Friday, October 23, 2015




Few things get music scholars more nervous than cross-cultural comparisons. The field of ethnomusicology, which was invented to inquire into this very subject, has grown increasingly uneasy with this part of its mission. The ethnomusicologist, in the words of Bruno Nettl, does not seek out such comparisons, but rather serves as “the debunker of generalizations.” Anthony Seeger has offered a similar perspective, expressing his resistance to “the privileging of similarities over differences.” In other words, if human beings from different cultures share certain musical proclivities and practices, academics in the field would rather not hear about it.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

This Magnet Can Change Your Faith in God

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), a noninvasive procedure uses a metal coil to send pulses to the brain. By using TMS to deactivate and certain part of the prefrontal cortex and reduce a sense of threat, many of the the subjects dropped any belief in god, hell, heaven etc It also made them more tolerant compared to those who had the cap on but did not receive a sufficient dose of energy. That the brain's default wiring in the face of death pushes most people toward religion. Perceived threats of immigration result normally in more ethnocentrism. No free will there.

Said one of the neuroscientists from the University of York: “As expected, we found that when we experimentally turned down the posterior medial frontal cortex, people were less inclined to reach for comforting religious ideas, despite having been reminded of death,”

This tendency extends to all protective ideologies. Another author of the paper in an Oxford Unv. Press Journal: “These findings are very striking, and consistent with the idea that brain mechanisms that evolved for relatively basic threat-response functions are repurposed to also produce ideological reactions,”

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast
By Abby Haglove

When researchers used magnetic energy to shut down the brain’s threat perception, nearly a third of patients were more tolerant to immigrants. More said they didn’t believe in God.