Speaking of atheism, a few neuroscientists have a new theory about how Judaism, Christianity, and Islam got started. From The Syndey Morning Herald:
Glad tidings of great joy: there could be a straightforward medical explanation for at least three of the world’s major religions. Moses, Mohammed, and Jesus all experienced revelations on mountains, but they were probably just suffering a form of altitude sickness, say a group of Swiss and Israeli neurologists, casting doubt in the process on the very existence of God.
All three felt, heard or saw a presence, experienced lights and felt afraid, say the brain scientists from Lausanne, Geneva and Jerusalem. But so have contemporary mountaineers who are more interested in ice picks and thermal undies than anything mystical – suggesting the dizzy heights may have the effect of turning ordinary mortals into prophets.
Note that the paper is published in the journal Medical Hypotheses, which the Herald describes as “positively boastful about giving a run to bright new ideas that haven’t been through the usual discouraging process of scientific peer review.”
I’m not sure what to make of that. But in a similar, perhaps more credible vein, Daniel Dennett’s new book looks interesting.
[First link via TMN.]