Tuesday, April 1, 2008

History of brainiacs, creation and God

Easter time is a religious high season. About 30 years ago a young boy in Norway was watching TV about a certain crucifixion, ascension and return to earth. The main character of the story could have been any super hero, but happened to be Jesus. “Do you believe this mom?” Mom hesitated for a moment but eventually answered; “Naah”! “Me neither!”; said the boy, and turned the TV off! He never really looked back. During his studies though, he learnt that you have to keep an open and unbiased mind to prove something wrong in order to get any wiser... and it would of course be awesome to prove the GOD-hypothesis wrong, at least within a 95% confidence interval. In marketing terms that’s “good enough” and case closed! It seems like the forces of the universe are pulling together in order to really find out now... could it in fact be a “message”, I wonder?

Michael Heller is busy calculating GOD’s existence on the Roman Catholic Church’s behalf, and hopefully his/her whereabouts on my behalf. I choose to see Mr Heller’s impressive formula as a test of the GOD hypothesis. Meanwhile, a European CSI team at the European particle-physics lab (CERN) in Geneva are preparing their new super-toy! The Large Hadron Collider’s first task later this year will be to look for GOD, or the “Higgs boson particle” in CSI terms. The mathematicians, also behind this project, say that their toy could theoretically make wormlike holes into time. Should my space shuttle plans fall apart, then I’ve already got my contingency plan. Grissom and his colleagues just lost a viewer now, as I will rather follow this show closely!!

Bishop James Ussher (Irish) devised in the early 17th century that the world was created at 6pm on Saturday, October 22nd, 4004BC (flat of course)! H.G. Wells referred to it as “this fantastically precise misconception” in 1922 (and I must agree!), but he was still unable to give a better prediction. The Old Testament provided a scattered puzzle of people’s life, age and historical events that made it possible to backtrack the day of God’s creation. Never mind the fact that Adam then lived to be 930 years old and descendants and record holder (so far) Methuselah lived to be 969 years old! A healthy climate, abundance of food and absence of diseases helped to explain this! Augustine (“Give me chastity – but not yet”) deducted amongst other things from this that they reached puberty late back in the days...

Backtracking the 6 days of creation became imperative in this work. Great minds like Thomas Burnet and Isaac Newton concluded that since earth itself was created on the 3rd day, the two first days could have been as long as it suited their theories (!). Newton explained further that God created earth stationary and only gradually started to spin! How wrinkled mustn’t Adam have been after 930 slow moving years only covered by a leaf under the burning sun?!

George-Louis Leclerc de Buffon based his work on solid scientific principles and evidence of nature. This was a new approach! Edmund Halley (Halley’s comet) had tried to measure the increasing saltiness of the sea and based on this backtrack the age of earth. Other than this, all attempts had been strictly biblical. Any “scientific” methods were used to back up biblical accounts!

Buffons theory however scrapped all biblical accounts! Earth was created by a comet that hit the sun. Glowing minerals was thrown into space (I assume!) and formed earth. In a stroke he reduced the world’s creation, the glorious masterpiece from the Supreme Architect God to nothing but a catastrophic accident! Your parents romp that accidentally made you is nothing compared to this!!

Newton estimated that the earth’s age was 50.000 years based on a comet-sun impact and the time it would take for earth to cool down, but there was never any doubt in his mind that the bible was correct. In 1765 when Jean-Jacques Dortous de Mairan (mathematician) revealed that earth contained an inner source of heat. Buffon was re-inspired by the fact that this backed his Newtonian cooling earth theory. He declared Siberia the “cradle of life” as it had once been hot and humid like Africa. My second home country currently holds the “cradle of human kind” so I’m not entirely happy about the challenge that this theory represent. However I trust that this theory will ridicule itself! Catherine II of Russia however was very pleased that all living creatures seemed to have popped out of her beloved Russia! Weighing the different materials that earth consists of, Buffon calculated that earth would have taken a total of 74.047 years to reach its current temperature. Adding the suns influence he landed on 74.832 years as published in his Epoch of Nature.

It took according to Buffon 35.000 years for water to condense out of the atmosphere to form oceans (of what was left between the continents). As a “could have been farmer” I strongly object to this as I have more than once boiled the potatoes dry twice before ready. Clearly with the heat in question caused by the sun or comets or whatever... we would have had deserts left and only occasional ponds, salty like the Dead Sea! So out of a limited 75.000 years I would have theoretically granted the species a larger portion of that time to develop.

Only after 60.000 years according to Buffon had the temperature dropped enough for the first land animals like elephants and rhinos to appear in the jungles of Siberia. Mankind showed up after 70.000 years so that the early gurus’ estimations of 4-6000 years at least for man could be accepted. It was thus independently proved to conveniently match the biblical tales. Buffon never questioned Adams 930 slow years, but since the world had now spun for 70.000 years already it was pretty much up to speed with our years nowadays I would guess. A comparatively much shorter 930 years in other words, but still a long life!

Lucky for Buffon at the time, there were no talking about humanoids and Neanderthals that could prove his theories wrong! Man was created last to take the sceptre of the earth only when it was found worthy of “his empire”! Buffon could therefore enjoy the fame, although it didn’t go exactly as he would’ve hoped! People admired his writing style, but doubted his arguments and rather took to his theories as enjoyable philosophy and early science fiction. Very much like that small boy in Norway with the biblical stories presented to him!

Nina Azari, a neuroscientist with a doctorate in theology, has looked at the brains of religious compared to non religious people. She has measured the brain activity whilst citing the 23rd psalm, a “happy” story and a neutral text. The religious guys in her test-panel all agreed that citing the 23rd psalm helped them enter a religious state of mind, so it would be interesting to compare this with the non religious guys. Previous research on the field has suggested that the limbic system (which regulates emotions) is an important centre of religious activity. Therefore it was expected that the religious people had quite high activity in the limbic system. However, the 23rd psalm caused activity other places than expected... and only for the religious guys. The only thing that triggered limbic activity among all, was the happy story! Religion affects many areas of the brain apparently. A so called God-spot however is derived from work conducted on epileptics. The reports suggest that religious visions are the result of epileptic seizures that affect this part of the brain (!!).I am amazed by the fact that all the brainiacs in time, that still have a name in history, went out of their way to confirm and entangle visions caused by epileptic seizures into their theories??!! I’m starting to question gravity here now!!


Wois said...

This is the first time i read about history of brainiacs. I learn something. Thanks!

A 2 Z said...

Yes its true that patients that have some type of brain dysfunction report a lot of "religious experiences" i.e. schizophrenia, epilepsy, drug users, etc...

But here is something that happened to me and frankly I am still not sure what label I should stick on it. One night I had a dream about my mother (she had just passed away). She told me that my 17 month old daughter had diabetes. When I woke up I checked in a medical book (that was 18 years ago, no internet yet). My daughter was not feeling well the past few days and I was told she was teething. Anyway I had her checked out by the doctor. They told me that if I had waited another day that my daughter would have died because she had very high blood glucose sugars. Diagnosis: juvenile diabetes. I still do not understand how this happened (the dream)? What force was at play?

RennyBA said...

What a readable, interesting and educative post. I've never heard about it and therefore learned something today - thanks for sharing!

abraxas said...

This post is astounding, really interesting, and put together so that even i can understand!!!
Not sure how you got the 2 topics into 1, but keep it up :)

Jonny said...

Wois & RennyBA!
Maybe I should go into teaching? Always loved to show off when I know more, lol! Thank you guys!!

a2z... sounds like you had an emileptic fit! Sorry, I really don't know!!

Thanx dude! I don't know how it happened really... epileptic fit once again?