The First Belief Oxymoron - Deepstash

The First Belief Oxymoron

Shermer says that people often “believe weird things because of our evolved need to believe non-weird things”. Humans’ weird beliefs include our proclivity to trust anecdotal evidence over statistical evidence – a problem that is often harmless but can result in dire effects, as in the case of thousands of parents who denied their children proper vaccination in the face of celebrity testimonies against its “dangers” – as well as the very common superstitious behaviors often practiced by sports fans and athletes (e.g., if I don’t wear my lucky socks on game day my team is going to lose).

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xarikleia

“An idea is something that won’t work unless you do.” - Thomas A. Edison

As a 'belief engine', the brain is always seeking to find meaning in the information that pours into it. Once it has constructed a belief, it rationalizes it with explanations, almost always after the event. The brain thus becomes invested in the beliefs, and reinforces them by looking for supporting evidence while blinding itself to anything contrary. Michael Shermer describes this process as “belief-dependent realism” — what we believe determines our reality, not the other way around.

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