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July 08, 2014

Science Proves That Everything I've Been Saying Is 100% True

Everyone knows the best kind of Science is that which confirms our prejudices.

A study suggests that there may be no (or very few) true atheists -- that the human brain is wired for belief on such a fundamental level that even the most avowedly atheistic, non-magical thinkers are still prisoners of magical thinking on deep subconscious level.

I keep saying that for many, especially for those on the avowedly atheistic left, "politics" is often just Religion By Other Means, filled with barely-disguised messiahs, prophets, saviors, benedictions, indulgences, catechisms, curses, Holy Books and Forbidden Words.

Some will take this study as evidence that God is real; I take it to mean the opposite. You can say "the fact that the brain is hard-wired for spiritual/magical systems of thought is proof that God must exist," whereas I'd say the fact that the brain is hard-wired for such thought tends to suggest the reason why gods have always been part of the human intellectual terrain, and their reality is not necessary to explain why this should be so.

In any event, it's interesting, no matter how you come down on it.

WHILE MILITANT ATHEISTS like Richard Dawkins may be convinced God doesn't exist, God, if he is around, may be amused to find that atheists might not exist.

Cognitive scientists are becoming increasingly aware that a metaphysical outlook may be so deeply ingrained in human thought processes that it cannot be expunged.

While this idea may seem outlandish--after all, it seems easy to decide not to believe in God--evidence from several disciplines indicates that what you actually believe is not a decision you make for yourself. Your fundamental beliefs are decided by much deeper levels of consciousness, and some may well be more or less set in stone.

...

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, since we are born believers, not atheists, scientists say. Humans are pattern-seekers from birth, with a belief in karma, or cosmic justice, as our default setting. "A slew of cognitive traits predisposes us to faith," writes Pascal Boyer in Nature, the science journal, adding that people "are only aware of some of their religious ideas."

...

Statistics show that the majority of people who stop being part of organized religious groups don't become committed atheists, but retain a mental model in which "The Universe" somehow has a purpose for humanity.

...

There is also the notion that the presence of an invisible moralistic presence makes misdemeanors harder to commit. "People who think they are being watched tend to behave themselves and cooperate more," says the New Scientist's Lawton. "Societies that chanced on the idea of supernatural surveillance were likely to have been more successful than those that didn't, further spreading religious ideas."

...

In the meantime, it might be wise for religious folks to refrain from teasing atheist friends who accidentally say something about their souls. And it might be equally smart for the more militant of today’s atheists to stop teasing religious people at all.

We might all be a little more spiritual than we think.


The article is fairly long and includes sections on proposed evolutionary advantages for this bias towards spirtualism and gets into the human penchant for constructing logical narratives (referencing Syd Field's book on screenwriting, for example).

It also briefly mentions the importance of pattern-recognition in thinking creatures.
I suppose that once a human being understands that there are some intangible, unseen, mysterious forces that directly (if invisibly) link one thing to another (as someone might notice the feeling of a certain feel of the air presages a rainfall within a few hours), it's hardly surprising that they'll guess at many other such links, connections, and causes.

Thanks to @doreenhdixon, and @peeteySDee.


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posted by Ace at 05:15 PM

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