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PERSONAL TECHNOLOGY; TRENDS; 'Skeptics' Give Some Insight Into Blind Faith
[Home Edition]
Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext) - Los Angeles, Calif.
Author: Dye, Lee
Date: Sep 9, 1996
Start Page: 5
Section: Business; PART-D; Financial Desk
Abstract (Document Summary)

Anyone who has tried to argue with a believer in any of the above knows of the futility of trying to apply reason to the basically unreasonable. James Alcock, a psychology professor at York University in Toronto, says that's because the human mind is a complex data-processing system as subject to whim, memory and emotion as it is to reason.

Alcock thinks most of our beliefs have little basis in truth because the human brain is "a belief-generating machine, an engine that produces beliefs without any particular respect for what is real or true and what is not."

Although the goals of the program may be laudable, it is strange to see a group that includes many Nobel laureates in its membership devote so much time and energy to debunking subjects that are sure to survive the most diligent application of logic. Many of our beliefs simply are not founded on critical thinking. Most religious leaders, for example, concede that religion is based not on reason but on faith, something that lies outside the scope of science. Although the "skeptics," as members of the organization call themselves, try to steer clear of religion, many of their targets fall into similar categories.

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