The Daily Beast - Insights from neuroscience suggest that the brain tends to automatically accept rather than reject beliefs, oftentimes independent of how logical they might be.
If there is anything that global news has shown us in the past couple of years, it's that fundamentalism is on the rise and more pervasive than ever.
Fundamentalist beliefs have driven countless beheadings, bombings, and execution-style murders by terrorist groups like ISIS and al Qaeda in the last year alone. At a time when religious extremism is running rampant in large areas of the world, and steadily growing in virtually all others, finding effective ways to fight it at its core is in the interests of all free nations.
Although many complex causes of fanatical fundamentalism have been identified by a wide range of disciplines, a growing body of evidence from the field ofneuroscience suggests one major contributing factor: Brains generally accept beliefs because they have to work much harder to reject them as false.
Beliefs and the Brain
Scientific research investigating the neural underpinnings of belief got its start as recently as 2008, when popular author and neuroscientist Sam Harris began a series of brain imaging studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. The concept was simple: How is the brain activated differently during a state of belief compared to a state of disbelief?
According to Aljazeera, Accident which also injured more than 230 people, just weeks before Hajj pilgrimage, blamed on violent thunderstorms.
At least 107 people have been killed after a crane toppled over at Mecca's Grand Mosque, less than two weeks before Islam's annual Hajj pilgrimage.
In addition to the deaths, 238 people were wounded in Friday's disaster, according to Saudi Arabia's Civil Defence Authority.
The Saudi Press Agency quoted a spokesperson for the two holy mosques as saying that the crane was brought down by strong wind and heavy rain.
Pictures circulating on social media showed pilgrims in bloodied robes and debris from a part of the crane that appeared to have crashed through a ceiling.
Other pictures showed queues of Saudi men volunteering to donate blood for the injured.
"All those who were wounded and the dead have been taken to hospital. There are no casualties left at the location," General Suleiman al-Amr, director-general of the Civil Defence Authority, told Al Ikhbariya television.
BY SARAH POSNER / RELIGION DISPATCHES
UP DATE: Following this morning's hearing, Kim Davis has been taken into custody by U.S. Marshals for contempt of court.
Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, not known for shying away from hot-button religious culture war battles, "visited by phone" with Rowan County, Kentucky court clerk Kim Davis yesterday, according to a statement issued by his campaign. "I let her know how proud I am of her for not abandoning her religious convictions and standing strong for religious liberty," the former pastor, Arkansas governor, and now two-time presidential candidate said in a statement. Arguing that "the Supreme Court cannot and did not make a law," but only a "ruling on a law," Huckabee maintained that "Kim does not have the Constitutional authority to issue a marriage license to homosexual couples."
Davis will be in federal court later this morning, for a hearing on whether she should be held in contempt of court. Translation: federal courts do indeed have the authority to decide whether Davis is obligated to issue those marriage licenses.
Acoording to RT, An Iraqi woman has taken revenge on the Islamic State commander who forced her into sex slavery, killing him near the city of Mosul.
The woman killed a senior commander known as "Abu Anas" three months after he forced her to marry several men under his command, Kurdistan Democratic Party spokesman Saeed Mamouzini told al-Sumaria TV.
The commander was killed on Saturday in the Tal Roman district, west of militant-held Mosul, according to Mamouzini.
There is no information on how the militant was killed or what has become of the woman, who some reports say is a member of the Yazidi-Kurdish minority.
According to the ABNA news agency, the report emerged just days after an unspecified number of "non-Iraqi" women were transported into Mosul for use as sex slaves, under a direct order from the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
According to Metro, Islamic State militants who contracted HIV from sex slaves will be forced to become suicide bombers, it has been claimed.
At least 16 members of ISIS are said to have tested positive for the virus after raping two Moroccan women held by the terrorist who had the disease.
They are now being held in quarantine after being diagnosed in al-Mayadeen city in the eastern Syrian province of Deir ez-Zor, reports indicate.
'IS leadership is planning to assign suicide attacks for its militants who are tested positive with AIDS,' a civil rights activist told ARA News.
Teenager is gang-raped then has her eyes gouged out by her own sister in brutal exorcism ritual ordered by a PASTOR in Argentina
By JAMES DUNN FOR MAILONLINE
A teenager was brutally gang-raped then had her eyes gouged out by her sister in a brutal exorcism ritual that the rapists claim was ordered by a local pastor.
According to Daily Mail, the victim, aged just 16, is now fighting for her life in hospital after the horrific ordeal, which her family said they orchestrated because they believed she was possessed by the devil.
After the terrible ordeal, the teenager was pinned down and her elder sister cut both of her eyes out.
The victim's sister claimed that the religious centre even gave her the sharp knife used in the attack and said that she must personally carry out the brutal act in order to cure her.
According to Global News Nigeria, ten members of the Islamist militant group Boko Haram have been executed by firing squad in Chad.
It comes a day after they were found guilty of terror charges at a trial in the capital N'Djamena.
Security sources said they were shot at a firing range norh of the capital.
All 10 were convicted over their roles in twin attacks on the capital in June, which killed at least 38. A month after the attack, Chad reintroduced the death penalty for acts of terror.
"They were shot this morning at the Massaguet firing range," a source told Reuters news agency, referring to a city about 60km (40 miles) north-east of N'Djamena.
An attempted attack by a heavily armed man on a train in France last week was premeditated and well prepared, according to a French prosecutor.
Accordiing to BBC, Ayoub El-Khazzani, 25, was carrying 270 bullets for his assault rifle and a bottle of petrol, prosecutor Francois Molins told reporters on Tuesday.
The Moroccan's phone showed that he had watched a jihadist video shortly before launching the attack, Mr Molins added.
Prosecutors have now filed formal charges against him.
Mr Khazzani is accused of carrying out a "targeted and premeditated" jihadist attack.
He is also accused of firearms offences and "participation in a terrorist association with a view to organising one or several damaging crimes," according to prosecutors' documents quoted by the AFP news agency.
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