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Unread June 5th, 2006, 11:51 AM
Margaret McGhee Margaret McGhee is offline
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Default One Stark Implication of SBC: Death

These vivid illustrations of the SBC hypothesis at work happen every day. You can go to any news site on the web, at any time of the day, and just about pick a story at random. But occasionally, you find something that so clearly shows this process at work - that it cries out for notice.

Quote:
KIEV (Reuters) - A man shouting that God would keep him safe was mauled to death by a lioness in Kiev zoo after he crept into the animal's enclosure, a zoo official said on Monday.

"The man shouted 'God will save me, if he exists', lowered himself by a rope into the enclosure, took his shoes off and went up to the lions," the official said.

"A lioness went straight for him, knocked him down and severed his carotid artery."
The lesson that I would propose from this example is that behavior-causing emotions produced by identity beliefs are potentially far stronger than those produced by intellectual conclusions. It is crucial for parents and teachers to help children form identity beliefs around a respect for reason and rationality - as a core principle. From those can flow a complete moral view as well - rational and enlightened ways to treat others - without the need to invoke some supernatural God-daddy - who may not be there to protect you when reality imposes itself.

This particular example puts Christian belief (I assume) in a bad light. But, any non-rational belief system can cause the same kind of disfunctional (even suicidal) behavior. It's also good to remember that rational belief systems, such naturalism and scientific explanations, are no guarantee of happiness in life. It's a cruel world and none of us are going to survive it. But, belief systems based on irrational (non-natural) causation have little or no connection to reality - and are therefore the most likely to run afoul of it.

An irrational belief shared by many (perhaps most) psychologists and scientists is that humans generally make behavior decisions as the result of some intellectual process - and that if they make poor decisions - it is because they suffer from poor thinking.

This may be true for inconsequential decisions such as which off-ramp to take for Home Depot. That's because such decisions have little consequence for one's survival - and therefore generate almost no emotional forces from non-intellectual sources in the mind. This leaves the relatively weak force of our intellectual conclusions to take control of our behavior for these utilitarian decisions. It is certainly not true for survival-dependent decisions that subconsciously generate strong emotional forces - like whether to trust that God will protect us from lions.

Failure to understand that the emotions produced by identity beliefs (and other non-intellectual sources in the mind) are the key to understanding significant human behavior decisions - and that intellect is a weak bystander in those decisions (for probably 90 percent of humanity) - will result in continued scientific confusion and ineffectiveness in understanding and describing human nature and behavior.

Added on reflection: How dumb and/or intellectually disfunctional would an adult have to be to lower himself into a cage of lions? Even our instincts cry out that large carnivores with sharp teeth and claws can be dangerous to one's health. In this case this person's belief system produced emotions stronger than both his intellect and what must have been very strong instinctive protective emotions. The relative power of identity beliefs in one's mind can truly be awesome. All the more reason to work hard throughout one's life to keep them on a rational basis, IMO.

Margaret

Last edited by Margaret McGhee; June 5th, 2006 at 01:39 PM.
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