Is the human mind evidence of God?

Looking at the stars

We human beings are aware of ourselves in ways that robots and computers are not, we can think in ways they cannot, and we firmly believe some things are truly right or wrong. Granted humans have evolved by natural selection, science finds it difficult to produce an explanation of these facts – how does a set of physical processes lead to such non-physical outcomes?

These matters have therefore formed the basis of arguments for the existence of God. So I am naturally interested when a non-theistic philosopher and a non-theistic blogger find there are good reasons to question the naturalistic explanations.

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The primary reason we each believe what we do

I couldn't be an atheist

Benjamin Corey’s Formerly Fundie blog is one I read regularly. Benjamin mostly writes, from a slightly radical perspective, about christianity and church in America.

But his latest blog (Why I Just Couldn’t Be An Atheist, Even If I Wanted To) discussed how he and an atheist friend sometimes discuss their respective beliefs.

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Does religious belief make you more moral: a case study in misusing data?

Salvation Army helping

Initial note

This is unfortunately a sometimes negative post, and slightly longer than usual. I’m sorry about that. I have tried to be fair and positive, but I think it was important to address this issue.

Both christians and non-believers seem to want to prove that their belief makes for a better society and the opposing viewpoint is harmful. And so both sides look to research to bolster their conclusions. Trouble is, the research isn’t always unanimous, and sometimes it can be downright misleading.

As a case in point, Gregory Paul has published several papers in academic journals that claim to show religious belief leads to low prosociality. But the often-quoted claims are not backed up by rigorous analysis (as we shall see).

So what is the current academic consensus?

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Ways we can try to find happiness, but in the end they don’t seem to work

Party

I’ve long been interested in the science of what makes people happy, and what doesn’t, and have written about it often on this blog and website. It’s a subject of important research, and new studies and reports are appearing all the time.

Here’s the results of some significant studies that have been reported in the last few years. This post: what doesn’t deliver lasting happiness as much as we’d like. Next post: what works.

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How do people ‘find God’?

People wondering

The christian religion has lost numbers in most western countries over the past half century, but there are still people becoming christians too. But what leads them to believe in Jesus?

Do they just believe what they were brought up to believe? Do they sift the evidence? Or do they experience God in some way?

Sceptics sometimes say that christians believe without evidence, or even against the evidence. Does this claim measure up?

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