MOST of us find it mind-boggling that some people seem willing to ignore the facts — on climate change, on vaccines, on health care — if the facts conflict with their sense of what someone like them believes. “But those are the facts,” you want to say. “It seems weird to deny them.”
And yet a broad group of scholars is beginning to demonstrate that religious belief and factual belief are indeed different kinds of mental creatures. People process evidence differently when they think with a factual mind-set rather than with a religious mind-set. Even what they count as evidence is different. And they are motivated differently, based on what they conclude. On what grounds do scholars make such claims?The big devil in the detail of all epistemology (study of knowing and what is knowable) is that it all must be done using human brains. We have no idea of how many vast unknown fallacies we face that are in the nature of the fish, or better yet, coral, contemplating the concepts wet/dry. All of our thinking about thinking is done with the same limited human brain.
I'm going to VASTLY oversimplify here, but maybe just a tiny bit less than the column author.
First of all, we ALL do our thinking from a specific "World View" (WV) -- it is our "meta-model" of God and man, who we trust, our language, our culture, our values, our experiences, our friends, organizations we are part of, our politics, our gender, rural / urban, level of education and what form -- etc, etc. Our WV is essentially "who we are", and for all of us it is unconsciously there all the time, and for a few of us, we are able to at least recognize that it exists.
The author of the column is apparently not able to do so. Our WV **IS** our real religion -- we BELIEVE IT! All of us! She believes pronouncements of science on warming / vaccines and no doubt a number of things are FACTS. A few months ago when the NIH decided that cholesteral wasn't near as bad as they thought it had been for 50 years, she might have felt a "twinge" -- or even more likely, she just didn't pay any attention to it. It was for her exactly like a religious believer dealing with some doctrine of their faith that they find "troubling / questionable". I say exactly because we all consider our WV true by DEFINITION!
Everything we "know" is "known" and understood in some sort of a "Frame" -- which I covered relative to the book "Don't Even Think About an Elephant" ... and a number of other posts around that one.
For ANY of us to be able to critique our own WV or our various "frames" is like learning a new language, a new computer operating system, complex skill, etc -- it is PAINFUL! Rather than automatically "knowing the truth / facts", we become PAINFULLY aware that even the simplest elements of what we are CERTAIN of can be very very hard to defend if we are faced with either a real event that shakes our WV, or exposed to someone who brings some element of our WV into question.
You KNOW what red is, but to explain it to a blind person gives a little idea of how hard it is to step outside of your WV / Frames.
For most of two thousand years the dominant WV with many interelated frames was "Western Christian Civilization" -- the universe was created by an omnipotent, omnicient, omnipresent God for a purpose -- partially to allow humans the joy of life and fellowship with God, and most likely for other purposes beyond the capability of man to comprehend from our mortal and fallen state. For myself, and other people that the author of the column looks down on, all that is still true.
For the column author -- and an increasing number of especially the political left though, god is dead, the universe is cold and beyonnd indifferent -- to man, life, or anything. There is no ultimate purpose save man getting "smarter" and creating "better stuff" -- technology, governments, pastimes, ideas about how to live -- on his own with no reference to history, philosphy, and certainly not to "religion". Any "heaven" to happen will be here on earth, due to "progress" -- of which the moderns like the author strangely believe is for somehow "destined" (randomly I guess) to "better", although it becomes harder and harder to imagine how one might arrive at that value judgement. (like what "values" count except power?)
No doubt for the column author (as for all of us), emotion is involved. I wonder how she thinks of GMO's? Many of the left have a reaction to them which is possibly more anti-science than questioning climate change -- humans after all CLEARLY created GMOs, climate historically changed a good deal without us.
As the GMO column points out, fear is possibly an explanation for the GMO reaction. It is also a common method used to hold people in thrall to beliefs like "Anthropogenic Gobal Warming" (AGW) -- "Thou must follow the high priests of AGW or thine children will burn in the hell of AGW"! A not too clever thinker might note that this sort of sermon varies little from "Sinners in the hand of an angry God" of times past.
Since all religions are made up of humans, it is really not too hard to see parallels. In the liberal AGW religion, the flock need modify their lifestyle not at all for the forseeable future -- "the wealthy", or "the oil companies" or "someone else" will provide propitiation for their computers, internet, jet flights to warm climates for the winter (no irony there), etc.
To be human is to have a religion (WV), worship and attempt to follow it's tenets. The PRIMARY tenet of all religions is to declare your faith! The author of the column is doing well at that. For many religons -- Islam, National Socialism, Communism, Secular Humanism, etc, disparaging, persecuting and even killing non-adherents is dogma. The author is doing a bit of that as well.
Christianity has a REAL difference there which held Western Civilization in really good stead -- "Love your neighbor as yourself". Now THAT is a REALLY different concept in a WV -- a damned inhuman one!
No matter what your WV, knowing you have one and trying to realize just how natural it seems, and how the Frames that you have picked up or had foisted on you force your brain down pre-determined paths. Magicians, marketers, politicians and many others know how to manipulate your WV and Frames -- you should know as well and understand what they are doing.
Don't even think of an elephant!
(bet ya did -- if not, please check in as not being human!)
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