Sunday, August 23, 2009

On Beliefs

It has long been my contention that our beliefs are radically impacted by our nature as biological beings. How could they not? But this does not mean that these beliefs, whatever they may be, are inevitably invalid.

For instance, we are multi-cellular creatures so it is only logical that we should view reality through that prism. We are bigger than the sum of our parts. Why therefore should we not perceive the universe as also bigger than the sum of its parts?

Lewis Wolport, a developmental biologist at University College, London, in his book, SIX IMPOSSIBLE THINGS BEFORE BREAKFAST, believes that our brains evolved to become belief engines. Many other evolutionary biologists, such as Richard Dawkins, and other non-believers, such as Sam Harris, essentially agree with him.

Others, more religious in their orientation, believe that the Amygdala, almond-shaped groups of nuclei located deep within the medial temporal lobes of the brain, a region which tends to become active when humans think of religious topics such as prayer were positioned there by God, and that is why we believe. This perspective is endorsed by many in the scientific community who are religious believers.

Both groups believe we humans are hardwired to believe. Both see the need to believe as being caused by diametrically different forces. The former group remains suspicious of such beliefs; the latter does not.

This blog will continue to look at and examine all beliefs from as objective a point of view as is possible.

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