‘The Biology of Belief’ examines how our less than perfectly adapted brains cope with today’s world. Among the things considered are how our brain biology biases our perceptions, organizes ignorance into belief systems, predisposes us to believe in supernatural spirits, and permits others to manipulate our beliefs. The human brain evolved over millions of years to cope with survival and reproduction in the rudimentary world of our primitive ancestors. Inasmuch as our brain biology formed to cope with this ancient world, it should be no surprise that it has a few problems in dealing with the complexities of modern life.
The process by which we come to believe something new involves a labyrinth of thought-influencing biological and other factors. In attempting to understand this labyrinth and its effect on how we acquire beliefs, this work addresses a number of considerations. The profound effect brain evolution has had on our way of perceiving the world is one example. Other elements include brain module interactions, neurotransmitters, inborn biological predispositions, and the interdependence of belief and perception. Together with other factors, they collectively comprise the biology of belief. How our beliefs come to define our realities is revealed through an exploration of the processes by which beliefs are created, changed, transmitted, and manipulated. The text challenges readers to consider whether biological and belief mechanisms resistant to change will permit long-held cultural beliefs to adapt rapidly enough to address the new realities of our changing world.