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August 05, 2011


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Blogger Brian - I take some exception to a statement in your last paragraph - that "belief in a supernatural agent with intention is hardwired in our brains". This would seemingly imply that our brains themselves were "intentionally" constructed. My own brain seems to think that, if that is the case, then whatever constructed it did so in order to call attention to itself.

How did some brains defeat their own circuitry and come to the conclusion that there is no supernatural agent with intention?

Maybe Reality itself doubts it's own existence.

Willie R, the last paragraph, and the whole indented selection, come from Shermer's book. But I agree with what he says.

His argument is that evolution, through natural selection, favored our ancestors who came to have a "theory of mind." Which means in part, the ability to know that others have minds and intentions. People, surely, but also animals.

So a rustling in the bushes instinctively is immediately thought of as, "Tiger!" Only later does the more recently evolved cortex ponder the situation and consider how likely it is that a tiger is hiding in the bushes.

Shermer says that this capability is linked to our overall attitude of "agenticity," finding purpose and meaning in the world, even when events are random or unconnected. Conspiracy theories are a good example of this -- how a World Order supposedly is running things, or 9/11 was the product of a vast governmental conspiracy. God, of course, is the ultimate unseen agent.

Now, we've evolved a capacity to understand how we've evolved our capacities. Science lets us get a glimpse of how we glimpse reality. Pretty cool. But this means that old habits come to be viewed in a new light.

So you have fingers pointing at the moon but the finger is not the moon. Words are the map but not the territory. It seems to me any discussion or definition of the Tao, the Great Spirit etc. is like trying to define how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. For what it is worth you stimulate the little grey cells.


How does one prove "random"? Really. Random to whom?

We say it is JUST "nature"....or JUST "random" like we know what those things really exist outside our brain and its sensual interface(s) with some electromagnetic field.

For the sake of argument, let's say God does exist, but that the human brain must transcend conceptuality to perceive God, and that the transcendence of conceptuality is as arguable as God until it happens.

It makes more sense to believe in the transcendance of conceptuality than to believe in God, but until it happens, there is nothing but Belief.

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