The Science of Belief

Is seeing truly believing, or is it something more?


As a child, I grew up with a very confusing set of morals. On one side was my father, whose family had no belief in God or anything of the sort; on the other hand was my mother's family, who were extremely Christian and often self-loathing. From a very young age, I discovered that I hated church. My brother and I would walk out of the service to stop the bleeding in our ears from hearing some dude who was just as lost and confused as we were, but pretended to know the answers - and that nothing else should ever be questioned.

I wondered why - even though I knew what I was being told was complete nonsense - I would still defend my beliefs if someone was to try to prove me wrong; or even feel hurt when someone would say something like "do you really need a bearded man in the sky threatening eternal suffering to be a good person?" Why did it affect me? If I truly believed this to be fact, would it bother me? This is the thought that sparked my thinking that the reason it's hard to change someone's opinion isn't because they don't want to perceive the world accurately. It's simply that we have other important goals besides accuracy—including identity affirmation and protecting one's sense of self—and often those make us highly resistant to changing our beliefs when the facts say we should. 

Our current time is getting extremely dangerous, and we are all well aware that there are a huge range of issues right now including climate change and vaccine debates. A team of researchers from the Yale School of Medicine and Penn State College of Medicine have discovered an alarming association between vaccines and brain disorders. "In this study, influenza vaccinations were strongly correlated with both anorexia and OCD. At the same time, new research by the Centers of Disease Control and prevention scientists have shown the mercury—containing preservative thimerosal to be as toxic and as brain damaging as other forms of mercury. Yet muti-dose flu vaccines still contain thimerosal, and flu vaccines are still recommended for pregnant women and infants."

Despite all of this information at our disposal, very little to nothing is being done about it. People are still injecting their children or themselves with mystery chemicals and for what? This reaction can also be referred to as something you've probably heard before: the glorious fight or flight response. This is a basic human survival skill originally used many, many moons ago to instead of think about what you're going to do once something threatening arises, to simply react or escape the situation but has now also mutated into some weird fucked up sort of Stockholm syndrome towards our own government. We're pushing scary information away and rationalizing what we want to hear at all costs. 

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The Science of Belief