Welcome to Knowledge Unbound! What is the meaning of life? Is there a God? What is right and what is wrong? What is the good life? These questions have occupied my mind since I was a little girl and have been considered by many of us throughout history. The wonders of life being so central to who I am, I was naturally drawn to religion, science, and philosophy—the greatest knowledge systems available to us. A fan and critic of all, I look at what each has to offer to one another—the limits and possibilities—and how and why knowledge is formed and divided into various systems to begin with. When we look at knowledge unbound, across these systems, what can it tell us about how we come to ‘know’ and how can this help us answer the ‘big’ questions in life? I hope to give you some insight into these very questions.
I feel detached from my body. I am floating up . . . there is a kind of vibration moving through my sternum . . . there are odd lights or faces along my left side. My body is becoming very hot . . . tingling sensations in my chest and stomach . . . now both arms. There is something feeling my ovaries. I can feel my left foot jerk. I feel there is someone in the room behind me.
This was the report of one test subject in the lab of neuroscientist Michael Persinger, who has made the claim that ‘genuine religious experiences’ can be artificially induced with a device called the ‘Koren Helmet,’ more popularly known as the ‘God Helmet.’ The epithet was bestowed by journalists after discovering that some claimed to have had visions of God under the Helmet’s influence and the name stuck. Persinger’s God Helmet—the earliest models looking something like a motorcycle helmet with wires without and electrodes within—is said to induce a ‘visitor experience,’ variously interpreted as closeness with God or in the presence of angels, saints, ancestors, aliens, ghosts, and other supernatural agents. (One subject claimed the testing chamber should be exorcised because the Devil was in there, while others have claimed the presence of demons.) Persinger repeatedly identifies this induced state as the ‘God experience.’
- God on the Brain: Part Two
- God on the Brain: Part One
- The Social Construction of Knowledge
- The Discursive Construction of Knowledge
- ‘Religion-and-Science’: Complicating the Pairing
- Conflict with the Conflict Thesis: Complicating the Religion-Science Dichotomy
- Science as ‘Not Religion’: The History of the Conflict Construct (Part Two)
- Science as ‘Not Religion’: The History of the Conflict Construct (Part One)
- A View from Everywhere: Metacognition & the Limits of Reflection