Tuesday, 2 October 2007

The 'mental' in fundamentalism

Dear reader, our blog has moved to a new address.

Do come on over (and change your bookmarks accordingly): rationalist.org.uk

A fascinating piece in Tikkun magazine argues that the inability to do "divergent" thinking - the kind of non-linear creative thinking which, in Salman Rushdie's phrase "allows newness to enter the world" - might be down to the lack of development of the sophisticated frontal lobe area of the brain. They cite some interesting evidence and ask some good questions like: "Do extremism and an unconditional adherence to religious dogma result from a failure of a portion of the frontal lobe to develop, or fully developed, to activate?" Shades of biological essentialism in the conclusion that fundamentalism has a biological explanation, perhaps, but ... it makes ya think (with the frontal lobes, obviously).