[ExI] better self-transcendence through selective brain damage

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Fri Feb 12 15:41:05 UTC 2010

On 13 February 2010 01:50, Ben Zaiboc <bbenzai at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Wow.  Could it be?  Might we find a cure for religion?

In psychiatry patients with religious delusions are very common, but
occasionally there is doubt as to whether they are really psychotic.
The only decent diagnostic test we have for this problem is a
therapeutic trial of an antipsychotic medication. If the religious
ideas go away then almost certainly they were part of a psychosis: the
test has a very low false positive rate. It's harder to interpret the
test if the religious ideas do not go away, since about 20-30% of
patients with clearly psychotic symptoms and 100% of patients who are
just religious do not respond to medication. In other words,
reasonably effective treatments are available at present for the crazy
but not for the merely gullible.

Stathis Papaioannou

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