I’ve been working on a post about why I accept evolution and a post about the moral argument for god’s existence, but they’re both taking longer than expected. So in the meantime I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on the psychology of belief.
Humans are capable of incredible self-deception. They will often believe things based on little or no evidence while simultaneously rejecting things that have mountains of evidence. For example, when I show Christians how little evidence there is that the Bible was divinely inspired, they ignore it because they want to believe. And when I show creationists how much scientific evidence there is for evolution, they ignore it because they don’t want to believe.
The problem is that there are deep-seated psychological reasons for their beliefs. Some people want to believe (or disbelieve) so much that they become incapable of seeing the truth, even if it’s right in front of them. In addition, there are dozens of cognitive biases constantly affecting their thoughts and reinforcing their beliefs on a daily basis.
Unfortunately, the average person is not at all familiar with cognitive biases. But I think if more people knew about them, they would be better equipped to overcome them. That’s why in the coming months I’m going to write more about the psychology of belief. I even created a new category for it.
One of the things that inspired me to do this is an awesome video series by AntiCitizenX. In it he talks about informational influence, the insufficient justification effect, confirmation bias, the misinformation effect, compliance techniques, hallucinations, projection, the need for closure, agenticity, and the self-serving bias. I can’t recommend this series enough. You can watch it below: