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Echoes and Mirrors» Blog Archive » Reductionism for the win

Reductionism for the win

Scientists discover moral compass in the brain which can be controlled by magnets

Scientists have discovered a real-life ‘moral compass’ in the brain that controls how we judge other people’s behaviour.

The region, which lies just behind the right ear, becomes more active when we think about other people’s misdemeanours or good works.

In an extraordinary experiment, researchers were able to use powerful magnets to disrupt this area of the brain and make people temporarily less moral.

The study highlights how our sense of right and wrong isn’t just based on upbringing, religion or philosophy – but by the biology of our brains.

While I’d like to see a larger study done (this one had a relatively small set of test subjects) I’m not at all surprised by the results. I’d also like to see this sort of experiment done with sociopaths and psychopaths to better correlate the data. Morality is easily explained by evolution and evidence that shows that there is a biological imperative is good news. It also stands as evidence for reductionism.

You cannot overcome your biology, but you can get a better, deeper and more profound experience from it the more you understand it and explore it. Entheogens provide a spiritual-like experience, but if you cut any of the mystical nonsense out of it, what you are left with is a profound self-experience.

Here’s a really good TED talk about the same topic as the article:

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