Neurotheology: What's This All About?

Speaker: Categories: Jan 14, 2006

 

[55min, 46sec / 55min, 36sec]

ABOUT THE TOPIC:

In recent years there has been an expanding body of knowledge reported in scholarly and informative journals regarding the"mysteries"which seem associated with the human brain. It would appear that with more extended research, a plethora of questions surface - questions which demand more research and more answers.

How does a Divine Presence fit into all this? To what extent, if any, have secular scholars and researchers discovered something sacred, something transcending the usuai conclusion that humans are the most complex rendition of the evolution of the animal kingdom?

Greg Billock, Ph.D., a new (and much younger) presenter for SDAF, proposes that during the first portion of his talk he will answer general questions about brain science. He'll emphasize what brain science is trying to learn, the methods it uses to investigate the function of the brain, and some of the key results of the effort so far. Following that he will discuss some of the current thinking about spiritual experience and the brain.

"During the first part of the presentation,"he notes,"I'll talk about the bookWhy God Won't Go Away, by Newberg and d'Aquili, and also mention other labs and their research. I'll then talk briefly and more speculatively about where this part of brain science is headed."

"The second part of the presentation,"Dr. Billock assures,"will focus on the question ofGod and the Brainmore from the perspective of religious institutions. I'll discuss variations on the traditional theory of the soul, and the challenges to that theory from brain science generally. I'll then talk about the specific implications of direct scientific investigation of spiritual experience. Finally, I'll talk about the potential relevance to religious institutions of technology based on the brain science of spiritual experience."

Did that impress you as you read? Have you pondered the possibility that there might actually be some scientific evidence that Divinity is manifested within the working of the human brain? If so, what might be the implications?

ABOUT THE SPEAKER:

Greg Billock graduated from the engineering department at Walla Walla College in 1994. Since then he's been involved with Adventist internet endeavors such as SDAnet and the Adventist Today website, as well as in local churches in Glendale, CA.

He completed his Ph.D. at California Institute of Technology, where he worked with computer simulations of the attention system to apply them to complex system control. He was associated with Professors Psaltis and Koch, whose lab is very involved in the study of attention and consciousness. After completing his doctorate, he worked at iSpheres, where he helped build an event processing engine, and then moved to Google, where he currently works. He and his wife, Christy, have a little boy three years of age whose name is Hudson.

That bit of bio background may cause readers of this newsletter announcement to wonder just what would motivate a young man to pursue such investigation. Perhaps some insights will be shared on January 14!

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