Main Reasons
Posted: 20 September 2007 06:35 PM   [ Ignore ]
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What do you think are the main reasons that believe in things which do not stand up to the minimal scrutiny?

[ Edited: 20 September 2007 06:38 PM by wandering ]
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Posted: 20 September 2007 08:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I think that sometimes there are emotional reasons (we believe because the belief makes us to feel better) and sometimes because we tend to find causality when there is nothing… we are very bad estimating probabilities.

Maybe you could find interesting ‘don’t believe everything you think: the six basic mistakes we make in thinking’

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Posted: 11 October 2007 07:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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a couple possible reasons.
1, its easier to go with the flow, the heard mentality of accepting things with out question them.
2. preconceived ideas, if you are taught something from a young age it might not be something you question.
3. emotional distress where you need something to believe in for emotional survival and its comforting to put your problems, dystany in something else’s hand and not have to own it.
4. intellectual laziness.

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Posted: 11 October 2007 07:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I agree with M.of J.‘s four points.  In particular, the most difficult one to overcome is #2.  Psychologists postulate logic-proof compartments in our minds.  When we are taught something while we are very young - before learning to think rationally - we accept it uncritically as truth.  Our subsequent belief systems and entire personalities use these ideas as fundamental and self-evident.  These beliefs are not accessible to our reason, so we have an extremely hard time analyzing and modifying or discarding them.

Occam

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Posted: 11 October 2007 09:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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When you get right down to it, the universe is a very frightening place, almost completely inhospitable to life as we know it. Most people cannot live without believing there is some being out there watching over us. Such beliefs are probably imprinted during childhood, but they can be overcome. However, most people have no desire to overcome those beliefs and accept the universe as we can observe it. They need to believe in higher powers, mysteries that give meaning to their lives, and the hope of a better reward after death.

Many people I know would view life as pointless, even hopeless, without belief in a god, communicating with spirits of the dead, reincarnation, or some other mystical powers. When I explain to them that I believe none of this, that I prefer to base my beliefs on empirical evidence they are often shocked, and usually ask how I can tolerate all the pain and suffering in life without the hope of a reward. They simply cannot comprehend taking life as it is, and view science and the scientific method as cold, calculating and impersonal. They reject science because they do not understand it. Religion is simple, so they think they understand. Yep, it is the herd mentality combined with childhood programming and intellectual laziness. Going along is easier than thinking, and believing in magic is more comforting than admitting the universe does not give a damn about us or our little planet.

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You cannot have a rational conversation with someone who holds irrational beliefs.

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Posted: 11 October 2007 09:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Why_People_Believe_Weird_Things:_Pseudoscience,_Superstition,_and_Other_Confusions_of_Our_Time

The best possible treatise on the subject IMNSHO.

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Posted: 12 October 2007 07:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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cgallaga - 11 October 2007 09:41 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Why_People_Believe_Weird_Things:_Pseudoscience,_Superstition,_and_Other_Confusions_of_Our_Time

The best possible treatise on the subject IMNSHO.

The link is broken ... argh, that happens SO often with Wiki links. I have no idea why they don’t parse correctly.

At any rate HERE is a review of the same book at Skepdic.

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Posted: 12 October 2007 08:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Thanks Doug

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