Month: October 2015

Biological Conspiracy Theories

Hello again, all.  Apologies for being rather inactive these days — by way of explanation, I took another trip to visit my dad in Oregon (we’re trying to fit in as much family visits as we can before the baby arrives!), and I’ve been pouring my creative energies into various other projects; so I’ve had little impetus or time left over to blog, or at least to blog well.  Generally I prefer to wait until I have at least a snowball’s chance of putting out sound material rather than just merely keeping the ball afloat by throwing out garbage — if I do write garbage, I at least want it to be thoroughly well-thought-out garbage.

Today, though, I’m choosing to shrug off this analysis paralysis and work out an idea that’s been brewing for a little while.  It centers around this kick I’ve been on lately regarding Harmon’s idea about “inference to the best explanation,” and how that applies to competing theories to explain religious phenomena.  From my perspective, when it comes to personal experiences that seem, on a prima facie level, to be supernatural in nature, there are basically two main theories that attempt to explain what is actually going on:

  1. There is, in fact, a supernatural world that sometimes intersects and affects our material world, or
  2. Such experiences begin and end with the functions of the human brain, and can be best explained with methods such as pattern-seeking, confirmation bias, etc.

Drawing from my own experiences as a case study, I’d like to explore these two competing theories. (more…)