From the Archives: Religion and the Brain

In December 2009, Cerebrum played online host to quite a debate: Does evolution explain why the human brain supports religious belief?

Dimitrios Kapogiannis and Jordan Grafman, scientists at the National Institutes of Health, argued that brain networks that evolved for other purposes have given rise to our capacity for religious belief and experience. Andrew Newberg, the radiologist and psychiatrist who wrote How God Changes Your Brain, argued that the brain may be an instrument of religious experience but is not necessarily the origin of that experience. Each side of the debate first wrote a position statement; they then exchanged statements and wrote rejoinders.

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