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Does religious belief activate different parts of the brain to other types of thought? Plus Nasa's new space telescope has a mission

By Philip Ball   April 2009


There is a long tradition of scientists and philosophers fooling themselves that social traits may be altered by scientific evidence, Darwin’s efforts to combat slavery with evolutionary theory (see “Darwin the abolitionist, Prospect February 2009) being a case in point. In a recent article, “Science is just one gene away from defeating religion,” neurobiologist Colin Blakemore supplied another example. “When we understand how our brains generate religious ideas, and what the Darwinian adaptive value of such brain processes is, what will be left for religion?” he asked, to which the obvious answer is “about 5bn…

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