SotF – Professor Chris French – Meaning and Randomness: Seeing what isn’t there

Friday 26 August 2011 - Sunday 26 August 2012, 8:30 am - 9:30 am
At: Banshee Labyrinth, 29-35 Niddry Street, EH1 1LG


Friday 26th – Professor Chris French: Meaning and Randomness: Seeing What isn’t There
One of the greatest strengths of the human species from an evolutionary perspective is our ability to perceive meaningful patterns and cause and effect relationships in our surroundings. Our cognitive systems have evolved to allow us to make relatively quick decisions that are right most of the time as opposed to slower, more reflective,
decisions that are right slightly more often. In terms of the evolutionary cost-benefit analysis, our cognitive systems are optimised for biological survival not for apprehending “Truth”. One consequence of our evolutionary history is that we are prone to a number of cognitive biases that may well underlie our predisposition towards supernatural and paranormal beliefs. Because we are poor at recognising randomness and often see meaning and significance where there is none, it is not surprising that such beliefs are so prevalent and persistent.

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