Sunday, 28 April 2013

Confirmation Bias

Er... But which god?
Confirmation bias is what causes people to say stupid things like, "Everything proves God/Allah". The Cosmological Argument and Teleological Argument depend on confirmation bias in the target audience - something of which religious apologists are only too well aware since they use it all the time.

Confirmation bias (also called confirmatory bias or myside bias) is a tendency of people to favor information that confirms their beliefs or hypotheses. People display this bias when they gather or remember information selectively, or when they interpret it in a biased way. The effect is stronger for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs.

So what's this got to do with religion? You're probably thinking it doesn't apply to you. If you're religious you probably believe you have very good, objective reasons for your beliefs and you see evidence of your god all around you. The strange thing is, and what gives the lie to it being objective evidence, is that people of other religions see the same thing and think it's evidence for their god and their religion.

Well, you might say, we have proofs for our religion that can't be proofs for theirs. The problem is, so do they.

The strange thing is that your 'proofs' don't seem to convince people who don't already share your beliefs and their 'proofs' don't seem to convince you. Take a look at these which I came across researching for an article on miracles.

Any Muslims convinced by these and ready to accept Jesus as their personal saviour yet? Why not? Plenty of Christians are convinced.

How about these?

Have they got any Christians or Jews chanting, "There is no god but God and Mohamed is his Prophet", yet? How come? Millions of Muslims will tell you they are proof of Allah.

Isn't it strange how they only convince people who are already convinced?

You seen now why Atheists don't find any of these 'miraculous' appearances convincing at all? Just like Christians do with the Islamic 'evidence' and just like Muslims do with the 'miraculous' images of Jesus or Mary, we see them for what they are - evidence only of the human ability to see patterns and of the human ability to look for and find 'evidence' which 'confirms' pre-existing beliefs.

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  1. This is pretty great!

    The late philosopher Alan Watts once said, "Life is nothing but a giant Rorschach ink blot, you know."

    The longer I live, the more true that seems.

    People see what they train themselves to see. There's usually nothing wrong with that - if they want to see Jesus in the spaces between the leaves of a potted plant, that's great.

    The problem comes, it see,ms top me, when they expect everyone to see the SAME face in the ink blot that they do.

    1. Even more sinister and arrogant is when they use it to confirm to themselves their moral superiority and their right to make laws for us and tell our children what they should believe.


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