Seemingly in response to my challenge for researchers to test my theory that religion is a bacterial infection, New Scientist has published this article, which clearly provides confirmatory observations.
While my hypothesis involves critical thinking, I think analytical thinking is essentially the same thing – perhaps a more generalised version.
After describing the research, the report concludes:
The simplest way to explain these effects, the team conclude, is if intuitive thinking leads to belief, and analytical thinking suppresses or overrides this process. That gives analytical thinking a causal role in disbelief.
They’re saying that using your brain for analytical/critical thinking prevents and/or repairs religious belief.
This is what I’m saying! They have the right answer, but they’ve missed the mechanism – the bacterium.
Where might all this lead? To paraphrase MLK, ‘I have a dream’, and it is that perhaps one day we might develop a vaccine to be given to toddlers, and in one generation wipe out irrational belief. And the bonus is that rational and critical thinking become the default!
In the meantime, we should brace ourselves for the impending union of religious fundamentalists with the anti-vaccine crowd, which promises to spawn a whole new brand of stupid.
I guess it’s a case of be careful what you wish for.