resources_nature_interests_god in the brain
resources_nature_txt_God in the brain?
God in the brain? Religious experience from neuroscience
lecture at the XXXI International Theology Symposium of the University of Navarra on 15 April 2010.
Author: José Manuel Giménez-Amaya (department of Anatomy, Histology and Neuroscience, School of Medicine, Autonomous University of Madrid and group Science, Reason and Faith (CRYF), University of Navarra).
Published in: Scripta Theologica 42: 435-449 (2010).
It is asked why questions such as those set out in degree scroll can arise from the field of Neuroscience and are, in turn, also of great interest to Theology. This bidirectional task leads to an emphasis on the importance of multidisciplinarity in experimental science, and to a reflection on the role of Theology in its relationship with the experimental sciences and in its guiding function as a requirement of thought.
1. Religious experience from neuroscience: an interdisciplinary view of experimental science.
1.1. Historical overview of the multidisciplinarity of Neuroscience.
1.2. programs of study neuroscientists on religious experience.
2. Theology and experimental science.
2.1. The fight against scientism that does not want to be interdisciplinary.
2.2. Theology as a requirement of thought.
The first thing that comes to mind when reading the degree scroll of this contribution is to wonder why this question was asked: God in the brain? Such a direct interpellation forces us to ask ourselves what has led us to formulate it and why it makes sense to talk about all this. In an attempt to narrow it down even further, what we intend to analyse is whether we could look at this question from a bidirectional perspective. On the one hand, it would be a matter of knowing how neural science has developed so that it is currently in a position to ask questions like this and what results it has reached. Secondly, we would be interested in delving deeper into the very important fact of why theology is truly interested in knowing what can be known from the perspective of experimental science about one of the most important and central aspects of its work: man's experience of God through faith.
Two paths, therefore, which we will try to explore in this contribution and which respond to different research itineraries. As for the first, the reason why Neuroscience is interested in the question of God, we will follow a historical approach that attempts to respond to the reason for the interdisciplinary attitude of this biological science and to the major questions raised by the very experiments that have been developed in recent years on religious experience and brain activity. With regard to the second, our purpose is to try to provoke a profound reflection on the role of Theology in its relationship with experimental science and in its guiding function as a requirement of thought. Perhaps these two approaches may seem, at first sight, independent and unconnected. Our purpose is to show that questions such as those of degree scroll of this speech call for the questioning of the disintegration of the sciences among themselves and the reasons for this.
1. Religious experience from neuroscience: an interdisciplinary view of experimental science
Throughout this section we will try to see how Neuroscience has positioned itself over the last few years as a privileged vantage point for interdisciplinary study. For this task, we will use the analysis of some crucial aspects that, in our opinion, have been produced in the historical pathway of this biological discipline . We do not pretend to be exhaustive; we only wish to point out some facts that are particularly relevant for our purpose. With this basis established, we will now be in a position to explore some of the most characteristic neurobiological programs of study that have been carried out in recent times on the religious experience in the brain and, finally, to provide some possible keys to the interpretation of the results obtained.
1.1. Historical overview of the multidisciplinarity of Neuroscience1
Modern Neuroscience starts at its origins with the scientific history of a great pioneer of experimental medical science: the British physician Thomas Willis2. In 1664, this English scientist published a very important work in which he described for the first time, with special care, the macroscopic Anatomy of the brain. brain3. However, what I would like to emphasise here is that this author took a very radical approach to the study of the mind in the human brain. Heavily influenced by the writings of the philosopher René Descartes, he was particularly interested in the implications of the Cartesian Philosophy for the understanding of mental disorders. According to Cartesian doctrine, the spirit, as a simple reality, could not be the seat of mental illness, but had to be found somewhere in the body to which it is attached. With these premises, Willis embarked on a prodigious causal search for mental disorder in the human brain. In fact, he is the first scientist to attempt to assign certain mental functions to specific areas of the brain. At this point, however, we would like to focus on one of his most meritorious contributions: his great interdisciplinary capacity. As a member of the Oxford Philosophical Society, our author is in permanent contact and discussion with other professors of humanistic disciplines, an aspect that allowed him to know at first hand the philosophical thought of his time, putting him in the best conditions when trying to give a greater coherence to his own neurobiological research. neurobiological research4.
I have brought this example to highlight from the outset the importance that multidisciplinarity has had in the development of neuroscience. Neuroscience5. This crucial feature of this biological science will also be clearly seen in the following facts that we are going to mention in this historical pathway of our discipline.
On 13 September 1848, Phineas Gage, a foreman working on the construction of railways in northern New England in the United States, suffered an accident when an iron bar pierced part of his face and the anterior portions of his skull. Gage did not die instantly. He lost a large amount of prefrontal cerebral cortex6but he survived the accident and was even able to regain his physical health. However, after the trauma, although he did not suffer from any sensory or motor disorders, nor was he found to have any language or language impairment report, his personality changed B. This fact brought to the forefront of experimental science the importance of Neuroscience in the attempt to explain mental processes and how they relate to brain biology.
However, the breakthrough in this direction came a century later with the finding of psychopharmacology. Today it is difficult to imagine what mental illnesses were like before the advent of this form of therapy. This is particularly striking in the case of psychotic disorders. For many years, these patients were confined to asylums where little could be done for them. Although in many cases they were generically related to a brain process, in the internship their treatment by interventions on the central nervous system was unthinkable. The finding of antipsychotic drugs in the 1950s was an extraordinary advance from a therapeutic and neurobiological point of view: profound disorders of thought and affectivity could be controlled by modifying the biology of the brain.
The great problems posed by neurological and psychiatric illnesses, and a great lack of basic knowledge of how our nervous system works, set in motion the interdisciplinary nature of neural science in a group of neuroscientists who led the research of the brain in the 60s of the last century. The founding of the Society for Neuroscience in the United States, for example, bears witness to this. The common inspiration for all these projects was the conviction that the cooperation of diverse scientific viewpoints could advance the biological and medical knowledge of such a complex structure as the nervous system. The impressive growth of the neurobiological research over the last fifty years has demonstrated that, as an overall strategy to solve a large scientific problem, this approach is very useful and probably the best possible7.
But, without doubt, the most recent growth in Neuroscience, both from the point of view of the greater knowledge of brain functions and its media impact, has been due to the spectacular development of neuroimaging techniques. The most important of these is functional magnetic resonance imaging. Precisely, in recent years, neuroimaging programs of study based on this technique has become the most important tool for the development of a neuroscientific subdiscipline of great interdisciplinary repercussion, the Cognitive Neuroscience8. According to Dr Dolan of University College London, this field of neuroimaging is concentrating its research on two sets of questions: where? and how? The first has been the subject of an immense output of scientific work in recent years. It is difficult to understand the popularity of brain programs of study , without seeing these very graphic images whose colours indicate activations and deactivations of different brain areas. However, this researcher warns that it is the second question that poses the biggest challenge of this subject of programs of study for the coming years, as it tries to unravel the basic mechanisms of neural activity when we induce brain function through different tasks or experimental paradigms. In this work, neuroscientists are engaging with other scientists, again opening up a broad interdisciplinarity.
We have just seen that multidisciplinarity has been one of the core aspects of development of Neuroscience. It is logical, therefore, that questions such as the one raised in the degree scroll of this work and which represent what is most characteristically human in man should be the subject of growing interest in this experimental science.
1.2. programs of study neuroscience on religious experience
I am going to focus in this section on some of the most recent programs of study carried out almost all of them with functional magnetic resonance techniques. In all of them there is an almost common result , which clearly points to the associative cortexes9 cortexes as being the most activated in the brain when exploring paradigms with a content of religious experience10or other subject experiences that are related to religious experience (e.g., the experience of remorse in experiments on decision-making). decision making11).
Among these programs of study, I will dwell a little on the experiments carried out by Dr. Mario Beauregard of department of Psychology at the University of Montreal in Canada. This work was carried out on cloistered Carmelite nuns, none of whom had a psychiatric or neurological disorder that might hinder the experiment, and who were asked to recall an inner experience characterised by a sense of union with God. Brain activity was collected from this experimental paradigm using brain magnetic resonance techniques and electroencephalography12. These tests showed that several brain regions were activated during this subject of life experiences. There was no single site of activation that indicated the existence of a brain area or module that governed religious experience. The portions of the brain where such activation was detected were involved in perceptual, cognitive and emotional processes. The authors conclude that this religious experience is different from any other non-religious emotional experience, as it also involves complex perceptual and cognitive factors. For them, an experience is religious if it is cognitively structured.
From a neurobiological point of view, we see that religious experience is capable of bringing together very complex neural networks that synthetically involve perceptual, cognitive and emotional brain regions, cognitive and emotional13. And it is logical to think that something like this would happen: the richness of religious experience needs these networks to be produced; but one might now ask whether these networks are the direct cause of this spiritual process. And to answer this question we need to make a methodological critique of procedure employee in order to obtain the results we have mentioned.
It is important to know that all these techniques also pose significant problems for their proper interpretation. Moreover, these methodological difficulties are almost always masked for non-experts. Thus, as has been pointed out by Fuchs14The association of subjective experience to the images provided by these techniques requires the acceptance of certain assumptions. Firstly, neuroimaging programs of study only illustrates a partial aspect of the biological processes that are taking place: we see statistically, for example, which brain areas have more blood flow, but we do not know if this increase is the direct cause of the phenomenon being explored. Secondly, the proper interpretation of the results depends very much on the experimental design that is done, and on which outline is followed in the scan: often this is not explained in detail, and the conclusions drawn by non-experts are too simplistic15. And finally, that, in general, activities of daily life are complex and it is not easy to explore them without subjecting them to simplifications that can denaturalise them: in fact, the usual exploratory paradigms in this subject of experiments lack the "global" component that is present, for example, in social interactions. social interactions16. In conclusion, neuroimaging techniques are excellent for exploring the human nervous system, but it would be very risky to rely exclusively on their results to draw unitary conclusions about human behaviour.
Another major neurobiological problem - and one that requires a major interdisciplinary study - is to analyse the religious experience present in mental illnesses, especially in the most devastating of them, schizophrenia. It seems increasingly clear that in these subjects there are alterations in the synaptic, molecular or cellular organisation of cortical and subcortical neuronal networks. subcortical neuronal networks17. These patients often tend to present psychotic disorders with a religious content, in some cases highly valuable and profound. In these circumstances, we are at the real frontier of so-called mind-brain relations. I do not want to dwell any longer, as it would take too much time to discuss all this in detail, but I did not want to fail to outline at least this highly topical issue in the context of our exhibition today.
But let us move on now, without delay, to the second part of this contribution, which aims to explore why theology is interested in questions such as those posed directly by neuroscience about religious experience in the brain.
2. Theology and experimental science
The first thing we notice when we ask ourselves about the interest of Theology in these questions is that this attention is by no means equally reciprocated by the experimental sciences with respect to theological science. The clear sample that this relationship has deteriorated can be seen in the way Theology has been expelled - or attempts are being made to do so, in a short deadline - from the place par excellence where the concert of knowledge takes place: the University. How has this happened? Lack of time obliges us to answer very concisely. Our intention is that these brief words should provoke a profound reflection on the role of Theology in its relationship with experimental science and in its guiding function as a requirement of thought. Let us begin by talking about the relationship between Theology and the experimental sciences.
2.1. The fight against scientism that does not want to be interdisciplinary
The rupture in the relationship between Theology and the experimental sciences has been one-sided. It stems from the prevailing scientistic mentality as a culmination of the complex process called modernity, which now dominates the academic world and public opinion. public opinion18. Scientism is characterised by the enthronement of empirical science as model of all other forms of human experience. It concentrates its attention, preferentially, on those aspects of sensible reality that are susceptible to quantification. And this is already a reduction of reason. The first important point of the conflict. Why? Because the reduction of the perceptive and rational capacities of contemporary society in favour of the tangible and the quantitative leads, on the one hand, to the introduction of a clear-cut but simplistic object-subject division and, on the other hand, to the attribution of an exclusive cognitive value to the method and to scientific reasoning. scientific reasoning19.
In our time, one of those who has been most opposed to this reductive view of human reason is Joseph Ratzinger. For him, Christianity - read here also theological science - is problematic in modernity because it positions itself antagonistically to the scientistic mentality; and this in two core aspects: it commits itself, on the one hand, to a reality - or realities - that transcend, or at least are uncertain, to modern perceptual capacities in relation to metaphysics and morality; and, secondly, to its view of history. Let us briefly look in more detail at these two points highlighted here.
We have already noted above that intimately connected with the scientistic mentality is a certain concept of human reason. This form of analysis of reality comes to indicate the only human business that is completely rational, that is really worthwhile, and thus reason becomes a victim of its own scientific success. scientific success20. The sharp criticisms that authors such as Kuhn, Feyerabend or Popper have made in the last century about the idea that scientists themselves have of their own activity are forgotten. their own activity21. At final, for scientism, the Degree of interest is reduced to observable phenomena and takes refuge, in the best of cases, in an agnostic silence on ultimate and radical questions such as the existence of God or the meaning of human life. We quote Ratzinger's words from summary : "The reason internship on which the moral knowledge is based is also authentically rational and not simply the expression of subjective, non-cognitive feelings. We must learn once again to understand that the great moral knowledge of humanity is as true and as rational as the experimental knowledge in the field of natural science and technology. Indeed, the moral knowledge is even truer because it touches more deeply on the essentials of being and is a more decisive factor in human existence. human existence".22.
The second shortcoming of modern man's scientism lies in his inability to recognise the values handed down by the past and tradition23. This scientism has made "progress" and "mastery" the priority objectives of scientific activity. In doing so, it has dragged the very assumptions of the scientific work and of history itself into oblivion and negation. That modern ideal of indefinite progress, of predictable universal history and optimism about the future in the certainty that we are on the right path, has collapsed before the eyes of 20th century man. The two world wars, the warlike use of scientific discoveries or the evident regression represented by the atrocities perpetrated in the name of ideas or history are sufficient proof of such a failure. failure24. If modernity had renounced tradition in favour of a universal ideal of irreversible progress, post-modernity has become cynical about both the tradition of the past and the promises of the future. There is now simply a disavowal of an objective, unique and universal history. The value of historiography, of the subjective vision of the chronicler, is extrapolated. History as such - or "goal-history", as the postmodernists like to say - is replaced by limited accounts of partial fragments of reality.
And the consequence of all this is surprising, paradoxical. On the one hand, a large part of experimental science, ignoring its original partiality, stands as the only universally valid knowledge , even if it is vaguely aware of its relative provisionality. On the other hand, the generalised rejection of tradition and history eliminates the ground of any possible knowledge, abandoning us to the emptiest scepticism. Cut off from all links, from all financial aid and support, the individual no longer knows what to believe. He chooses to let himself go, to live "inauthentically", as Heidegger would say Heidegger would say25. In this way, paradoxically, the modern scientistic ideal and the postmodern nihilistic reaction of the nihilist reaction26. It is urgent to find a lost unity; a true multidisciplinarity that unites the sciences as a whole, including prominently the Philosophy and theology. Theology27.
2.2. Theology as a requirement of the thinking28
It remains for us to say something on this last point. It will also be necessarily brief, although the reflection enunciated in the degree scroll of section is, perhaps, one of the crucial aspects of the contemporary intellectual discussion . I am already stating my thesis by saying that Theology has a very singular importance in the order of knowledge, and that to withdraw it from these fields is a symptom of intellectual penury. My intention is to outline just a few ideas as to why I consider this to be so.
The central core of my argument can be summed up by saying that science, in general, is founded knowledge, i.e. its premises are known to us. known to us29. All this leads us to the central idea that the very idea of science refers to the existence of an ultimate foundation of everything there is. And it is precisely here that theology comes into play as a knowledge that studies the ultimate foundation of all reality. reality30. It brings us, therefore, something essential: namely, the first origin of all existence, light on the ultimate meaning of our life. Consequently, we are faced with a knowledge of the necessity of which the very requirement of scientific thought speaks to us. The fact that this is not recognised as such only indicates that our age is characterised by a systematic neglect of the question of the foundations of science. A majority of today's scientists are subjected to the dazzling power of scientific and technical knowledge and are imbued with an ideology of unlimited progress. On these assumptions, many believe that they are dispensed from any task that is not strictly technical. technical31.
The consequences are plain for all to see. Technology, forgotten of its origin and robbed of its roots, ends up rebelling against those who use it, and can lead to the end of the dignity of the human person. Without recovering Theology as the founding knowledge, it is difficult to think of a new humanisation of technology as has been called for by great thinkers of the 20th and 21st centuries.
All of the above does not mean that theologians should be experts in the other scientific subjects, or that they should enter into analytical discussions with their colleagues from these disciplines about the discoveries and findings that they have arrived at with their experiments or research. The interdisciplinary proposal is rather oriented in a synthetic way. It is all-encompassing. It allows us to study and to go deeper, but with the foundation in mind; an unfounded foundation that is studied by theology, which is light and orientation. With this, the true interdisciplinary work will lead us to bring coherence, order and rigour to the questions that are dealt with and to strengthen our capacity to detect and solve the problems that we face. problems32. And as the privileged place to do all this is the university life, I will advance my final proposal saying that Theology must occupy a pre-eminent place in the organisation and in the development of a true University.
Artigas M., Philosophy de la ciencia, EUNSA, Pamplona 1999.
Azari N.P., Nickel J., Wunderlich G., Niedeggen M., Hefter H., Tellmann L., Herzog H., Stoerig P., Birnbacher D. and Seitz R.J., "Neural correlates of religious experience", in European Journal of Neuroscience 13 (2001) 1649-1652.
Beauregard M. and Paquette V., "Neural correlates of a mystical experience in Carmelite nuns", in Neuroscience Letters 405 (2006) 186-190.
Beauregard M. and Paquette V., "EEG activity in Carmelite nuns during a mystical experience", in Neuroscience Letters 444 (2008) 1-4.
Camille N., Coricelli G., Sallet J., Pradat-Diehl P., Duhamel J.R. and Sirigu A., "The involvement of the orbitofrontal cortex in the experience of regret", in Science 304 (2004) 1167-1170.
Canessa N., Motterlini M., Di Dio C., Perani D., Scifo P., Cappa S.F. and Rizzolatti G., "Understanding Others' Regret: A fMRI Study", in PLoS ONE 4(10) (2009) e7402. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0007402.
D'Andrea T.A., Tradition, Rationality and Virtue. The Thought of Alasdair MacIntyre, Ashgate, Hampshire 2006.
Dolan R.J., "Neuroimaging of cognition: past, present, and future", in Neuron 60 (2008) 496-502.
Fuchs T., "Ethical issues in neuroscience", in Current Opinion in Psychiatry 19 (2006), 600-607.
Giménez Amaya J.M., "Anatomy Chemistry del tálamo en la esquizofrenia", in Anales de la Real Academia Nacional de Medicina, 125 (2008) 179-191.
Giménez Amaya J.M., "La señalización celular en la esquizofrenia", in Monografía XXIV de la Real Academia Nacional de Farmacia, (2009) 391-415.
Giménez-Amaya J.M. and Murillo J.I., "Mente y cerebro en la neurociencia contemporánea. Una aproximación a su estudio interdisciplinar", in Scripta Theologica 39 (2007) 607-635.
Giménez-Amaya J.M. and Murillo J.I., "Neurociencia y libertad: una aproximación interdisciplinar", in Scripta Theologica, 41 (2009) 13-46.
Giménez-Amaya J.M. and Sánchez-Migallón S., De la Neurociencia a la Neuroética. Narrativa científica y reflexión filosófica, EUNSA, Pamplona 2010.
Harris S., Kaplan J.T., Curiel A., Bookheimer S.Y., Iacoboni M. and Cohen M.S. "The Neural Correlates of Religious and Nonreligious Belief," in PLoS ONE 4(10) (2009) e0007272. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0007272.
Illes J. and Racine E., "Imaging or imagining? A neuroethics challenge informed bygenetics", in American Journal of Bioethics 5 (2005) 5-18.
Kapusta P., "Fe y Ciencias Naturales en el pensamiento de Joseph Ratzinger", in S. Madrigal, El pensamiento de Joseph Ratzinger. Teólogo y Papa, CEU-Universidad Pontificia de Comillas, Madrid 2009, 277-294.
Lieberman M.D. and Williams K.D., "Does rejection hurt? An fMRI study of social exclusion", in Science 302 (2003) 290-292.
MacIntyre A., Tres versiones rivales de la ética, Rialp, Madrid 1992.
MacIntyre A., God, Philosophy, Universities: A Selective History of the Catholic Philosophical Tradition, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc., Lanham, Maryland 2009.
Molnar Z., "Thomas Willis (1621-1675), the founder of clinical neuroscience", in Nature Reviews Neuroscience 5 (2004) 329-335.
Muntané A., Moro M.L. and Moros E.R., El cerebro. Lo neurológico y lo transcedental, EUNSA, Pamplona 2008.
Potter R., The Greatest Benefit to Mankind. A Medical History of Humanity from Antiquity to the Present, Fontana Press, London 1997.
Ratzinger J., "Abbruch und Aufbruch. Die Antwort des Glaubens auf die Krise der Werte", in Wendezeit für Europa? Diagnosen und Prognosen zur Lage von Kirche und Welt, Freiburg 1991.
Ratzinger J. / Benedict XVI, Jesús de Nazareth, La Esfera de los Libros, Madrid 2007.
Rodríguez Duplá L., "El lugar de la Teología en la Universidad", in bulletin del department de Pastoral Universitaria y Pastoral de la Cultura de la lecture Episcopal Española, 1 (2000) 13-21.
Rodríguez Duplá L., "¿Qué rasgos definen la cultura emergente?", in Qué subject de persona queremos educar para el nuevo milenio, Bruño, Madrid 2000, 9-19.
Rosell A., de las Heras S. and Giménez-Amaya J.M., "Neurociencia: ejemplo del abordaje multidisciplinary como estrategia eficaz en la research científica", in Revista de Neurología 27 (1998) 1071-1073.
Sánchez-Migallón S., "La superación del cientificismo: un challenge para el cristiano", Unum sint, 10 (2008) 59-69.
Schleim S. and Roiser J.P., "fMRI in translation: the challenges facing real-world application", in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 3 (2009) 1-7.
(1) For a more detailed analysis of this historical development of Neuroscience, see: J.M. Giménez-Amaya and S. Sánchez-Migallón, De la Neurociencia a la Neuroética. Narrativa científica y reflexión filosófica, EUNSA, Pamplona 2010, 17-48.
(2) Cfr. Z. Molnar, "Thomas Willis (1621-1675), the founder of clinical neuroscience", in Nature Reviews Neuroscience 5 (2004) 329-335.
(3) The work was entitled in Latin Cerebri Anatome.
(4) Cf. R. Potter, The Greatest Benefit to Mankind. A Medical History of Humanity from Antiquity to the Present, Fontana Press, London 1997, 47-50; J.M. Giménez-Amaya and J.I. Murillo, "Mente y cerebro en la neurociencia contemporánea. Una aproximación a su estudio interdisciplinar", in Scripta Theologica 39 (2007) 607-635.
(5) Cf. A. Rosell, S. de las Heras and J.M. Giménez-Amaya, "Neurociencia: ejemplo del abordaje multidisciplinary como estrategia eficaz en la research científica", in Revista de Neurología 27 (1998) 1071-1073.
(6) The prefrontal cerebral cortex belongs to the so-called multimodal associative cortex, which are those portions of the cerebral cortex that integrate sensory information from several modalities (visual, auditory and somesthetic or tactile); they are the most developed in the human species.
(7) Cf. A. Rosell, S. de las Heras and J.M. Giménez-Amaya, cit.
(8) Cf. R.J. Dolan, 'Neuroimaging of cognition: past, present, and future', in Neuron 60 (2008) 496-502.
(9) Cf. grade 6.
(10) For example, cf. N.P. Azari, J. Nickel, G. Wunderlich, M. Niedeggen, H. Hefter, L. Tellmann, H. Herzog, P. Stoerig, D. Birnbacher and R.J. Seitz, "Neural correlates of religious experience", in European Journal of Neuroscience 13 (2001) 1649-1652.
(11) Cf. N. Camille, G. Coricelli, J. Sallet, P. Pradat-Diehl, J.R. Duhamel and A. Sirigu, "The involvement of the orbitofrontal cortex in the experience of regret", in Science 304 (2004) 1167-1170.
(12) Cfr. M. Beauregard and V. Paquette, "Neural correlates of a mystical experience in Carmelite nuns", in Neuroscience Letters 405 (2006) 186-190; M. Beauregard and V. Paquette, "EEG activity in Carmelite nuns during a mystical experience", in Neuroscience Letters 444 (2008) 1-4; A. Muntané, M.L. Moro and E.R. Moros, The brain. Lo neurológico y lo transcedental, EUNSA, Pamplona 2008, 72-74.
(13) Cf. N. Canessa, M. Motterlini, C. Di Dio, D. Perani, P. Scifo, S.F. Cappa, and G. Rizzolatti, "Understanding Others' Regret: A fMRI Study", in PLoS ONE 4(10) (2009) e7402. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0007402; S. Harris, J.T. Kaplan, A. Curiel, S.Y. Bookheimer, M. Iacoboni, and M.S. Cohen "The Neural Correlates of Religious and Nonreligious Belief," in PLoS ONE 4(10) (2009) e0007272. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0007272.
(14) Cf. T. Fuchs, "Ethical issues in neuroscience", in Current Opinion in Psychiatry 19 (2006), 600-607.
(15) Cf. J. Illes and E. Racine, "Imaging or imagining? A neuroethics challenge informed bygenetics', in American Journal of Bioethics 5 (2005) 5-18.
(16) Cf. M.D. Lieberman and K.D. Williams, "Does rejection hurt? An fMRI study of social exclusion', in Science 302 (2003) 290-292; S. Schleim and J.P. Roiser, 'fMRI in translation: the challenges facing real-world application', in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 3 (2009) 1-7.
(17) Cf. J.M. Giménez Amaya, "Anatomy Chemistry del tálamo en la esquizofrenia", in Anales de la Real Academia Nacional de Medicina, 125 (2008) 179-191; J.M. Giménez Amaya, "La señalización celular en la esquizofrenia", in Monografía XXIV de la Real Academia Nacional de Farmacia, (2009) 391-415.
(18) Cf. L. Rodríguez Duplá, "El lugar de la Teología en la Universidad", in bulletin del department de Pastoral Universitaria y Pastoral de la Cultura de la lecture Episcopal Española, 1 (2000) 13-21; J.M. Giménez-Amaya and S. Sánchez-Migallón, cit., 130-168; S. Sánchez-Migallón, "La superación del cientificismo: un challenge para el cristiano", Unum sint, 10 (2008) 59-69.
(19) Cf. P. Kapusta, "Fe y Ciencias Naturales en el pensamiento de Joseph Ratzinger", in S. Madrigal, El pensamiento de Joseph Ratzinger. Teólogo y Papa, CEU-Universidad Pontificia de Comillas, Madrid 2009, 277-294.
(20) Cf. P. Kapusta, cit., 284; L. Rodríguez Duplá, "¿Qué rasgos definen la cultura emergente?", in Qué subject de persona queremos educar para el nuevo milenio, Bruño, Madrid 2000, 9-19.
(21) Cf. M. Artigas, Philosophy de la ciencia, EUNSA, Pamplona 1999, 79-106.
(22) Cf. J. Ratzinger, "Abbruch und Aufbruch. Die Antwort des Glaubens auf die Krise der Werte", in Wendezeit für Europa? Diagnosen und Prognosen zur Lage von Kirche und Welt, Freiburg 1991, 25. Translation at Spanish in P. Kapusta, cit., 285.
(23) topic also dealt with by Benedict XVI in his encyclical Spes salvi, to which we refer.
(24) We refer the reader here to the lecture of the American neuroscientist of Austrian origin Eric Kandel, accredited specialization in J.M. Giménez-Amaya and S. Sánchez-Migallón, cit., 60-64.
(25) Cf. J.M. Giménez-Amaya and S. Sánchez-Migallón, cit.
(26) Cf. in this context, A. MacIntyre, Tres versiones rivales de la ética, Rialp, Madrid 1992, 244-266; and, T.A. D'Andrea, Tradition, Rationality and Virtue. The Thought of Alasdair MacIntyre, Ashgate, Hampshire 2006, 345-355.
(27) Cf. A. MacIntyre, God, Philosophy, Universities: A Selective History of the Catholic Philosophical Tradition, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc., Lanham, Maryland 2009, 173-180.
(28) I am indebted in this section to the ideas of L. Rodríguez Duplá, "El lugar de la...", cit., 20-21.
(29) The question of foundation is at the origin of scientific knowledge - initiated by the pre-Socratic Philosophy - as distinct from ordinary knowledge.
(30) Although the study of the topic of the foundation of reality is proper to the Philosophy, Theology, certainly, also investigates it from Revelation, contributing powerful lights that allow us to have a deeper and richer understanding of the ultimate Foundation of all reality.
(31) It seems appropriate at this point to recall the following words of Benedict XVI: "We find ourselves squarely before the great question of how God can be known and how he can be unknown, how man can relate to God and how he can lose him. The arrogance that wants to turn God into an object and impose our experimental conditions on Him from laboratory cannot find God. For, from entrance, it already presupposes that we deny God as God, because we put ourselves above God. This is because we leave out any dimension of love, of inner listening, and recognise as real only what can be experienced, what we can hold in our hands. Whoever thinks in this way turns himself into God and thereby degrades not only God, but also the world and himself" (J. Ratzinger / Benedict XVI, Jesús de Nazareth, La Esfera de los Libros, Madrid 2007, 62).
(32) Cf. J.M. Giménez-Amaya and J.I. Murillo, "Neurociencia y libertad: una aproximación interdisciplinar", in Scripta Theologica, 41 (2009) 46.