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People who are religious or spiritual have 'thicker' brains

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posted on Dec, 31 2013 @ 12:07 PM




reply to post by Stormdancer777

Humans are rational beings, we need a higher purpose to feel a sense of well being. Spiritual people have it. Others get cognitive dissonance and to counter that their cortex gets thinner, simply put they operate more lower animals like.

You don't need a God to have a higher purpose.

My "higher purpose" is humanist. I like to help others. Make life better on this planet 1 action at a time.

One thing I have noticed in my 40+ years here on this Earth is that God isn't here to help us. All we got is each other.

edit on 12/31/2013 by bigfatfurrytexan because: (no reason given)
Just tell me sir, why you want to be a humanist? Whats the PURPOSE??

Didn't you read his post? The one that you quoted?

I like to help others. Make life better on this planet 1 action at a time.

Seems pretty self-explanatory.
I read it. Just asking WHY help people?
In other words whats the purpose of that purpose?

posted on Dec, 31 2013 @ 12:11 PM
I feel I should explain my earlier sentiment. Firstly, religion and spirituality are not synonymous. Secondly, religion is to spirituality as democracy is to government. Again, they are not synonymous. So I can agree that spirituality may be attributed to evolution. Religion, on the other hand, is not evolution. Religion, like democracy, is the people deciding to exploit, optimize or otherwise manipulate what evolution has instilled within us.

You give me the knife and I'll give you the sandwich.

posted on Dec, 31 2013 @ 12:16 PM

I feel I should explain my earlier sentiment. Firstly, religion and spirituality are not synonymous. Secondly, religion is to spirituality as democracy is to government. Again, they are not synonymous. So I can agree that spirituality may be attributed to evolution. Religion, on the other hand, is not evolution. Religion, like democracy, is the people deciding to exploit, optimize or otherwise manipulate what evolution has instilled within us.

The root of religion points toward unity, oneness.
The division makes God appear as though he is separate - that you are separate - that there is separateness.

One must be divided before it can know it is one.

posted on Dec, 31 2013 @ 12:43 PM
reply to post by Stormdancer777

People who are religious or spiritual have 'thicker' brains

What constitutes "people who are religious or spiritual"?

posted on Dec, 31 2013 @ 12:49 PM
reply to post by logical7

Ah, now I follow you. Unfortunately, I can't answer for him on that one!

posted on Dec, 31 2013 @ 05:36 PM

Basically, you can have the capacity for enormous intelligence and squander it. I taught at an inner city school and saw it every day. I saw kids who could have gone very far, had the capacity for enormous intelligence, but they chose to not use it.

The chose not to use it? What sort of intelligence then do we need to be able to choose what is really best for us? Are we told what is best and would kids go to school to have to put up with teachers who don't want to be there either? If i were the kids i would not try to 'make' it in a system that had abandoned me long ago either and it takes the uncle toms and self righteous to think they can teach inner kids 'what it's all about' when these kids come from the REAL WORLD(TM) at home and not from the suburbs as their teachers so often do.

Instead, they lived in the world of the present steeped in their base instincts, desires and emotions, acting more like animals. I also saw kids who went the other way, but it was far more likely they wouldn't bother.

Yes, they live in the 'now' because that is what schooling, their parents and society in general is doing at the behest of corporations who wants to sell us stuff we don't need with money we have to borrow from their friends in banking. What is striking here is that you think the kids have a 'choice' in this matter and can't for some reason see them for the victims they clearly are.

Ugh. I hate self righteous teachers even more than i hate regular self righteous people.


posted on Dec, 31 2013 @ 05:47 PM

Is it that the thicker brain was a product of your ancestors of something you built up over time yourself because of the thought processes involved in maintaining a spiritual/religious state of mind?

That would be the question if the article is in fact making any type of 'real' scientific claim which frankly i wont waste my time investigating as i do doubt it.

Brains develop and form connections, grow and change over time.

For the new study, the researchers twice asked 103 adults between the ages of 18 and 54 how important religion or spirituality was to them and how often they attended religious services over a five year period.
In addition to being asked about spirituality, the participants' brains were imaged once to see how thick their cortices were.
All the participants were the children or grandchildren of people who participated in an earlier study about depression.
Some had a family history of depression, so they were considered to be at high risk for the disorder. Others with no history served as a comparison group.

The major structures that seems to be referenced in this article does not grow/change after adulthood has been reached(really in a human lifespan as best i can tell) and during that time i don't think it is being suggested that our religious/spiritual thinking is affecting that growth or change in our lifetimes.

edit on 31-12-2013 by StellarX because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 1 2014 @ 12:57 AM
The more wrinkled the brain is, the more smart it is as they say. It also like a muscle with muscle memory, but a very different kind. That requires no flexing.

Also spirituality and/or if into religious themes, would act much like a placebo effect....Or even morale for War.

I had heard on the radio, that in a certain way, the brain learns to become more uplifted from depression.

posted on Jan, 1 2014 @ 08:22 AM
Stormdancer777 said:

I guess you will have to take this along with other articles into consideration.

That's the same Wiki page posted in the original post. These are general categorical statements regarding possible correlations (downstream) between the brains of humans and socio-religious behavior. These are not formal theories or statements of fact. They are, much like the assertions regarding the original study posted (with the 103 respondents) musings at best, or as the original article says hints.

At any rate, these guys on the Wiki page (Gould, et. al) are saying that religion and spirituality may be emergent properties of bigger brains, NOT vice-versa, notably because there is no evidence (at least, presented in that Wiki article) that demonstrates anything resembling religious behavior in any other species besides H. Neanderthalensis and H. Sapiens Sapiens.

Ergo, bigger primate (Sapiens and Neanderthalensis) brains result in religious behavior not the converse.

Notably, the behavior that serves as evidence of religious behavior is best demonstrated in burial practices, i.e. arranging the corpses of dead relatives in special, perhaps ritualized ways that include storing "daily life" implements with the bodies (tools, flowers, what-not). I think in the future that conclusion will be seen as something of a fallacy ... there are other explanations for the hope of survival after death.

We should also keep in mind that as of 2010, it has been shown that modern humans are genetically downstream from the Neanderthals (Source) ... which might complicate all previous chicken/egg scenarios, even more.

edit on 8Wed, 01 Jan 2014 08:42:08 -060014p082014166 by Gryphon66 because: to seek perfection is a constant struggle. LOL

posted on Jan, 1 2014 @ 02:15 PM
reply to post by antonia

Yep. It did. That "lower" tag is so wrong on so many levels.

posted on Jan, 5 2014 @ 07:09 AM

Well, maybe the practice of eating fish by Christians is causing the difference in the brain. Until recently not much was proven about the effect of fish on brain development. Jesus's sign is the fish. The tradition of Fish fries on friday originated from Christianity. Lots of our traditions have basis in health. Look at the health benefits from a sip of wine for communion every day.

I like this one ! As if man had to become Christian before they got smart enough to be religious in the first place.

Sorry made me smile.

Being able to find peace within ourselves and comfort from any religious and or spiritual ability causing people to be able to relax and have less stress, is great.
Feeling good and being accepted in a group, will make happier people who don't get as lonely.
Any interaction with others people will also cause anyone to get introduced by all their disease making germs... Another great way to strengthen an immune system.

When man created fire and started to cook, that's most likely a big turning point in our development.
Cooking otherwise low nutrient food, caused a massive increase of nutrients getting consumed.
That is most likely the origin of our increase in brain size, as this extra boost fueled our developing bodies.
Just like a better nutritious diet still creates larger and healthier people. Without reaching our full potential anytime soon, it's an ongoing development.

Edit :
After cooking another thing caused more energy leftovers for our brain... Consuming milk. Go figure...

Using your brain for spiritual growth might also be the cause of a thicker brain.

The need for brain matter to be spiritual and increasing more space to wire more neurons together, as your developing spirituality requires. Seems as a logical result of adding extra's abilities into an existing system.
Maybe I'm totally wrong here. I seems logical.

My two cents on topic.

Now some stuff other people came up with.

Human evolution introduced complex tools and cooking with fire, before all of the above though.
The anatomic changes needed to talk evolved even earlier in time.
As we can learn a chimp to have a limited understanding of our language and use it to communicate with it.
I think man learned using language longer ago. Creating tools and cook dinner, would be a lot more likely and easier, being able to communicate with a larger vocabulary then some huffing, puffing and screaming to each other.
Sharing recipes etc...
Evidence suggests language and a larger brain showed up at least 2 million years ago, with Homo Erectus showing up.

The species was not only geographically widespread, it also had a long temporal span in the hominin fossil record (Antón 2003). With its earliest appearance in the fossil record from localities in the Lake Turkana Basin, Kenya, sometime around two million years ago, H. erectus populations persisted until near the end of the Pleistocene, as evidenced by fossils from Southeast Asia

Language is perhaps the hallmark human trait, but can be difficult to assess directly from the fossil record. Attempts to identify language ability in the fossilized skeletal remains of H. erectus have focused on aspects of the nervous system, including the size of the vertebral canal (a proxy for the size of the spinal cord), and external features of endocasts (natural fossils of endocranial space and a proxy for brain size and shape). Thus far, there have been no definitive anatomical findings to cause researchers to reject the idea that H. erectus was capable of some kind of human-like proto-language.


Possible relations between tools and language in human evolution. PDF.

A smaller brain, isn't any insurance for being less capable to be intelligent. Man might needed an extra boost for investing into a larger brain, but the resulting possible abilities, that make us who we are know... Didn't include a list of what we couldn't do before... Like talk and live complex lives.

Recent genomics research has shown that a large mutation about 2.4m years ago disabled the key muscle protein in human jaws. We still have the disabled protein today, and that weakened jaw enabled a raft of innovations. The ape brain could not grow because of the huge muscle load anchored to the skull's crest, and apes cannot articulate speech-like sounds because of the clumsy force of their jaws. This mutation allowed the increase in human brain size and the acquisition of language.


Since Neanderthal had a slightly smaller brain. I must add some Neanderthal stuff. Although it makes sense that an early ancestor like Homo Erectus was not better equipped Neanderthal.

The presence of FOXP2 in the Neanderthal genome has been widely touted as strong evidence they were capable of speech. For example, the National Geographic story on the discovery of FOXP2 in Neanderthals is “Neanderthals had same “language gene” as humans.” “From the point of this gene, there is no reason to think that Neandertals did not have language as we do“

Nonetheless, the anatomical evidence is hard to ignore. Particularly given that some of it would actually hinder a Neanderthals’ chance of survival. The larynx is a valve in the throat that prevents food from getting into the lungs but in human and Neanderthals it has shifted position4, improving the range of sounds but increasing our risk of choking to death.
Evolution would not select for these features unless Neanderthals were doing something beneficial with them.


Being able to let yourself have faith and trust, beyond our own individual perspective might be responsible for a better life.
Not having to trust yourself can be bliss...

Whatever the reasons for our spiritual ability. The guy from the OP is not up to date or simply wrong about a number of things.
Any fossilized remains were not including any brain.

Making language and other human characteristics possible in 2 million year old Homo erectus.
That makes another 1.5 million years a long time to walk around mute holding back the development of our human traits.
More likely is that much of it pre-dated his time line.

it's interesting though that a spiritual way of thinking and expressing, is causing so much benefits in people.
You would think it can only be possible when there is more out there, and our ability to be spiritual causing an increasing physical health, by opening up for outside sources... Maybe ?

I'd like to learn more.


In the Human Brain, Size Really Isn’t Everything
edit on 1/5/2014 by Sinter Klaas because: Add a link

edit on 1/5/2014 by Sinter Klaas because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 5 2014 @ 08:10 AM
reply to post by Stormdancer777

So you manage to shield yourself from any out side sources that distract you ?

Basically creating a situation where you are able to self reflect without the distractions of life.

I think that creates an even better ability to make your inner being develop. A great tool for learning and improving your self.

posted on Jan, 5 2014 @ 08:32 AM
reply to post by Stormdancer777

I'm not sure what Dr Weissman was trying to achieve, it's not clear from the article.

While I thought the article on spirituality and depression was interesting I'm fairly certain there is no scientific definition for 'spirituality' and therefore no way to measure it. Which renders the entire debate meaningless.

I also support the principle that religion and deities evolved with humanity. It's the only reasonable way it could have happened.

posted on Jan, 5 2014 @ 09:00 AM
reply to post by rickymouse

i want to eat fish and chips now


posted on Jan, 5 2014 @ 09:03 AM
reply to post by randyvs

alien intervention?


posted on Jan, 5 2014 @ 09:18 AM
reply to post by antonia

maybe 'lower' animals are 'more spiritual' than 'lower animal' humans


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