Religion as an inability to handle randomness

One consistent theme in my writing about science and religion is that there is an awful lot of randomness in the world, and that supernatural beliefs typically deny this randomness.

Here’s a discussion of some recent psychological research that connects nicely. Religiosity is often associated with an inability to accept randomness.

I should probably add a qualification. I have run into some more strict-rationalist nonbelievers who also object to randomness, and who also are compelled by the intuition that there has to be a reason for everything. Such nonbelievers, however, favor nonanthropomorphic causes. So perhaps a good broad-brush characterization of religious psychology is rejection of randomness in favor of anthropomorphic hidden causes.

About Taner Edis

Professor of physics at Truman State University

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12132821431322748921 LadyAtheist

    When a tornado kills your child, it's because God needed another angel in Heaven. If the tornado kills your neighbor but not you, God has plans for you.

    Thanks for the link.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06084510248484446401 Ardegas

    So maybe atheism can be explained as an inability to deal with final causes. They prefer randomness as an explanation, even when causation is obvious.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04414122344805567803 David

    A decision analyst once told me 'this year's outliers are next year's main effects'


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