October 10, 2008
I was reading a news story today about the apparent success of the Creation Museum. Rather than go into the reasons why this museum would be funny if it weren’t so damned ridiculous, I’ll instead focus on something else.
I always find the comments to these stories interesting because there are always people doing their best to defend God and their literal interpretation of the Judeo-Christian Bible. This story was no exception and prompted me to leave the following comment:
October 9, 2008
Neurologist Robert Burton just released a book entitled On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You’re Not which promotes a neurological reason behind our stubbornness. I haven’t read it but it sounds like a very interesting subject. He discusses it in an interview at SciAm.com.
The interview discusses a bit of his take on why it happens and examples, specifically the bias towards political candidates.
Are you a rabid supporter of a candidate and believe everything he/she says? Do you have a ‘gut feeling’ that one is telling the truth or a suspicion that one is lying? Dr. Burton would say that those feelings are neurological and have evolved as part of the brain’s reward system and it’s ability to avoid ambiguity. He hopes that by explaining how the brain works to people, it will help them to understand why feelings of certainty exist and how to look beyond them to the facts.
Personally, I think that most people don’t so much care about why they think the way they do. Most aren’t in the least bit curious why they think ‘everyone else is wrong’. In my opinion, most would reject these ideas just as they do any others that do not support their assumptions, beliefs, faith, politics, and other ideologies. Am I certain about this? I suppose that I am.