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The Believing Brain

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In this, his magnum opus one of the world’s best known skeptics and critical thinkers Dr. Michael Shermer—founding publisher of Skeptic magazine and perennial monthly columnist (“Skeptic”) for Scientific American—presents his comprehensive theory on how beliefs are born, formed, nourished, reinforced, challenged, changed, and extinguished. This book synthesizes Dr. Shermer’s 30 years of research to answer the questions of how and why we believe what we do in all aspects of our lives, from our suspicions and superstitions to our politics, economics, and social beliefs. In this book Dr. Shermer is interested in more than just why people believe weird things, or why people believe this or that claim, but in why people believe anything at all. His thesis is straightforward:

We form our beliefs for a variety of subjective, personal, emotional, and psychological reasons in the context of environments created by family, friends, colleagues, culture, and society at large; after forming our beliefs we then defend, justify, and rationalize them with a host of intellectual reasons, cogent arguments, and rational explanations. Beliefs come first, explanations for beliefs follow.

Dr. Shermer also provides the neuroscience behind our beliefs. The brain is a belief engine. From sensory data flowing in through the senses the brain naturally begins to look for and find patterns, and then infuses those patterns with meaning. The first process Dr. Shermer calls patternicity: the tendency to find meaningful patterns in both meaningful and meaningless data. The second process he calls agenticity: the tendency to infuse patterns with meaning, intention, and agency.

We can’t help believing. Our brains evolved to connect the dots of our world into meaningful patterns that explain why things happen. These meaningful patterns become beliefs. Once beliefs are formed the brain begins to look for and find confirmatory evidence in support of those beliefs, which adds an emotional boost of further confidence in the beliefs and thereby accelerates the process of reinforcing them, and round and round the process goes in a positive feedback loop of belief confirmation. Dr. Shermer outlines the numerous cognitive tools our brains engage to reinforce our beliefs as truths and to insure that we are always right.

Interlaced with his theory of belief, Dr. Shermer provides countless real-world examples of belief from all realms of life, and in the end he demonstrates why science is the best tool ever devised to determine whether or not a belief matches reality.

Brief Synopsis

The Believing Brain is divided into four parts. Part I, “Journeys of Belief,” includes personal narratives of belief, including that of the author; Part II, “The Biology of Belief,” bores into the brain and explains how the mind works to form beliefs, from thoughts and ideas down to neurons firing across tiny synaptic gaps as they talk to one another chemically; Part III, “Belief in Things Unseen” applies my theory beliefs to the afterlife, God, aliens, and conspiracies; and Part IV, “Belief in Things Seen,” examines the role of beliefs in politics, economics, and ideologies, explains how belief confirmation works to assure that we are always right, and then explores the history of scientific exploration, from the world to the cosmos, and how science works to overcome the power of belief.

The Believing Brain begins with three personal belief stories. The first story is about a man whom you will have never heard of but who had a profound and life-changing experience in the wee hours of the morning many decades ago that still haunts him to this day and drives him to search for ultimate meaning in the cosmos. The second story is about a man whom you will most definitely have heard of as he is one of the greatest scientists of our age, and he too had a life-changing early-morning experience that confirmed his decision to make a religious leap of faith. The third story is Dr. Shermer’s own passage from believer to skeptic, and what he learned along the way that drove him into a professional career of the scientific study of belief systems.

From narrative stories Dr. Shermer turns to an architecture of belief systems, how they are formed, nourished, reinforced, changed, and extinguished, first conceptually through the two theoretical constructs he developed called patternicity and agenticity, and then delve deeper into how these cognitive processes evolved and what purpose they served in the lives of our ancestors as well as in our lives today. Dr. Shermer then bores deeper into the brain, right down to the neurophysiology of belief system construction at the single neuron level, and then reconstructs from the bottom up how brains form beliefs. Then we shall examine how belief systems operate with regard to belief in religion, the afterlife, God, extraterrestrials, conspiracies, politics, economics, and ideologies of all stripes, and then consider how a host of cognitive processes convince us that our beliefs are truths. In the final chapters we will consider how we know any of our beliefs are believable, which patterns are true and which false, which agents are real and which are chimera, and how science works as the ultimate pattern detection device.

In the end, all of us are trying to make sense of the world, and nature has gifted us with a double-edge sword that cuts for and against. On one edge, our brains are the most complex and sophisticated information processing machines in the universe, capable of understanding not only the universe itself but of understanding the process of understanding. On the other edge, by the very same process of forming beliefs about the universe and ourselves, we are also more capable than any other species of self-deception and illusion, of fooling ourselves while we are trying to avoid being fooled by nature.

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87 Comments to “The Believing Brain”

  1. Shawn Says:

    LMAO on that one Art. But this one more closely reflects the real force:

    You do see a great deal of reference to concepts learned in the Way in much of the popular movies too. Including Star Wars, the Lion King, the Matrix, etc. Do you want the blue pill or the red pill? Reality or fantacy? Belief or the truth?

    Cheers, Shawn

  2. Art Says:

    Hi Michele;

    I, like Shawn, greatly appreciate your comments, and could probably wax ad nauseam about much of what you said. But, lest this turn into a dissertation, let me just wax ad nauseam on the most salient to me, and to this ongoing conversation; namely, Jesus.

    You said, “For me, whether the historical Jesus lived or not is immaterial. I think if one strips away the religious and mythical/mystical stuff s/he can find nuggets of wisdom that will make life easier as well as mentally and emotionally healthy. (I’m into practical spirituality.)”

    As with Shawn, I find myself more than just a bit curious as to the path that led to your current position, as it relates to the Jesus issue and spirituality. For me, I hope to get to where you are someday, but I’m not quite there yet. For a number of reasons, which I guess could best be grouped under personal and global concerns, I still find the issue of Jesus’ historicity quite poignant.

    Personally, as I began to have experiences which led me to the working hypothesis that there was “Something” higher at work in human (or at least this human’s) experience, the question arose as to how do I integrate this sense of spirituality into my career. This sense was such an integral part of my identity that the thought of working in a purely secular arena, and having to keep my spirituality on the shelf until quitting time, was less than appealing. So, realizing that one of the most logical arenas in which to exercise one’s spirituality in this culture SHOULD BE the Church, I went to seminary to see whether I could find a sense of “Home” in the Church. Didn’t happen. And the reason was, to no small extent, due to the Jesus question. The fact that I considered Jesus to be a distinctly cool human, and nothing more, didn’t really endear me to my professors; and the same presumably wouldn’t endear me to any ordination committees. Add to that the fact that my Master’s thesis was basically an assertion that “the Church is one of the most evil institutions to ever slither across the stage of human history”, needless to say my chances of ever becoming “Rev. Art” were slim to none. And so I came out of seminary considering myself to be, to borrow a line of Matthew McConaughey’s character in “Contact”, “. . . A man of the cloth, without the cloth.” [As an aside, or maybe not, “Contact” has many parallels to Shermer’s book and the conversations on this site. The science-minded Jodie Foster character (“So what’s more likely? That an all-powerful, mysterious God created the Universe, and decided not to give any proof of his existence? Or, that He simply doesn’t exist at all, and that we created Him, so that we wouldn’t have to feel so small and alone?”) . . . The faith-minded Matthew character (“What I’m asking is… are we happier, as a human race? Is the world fundamentally a better place because of science and technology? We shop at home, we surf the Web, and at the same time we feel emptier, lonelier, and more cut off from each other than at any other time in human history…”) . . . Hmmmm.]

    But the Jesus question has persisted. This was partially due to having grown up in a fairly religious family (Grandpa was a Holiness pastor). So I still get the occasional question at family gatherings, “So what do you believe?” I usually try to avoid a direct answer, knowing the pain it would arouse, by elaborating on how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to have received instruction from both sides of the theological spectrum; having received my Bachelor’s degree from Jerry Falwell’s Liberty U., in Virginia (conservative/right; where students doing anything more than holding hands could get expelled), and my Master’s from Chicago Theological (liberal/left; where a significant portion of the student body, faculty and staff were gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered). I then usually try to obfuscate a bit by noting how impressed I’ve been with the dedication I’ve seen on both sides of the spectrum, and how troubled I’ve been with how both sides are utterly convinced (like Shawn) that their side holds “The Truth”. If that doesn’t get me off the hook, then I bow out with an enigmatic, “I’m actually off the spectrum to the left and the right,” noting that to explain any further would take a dissertation.

    But owing to my familial situation, along with the ongoing need to find a place for my spiritual side in my vocational side, the Jesus question sort of hung around in a way reminiscent of a line in “Hotel California”, “ . . . ‘Relax’, said the Night Man, ‘We are programmed to receive. You can checkout any time you like, but you can never leave.’”

    And then came my encounter with the Mythicist position. The effect for me was no less than that of the former prisoner in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave [for those unfamiliar with Allegory, see: The more I researched, the more I could feel lifelong chains falling away.

    But after the liberation comes the question of returning to the Cave, to free those still bound. And here we are today. I don’t know whether Shawn has even heard of the Allegory, but I believe he’s operating in the most honorable principles of the Hero, seeking to help those still chained in the darkness of ignorance to attain freedom and make it to the light of the “Real World”. And for all I know, he may indeed be in possession of “The Truth”. As for me, I guess I too aspire to Hero-hood. But my position at present is, I think, more like a working hypothesis, and this conversation with Shawn (and anyone else who wishes to jump in), a test thereof. If the position is found to be faulty, then it’s back to the drawing board. Eventually I know that, in order for me to be entirely comfortable with this position, I’ll have to bounce it off of some of my seminary professors. And if it passes that test, it will be promoted to “theory-hood”, at least in my own estimation. [I guess my position is akin to the “Methodological Doubt” spoken of by Jesus Seminar fellow, Dr. Robert M. Price, (one of the few “Christian Atheists” in academia) in a YouTube piece on theological skepticism (of which I think Shermer would readily approve): He concludes, by the way, the fifth segment of the talk by saying, “So much of it [the biblical record of Jesus] falls prey to these criteria [obviously anachronistic implantations by later writers], and there were other ones too, that they [the other fellows of the Jesus Seminar] figured precious little of the stuff actually goes back to him [Jesus]. That doesn’t mean what doesn’t is bad or nefarious; it just came from other creators. And I think you can use the same criteria on almost all the material. I try to show that in ‘The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man’, there’s really no surviving evidence for a Jesus.”]

    Tony Artie (Oops, my Twin 4-year-olds got a hold of my keyboard . . .)

    Finally, looking at the Jesus issue from a global perspective, let’s just say for the sake of argument that there was no human Jesus, and that those who believe in and/or worship him believe in and/or worship the modern-day equivalent of Thor. Now, so long as they keep their beliefs to themselves and seek not to impose those beliefs on others, I agree with you that the issue could be immaterial. But unfortunately, the governance of the most powerful nation on the planet is, by choice of the majority of those governed, in the hands only of those who’ve sworn allegiance to this mythological fabrication. And, based upon the (supposed) pronouncements of Thor & Co., a number of less than ideal conditions have existed in the past, exist today, and will continue to exist for the foreseeable future, in this country and beyond our borders. I’m sure I needn’t elaborate, as I suspect that on this site I’m preaching to the choir, but I have in mind, for example, the wholesale slaughter of Jews (“Kill the Christ Killers!” This slaughter of the Jews in which the Church is an accomplice includes the Holocaust, as many of Hitler’s pronouncements against the Jews were copied practically verbatim from those of the Church against the Jews), the suppression and forced conversion to Christianity of many of the peoples of the world, the Inquisition, the enslavement of many of the peoples of the world (“the bible says slavery is fine!”), the denial of gays any number of rights (including the right to marry), the denial of woman any number of rights (including reproductive rights), the denial of those with many diseases the right to have the entire weight of the medical community working to relieve their suffering (due to a biblically-based opposition to stem-cell research), . . . and I could go on, but I think you get my point. For personal and global reasons, I still find the Jesus question quite poignant . . . the groans of the shackled, as well as those of those shackled by the shackled, still weigh upon my soul.

    [As an aside, I have managed to find some degree of integration of my spiritual side with my vocational side in my current work at a residential treatment facility working with kids with some severe psycho-emotional challenges. I consider myself to be engaged in a “Ministry of Caring”, wherein I try to pass on to the kids, in my own feeble way, the profound sense of caring that I feel the Universe has for all of us. Big Al was quoted earlier as saying, “The most important decision we make is whether we live in a friendly or hostile universe” – Albert Einstein. I believe that, for Shermer, the answer would have to be “Neutral”. For me, the answer is, unequivocally, friendly.]

    OK, guess I’ve rambled long enough . . . If I haven’t put you to sleep, I, too, welcome your comments (as well as a response to my proposal!).

    “Peace 2 U!”

  3. Shawn Says:

    We shop at home, we surf the Web, and at the same time we feel emptier, lonelier, and more cut off from each other than at any other time in human history…”) . . . Hmmmm.]

    An interesting read regarding this subject:
    and another here:
    and here:

  4. Travis Fratis Says:

    I have read the book (The Believing Brain) and found it captivating. I have long considered myself catholic until events unfolded before me while deployed in Iraq that had me questioning faith. I then became agnostic, believing perhaps something was out there, until reading this book. I love the direction the Michael Shermer took with this book and I am now more than ever in control of my own life. I can’t help but hear the statements “GOd did this for a reasons”, or “It was meant to be”. Hearing these statements now almost pushes me to ask, “If God didn’t exist, how else would you explain it?” Of course I am sure those I ask would still have no answer. Also, I would like to mention Carl Sagan and the dragon in his garage as a contributing influencer.

  5. Art Says:

    Hi Travis;

    Thanks for your comment, but more importantly, for your service! I was over there in ’90-’91 for Desert Storm (medical unit with 82nd Airborne) . . . That was a vastly different war than the recent . . . I don’t think Iraqis could spell “I.E.D.” back then . . . You have my thoughts and well wishes for a peaceful transition back . . .

    “Peace 2 U!”

  6. John Says:

    Interesting comments about the Way. I think Michael Shermer’s baloney detection kit is quite similar to the methods taught about finding truths as seen in the way. Take the bible verse Matthew 7:7 Jesus says:

    Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

    We know from this website : that Jesus wasn’t talking about prayer. So what was he talking about? Ask questions…seek answers… and find answers. Not about prayer at all, simply a method of finding knowledge and truth.
    peace to you all!

  7. Neil Agnew Says:

    Very impressive analysis!. Hawking speaks of scence as”model dependant realism”, but I gert the impression that you don’t accept the similar notion that science is “belief dependant realism”, that is that science consists of ‘model, method, time-space constructions’. For instance the concept of multiple universes with different laws and half-lives – so the if the ‘truth is out there” that truth is relative, relative to model, method, time-space selections?

  8. Neil Agnew Says:

    Shermers basic assumption is that the brain is a believe machine that automaticslly identifies or constructs patterns in the flow of experience – I don’t see why religious true believers or scientists should have trouble with this. The true believers ‘see’ their trusted patterns as gernerated by “God”, and most of the scientiests see thier trusted patterns as generated by a big bang and evolutionary processes.
    Both groups rely heavily on a book to support their claim – on the one hand the bible or Koran, on the other Darwin’s Origin of species.
    Both groups preach being humble – either humble in the face of Gods ways which we cannot always fatham, or humble in the face of complexity and limited evidence in the scientific search for ‘laws’.
    But when dealing with each other both groups drop thier humbleness and become snarky as all get out.
    In brief, both religious believers and scientists admit ignorance, about the ways of God or of Nature, both groups admit past errors in their beliefs – but are certain about the products of their particular believiong brains when dealing with each other.
    Maybe we should see our brains as being in the business of manufacturing certainty, a small candle of light plus Plato’s shadows in all that scary darkness, in all that complexity generated by God’s and/or science’s multiple universes… ?
    One thing seems certain – we get real cranky when anyone tries to blow out our candle!!!!

  9. Shawn Says:

    Hi Neil,

    “but I gert the impression that you don’t accept the similar notion that science is “belief dependant realism”….”

    Just wondering who you were directing your question at?

    “we get real cranky when anyone tries to blow out our candle!!!!….”

    I’m not quite sure were you seen anyone getting cranky. Anyway, here is a good short read for you…
    and here

    I think Michael Shermer, along with many people get confused between the meanings of words. Like belief, and reason. There is a difference. Belief is the mental acceptance of something as being true, without it having been proved with fact. Therefore, by very definition, belief is not truth. Here is another definition: Belief

    (be and lyian, to hold dear).
    That state of the mind by which it assents to propositions, not by reason of their intrinsic evidence, but because of authority.

    Take a look at where and on whose authority that definition comes from? :)

    Much of Shermers so called patternicity finders actually are people using reason, not belief.
    However, the problem is that people need to go all the way back to when they were first taught and apply good reason and not belief to what they had been taught. Is it good to accept just what you have been told? As much of that may be wrong or may have been tainted by proponents of belief as belief being a virtuous thing. And yes, there are scientists who commit the error of utilizing belief as a system of aspiring to truth too just as much as religious proponents.

    As Art, so graciously put before, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is The Way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matt. 7:13-14).

    In response to John, I can only show you the hidden Way. It is up to you to choose if you want to follow it, or follow that which is opposite to truth, knowledge, reason and logic.

    Cheers, Shawn

  10. mary hagey Says:

    As someone raised in a religious community and not at all at ease within it, I found this book to be exactly what I needed. In fact I think I always sort of knew, intrinsically, that such an explanation existed. My only criticism would be that in the subtitle “From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies…” one was led to believe each of these aspects would be addressed specifically. Gods, politics, and conspiracies were. Ghosts were not. One can imagine how this might have been addressed, but not entirely.

  11. Chanel Omari Says:


    I am a producer at Anderson Cooper’s Daytime Talk Show and we are taping a show on Monday about fate and chance encounters. I would love to speak to youin further details over the phone today to discuss possibly bringing Michael Shermer as an expert for our show. Please email me at or call me on 212-275-8958 I really look forward to speaking with you. Thank you for your time!

  12. Art Says:

    More proof for Shermer’s “belief-dependent realism”? Found this from a blogger on religious website:

    “Trancend your egoism and free yourself from this dominion of satan. Relise your a sinner and part of the collective problem of this worldly matrix… Repent….

    Evidence follows faith. Faith does not follow evidence….. Faith above reason in Jesus Christ.”

    Spelling challenges aside, “Evidence follows faith. Faith does not follow evidence” . . . “You must have,” he seems to be imploring us, “faith/belief in Christ first, and then the evidence to confirm your belief is sure to follow.”

    I think Shermer’s on to something here . . .

    “Peace 2 U!”

  13. Logic Window Says:

    Dear Michael,
    Hi, this is our website
    We created it to prove to the world that God doesn’t exist. Also atheism is as dangerous as creationism. Both ideologies are terribly wrong and will bring destruction to mankind. Please log in, we promise surprises, something you probably haven’t heard of in your entire life. But most importantly, once you read everything we posted there, you will win all debates with creationists. Also don’t forget to email us about our website.

  14. Tadeu Hyppolito Says:

    As always happen, it is easy to explain things from the stand point of the observer. Of course Dr. Shermer is an observer and it is understandable the matter for the ones at the same stand point. For me, as example, it easy and logical the theory depicted above. But it may be not so simple to ones living inside the context , either as the target or with a pathology !! It would be glad if everyone could undesrtand and change their minds when reading such self explaining argument .

  15. Åsa Stephens Says:

    Really enjoying the book. I fell off a swing as a kid seeing some other person fall and then realising it was me. Not that I have been dwelling on this through my life but did wonder why that could happened. Now I got a very good explanation for it. Thank you!

  16. Chris Says:

    Mr. Shermer, have you studied Near Death Experiences (NDE’s) enough to comment on atheist Dr. Jeffrey Long’s book on the afterlife and thousands of NDE’s, “I Survived…Beyond and Back,” and medical doctors who claim that it would be completely impossible for NDE’ers to see and know what they’ve seen while “hovering” above the operating room?

  17. Pjo Riley Says:

    I read The Believing Brain earlier this year and for once, the reality of millions of worldwide God-believers makes some sense to me (an atheist). I had always thought the call to belief in a creator as entirely a cultural construct, but that didn’t jibe with the many scientists and physicists and thinkers engaged in what I saw as rational thought who also believe in a creator. How could they find room for belief in the seemingly mythical while daily operating in such logical arenas?

    We accept that human physical development is influenced by millenia of survival tactics and environmental fitness. Why would that not apply to belief systems too? After reading Shermer’s book I felt a sense of relief at the notion that genetic predisposition may exert a sizeable influence on God-belief. Besides the many cultural reasons for faith, believing may be as natural to some people as breathing. As desire.

  18. John Tolhurst Says:

    Loved your book – I been waiting to read such a thing all my life! ha ha ha! You finally confirmed my belief that pretty much everything that’s not actual science by actual scientists is hokey pokey.

    Now a challenge to you as co-founder of RAAM. Ride my cruzbike in our team and verify that the world rides diamond frame bikes purely out of an ungrounded belief they are better.

    Again, loved your book, thanks for the hard work, for writing it and for sharing.

  19. John Tolhurst Says:

    Dr Shermer, check this out:

    Here is a description of what we might usually call a deep religious experience, but explained scientifically. If you havn’t seen it already, you’ll love it.

  20. Justine Says:


    funny you should write — just what I was searching for. your posting number is significant to me too. the day I was born on. I was always drawn toward A.E. writings and reasoning. his intellect-on the universe and God.

    I stumble on to this site by accident and found these quotes– and I’m just in awe. I do believe the universe can guide and hear. some true magic, if your open to it and believe.

    thank you

  21. faraz Says:

    Have read the first 3 chapters of “The believing brain”. Having a great time reading it…

  22. Justine Says:


    what do you find the most interesting aspect of this book?

    just curious, since you noted — you’re having a great time with it.

  23. the Says:

    5000 whining atheists vs the Great Prophet

    one applicant right here…

    get the POINT, Randi….

  24. Robert Says:

    To Michael Shermer;
    It’s simply evolution of the species.
    Atheists brains are more evolved than theists brains. There are physical, structural, biological and chemical differences in the brains of atheists and theists. What one believes, as far as religion goes, is part genetic and part learned. Parts of the hardware of religious peoples brains are still stuck in the bronze age. But other parts of their brains work fine. The parts of the brain that control religious belief are different from the parts of the brain that control other things.

    Evolution didn’t stop. It’s going on right now. The human brain as well as the human body, continues to evolve.
    Individuals within a species evolve at different rates.
    In a way, religious people are like modern day Neanderthals.
    I’m a scientist, and I have a book coming out soon that will explain the above in depth.
    It’s simply evolution of the species.

  25. Art Says:

    Though I’m not religious, and have no intention of presenting a defense of religiousness per se, I do find comments like Robert’s above rather condescending, arrogant, and, thus, problematic.

    One thought that occurs is that many of those we tend to look at as some of the most exemplary examples of what Humanity can rise to . . . many of those are religious people . . . Your Gandhi’s, your King’s, your Theresa’s, your Mandela’s, your Tutu’s, your Lama’s, etc. How many scientists, in contrast, make it onto such a list?

    If Robert, then, has the answer, and we are evolving toward being “Homo-Scientificus,” it would seem we are, then, evolving AWAY from our best-ness . . .

    “Peace 2 U!”

  26. christopher Cozens Says:

    I was born in a Christian Family but for 24 years, I did not Beleive in Anything…
    Because of the Facts that I perceived like Society and other people were pushing me in a corner to Believe in Something, I chose the easy way out …

    wich was wrong, Our belief system is organic and Dynamic , always changing and Evolving like an Atheist transforming into theist… I wonder if our Beliefs are Trigguered By our experiences?

    Deep inner Reflection is needed at different times in are lives to keep us Centered and Ballanced…

    I lived a Mundane uneventfull periode of my life Beileving in living as Society and Familly Wanted from me, not thinking too much about the “Something” out there,

    Somebody Trigguered My concsience at one point by challenging my Beliefs, and I’m thanfull for that now… and that’s when My life started to make sense, I started practicing Altruism and the change was like night and Day, When you do good things, First of all, it feels good, and Secondly , Great things started to Happen to me …

    When I went thru my Spiritual Awakening like Thousands of others will tell you…. you feel like you were put on this Earth for a reason… Maybe it’s the Mind playing tricks on you, or maybe it’s just your conscience taking over your Ego…

    I Relate to Mr. D’Arpino’s story because I went thru the same thing, I was completely lost and at an extremely low point in my life, People arround me had Weird Beliefs like:
    “Never show any sign of weekness” or even worse ” I never share My Emotionnal status with anyone” or “Never reaveal your Secrets” How are you supposed to Grow with that Attitude?

    These people are living in Fear I told to Myself… I never ever want to become like this, I remember thinking….theses people had been so Damaged by there life experiences that life itself Distorted there Belief Systems to the point that they were afraid to lve life to there full potential…

    When I think of potential, I see only when you reflect on who you really are, ask yourself the question’s that really Matter… only then will you unmask your true potential… Lots of Great people on Earth have done things that Exeed The normal person’s expectation’s and can only Dream of one day being as good as them…. they perceive them as Gods…

    Maybe there’s a God inside all of us? only waiting to be unlocked by our Perception of who is God?

  27. Art Says:

    @ Christopher: Well said!

    And like Big Al said above (#22), U can’t explain these things to the Shermers of the world. If they don’t have the experience, they will likely never know all that they don’t know:

    ”It is very difficult to elucidate this [cosmic religious] feeling to anyone who is entirely without it. . . The religious geniuses of all ages have been distinguished by this kind of religious feeling, which knows no dogma and no God conceived in man’s image; so that there can be no church whose central teachings are based on it … In my view, it is the most important function of art and science to awaken this feeling and keep it alive in those who are receptive to it” – Albert Einstein.

    Be well, my friend.

    “Peace 2 U!”

  28. christopher Cozens Says:

    @ Art: Many Thanks my friend!

    Did you ever read anything from James Redfield…
    especially “The Celestine Vision” I think that will be right up your Alley,

    I was at the corner store for no particular reason on a Saturday morning, I picked up the local Newspaper, Opened it up right down the middle and there it was…

    Coincidence? … Probably … Divine intervention?……. I don’t know… sounds farfetched but not impossible, considering your Mr Fly story of Above,( Cool story by the way) Anything is possible…

    Anyway, the first page of the newspaper I end up on is this Editorial about this American Spiritual Writer named James Redfield telling us about his new book…

    The page was telling me ( you need to get this book there’s something here For you at this point in time)…

    so, that’s what I did, I got in my car, Drove strait to the book store where I began to Devour his Teachings… I thought… man if only the people I knew read this, I’d have something interesting to debate about…

    Now I’m getting the Scientific Rational Side of it all… by Reading Michael Shermer’s book, And maybe later I’ll know where I stand… But who cares Anyway… Ah the human Brain… So complex … Peace

  29. Art Says:

    Hi Christopher;

    I did his “Celestine Prophecy” many moons ago . . . definitely good reading . . . I’ll have to check out his “Vision.”

    I love your “And maybe later I’ll know where I stand” . . . I think that’s a wonderful place to be . . . open to exploring all sides of the Quest-ion . . . rather than entrenched in this camp or that . . . Which leads, as Shermer rightly points out, to belief-dependent reality where we close ourselves off to opposing points of view . . . diminishing ourselves in the process . . .

    “Peace 2U!”

  30. christopher Cozens Says:

    Exactly my friend, you are very open, Art, I am working on Building an ideological Bridge to fill the gap between Science and Spirituality…

    Scientist’s Have there point of view, witch I find very compelling, (The facts and evidence are there, just waiting to be challenged)… And spiritual leaders have there own Mindset, I just feel open to explore all possibilities …

    Of course if you cannot even accept that everybody has there own Belief’s, (many for extremely personal reason’s) Because of there bad experiences or good experiences,… one would be living in a belief-dependent reality…

    Most seem to get aggressive toward me when I challenge there Belief’s… That’s how war begins… I want to challenge people in a peaceful way using words and ideas without judgment…

    Also, Most think I’m Crazy for even talking about this stuff, But I tend to Gravitate to the idea that there just mixed up people inside… What does that mean?
    Am I the one who is mixed up for seeking the Truth?

    Very well said Art… Peace to you… the never ending story continues…

  31. Art Says:

    @ Christopher:

    I’m reading your words & thinking, “Wow, he sounds just like me!” I just finished a paper (I’m working on a Masters in Transpersonal Psychology, Sofia Univ.) in which I look at/posit Synchronicity and Quantum Entanglement as potentially being just such a “Bridge between Science and Spirituality”! . . . a bridge between the Shermers and those who can’t so easily dismiss their meaningful experiences as “mere coincidence.”

    And indeed, many have looked at me too as being “Crazy” for even positing these things . . . But when U start seeing some of the greatest SCIENTIFIC minds (i.e., your Einsteins, your Paulis, your Bohms) positing the same thing, based on the latest insights of SCIENCE (i.e., Quantum Entanglement), then we really have to ask ourselves, who is being blinded by their “belief-dependent reality”???

    Lovin’ your insights!

    “Peace 2 U!”

  32. christopher Cozens Says:

    @ Art: Thank you, I appreciate your Wisdom… My Email is
    Feel free to Discuss your views with me, I enjoy them as well… I may even go take a philosophy or maybe even theology Class… without dismissing science, these ways of thinking have been around way before science has… worth it? Have a great day!

  33. Art Says:

    Hey C.C;

    Just sent U my paper. Would love to hear your thoughts. I’m actually thinking about sending it to Shermer (as he figures prominently therein) . . . Wonder whether he’d respond?

    “Peace 2 U!”

  34. John Heininger Says:

    “The brain is a belief engine.” we are told. Why then does this innate human characteristic still exist particularly when “natural selection” supposedly preserves only that which is useful, and rejects that which is not. Meaning, why would natural selection preserve within human genetics the need for the vast majority of humanity to believe in transcendent creative agenticity, if nothing existed beyond mere “matter in motion”. .

  35. Art Says:

    Hi John;

    Interesting question. My take on Shermer’s take would be that a kind of “hyper-agenticity” is evolutionarily advantageous to our species . . . He uses the example of someone walking through the bush in Africa who hears a rustling in nearby bushes . . . If one waits for “scientific certainty” that the rustling is a predator before reacting, that certainty will likely come too late . . . One will be lunch, and thus removed from the gene pool. It is thus advantageous to assume the rustling is a predator (granting it “agenticity”) and react accordingly. Most times one would probably be wrong, and would be overreacting . . . But one would still be around for one’s genes to stay in Da Pool.

    So it doesn’t necessarily follow that, because it is advantageous to grant agenticity, there must be an actual agent. Most times, it will only be the rustling of the wind.

    “Peace 2 U!”

  36. Rose Bellitzia Says:

    The following needs a mend: “Part III, “Belief in Things Unseen” applies my theory beliefs to the afterlife, “. . “my theory beliefs” makes no sense! There are other minor but unprofessional mistakes here. I “believe” you need a editor!

  37. martin Says:

    you are comparing the partial collapse of that school building to the wtc collapse. laughable. you have not employed any science here that i can detect.