SCIENCE (from the Latin for 'knowledge') informs wisdom, reason and humanism. This is a 4-legged worldview within reality that maximizes well-being for individuals and society.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Why Is It Easy For Humans To Believe In A God?

The question of why do so many humans believe in a god, in spite of no evidence in support of a god, has been a question that is begging for a evidenced-based answer.  Below is my clear and concise answer to the question.

There are three inclinations of humans instilled through evolution that seem to be associated with belief in a god:
The inclination for animals, including humans, to presume the purposeful intervention of a sentient or intelligent agent in situations that may or may not involve one.  When this inclination extends to supernatural entities (gods, spirits, etc), some have used the term Hyperactive Agency Detection.
The tendency to find meaningful patterns in meaningless noise.  Our brains are belief engines: evolved pattern-recognition machines that connect the dots and create meaning out of the patterns that we think we see in nature. Sometimes A really is connected to B; sometimes it is not. When it is, we have learned something valuable about the environment from which we can make predictions that aid in survival and reproduction. We are the ancestors of those most successful at finding patterns. Unfortunately, we did not evolve a Baloney Detection Network in the brain to distinguish between true and false patterns.  This article shows that life sprang from disorder not purpose.  This article shows that evolution has no direction.
The ability to attribute mental states—beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc.—to oneself and others and to understand that others have beliefs, desires, intentions, and perspectives that are different from one's own.  This link supports the contention that facility with theory of mind plays an important role in human religiosity.  Diminished theory of mind capacities correlate strongly with low levels of religiosity.

** PLEASE NOTE:  This does not explain organized religion.  For that, this link not only expands on the above concepts, but also is a good introduction to how organized religion comes from our social evolution.

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