Monday, June 3, 2013

Religious Fundamentalism 'May Be Categorised As Mental Illness & Cured By Science'

Religious fundamentalism and cruelty to children may one day be treated in the same way as mental illness, a neuroscientist has speculated. 

Kathleen Taylor, a research scientist at Oxford University’s Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, says strong negative beliefs could be eradicated using techniques already in the works.

Dr Taylor was speaking at the Hay Literary Festival in Wales when she was asked what she forsaw as positive developments in neuroscience in the coming years, The Times reports

She replied: “One man’s positive can be another man’s negative. One of the surprises may be to see people with certain beliefs as people who can be treated.

“Someone who has for example become radicalised to a cult ideology – we might stop seeing that as a personal choice that they have chosen as a result of pure free will and may start treating it as some kind of mental disturbance. 

“In many ways it could be a very positive thing because there are no doubt beliefs in our society that do a heck of a lot of damage. 

I am not just talking about the obvious candidates like radical Islam or some of the more extreme cults. I am talking about things like the belief that it is OK to beat your children.

[...]

Links between extreme faiths and mental health have been made before, with former president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Dr Dinesh Bhugra, highlighting recent religious conversions being more associated with a developing psychotic mental illness. 

In a paper entitled ‘Self-concept: Psychosis and attraction of new religious movements’, he points to data from studies which shows that patients with first onset psychosis are likely to change their religion ... ► Read the full article and comments by Sara C. Nelson in Huffington Post.




Photo: Islamic radicals and parents who hit their children could soon be 'cured' by science, leading neurologist claimsDailymail


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