Quotable Newsweek

Newsweek has an interesting article about Sam Harris’ current research:

What Harris, his fellow researcher Jonas Kaplan, and the other authors of the study want to address is the idea, which has been floating around in both scientific and religious circles, that our brains are doing something special when we believe in God—that religious belief is, neurologically speaking, an entirely different process from believing in things that are empirically and verifiably true (things that Harris endearingly refers to as “tables and chairs”).

He says his results “cut against the quite prevalent notion that there’s something else entirely going on in the case of religious belief.” Our believing brains make no qualitative distinctions between the kinds of things you learn in a math textbook and the kinds of things you learn in Sunday school.

Though the existence of God will never be proved—or disproved—by an fMRI scan, science can study a thing or two about the neurological mechanisms of belief. What Harris’s study shows is that when a conservative Christian says he believes in the Second Coming as an undeniable fact, he isn’t lying or exaggerating or employing any other rhetorical maneuver.

If a believer’s brain regards the Second Coming the way it does every other fact, then debates about the veracity of faith would seem—to the committed believer, at least—to be rather pointless.

Belief is belief. A million people believing in god doesn’t make god real, but the belief is most certainly real.

Funny that I was just thinking about this earlier this morning and lo and behold, an article presents itself, explaining my thoughts far better than I ever would.

Although I would have gone into the existence of people who can still believe Elvis isn’t dead or whatever. Humans are fully capable of believing the craziest of damned things without requiring a modicum of proof for them. Small wonder people can continue to believe in gods…

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Canadian Atheist Basically ordinary Library employee Avid book lover Ditto for movies Wanna-be writer Procrastinator
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