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← Special Pleading and Evolutionary Reasons To Hold A Lousy Argument

Special Pleading and Evolutionary Reasons To Hold A Lousy Argument - Comments

AtheistEgbert's Avatar Comment 1 by AtheistEgbert

My question is why is this special pleading so powerful? Why do we take our views so personally, invest so much emotion in them, and not treat them as facts to be falsified? In other words, why do we fail at persuading others, and why are emotions so powerful? What evolutionary purpose does it serve to break away from strict logical thinking under certain conditions?

I keep recommending it but I can't recommend it enough: Supersense by Bruce Hood.

Mon, 09 Apr 2012 15:38:38 UTC | #933358

VrijVlinder's Avatar Comment 2 by VrijVlinder

I think the reason and or purpose of anything is survival and adaptation . Animals stick together to protect themselves against predators. People do the same living in communities. These give a sense of family and belonging to something bigger than just you or your family.

Depending on the orientation of the community those who belong feel the need to participate in order not to be cast out. It is community pressure. A way to socialize.

Once a belief is implanted and accepted as the only truth, then it becomes a matter of defending themselves personally because these issues are very personal. They have to do with a survival mechanism that is used to overcome adversity. This works for these people or they think it does and when one tries to persuade them otherwise , they reject it on an emotional level because that is where religion is stored.

We take our views personally because we are convinced and emotions are involved to try and overcome rejection of our convictions by others.

We fail to persuade others when our arguments shuts them down. Nobody likes the rug pulled out from under them. We must find a different way for every individual. Everyone is emotionally attached to their beliefs on some level.

Mon, 09 Apr 2012 19:16:49 UTC | #933411

Zeuglodon's Avatar Comment 3 by Zeuglodon

Bit disappointed that I've only attracted two comments in a day and a half, but let's see.

Comment 1 by AtheistEgbert

I keep recommending it but I can't recommend it enough: Supersense by Bruce Hood.

I hadn't heard of this, so I looked it up on Amazon. Looks promising, I'll admit, but there were one or two reviews that suggested it was retreading old ground. Is it similar to Chapters 4 and 5 in The God Delusion?

In any case, I did a quick search on this site using his name, and found some articles that go some way to addressing my points. Thanks for the heads up.

Why Children Love Their Security Blankets

Why We Believe

Comment 2 by VrijVlinder

I think the reason and or purpose of anything is survival and adaptation. Animals stick together to protect themselves against predators. People do the same living in communities. These give a sense of family and belonging to something bigger than just you or your family.

Having read The Selfish Gene, I was suspecting that this special-pleading behaviour would involve social instincts in some way - a combination of kin selection, reciprocal altruism, and general prosocial behaviours that an individual can express to friends, family, and possibly newcomers alike, so it clearly has some sort of social function. Using the selfish gene metaphor, genes that build bodies with nervous systems that, for example, exhibit kindness to others in a recognized group are more likely to be accepted and allowed to reproduce than individuals who don't extend such courtesies.

This makes sense for social survival, but that would be limited to bonding behaviours. My question is why are we so deeply and emotionally involved with facts and hypotheses about the world? What's the advantage of, say, loving our own pet hypotheses in the first place? Why should, for example, a prehistoric human become distressed rather than interested if told that a family member had not been telling the truth about the alleged health benefits of eating wolf flesh over buffalo flesh? What is the advantage of experiencing cognitive dissonance at this point rather than a scientific skeptical attitude? Why not, for example, have a diplomatic approach and communicate with all parties involved and come to an agreement over what is true or not?

Depending on the orientation of the community those who belong feel the need to participate in order not to be cast out. It is community pressure. A way to socialize.

Once a belief is implanted and accepted as the only truth, then it becomes a matter of defending themselves personally because these issues are very personal. They have to do with a survival mechanism that is used to overcome adversity.

This works for these people or they think it does and when one tries to persuade them otherwise , they reject it on an emotional level because that is where religion is stored.

We take our views personally because we are convinced and emotions are involved to try and overcome rejection of our convictions by others.

We fail to persuade others when our arguments shuts them down. Nobody likes the rug pulled out from under them. We must find a different way for every individual. Everyone is emotionally attached to their beliefs on some level.

I don't think you've quite understood the question. Why is a matter of fact something personal? Why does the brain not, for example, hold on lightly to information and discard it when something new appears? Why, for example, if a person has been told that rubbing their knee and chanting brings good luck, should they be visibly distressed if someone says that it doesn't bring good luck? Why would a brain not be wired to be more flexible?

I'm not sure how to answer such questions. The suggestions so far seem to be going in the right direction, but they don't quite address my OP.

Wed, 11 Apr 2012 12:29:03 UTC | #933868

VrijVlinder's Avatar Comment 4 by VrijVlinder

I just had a discussion with a friend who seems bent on believing atheism is about not believing in anything. The biggest incorrect assessment of atheism.

I explained it is a simple thing, a- theism. No God . But he was totally unwilling to hear me out. I told him look I will show you the definition so you can understand, but he outright refused and said I was wrong about what atheism means.

I opened the wiki to show him but he made like a kid when they don't want to hear something. This makes me very offended because I accept his theism and learned about it but he refuses to even look at the definition.

Emotions showed on both sides. I don't know what I can do to make him just look at the definition. He gave the idea he was afraid it would mess with his head.

Fear of getting messed up in the head is emotional and it is personal. He did not want to answer why, he said it was personal.

Wed, 11 Apr 2012 18:37:23 UTC | #933955