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  1. Neither Genesis nor the Big Bang theory pass the acid test of positivist empiricism; the Big Bang theories produce problems that led to the fine tuning issues and those to multiverse theories. CERN's research supports but can never prove the BB hypothesis (and the physics behind it) because we can't experiment with that event. As Aquinas implicitly argued in his Five Proofs of God in the Summa, SOME kind of rational beginning is necessary for the universe to be coherent and rational. As one of the Fine Tuning schools has it, we were created by the universe's innate 'laws' to become conscious of the universe and understand it. A classic, and untestable on any grounds, teleological argument. You just have to enjoy the hunt, because the prey, Truth, seems to be a lot smarter than we are and has us going in circles.....
  2. The study referenced is a slightly different approach in a relatively new research arena of liberal/conservative neuropsychology, which often uses religious conviction as a dependent variable in the experimental design. Some of the research is clearly agenda-driven, unfortunately. I can’t find the source right now but I remember a student coming into my office incensed with an empirical [and peer reviewed!] report she’d read that stated “conservatives don’t use all of their brains”. False, of course – self-identified ‘conservatives’ have been shown to use different areas to different degrees than self-identified ‘liberals’. Whether the neurophysiological activity begets conservative attitudes or simply echoes and thus perpetuates learned behaviors is unknown, and the answer may be “both” (The Jost article below provides a good summary). These are tough reads even if you have the stats and neurophys to follow them, but a look at the abstracts, introductions, and discussion sections will give you an idea of what’s going on in (reliable / professional) research in this area. They should be available via Academic Search Complete at any state’s or college library’s portal. Amodio, D. M., Jost, J. T., Master, S. L., & Yee, C. M. (2007). Neurocognitive correlates of liberalism and conservatism. Nature Neuroscience, 10(10), 1246–1247. https://doi.org/10.1038/nn1979 Inzlicht, M., McGregor, I., Hirsh, J. B., & Nash, K. (2009). Neural markers of religious conviction. Psychological Science (0956-7976), 20(3), 385–392. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02305.x Jost, J., & Amodio, D. (2012). Political ideology as motivated social cognition: Behavioral and neuroscientific evidence. Motivation & Emotion, 36(1), 55–64. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11031-011-9260-7 Tritt, S. M., Peterson, J. B., Page-Gould, E., & Inzlicht, M. (2016). Ideological reactivity: Political conservatism and brain responsivity to emotional and neutral stimuli. Emotion, 16(8), 1172–1185. https://doi.org/10.1037/emo0000150.supp