Just listened to the final (?) episode of Reasonable Doubts. I’m actually still going through the back catalog of episodes but I have suspected for some time that the podcast was coming to an end. Something in the tone of voice for the intro to the Shelley Seagal interview episode made my brain itch.
Doctor/Professor Luke Galen uttered the phrase that I used as a title for this entry in the last half-hour of the podcast. It struck a cord with me, because that was the facet of the podcast that first made me take notice and start going back through the archive to consume the episodes that had been made before I found the podcast stream. Intellectual dishonesty is something that always sets me off. It is why I can’t stomach 9/10’s of conservative, libertarian or liberal rhetoric. Especially conservative and anarchist rhetoric. There are basic precepts to both those ideologies that make me call shenanigans on the whole notion that one can honestly believe that anarchy is desirable, that conservatism contains values that a person applies to their own behavior.
Reasonable Doubts really did enshrine the concept that intellectual dishonesty should be called out for what it is; bullshit.
Some atheists have argued that children are naturally non-believers. Were it not for indoctrination at the hands of parents and clergy children would never pick up supernatural beliefs on their own and religion would wither and die. But a growing body of research in developmental psychology suggests just the opposite. Children have a natural inclination to believe in invisible, immortal, super-knowing agents who are responsible for design in the natural world. For this first part in a series on the evolved origins of religious belief the doubtcasters review two books (Justin Barrett’s Born Believers and Jesse Berring’s the Belief Instinct) which make the case that religious belief is not only natural–it is almost inevitable. – Reasonable Doubts episode #105
Here is my take on what the study reveals; It is a survival trait to attach to your parents, to see them as what we deem ‘godlike’. It is a survival trait to accept what your parents tell you is true. As children everything in our world appears designed because for most children it is. It was designed by generations of people who came before them, smoothing the edges, building the structures, taming the wild. These two facts go hand in hand, leading children to assign agency where no agency exists. These children grow into adults who simply accept that there is a divine purpose to everything; and they value knowledge that underscores that belief, discard knowledge that contravenes it.
The teleological explanations are just another flawed heuristic that humans utilize to explain the world around us.