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Guest Thinkers

Why We Lie to Ourselves

Skeptic Michael Shermer thinks we deceive ourselves because “we did not evolve a baloney-detection device in our brains to discriminate between true and false patterns.”
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Skeptic Michael Shermer thinks we deceive ourselves because “we did not evolve a baloney-detection device in our brains to discriminate between true and false patterns.” We are “natural-born supernaturalists,” Shermer says. “Souls, spirits, ghosts, gods, demons, angels, aliens, intelligent designers, government conspiracists, and all manner of invisible agents with power and intention are believed to haunt our world and control our lives. Why? The answer has two parts, starting with the concept of ‘patternicity,’ which I define as the human tendency to find meaningful patterns in meaningless noise. The face on Mars, the Virgin Mary on a grilled-cheese sandwich, Satanic messages in rock music…”


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