Sunday, September 24, 2006

Making Sense Of The World With Nonsense

"...humans are hard-wired to try to make sense of the world, and that includes both rational and irrational assumptions and attributes. This leads us to try to find explanations for everything, and may, he thinks, explain why superstitions and even religious beliefs and thus religions themselves develop.

It's well-recognized that all animals, including, of course, our own species, have a very pressing need for pattern-recognition; it's a very important survival technique. (Indeed, we magicians depend upon our audiences finding evidence in small indications that we surreptitiously provide to them in order to accomplish our misdirection.) In more primitive times, we had a more serious need to find significance in an unusual shadow or sound that could have indicated some large-fanged critter intent upon having a Homo sapiens snack. Professor Hood has done well to extend this survival need as an explanation for our inventions of spirits-in-the-sky and various Valhallas as refuges."

Lose it or lose it. We remain creatures of infinitesimal curiosity and must have an answer RIGHT NOW. Comes with the biggest brain in the universe. Things get dicey when several-thousand-year-old "facts" are held to the modern light of day. True men of science ponder this question time and again, and it fascinates them to no end. Why? Why do otherwise intelligent creatures believe in the invisible? Why the need?

The Amazing Randi is still a good read. Even though they kicked me off of the mailing list for being too conservative.

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