Thursday, June 15, 2006

religion: it's in yer head

A good friend of mine sent a great link to an article by Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert titled "The Vagaries of Religious Experience," another riff off William James's The Varieties of Religious Experience. The article's thesis is that our brains are designed to (1) accept content-less non-explanations as explanations, and (2) interpret situations in generally positive ways. Both of these tendencies, Gilbert says, make people susceptible to accepting a theistic explanation of events. He doesn't argue that God doesn't exist, but he makes it clear that we have reason to be skeptical, thanks in part to the fallibility of the human psyche.

Go thou and read.


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