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Islamic Radicalism (and Other Things) Could Soon Be Cured: Neuroscientist's Bold Claim

"...there are no doubt beliefs in our society that do a heck of a lot of damage, that really do a lot of harm."

Photo Credit: ShutterStock.com

Radical extremism has proven itself to be a difficult -- and deadly -- anomaly to combat, which is why a leading neuroscientist's recent claim that it may soon be possible to "cure" Islamic radicals, cultists and others with negative views and behaviors is raising eyebrows.

Kathleen Taylor, a research scientist at the University of Oxford, made the bold proclamation while speaking at the Hay Literary Festival in Wales, The Times reports.

Taylor said that extreme and negative beliefs can be targeted with some new techniques that are being developed and tested. Hitting children was also mentioned as another behavior that could possibly be treated using these elements.

"One man's positive can be another man's negative," she said, according to the Times. "One of the surprises may be to see people with certain beliefs as people who can be treated."

Here's how the Daily Mail recaps some of Taylor's other comments:

'Somebody who has for example become radicalised to a cult ideology -- we might stop seeing that as a personal choice that they have chosen as a result of pure free will and may start treating it as some kind of mental disturbance.'

'In many ways that could be a very positive thing because there are no doubt beliefs in our society that do a heck of a lot of damage, that really do a lot of harm. [...]

'I am not just talking about the obvious candidates like radical Islam or some of the more extreme cults.

'I am talking about things like the belief that it is OK to beat your children.

'These beliefs are very harmful but are not normally categorised as mental illness.'

It will be intriguing to see if Taylor is right, however developing these technologies and methods also creates many questions about what would be categorized as "extreme" or "radical." While most would agree that Islamic extremism and cults fit the bill, the overall dynamic could end up being a slippery slope (i.e. who is defining what ideas and behaviors are "very harmful" to society?).

There isn't much information given about the actual methodology, so only time will tell how these techniques will play out. Read more about Taylor's view that radical Islam and other extreme ideologies may soon be curable.

Photo Credit: ShutterStock.com

(H/T: Daily Mail)

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