God in the head

On the Unbelievable Facebook page, Delia Ives posted:

The evidence that God exists as an idea inside peoples’ heads and the lack of evidence that he exists elsewhere is so obvious that theists have no excuse for denying it. And, being that this idea gives them a sense of community and their lives such meaning and purpose, one wonders why they have any need to deny it.

David Hickman commented the following:

God as an idea explains Divine Hiddenness, Geographical distribution of Religion, individual variety of understanding of god’s nature/character, and the evolution of theology.

Which I thought was very well put.  If you think of it as two hypotheses, H1=”God is real” [I know that this isn’t just one hypothesis, because of the lack of definition…just to simplify], and H2=”God is in the head”, it is interesting to think of the explanatory power and the predictive power of the two hypotheses.

I would add that H2 also easily explains the types of miracles.  We don’t get amputees growing back limbs, but we do get things that can be influenced by placebo and those that can get better on their own.  It would be interesting to think of other things on each side of this analysis.  Of course, one would probably have to have H1a, H1b, etc… to be specific.


About brianblais

I am a professor of Science and Technology at Bryant University in Smithfield, RI, and a research professor in the Institute for Brain and Neural Systems, Brown University. My research is in computational neuroscience and statistics. I teach physics, meteorology, astonomy, theoretical neuroscience, systems dynamics, artificial intelligence and robotics. My book, "Theory of Cortical Plasticity" (World Scientific, 2004), details a theory of learning and memory in the cortex, and presents the consequences and predictions of the theory. I am an avid python enthusiast, and a Bayesian (a la E. T. Jaynes), and love music.
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