[extropy-chat] The Bible Belt Paradox

pjmanney pj at pj-manney.com
Mon Jan 15 20:17:28 UTC 2007

Guilio wrote:
>Interesting thoughts Patricia, and I agree with the marketing insight.
>But I think I have a much simpler explanation for The Bible Belt
>The simpler explanation being that self-righteousness and intolerance
>correlate strongly with aggression and sociopathic behaviour: both
>express the primitive brain circuits against the more developed ones.

I know my explanation is deeply narrow and more stand-up comedy than rigorous hypothesis.

But I think it's a chicken-or-egg thing.

What comes into play in both your scenario and the negative-statement scenario is the limbic system, which deals with our fears and emotions around those fears, among other things.  It's why negativity is so powerful.  We don't just process it cognitively.  Fear/negativity runs around the amygdala before it hits the frontal cortex.  And unless we consciously try to do otherwise, we listen to the amygdala before we listen to our more rational impulses.  (Which is why I don't participate in the debates on rationality on the list.  I don't know anyone who really is.  A few are close, but close is for shaves.)

Religion, as several have discussed, is often based on fear.  Fear of not surviving is why the Old Testement was written in the first place.  The OT (as well as the Talmud) existed to help those desert tribes survive in a pretty tough environment.  And fearful times demanded fearful measures.

I just wish everybody would get over thinking they're some Abrahamic tribe member...  So maybe the question is, why are some people more fearful than others?  Why are some people wired with over-active amygdalas and other's aren't?  Now that's a cognitive enhancement we could use right now.


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