The Brain Chemistry of the Buddha
In 'The God Gene,' geneticist Dean Hamer says human spirituality may have an innate genetic component to it.
09/25/2005 12:28:14 PM
If the god gene does not exist then apparently some of us who have had spirituality dumped on us without asking for it need to look elsewhere for the answers. I am a successful businessman who, by all relatives, friends and associates is considered a rational realist, non-religious but spiritual. Four years ago I had two weird spiritual experiences or alterations in consciousness that have caused me to be unusually preoccupied with spirituality. These spiritual interactions portrayed the same scenario that I had at the age of 15 when I had a near death experience. See http://transcendentalists.org Kurt
05/03/2005 04:16:31 PM
Listen, It is proven we HAVe the seratonin already. You UTILIZE it all the time. It is in your design plan. Those of us who have HAD these experiences talked about KNOW IT TO BE TRUE in our experience. What does it really matter. Are you afraid you might change your view on how you view the divine? God is God LOL. If this is how He made it so we could communicate better with him then SO BE IT! Whatever ANGLE or perception you have ... ITS NOT WRONG If God includes everything He has made, everthing is included no matter the mindset of humans. People who have reached that state of awareness know it is possible because we have directly experienced that connection to all. We can't lie, it happens. What I BELIEVE doesn't matter in face of the TRUTH of the experience, no matter how.
11/09/2004 08:38:10 PM
This is crap. Geneticists see everything in genetics, which is just a specific application of the general rule that people see whatever they want to see and believe whatever they want to believe. This particular fantasy is dangerous because it offers a seemingly scientific version of "The Devil Made Me Do It." People mistakenly believe that genetics controls everything, and that they are helpless pawns of their own DNA. Not so. For example, a genetic basis for alcoholism has been explored, but no one becomes an alcoholic without drinking.
11/07/2004 04:17:13 PM
Perhaps it is simplistic of me, but it seems that when I asked my mother, "Where did I come from?" I was taking the first step in this direction. With education, I continue to ask the same question and develop more sophisticated answers, but presume myself to have arrived at THE answer only after hubris has set in.
11/01/2004 12:51:48 PM
srowitt, "God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they shall be damned who believe not the truth...But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you for salvation." (II Thess. 2:11-13) "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called:..." (Romans 8:29, 30) "...Having predestinated us into the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will." (Eph. 1: 4,5) Just a few of the verses that indicate that we DON'T have free will. kinda confusing, isn't it? What comes through loud and clear is that we should be very afraid. Peace...
10/28/2004 04:48:52 PM
Just because the connection (by genetic sense) of the Unity, doesn't mean that your version of God is the only version. My point in the previous post is that there are more than one views of the One and even the view itself is a choice. To choose to see a deity that says "love me or die" is not a choice, is it? If the Truth will set you free, then this view must not be true. As I believe
10/28/2004 04:43:43 PM
somehow the idea "Therefore I will number you for the sword, And you shall all bow down to the slaughter;" doesn't fill me with grace or peace. Like saying "love me or die." But hey that's just me, right?
10/28/2004 04:34:14 PM
With regard to the article. I believe that the letter to the Roman believers indicates that the knowledge that God exists has been instilled in every person. The conscious decision to deny the truth of God begins a slippery slide into the ultimate spiritual denial, e.g. no God.
10/28/2004 04:29:59 PM
Dear Jacknky, "I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; Deut. 30:19 Therefore I will number you for the sword, And you shall all bow down to the slaughter; Because, when I called, you did not answer; When I spoke, you did not hear, But did evil before My eyes, And chose that in which I do not delight." Is.65:12 Just a few of many that indicate man has the ability to choose, hence - free will is involved at some level. Grace and peace to all.
10/28/2004 03:38:34 PM
I believe that we have evolved a sense of divine connection to something bigger than we are, (call it Energy, the Presence, God or whatever), just as we evolved the five "standard" senses. Everything that we have developed has a purpose, even if it's been forgotten (a la the appendix). Just as in the five senses, we all have different ways of conceptualizing the input that we get. Some like spicy food, some salty, etc and even in a single person, we all have changing tastes as we explore new foods and new ideas. This is not to say that any of them is wrong, it's just a personalized expression. The same thing with the "God gene." Although I dislike the name, its function (nearly universal no matter what one's spiritual history) is another sense of what it means to be human. For a reason: to perceive another sense of reality, for our own wholeness.
10/28/2004 09:31:24 AM
starrcross, All hell is breaking lose on this planet anyway whether your god declares himself or not. That's because of ignorance, in my opinion. BTW, where in the Bible does it say anything about free will?
10/27/2004 01:39:23 PM
there will come an enlightenment one day when acceptence for anothers individual beliefs or refusal to accept beliefs will not be the norm. until then conflict will always be the issue at hand when discussing a matter as deeply personal as one's system or foundation of belief. PERSONAL it is and PERSONAL it shall always remain-
10/27/2004 01:39:11 PM
Bravo88 10/21/04 4:36:19 PM Scare tactics? Telling you about the consequences of rejecting GOD is not a scare tactic, it is simply a fact. fact is that which can be proven with actual evidence, knowledge, existence or observation. your experience belongs to you- it is not for you to impose upon another individual. you usurp the power and authority of the creator when you pass judgement. rejecting your interpretation god/religion does not create the seperation of the individual from god- it seperates the individual from your biased opinion. and saying that this article is not about god, is as ridiculous as saying pagans are less righteous than christians. you have just refused enlightenment that there are other opinions of which you are ignorant.
10/25/2004 01:47:27 PM
The article stated that the study is all about the mind and how it works. And it's only the beginning for these kinds of studies. It's not meant to be THE ANSWER to all questions. As to why God doesn't just anounce himself once and for all, with no ifs, ands or buts, well, people would cease to excersize their free will (for fear of getting blasted) and we would expect God to stop all natural disasters that harm us. And when God (whom EVERYBODY would know was real) didn't stop evil or natural disasters, then people would think he wasn't very powerful. And then ALL HELL would break loose, because there would be nothing to stop anything bad from happening. Unless people decided to stop themselves from doing evil, and decided that nature does what it does and we should just watch out and deal with it. Which is what we should be working on all this time anyway.
10/25/2004 07:00:00 AM
BS"D Sorry, I don't by the article's assu,ption that certain mental states equates with god-consciousness. This is ESPECIALLY underscored by the use of the illustration of the Buddha whose consciousness is particularly DEVOID of the notion of a god - therefore the entire argument is nonsense. Spitutality, objectivity, and even abstract thought do NOT equal god anymoreso than does breathing equal intelligence.
10/24/2004 01:48:56 PM
We are different from lower life forms by the complexity and diversity of the components that make us up. This allows us to have powerful minds, if trained well, to serve the soul. It can as well be trained to be monstrous. The soul, the sign of God within us, is not a physically composed entity, but an indivisible spiritual reality, which, after creation continues to exist, either close or far from God. Proximity is not spatial but ethical. God willing, all souls will reflect their Maker, Who breathed the spirit within us, and not selfish, obscure thoughts. There is a "god-shaped" place in our hearts. Like pottery, how shall we be filled before we break?
10/24/2004 12:17:35 PM
Behavioral Psychology "dwells on" selling people on being a social problem of which one never really was --------- Actually, results may lead you to respond in this way, but it is not the intent of this feild of study. It sounds as if you had some bad experiences. I sometime wonder,why I write to those who have such a absolute subjective provoking manner of conduct --------- Are you referring to those Christians who condemn their fellow humans to hell, yet have no way to confirm this is true or a reality? I'm never impressed by those who have ouitrageaous views and no way to support those assertions in an objective manner.
10/24/2004 12:16:30 PM
In studying your response,you sound more like a follower of behavioral psychology -chimme ---------- Psychology isn't an ideology to follow. Ego,for my humble self "is not" part of my vocabulary,like many other negative manners ---------- It always seems an irony that people declare themselves humble in discussions examining the way people think, and someone is defending their illusory framework. Thank You,for your input telling me,loud & clear,we are not really agreeably compatible ----------- Compatible? This is a debate site, it is unrealistic to expect others to agree with you. If you have evidence to support your views, then provide them. You may not like what objective studies reveal about how the brain works, and why behaviors are as they are. But if that causes some inner conflict, then that is your responsibility to resolve. cont>>
10/24/2004 12:09:52 PM
In a nut-shell: Person #1: "I OWN God!" Person #2: "No! I OWN God!"
10/24/2004 09:38:17 AM
F1fan:=In studying your response,you sound more like a follower of behavioral psychology..Ego,for my humble self "is not" part of my vocabulary,like many other negative manners..I have no trouble accepting your view value as yours,while having no wanting need to pressure prove anything to whoever..I more move among smiling folks discovering the happiness they understand,we have in common..Thank You,for your input telling me,loud & clear,we are not really agreeably compatible..I understandably view happiness geneates "heaven on earth in more moments,of every day in here & now" ..Behavioral Psychology "dwells on" selling people on being a social problem of which one never really was..Only more misguided by one's own behavioral manner of thinking.. I sometime wonder,why I write to those who have such a absolute subjective provoking manner of conduct..
10/23/2004 12:57:15 PM
chimme, it becomes an issue for argument when one person thinks their "righteous right" is more righteous and more right than the next guy's. The term "righteous" can be distorted so easily by the ego, and when the believer's ego goes unchecked (usually because it is self-consumed, and "righteous") what can really keep it honest, and focused on the pure subjectivity of one's religious beliefs? If one believes his own view IS absolute knowledge, and the knowledge of god, who and/or what will make him realize that it is in reality just that person's IDEA of what god's knowledge might be? It's that lack of intellectual honesty, and complete lack of humility (especially odd given the Christian concept of humans being fallen and flawed creatures) that folks like me point out to the self-"righteous" believer. As jacknky said, these are mental constructs, and any righteousness assigned to one's ideas is essentially self-righteousness. That is ironic, and incompatible with humility.
10/23/2004 12:21:22 PM
After Thought:= Everyone has a right to their "own kind of truth"..If whoever feels there is only one truth,well that's their righteous right,as well as my righteous right & everyone elses righteous right.. Why really make it into an foolhardy arguement??
10/23/2004 12:09:26 PM
Expressing an annoyance about God to humble self is least important..What God means to me keeps humble self on a comfortable positive heart felt sincere wonderful outlook on life.. If whoever enjoys provoking their literal expectations on others tells me we don't really speak the same positive constructive language..
10/23/2004 11:40:53 AM
F1Fan "But what do we do with truths that collide?" Most of us chose "truths", which are really just mental concepts, that make us feel good. A few just see it without judgement.
10/23/2004 12:01:46 AM
"These are studies and have nothing to do with God." -cknuck ----------- Right, it's about the human brain, an instrument whose own construction may provoke imagery of a god that can't be shown to exist. "Man will never be able to do what God does or figure out how He does it." ----------- But apparently many still think they're able to figure out a god exists the way they imagine it, and that specific religious dogma is the truth of god. But what do we do with truths that collide?
10/22/2004 11:48:51 PM
bwesttoo, what's to prevent people from thinking a god is behind the wiring that conjures a god? If a god exists, and it wants to be known, why not just be evident in the way that can be confirmed? It makes little sense for a god to keep its ant farm guessing whether there really is a god. What would be the intention for such confusion? Is it loving to string people along with uncertainty? Look at the huge disaster that has resulted from humans thinking they had absolute knowledge of god, and what it wanted. Allowing such degrees of misunderstanding and the resulting murder and violence would make this god complicit. If it was true that a creator is greater than its creation why is it we see so many of the creations (Christians) so dead sure they know anything definitive? Isn't it true that you can only guess there was a creator? And this assumption is driven by popular religious systems, not in depth investigation?
10/22/2004 10:36:33 PM
As far as The God Gene is concerned, why would we think God would not hard wire us to seek God? Just because we may or may not have discovered a new truth does not mean we have defined God. The Creator will always be greater than the Creation. It's not alot different than discovering the Earth is NOT the center of Creation, but a little, unique cog in it all.
10/22/2004 03:05:21 PM
These are studies and have nothing to do with God. Man will never be able to do what God does or figure out how He does it. It's truly laughable.
10/22/2004 01:12:19 PM
As a Buddhist these findings perfectly resonate with the teachings. Great article!
10/22/2004 10:09:10 AM
F1Fan, wonderful, wonderful posts. Thank you so much. I especially love your insistence on inseparating religious belief from "fact". I was going to respond to some of that but you did much better than I could.
10/21/2004 11:53:00 PM
F1Fan Our beliefs are similar, I am trying to state this without getting into the reasons that have led me to these beliefs because Wednesday my postings were taken off the website.Apparently calling Bush anti-American for attacking McCain and Kerry on their Vietnam service and calling Bush a coward didn't go over well. I find it hard to believe that other postings that have attacked people have been left on yet a few people have an intricate debate about the war and it gets taken off.Censorship on the web, who would have thought! The point that you make about multiple Gods is correct in the sense that it happens yet when we get to the other side we will all be united because of one God. This is the irony of the people that insist that their religion is the right one. Such as the people on this web site who condem those that don't believe the way they do. Hypocrits!
10/21/2004 10:46:46 PM
"Scare tactics? Telling you about the consequences of rejecting GOD is not a scare tactic, it is simply a fact."-Bravo Really? It's a fact? Then please provide the method that you used to determine this truth, this fact. Please offer the test for god in detail so I can replicate your findings. I'd like to take your word fir it, but being this is my soul on the line, I want to test for myself. Or did you mean it's your opinion that there are consequences, as a means to coerce an emotional response? Is it possible you could be mistaken about it? If not, are you assuming yourself able to make perfect judgments, despite being a fallen human? And we don't reject god, we reject your assertion that god is the way you describe it. We reject Christian dogma when we have no reason to assign meaning to it. See the difference?
10/21/2004 10:46:34 PM
Yes, there is a "God Gene", but that is a far cry from a "Religion Gene". One could replace these with "Good Gene", and "Evil Gene" for that is what religion is....EVIL. For religion takes you away from direct contact with the divine spirit, and brings you into an artificial area where the divine spirit is crushed and the "religious spirit" touted. Why does anyone need a "church" to worship? The front lawn would do much better. The divine IS EVERYWHERE and the building of cathedrals does not impress it. There will be no excuse for preachers who have been touting religion, rather than direct contact with the divine. Everything they say, or do, is recorded in the mind of the eternal. On the day of their death they will come face to face with every word they uttered. Worse for the Jimmy Stewarts, Jimmy Bakers, Jerry Farwells etc. who have become rich in the name of the Divine. By their own tongues shall they be condemmed.
10/21/2004 10:39:44 PM
"If you insist on having absolute, knockout proof that GOD exists etc. then I doubt perhaps that you could ever believe in GOD."-Bravo Actually, if you had proof, you wouldn't have to believe, it would be a fact. "Proof that GOD exists: we exist, the world is so intricately designed, we're actually able to create things ourselves. He puts questions, thoughts in our minds." So you choose to infer your version of god exists based on the assumption what exists could not have come about by any other means? "Good exists in this world despite all the evil intentions of men and women. We actually think or try not to think about Him." Really, your god exists? How many other gods exist, or is it just the one you imagine? I understand that you might be sure your god exists, and this is relevant to you, vut I hope you realize this "goid" has no authority outside of your mind. "As for Jesus, the Trinity etc., there is evidence that Jesus existed." Not very reliable evidence, is it?
10/21/2004 10:33:16 PM
I've had a first hand look at various belief systems and traditions. It was this broad exposure of Christianity that made me realize that the complete lack of unity, and broad, divisive interpretations of the Bible, leaves Christianity a religion of "anything goes". With around 30,000 different denominations of the "truth" it's an irony to believe any of it. I understand the strong emotional appeal that is involved with many who believe. There may be a biological element to what motivates some to gravitate towards commitment to religion. We must be clear that religion is not god. The idea of god (belief) is not god. It is easy to fall into line with a religious view and believe without understanding what belief is, and how it can consume one's framework of "reality". I advocate understanding the true nature of what we engage in, intellectually, emotionally and especially spiritually. We need to be careful not to think the mind shackles and ties one's spirituality, which is what religion does.
10/21/2004 10:16:17 PM
Pelzer5, what would be my intention and reason to believe in a god? There's have been over 5000 gods in man's history, what are the odds you guessed correctly? Besides, to judge the existence of a god that is supposed to have authority over me is an odd thing, wouldn't you agree? Anyone who believes in their version of god has made a judgment about it. And to believe in something is tantamount to acknowledging the uncertainty of it, since we don't have to believe in real things. We only believe in things we are uncertain about. I see believers tend not to think deeply about the implications of their beliefs, and understand where the true authority lies: in the mind of the conceiver and judge of god, not the god judged valid by the mind. These gods (illusions) are ideal selves, not the realities generally promoted.
10/21/2004 06:21:07 PM
Telling about Gods love and coming together as Christians to strengthen your spirituality are different from people in a church telling children of my previous example. Scareing people to believe in God is not the answer. If you have to use such tactics then they are not doing their job as a church to institute a positive loving atmosphere. I remember a couple in my previous church that wanted to sing a duet and everyone know they couldn't sing but they did anyway and no one cared. They got up their and did their best in the name of Jesus Christ and God not to prove to the congregation what great singers they are. The church was a small personable one that did it's best to instill such an atmosphere without judgement.
10/21/2004 04:36:18 PM
Scare tactics? Telling you about the consequences of rejecting GOD is not a scare tactic, it is simply a fact. GOD is not willing that any perish (whereas Satan would love to snatch all the souls he can) but is patiently waiting and calling so that all might believe, and come and receive everlasting life.
10/21/2004 04:33:28 PM
If you insist on having absolute, knockout proof that GOD exists etc. then I doubt perhaps that you could ever believe in GOD. Proof that GOD exists: we exist, the world is so intricately designed, we're actually able to create things ourselves. He puts questions, thoughts in our minds. Good exists in this world despite all the evil intentions of men and women. We actually think or try not to think about Him. As for Jesus, the Trinity etc., there is evidence that Jesus existed.
10/21/2004 04:16:30 PM
F1Fan Don't let the scare tactics of the traditional church scare you away from believing in God. When I was a girl I atended an Assembly of God church that told us young kids horrific things to make us conform such as babies from abortions are used in makeup and shampoo! How insane is that. Of course there was also the usual you are going to Hell for everything. I spent years of my life being scared rather than spiritual. Until I became an adult and realized that God loves me for me and I'm not going to Hell because of the rediculose reasons churches try to convince you of. I am afraid to take my children to church because I don't want them to live life stressed because a church is telling them you will go to Hell if......
10/21/2004 03:51:15 PM
Christians tend to insist that non-believers are rejecting god. In reality we are rejecting their beliefs and assertions of what they think god is. They have no authority to impose their beliefs of god on me, thus their god has no authority. They can assert otherwise, but until they can actually show a god exists the way they imagine it, and independent of the human mind, then I remain unconvinced.
10/21/2004 03:31:21 PM
I've spent most of my life living in terror that I will be punished after death for my sin of illegitimacy, just as I was punished as a child on Earth by Christians. However, as I see more and more the hypocrisy and folly of most religions I'm able for times to reject the notion of any God and live in relative peace. I believe at times that humanity creates Gods - and not the other way around. However, I can not totally escape my belief in God, but instead of now being drawn into a belief in the Christian's violent, vengeful and unjust God, I'm now able to perceive God as being the spirit of life that unites humans (in particular) through love and care for others.
10/21/2004 02:58:17 PM
"It's not to say that it's an insurmountable feat to overcome a belief in God" Mabey we dont need to overcome a belief in God. Mabey we need to change our definition of what God is and what God dose.
10/21/2004 02:26:47 PM
Many psychologist have actually formed hypotheses on why humans tend to believe in God so much, and why it is such an ingrained part of our social and physical being--so much so that people who are more religious tend to actually be physically healthier than nonbelievers. Many psychologists point to our ancestors, who believed in gods and goddesses, and argue that nonbelievers were usually shunned and thought of as insane--I mean, how else could you explain a falling rock, unless a god was behind it? : ) Anyway, the people who DID believe were the ones part of society and who reproduced most and thus created all of us! It's not to say that it's an insurmountable feat to overcome a belief in God, but it is definitely hard when it is such a large part of our culture and our ancestry...and maybe even our genes.
10/21/2004 02:16:32 PM
A great German theologian of the romantic period, Friedrich Schliermacher, referred to this innate human sensibility as man's "sense and taste for the infinite." I've believed in it when I learned about it 36 years ago. jim
10/21/2004 02:11:24 PM
The Gospel of St. Thomas, which were found in 1945 in Nag Hamad are described as the secret sayings of the Living Jesus. "The Kingdom of God is inside you and all around you, not in buildings of wood or stone." I completely believe this and agree with this. Look at the people who have had Stigmata, these are the most devote believers in God who meditate and pray everyday and who have an unquentiable love for God and an unquentiable need for God's love and spiritual guidance. The theory of Stigmata are that they are perpetrated by the person's mind and the extreme extent of their belief. This would also explain people that have had near death expeiences, scientist try to attest that the phenomenon is due to lack of oxygen to the brain, when in reality these people seem to have similar stories that catapult their faith to a higher level. When they get a glimpe of the all incompasing love of God and Heaven it gives them the validation they need to be strong in their spiritual faith.
10/21/2004 01:19:10 PM
Who's to say that God didn't leave a genetic "calling card" inside us?
10/21/2004 01:03:05 PM
So, have we decided which religion invented spirituality? As a Buddhist practitioner I am not threatened by this. There's a Buddhist saying "The finger pointing to the moon is not the moon.". That would seem to apply here.
10/21/2004 12:29:26 PM
All of our instincts and most of our organs (appendix excluded) have a sound practical reason for being. I think that if we have a built in spiritual gene there is a good reason. I like to think it is because we have a God-shaped hole in our heart.
10/21/2004 12:21:18 PM
I think the point of this, rbethel, is that people have been saying this from the beginning. Why, shamans have even been testifying to the value 'thinking like a dog' (see the 'related features' )in these matters for many, many millenia. :) *smirk* Had to get that in. It's in my screen name. :)
10/21/2004 08:45:28 AM
Muslims have been testifying that man is predisposed to seeking out the Divine for over 1400 years. And Christians, for 600 years longer. And the Jews for an additional further thousand years back. From the Catechism of the Catholic Church: "The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for: The dignity of man rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God. This invitation to converse with God is addressed to man as soon as he comes into being. For if man exists it is because God has created him through love, and through love continues to hold him in existence. He cannot live fully according to truth unless he freely acknowledges that love and entrusts himself to his creator"
10/21/2004 12:51:22 AM
Seems cool to me. Finding out more about how spirituality works can't really take the spirit out of it. Maybe it'll take away a few illusions we might be attached to, but that's only better in the long run. :) Very good.
10/20/2004 11:18:43 PM
The God gene refers to the idea that human spirituality has an innate genetic component to it. It doesn’t mean that there’s one gene that makes people believe in God, but it refers to the fact that humans inherit a predisposition to be spiritual--to reach out and look for a higher being. Muslims have been testifying that man is predisposed to seeking out the Divine for over 1400 years.
10/20/2004 11:09:48 PM
I will say the interviewer's choice of title was unfortunate, designed to attract attention but not very representative of either the science or the scientist.
10/20/2004 11:06:39 PM
He isn't "manufacturing scientific facts", he's simply reporting and explaining an interesting correlation that's been observed in some studies. As Hamer states in this very interview, regarding interpretations of the data either for or against religious beliefs: "I really can’t overemphasize that this kind of data can’t really support either of those views. It’s purely about how the mind perceives things and works. Whether or not those beliefs are true, whether they come purely from within or whether they come from without, we just absolutely can’t say. I don’t think people should use this type of information in that way."
10/20/2004 09:06:34 PM
His description of Buddha's enlightenment is appalling. The Buddha obtained an awaken mind and become free of suffering. He gave us a realistic, humanistic teaching, which well over 300 million people follow. That said, brain and chemical reaction to describe anyone spiritual experience is an arrogant attempt to spread ignorance, which creates more suffering within the individual. As Buddhists we believe in evolution and modern science yet to describe our founder’s enlightenment as something that is really nothing is hard to swallow.
10/20/2004 09:04:11 PM
Another thinly-disguised attempt to promote amorphous spirituality and bash organized religion, this time by manufacturing "scientific facts" based on a "self-transcendence scale" of dubious value and origin.