I’m more and more convinced the world morphed into postmodern weirdness when I wasn’t looking. Or there’s been some sort of Gwyneth Paltrow like time distortion parallel universe thing happening. This just in:
People are to be tortured in laboratories at Oxford University in a US-funded experiment to determine if belief in God is effective in relieving pain. Top neurologists, pharmacologists, anatomists, ethicists and theologians are to examine the scientific basis of religious belief and whether it is anything more than a placebo.
And the purpose of this research?
The study is considered of vital importance in the present world climate, given the role of religious fundamentalism in international terrorism. A better understanding of the physiology of belief, the conditions that entrench it in the mind and its usefulness in mitigating pain, could be crucial to developing counter-terrorist strategies for the future.
God forbid that we might actually commission some sociological, anthropological or political science research into the causes of terrorism and its link with religion.
Right, I’m off to read Marx on history as farce.
ELSEWHERE: Saint at DogFightAtBankstown has an excellent post on this and has some interesting background on the foundation funding this research.