Let’s overstate things, as usual!

So I stole this link from a Cracked article.

As usual, the supposed interest to religion is overblown. But that’s typical, so who cares? What I want to demonstrate is WHY it’s overblown. First let’s look at it in terms of “theology”, by which of course he means Christian theology. He argues that this should be terribly interesting to those theologian chaps, because I mean, what happens, does half the soul go to heaven or what? The problem is that he’s making the mistake of assuming that religion identifies the soul with the personality and, like science, the personality with the brain. That’s wrong. But let’s assume he’s absolutely correct, one part of the soul believes and the other doesn’t, oh nos! What will happen to our poor theistatheist? Tune in next week for the shocking conclusion …

OK, pretend it’s next week, because here we go. NOTHING! Absolutely nothing whatsoever. Because in order for something to happen, spiritually speaking this is, it would mean that any doubt you have automatically bars you from whatever Jesus has got going on. And it doesn’t take much familiarity with religion or theology to know that just ain’t true. Because recall, this person had a whole brain at one point. And obviously they had to believe, otherwise the question of whether they go to heaven or not is pointless. So either you believe that the operation or whatever disconnected the two halves of the brain generated some magical new brain states, or they had this belief plus disbelief thing going on back then too. We generally call that doubt, and theologically, it’s not really much of a problem.

But it’s not just religion that makes this uninteresting. At first I was kind of excited, until I realized he wasn’t going to tell us shit. It’s just “here’s what we found out”. Aside from answering NONE of the interesting questions, like how did you train the right hemisphere to communicate? How did you isolate them, i.e. make sure that the correct hemisphere was reacting? Obviously only one would at a time since the communication between them was severed, but how do we know you’ve adequately distinguished them and the correct one is answering? But let’s assume they’ve got all that down. For the next bit, I’m going to state something very simple, and just accept it for the sake of argument. Religion is like art.

OK, so now what? One half’s all, “yay God!”, and the other half is “no way God, you totes don’t exist, whatevs”. Suppose we asked the two halves of the brain a question. We show it two paintings, (see I’m working in visual shit for you visual people here), and we say “which one do you believe is better”? Now I’m guessing here, but the right brain can’t talk because it doesn’t do language, and unless they’ve changed things, it doesn’t do logic and all that either. So the right brain looks at them and goes, “ewwwwh, that M. C. Escher thing is creepy, I totally like this Thomas Kinkade one”! The left brain, on the other hand, is all languagey and logical and stuff, so it goes “umm … I have no idea”. See, I’m not saying you can’t evince reasons as to why you like one painting over the other. I’m saying that liking one over the other is impossible, via pure logic. There’s some sort of emotional reaction in there to distinguish them. Otherwise, you don’t have any motivation to pick one over the other, they’re both the same basic thing, some paint on some medium.

So why did I say religion is like art? Because if religion could be proven logically, well, we wouldn’t have everybody believing, but we’d sure have a lot less argument about it. So I think belief in religion is like taste in art. You might have reasons prompting you to look at it in a new way, I mean obviously reason and emotions play off of each other. But there is no way to prove, logically, that one piece of art is better than another, or even that one thing is art and another isn’t. So I mean, looking at it, it doesn’t really strike me as all that bizarre, as such, that one half of the brain believes and the other doesn’t, just as it doesn’t strike me as all that bizarre that one half would appreciate poetry more than the other, let’s say. So when I said it was uninteresting above, I didn’t mean that literally. I just mean, the implication is, wow this is interesting because it’s just gonna play hell with what you THOUGHT you KNEW about the brain and people and … I’m sorry, it just doesn’t strike me as all that outre.


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