A Conversation for Neurotheology - The God-Shaped Hole in the Head

An obviously unqualified assumption

Post 1


And I quote:

"Famous sufferers of temporal lobe epilepsy include Lewis Carroll, Joan of Arc, Edgar Allan Poe, Philip K Dick, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Dostoevsky, Muhammed, Van Gogh, Moses, and Saint Paul."

That sounds like a rather over-reaching assumption you have made. Considering many of these persons of history lived before the term was even invented, it seems a little unfair to apply a diagnosis retrospectively.

In other words, you basically assume that any would-be religious/spiritual experiences can be put down down to some neurological condition, when none of the people mentioned could not possibly have had their brains scanned. How can you know?

I would be quite interested to know about whatever time machine you must obviously have, if you can make such a statement legitimately. Any chance of a trip?

An obviously unqualified assumption

Post 2


Such timing! We have a brand new smiley for this purpose:

smiley - tardis

There is evidence/reports that all these people had such an affliction. Whether you believe in this evidence or not doesn't really matter. It's there. We can draw conclusions from this evidence. They vary in their strength from person to person. You can agree with these or disagree. You disagree. Ok.

If you are you claiming they *actually* has real visions from God, remember, time travel itself is more plausible, so thanks for bringing that one up.

smiley - cheers

Stesmiley - mod

An obviously unqualified assumption

Post 3

Mrs Zen

I must confess, I'd assumed that Joan of Arc, etc, were mainly just psychotic or delusional.

One thing which does fascinate me is how different cultures absorb and explain the abnormal.


An obviously unqualified assumption

Post 4


Fine, but it's one thing to say that 'there is this condition which produces these effects, and certain people through history seem to show signs of having it' and another to say 'such-and-such-a-person actually had this condition', as was put in the article as a statement of fact. Surely this is not allowable merely on the basis of it not being a certain fact but only a partially supported hypothesis, i.e. the author is jumping to conclusions.

BTW yes, being Christian I may have some vested interests in saying that some persons may actually have been visited by God, St. Paul for example (not sure about all examples), but in this case, it seems to make sense, as follows. We have this man Saul who is actively persecuting Christians (Acts 8:1-3, 9:1-2), who suddenly experiences a visitation by Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3-8). Then a man named Ananias, a Christian, is told to seek out Paul in Damascus (Acts 9:10-11) who has apparently seen Ananias in a vision (v.12)- presumably this information, if fact, might have been seconded by Paul asuming the writer was known to him, as I presume based on later parts of Acts to seem true- the writer seems to have travelled with Paul to Rome. Coincidence? Maybe, but unlikely. Fabrication, perhaps, but then, based upon the high value placed upon truth in Christian doctrine, I doubt it, unless the early church leaders were hypocrites. And more recent evidence of the Spirit's working seems to confirm this- not just a neurological disorder, as how can one explain things such as miraculous physical healings which even doctors are at a loss to explain?

An obviously unqualified assumption

Post 5


To clarify further on the time-travel bit, I mean that one cannot make any assumptions about someone having a condition unless one can actually go and diagnose it, which in the case of St. Paul, Joan of Arc, etc. would in fact require time travel.

Which is of course, probably obvious to the average reader.

On a less sarcastic and more light-hearted note, I wouldn't mind time travel actually. But alas, 'tis probably impossible (or very difficult) and frought with difficulty (the grandfather paradox, changing history etc....)

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