Sam Harris

Sam Harris is well known for his criticisms of religion and Christianity. He maintains a high profile on the internet, and with books such as The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason and Letter to a Christian Nation he has become a prominent atheist.

You may not know that he is also working on his Ph.D. in neuroscience at UCLA. Harris has apparently been making progress on his research, despite his writing on religion. In fact, the current issue of Time reports that he is publishing a paper in the Annals of Neurology, a very highly-regarded journal in the field. The publication reports on his research studying the brains of 14 people as they consider sentences indicating varying degrees of objectivity and subjectivity. Apparently the distinction between objective and subjective may not be as clear-cut as we would like to think.

More interesting to psychologists of religion is what the article says of Harris's next study. He plans to examine whether religious beliefs differ from other types of beliefs. He hopes to learn whether religious belief and faith are treated differently by the brain than are beliefs regarding more mundane things, such as beliefs about cars.

If you are interested in psychology and religion, the Time article on Harris is worth a quick visit.

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