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The Brain & Spiritual Beliefs

In the first half of the program, screenwriter, playwright and NYU faculty member Jeffrey Stanley discussed his lifelong fascination with the supernatural, his adventures staying in haunted hotels, conducting a Ouija board séance, EVP session, and apparently capturing ghost images along with an adorable ghost-hunting family. Related Videos: Hotel Colorado/Bachelors Grove Cemetery. Open Lines followed in the latter half.

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The Brain & Spiritual Beliefs

Show Archive
Date: Sunday - August 7, 2011
Host: George Noory
Guests: Matthew Alper, Madeleine Walker

Author and philosopher Matthew Alper shared his contention that human beings are genetically hard wired to experience belief in spirituality and various paranormal phenomena, even though there is no scientific basis for it. According to sociobiology, there are regions in the human brain that generate these belief systems, and Alper concluded that the brain evolved this way as a coping mechanism to deal with the knowledge of our inevitable deaths. "I believe that the anxiety [about death] was so overwhelming that it forced the selection of this cognitive modification which...compels us to believe that there's this other transcendental force...through which, even though we know the physical body will die, we now believe this spiritual component will live on forever," he said.

Alper reported on studies of meditation and prayer, which show decreased blood flow in the amygdala region of the brain-- this helps to reduce anxiety and fear, which could account for the sense of spirituality. Similarly, he noted that the parietal lobe also gets a decreased blood flow, which can affect spatial and temporal consciousness. Many people who are "hyper religious" have epilepsy, he added.

Regarding NDEs, if someone is in the process of dying, decreased blood flow and oxygen cause the brain to release the neurotransmitter glutamate, which interacts with the temporal lobe and triggers religious experiences, he continued. Alper also suggested that giving credence to UFOs/aliens was another way for people to escape anxiety around death, through belief in a supernatural or transcendent power.

Animal Communications

First hour guest, animal communicator Madeleine Walker talked about the messages she has received from various creatures, which have even included insects. One way people can tune in to such messages is by "imagining a cord of your heart feeling connecting with the animal's heart," as this is a way of showing respect to the animal, and that you are willing to listen to them, she explained. Sometimes if an animal has specific body pain, she will feel pain in a corresponding region in her body, she added.

News segment guests: Catherine Austin Fitts, James McCanney

Related Articles

Emerging Artists 8/7/11

Emerging Artists 8/7/11

The first Sunday of every month, George Noory features emerging artists for some of the Bumper Music selections. On the 8/7/11 show, we heard from Jerry Bockmuller, Lana Lokteff, The Least of Your Worries, Pure Harmony, Paul Stuckey, Jeff Callaway, and Craig Silver. For more info on how to submit your original music, visit this page.

Bumper Music

Bumper music from Sunday August 07, 2011

  • Tiki
    Jerry Bockmuller
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