My Nose, My Brain, My Faith

Illustration for TIME by Jon Krause

Your nose is one of the less complicated parts of your body, and yet we credit it with considerable intelligence in the area of truth vs. falsehood. We "sniff out a lie." We say "something smells fishy." Now studies suggest that something more than metaphor may be at work here--specifically, brain science. The same research may also shed unexpected light on religious faith.

Believing or disbelieving something is always as much about feeling as fact. Sam Harris, a doctoral candidate at UCLA, wanted to see what that means in physiological terms. To many readers, Harris is best known for his antireligious...

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