Wednesday, March 11, 2009

hard wired to believe

Interesting article in the New Scientist suggesting that our brains are innately hard wired to believe in G-d. Key quote:
Even so, religion is an inescapable artefact of the wiring in our brain, says Bloom. "All humans possess the brain circuitry and that never goes away." Petrovich adds that even adults who describe themselves as atheists and agnostics are prone to supernatural thinking. Bering has seen this too. When one of his students carried out interviews with atheists, it became clear that they often tacitly attribute purpose to significant or traumatic moments in their lives, as if some agency were intervening to make it happen. "They don't completely exorcise the ghost of god - they just muzzle it," Bering says.
Of course, the New Scientist has all sorts of theories to explain why the brain should behave in this way, and Richard Dawkins, who has suggested that religion is a product of cultural indoctrination, has his own way to spin these facts. It never seems to occur to the scientists that these explanations are like trying to explain why the mind construes it to be warm and sunny on a summer day -- maybe the mind accurately senses something about reality?

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