Saturday, 11 May 2013

The habituation of a lie

Lately I’ve been coming to consider that religious belief, in particular ritual, is an unconscious method for people to accommodate inconsistencies between what they believe and how the world actually works.

Consider transubstantiation. In Matthew 26:26-28, Jesus said:
26And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. 27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
 
From an early period in Christian thought, there was a belief in the literal transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. However, since this does not actually happen, a disconnect is formed between the desired belief and actual reality.

Such believers realize it’s not true, but they want it to be. So how do they make sense of this?

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Letter to a psychic

I’ve heard you say,
"No one is more acutely aware of the unreliability of psychic powers than we are. But when it does work, it leaves us so astounded that we simply can't accept any materialist theory as sufficient."
What I can interpret from your words is something along the lines of, you don't always succeed at predicting the future, but when you do, it seems more significant than chance.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Psychic needs a chill pill. And actual abilities.

Chip Coffey, looking rather unhappy.
On Sunday, April 28, CFI Regina protested the dubious psychic Chip Coffey. Seven of us showed up to take a stand by handing out an informational pamphlet on cold reading and hopefully raise awareness of the ways psychics fool people.

Paul Dechene, a contractor for a local magazine called the Prairie Dog, also showed up. Check out his summary of the events on his website – they’re good stuff!

Our intent for the night was not necessarily to confront Chip or anyone in the audience, but rather to be respectful, courteous, and open minded. We didn’t even want to make claims about Chip himself, but rather about psychics generally, and allow the audience to draw their own conclusions in light of some basic cold reading principles.