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Emotional Links to Genetic Health: Biological Heaven and Hell

Discussion in 'Interfaith Dialogues' started by spnadmin, Mar 4, 2011.

  1. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Emotional Links to Genetic Health: Biological Heaven and Hell
    Posted on March 1, 2011 by iain carstairs

    I wonder when someone over at the Human Genome Project will research and document the effect of prolonged emotional states on the health of the genes?

    We already know that an emotional shock can trigger the onset of cancer by disrupting the immune system, which shows how closely the mind is linked to our biology.

    Research in Europe has shown that children’s weight was influenced by interruptions to the diet of their grandparents. From this it appears that our diets and lifestyles can change the expression of our genes, by influencing a system of chemical switches known as the epigenome. The field of epigenetics was completely unknown only a decade ago, and certainly not suspected when the first test tube babies were announced.

    But if it can be shown that negative emotions such as greed, selfishness and rage have a gradual degenerative effect on the genes, it would explain why pschopaths so often spring from wealthy families, and why genius seems to come from humble and unassuming backgrounds.

    If so, it means religion was correct in at least this regard – that to voluntarily forego hatred and selfishness, “treating thy neighbour as thyself” tends to enhance whatever mechanism fosters the creative and emotional intelligence embedded in the genes, resulting in a healthier progeny. Does this mean that “the meek will inherit the Earth” ? Or that “the sins of the fathers” somehow do return to the children and grandchildren? Revelation emerges from genius in tune with natural laws of evolution. How could such warnings be expressed to the unsophisticated minds of the masses, at a time before literacy when dramatic, memorable images were needed, and taken on faith, since there was no medical knowledge to back it up? (The atheist view is that “Revelation doesn’t exist. End of story. Buy my new book.”) Could the real meaning of “treasure in Heaven” actually mean, a golden harvest of creativity and genius within the genes?

    Logically, the opposite could also be true: the degeneration particularly in Western societies might be a direct result of the aggression and greed which materialists laugh off as no big deal. But what could be more Hellish than being trapped in the nightmare wilderness of insanity, stranded by a failure somewhere in your own brain? Anyone who has experienced severe depression, which is probably mild compared to schizophrenia, will understand what I mean.

    The mistake made by critics of religion is to assume that, because the fantastic dress these forms wore do not suit the modern, well-informed and hyper-critical intellectual mind, there can be no truth behind them. They formed the cradle from which the modern mind grew – so how can it be possible that such time-honoured beliefs are empty of value?

    This investigation would be the point at which the barriers between religions would start to melt away, and at which religion and science would become two sides of the same coin: we need to know what emotional states encourage a co-operation with progressive evolution, and which ones are responsible for the rapid decline. In the past, great civilisations must have fallen victim to the exact same decay, which means that chemicals and pollution were not the culprits: the failure of the moral nature to keep pace meant the hard working builders of society were replaced by a load of useless addicts and degenerates. This area of research could explain a lot!

    The atheists will laugh and assert that this is an attempt to leverage superstition into society. But as Christopher Hitchens rightly says, “what can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.” A link between the mind and the genetics is plausible enough – after all, the mind emerges from the genetics to begin with. On what else could its biology be based? The atheists can scoff all they like at this idea: but without a proper investigation, by their own logic, they cannot dismiss it.

    Further reading:

    Fathers eating a fatty diet can pass on health problems to daughters via epigenetics

    Labs are finding that everything from being exposed to a toxic chemical, to smoking, being malnourished in childhood, or overeating—leaves an imprint on eggs or sperm, affecting not only those individuals’ children but their grandchildren as well

    The Independent reports that 3000% more Britons are using cocaine than one decade ago. In “Addiction: the epigenetic effect” Ruth Williams reports that psychoactive drugs can rewrite the epigenetic code of your brain cells

    Epigenetic effects seem to be impossible to turn off

    Some epigenetic markers can survive for 6 or 7 generations

    http://iaincarstairs.wordpress.com/2011/03/01/emotional-link-to-genetic-health/
     
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  3. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Special thanks to Iain Carstairs, author of the above article, who joined SPN and called our attention to his work on Science and Religion. :)
     
  4. Seeker9

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    This is new to me and i will need to read more

    It's an interesting concept and entirely plausible...I think the impact of the mind and positive thinking on one's health are accepted phenomena

    Wonder how this would fit in with Evolution though...happy emotionally content Neanderthals transforming to Homo Sapiens....

    Hmmmnnn...........
    :interestedsingh:
     
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  5. Archived_member14

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    Re: Religion As Morality: Is This the Way Forward in the Science-Religion Debate?

    Hello Iain,



    I wish you had posted this on a particular Buddhist website that I am a member of. But I am here, and you are here at the same time. In this group, my ideas have been less and less appreciated, especially after I had made it clear that I have no cause to learn “from” any other religion or philosophy. Sikhs consider themselves ‘learners’ and I question that, but not only they, but also everyone else who consider themselves as being one. But of course this is not what we need to discuss here.

    Perhaps you did not take into account Buddhism in your considerations. Not to say that had you done so, you’d be representing it correctly, after all I believe that 99 % of ‘Buddhists’ get it wrong. It seems from your article, that your focus is on theistic religions. Am I correct about this?

    Sometimes I sound like an arrogant fool, even mad, but please don’t let this stop you from getting into a discussion. Deleted an insulting comment directed at another forum member. Please debate issues not personalities.spnadmin The reason for this will be explained as we go along.

    It is not that I do not value science; I do and in certain circumstances even feel kind of grateful. But nothing really fascinates me in terms of its discoveries and findings, although I do appreciate certain attitudes adopted. However when it professes to be making a statement about “objective reality”, this I completely disagree with. I do not believe that science has even begun to know anything “real” and will likely never do so. Science is curious, but its attention is never drawn towards what is real right here right now, but is busy working only with shadows.

    I had started thread with the intention to discuss such things deletion of additional insulting descriptions of forum members. spnadmin You might want to look into it, and then come back here to discuss.

    Here is the link:
    http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/gener...reality-truth-conventional-reality-truth.html

    Regards,
    C.
     
    #4 Archived_member14, Mar 5, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 5, 2011
  6. iain

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    Re: Religion As Morality: Is This the Way Forward in the Science-Religion Debate?

    Hi,

    I just found your post and would like to say I think Buddhism is a fantastic religion, if that is the right word to define it. Buddha reached higher consciousness through the discipline of Yoga, which was the world's first "religion" in that it allowed people to verify the truth of mysticism for themselves.

    In fact it was an eight fold path - it even included some very difficult practices like telling the truth! The reason being that mental and emotional factors are very important when trying to remodel the brain.

    I am a big admirer of Buddhism and my 13 year old daughter declared she wanted to be Buddhist, and even has the Dalai Llama's quotes on her bedroom wall - along with pictures of Jessie J and the Beatles. She really likes to try to understand these ideas, and why a person believes that a Universe with no aim and no life of its own could give birth to fantastically complex life.

    I started a modest blog recently and wrote a little about the religion of the future and would welcome comments:

    http://iaincarstairs.wordpress.com/2011/02/24/the-religion-of-the-future/

    The most important thing to remember is that religion is a byproduct of a specific function of the brain - just as art is a product of theinterest in visual phenomoena, and galleries all over the world serve the purpose of exploring that interest and fulfilling the desire to know more. Of course, some galleries take one preference and some another, some are closed minded and some are adventurous, but they all require public interest to keep going. If they change their "creeds" it only shows that people's interests are evolving, which is what you would expect, even in one lifetime, never mind over the centuries. Their changes in direction are to be expected and welcomed.

    As a painter myself, I found concentrating on painting and on colours continually remodels whatever part of my brain needs to be more sensitive to colours, just as taxi drivers enlarge the areas involved with spatial navigation.

    Meditation increases the neuronal density of certain areas, and can, when the overall organism of the human body is in a suitable state, accelerate evolutionary forces within the body and open the tenth door - basically a perfectly natural sense - allowing a person to see into the world of life and of consciousness, of which we are all a part.

    Religions are simply the institutional, organised result of the global demand caused by a specific sense within the brain; it is not a radnom or whimsical fad. If it were, it would disappear quickly, because the human mind itself, in the end, rejects whatever is not of lasting worth to it. Everyone will have different levels of this capability but it is a biological factor as verifiable in the laboratory as sight or sound, although incomprehensible to those without any development of that sense within their own brain, just as some people declare "all art is nonsense".

    Atheism is a very useful movement because it requires religion to account for itself to the naturally skeptical intellect. This it will certainly be able to do, by working with biologists; in the end, the superstitious aspects will be discarded just as they have been in meteorology, medicine, physics, cosmology, psychology and so on - without any of these fields being abandoned because of their ancient roots having to match the condition of the ancient mind at the time.

    Scientific critics of religion's unscientific credentials should remember that science has carefully avoided all investigation of religion - even the genetic and epigenetic effects have been studiously ignored, although they are obvious from a quick study of history - the first scientists all came from devout backgrounds. Therefore, a religious background does not negate a genetically astute scientist and as to the absence of investigation, this criticism is more about science itself and their aloof attitude.

    The more serious aspect of this ignorance is that the materialistic lifestyle has given birth to monstrous deformities in the brain - a prevalence of sociopaths, a rise in crime, in addictions, alzheimers, ADD, autism, alcoholism, and a corresponding increase in wars, as these brains find their way into politics. The evidence is that an absence of spiritual values is like ignoring hygiene for the brain; what follows is decay just as an absence of hygiene on the physical plane causes rapid decay and festering sores within the body. Another aspect of ignoring what is and what is not a healthy religious practice, is thatcults and madmen abound, and trickery is mistaken for spiritual wisdom. All these things are disastrous for millions of people, and a lack of scientific interest in it is appalling.

    So this is a very exciting age to be living in and I'm hoping some of these developments will take place in my lifetime.

    Best regards

    Iain
     
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  7. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Re: Religion As Morality: Is This the Way Forward in the Science-Religion Debate?

    Ian ji

    I appreciate the detailed articles that you share with the forum. However, I need to add my own sense of critical thinking. We have to be aware of the fakes and scam artists that take religion as big business and gratification for their own egotistical needs. They are not here to resolve but to destroy the integrity of human consciousness for their own purposes. Sai Baba is one of those individuals. We also have to be aware that religion even when posed as humanist or atheist is a powerful tool for controlling others so that the controller can compensate for his/her own deep felt inferiority. There are others mentioned in that article that imho fall into that category. They should not be leading any other human being anywhere, not to the closest traffic light, and certainly not to enlightenment.

    I can't take from forum members the right to read and evaluate on their own. So I am not going to remove the link to the article. It has however caused me some alarm. Therefore, I am posting my caveat here.
     
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  8. iain

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    You are quite correct - I point this out in my article, that Sai Baba is an obvious fraud - an example of the result of science being unwilling to investigate religion properly, on biological and sensible terms. In a well established field, a lunatic such as he could never thrive on the gullibility of the public.
     
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  9. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    I am not sure that science is up to the job of investigating religion. But I take your point. :)
     
  10. Archived_member14

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    Re: Religion As Morality: Is This the Way Forward in the Science-Religion Debate?

    Hello Iain,

    I am glad to see you come back to this, as I thought that you probably were put off by my last response.

    I read through your article, but must say that I was overwhelmed by the amount of information and the way that the ideas were expressed. But the real problem is that the understanding that you come from is so opposed to that of the Buddha’s (as I understand it), that I don’t know how and where to begin.

    Although you do admit in your article, that science and psychiatry have not even begun to study consciousness, and that this is what is in fact needed. Your own tendency to reduce consciousness as being result of brain function is as far as I can see, one which will never lead to any direct understanding ever taking place.

    Indeed this is one (or more) of the sixty odd kinds of “wrong view” pointed out by the Buddha in his “Discourse on the All Embracing Net of Views”, which is one of the most important discourses that he gave. So although you have tried to praise the Buddha for his wisdom, I don’t think that this has in fact happened. Indeed in reducing mentality to being product of brain function, and religion on the whole as a kind of survival mechanism, you do not contribute to the cause at all.

    One reason I started to participate in this forum is to encourage people to begin viewing ‘morality’ as being mental realities arisen due to causes and conditions that have nothing to do with man-made values or anything that science ever puts forward. I have noticed these two tendencies, one to taking good and evil as being more or less arbitrary and two, as a product of evolution / survival mechanism.

    But the fact is that we are drawn again and again to moral considerations, regardless of whether we understand or misunderstand it, is to me, evidence of its ultimate nature. That we talk about good leading to good results and evil to bad results, is because this is in fact a reflection of a “Law” which must ultimately exist. That consciousness arises to experience different object through the five senses and the mind, by causes and conditions that can be known within that very experience, is evidence that this ‘brain’ is just an idea proliferated upon and wrongly made to associate with ‘mentality’. Similarly, all mental realities such as feeling, perception, attention, concentration, attachment, kindness, shame of wrong doing, shamelessness, jealousy, conceit, moral restraint, anger, faith, mindfulness, understanding etc., these can be seen to rise and fall away by cause and conditions that have nothing to do with this concept of ‘brain’, is again a reflection that the scientific materialistic outlook is a very misleading one.

    To me it is evident that science deals with only the Caloric and Germinal orders, and that the Moral, Psychical and Natural phenomena sequence is outside of its scope. And since it is a fact that without ‘consciousness’ nothing is ever known, the two orders that science touches upon must in fact be known, not through any real understanding, but only by way of its shadows.

    So you see, we come in from quite opposed understandings. I can talk to a person who is inspired by religion based on his faith / confidence in goodness, even though he may not understand that these are in fact impersonal elements arisen by causes and conditions not within the control of will. Your position however is one which is hard for me to find a crack through to then know which direction to take. But I’ll wait for your response and see. In the meantime, I’d like you to read that particular thread that I referred to in my last response. This will give you a better idea about my own approach and perhaps you will be able to find a good place to start a discussion….
     
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