Sunday, December 11, 2011

The theory of mind as an explanation for theism

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2011/02/are_you_there_god_its_me_brain.single.html

Here's something to peruse if you're interested. I'd been holding on to this link for a while but never got around to blogging much about it.  One of the most intriguing implications of theory of mind is not simply that it can be construed as the reason so many people believe in a deity of some kind but also as a conundrum for atheists.  How do you whittle away theory of mind to the point where no humans can believe in any gods without somehow over-whittling theory of mind in the process?  If the porridge is too hot or too cold you still get inhuman monsters who set up inquisitions or gulags, which apparently has nothing at all to do with whether or not one is a theist or an atheist.

In high school I had a science teacher ask, "Are you a theist?" Hearing the pun he was going for I said, "Well, I'm not a non-theist if that's what you're asking."  He smiled and said, "Very good!  You caught the trick I was trying to play on you."

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