The Believing Brain #2

Posted on February 9, 2012


Michael Shermer’s The Believing Brain is worth a read.

He makes the point that the brain is a ‘believing machine’, and acknowledges that many or most of our truths are constructions of the believing brain that may have little or no relationship to ‘reality’. He notes that our brains are the most complex and sophisticated information processing machines in the universe. On the one hand it has the best chance of  finding ‘the truth’, but on the other hand ” we are also more capable than any other species of self-deception and illusion, of fooling ourselves even as we are trying to avoid being fooled by nature.”

I’ve  ask Shermer the following question:

Hawking speaks of science as”model dependant realism”, but I get the impression that you don’t accept the similar notion that science is “belief dependant realism”, that is that science consists of ‘model  by method by time-space constructions’. That is to say that our truths, laws, or ‘realities’ are local patterns constructed or discovered to fit current beliefs, using particular pattern detecting or constructing methods in limited time-space frames?

For instance consider the concept of multiple universes with different laws and half-lives – so if the ‘truth is out there” that truth is relative, relative to local models or beliefs, popular methods, in local  time-space selections?

If I get a response I’ll share it with you.

Posted in: Sciencing