Recent Neuroscience Articles
Intensify Need for "Freedom of Thought" Updating

Four new articles (scroll down) underscore why the CCLE is working so hard to update the fundamental right to "freedom of thought" to include brain privacy, autonomy, and choice (i.e., "cognitive liberty"). Increasingly, scientists are identifying the functional neurochemistry that underlies our thought processes, including religious experiences.

In addition, drugs and other devices that target and disrupt the central nervous system are increasingly being explored for their potential to serve as weapons and policing aids. As this process accelerates, traditional legal rights such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and privacy, will have to evolve in tandem by acknowledging and protecting an equally fundamental, but underlying, right to cognitive liberty. Failure to make this move will result in: (1) losing cherished rights we currently enjoy, and (2) foreclosing opportunities for expanding how and what we think.

//Richard Glen Boire
CCLE Co-Director & Legal Counsel
Keeping Freedom in Mind: www.cognitiveliberty.org

1. "The Serotonin System and Spiritual Experiences"
Jacqueline Borg, Bengt Andrée, Henrik Soderstrom, and Lars Farde, Am J Psychiatry 2003 160:1965-1969.
http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/abstract/160/11/1965

"CONCLUSIONS: This finding in normal male subjects indicated that the serotonin system may serve as a biological basis for spiritual experiences. The authors speculated that the several-fold variability in 5-HT1A receptor density may explain why people vary greatly in spiritual zeal."

2. "The Emerging Neurowarfare Threat"
Zack Lynch, Brainwaves, Dec. 8, 2003
http://www.corante.com/brainwaves/archives/000768.html

“Neurowarfare, the use of weapons that target the human central nervous system, is an escalating concern. This month's Acumen Journal uncovers some areas of Russian neurowarfare research that should cause great concern, including: Project Flute -- a neurotoxic agent that becomes activated during times of stress or great emotion, and can damage the nervous system, alter moods, trigger psychological changes and even kill.”

3. "Humanity? Maybe It's in the Wiring"
SANDRA BLAKESLEE, New York Times, December 9, 2003,
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/09/science/09BRAI.html?ex=1071970052&ei=1&en=edf476d7423b5367

"Neuroscientists have given up looking for the seat of the soul, but they are still seeking what may be special about human brains, what it is that provides the basis for a level of self-awareness and complex emotions unlike those of other animals.

Most recently they have been investigating circuitry rather than specific locations, looking at pathways and connections that are central in creating social emotions, a moral sense, even the feeling of free will. There are specialized neurons at work, as well - large, cigar-shaped cells called spindle cells."

4. "Hard Wired For God" The Globe and Mail, Canada http://www.globeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LAC/20031206/FCOVER06/TPScience/

A neurotheology article about the University of Montreal imaging the brains of local Nuns while they recall religious experiences.