Transcript: Robert Buckman, Michael Persinger on Is God All In Your Head | Apr 29, 2006

Buckman is in his fifties and has wavy blonde hair. He wears a brown jacket, a white shirt and pink and brown tie.

Buckman says WE'RE GOING
TO BE TALKING, MICHAEL
PERSINGER AND I, ARE GOING TO
BE TALKING ABOUT POSSIBLY ONE
OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECTS
OF HUMAN BEHAVIOUR, WHICH IS
THE LINK BETWEEN BELIEF AND
BEHAVIOUR.
AND TO SUMMARISE VERY SIMPLY,
WHAT WE'LL BE TALKING ABOUT,
YOU CAN SORT OF DIVIDE IT INTO
TWO SECTIONS, AS IT WERE.

A slate appears under the title "Belief behavior and biology." It reads "Why
do we believe? Function Value, Strength. How do we believe? Site and
connections. Where do we go from here?"

Buckman says ONE IS, WHAT IS THE VALUE OF
BELIEF, AND I'LL SORT OF SET
THE SCENE FOR THAT, AND EXPLAIN
THE FUNCTION OF BELIEF AND THE
VALUE AND THE STRENGTH OF
BELIEF.
AND THEN THE OTHER IS HOW TO
BELIEVE.
IN OTHER WORDS, WHERE DOES
BELIEF START FROM IN THE BRAIN
AND WHAT GOES WRONG AND WHY
DOES IT GET WHERE IT GETS AND
WHY DOES IT DO THE THINGS IT
DOES.AND THAT'S
SORT OF THE MAIN PART OF THE
PRESENTATION, THAT'S COMING
FROM DR. PERSINGER.

A caption appears it reads "Robert Buckman. Oncologist, Princess Margaret
Hospital. ‘Is God All in Your Head?’ University of Toronto March 10, 2006."

Buckman continues AND THEN I'LL SUMMARISE IN
THE-- AFTER THAT ON THE SORT OF
CONNECTIONS BETWEEN THE TWO,
AND SOME VERY SERIOUS
CONCRETE-- I MEAN CONCRETE
PRACTICAL THOUGHTS ABOUT WHAT
WE COULD ALL BE DOING TOGETHER
IF WE'RE THINKING ALIKE.
VERY SIMPLY,
VERY SIMPLY, RIGHT, THE WORLD
IS SCARY.
IF YOU CAN IMAGINE BEING A
NEANDERTHAL MAN OR BEING A CRO-
MAGNON MAN, OR SOMETHING LIKE
THAT, AND YOU WAKE UP ONE
MORNING AND THERE'S A THUNDER
STORM, OR A FLOOD, AND YOUR
FIRST EMOTION SURELY WOULD BE
SOMETHING LIKE, CRIKEY--

[Audience Laughter]

Buckman continues WHAT THE-- EXPLETIVE DELETED IS
THAT?
YOU KNOW, AND YOUR FIRST
THOUGHT WOULD BE TO TRY AND
MAKE SENSE OF THIS REALLY SCARY
THING, BECAUSE THE WORLD
APPEARS TO US, CORRECTLY, TO BE
SCARY AND ARBITRARY.
WE DON'T SEEM TO UNDERSTAND THE
RULES.
BELIEVING -- THIS IS MY
HYPOTHESIS, AND I'LL EXPAND IN
A MOMENT OR TWO, AND I'LL SORT
OF LEAD UP TO MICHAEL, THAT

A blue slate appears under the title" Belief behavior and Biology." It reads "
Belief helps us cope, it's a coping mechanism."

Buckman says BELIEVING IS A HUMAN ACTIVITY,
AN ACTIVITY OF THE HUMAN BRAIN,
WHICH IS BASICALLY A COPING
MECHANISM.
IT DECREASES ANXIETY AND FEAR,
AND I THINK THAT IS THE BIG
VALUE.
THAT'S THE STRENGTH, THAT'S THE
IMPORTANCE.
WHEN PEOPLE SAY, YOU KNOW, THEY
BELIEVE IN A GOD OR GODS OR
ALIEN VISITATIONS OR WHATEVER
IT IS, THAT BELIEF GIVES THEM
COMFORT, THEY ARE SPEAKING
TRUTH.
THE BELIEF GIVES THEM COMFORT,
IT'S DESIGNED TO.
IT'S PART OF WHY OUR SPECIES IS
SO SUCCESSFUL, IS BECAUSE EVERY
TIME THERE WAS A THUNDER STORM
OR A FLOOD OR SOMETHING, WE
DIDN'T FALL TO PIECES AND
PANIC, WE ACTUALLY SORT OF
THOUGHT ABOUT HOW THIS MIGHT BE
PART OF SOMETHING, AND AS A
RESULT OF THAT, WE DECREASED
OUR OWN ANXIETIES.
SO BELIEF IS, ACCORDING TO MY
VIEW, A COPING MECHANISM.

The slate appears under the title "Hypothesis: Belief is a characteristic
feature of the human brain that acts as a coping mechanism by making sense of
the unintelligible and reducing fear and anxiety."

Buckman says AND WHAT IT
IS, IS BASICALLY, IS MAKING
SENSE OF THE UNINTELLIGIBLE,
MAKING SENSE OF THE
UNINTELLIGIBLE.
AND I PUT AT
THE BOTTOM OF THAT SLIDE, I
MEAN JUST ONE STORY, I MEAN
THIS-- I'M JUST GOING TO
DEVIATE FOR A MOMENT OR TWO,
BUT THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT.
I READ THIS AS A HEADLINE, AND
I THINK THAT I WAS LIKE 10 OR
11 YEARS OLD, SO IT WAS BACK IN
1861.

[Audience Laughter]

Buckman continues BUT IT WAS A HORROR STORY, A
GENUINE AWFUL TRAGEDY.
BUT WHAT HAPPENED, IT WAS AN
ICE SHOW SOMEWHERE IN THE
UNITED STATES, PEOPLE SKATING
ON RINKS AND DOING A BIG SHOW.
AND THERE WAS AN EXPLOSION IN
THE MIDDLE OF THE ICE SHOW AND
THE GAS FURNACES UNDERNEATH ONE
OF THE SECTIONS OF SEATING
EXPLODED AND KILLED A LARGE
NUMBER OF PEOPLE, MANY OF WHOM
WERE CHILDREN.
AND THE REPORT DESCRIBED THIS,
AND I CAN ACTUALLY REMEMBER
READING IT AND I CAN REMEMBER
HOW I FELT.
AND CHILDREN, SEVERAL OF THE
CHILDREN WHO HAD BEEN KILLED,
THEIR BODIES WERE THROWN ONTO
THE ICE, AND THE REPORTER SAID
THAT HE SAW, AND I'M SURE THIS
WAS TRUE, DAZED PARENTS
STANDING THERE HOLDING THE
CHILD WHO HAD BEEN KILLED, AND
SEVERAL OF THEM SAID, IT'S PART
OF THE SHOW, IT HAS TO BE.
AND INSTANTLY I COULD SEE WHY,
AND I'M ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN I
WOULD BE THE SAME.
IF I WAS AT AN ICE SHOW
EXPECTING A REALLY ENJOYABLE
THING, SOMETHING TERRIBLE
HAPPENS, MY CHILD IS DEAD, MY
IMMEDIATE REACTION WOULD BE,
IT'S PART OF THE SHOW, IT HAS
TO BE, BECAUSE THAT MAKES THE
UNACCEPTABLE, ACCEPTABLE, THE
UNCOPABLE WITH, COPABLE WITH.
BEFOR THAT
INSTANT, YOU COULD ACTUALLY, AS
IT WERE, DENY THE REALITY OF
WHAT WAS HAPPENING, AND YET, AT
THE SAME TIME, ACCEPT IT, AND
THAT, I THINK WAS A
DEMONSTRATION, A GENUINE
DEMONSTRATION OF THE IMPORTANCE
OF A COPING STRATEGY, THE
IMPORTANCE OF A BELIEF SYSTEM,
HOWEVER INTELLECTUALLY
LUDICROUS IT WOULD BE, HOWEVER
UNREAL AND UNBELIEVABLE IT
WOULD BE, AT THAT MOMENT, IT
GIVES COMFORT.
WHAT MICHAEL
IS GOING TO BE TALKING ABOUT,
AND THIS IS JUST A SORT OF YOU
KNOW, -- I FEEL A BIT LIKE A
SECULAR JOHN THE BAPTIST, YOU
KNOW, SAYING, YOU KNOW, THE MAN
THAT COMES AFTER ME...

[Audience Laughter]

Buckman continues I ALWAYS IMAGINE JOHN THE
BAPTIST HAVING A T-SHIRT
SAYING, YOU KNOW, THE BIG
CHEESE IS COMING, YOU KNOW,
BEHIND ME.
BUT AS A SECULAR JOHN THE
BAPTIST, WHAT I'M GOING TO SAY
IS THAT WHAT MICHAEL IS TALKING
ABOUT IS A VERY, VERY
IMPORTANT-- POSSIBLY THE MOST
IMPORTANT AREA IN PHYSIOLOGY,
LET ALONE NEUROSCIENCE.

The slate title reads "Belief behavior and biology." It reads "So that's the
function-now the anatomy: Concepts and visions of an external deity (or alien
or other sensed presence) are created by stimulation of the right temporal
lobe."

Buckman says AND HE WILL
BE EXPLAINING HOW WE NOW KNOW
THAT MUCH OF THE CONFIGURATION
AND PROCESSING OF BELIEF
SYSTEMS OCCURS IN THE RIGHT
TEMPORAL LOBE, AND IT'S A
VISION.WHAT I'M
SAYING, TO SET THIS UP EVEN
MORE ACCURATELY, IS THAT THIS
IS ONE OF THE FEATURES OF THE
HUMAN BRAIN, AND THERE ARE MANY
FEATURES OF THE HUMAN BRAIN,
AND I'LL JUST DO A COUPLE FOR
YOU.
THIS IS, I THINK, A USEFUL
ANALOGY FOR MICHAEL'S TALK.
BUT IT'S A USEFUL TRICK THAT
YOU CAN DO AT CHRISTMAS
PARTIES, AND YOU CAN ACTUALLY
EARN A FORTUNE DOING THIS, SO
IT'S VERY GOOD.
YOU ASK SOMEBODY TO HOLD THEIR
HAND OUT LIKE THAT, OKAY, AND
TO CLOSE THEIR EYES.
AND THEN YOU SAY-- OR HOLD
THEIR HAND OUT LIKE THAT, I
GUESS.

Buckman motions to the audience using one hand.

Buckman says AND THEN YOU'RE GOING TO TOUCH
THE OUTSIDE SURFACES OF ONE
FINGER, OR BOTH FINGERS
SIMULTANEOUSLY.
AND YOU SAY, HOW MANY FINGERS
IS THIS?
AND THEY'LL SAY ONE, IF THEY'RE
SMART, AND THEN YOU SAY, HOW
MANY FINGERS IS THIS?
AND THEY'LL SAY TWO, TWO.
YOU KNOW, GOOD, GOOD, AND THEY
KEEP THEIR EYES CLOSED.
YOU SAY NOW KEEP YOUR EYES
CLOSED.
NOW, CROSS YOUR FINGERS.
THIS IS A REALLY GOOD
DEMONSTRATION.
CROSS YOUR FINGERS AND MAKE A
LITTLE "V" BETWEEN THE SECOND
AND THE THIRD FINGER LIKE THAT.
AND THEN YOU SAY, KEEP YOUR
EYES CLOSED AND TELL ME ONE
FINGER OR TWO FINGERS, AND THEN
YOU SLIDE ONE FINGER INTO THAT

- EVEN WITH MY EYES OPEN IT
WORKS.
YOU SLIDE ONE FINGER-- IT
DOESN'T WORK SO WELL WHEN YOU
TO IT ON YOURSELF, BUT IT WORKS
BRILLIANTLY ON OTHER PEOPLE.
AND THEY WILL SAY, TWO.
NOW I PROMISE YOU, YOU CAN MAKE
A FORTUNE.
I MEAN HOW DO YOU THINK I COULD
AFFORD THE JACKET?

[Audience Laughter]

Buckman continues SO DO THAT.
NOW THE POINT IS, THAT THE
HUMAN BRAIN IS ORGANISED TO
INTERPRET INFORMATION FROM THE
OUTSIDE BORDER OF THE SECOND
FINGER AND THE THIRD FINGER,
AND IT ALWAYS CORRECTLY
INTERPRETS SIMULTANEOUS STIMULI
AS TWO OBJECTS BEING IN TOUCH,
EVEN THOUGH THE HUMAN BRAIN IS
CAPABLE OF UNDERSTANDING THAT
YOU CROSSED YOUR FINGERS, IT'S
NOT CAPABLE OF DEPROGRAMMING
ITSELF.
SO WHEN YOU ACTUALLY SLIDE THE
ONE FINGER IN, YOU CAN'T, EVEN
IF YOU KNOW IT'S ONE FINGER,
YOU CAN'T MAKE IT UP THERE, ONE
FINGER.
AND THE SAME IS TRUE OF
MIRAGES.
AND I'M BUILDING UP TO MICHAEL.
MIRAGES ARE THE SAME THING.
MIRAGES, WE NOW KNOW, ARE
CAUSED BY A TEMPERATURE
INVERSION IN WHICH BASICALLY,
COLD AIR GETS TRAPPED BELOW HOT
AIR INSTEAD OF THE OTHER WAY
AROUND, AND YOU ACTUALLY GET
WHAT'S BASICALLY AN AIR LENS.
AND SO LIGHT COMING FROM THE
SKY IS BENT UP LIKE THAT, AND
HITS YOU FROM BELOW.
NOW YOU CAN'T INTERPRET LIGHT
COMING UP FROM THE GROUND,
EXCEPT AS REFLECTIONS.
SO WHEN YOU SEE A MIRAGE, EVEN
THOUGH YOU MIGHT TELL YOURSELF,
I'M SEEING THE SUN REFLECTED IN
AN AIR LENS, IT LOOKS TO YOU
LIKE WATER.
AND THAT'S THE FEATURE OF THE
MIRAGE.
IT LOOKS TO YOU LIKE WATER, IT
DOESN'T MATTER HOW MUCH YOU
KNOW ABOUT MIRAGES AND AIR
LENSES AND TEMPERATURE
INVERSIONS, IT LOOKS TO YOU
LIKE WATER.
THIS IS THE IMPORTANT POINT.

The slate appears under the title "Is it wrong to see a mirage?" It reads "
The unreality of the perceived object is neither right nor wrong" (neither
good nor bad). What matters is how it affects behavior."

Buckman says IT'S WHAT
YOU DO WITH THAT INFORMATION OR
BELIEF THAT ACTUALLY MATTERS.
IT'S NOT RIGHT OR WRONG THAT
YOU FEEL TWO FINGERS WHEN YOU
TRY THAT TRICK.
IT IS WRONG
IF YOU PAY MONEY, IF YOU THINK
THAT YOU'RE GOING TO WIN THE
BET AND GET THIS RIGHT.
THAT'S WHAT WE CALL A LOSS.
IT IS WRONG IF YOU'RE SITTING
IN THE DESERT, AND YOU SEE A
MIRAGE AND IT LOOKS LIKE AN
OASIS TO YOU, AND YOU SAY,
RATHER THAN SIT HERE AND BAKE,
I'M GOING TO GO AND DIVE INTO
THAT LOVELY POOL, THAT'S JUST
APPEARED IN FRONT OF ME.
YOU RUN OUT INTO THE DESERT AND
YOU WILL DIE.
THE POINT ABOUT THE KNOWLEDGE
IS NOT THAT IT STOPS YOU SEEING
THE MIRAGE, OR FEELING THE TWO
FINGERS, IT STOPS YOU BEHAVING
IN ACCORDANCE WITH THAT BELIEF,
AND THAT'S A VERY IMPORTANT
POINT.
AND I-- I MAKE THIS AS A SORT
OF SLIGHT SETUP FOR THE BELIEF
SYSTEM, BUT IF YOU COULD
IMAGINE A TOWN IN THE DESERT,
AND SUPPOSE THERE'S A MIRAGE OF
BEAUTIFUL BLUE WATER APPEARS,
AND ALL OF THESE PEOPLE HAPPEN
TO BE AT THE RIGHT ANGLE, AND
THEY ALL SEE THIS BLUE MIRAGE.
YOU COULD IMAGINE THAT IN THIS
TOWN, THERE MIGHT BE A WHOLE
LOAD OF PEOPLE WHO DESCRIBE IT.
THEY MIGHT BE PAINTERS, YOU
KNOW, REMBRANDTS AND
MICHELANGELOS, WHO COULD DO,
OH, BEAUTIFUL WATER, LOVELY
WATER.

The slate appears under the title "A mirage in the desert is seen by nearby:
Lost travelers, Rembrandt and Michelangelos, Dickenses and Twains, Mozarts and
Lloyd-Webers, People in despair and panic, Torquemadas, William Jameses and Joseph
Campbells."

Buckman says THERE MIGHT
BE PEOPLE WHO WILL WRITE A
NOVEL ABOUT IT, DICKENS AND
TWAIN AND PEOPLE LIKE THAT.
MOZART WOULD WRITE A SYMPHONY
OR SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL ABOUT
IT, AND ANDREW LLOYD-WEBER
WOULD OF COURSE MAKE A FORTUNE
OUT OF IT, THAT'S NOT A
PROBLEM.

[Audience Laughter]

Buckman continues
Buckman says EVEN THOUGH
IT WAS AN ILLUSION, THERE MIGHT
BE PEOPLE IN DESPAIR, DYING OF
THIRST, I'M SO THIRSTY, IT' SO
INTOLERABLE, AND YET THE SIGHT
OF THAT WATER MAKES THEM FEEL
LESS THIRSTY, LESS DESPERATE,
LESS PANICKED.
THERE MIGHT BE PEOPLE WHO WERE
LOST IN THE DESERT WHO COULD
SEE IT LIKE I WAS DESCRIBING,
AND WHO WERE ALL TEMPTED TO
RUSH OUT INTO THE DESERT AND
JOIN THIS-- AND DIVE INTO THIS
POOL.
THERE MIGHT BE, AND THERE
PROBABLY WOULD BE, PEOPLE LIKE
TORQUEMADA WHO LED THE SPANISH
INQUISITION.
AND HE WOULD STAND THERE, AND
HE WOULD SAY, YES, THERE IS
WATER OUT THERE, BUT IF YOU
BELIEVE THAT IT IS NOT EXACTLY
THE SAME COLOUR AS I BELIEVE IT
IS, I WILL HAVE YOU PRESSED TO
DEATH, CRUCIFIED, YOUR
TESTICLES WILL BE TORN OFF AND
STUFFED IN YOUR EAR.
IT'S TOUGH IF YOU'RE A WOMAN,
BUT WE'LL WORK SOMETHING, YOU
KNOW.

[Audience Laughter]

Buckman continues AND TORQUEMADA WAS LIKE THAT,
HE GOT KIND OF SECTARIAN ABOUT
THIS ILLUSION.
BAD, BAD THING, BAD THING.AND FINALLY,
I GUESS, THERE WOULD BE
WONDERFUL PEOPLE LIKE JOSEPH
CAMPBELL AND WILLIAM JAMES TO
AN EXTENT, EVEN THOUGH WILLIAM
JAMES WAS REALLY BASICALLY A
THEIST.
BUT JOSEPH CAMPBELL WOULD SAY,
THIS SIGHT OF WATER HAS A MAJOR
EFFECT.THIS MYTH OF
WATER, THE MYTHOLOGY HAS AN
EFFECT ON HUMAN KIND.
I WILL STUDY THE EFFECT OF THAT
MYTH.
AND SO ALL I'M BUILDING UP TO
HERE IS A CLEAR GAP BETWEEN THE
SENSORY IMAGE OF THE TWO
FINGERS OR THE WATER, OR
WHATEVER IT IS, AND WHAT YOU DO
WITH THAT IMAGE, WHETHER YOU
ACTUALLY RUSH OUT INTO THE
WATER OR WHETHER YOU WRITE A
SYMPHONY OR WRITE A MODERN
OPERA.
AND WHAT WE'RE GOING TO BE
TALKING ABOUT, AND AGAIN, I'M
SORT OF BUILDING IN MY JOHN THE
BAPTIST WAY, I'M BUILDING UP TO
WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT, IS THAT,
AND THIS IS WHAT YOU'RE GOING
TO HEAR ABOUT, IS THAT
UNFORTUNATELY HUMAN BEINGS ARE
EXTREMELY GOOD AT
COLLABORATION.
AS A SPECIES, WE ARE BRILLIANT
AT COLLABORATION.
THAT, IN ITSELF IS NOT A
PROBLEM.
I MEAN WE CAN BUILD, YOU KNOW,
CHARTRES CATHEDRAL AND BRIDGES
AND CITIES AND THINGS LIKE
THAT, ALL WITH COLLABORATIVE
EFFORT, THAT'S TERRIFIC.
UNFORTUNATELY WE'RE ALSO VERY
GOOD AT AGGRESSION.
AND COLLABORATION AND
AGGRESSION IS WHAT LEADS TO,
YOU KNOW, THE FIRST WORLD WAR,
AND WELL, ACTUALLY THE HISTORY
OF HUMAN KIND FOR ABOUT THE
LAST FIVE MILLENNIA.
A slate appears under the title "So what's the problem? "It reads The problem
is that humans have a very strong limbic system- they are good at being
aggressive and collaborative *Milgram."

Buckman says BUT I MEAN,
WE ARE MARRED AND MARKED BY OUR
ABILITY TO COLLABORATE IN
AGGRESSION, AND THAT'S WHY, AS
YOU WILL SEE, BELIEF IS SO
IMPORTANT.
AND I JUST MENTION MILGRAM
EXPERIMENTS, AND THE MILGRAM
EXPERIMENTS ARE JUST A
DEMONSTRATION OF HOW GOOD WE
ARE AT COLLABORATION.
THESE WERE
THE FAMOUS EXPERIMENTS THAT YOU
ALL HEARD ABOUT, WHERE THEY HAD
A BANK, OF, I THINK 30 SWITCHES
THAT WERE MEANT TO GIVE
ELECTRIC SHOCKS TO AN APPARENT
VOLUNTEER, GOING FROM VERY,
VERY MILD, TO, AND I THINK THE
LAST THREE WERE MARKED XXX, AND
THEY GOT PEOPLE IN, AND SAID
THAT WHEN THE VOLUNTEER MAKES A
MISTAKE, YOU HAVE TO GRADUALLY
INCREASE THE ELECTRICITY.
NOW OF COURSE THE VOLUNTEER,
THE VICTIM, AS IT WERE, WAS AN
ACTOR, BUT THEY WERE TESTING
THE PERSON WHO PRESSED THE
BUTTON.
BUT I THINK IT WAS 78 PERCENT OF-- IT
WAS SOME APPALLINGLY HIGH
NUMBER OF PEOPLE, UNDER AN
ORDINARY-- UNIVERSITY STUDENTS,
AS IT WERE, WENT UP THE LADDER
RIGHT TO THE TOP, WHEN THEY
THOUGHT THEY WERE ACTUALLY
KILLING THE PERSON.
IF THERE WAS SOMEBODY-- OH, AND
BY THE WAY, MILGRAM DID ANOTHER
SET OF EXPERIMENTS, BECAUSE
EVERYONE SAID, OH NO, IT'S THE
WHITE COAT, IT'S IN A
UNIVERSITY LAB, A GUY WITH A
CLIPBOARD--
AND HE SAID, ALL RIGHT, AND HE
DID ANOTHER SET OF EXPERIMENTS
THAT WAS BRILLIANT.
IT WAS A DISUSED WAREHOUSE, AND
SO THE STUDENTS CAME TO THE
STUDENTS CAME TO THE
[Inaudible] AND THIS TIME I
THINK THE BLOKE WAS WEARING A
BROWN COAT, YOU KNOW, HE WAS
PROBABLY ENGLISH, YOU KNOW,
WITH A CLOTH CAP, AND--
[Sniffs]
OH, YOU HERE FOR THE SCIENCE,
ARE YOU?
COME OVER HERE.
SHOCK THIS PERSON TO DEATH, YOU
KNOW...

[Audience Laughter]

Buckman continues AND THE SAME NUMBER, EXACTLY
THE SAME NUMBER 78, UNLESS
THERE WAS ANOTHER PAID
VOLUNTEER AMONG THE GROUP, WHO
SAID, I DON'T THINK THIS IS
RIGHT.
AND THE PERSON WHO SAID, I
DON'T THINK THIS IS RIGHT, WHEN
THERE WAS ONE OF THOSE THERE,
IT WENT RIGHT DOWN, I THINK IT
WAS 10 OR 15 PERCENT.
SO WE ARE CAPABLE OF BEING,
BASICALLY BLUDGEONED INTO
KILLING, AND WE ARE ALSO
CAPABLE OF BEING BROUGHT BACK
AWAY FROM THAT PARTICULAR
BRINK.
SO IT ALL KIND OF SETS UP THE
TINDER BOX IMAGE OF THE HUMAN
BRAIN.
NOW I'M GETTING READY TO HAND
OVER TO MICHAEL.

The slate reads "Beliefs are useful: they are valuable coping mechanisms, so
why does it matter whether they are literal truth or not? What's the problem-
and what causes it?"

Buckman says WHAT I'M
SAYING SO FAR IS A VERY, VERY
SIMPLE THING THAT BELIEFS ARE
AMAZINGLY POWERFUL.
THEY ARE AMAZINGLY DEEP AND
THEY ARE AMAZINGLY STRONG, AND
THEY ARE STRONG BECAUSE THEY
ARE POWERFUL AND BECAUSE THEY
ARE USEFUL, AND THEY ARE DEEP
INSIDE US, BECAUSE OF THAT.
THAT OUR
ABILITY TO PROCESS HORRIBLE
INFORMATION WITH HELP FROM A
BELIEF SYSTEM, HAS MADE US A
VERY SUCCESSFUL SPECIES, AND
WHAT I WANT TO HAND ON-- OVER
TO YOU NOW IS WHETHER IT
MATTERS, WHETHER OR NOT THERE
ARE LITERAL TRUTHS UNDERLYING
THE BELIEF.
DOES IT MATTER THAT THERE IS
ONE FINGER IN THE CROOK, OR
THAT THERE IS WATER IN THE
DESERT, DOES IT MATTER OR NOT?
AND I'M GOING TO LINK FROM
MICHAEL'S PRESENTATION TO THAT
IN A MOMENT OR TWO.
SO I'M GOING TO SET MICHAEL UP
WITH A VERY SIMPLE THING.
BELIEFS ARE BIG, NO DOUBT, BUT
WHAT CAUSES THEM.
SO WILL YOU WELCOME, PLEASE,
DR. MICHAEL PERSINGER.

A yellow slate appears under the title "Two Cerebral Hemispheres: Two Selves-
"The Me, and The Other." The Experimental Production of the Presence."

Dr. Persinger is in his fifties and has gray hair and wears glasses. He wears a
black jacket, white shirt a black tie and a golden chain of a pocket watch
appears.

Dr. Persinger appears behind a podium.

Dr. Persinger says SO WHAT
I'M GOING TO BE TALKING ABOUT
FOR THE NEXT FEW MINUTES IS HOW
WE ENGAGE AND PRODUCE THE
EXPERIMENTAL SENSE PRESENCE AND
WHAT IT MEANS IN TERMS OF THE
GOD EXPERIENCE.

The caption changes to "Michael Persinger. Neuropsychologist, Laurentian
University. "Is God All in Your Head?"

Dr. Persinger says THE POINT
IS, THERE MAY BE RESIDUAL
PROPERTIES WITHIN THE BRAIN
ITSELF THAT GENERATES THE MOST
POWERFUL EXPERIENCE THAT'S EVER
EVOLVED IN HUMAN KIND, WHICH IS
THE BELIEF OF A SENSED PRESENCE
THAT'S BEYOND YOU AND BEYOND
TIME.ALL
RIGHT, SO, TWO CEREBRAL
HEMISPHERES, TWO SELVES, THE ME
AND THE OTHER, LET'S LOOK AT
THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD, BECAUSE
THAT'S WHAT I AM.
I'M A SCIENTIST AND I USE THE
SCIENTIFIC METHOD TO GO TO THE
UNKNOWN BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT
SCIENCE DOES.
OKAY, NEXT PLEASE.

The slate reads" Throughout human history the experience of the personal
proximity of a Sentient Being, a presence, extraterrestrials or another."
consciousness has been attributed to gods, spirits, and even Muses."

Dr. Persinger says CREATIVE PEOPLE STILL TALK
ABOUT THE MUSES VISITING THEM
LATE AT NIGHT, USUALLY BETWEEN
2 AND 4 IN THE MORNING.
THAT'S THE USUAL TIME WHEN YOU
HAVE THESE EXPERIENCES.

The slate changes to "People who repot these experience also endorse strong
personal beliefs in either specific cultural deities such as God , Allah or
more exotic god surrogates such as" Universal Sentience."

Dr. Persinger says NOW THE
CRITICAL QUESTION TO ASK IS, IF
ALL EXPERIENCES ARE GENERATED
BY THE BRAIN, THEN EXPERIENCES
OF ALL SENTIENT BEINGS,
INCLUDING GOD, SHOULD BE
GENERATED BY BRAIN ACTIVITY.
THAT FOLLOWS FROM ANY KIND OF
BASIC NEUROSCIENCE.
THE BASIC HYPOTHESIS WE'VE BEEN
PURSUING IS THE FOLLOWING...

The slate appears with two halves of the brain on either side, under the title"
Hypothesis." It reads "The sense of self and the sense of the other are derived
from subtle but complex structural and neurolectrical difference between the
left and right hemispheres."

Dr. Persinger says WE HAVE
TWO SIDES TO OUR BRAIN.
EVEN THOUGH UPON GROSSEST
INSPECTION, THEY LOOK
IDENTICAL, THEY ARE NOT.
THEY SHARE VERY LITTLE
STRUCTURE.
THESE MICRO-STRUCTURAL
DIFFERENCES MEAN MICRO-
STRUCTURAL DIFFERENCES IN
BEHAVIOUR.
NOW WHEREAS TRADITIONAL LEFT,
MORE LINGUISTIC HEMISPHERIC
PROCESSES ARE COUPLED TO THE
SENSE OF SELF, THE TRANSIENT
INTRUSION OF THE RIGHT
HEMISPHERIC EQUIVALENT OF THE
SENSE OF SELF INTO AWARENESS,
IS ASSOCIATED WITH A SENSE
PRESENCE.
IN OTHER WORDS, YOU KNOW THE
SENSE OF SELF IS TIED TO THE
LEFT HEMISPHERE -- LANGUAGE.
THAT'S WHY PEOPLE FIGHT AND DIE
AND KILL EACH OTHER TO MAINTAIN
THE SENSE OF CULTURE AND
LANGUAGE.
BUT WHAT'S THE RIGHT
HEMISPHERIC EQUIVALENT, AND
WHEN YOU'RE AWARE OF IT, WHAT
DO YOU EXPERIENCE?
OUR EXPERIMENTAL DATA SUGGEST
THAT WHEN THE SENSE-- THE RIGHT
HEMISPHERIC EQUIVALENT TO THE
SENSE OF SELF INTRUDES INTO
AWARENESS, YOU FEEL A SENSE OF
ANOTHER.
AND SINCE THE RIGHT HEMISPHERE
IS INVOLVED WITH SPACE AND
EMOTION AND AFFECT, YOU FEEL
THIS TREMENDOUS EMOTION, THIS
SPATIAL, ALMOST INFINITY ABOUT
IT, AND FURTHERMORE, A SENSE
THAT SOMEHOW IT'S FAMILIAR BUT
NOT QUITE YOU.

The slate appears with several versions of God as an alien, Virgin Mary, the
Hindu God and Allah it reads "The sensed presence is the prototype of the God
Experience whose details are determined by the cultural labels applied to the
experience."

Dr. Persinger says SO YOU
CAN SEE HERE FROM THE
PRESENTATION THAT, DEPENDING ON
YOUR CULTURE, YOU'RE GOING TO
LABEL IT DIFFERENTLY, AND THE
LABEL YOU PLACE ON IT DURING
THAT INSTANTANEOUS EXPERIENCE
IS HOW YOU WILL RECALL IT.
REMEMBER, MEMORY IS NOT A
VIDEOTAPE, MEMORY IS A
RECONSTRUCTION OF EXPERIENCE,
SPECIFICALLY MEMORY ABOUT
YOURSELF AND TO WHOM AND WITH
WHOM YOU'VE HAD EXPERIENCE.
YOU RECONSTRUCT IT, IT'S NOT A
VIDEO TAPE, AND THE LABEL YOU
PUT ON THESE EXPERIENCES IS HOW
YOU REMEMBER IT, AND THE
DETAILS THAT YOU HAVE WITH THAT
LABEL WILL INFLUENCE HOW YOU
EXPERIENCE THOSE DETAILS.
NOW HERE'S HOW IT WORKS FROM
OUR DATA.

The slate appears an inside view of the brain and reads "Any process that
facilitates a disruption in the normal state of reciprocal inhibition between
the two hemispheres should increase the incidence of a sensed presence."

Dr. Persinger says AND THE
BASIC HEMISPHERE CONNECTIONS
INVOLVE THE CORPUS COLLOSUM,
WHICH YOU CAN SEE, WHICH IS THE
LARGE STRUCTURE ON THE TOP, THE
ANTERIOR COMMISSURE, AND, WHAT
MOST PEOPLE DON'T REALISE, BUT
WAS DISCOVERED BY A GREAT
NEUROLOGIST, CANADIAN
NEUROLOGIST, PIERRE GLOIRE, AND
HIS COLLEAGUES, THE DORSAL
HIPPOCAMPAL COMMISSURE, WHICH IS
RIGHT BELOW THE LARGE PART OF
THE SPLINIEUM, THAT ACTUALLY
ALLOWS THE HIPPOCAMPUS TO
INTERACT, AND INDEED TO HAVE
MEMORIES STORED THAT MAY SEEM
LIKE MEMORIES BUT THEY'RE
REALLY NOT.
THEY WOULD BE ILLUSIONARY
EXPERIENCES THAT YOUR BRAIN
LABELS AS A REAL MEMORY.
NOW SLIGHTLY MORE INTENSE
STIMULATION OF THE RIGHT
HEMISPHERE, FOLLOWED BY
BILATERAL STIMULATION OF BOTH
HEMISPHERES SHOULD FACILITATE
THIS INTERCOLLATION BETWEEN THE
TWO HEMISPHERES.
SO FIRST RIGHT HEMISPHERIC
STIMULATION TO SORT OF ACTIVATE
IT, TO JACK IT UP AND THEN A
BILATERAL STIMULATION.
AND OF COURSE THIS IS DONE VERY
OFTEN IN RELIGIOUS SETTINGS,
WHERE YOU FIRST LISTEN TO MUSIC
OR CHANTING, AND YOU GET THE
RIGHT HEMISPHERIC ACTIVATION,
AND THEN THE MINISTER OR THE
RABBI OR THE RELIGIOUS LEADER
OR WHOEVER IT IS WHO'S TALKING,
THEN DELIVERS THE LANGUAGE,
WHICH MEANS BILATERAL
STIMULATION, AND OF COURSE THEN
YOU GET THE EXPERIENCE, THE
INTENSE EXPERIENCE THAT OFTEN
LEADS TO VERY MOVING SENSED
PRESENCE.

The slate reads "Right hemispheric dominance has been associated with enhanced
spirituality. The right hemisphere or a component of it may be more sensitive to
the effects of weak magnetic fields as well as increased geomagnetic activity."

Dr. Persinger says NOW
GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY IS
SOMETHING PERHAPS YOU HAVEN'T
THOUGHT ABOUT, BUT WE ARE ALL
IMMERSED IN IT ALL THE TIME.

The slate title "Geomagnetic Activity." It reads "The Earth's static field is
50,000 nT typical time varying intensities range between 1 nT and 100nT." Two
pictures show colorful depictions of this activity as colorful spheres with
blue, yellow and red.

Dr. Persinger says THERE IS THE EARTH'S MAGNETIC
FIELD.
YOU CAN SEE THE EARTH ON THE
LEFT, YOU CAN SEE AGAIN, THE
DIAGRAM OF THE EARTH'S MAGNETIC
FIELD BEING INFLUENCED BY THE
SUN.
YOU CAN THINK OF THE EARTH'S
MAGNETIC FIELD AS A KIND OF
SPRING THAT'S OSCILLATING...
WE'RE ALL
IMMERSED IN IT, AND THE REASON
I'M MENTIONING IT TODAY IS
BECAUSE WE NOW HAVE EVIDENCE
THAT CERTAIN WEAK STIMULI
WITHIN THE ENVIRONMENT HAVE THE
CAPACITY TO INDUCE THE SENSE
PRESENCE.
NOW IMAGINE WHAT THAT MEANS.
SUPPOSE MILLIONS IF NOT
BILLIONS OF PEOPLE HAVE THIS
EXPERIENCE MORE OR LESS
SIMULTANEOUSLY, AND THEN
SOMEONE SAYS, THAT'S A SIGN.
THAT'S A
COSMIC CONSENT, BECAUSE YOU'RE
HAVING THESE EXPERIENCES TO DO
A PARTICULAR BEHAVIOUR.
THE POINT IS, THE EXPERIENCE IS
BEING GENERATED AND OTHER
PEOPLE ARE LABELLING IT FOR THE
POPULATION.
NOW IN
TERMS OF MAJOR CORRELATES OF
GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY, 24 NANO
TESSLA, OR nT, REFERS TO
RELATIVELY SMALL AMOUNTS OF
ACTIVITY.
NOTICE THE KINDS OF CORRELATES
THAT HAVE BEEN FREQUENTLY
ASSOCIATED WITH INCREASES IN
GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY.
AGAIN, WE'RE ALL IMMERSED IN
IT.
YOU CAN'T ESCAPE FROM IT, NOT
EASILY, AT LEAST.

The slate title reads "Major Correlates of GMA25nT" It reads "Correlation
Coefficients: Psychiatric admissions (.20-.35), epileptic seizures (.30-.60),
sudden death (.20-.40), aggression (.30-.45) disrupted circadian (.40-.50).

Dr. Persinger says ... .2 TO .3, WHICH MEANS
YOU'RE EXPLAINING ON THE ORDER
OF ABOUT 10PERCENT TO 20PERCENT , 25PERCENT .
IN OTHER
WORDS, OUR BRAINS ARE IMMERSED
IN THESE SUBTLE FIELDS THAT
HAVE BIG IMPACT UPON OUR
BEHAVIOURS.
NOW HERE'S EXACTLY A
REPRESENTATION OF SOMETHING WE
FOUND IN OUR LABORATORY, AND
AGAIN, I'M USED TO USING
POINTERS, SO I'LL SPELL IT OUT
FOR YOU.

The slate appears as a graph named Spearmen the Correlations with the
titles: Variables, M, SD, Presence."

Dr. Persinger says IN TERMS OF FRONTAL LOBE
ACTIVITY OR TEMPORAL LOBE ALPHA
ACTIVITY OR OCCIPITAL ACTIVITY,
THIS IS A BRAIN WAVE RANGE OF 8
TO 13 HERTZ.
YOU CAN SEE, AGAIN, THE SENSE
PRESENCE ON THE RIGHT IS NOT
ASSOCIATED WITH ANY OF THOSE,
BUT THE RATIO OF ALPHA ACTIVITY
FROM THE TEMPORAL LOBE, OVER
THE OCCIPITAL LOBE,
SPECIFICALLY THE RIGHT TEMPORAL
LOBE, NOTICE IT'S CORRELATED
WITH THE PERSON EXPERIENCING,
IN THE CHAMBER, JUST FROM
GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY, A SENSE
PRESENCE.
NOTICE ALSO THE PRESENCE IS
ASSOCIATED WITH ABOUT .48 WITH
GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY, SO THE
POINT IS, YOU HAVE THE SENSE OF
A PRESENCE BEING TIED TO BRAIN
ACTIVITY AND ALSO THE FACT THAT
GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY CAN ALSO
BRING ON BOTH CONDITIONS.
NOW THE CRITICAL THING IS THIS.
RATHER THAN RELYING ON
CLASSICAL MODELS AND PEOPLE
OFTEN ASK, HOW DOES IT WORK?
I MEAN, SCIENCE IS ALSO
MECHANISM, AS WELL AS PURSUING
THE UNKNOWN.
AND IT WORKS BY...

The slate reads ‚ "Rather than relaying on classical models of current induction
by the applied magnetic fields, we have assumed that the complexity and
information within these fields directly interact with the global cerebral
magnetic fields associated with consciousness."

WE DON'T ASSUME THAT IT RELIES
ON...

Dr. Persinger says THINK OF
IT THIS WAY IN TERMS OF
INFORMATION.
I CAN WHISPER, HOW ARE YOU, I
CAN SCREAM HOW ARE YOU.
THE CRITICAL THING IS NOT THE
INTENSITY, IT'S THE CONTENT,
THE SYNTAX, IT'S THE ACTUALLY
MAKEUP OF THE LANGUAGE ITSELF.
SO IN OTHER WORDS, WE'RE
LOOKING AT A COMPLEXITY IN
INFORMATION, BECAUSE THAT'S
WHAT THE BRAIN RESPONDS TO.
OUR TYPICAL FIELD STRENGTHS ARE
BETWEEN 50 NANOTESSLA AND 1,000
NANOTESSLA, WHICH IS JUST ABOVE
GEOMAGNETIC ACTIVITY FOR
INDUCING THIS WITHIN THE
LABORATORY.

A slate appears and reads "Our typical field strengthens are between 50 nT and
1000 nT (1uT) For comparison: at 20 cm 10 uT, which is an electric razor, 15 uT
which is a stale gun, 20 uT which is a microwave, and 30uT which is a hair
dryer."

Dr. Persinger says FOR COMPARISON, AT 20
CENTIMETRE DISTANCES, A TYPICAL
SHAVER GENERATES 10
MICROTESSLA, WHICH IS 10 TIMES
MORE STRONG THAN WHAT WE USE.
THAT'S WHAT A DRILL DOES, 15
MICROTESSLA, MICROWAVE 20
MICROTESSLA, A HAIR DRIER, 30
MICROTESSLA, SO INTENSITY IS
NOT THE CRITICAL FACTOR, RIGHT?
IN FACT TO GIVE YOU AN IDEA OF
THIS AGAIN, TO REITERATE -- I
TAKE IT YOU CAN ALL UNDERSTAND
WHAT I'M SAYING RIGHT NOW,
RIGHT?
RIGHT?
OKAY.
WELL YOU'RE, RIGHT NOW YOU'RE
EXPOSED TO ABOUT 40 TO 50
DECIBELS, THAT'S 2,000
MICRONEWTON PER METRE SQUARED,
ABOUT 2,000 MICROPASCALS, 2
MILLIPASCALS.
THE ATMOSPHERIC PRESSURE ON YOU
RIGHT NOW IS ABOUT 100
KILOPASCALS, ALL RIGHT?
THAT'S 10 TO THE 5th PASCALS.
SO THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 10 TO
THE -3, A MILLIPASCAL, AND 10
TO THE 5th PASCALS, THAT'S 10
TO THE 8th, ALMOST 100 MILLION
TIMES.
THE SOUND PRESSURE FROM THE
ATMOSPHERE IS 100 MILLION TIMES
MORE THAN WHAT MY SOUND
PRESSURE IS, COMING FROM MY
VOICE.
CAN YOU FEEL THE ATMOSPHERE, IS
IT TALKING TO YOU?
NO, INTENSITY IS NOT THE
FEATURE.
IT'S THE PATTERN, IT'S THE
INFORMATION CONTAINED WITHIN
IT.
AND THAT'S THE SECRET TO
MANIPULATING THE SENSE PRESENCE
AND GENERATING IT
EXPERIMENTALLY WITHIN THE
LABORATORY.
IT'S NOT INTENSITY IT'S THE
PATTERN THAT YOU GENERATE TO
THE BRAIN.

The slate shows three graphs one on the left has several examples of sine waves,
and on the right two graphs with higher frequency brain waves.

Dr. Persinger says SO ON THE LEFT YOU SEE CLASSIC
SINE WAVES, PHYSICS GOES OUT OF
ITS WAY TO BE AS PURE AS
POSSIBLE, BUT THE BRAIN DOES
NOT RESPOND TO SINE WAVES.
IT RESPONDS TO NATURAL
PATTERNS.
ON THE RIGHT, YOU CAN SEE THE
PATTERNS THAT WE TYPICALLY HAVE
USED.
THE TOP ONE IS A BURST FIRING
PATTERN MODELLED AFTER A HUMAN
AMYGDULE, WHICH IS THE PART OF
THE BRAIN INVOLVED IN GIVING
MEANING OR FEAR OR SEXUAL
MEDIATION OR ECSTASY, DEPENDING
ON HOW YOU STIMULATE IT.
THE ONE ON THE BOTTOM IS A
FREQUENCY MODULATED PATTERN. BY
PUTTING TOGETHER THESE VARIUS
PATTERS WHICH REFLECT WHAT THE
BRAIN DOES NATURALLY, NOTICE
THE LONG TERM POTENTIATION.
ALL OF US HAVE MEMORY, AT LEAST
WE TEND TO REMEMBER THINGS.
TO HAVE MEMORY, YOU NEED LONG
TERM POTENTIATION, WHICH IS A
SPECIAL KIND OF PATTER WITHIN
THE BRAIN, AND IF YOU PUT THESE
THINGS TOGETHER IN BATCH FILES
TO MAKE IT COMPLEX ENOUGH, YOU
CAN BEGIN GENERATING POWERFUL
AND COMPLEX EXPERIENCES WITHIN
THE BRAIN ITSELF, INCLUDING THE
SENSE PRESENCE.YOUNG
COLLEAGUES, WE'VE GOT THE
TECHNOLOGY TO GENERATE THE GOD
EXPERIENCE IN THE LABORATORY,
CONTROLLED IN AN EXPERIMENTAL
WAY, BECAUSE IN ORDER TO
UNDERSTAND IT, WE HAVE TO BE
ABLE TO REPLICATE IT WITH AN
EXPERIMENT.
THE EXPERIMENT IS THE MOST
POWERFUL TOOL THAT SCIENCE HAS
EVER DEVISED.
THAT'S HOW WE DEMONSTRATE
THINGS, AND NOW WE HAVE THE
TECHNOLOGY TO DEMONSTRATE IT.
[Applause]

The slates title "Then Anatomy of a complex field." It reads "The patterns
are composed of sequential point durations. Each point duration occurs between 1
and 4 msec. Time between patterns can range from 1ms to 10,000 msec. The voltage
of each point is between -5V and +5V. The voltage is the conversion of a number
between 1 and 256." A picture of a brain wave graph is to the right.

Dr. Persinger says NOW
WHAT'S THE ANATOMY OF A COMPLEX
FIELD?
WELL THAT'S WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE.
AND LIKE A SCIENTIST, I DON'T
HIDE THINGS.
I PUBLISH ALL OF MY WORK, AND
MANY PEOPLE SAY, BE
PROPRIETARY.
I THINK THAT INFORMATION OF
THIS TYPE, EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW
ABOUT, SO WE'RE MOST HAPPY TO
TELL YOU HOW IT'S DONE, AND
WITHOUT COMPUTERS, WE COULDN'T
DO IT.
EFFECTIVELY, A COMPLEX FIELD
IS...SO
EFFECTIVELY, LOOKING AT THE
BOTTOM, WE HAVE A ROW OF
NUMBERS OR A COLUMN OF NUMBERS,
RANGING FROM 1 TO 256.
EACH NUMBER IS TRANSLATED TO A
VOLTAGE BETWEEN -5 AND +5
MILLIVOLTS-- OR 5 VOLTS,
BETWEEN -5 AND +5 VOLTS.
SO EACH POINT THEN, LASTS FOR A
DISCRETE AMOUNT OF TIME.
AND ON THE RIGHT THERE, YOU CAN
SEE THE ACTUAL BURST FIRING
PATTERN, WHICH IS COMPOSED OF
ABOUT 230 POINTS, EACH POINT
LASTS FOR ABOUT 1 MILLISECOND
TO 4 MILLISECONDS AND WE CAN
COMPOSE A COMPLEX PATTERN, AND
WE CAN GENERATE TIMING BETWEEN
THE PATTERNS, FOR EXAMPLE, A
PATTERN CAN BE PRODUCED AND
THEN GENERATED ONCE EVERY
MILLISECOND, OR IT CAN BE
SPACED EVERY 10,000
MILISECONDS, DEPENDING ON HOW
WE MANIPULATE AND PROGRAM THE
COMPUTER, WE CAN GENERATE VERY
COMPLEX FIELDS THAT MEAN
DIFFERENT THINGS TO THE BRAIN.
NOW THE SENSE PRESENCE IS MOST
FREQUENTLY EVOKED IF THE PERSON
IS EXPOSED FIRST TO RIGHT
HEMISPHERIC FREQUENCY MODULATED
FIELDS.
REMEMBER, THE RIGHT HEMISPHERE,
YOU ACTIVATE IT, NOW YOU HAVE
TO GET THE INFORMATION OVER
INTO AWARENESS, INTO LEFT
HEMISPHERE, SO YOU CAN LABEL
IT.
NOW YOU MAY LABEL IT
DIFFERENTLY.
SOME PEOPLE MAY LABEL IT AS
GOD, SOME AS THEIR OWN BODY,
SOME MAY LABEL IT AS -- AND
THEY DO, IN FACT, AS
EXTRATERRESTRIAL OR
ULTRADIMENSIONAL BEINGS.
IT DEPENDS ON THE LABEL THAT'S
THERE, GIVEN TO YOU BY YOUR
CULTURE THAT WILL THEN
DETERMINE HOW YOU WILL
EXPERIENCE IT.
SUBJECTIVE EXPERIENCES...

The slate reads "Subject A: 21 year old female with history of diabetes. Burst-
firing pattern (3msec point durations) applied bilaterally."

Dr. Persinger says HERE'S WHAT SHE EXPERIENCED.

The slate reads "I felt a presence behind me and then along the left side.
When I tried to focus on its position, the presence moved. Every time I tried to
sense where it was, it moved around. When it moved to the right side, I
experienced a deep sense of security like I had not experienced before. I
started to cry when I felt it slowly fade away." ( the field parameters had been
changed)."

Dr. Persinger says SHE
HADN'T REALISED IT, BUT WE HAD
CHANGED THE FIELD PARAMETERS.
SO WHEN YOU STIMULATE THE RIGHT
HEMISPHERE IN LARGE PART, THE
EXPERIENCE IS ON THE LEFT SIDE,
AND YOU GET A SENSE, USUALLY OF
AVERSION.
IT'S NOT AN ACCIDENT THAT
SINISTRE, AND SINISTRAL AND
LEFT-HANDED IS OFTEN ASSOCIATED
WITH EVIL AND NEGATIVE AND
AVERSIVE OR NEGATIVE
EXPERIENCES.
WHEREAS IF YOU STIMULATED THE
RIGHT-- THE LEFT HEMISPHERE,
YOU GET RIGHT SIDED
EXPERIENCES, AND THEY'RE OFTEN
VERBAL.
WHEN YOU HAVE AN EXPERIENCE
STIMULATING THE LEFT
HEMISPHERE, WHICH MEANS IT'S ON
THE RIGHT SIDE, YOU OFTEN GET
VERBAL EXPERIENCES, BECAUSE THE
LEFT HEMISPHERE IS INVOLVED
WITH LANGUAGE.
SO VERY OFTEN THERE WILL NOT
ONLY BE A PRESENCE, BUT THE
PERSON MAY HEAR THEIR NAME
CALLED, WHISPERED, OR THERE MAY
BE A MESSAGE GIVEN.
IN THIS CASE, WHAT'S REALLY
IMPORTANT ABOUT THIS CASE IS BY
THE VERY FACT THAT SHE TRIED TO
FOCUS ON THE PRESENCE, WHICH
MEANS THAT SHE CHANGED HER OWN
ACTIVITY.
THE CHANGES IN ACTIVITY DUE TO
VOLITION INTERACTED WITH THE
APPLIED FIELD TO PRODUCE A
DYNAMIC EXPERIENCE, BUT IT WAS
MOVING AROUND HER.
The slate reads "Subject B:30 year old woman. Frequency- modulated field (3
msec point durations) enhanced over the right hemisphere."

Dr. Persinger says This is her experience.

The slate reads "I feel detached from my body. I am floating up… there is a
kind of vibration moving through my sternum‚ there are odd lights or faces along
my left side. My body is becoming very hot tingling sensations in my chest and
stomach…now both arms. There is something feeling my ovaries. I can feel my
left
foot jerk. I feel there is someone in the room behind me."

Dr. Persinger says NOW
REMEMBER, THESE ARE VERY COMMON
EXPERIENCES.
IN FACT THE EXPERIENCE OF
PSEUDO-SEISIS, OF FALSE
PREGNANCY IS MORE COMMON THAN
YOU SUSPECT.
THE FEELING THAT YOU SUDDENLY
ARE PREGNANT AND THEN IT GOES
AWAY IN TWO OR THREE MONTHS,
THIS IS A COMMON EXPERIENCE.
IN SOME CULTURES, PEOPLE
BELIEVE THAT THE EMBRYO WAS
STOLEN, RIGHT?
BUT THE
POINT IS, THESE EXPERIENCES CAN
BE STIMULATED WITH THE
APPROPRIATE KIND OF
ENVIRONMENTAL FIELD.
NATURE HAS BEEN DOING IT
FOREVER.
WE'RE NOT DOING ANYTHING FANCY.
ALL WE HAVE DONE, LIKE ALL
SCIENCE, IS SIMPLY TAKE THE
SCIENTIFIC METHOD UNDER--
MEASURE
WHAT NATURE DOES, DUPLICATE IT
IN THE LABORATORY AND THEN
REPLICATE IT UNDER CONTROLLED
CONDITIONS.

The slate changes to "Subject C: 25 year old man, childhood history of three
mild head injuries. Bilateral application of frequency-modulated pattern (1
msec point durations)."

Dr. Persinger says VERY
OFTEN MILD HEAD INJURIES CAN
FACILITATE THE SENSE PRESENCE.
YOU'D BE SURPRISED THE NUMBER
OF PEOPLE IN MY CLINICAL
PRACTICE WHO HAVE HAD A MILD
HEAD INJURY AND WHO HAVE A
SENSE PRESENCE THAT TERRIFIES
THEM, AND THEY'RE AFRAID TO
TELL THEIR PHYSICIAN OR THEIR
FAMILY WHEN THEY THINK THEY'RE
GOING CRAZY.
IN THIS CASE,
AND FINALLY, WHAT ABOUT PEOPLE
WHO ARE HAVING THE EXPERIENCE
OF CHRIST?
PEOPLE DO THAT.
THIS IS...
The slate reads "I feel as if there was a bright white light in front of me. I
saw a black spot that became a kind of funnel…no tunnel that I felt drawn
into. .. I felt moving, like spinning forward through it…I began to feel the
presence
of people, but I could not see them; they were along my sides. There were
colourless, grey looking. I know I was in the chamber but it was very real. I
suddenly felt intense fear and felt ice cold."

Dr. Persinger says SO FINALLY WE ARE ABOUT PEOPLE HAVING EXPERIENCING CHRIST,
PEOPLE DO THAT.

The slate reads, "Subject D: 50 year old man displaying a state of religious
ecstasy. Right hemispheric application of bursting theta patterns."

Dr. Persinger says NOW WHY,
YOU SAY, WHY DO PEOPLE COME
INTO THE LABORATORY IF THEY
KNOW YOU ARE GOING TO STIMULATE
THEIR BRAINS?
BECAUSE WHAT WE TELL PEOPLE,
WHICH IS WHAT SCIENCE DOES, IS
SOMETHING IS REALLY TRUE, NO
AMOUNT OF CHALLENGE WILL EVER
CHANGE IT.
THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD WILL
VERIFY IT OR REFUTE IT, AND IF
YOU'RE THAT CONFIDENT IN YOUR
BELIEF, THEN COME INTO THE
LABORATORY AND WE'LL
DEMONSTRATE FOR YOURSELF, IF
INDEED THE EXPERIENCE IS
VERITICAL OR NOT, OR SIMPLY
RELIABLE.

A slate appears under the title" Side of presence attributed to Christ." The
graph shows the affect of the pulse on the x-axis: right, left, and both
hemispheres with one white and one black bars each. Then the y-axis is 0-16.

Dr. Persinger says SO THIS WAS A RIGHT HEMISPHERIC
STIMULATION, AND THIS PERSON
WAS EXPERIENCING REPEATED
SENSES PRESENCE THAT HE
ATTRIBUTED TO CHRIST.
AND WHAT WE DID IN THIS CASE,
WAS THE NUMBER OF FELT
PRESENCES PER MINUTE -- THAT'S
RIGHT, THAT'S HOW MANY FELT
PRESENCES PER MINUTE THERE WAS.
IN TERMS OF NO PULSE IS THE
OPEN SHAM CONDITION.
APPLYING THE PULSE, AND THIS
WAS A VERY SPECIAL PULSE
APPLIED OVER THE RIGHT
HEMISPHERE, AND NOTICE THAT
WHEN THE PULSE IS APPLIED OVER
THE RIGHT HEMISPHERE, FIRST OF
ALL THERE IS A GENERAL INCREASE
IN THE NUMBER OF TIMES HE
EXPERIENCED THIS CHRIST.
HE ACTUALLY SAW IT, THIS IS HOW
HE REPORTED.
BUT NOTICE, IT WAS PRIMARILY ON
HIS LEFT SIDE WITH THIS RIGHT
HEMISPHERIC APPLICATION.
SO THERE WAS A BACKGROUND
EXPERIENCE OF CHRIST LIKE
EXPERIENCES, BUT WHEN WE TURNED
ON THE FIELD, WE COULD ACTUALLY
LOCALISE IT, MORE TO THE LEFT,
YOU CAN SEE THAT, OR BOTH
BEHIND.
AND OF COURSE THE ENTIRE LEVEL
INCREASE.
NOTICE ON THE RIGHT SIDE,
THERE'S REALLY NO SIGNIFICANT
DIFFERENCE.
SO, BUT WHAT I WANT YOU TO
KNOW, HOWEVER, IS A COVARIANCE
ANALYSIS WAS PERFORMED FOR THE
FOLLOWING SUBJECT SCORES
INVOLVING THE FOLLOWING, IN
OTHER WORDS, DO WHAT PEOPLE
BELIEVE AND THEIR
CHARACTERISTICS, THEIR
PERSONALITIES, THEIR
BACKGROUNDS, HAVE ANYTHING TO
DO WITH HAVING A SENSE
PRESENCE?
IN OTHER WORDS, HOW DO WE KNOW
THAT THIS IS NOT JUST A PLACEBO
EFFECT OR AN EXPECTANCY EFFECT
IN THE LABORATORY?
WHEN WE CONTROL FOR THESE...

The slate reads "A covariance analysis was performed for the subjects scores
involving the following: temporal libe sensitivity, religious beliefs, and
exotic(new age) beliefs, history of a sensed presence. This did not change the
level of statistical significance of the experimental generation of the sensed
presence."

Dr. Persinger says SO IF YOU
CONTROL FOR...THAT DID
NOT CHANGE THE FACT THAT THE
MAGNETIC FIELDS WOULD INDUCE
THE SENSE PRESENCE.

The slate reads Initial covariance for the hypnotizability of the subjects
and/or the combined history of a sensed presence, exotic beliefs, religious
beliefs or temporal lobe sensitivity [F(3,36)= 3.07, p<.05; eta=.50] did not
alter the statistical significance of the magnetic field effect for producing
the sensed presence."

Dr. Persinger says WELL WHAT
PREDICTS A PERSON'S ABILITY TO
HAVE AN EXPERIENCE?
WELL, MULTIPLE REGRESSION
ANALYSIS FOR THE HISTORY OF
SENSE PRESENCE, NOT IN THE
LABORATORY, THE HISTORY OF A
SENSE PRESENCE BEFORE THE
EXPERIMENT, YIELDED AN EQUATION
THAT WAS COMBINED OF FOUR
VARIABLES.
IN OTHER WORDS IF YOU ASK A
PERSON, HAVE YOU EVER HAD AN
EXPERIENCE WHERE SUDDENLY YOU
WOKE UP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE
NIGHT AND THERE WAS A UNIVERSAL
PRESENCE OR SOME KIND OF
PRESENCE STANDING BESIDE YOU?
IF YOU LOOK AT THOSE KINDS OF
QUESTIONS, AND ASK THE
QUESTION, WHAT OTHER THINGS
PREDICT IT?
WELL THEY USUALLY HAVE A
HISTORY OF HAVING VESTIBULAR
EXPERIENCES.THEY'VE HAD RELIGIOUS CONVICTIONS OR CONVERSIONS. THEY HAD
PARANORMAL EXPERIENCES
AND
INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH, ONE THING
WE FOUND-
The slate reads "Multiple regression analyses for the history o sensed
presence before the experiment yielded an equation that was composed of four
variables (beta values in parentheses): a history of auditory vestibular
experiences (.29), religious convictions (.28), paranormal experiences (.22),a
preferences to keep personal written histories ( .20), with a multiple r-.63
[F(,197)=33.10, p<.001]."

Dr. Persinger says IS THAT PEOPLE WHO ARE
VERY, VERY HIGH RELIGIOUS
BELIEVERS, DO NOT BELIEVE VERY
MUCH IN EXOTIC THINGS, SUCH AS
REINCARNATION OR TIME TRAVEL.
BUT IF THEY BELIEVE VERY MUCH
IN EXOTIC THINGS, LIKE
REINCARNATION AND TIME TRAVEL,
THEY BELIEVE VERY LOW IN
RELIGIOUS.
BUT THE AVERAGE IS ALWAYS THE
SAME.
PEOPLE MUST BELIEVE IN
SOMETHING.
IN THIS
INSTANCE, IT MAKES NO
DIFFERENCE IF IT'S A PARANORMAL
OR A PARANORMAL BELIEF, AND A
PREFERENCE TO KEEP PERSONAL
WRITTEN HISTORIES.
THOSE FOUR THINGS TOGETHER
RESULT IN A [Inaudible] OF .63,
WHICH MEANS YOU CAN USE THAT TO
PREDICT IF INDEED THE PERSON
HAS HAD A HISTORY -- A HISTORY
OF HAVING A SENSE PRESENCE.
BUT IN THE LABORATORY THE ONLY
VARIABLE THAT ENTERED THE
MULTIPLE REGRESSION EQUATIONS
FOR THE OCCURRENCES OF
PRESENCES WITHIN THE
EXPERIMENTAL SETTING, WAS A
SLIGHTLY EGOCENTRIC SCALE.
IN OTHER WORDS, THE MAGNETIC
FIELDS WERE GENERATING THE
SENSE PRESENCE.
IT WASN'T BECAUSE PEOPLE WERE
TAKING BAGGAGE WITH THEM INTO
THE LABORATORY.
THE ACTUAL FIELDS WERE
GENERATING IT.
AND WHAT DOES EGOCENTRISM MEAN?
EGOCENTRISM MEANS YOU'RE MORE
LIKELY TO BELIEVE THAT WHAT
YOU'RE EXPERIENCING IS TRUE.
MEN ARE MORE LIKELY TO BE
EGOCENTRIC THAN FEMALES...
THAT'S PROBABLY NOT A SURPRISE.

[Audience Laughter]

Buckman continues IN TERMS OF FEMALES, FEMALES
ARE SLIGHTLY MORE ELEVATED ON
APPREHENSION THAN EGOCENTRISM.
SO THAT'S ONE OF THE REASONS WE
SEE THESE GENDER DIFFERENCES.
CONCLUSION, THE SPECIFIC FIELD
PATTERN AND CONTEXT GENERATED
THE SENSE PRESENCE.
WHAT WE'VE BEEN DOING THE LAST
FOUR YEARS, WHICH YOU PROBABLY
HAVEN'T HEARD ABOUT...

The slate reads‚ "5 experimenteres;2 males; 3 female, 47 subjects each employed
as their own controls, each subjected was exposed to six different patterns for
5 minutes each, the responses were recorded in real time along with the subjects
EEG activity."

Dr. Persinger says WE NOW
HAVE THE PATTERNS AND NOW WE'RE
TRYING TO FINE TUNE THEM.
THINK OF DRUGS.
YOU CAN START WITH SOME NICE
DRUG, LIKE SOMETHING THAT
PRODUCES RELAXATION, BUT IF YOU
REALLY WANT TO BE EFFECTIVE,
YOU HAVE TO FIND THE MOLECULAR
STRUCTURE THE SPECIFIC
MOLECULAR FEATURES THAT ALLOW
YOU TO HAVE OPTIMAL
SEQUESTERING TO THE RECEPTOR.
WELL WE'RE DOING THE SAME THING
NOW WITH MAGNETIC FIELD
PATTERNS.
WHAT ARE THE SPECIFIC PATTERNS,
AND OF COURSE THE CONSTERNATION
TO ALL OF THIS IS, PEOPLE ARE
DIFFERENT.
SO WE HAVE TO TAILOR IT TO THE
INDIVIDUAL.
ALTHOUGH THERE ARE CERTAIN
GROUPS OF PEOPLE WHO SEEM TO
SHARE PATTERNS, WE HAVE TO
TAILOR IT TO THE INDIVIDUAL.
SO WHAT WE DID THEN WAS, EACH
SUBJECT WAS EXPOSED TO SIX
DIFFERENT PATTERNS FOR FIVE
MINUTES EACH.
THE RESPONSES WERE RECORDED IN
REAL TIME ALONG WITH THE
SUBJECT'S EEG ACTIVITY.

The slate reads "In these studies the latencies of response after the field
onset for most effective patterns ranged between 20 and 60 sec. The subjects
were blind to which and if a field was present. Between 75 percent and 90
percent of the subjects displayed at least two button presses."

Dr. Persinger says IN OTHER
WORDS WE GOT AWAY FROM THEIR
EXPERIENCES AND WHAT WE ASK IS,
WHENEVER YOU HAVE EXPERIENCE...
SO WE TOLD THEM, YOU'RE GOING
TO HAVE AN EXPERIENCE.
THEY JUST DON'T KNOW IF THERE'S
GOING TO BE A FIELD OR NOT.
PRESS THE LEFT BUTTON IF IT'S
ON THE LEFT SIDE, THE RIGHT
BUTTON IF IT'S ON THE RIGHT
SIDE, IF IT'S BOTH, PRESS BOTH.
SO IN OTHER WORDS WE MOVED AWAY
FROM THE WHOLE IDEA OF POST
EPISODIC EXPERIENCES AND POST
EPISODIC KINDS OF COMPOUNDS.
SUBJECTIVE EXPERIENCES -- THESE
ARE THE THINGS WHERE YOU HAVE A
MORE SPECIFIC AND MORE TAILORED
PATTERN PRODUCE EFFECTS...

The slate appears under the title "Frequent themes reported" A dark ominous
force looming right above the person as if it was going to descend the feeling
of suffocation or pressure on the chest. The sensation of blacker than black
during brief periods within a minute of the onset of a specific pattern."

Dr. Persinger says MANY OF
THESE PEOPLE...

The slate changes to "Re-experiencing previous altered states, such as haunts,
kundalini and psychotropic drug experiences. These individuals had not
experienced the unusual events again until they were exposed to the fields."

Dr. Persinger says I'M NOT
GOING TO TELL YOU THEIR NAMES,
BUT THE NUMBER OF EXPERTS WHO
HAVE COME TO OUR LABORATORY
INCLUDING INDIVIDUALS WELL
KNOWN IN THE PUBLIC MEDIA, WHO
SAID, "DR. PERSINGER, WHEN I
WAS IN THIS CHAMBER, THE LAST
TIME I HAD THIS EXPERIENCE, IS
WHEN I HAD..." AND THEN FILL IN
THE BLANK WITH THE APPROPRIATE
PSYCHOTROPIC SUBSTANCE.

[Audience Laughter]

Buckman continues SO THE POINT IS, THAT AS WE GET
MORE EFFECTIVE, MORE PRECISE IN
DESIGNING THE PATTERNS, THE
EXPERIENCES BECOME VERY
SPECIFIC AND VERY
INDIVIDUALISTIC.
THESE INDIVIDUALS HAVE NOT
EXPERIENCED THE UNUSUAL EVENTS
AGAIN, UNTIL THEY WERE EXPOSED
TO THE FIELDS.

The slate changes to "About 20 percent of the participants clicked once or twice
indicating they were experiencing a sensed presence but had no memory of the
experience about 15 to 20 min later. Religious figures, images of priests
and, human skeletons, occurred as flickering but repeated phenomena."

Dr. Persinger says IT IS AN
EPHEMERAL PHENOMENON, ALL
RIGHT, JUST LIKE MANY OF THESE
EXPERIENCES.
IF YOU
EVER READ DOSTOYEVSKY'S
DESCRIPTION OF HIS GOD
EXPERIENCE, HE WAS A TEMPORAL
LOBE EPILEPTIC AND HE TALKS
ABOUT THE SUPREME ECSTASY AND
RAPTURE HE'S IN, AND THAT HE
CAN'T FIND WORDS FOR IT
AFTERWARDS, BECAUSE OF THE
LIMBIC SURGE, THIS IS VERY
SIMILAR TO WHAT A NUMBER OF OUR
SUBJECTS REPORT. AND RELIGIOUS FIGURES, IMAGES OF PRIESTS AND HUMAN SKELETONS,
OCCURRED AS FLICKERING BUT REPEATED PHENOMENA.
SO IN
CONCLUSION -- AGAIN, I THANK
YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR
ATTENTION.
I KNOW THIS HAS BEEN LONG...

The slate reads "The sensed presence, the possible prototype of a God
experience: is a property of the human brain, can be studied experimentally
within the laboratory, can be evoked by appropriately applied magnetic fields
whose temporal structure simulates natural brain patterns."

Dr. Persinger says AND
THAT'S WHERE IT BECOMES
EXCITING FOR THE NEXT 40 OR 50
YEARS, BECAUSE NOW WE'VE GOT
THE TECHNOLOGY TO REALLY
UNDERSTAND THIS COSMIC
PHENOMENON, HISTORICAL
PHENOMENON.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
[Applause]

Buckman says THAT WAS
SUPERB, AND THE TAKE HOME
MESSAGE IS AMAZINGLY IMPORTANT.
THE FACT THAT THESE IMAGES, THE
DESIGN, AS IT WERE, OF A GOD,
OF A SENSE PRESENCE CAN
ACTUALLY BE PRODUCED BY
STIMULATION OF THE RIGHT
TEMPORAL LOBE, IS EXTREMELY
IMPORTANT.
IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT THAT
THE IMAGE OF GOD AND THE
INSTRUCTIONS OF GOD, CAN BE
PRODUCED BY THE STIMULATION OF
THE RIGHT TEMPORAL LOBE,
BECAUSE MESSAGES AND
INSTRUCTIONS FROM GOD OR THE
GODS HAVE BEEN SUCH AN
IMPORTANT PART OF HUMAN
HISTORY.

The slate appears under the title "Why does it all matter?" It reads "It matters
because humans are good at collaboration AND aggression ( they have strong
limbic systems), beliefs provide a royal road into the limbic system."

Buckman says WE ARE, AS I
SAID EARLIER, FABULOUS AT
COLLABORATION AND AGGRESSION,
AND AS MICHAEL SAID, IT IS THE
LIMBIC SYSTEM THAT IS EXTREMELY
IMPORTANT, AND THE TEMPORAL
LOBES OR THE MEDIAN ASPECTS OF
THE TEMPORAL LOBES ARE PART OF
THE LIMBIC SYSTEM.
WHEN MICHAEL
MENTIONED THAT WHEN HE DID HIS
PPI, THE PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY
IMAGERY, HE ASKED THIS
QUESTION, WHATEVER IT WAS,
QUESTION 163, I THINK IT WAS,
SOMETHING LIKE THAT.
IF GOD TOLD
ME TO, I WOULD KILL SOMEBODY.
AND I THINK THEY ONLY HAD THE
TWO CHOICES, YES, NO.
THERE WASN'T, NO, YES, YES, BY
BORING THE ASS OF HIM, WHATEVER
IT IS, IT WAS JUST, YES OR NO.
AND OF ALL
POPULATIONS, ALL STUDENT
POPULATIONS, THAT WERE
MENTIONED, THE PERCENTAGE THAT
TICKED YES, WAS 7PERCENT .
ALMOST DOUBLED IF IT WAS MALES,
AND MUCH MORE THAN TRIPLED IF
IT WAS MALES WHO HAD FREQUENT
RELIGIOUS OBSERVANCES, WHO WENT
TO CHURCH OR TEMPLE OR A PLACE
OF WORSHIP MORE THAN ONCE A
WEEK.
VERY, VERY, VERY INTERESTING
INDEED.
THAT'S WHY THIS STUFF MATTERS.
BECAUSE TO PUT IT VERY SIMPLY,
INSTRUCTIONS FROM GOD HAVE A
ROYAL ROAD INTO THE LIMBIC
SYSTEM AND PROVIDING
AGGRESSION.
AND WE, AS A SPECIES ARE
EXTREMELY GOOD AT AGGRESSION.

The slate reads "Stories, legends, myths and fables are an
efficient accessible and highly memorable way to teaching big issues to a
community, Santa Claus, The Phoenix (We just shouldn't take them literally)."

Buckman says MYTHS AND
FABLES ARE A BRILLIANT WAY, AS
JOSEPH CAMPBELL SAID, OF US
LEARNING.
NOT ONLY LEARNING THE MEANING
OF EXPERIENCE, BUT ALSO
LEARNING MORAL CODES, MORAL AND
ETHICAL CODES.
WE LEARN
THAT FROM FABLES.
AND THE SIMPLEST ONE, THE
IMMEDIATE COMPARISON IS SANTA
CLAUS.
YOU KNOW, SANTA CLAUS GIVES YOU
TOYS IF YOU'RE GOOD... AND
RICH.

[Audience Laughter]

Buckman continues AND COAL IF YOU'RE POOR, RIGHT?
YOU KNOW, AND SANTA CLAUS KNOWS
WHETHER YOU'VE BEEN GOOD OR
BAD.
YOU DON'T, BUT SANTA CLAUS
DOES.
IT'S A BRILLIANT WAY OF
IMPARTING AN ENTIRE MORAL CODE
OF GOODNESS AND BADNESS TO THE
YOUNG CHILD VERY SIMPLY.
ETHICAL CODES ARE BASICALLY A
COMPLEX SET OF RULES TO STOP US
BUMPING INTO EACH OTHER AND
TRAFFIC LIGHTS ARE A GOOD
ANALOGY.
TRAFFIC LIGHTS WORK, NOT
BECAUSE THERE'S MAGIC IN RED OR
MAGIC IN GREEN, BUT BECAUSE WE
ALL AGREE THAT WHEN IT'S RED WE
STOP, AND WHEN IT'S GREEN WE
GO, EXCEPT OF COURSE IN
MONTREAL.

[Audience Laughter]

Watch: Robert Buckman, Michael Persinger on Is God All In Your Head