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Response to Jim__ (Reply #25)

Fri Mar 30, 2012, 11:25 AM

28. You're right, and I can.

But there is a book you can read to get the same information and understanding that I have, and then we can discuss the entire premise, both its strong and weak points. Why should I take the time to write for you what is already written and available for you to read? There are also numerous web-based sysnopsis and reviews, as well as videos of Shermer himself discussing his premise.

The Believing Brain is divided into four parts. Part I, “Journeys of Belief,” includes personal narratives of belief, including that of the author; Part II, “The Biology of Belief,” bores into the brain and explains how the mind works to form beliefs, from thoughts and ideas down to neurons firing across tiny synaptic gaps as they talk to one another chemically; Part III, “Belief in Things Unseen” applies my theory beliefs to the afterlife, God, aliens, and conspiracies; and Part IV, “Belief in Things Seen,” examines the role of beliefs in politics, economics, and ideologies, explains how belief confirmation works to assure that we are always right, and then explores the history of scientific exploration, from the world to the cosmos, and how science works to overcome the power of belief.

--snip--

From narrative stories Dr. Shermer turns to an architecture of belief systems, how they are formed, nourished, reinforced, changed, and extinguished, first conceptually through the two theoretical constructs he developed called patternicity and agenticity, and then delve deeper into how these cognitive processes evolved and what purpose they served in the lives of our ancestors as well as in our lives today. Dr. Shermer then bores deeper into the brain, right down to the neurophysiology of belief system construction at the single neuron level, and then reconstructs from the bottom up how brains form beliefs. Then we shall examine how belief systems operate with regard to belief in religion, the afterlife, God, extraterrestrials, conspiracies, politics, economics, and ideologies of all stripes, and then consider how a host of cognitive processes convince us that our beliefs are truths. In the final chapters we will consider how we know any of our beliefs are believable, which patterns are true and which false, which agents are real and which are chimera, and how science works as the ultimate pattern detection device.

http://www.michaelshermer.com/the-believing-brain


And here is Shermer himself, in his own words...





These two sources alone should give you all the understanding you would need for us to have a conversation about it. Enjoy.

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