Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Religion and its Disconnect from Reason

Scenario 1 - Inference

You see a man running down the street. He's running toward the bus stop, as the bus is approaching. He desperately waves at the bus but the driver does not stop. The man stands at the bus stop, looking at the disappearing bus, then at his watch.

In the absence of evidence to the contrary, it would be reasonable to infer that the man wanted to catch the bus.

Scenario 2 - 2nd Hand Accounts

Your friend is telling you a story; the story seems unlikely. You question her about the veracity of the story and it turns out, the story is not about her, it's about her friend. Upon further questioning, you find out that she got the story from someone else, who read the story in a book.

The greater the distance from the original source, the less weight you apply to the account, if you apply any weight at all.

Scenario 3 - Reliance

You are not well, you visit your physician, she prescribes medication, which you take because you accept her expertise, you place reliance and trust in her medical decisions. This is totally reasonable, but your confidence in her knowledge is restricted to the field of medicine. You would not, for example, have the same degree of confidence in her ability to fly a plane. 

Scenario 4 - Credibility

You are listening to an account given by someone who you know has lied to you many times in the past. You doubt what he is saying and the fact that he has lied to you before, this adversely affects your confidence in what he is saying.

These four scenarios are only a few examples of how the mind functions on a daily basis. Primarily the way we automatically, and subconsciously access information and make judgments,  using our intuition, instinct, and ability, or inability, to reason.