Neuroscience May Hold ‘Cure’ For Religious Fundamentalism

Lately, Kathleen Taylor, a research scientist in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics at the University of Oxford, has claimed that religious fundamentalism could soon be treated in the same way as “mental illness.” She has also mentioned that based on advancement of recent technology, one day science might be able to identify religious fundamentalism and “cure” it.

Kathleen Taylor

During a talk at the Hay Literary Festival in Wales on Wednesday, Kathleen Taylor was asked what positive developments she anticipated in neuroscience in the next 60 years. She explained, “Somebody who has for example become radicalised to a cult ideology – we might stop seeing that as a personal choice that they have chosen as a result of pure free will and may start treating it as some kind of mental disturbance. I am talking about things like the belief that it is OK to beat your children. These beliefs are very harmful but are not normally categorized as mental illness. In many ways that could be a very positive thing because there are no doubt beliefs in our society that do a heck of a lot of damage, that really do a lot of harm.”

While history and recent world events have shown us that religious fundamentalism has the potential to do great damage, such scientific innovation raises the vital question: at what point does the cure become more dangerous than the disease? Who determines what’s extreme? Or what’s a disease? At what point does the classification of religious fundamentalism branch beyond fundamentalism to religion at large? Or to go even further, if child abuse is a mental illness to which homosexuality has been compared by many conservatives, is being gay a disease? Please note, until 1973, the American Psychiatric Association said it was. The same can happen with religious extremism.

Kathleen Taylor has written a book named The Brain Supremacy in which she has noted that scientists need “to be careful when it comes to developing technologies which can slip through the skull to directly manipulate the brain. They cannot be morally neutral, these world-shaping tools; when the aspect of the world in question is a human being, morality inevitably rears its hydra heads. Technologies which profoundly change our relationship with the world around us cannot simply be tools, to be used for good or evil, if they alter our basic perception of what good and evil are.”

Source: Huffington Post
Thanks To: CNET

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Anatol Rahman is the Editor at TheTechJournal. He loves complicated machineries, and crazy about robot and space. He likes cycling. Before joining TheTechJournal team, he worked in the telemarketing industry. You can catch him on Google+.

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Tsais

    Let me add that science has greater potential to do far greater damage than religious fundamentalism ever could produce!

    So, if we’re going to find some “cure”, lets hope we can also find a cure for arrogant atheists, who are no less obnoxious and eager to convert people to their beliefs as the religious folks are.

    In the end, its the same, both a dogma, both an ism, with people on both sides going to extremes to force their way of seeing things on others. It amounts to two sides of the same coin fighting each other, cause both their mental focus is on god’s existence or non existence.

    A reasonable person would just make up their own mind, if they felt they even needed to have an opinion on the matter. And then, they’d shut up about it and go about their lives.

    And maybe think of ways to prevent the invention of nuclear bombs, bio weapons, genetic corruption of plants and animals for profit… Oh, but its already too late for that. Observe how science has done more irreversible damage in 80 years than religious fundamentalism in 4000 years.

  2. Eddie Barnes

    Science is fine, but to believe that we come from monkees and the concept of the big bang theory is stupid, being religious is the only way to go, Mankind must believe in God, Christ and the Holy Spirit, I would like to meet the butthead that wrote this article, what a dim whit…..stupid people in this world….the only thing to look forward to is living in paradise with my Savior…..

  3. Tsais

    oh, don’t tell me you’re another one who will presume to tell everybody else what to do.

    I just told off the arrogant scientists who want to “cure” you, and I will fight for your right to believe your beliefs, just don’t tell everybody else what to believe or else you’re just as bad as Dorkins and his atheist lemmings.

    There’s good reason we have many different religions, and Christianity is one of the most distorted religions in existence: a fetish with the dead founder is the major anchor, rather than his words when he lived. Hundreds of thousands of midwifes have been tortured and burned at the stake as “witches” mainly because they were encroaching on doctor’s profits for giving birth to children.

    And overall, the christian church has abused its followers by focusing before all else on building a powerful, wealthy organization. Very wrong-headed stuff to any spiritual person.

    So, don’t go fascist in the name of either science or religion. Its equally as annoying…

  4. maikeruuu

    The Big Bang has been proven, and the theory of natural selection and evolution is based on facts to do with the mutation of DNA.

    They say ignorance is bliss, but I would rather be someone that seeks knowledge than avoids it. Have fun with your Saviour though. Although Jesus was a smart man and lecturer, he might not be entertained by such low level thinking.

  5. Guest

    I am convinced that religious belief and belief in the supernatural or superstitious nonsense is harmful mind poison. Religion adds to those convictions. Science teaches us we all life was created from stars, not dirt and a rib; no blood sacrifice required. Not only is science equally wondrous, exciting and humbling, it’s true.

  6. Ken Nardone

    I am convinced that religious belief and belief in the supernatural or superstitious nonsense is harmful mind poison. Religion proves these convictions and poisons everything.

    Science teaches us that all matter necessary for life was created from exploding stars; no blood sacrifice required. I find the facts of science exciting, wondrous and humbling. The best part is that it’s all true. Anyone that denies our scientific worldview suffers from serious harmful mind poison and needs to be cured. Peace!

  7. Parker Belden

    Atheism and Science never lead to the slaughter of millions in the name of god

  8. RickRayFSM

    Wow, you must suffer from a lot of cognitive dissonance ! Maybe a little neuroscience cure would do you some good !

  9. Jodie

    You know, you’re using the internet. A simple search of “Do we come from monkeys”, (with spelling corrected) would reveal the following:

    That’s the first 4 links from my search. Any of these would give you a start in answering your own question. The problem is not evidence for evolution. There are literally millions of pieces of evidence for evolution. All you have to do is look up the evidence.

    But, I’m guessing you wont. You’ll continue to believe in your ignorance and shout slogans that your hear from your preacher that you think is a “GOTCHA”. You shout that big bang theory is just stupid without knowing why you’re saying that.

    I feel sorry for you Eddie. You’ll never understand the simple beauty of evolution and how such simplistic rules creates some complexity. The understanding of the evidence for the Big Bang, such as red shifting and cosmic background radiation, seems to be so readily withing your grasp on the internet and yet worlds away due to religious built ignorance.

    Science is so infinitely better than religion in understanding how the world works, and yet you live in the dark.

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