Friday, April 10, 2009

The God Projector

At this point in the many decades that I have been contemplating the question, the non-existence of God or any other gods is quite clear to me. I’m as confident about that conclusion as I am about any philosophical, abstract, or non-observable matter. God’s non-existence seems as sure as oxygen’s existence. Perhaps that is the result of my being too impressed with the power of my own logic. But there are some other powerful indicators that I take as corroboration. In the last 50 years, serious theistically minded philosophers, for the most part, have abandoned evidential or “natural” approaches to the problem. The emergence of alternative characterizations of religious belief like process theology, existential theology, fideism, reformed epistemology, mystical and religious experience accounts, Wittgensteinian accounts, and others all implicitly or explicitly concede the point that attempting to gather evidence or produce arguments that are sufficient to render belief in God reasonable is doomed to fail. It is also clear that neither arguments nor evidence were the source of it in the first place. They never led people to love, tithe, build cathedrals, sacrifice themselves, strap on suicide bombs, go to war, or embrace cults. Religious beliefs do, however. That is to say that whatever is going on in the vast majority of people who are religious, it is not a matter of thoughtful reflection on the evidence. They became religious without that, and the sustain a high level of belief withou it. I also take the widespread consensus among my philosophy of religion students over the years to be significant: in their view, the whole philosophical project of inquiring into the evidence that could provide epistemic justification for the existence of God is perverse and alien. Many of them were 22 or 25 or older before they had ever heard someone even pose the question, “What is the evidence that we have that would make believing in God reasonable?” That strikes them as odd because that never had anything to do with God beliefs that they knew of.

So to sum up, these reasons lead me to think that belief in God for most people is not a matter of accepting a reasonable conclusion based on an evaluation of the evidence: first, there are lots of powerful arguments for thinking that there is no God that I have detailed in scores of blog posts; second, even the theologians and philosophers have abandoned evidential or natural approaches to belief in God; third, the level of devotion (and insanity) that is common among religious believers suggests that something more passional or psychological is going on; and fourth, most people, including believers, seem to think that religious belief is a matter of faith, or personal preference, or disposition, but not reasoning.

That all leaves us facing an incredible question: why then do so many people believe, and believe and act they way they do about God? Our inquiry into possible rational grounds has not produced any results that can reflect the passionate commitment, or the consuming power of religious belief in the human psyche. So we are left with trying to suss out the non-rational causes of belief, the psychological, sociological, neurobiological, and evolutionary forces that have shaped this monster in the human mind. Many of my recents posts have pursued these hypotheses. Here’s an interesting possibility.

The human visual system is constructed to produce a stunning illusion when it is confronted with a rotating mask of a face. As the mask rotates and the back, concave side comes into view, it will appear at first that the inside of the mask curves out away from you. But as it continues to rotate, the inner surface that should be curved away suddenly pops forward so that it looks like the face is bulging out normally towards you. What should be the inside looks like a normal face looking at you. Look at this example: http://www.michaelbach.de/ot/fcs_hollow-face/index.html

The cognitive dissonance of the effect is striking because you know that the inner surface is curving away and that the nose should be in reverse image, but it looks just like a normal convex face. And no matter what cognitive effort you exert, you can’t not see the face sticking out. You are unable to look at the inside of a mask and see it as the inside.

Daniel Dennett (Breaking the Spell, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, Explaining Consciousness, Sweet Dreams) has argued that evolution has equipped the human mind with an intentionality projector, a mind endower, or a self broadcaster. We are highly prone to endow other entities, particularly ones with complex and difficult to predict behavior, with a mind. We don’t just see another organism as an object that moves, we see a self there, a being with a perspective. There is some way that the world appears to it and it has plans, desires, knowledge, and beliefs. Modeling other entities behavior in terms of its possessing intentionalilty has enormous predictive value. If I can think about what the wolf wants, what it knows, what plans it has, and what it will do next then I have a much better chance of thwarting those plans. (That’s good if it wants to eat me.) I don’t recall Dennett putting the point this way, but isn’t this propensity to endow certain kinds of entities with an intentional mind very difficult to supress? Isn’t it very hard to us to not see certain kinds of beings as possessing a mind? It would be very hard, for example, to see another human being who is talking to me and acting normally the way I would see a tree blowing in the wind, or a rock sitting on the path. I can’t help but see you as a self—a center of consciousness that is navigating the same world I inhabit but by a different path and set of experiences.

What if believing in God, feeling God, or experiencing God in the world and in our lives is a forced cognitive illusion that is a product of our wiring the way the rotating mask illusion is? What if we can’t help but believe, or experience God or some near analog?

Many people find this new agey idea quite charming—there’s the same element of the divine in everyone. We should see all different religions and spirituals experiences as manifestations of the same divine inspiration in all of us. All different spiritualities are accessing the same fundamental force or energy. Of course, when the point is put this way, it is celebratory. Religious feelings are a good thing to be encouraged in all, and the common thread to them all is a confirmation that there is something larger and more powerful than all of us.

I am suggesting a darker analysis. The God Illusion (yes, that’s very close to Dawkins’ The God Delusion) is a cognitive error, a throw back, side effect, or kludgey by product of our believing and perceptual systems. We are naturally endowed with propensity to project God out into the world as one of the things we experience, or an answer to our questions, or the cause of some events. We’re like a cavefish that dangles a glowing light in front of its own face, but has no clue that its coming from its own head. Everywhere we go, we keep seeing or feeling God, or arriving at God as the underlying cause or explanation of it all. “Surely God is great, powerful, and omnipresent!” Every time something tragic happens, our thoughts turn to God. And when something great befalls, then God must be praised and thanked. “God is infinitely wise and has a plan for me. And God is unimaginably good too. We should praise him!”

But those feelings and beliefs are illusions. He’s not really there. There is no face pointing out at you, but you just can’t help but think that there is. You can’t not think God is real.

29 comments:

Ketan said...

Hi, Matt!

I don't remember the exact entry, but in one of your previous posts, you'd alluded to how the human mind projects intentionality to everything it encounters, so that its (object's) behavior would seem to have a pattern, and be predictable.

I think, of all the posts of yours I've read, this is the one I liked the best. It's written so well, with such appealing analogies, and is so complete, that there's nothing left of me to do, but praise.

If you are miffed that I'm simply praising your writing and not the inherent idea, then I can only say that I too had long back concluded something similar, but very vaguely so, and not in such precise terms, so I totally agree with you.

I'd resolved (not very resolutely, though!) that I won't comment on your posts as it was proving very time consuming. But I don't regret ending up commenting :)

Take care (TC).

mikespeir said...

"And no matter what cognitive effort you exert, you can’t not see the face sticking out. You are unable to look at the inside of a mask and see it as the inside."

But I do seem to be able to see a universe devoid of gods.

ungullible said...

This sounds similar to Michael Shermer's theory (I think it's his) that we are evolutionary pattern seekers. And we naturally err on the side of seeing patterns that don't actually exist (false positives) rather than missing those that do exist (false negatives) because the former is a less costly mistake than the latter. Wasting a little energy on a rain dance to the rain gods is not as costly to our survival as not noticing that the crop you planted needs watering.

Your theory is very intriguing, but the pattern seeker theory seems to allow for more variability in beliefs and the application of some logic to override the evolutionary basis, which seems a better fit for explaining that we atheists do exist.

Toby said...

What would happen to a group of individuals if they were taught from birth to reason only using natural methodologies and were never told of any supernatural phenomenons? Isolated from contemporary religious beliefs, there is a chance that religious-like beliefs would develop from these built in evolutionary mechanisms you refer to, and also from faulty observations of cause and effect. Yet, I am fairly certain that given a large enough sample, the same inverse correlation between IQ and religious belief would be present. However, if the group was taught to utilize scientific reasoning well, then I would guess religiousity would be quite low, even in those with lower IQ's. I base this one the observation that individuals raised in homes with high levels of religiousity who are trained in the sciences decrease in religiousity porpotional to their level of education. People love to find the outlyers, but education typically drives down religiousity.

Outlyers are indeed remarkable. Take Ken Miller, author of "Finding Darwins God." To me, though I read his book as a Christian and became convinced of the truthfulness of evolutionary theory, I was unable to maintain belief in a personal God for any significant length of time after fully adopting evolutionary theory. So, how he continues to believe is beyond me. I have speculated (thought less thoroughly than you outlined) that there are neuromechanisms in his brain causing belief to persist. I still wonder: "How can an intelligent person be that dumb about god(s)?"

Toby said...

And before any theists criticize my post by telling me that there are millions of highly intelligent people who believe in god(s); yes, I know that intelligent people believe in god(s), but numerous studies have shown, the greater the intelligence the less likely the person is to believe in god(s) and religiousity does decline purpotionate to one's intelligence (statistically speaking).

Dr Andrew A. Adams said...

There is a very good book by Reeves and Nass called "The Media Equation" looking at the psychological responses of human beings to various media, including television and computers in particular. One of the telling elements which jibes quite well with the ideas presented here is solid evidence that our psychological reactions to computers automatically ascribe human emotional contexts to machines. One of a number of well-documented examples is the subconscious positive bias we make when filling out a survey about the qualities of a computer program. If we fill it out on the same physical computer on which we used the program, then we give higher scores than if we fill it out on a different (but otherwise identical) machine. So, given a lab with two identical Dell computers in them if we fill out the questionnaire on the one we used a program on then we give higher results for the program than sitting at an identical machine. The only mechanism that seems plausible for this conclusion is that we're hardwired to avoid hurting the feelings of the computer we used. These results are consistent even among people with a high level of education about computers and a high level of intelligence. So, there are hrd wired subconscious elements of the human brain that attempt to ascribe human-like qualities to everything we interact with. Hence "don't make the lightning mad" is perfectly reasonable as a first hard-wired reaction. However, what makes humans different from most animals is our abilities to communicate abstract ideas in multiple forms, including writing. In addition to our conscious and subconscious minds we have generated new meta-rules such as science which allow us to bypass our hardwired perceptions and reactions to some extent. So, although it may be impossible for us to directly perceive the concave face sculpture as its reality of convex, we are capable of taking multiple viewings of it, including oblique ones where the visual illusion does not interfere with the accuracy of our perceptions. We then beliueve that the sculpture is concave even when the evidence of our senses from certain viewpoints is that it is convex. The difference between a religious and a non-religious person is, to my mind, that when confronted with the concave/convex perceptual discontinuity, a religious person declaims "a miracle" that transcends our understanding of reality. A scientific person looks at the evidence of sight (sometimes concave, sometimes convex) the evidence of touch (always concave); the evidence of multiple sight (always concave from some viewpoints, convex only at times, consistently so) and comes to the conclusion that the convexity is an illusion, and then continues to explore why the illusion occurs. A non-religious person explores the unvierse with all their senses and tries to create a consistent theory which is true for all people at all times, and then adjusts that theory when it is shown to be partly invalid (see Lakatos' Proofs and Refutations). A religious person declaims a miracle and says that something is beyond understanding, and is hurt when others proffer a non-miraculous explanation. I've posted elsewhere on my own blog (http://blog.a-cubed.info/index.php?p=84) about Roger Zelazny's excellent description of this tendency whereby "bowing before the unknown" and "calling it unknowable" makes one lose sight of the solid foundations of the universe. As has been said many times by others, antibiotics, radios, airplanes and many other technological achievements of modern life would be miraculous to someone from the middle ages, but are not miracles, just the application of solid exploration of the physical universe.

Matt McCormick said...

Thanks Dr. AA, this is one of the more thoughtful responses I've had in a while. Two ideas: first, what sort of real empirical testing could be devised that could check the God projector hypothesis. Your evidence and the evidence that I cite are examples that are at best consistent with the idea, but we need some testing that could possibly disconfirm it. Second, I like the suggestion that some people try to find inconsistent data, like the mask viewed from an angle, and then they aren't satisfied until they can explain it, while others have a favored view and they stick to it while rejecting any evidence that might counter it. We've all certainly seen both. I think it's uncharitable to say that that distinction is between religiously minded and scientifically minded people. There are surely people in both camps who are guilty of the denying/ignoring counter evidence mistake, and there are people in both camps that are actively and earnestly trying to incorporate all the evidence into one comprehensive picture. But I agree, of course, that ultimately theism cannot be reconciled with all the evidence when you take this large view. Thanks again. I'll look at your blog.

MM

Anonymous said...

Yes matt God's existence is not about evidence but transcendance. If only the atheist could get out of his mind for a bit the world may reveal a new prespective

Ketan said...

Dr. Adams,

Interesting experiment with interesting result!

Just one doubt, there must be people taking the test, who're difficult to satisfy and could be labeled as (for want of a better term), vindictive. Would their giving low scores to the machines they worked on not lower the scores for those macines for the same reason that the user would want to "hurt" the feelings? Of course, I'd myself concede that this is suspicion is difficult to address experimentally.

Is it possible to compare results for those much more acquainted with the process of software-development with those totally clueless about it? I suspect that the above mentioned bias would be less likely found in the former group as knowing the workings of a software would NOT make them assign human qualities to it (software/machine).

With this point (analogy), I'd also like to take off from the point made by professor McCormick, that even if people of both the dispositions (tending to label a certain phenomenon as miraculous v/s trying to find consistent reasons for it) exist among theists as well as atheists, in my personal experience, I've found people of science usually to be (materialist/rationalist) of (in my opinion, because they have better idea of how the "Universe works") the latter disposition, i.e., less likely to assign human-qualities to the world around them (say, pantheism) and also less likely to attribute that to some supernatural, inexplicable phenomenon (say, God created and operates the world in INSCRUTABLE ways). I'd like to believe that these assumptions
are not merely wishful thinking on my part as I don't have any studies to back these speculations.

Take care.

Ketan said...

Anonymous, the issue with an atheist (okay, me, an atheist) is not the inability to imagine (transcendence); it's only with incorporating that imagination into my account of how the world is, and why so. TC.

Teleprompter said...

Anonymous,

How exactly would you define "transcendence"?

Therein lies the "devil in the details", to use an ironic metaphor.

If I transcend through Islam, and you are a Hindu or a Christian, you will be upset. If I transcend through Hinduism, and you are a Muslim or a Christian, you will be upset. If I transcend through Christianity, and you are a Hindu or a Muslim, you will be upset.

If I transcend as a Sunni, and you are a Shi'a, you will be upset. If I transcend through Roman Catholicism, and you are a "born-again" Christian, you will be upset.

Do you see how there could be significant problems if one relies on "transcendence" alone in the approach to religion/spirituality?

Anonymous said...

I dont see any problems with transcedance throughout different religions. Whether your a budda, christan, or muslim, transenance is trancedance. Some of you here are treating transcedance as a logically framed notion which is a mistake.

Ketan I dont think a trancedant experience is imaginary. But if it was how does that make it not real or shall we say false?

Teleprompter said...

Anonymous,

What is the value of transcendance and what is its necessity if it does not lead to valid conclusions about the state of the supernatural? Am I missing something?

Are you suggesting that even if you have no way of determining whether your belief system is valid, that you would still follow it anyway, without further questioning?

Why is it so important to you that you would allow for far more uncertainty in this area of your life than you would reasonably allow in any other kind of decision? Are the benefits irrespective to the validity of the actual claims?

Ketan said...

Anonymous, it'd be more useful if we come up with how we define "transcendence". All the entities we confidently know of (tangible objects; physical quantities like mass, energy, force, electric charge; empirical principles like law of conservation of mass and energy, "bad money drives good money out of the market", "there's no free lunch") either can be directly perceived through our senses or at least can be verified (for the predictable and consistent effects they produce, which in turn are perceptible/measurable). Needless to say, the above entities increase our knowledge of what we know about the world, both in terms of its present state, and why and how it came to be that way. Of course, every person's knowledge would be limited by two factors--their personal inability to acquire knowledge in more than one professions (say it's very difficult for an engineer to acquire as much knowledge and understanding of economics as the most knowledgeable economist, and conversely, it's difficult for the economist to gain as much expertise to be able to build a bridge without external guidance) and by the limitation of body of knowledge of experts in the said field. So, when I use the term transcendence, I mean "use of a mental faculty other than the ones that make us aware of the above ("worldly") entities". What is that mental faculty? I'd call it transcendence. It is some or the other kind of imagination.

My argument in favor of this statement is--one cannot feel to acquire transcendent knowledge unless one "puts one's mind to it". Can you feel "the presence of God" or "or feel one with the God" while playing a computer game, or negotiating a difficult turn on the road, or trying to mentally calculate the square of 26? What I'm trying to drive at is that transcendal experience requires us to momentarily suspend all other complex mental functions we'd be performing at that time. We've to devote mental capacity for it. In that sense it is what imagination is.

Now of course, imagination can be of various kinds--totally goal oriented--like if I ask you to imagine the Moon to be a round mirror (level 1), or it can be some form of abstraction--someone wringing joy out of your "soul" (level 2), or it could be a form of wishful fantasy--say at the end of your reverie you become rich by simply opening a grocery store (level 3). You'd easily agree that all the three are acts of imagination...

Ketan said...

But, I'd point out that all are in decreasing order of apparent volition involved. In the first case, you've to actively imagine, and had I asked to imagine something conceptually more complex (say, how feedback and feedforward inhibition between neurons occur), you'd have required to "concentrate harder" (i.e., use up more of your volition). In the second case, one needn't concentrate that hard, meaning one needn't actually see the color, shape and size of one's soul, nor whether the one wringing your soul is doing so in clockwise sense or counterclockwise sense! In the third case, the element of volition is not apparent, but it is indeed subconscious. If you'd be jealous of your neighbor, you could use the same device (grocery store) to make him lose all his money (go bankrupt).

Most of the transcendental experiences border between levels 2 and 3 I mentioned here. I can visualize an electric rock song to hit me in "waves of enthusiasm", corresponding with each beat of the song. I can also feel inner peace spreading within me like sun rays gradually emanating from the horizon and illuminating the sky and the landscape, when I say listen to Richard Clayedrman's music. The last two are very similar to transcendental experiences. Don't mistake the presence of a physical stimulus (sound waves) to be a prerequisite for such experiences. Over time I can learn to be hit with the currents of enthusiasm and visualize the spread of that inner peace even by just "playing the music in my head".

Similarly when one "feels one with the God", say through meditation, one is visualizing abstract things
with a degree of volition specific to the person as well as their state of mind (mood). When a panentheist feels the manifestation of God in the world around us, the stimulus is the awe experienced at the complexity of the Universe.

To put my origingal post in perspective, if I'd be asked to describe the nature of music, I'm not going to call it "wave of enthusiasm that hits people at regular intervals" or as "inner peace spreading within one's mind"; rather, I'd still describe it as rhythmic disturbance of air produced by vibrating diaphragm of the speaker, which in turn disturbs the ear drum with the same frequency and proportionate amplitude, in turn the mechanical energy of vibrations getting transduced by cochlea to action potentials, which are synthesized by the brain to form the sensory experience of "music"...

Ketan said...

Why do I choose the latter account as "truth" and not the former two?

Because the former ones are subjective (someone could visualize Clayedrman's music as honey spreading over pancake!) and thus inconsistent (you'd call it simply noise if all you want is to sleep peacefully for some time!), and most important, that won't help me create more music. Whereas, through latter (materialistic) explanation, I could create more music. By which I'm not implying that knowledge of acoustics is useful, but just that each time someone records music it attests to the accuracy of our understanding of acoustics, audiology and neurology. Now you could try to read my original post in this perspective and undertand why I'm fully capable of having transcendental experiences (like feeling one with the God or feel the presence of God in the world around; to tell you, I've been a believer in the past, and indeed used to see the world in these ways at various points in time), but won't use it as a correct account of the way the world (Universe) is.

For a more meaningful dialogue, please do tell about your definition/understanding/idea of transcendence.

Reginald Selkirk said...

Hollow Mask Illusion Fails To Fool Schizophrenia Patients

Ketan said...

That was an interesting article. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

The value of trancendance tele is obvious wheras a valid conclusion is not despite it being correct or shall we say true. You must admit to yourself that not every truth or shall we say correct thing is framed into a binary framework in logic - some truths are self evident. And these self evident truths often provide the basis for mathmatics etc. trancendance I believe is a way of receiving truth from mean other than analysis. If any of you reject obtaining knowledge by any other means than analysis then you may want to further explore how you learned things about the world before you made it to your intro logic course...

Ketan,to frame transcendance as imaginary is way off.

Here is the notion of transcendance from a well known philosopher via wiki style...

Immanuel Kant


""In modern philosophy, Kant introduced a new term - transcendental, thus instituting a new, third meaning. In his theory of knowledge, this concept is concerned with the conditions of possibility of knowledge itself. He also opposed the term transcendental to the term transcendent, the latter meaning "that, which goes beyond" (transcends) any possible knowledge of a human being.[2] For him transcendental meant knowledge about our cognitive faculty with regard to how objects are possible a priori. "I call all knowledge transcendental if it is occupied, not with objects, but with the way that we can possibly know objects even before we experience them."[3] He also equated transcendental with that which is "...in respect of the subject's faculty of cognition."[4] Something is transcendental if it plays a role in the way in which the mind "constitutes" objects and makes it possible for us to experience them as objects in the first place. Ordinary knowledge is knowledge of objects; transcendental knowledge is knowledge of how it is possible for us to experience those objects as objects. This is based on Kant's acceptance of David Hume's argument that certain general features of objects (e.g. persistence, causal relationships) cannot derive from the sense impressions we have of them. Kant argues that the mind must contribute those features and make it possible for us to experience objects as objects. In the central part of his Critique of Pure Reason, the "Transcendental Deduction of the Categories", Kant argues for a deep interconnection between the ability to have self-consciousness and the ability to experience a world of objects. Through a process of synthesis, the mind generates both the structure of objects and its own unity"""

Anonymous said...

The value of trancendance tele is obvious wheras a valid conclusion is not despite it being correct or shall we say true. You must admit to yourself that not every truth or shall we say correct thing is framed into a binary framework in logic - some truths are self evident. And these self evident truths often provide the basis for mathmatics etc. trancendance I believe is a way of receiving truth from mean other than analysis. If any of you reject obtaining knowledge by any other means than analysis then you may want to further explore how you learned things about the world before you made it to your intro logic course...

Ketan,to frame transcendance as imaginary is way off.

Here is the notion of transcendance from a well known philosopher via wiki style...

Immanuel Kant


""In modern philosophy, Kant introduced a new term - transcendental, thus instituting a new, third meaning. In his theory of knowledge, this concept is concerned with the conditions of possibility of knowledge itself. He also opposed the term transcendental to the term transcendent, the latter meaning "that, which goes beyond" (transcends) any possible knowledge of a human being.[2] For him transcendental meant knowledge about our cognitive faculty with regard to how objects are possible a priori. "I call all knowledge transcendental if it is occupied, not with objects, but with the way that we can possibly know objects even before we experience them."[3] He also equated transcendental with that which is "...in respect of the subject's faculty of cognition."[4] Something is transcendental if it plays a role in the way in which the mind "constitutes" objects and makes it possible for us to experience them as objects in the first place. Ordinary knowledge is knowledge of objects; transcendental knowledge is knowledge of how it is possible for us to experience those objects as objects. This is based on Kant's acceptance of David Hume's argument that certain general features of objects (e.g. persistence, causal relationships) cannot derive from the sense impressions we have of them. Kant argues that the mind must contribute those features and make it possible for us to experience objects as objects. In the central part of his Critique of Pure Reason, the "Transcendental Deduction of the Categories", Kant argues for a deep interconnection between the ability to have self-consciousness and the ability to experience a world of objects. Through a process of synthesis, the mind generates both the structure of objects and its own unity"""

Ketan said...

How, is point 4 in Kant's idea of transcendental any different from my abstract description of music? Nothing becomes knowledge unless it is verifiable and consistent across persons. More on this some time later.

Anonymous said...

Ketan, i'm not sure I am understanding you. In one sense you are saying transcendance is imaginary but in another you say it can be useful in regards to music. I don't think transcendental knowledge claims to take place of ordinary knowledge i.e. scientific knowledge etc. But there are some things about the wrold that cannot be known through merely external impressions alone. As Kant believed one is preocupied with objects and the other with the knowledge of the knowledge of objects.

Reginald Selkirk said...

One thing about the hollow mask/schizophrenia study that bothers me: they didn't actually use hollow masks. Instead they used stereo pair images. As someone who uses stereo imagery for a living, I know that they have limitations. You can view a stereo pair in two different ways, by diverging your eyes (wall-eyed) or by crossing them. The direction of the third dimension depends on which method you use. This could be restricted by the eyewear used, but in either case the stereo pair information is decoupled from other 3D cues such as depth of focus.

Dr Andrew A. Adams said...

Replying to ketan's queries above. The experiments reported by Reeves and Nass included consistent higher scores from those with great experience of computer programming and software engineering as well as from those without such experience/ability. Much of their point was that this is a completely subconscious bias. Other elements of psychology tell us that being aware of such a bias may help us to reduce the effects of it, but such a subconscious bias is very difficult to remove in providing qualitative measures. However, the practice of science depends to a great extent on independent measurement. It is the use of independent measures that allows us to identify our subconscious biases towards pattern seeking (as ungullible discusses above) and to remove them from our process as much as possible. Thus independent verification is also a part of the scientific process (though in modern times the expensive nature of some experiments and the paucity of funding have undermined such scientific work).

Anonymous said...

An alternate explanation to the computer study could have to do with the protection of our own egos. That which I am currently using or is mine creates in me a sense of ownership. They become linked to our identity and we instinctively try to protect our own self image.

Yet another explanation could be that sociologically we become accustom to getting socked in the nose when we say certain things in someone's presence. This in turn forms a belief, I ought to only give accurate performance evaluations when away from "x." This would have then turned into more of a situational cue rather than a projection of personality.

Of course, that's the problem with psychological theories, the whole unverifiable thing.

Anyhow, that aside, I think that there is a great charm to personification. There is something nice about being able to say when someone looks at my beat up old car "oh that? that's old Betsy, she's quite a fighter." The extent to which we project compassion and humanity isn't necessarily an error, but can be a conscious extension of the very thing that makes us human.

逆円助 said...

さあ、今夏も新たな出会いを経験してみませんか?当サイトは円助交際の逆、つまり女性が男性を円助する『逆円助交際』を提供します。逆円交際を未経験の方でも気軽に遊べる大人のマッチングシステムです。年齢上限・容姿・経験一切問いません。男性の方は無料で登録して頂けます。貴方も新たな出会いを経験してみませんか

精神年齢 said...

みんなの精神年齢を測定できる、メンタル年齢チェッカーで秘められた年齢がズバリわかっちゃう!かわいいあの子も実は精神年齢オバサンということも…合コンや話のネタに一度チャレンジしてみよう

メル友募集 said...

最近仕事ばかりで毎日退屈してます。そろそろ恋人欲しいです☆もう夏だし海とか行きたいな♪ k.c.0720@docomo.ne.jp 連絡待ってるよ☆

家出 said...

最近TVや雑誌で紹介されている家出掲示板では、全国各地のネットカフェ等を泊り歩いている家出娘のメッセージが多数書き込みされています。彼女たちはお金がないので掲示板で知り合った男性の家にでもすぐに泊まりに行くようです。あなたも書き込みに返事を返してみませんか