The brain believes, do you?

The brain believes, do you?

Untold thinkers have written insights with varying clarity concerning the role and functionality of religion in people.
In my humble opinion all parties get stuck in ever repeating card houses of logic defending their particular conviction thereby completely ignoring the core of the matter. What is religion to more or less objective standards?

The following biological facts, simplified a lot, shed some light on the issue.

There was once a mammal. It needed a lot of little bits of operating systems in order to let all components of its body function properly. Over time they became so numerous that it needed a system to coordinate the other bits . That system became so complex that it was capable to reprogram itself in order to be able to assimilate the ever increasing flow of information. It called itself: conscience.
Objectively impossible to determine if it exists, since conscience itself determines what are the criteria defining conscience.

That conscience, in an attempt to preprogram future acts of the body, starts tell a tale to itself.
A continuous flowchart enabling it by correlating previous events and by means of extrapolation to arrive at a predefined future action.

The conscience calls that tale: reality. Again objectively impossible to determine if it exists, the conscience stipulates what is reality. The one conscience determines the tale in which a supernatural being must exist a reality, the other determines it to be unreal.

In this one can distinguish two different main categories of belief:

First. The true devout believer.
Given the biological fact that belief has a physical origin in a brain structure located somewhere in temple area one can make a good case that belief in its origin/intensity is directly related to a more or less developed structure of the brain.
Accepting this, asking for respect for a religion and it’s rituals is the same as to ask respect because someone can talk, run, eat, defecate.

Discussions involving religions, and their place in society is meaningless, the believer is forced by its brain to believe. One could compare it with homosexuality . This also finds its origin in the structure of the brain and is therefore futile to try to impose the feeling on a heterosexual, or persuade another to become likewise.

The only difference would be, as the brain structure controlling belief has no preference over one supernatural being for another, that a believer can be made to accept another religion. Whereas a homosexual has not that many options.

Second: The social believer.

The characteristics of this believer are one of educational, peer formed belief. This form of belief is just a concept created by indoctrination and as such is not really ‘felt’ to be true.
This explains why people can become apogees or atheists. An option lacking in the previous category of believers.

Unfortunately there are lots of people with a less developed notion regarding the origin and nature of conscience whom take themselves very seriously. So immensely serious that it is for them unacceptable that their existence has no meaning. And then they will look for something which will give their existence the grandeur they imagine it to have .

Old books such as the bible, koran, torah come in very handy, because just like the writings of Michel the Nostredame they can be interpreted in any which way to suit whatever you want to believe.

The simple solution that we simply are procreating little primates that exist because we exist is too humiliating to them.

We logically have an anthropocentric world view. We assume ourselves to be superior because we believe we are superior. A type of extreme ‘dubito, ergo cogito ergo sum’. Other animals doubt also, take decisions, deceive, tease, play, have feelings of love, hate, joy etc.

Their philosophy of life we do not understand just as little as they understand ours.
But by their standards they sure can feel superior over humans with good reason.

4 thoughts on “The brain believes, do you?

  1. It is a tad difficult to make “turn the other cheek” into anything else, although credit must be given to the Catholic Church for its sterling work in trying.

    If you look at the Gospels as the fairly accurate, but wildly exaggerated tale of a naughty Rabbi, it doesn’t seem a particularly nonsensical document, especially when it’s considered in its proper context (which the Life of Brian captured so well).

    I suppose I must declare my militant atheism at this point, but having done so I’m still not ready to deconstruct someone’s personal spiritual life into a over-developed mass of neuronal excess — anymore than I’m prepared to discount homosexuality for the same reasons — or indeed love.

    Coming from a scientific and indeed astronomical background myself, the human race seems no more accidental than a well ordered planetary system, or indeed the legions of embarrassing co-incidences that litter cosmology.

    “There’s something funny going on here” is an almost universal refrain from my astronomical colleagues and indeed there is.

    And our universe appears to be far from unique. I’m certainly not going to invoke God the Explainer to deal with my cognitive dissonance, however even a brutal rationalist will agree there is more than a wiff of the Ineffable about this place.



    • To my mind one views things backwards. Anthropocentric. We exist, therefore everything around must exist for us. The (in)famous Goldilocks Zone for example. Objectively such a zone doesn’t exist. It is to us because we are there. Other lifeforms most likely exist in other configurations and are out there looking for their ‘Goldilocks Zones’ and skipping ours because it’s not like theirs.

      Things happen because they happen. In such a vast, most likely multiple, universe happenstance is more then enough to explain us. And anything remotely like us elsewhere. In an infinite, or next to, flow of random energy there is no limit to what could form.

      We are by nature inflicted by a brain that forms patterns from events, if they exist or not is irrelevant to it. Due to our lack of capacity to comprehend the vast scale of it all we start to see patterns were they are not. To us everything gripping together like clockwork on the macroscopic scale is practically proof it’s all meant to be.

      As soon as we take the microscopic events into account things become a whole lot less evident. Particles being just random clumps of energy, changing into one and another on the go is to me a distinct indication it’s all fleeting happenstance we observe. We just lack the timescale, timespan, to see it is just a minute coming together of events which will be gone in the next fleeting instant.

      Only chance can fully explain all. Only out of nothing can come something. Anything else lands you in a neverending tree of answers raising more questions then they answer.


  2. I’ve been wondering what the mathematicians will eventually come up with for a final model of our existence. I’m pretty sure the last line will be either:

    … =0


    … =1



    • The problem with models of any kind is that they never represent an 1 on 1 representation of the original. So whatever the models say, i.e. whichever calculations seem to work, you’ll never know if you have the whole ‘reality’. You can not by definition model that what you can’t imagine exists.

      Any calculation on that level of abstraction which doesn’t add up can’t be determined to be wrong or that the whole structure is wrong.

      My favorite example is always basic bookkeeping. 1 cent difference in the balance can either be indeed an rounding error or multiple entries being incorrectly booked.

      With bookkeeping it’s just a question of tediously checking all entries, with the level of abstraction involved with TOE’s no such thing is possible.

      The only answer is 42 as everyone knows, but how do you get there?


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