Phoenix Philosophy Meetup Group Message Board Socrates Cafe Philosophy Discussion in Tempe Discussion Forum › The Brain Processes Facts and Beliefs the Same Way

The Brain Processes Facts and Beliefs the Same Way

Rama
rama-g
Phoenix, AZ
Post #: 48
A new neuroscience study has come to some interesting conclusions, among them being -

Our believing brains make no qualitative distinctions between the kinds of things you learn in a math textbook and the kinds of things you learn in Sunday school.

"Intuition" and "reason" are not two separate activities. They're interconnected. From the brain's point of view, religious belief and empirical data are the same.

... the "blasphemy reaction": that when atheists disagreed with a Christian belief, or when Christians affirmed one, their pleasure centers lit up—proof that the combatants in the faith-versus-reason wars really do enjoy the fight, equally.

full article: http://www.newsweek.com/id/216551­
Jonathan
user 8869511
Chandler, AZ
Post #: 84
This subject is discussed in the book "How We Decide" by Jonah Lehrer.

This is an introductory book on the subject. Lehrer uses historical events to illustrate how the brain functions when making a decision.

The book is not a study of volition in terms of philosophy. Lehrer examines the brain from a prospective of biological function.

According to Lehrere, there are many decision making parts of the brain, each simultaneously providing decision making signals.

The human brain is designed to allow for contradictions to exist between different decision making areas, and has a natural bias to rationalize an explanation for these contradictions.

The conscious brain has a bias towards certainty. We all need to act without being confused. The brain selects the best solution, and provides an emotional signal, or an idea into working memory. Were are unaware of any contradictory signals that may occur below our conciseness.

"Once you identify with a political party, the world is edited to fit with your ideology. At such moments, rationality actually becomes a liability, since it allows us to justify piratically any belief. the prefrontal cortex is turned into an information filter, a way to block out disagreeable points of view. Let's look at an experiment done in the late 1960's by the congnitive psychologists timothy Brock and Joe Balloun. half of the subject involved in the experiment were regular churchgoers, and half were committed atheists. Brock and Balloun played a tape-recorded message attacking Christianity, and, to make the experiment more interesting, they added an annoying amount of static - a crackle fo white noise - to the recording. however, the listener could reduce the static by pressing a button, at which point the message suddenly became easier to understand. The results were utterly predicable and rather depressing: the nonbelievers always tried to remove the static, while the religious subjects actually preferred the message that was harder to hear... We all silence the cognitive dissonance through self-imposed ignorance."

"The lesson from the Yom Kippur War is that having access to the necessary information is not enough. Eli Zeira, after all, had more than enough military intelligence at his disposal. He saw the tanks at the border; he read the top-secrete memos. his mistake was that he never forced himself to consider these inconvenient facts. instead of listening to the young lieutenant, he turned up the static dial and clung to the Concept. The result was a bad decision.

“They only way to counteract the bias for certainty is to encourage some inner dissonance. We must force ourselves to think about information we don’t want to think about, to play attention to the data that disturbs our entrenched beliefs. When we start censoring our minds, turning off those brain areas that contradict our assumption, we end up ignoring relevant evidence. A major general shrugs off the evacuation of Soviet Military personnel and those midnight cable form trusted sources. He insists that an invasion isn’t happening even when it has already begun.” – Jonah Lehrer
Rama
rama-g
Phoenix, AZ
Post #: 53
Thank you for that. The examples from military history are clear and similar examples of
generals in denial have occurred all throughout history. Perhaps this will help my chess game!
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