The Nucleus Accumbens

How challenging the addict produces argument and deception through the sympathetic nervous system

Neuroscience is continuing its advances and testing-down the exclusivity of religious convictions (feelings) and their purported source—god is losing his grip—the cat is climbing out of the bag.

Based on fMRI scans, the researchers found that powerful spiritual feelings were reproducibly associated with activation in the nucleus accumbens, a critical brain region for processing reward.

Spirituality can be reproduced in the laboratory or academic study. An interesting note—when a challenge threatens the belief, you then endanger the source of the addiction—And the source of the religious addiction lies in your own neurons and endocrine system. Threaten any addict, sit back and hear the excuses, the lies, and the deceit. The threat in this addiction also stimulates the fight or flight—adrenaline—hence the argument—in the face of facts.

Interestingly I can reproduce the same neurological affects of religion with medication, sex, lies, meditation, junk food—and the spirit of god, of course. It’s no wonder endocrine and in-doctrine , are so similar

This article HERE has some additional insights.

It is so clear that our minds are easily manipulated by an array of influence. Best be careful out there—awareness and acceptance of these facts is a push towards reality.

Author: jim-

One minute info blogs breaking the faith trap.

24 thoughts on “The Nucleus Accumbens”

  1. Reminds me of William James–The Varieties of Religious Experience. Reading that was one of the first times I started realizing I had doubts. Other than the times I doubted what I read in the Bible, that is.

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    1. Something about people named James. Hehe. I like James Rachel’s take on moral autonomy and worship. Giving up your moral autonomy is actually immoral. You can’t simultaneously worship a being and maintain your own sense of good. Which is evident in the atrocities committed in the name of god.

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        1. There are also some impressively good studies on submitting your will and what that does to neurology. It is important to achieve that submission on faith, before the fine print is read. Hence the eternal handwaving in the face of fact—no one likes to admit they’ve been suckered, and they’ll spend a lifetime ignoring that.

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    1. That’s a great article. Here’s an excerpt—
      Religious beliefs can be thought of as socially transmitted mental representations that consist of supernatural events and entities assumed to be real. Religious beliefs differ from empirical beliefs, which are based on how the world appears to be and are updated as new evidence accumulates or when new theories with better predictive power emerge. On the other hand, religious beliefs are not usually updated in response to new evidence or scientific explanations, and are therefore strongly associated with conservatism. They are fixed and rigid, which helps promote predictability and coherence to the rules of society among individuals within the group.
      Thank you kindly

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      1. I thought you might find that one interesting. It seems that damage to the prefrontal cortex result in a loss of cognitive flexibility and an inability to accept new evidence when the brain tries to reach a conclusion. That would explain a lot, not just religious fundamentalism but also some of the rabid climate change deniers, some of the people in the anti-vax crowd, etc. It doesn’t explain all of it. The authors of the study learned that this kind of damage was found in only about one fifth of the cases and that there were other factors at work as well, possibly genetic, or even some kind of social explanation.

        The latter would explain why just living in the US seems literally toxic. The US has, if I remember right, the highest rate of suicide, the highest infant mortality rate of any first world country, one of the lowest life expectancies, highest murder rates, etc. If that’s true, our society and culture here in the US is literally toxic and just living here increases your risk of mental illness.

        Anyway, the study does support, at least partly, my opinion that religion is a symptom of a form of mental illness.

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  2. May I ask you, Jim, please do not confuse religion and spirituality. Some people consider religions spiritual, but that is because they confuse souls and spirits. SPIRITUALITY IS NOT RELIGIOUS! The connections between living beings may not be visible, but neithers are thoughts and ideas. Spirituality is a feeling, some people get while others don’t. A person does not have to be told about such feelings, they come on their own. Religion cannot be discovered on its own, a person has to be told about it.
    If your scientists tested me, they may find my feelings of spiritual connection might show up on a fMRI of my nucleus accumbens, and they may not. Where do feelings of love or hatred show up? Of joy or sorrow? Happiness, satisfaction, all those feelings?
    Meanwhile, if there is an area of the brain that reacts to religion, what does that say about us? Not that I would agree, but maybe our brains are wired to recognize religions, and therefore gods. This is a fallacious argument, of course. Most people if not all have nicotine and THC receptors in their bodies and brains, but not everyone uses. So why should religion recognizers be any different?
    Oh well, just thought I hadn’t bitched at you for awhile. I need to keep you on your toes…

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    1. I’ve not conflated the two at all I hope. A few particular religions think they have a monopoly on spoon fed enlightenment and it’s not true. Those particular brands also try to force it on ya as the only way or the hellway. We’re cool bro.

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  3. I can say with certainty that it was my reading about how the brain works that was the nail in the coffin on religion for me. Or perhaps it’s better to say that while I had good explanations and reasons why religious beliefs were false, the fact that so many ardently believed in religion and could not be convinced by any facts or reasoned arguments was a mystery. If something can be believed in so strongly as to make it true in one’s mind, what’s going on in there? I think when you mix in what you’re showing here and the fear based message that Islam and Christianity also bring to the table about the consequences for not believing, you have a lot of areas of the brain working that lead to vivid imagination, strong emotions, and a cessation of higher executive functions.

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    1. That’s all they have to do with. I remember a guy at college had a party and served near-beer out of a keg. The kids that signed a pledge before admitted to the school were drunk at the thought.

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