought was picked up by cords attached to his head inside the helmet. After several seconds, Honda’s boy-shaped robot Asimo, programmed to respond to brain signals, lifted its right arm.
Neither Honda nor Toyota said it had any plans to turn the technology into a product for commercial sale as each said they are still developing the research.
Benefits of an INACS membership include but are not limited to Quickstart grants, the NeuroNews newsletter, monthly meetings related to consciousness (Consciousness Connections), and attendance at quarterly research and educations meetings. Membership is $25 a year and can be paid through Paypal on the INACS website www.INACS.org
For those of you that have a project that is consistent with the INACS mission, and need financial assistance, a Quickstart Grant might be available.
The INACS NerveCenter space is available for classes and lectures. Call 704-8167 for information.
INACS The Organization…
The Institute for Neuroscience and Consciousness Studies, Inc.
Or INACS, is an Austin-based, 501 (c) 3,
nonprofit, scientific, Research, and educational institute,
incorporated in the State of Texas.
Our vision is to contribute to the positive development of our local, national, and international communities, as well as the other-than-human communities with whom we share the earth, by supporting scientific inquiry and hosting educational opportunities for the study of consciousness in all its forms.
INACS’ mission is to expand, deepen, and enrich our understanding of brain functioning and the phenomenon of “consciousness,” and to develop innovative, practical applications of this understanding for public benefit. INACS will pursue its mission by:
- Conducting scientific research on the human mind/brain system.
- Promoting closer cooperation among consciousness researchers through publications, conferences, and similar activities.
- Offering educational opportunities to mental health professionals and the public.
- Investigating PSI and related phenomena
Current Research Projects
EEG correlates of Human Subtle Energy Vibrational States
Robert F. Price PhD
Psycho-Grapho Correlation Study
Raymond Hawkins PhD, Marcus Barnes
QEEG Correlates to Motor Tasks – Baseline Studies
James King, Jan Six, PhD
Finding the Golden Key to Every Kid (Quick Start Grant)
Roberta Shoemaker-Beal, ATR-BC
12593 Research Blvd., Suite 302, Austin, Texas 78759 www.INACS.org
The Consciousness Groups…
ACA (Austin Creativity Association)
A forum for professionals seeking to explore and develop creative ideas and technologies.
Austin IONS (Institute of Noetic Sciences Community Group)
Consciousness research & education group founded by astronaut Edgar Mitchell
Library of scientific anomalies located in the INACS Nerve Center
INACS (Institute for Neuroscience and Consciousness Studies)
Consciousness research and education group located in NW Austin on Research Blvd.
Jung Society Austin
Promoting the study of Carl Jung’s psychological works
MUFON – Mutual Unidentified Flying Objects
What if it Really Works
Internet radio featuring the spiritual and metaphysical