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EliPage

Why people believe?

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-I recently posted in the Ancient Mysteries and Alternative Histories forum, regarding the topic of my University dissertation. And was directed to 'belief' forums by other members of this site-

 

Although my dissertation topic is focused on the differences between archaeological evidences and 'pseudo' archaeological theories, I wish to build a foundation from which I can begin to understand why and how people believe. Whether in an academic context (regarding the belief in pseudo archaeology) or in a religious context. 

Any thoughts, related sources of information, or personal opinions on this topic would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thank you.

 

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U need to be more specific. Belief in what?

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I'd echo some of the comments on the other thread, and say to focus rather than letting your dissertation get too unwieldy. 

There are as many reasons to believe as there are things to believe in. As above you'll need to be more specific.

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Why people believe?..I would suggest to seek meaning in there lives.Unable to achieve this a construct is developed, a belief system that allows them to bring some sort of sense to there life. People believe through the influence of others as well.Im sure there are other reasons...

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Posted (edited)

Science, its known

... through replicating tests.

Its knowing.

Not and lets make that a big NOT! oh I feel or oh I just have a hunch or instinct or one must be intuitive BOLLUX! there is no I feel or believe, only fact and I know.

That's supposedly why WE DON'T O R SHOULD NOT ALLOW  A PROFESSOR TO GO ON AND ON AND ON about mythical things or beings based on anecdotal or hearsay as rock solid evidence, science should not be built on slippery ground i.e. stories and more stories to back up the first set of stories.  Although actually I could tear that up but I'm not going there. In keeping with my first point yes yes, yes they've countless theories and shoot from the hip too much but at LEAST THEY TELL YOU ! its a theory/hypo etc.

============================================-=-=-=-=- other

Life after etc etc. is pleasing to the heart.

Placid , easy feeling, tranquil, comfort

oh and its good for kids and kittens , yes a parable/metaphor if you like.

Edited by MWoo7
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People "believe" when they don't have answers and need to invent things. Or, they're indoctrinated as kids and taught not to think for themselves. Mostly that second one

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I believe it is a part of our humanity to seek answers about how we came to be. Some find faith, some science, and often in both cases, refuse to consider that each can share in being the answer.  An interesting phenomenon and one that might add to your study is the exploration of why such animosity can exist over a question that, ultimately is about the expansion of understanding.  If you watch the discussions here in the Spirituality vs Skepticism forum, you will see that dynamic play out in interesting ways that usually devolve into animosity.  If I'm being tedious, I apologize but I think the more interesting question isn't why we believe, but why we rigidly adhere to what we believe and can even abuse those who have found an alternate answer for themselves.

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On ‎2‎/‎6‎/‎2017 at 10:39 AM, EliPage said:

-I recently posted in the Ancient Mysteries and Alternative Histories forum, regarding the topic of my University dissertation. And was directed to 'belief' forums by other members of this site-

 

Although my dissertation topic is focused on the differences between archaeological evidences and 'pseudo' archaeological theories, I wish to build a foundation from which I can begin to understand why and how people believe. Whether in an academic context (regarding the belief in pseudo archaeology) or in a religious context. 

Any thoughts, related sources of information, or personal opinions on this topic would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thank you.

 

I for one believe in archaeological evidences and there are a lot of  'pseudo' archaeological theories that are true, its just in the finding of them, and just be  logical in those findings  

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In "hard science" belief is objective.

In "pseudoscience" it is subjective.

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I would suppose that the "paranormal" exists because quantum physics is "ripe" with "probabilities"

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I don't think it's possible to exist as a functioning human, without belief. Every notion we hold and all of our knowledge is, in reality, based on the belief that it is valid. Some of it is so well verified and believed by so many that it is commonly or even universally accepted as "true" or "real", and we are justified in believing it, but it still seems to require belief.

Why people believe in things that seem unjustified, have no validation or run counter to what is generally accepted as "real" could have more to do with personal experience. We (humans) are complicated and prone to all sorts of errors and delusions (all of us). I really doubt we have the type of free will over these things, that we would like to think we do. One of the funnier and more ironic things I have heard, was a staunch creationist taunting a bigfooter for being deluded. lol.

 

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43 minutes ago, Horta said:

a staunch creationist taunting a bigfooter for being deluded. lol.

TOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO !!!!!!! FUNNY !

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There are many reasons people believe.......childhood experiences,deaths in the family or friends......some do go to extremes and join religious groups to find a path they are happy with...........even going to the extent of not believing in historic documents that contradict their beliefs.........

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19 hours ago, cluey said:

There are many reasons people believe.......childhood experiences,deaths in the family or friends......some do go to extremes and join religious groups to find a path they are happy with...........even going to the extent of not believing in historic documents that contradict their beliefs.........

And there are too people they believe because they have a direct experience. For example hindu Bhaktiyogis. They meditate on God's name to get direct vision. See Ramakrishna and his vision of Kali. Similar experience have some western mystics, it was often practice ancient mysteries...... etc. 

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Because they want to.

 

"Our desires find supporting reasons as a magnet attracts iron filings." 

-McNiel Dixon

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4 hours ago, Lumpino said:

And there are too people they believe because they have a direct experience. For example hindu Bhaktiyogis. They meditate on God's name to get direct vision. See Ramakrishna and his vision of Kali. Similar experience have some western mystics, it was often practice ancient mysteries...... etc. 

I was referencing  to people that do not even believe in dinosaur's........

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On 2017-02-14 at 0:26 AM, cluey said:

I was referencing  to people that do not even believe in dinosaur's........

Wait...you mean that dinosaurs were real? :blink:

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On 2/6/2017 at 10:39 AM, EliPage said:

-I recently posted in the Ancient Mysteries and Alternative Histories forum, regarding the topic of my University dissertation. And was directed to 'belief' forums by other members of this site-

 

Although my dissertation topic is focused on the differences between archaeological evidences and 'pseudo' archaeological theories, I wish to build a foundation from which I can begin to understand why and how people believe. Whether in an academic context (regarding the belief in pseudo archaeology) or in a religious context. 

Any thoughts, related sources of information, or personal opinions on this topic would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thank you.

 

We are wired for pleasure which originally is for the gathering of resources for reproduction. Since we have more time in the womb for a larger brain in certain places we can be more creative in our pleasure seeking.

Beliefs that we find exciting can be an addiction. Try talking someone out of a gambling (thought), or drug (chemical) addiction (both release Dopamine). You will find the same pattern of cognitive biases, denial, and circular logic that plagues believers of the irrational. Addiction has it's roots in the ancient part of the Brain (Mesolimbic System) OVERRIDING the modern thinking/rationalizing part (Frontal Cortex). Neurological mechanisms (motivation/learning/reward) evolved (to get your ATTENTION) for the gathering of resources for reproduction have stumbling blocks in modern humans. Thoughts, and behaviours that "FEEL GOOD" reinforces "Dopamine Reward System" pathways in order to repeat said thoughts, and behaviors causing cognitive biases. People "FEEL GOOD" thinking they have special knowledge as someone thinking hitting big on that next Lotto ticket. We are WIRED for PLEASURE. See "Sapolsky Dopamine Jackpot" on Youtube. Keep in mind also that stress, and SLEEP DEPRIVATION can release Dopamine (picture someone fervently praying/fasting/meditating). Dopamine aids creativity (learning) so things that do not make rational sense MAKES SENSE under it's influence. Dopamine in excess causes neurological TRAFFIC JAMS where subconscious preformed abstract thoughts can manifest as hallucinations (any of the 5 senses including effected SPEECH &, or involuntarily movement) that seem symbolic. Thoughts are a PLACEBO for addictive, and, or schizotypal personalities.

Research Dopamine in relation to "Gambling", "Religiosity", "Creativity Learning Reward", "hallucination", "love", "Mesolimbic System", and "Cognitive Bias".

Check out this thread, and the ones in my signature. 

Science Behind Irrational Beliefs:

http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/forum/topic/272571-the-science-behind-irrational-beliefs/#comment-5314623

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On 08/02/2017 at 10:06 AM, Frank Merton said:

We all seek answers; the arrogant think they have them.

And the enlightened know they do . :)

There ARE answers to every question which can be posed. Some times multiple answers. 

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Posted (edited)

Belief is a language construct of the human mind, and evolves, beginning in infancy from birth, and in the first year or so of life.  Every time a human lacks data to KNOW something, their mind constructs an answer to the question, because it is must do so in order to live and survive.  We can't make decisions and solve problems, and exist as self aware beings, without a rationale for action.  That construction will be logical  and internally coherent or reasonable, but limited by the data/knowledge, and experience, of the individual constructing it. 

 Because human infants recognise agents (entities capable of initiating action)  and non agents ( entities incapable of initiating actions)  in life, they attribute an agency to every event in their life which they observe   If they can't see (or identify, due to a lack of  experiential knowledge ) a real agent, such as a human being or a dog taking their socks away, they will INVENT an agent who does so, and ALSO invent a reason WHY that agents  removes their socks.

When you know no better, and it is impossible for you to know better, then constructing gods which cause thunder and lightning for their own purposes is not just reasonable, it is logical and makes contextual sense (because it is what we would do if we were gods)  and allows a person to live with the existence of such powerful forces in their life  It gives an avenue to seek protection from those forces, and to propitiate them, when there is no other form of protection or way to be safe from them. . 

Eg which would make you feel safer, if you had no knowledge or understanding of lightning, and were walking in the middle of a thunderstorm on an open plain.? . The idea that it was a totally random force which could, and likely would, just come down and strike you at random with nothing you could do about it; OR the weapon of a god, aimed and directed with deliberate intent , which you might avoid, or be protected from, via prayer, offerings,  or even just belief.?

This goes back to my point about beliefs giving us the abilty to act.

 A person would struggle to go out in that thunderstorm without faith or belief.  Rightly or wrongly, belief that disaster might be avoided by appealing to the cause of the lightning   allows a second alternative; to carry on through the storm, using faith  that the gods will not hurt you.     And yes you might be hit, but probably not. In any case you were not left stuck in your cave, with no alternative, until the storm passed.   Belief gave you some empowerment. 

Edited by Mr Walker

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Posted (edited)

" Because human infants recognise agents (entities capable of initiating action)  and non agents ( entities incapable of initiating actions)  in life, they attribute an agency to every event in their life which they observe   If they can't see (or identify, due to a lack of  experiential knowledge ) a real agent, such as a human being or a dog taking their socks away, they will INVENT an agent who does so, and ALSO invent a reason WHY that agents  removes their socks." ( Walker)
 
If one is to look at the role of cognition in a young child or infant the prevailing theory is Attachment Theory and its role in forming behaviors ( as a system). Specifically, to address your post Cognitive behaviors are formed and based on the mental representations of the attachment figure ( Mom or Dad or the primary caregiver) in conjunction with repeated experience these mental models become wired as scripts for the child. John Bowlby suggested these "representational models" then become internalized as cognitive scripts. What you are trying to say is that children can make predictions you just do not have a current/ correct understanding of how/ why this happens. Attachment Theory explains that children are capable of making predictions based on these internal scripts. The predictions a child makes are thought to be at there best if the child has an accurate representation of reality from the attachment figure (AF). For example: Say the attachment figure believes in god and the child experiences church, reading bible stories with mom and dad, and routinely lives in an environment that is immersed in religion as a literal explanation for things the child will most likely see the stork as bringing babies and angels are real or oranges are invisible, and other made up a stories becomes the way to understand reality later on, because that is what they were taught by the AF. Of course it depends on how religion is presented to a child too.
And, now that we know the brain is malleable with intervention the brain can be rewired. It really is important what you tell yourself. We shape our brain in large part due to our early childhood including how to interpret a reality. MW, the Attachment Behavioral System encompasses many processes, including the role of emotions. When we are speaking of the child and his/her process/development of cognition we do so as an integral part of the behavioral system, cognitively  speaking this includes: object permanence, generalization, discernment, judgement, nonconcious processing, selective attention, memory, and interpretation biases. 
Edited by Sherapy
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Posted (edited)

On 18/02/2017 at 4:00 AM, Sherapy said:
" Because human infants recognise agents (entities capable of initiating action)  and non agents ( entities incapable of initiating actions)  in life, they attribute an agency to every event in their life which they observe   If they can't see (or identify, due to a lack of  experiential knowledge ) a real agent, such as a human being or a dog taking their socks away, they will INVENT an agent who does so, and ALSO invent a reason WHY that agents  removes their socks." ( Walker)
 
If one is to look at the role of cognition in a young child or infant the prevailing theory is Attachment Theory and its role in forming behaviors ( as a system). Specifically, to address your post Cognitive behaviors are formed and based on the mental representations of the attachment figure ( Mom or Dad or the primary caregiver) in conjunction with repeated experience these mental models become wired as scripts for the child. John Bowlby suggested these "representational models" then become internalized as cognitive scripts. What you are trying to say is that children can make predictions you just do not have a current/ correct understanding of how/ why this happens. Attachment Theory explains that children are capable of making predictions based on these internal scripts. The predictions a child makes are thought to be at there best if the child has an accurate representation of reality from the attachment figure (AF). For example: Say the attachment figure believes in god and the child experiences church, reading bible stories with mom and dad, and routinely lives in an environment that is immersed in religion as a literal explanation for things the child will most likely see the stork as bringing babies and angels are real or oranges are invisible, and other made up a stories becomes the way to understand reality later on, because that is what they were taught by the AF. Of course it depends on how religion is presented to a child too.
And, now that we know the brain is malleable with intervention the brain can be rewired. It really is important what you tell yourself. We shape our brain in large part due to our early childhood including how to interpret a reality. MW, the Attachment Behavioral System encompasses many processes, including the role of emotions. When we are speaking of the child and his/her process/development of cognition we do so as an integral part of the behavioral system, cognitively  speaking this includes: object permanence, generalization, discernment, judgement, nonconcious processing, selective attention, memory, and interpretation biases. 

Yep that is exaclty wht i am saying, but its more complex than that.  Very young children differentiate between agents and non agents of change. They ALWAYS attribute an agency to a change  When the agency is unsighted or unknown they attribute an imagined agency to the change  BUT the concpet of these agents grows within a child's mind before language does iThe agents are the precursor of later gods or spirits

  The children of atheists develop the same internal belief concepts as the children of theists.

Adults never really  stop thinking like this, although with education experience and language they discover OTHER ways of thinking.

 Once a child has language skills and begins to relate to others it will restructure its inner basic concepts to align with those of significant adults in its life  (this includes specific religious beliefs and atheism but also many other things like what is good or bad. )But adults dont teach kids to believe in gods. This belief is an evolved cognitive construct, evolving from the awareness of agents of change and our need to be able to explain what is happening in our wordl even when we lack data to do so accurately.    we know this because yong chldren form such beliefs before the yhave the language skills to learn them from others.

So a child brought up by an atheist robot who never mentions the concpet of reigion or belief will evolve its own beliefs and indeed religion in order that it can understand/make sense of things it just CANNOT otherwise make sense of .

The process you describe is a ;later process as it clearly is influenced by a child's abilty to understand language. So parents might influence a child to become an atheist or to follow their own belief systems, but this only occurs well AFTER the child has begun to think in terms of mgicla agents.  This ealry patterning of cognition is believed to be why humans are so predisposed to belief  and why  less than 10 %  of adults world wide profess not to believe in any form of the spiritual/powers greater than themselves . 

Do you really understand the stuff you have quoted here Sherapy or is it just material you have selected to make a point? 

yes we can rewire the brain, even as older people, although it is physically easier in the young   So you can shape a child's beliefs or disbeleifs, values, attitudes, moralities and ethics (And i would argue that this is the duty of every adult and especially family members to a child)

BUT STILL our first patterns of cognition are based on the internal construction of beliefs about mystical/magical agents. and how they shape the environment around us.  One classic study asked very young children how seeds got inside a gourd.  The answer from all types of kids, all over the world, was that someone or something PUT the seeds inside the gourd,   for some purpose of their own.  That is a precursor god construct, which originated inside the child's own cognitive processes. NOT from any learned adult concept. 

it is easy for adults  to confirm a child's natural predilection to belief.  It is MUCH harder to teach them NOT to believe as it goes against the first  internal narratives and concepts which the y construct. . 

Edited by Mr Walker

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Posted (edited)

21 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

Yep that is exaclty wht i am saying, but its more complex than that.  Very young children differentiate between agents and non agents of change. They ALWAYS attribute an agency to a change  When the agency is unsighted or unknown they attribute an imagined agency to the change  BUT the concpet of these agents grows within a child's mind before language does iThe agents are the precursor of later gods or spirits

  The children of atheists develop the same internal belief concepts as the children of theists.

Adults never really  stop thinking like this, although with education experience and language they discover OTHER ways of thinking.

 Once a child has language skills and begins to relate to others it will restructure its inner basic concepts to align with those of significant adults in its life  (this includes specific religious beliefs and atheism but also many other things like what is good or bad. )But adults dont teach kids to believe in gods. This belief is an evolved cognitive construct, evolving from the awareness of agents of change and our need to be able to explain what is happening in our wordl even when we lack data to do so accurately.    we know this because yong chldren form such beliefs before the yhave the language skills to learn them from others.

So a child brought up by an atheist robot who never mentions the concpet of reigion or belief will evolve its own beliefs and indeed religion in order that it can understand/make sense of things it just CANNOT otherwise make sense of .

The process you describe is a ;later process as it clearly is influenced by a child's abilty to understand language. So parents might influence a child to become an atheist or to follow their own belief systems, but this only occurs well AFTER the child has begun to think in terms of mgicla agents.  This ealry patterning of cognition is believed to be why humans are so predisposed to belief  and why  less than 10 %  of adults world wide profess not to believe in any form of the spiritual/powers greater than themselves . 

Do you really understand the stuff you have quoted here Sherapy or is it just material you have selected to make a point? 

yes we can rewire the brain, even as older people, although it is physically easier in the young   So you can shape a child's beliefs or disbeleifs, values, attitudes, moralities and ethics (And i would argue that this is the duty of every adult and especially family members to a child)

BUT STILL our first patterns of cognition are based on the internal construction of beliefs about mystical/magical agents. and how they shape the environment around us.  One classic study asked very young children how seeds got inside a gourd.  The answer from all types of kids, all over the world, was that someone or something PUT the seeds inside the gourd,   for some purpose of their own.  That is a precursor god construct, which originated inside the child's own cognitive processes. NOT from any learned adult concept. 

it is easy for adults  to confirm a child's natural predilection to belief.  It is MUCH harder to teach them NOT to believe as it goes against the first  internal narratives and concepts which the y construct. . 

" God" (any god for that matter) resembles the prototypical attachment of a child to his/ her parents.. This is not news, Freud characterized this as " the exalted father figure" aka the "exalted attachment figure" basically "god" is the mix of the generic  archetypical mother/father/caregiver. Dude, god's are taught by mom and pops, just like there really is no Santa, now who told you there was? Hint hint. Think about this carefully.

 

So you ask, how does this work? When the baby is an infant it crys, oh gosh and it smiles, these are important attachment signals, it fires up the parental  instincts, ever heard a baby cry? Well it is like a loud alarm that you just have to shut off, the parent actually feels this as a strong urge/need/push to go pick the baby up, now!

 

Pay attention the next time you are out, observe what happens internally ( to you) when a baby cries. Nature has designed us this way. so we can bond, so we survive. Mom or Dad pick the baby up (the aversive) is crying this gets the infants needs met, smiling gets the infant hugs and cuddles have you ever seen a baby smile there isn't anything more dazzling, you stop, smile back  and say awww, your heart just melts in love and the family bonds. Meantime, In the brain a script is wired. As the child grows (as a part) of the weaning process we say things like don't be sad little Timmy "god" is always with you even when mommy and daddy are away. Or Timmy, "God will take care of butch the bully, you turn the other cheek." We say things like this  over and over and another mental script is wired.

 

Timmy as an adult will have no problem believing in God as it represents the warm and fuzzies, feeling safe, protected by the attachment figures. Haven't you heard people  say "god is their best friend, having Jesus in my heart is like falling in love." This is attachment/bonding. Haven't you heard a parent say "I fell madly in love with my baby. It is a chemical reaction.  Darv has it right its chemical (shh don't tell the kids) but the folks are behind the scenes pulling the strings. Did you ever see The Wizard of OZ ? God is taught, its not any more profound than that. Doesn't Christianity say get the kids young? Think about it. 

 

There is as many ways to script for "god" as an attachment figure as there are humans. It doesn't mean one shouldn't believe in god, but you don't have to there are all kinds of ways to get through life using other attachment surrogates. Some people just teach their kids to build strong support systems in their friends and family, find practical ways to deal with life's stressors, have a positive outlook, look for the value in things, nurture loving relationships so you have people in the times life is harsh. Etc. etc...

Edited by Sherapy
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