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A believing brain.

Neurological studies have shown that people have a sense of certainty about the beliefs they have, that is unrelated to the strength of the actual evidence.

When studies in science show that the brain has tendencies towards things like cognitive dissonance, confirmation bias, and cognitive bias, and the layman gains a working knowledge of what those are defined as, how can anyone actually trust what they think they believe, to be true? 



Asked by clarity333 at 12:12 AM on Jun. 10, 2011 in Religious Debate

Level 22 (13,098 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (23)
  • I think we can condition our brains to believe something to be true, when we've been told it to be true by all of those around us.
    However, I honestly believe in what my heart tells me as the "truth" for me. If believers feel in their heart something to be true, I am not going to argue with that.
    My heart never lies to me...never has and never will. I question things, constantly. Hence partly why I am an atheist. The answers I receive are never enough to make my heart stop and tell me otherwise in terms of what I do believe.

    And as far as trusting what is "true". Who REALLY knows the truth? It is way too subjective, IMO. No one can EVER truly say what the universal truth is. We arre all just going by what we know, what we question, what we feel in our hearts, and what speaks to us. Brain conditioning and all....the truth is unreachable-or really IS there ONE truth? I think not.

    Answer by sahmamax2 at 7:07 AM on Jun. 10, 2011

  • When I read your question, my brain skips most of the words of 3 letters or less, and most of the vowels between consonants. It fills in the blanks on its own based on what it has been conditioned to believe will fall in those spaces between other characters, instead of taking the time to read each individual letter and space and form them into words. Does that mean the words "a", "of", "the" and "is" aren't really there?

    Answer by NotPanicking at 12:19 AM on Jun. 10, 2011

  • Here's where I think your train of thought is flawed: You're taking your conclusion- which you want to prove true- and then present the facts in the way they fit your conclusion. However, upon a logical and objective analysis of that evidence, science cannot disprove those beliefs are true or false. For example, when you were so quick to reach the conclusion that a scientific knowledge automatically takes G-d out of the equation, you didn't realize that your also "believing" something without evidence and using the exact brain mechanism we are using. In other words, you brain is also a "believing brain". So does that mean your beliefs are automatically false? What makes your brain work differently so that we can take what you believe more seriously than what anyone else believes?


    Answer by momto2boys973 at 11:25 AM on Jun. 10, 2011

  • Furthermore, how does a scientific explanation automatically means a belief is false? This is a common Atheist mistake, but if you look at the evidence objectively and logically, the fact that we have managed to explain certain process that take place in the Universe, that doesn't automatically take G-d our of the equation. If anything, why would a G-d create a predictable, understandable physical world and then go around violating the natural laws He created all the time? Isn't it more logical that G-d works WITH His laws and through them, rather than outside of them?
    To me, actually, that evidence is in favor of my beliefs. And here's why. If we take evolution, for example, what's the theory there? How do anti-Creationists explain the fact that evolutionary changes result in an advantage and they have order and logic?


    Answer by momto2boys973 at 11:31 AM on Jun. 10, 2011

  • They say that evolutionary changes are probably random but we never get to see the "bad" ones because those creatures die out and only the ones resulting in an advantage move on. So exactly what evolutionary advantage does the "believing brain" gives us humans? Wouldn't you think that it would be more positive for our evolution to develop a higher awareness for the actual truth instead of developing an ability to be certain of lies?
    Well, if a G-d created us and is telling us that what's an advantage for us is to form a relationship with Him and to follow some rules for our physical and spiritual well-being and then "hides" Himself from the physical world to give us our free will... wouldn't you think He would at least wire us to "believe" some things in the absence of proof? So who's to say that "beliving brain" isn't really G-d's way to "give us a hand" in achieving that certainty without having to interfere with free will?

    Answer by momto2boys973 at 11:38 AM on Jun. 10, 2011

  • science schmience.

    How can anyone trust what they think they believe to be true?

    Just because.

    Answer by popzaroo at 1:02 PM on Jun. 10, 2011

  • adnilm

    Answer by adnilm at 2:07 PM on Jun. 10, 2011

  • NP, that question could be asked of both believers and atheists and is a healthy consideration.

    At first, I would impulsively answer, no, what is there is there, regardless of what your brain sees or doesn't. But how can I trust that my brain is seeing what is actually there? Could the atheist be missing something? Is the believer unconsciously ignoring what is there, to support what they want to be there? Is the healthiest and most honest position, " I don't know"?


    Comment by clarity333 (original poster) at 12:36 AM on Jun. 10, 2011

  • sahmamax2 covered it pretty well ...

    Answer by SpiritedWitch at 8:07 AM on Jun. 10, 2011

  • Good question I really don't have a definate answer for it because I don't think there is really one here. But for me I research lots of things and my beleifs are what make sense for me. Though that doesn't mean I'm right or don't question it. I always question it. In the end if I'm wrong I have no regrets. If I'm right then I still have no regrets thats all that matters to me.

    Answer by hot-mama86 at 1:12 PM on Jun. 10, 2011