Where Do “Sacred” Values Live in the Brain?

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For the research subjects’ sacred values, the ones they wouldn’t give up on for any amount of money (they could ‘auction off their value’ for up to $100), what lit up in the brain were areas known to be involved in right-wrong decisions, not in cost-benefit/utilitarian parts of the brain. That is, we naturally go to right-wrong thinking in making sacred value decisions.

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What’s Truth? Scientific Method Under the Microscope

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While I might have some kind of God-experience, unlike testing aspirin, I can’t easily carry out my God-experience simultaneously on statistically significant large numbers of people, write up the experience, repeat it, compare the same number of people at the same time who don’t believe in God, but are otherwise similar, see if they have the same experience, and then have someone repeat my experiment and see if they get the same results. This method is what science is supposed to be about; this is scientific proof, this is what scientists believe in. But, says Jonah Lehrer, it’s not that simple. He describes what he calls ‘the decline effect’: many experimental results that are strikingly positive and statistically significant are not replicable.

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Creating a Cell: Science Plays God

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Creation is a heavy word these days. So, when it showed up in the title of one of this summer’s hottest science papers, it drew me up short.

The word itself comes from the Latin for ‘bringing forth into being’, which already sounds pretty deep. But then it also has the…

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