The Believing Brain #3

Posted on February 11, 2012


Shermers basic assumption is that the brain is a believe-making machine that automatically identifies, or constructs, patterns in the flow of experience – I don’t see why religious  believers or scientists should have trouble with this. The true believers ‘see’ their trusted patterns as generated by “God”, and most of the scientists see their trusted patterns as generated by a big bang and evolutionary processes.
Both groups rely heavily on a book to support their claim – on the one hand the bible or Koran, on the other Darwin’s Origin of species.
Both groups preach being humble – either humble in the face of God’s ways which we cannot always fathom, or humble in the face of complexity and limited evidence in the scientific search for ‘laws’.
But when dealing with each other both groups drop their humbleness and become snarky as all get out.
In brief, both religious believers and scientists admit ignorance, about the ways of God or of Nature, both groups admit past errors in their beliefs – but are certain about the products of their particular believing brains when dealing with each other.
Maybe we should see our brains as being in the business of manufacturing certainty, a small candle of light plus Plato’s shadows in all that scary darkness, in all that complexity generated by God’s and/or science’s multiple universes… ?
One thing seems certain – we get real cranky when anyone tries to blow out our candle!!!!

Posted in: Sciencing