Endless Curiosity

February 10, 2009

More about God and Insecurity

Filed under: God — Alec @ 6:02 pm

I was reading a New Scientist article that ties in neatly with my Feb 7th post, Belief in God and the Struggle For Existence.

If you didn’t read it, the post is basically about the fact that belief in god or gods is related to how insecure people feel in their lives. (Not on an individual level, but on a societal level – the Law of Large Numbers applies).

A recent article in the New Scientist seems to support this view.  Here are a few key paragraphs. Here is the full article.

It turns out that human beings have a natural inclination for religious belief, especially during hard times. Our brains effortlessly conjure up an imaginary world of spirits, gods and monsters, and the more insecure we feel, the harder it is to resist the pull of this supernatural world. It seems that our minds are finely tuned to believe in gods.

The mind has another essential attribute: an overdeveloped sense of cause and effect which primes us to see purpose and design everywhere, even where there is none. “You see bushes rustle, you assume there’s somebody or something there,” Bloom says.

Kelemen has found that adults are just as inclined to see design and intention where there is none. Put under pressure to explain natural phenomena, adults often fall back on teleological arguments, such as “trees produce oxygen so that animals can breathe” or “the sun is hot because warmth nurtures life”.

The results were striking. The subjects who sensed a loss of control were much more likely to see patterns where there were none. “We were surprised that the phenomenon is as widespread as it is,” Whitson says. What’s going on, she suggests, is that when we feel a lack of control we fall back on superstitious ways of thinking.

1 Comment »

  1. […] are a couple of exerpts. I’ve blogged about this subject before, and you can read the posting here, or read the article […]

    Pingback by Endless Curiosity — December 15, 2009 @ 5:06 pm


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