X-Message-Number: 19844
From: "davepizer" <>
Subject: why do we hold certain beliefs?
Date: Mon, 19 Aug 2002 15:50:53 -0500

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The following relates to some of the recent discussions on Cryonet about 
religion, how to promote cryonics, and such; it deals with the question of why 
people think certain beliefs are true, or why people hold high probabilities of 
beliefs being true.

It seem that most posters, (who have posted on the subject), on Cryonet have 
expressed a reason why they think other people hold various beliefs as being 
true, the two most obvious reasons:  (1) One believes a certain belief is true,
(2) holding the belief as true feels good. (The better it makes one feel, it 
seems to me, the higher probability one sometimes assigns to a belief).

In the past, holding beliefs that feel good had to have a survival benefit.  If 
it felt good to play where the tigers live, you probably did not pass on that 
tendency to your offspring.  If it felt good to play where it was safer, you 
probably lived longer.

Religious beliefs are held as true by some people because some people believe 
them to be true, and, of course, it feels good to believe you are going to have 
an eternal afterlife and probably get some justice in that afterlife; and, on 
the other hand, it feels bad to believe you are going to be dead forever.  

There probably also was a survival benefit in being religious in the past.  If 
others in your tribe felt you were religions (as they were), they probably would
trust you more and help you in times of need as you would do the same for them,
and they knew it.

When tribes got bigger, governments trusted their citizens more if they felt the
citizens were religious, (the official one of that government),  and the 
citizens probably believed that God could see them being bad even when the 
government could not, so the government would be more likely to trust and help 
religious citizens, and likely to dispose of those who were not.

OK, even if this is true,  so what?  How might we use this insight to help the 
cryonics movement?



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