Birth of Cognitive Biases

If you want to believe, then you will

Let’s say that you purchase a new vehicle every 3 years and
alternate between Ford and Chevy.
Let’s also assume that you believe the quality differences between the 2 are negligible.
Let’s also assume that you believe that sticking with one brand will save you money.
You have the desire to believe that one brand is best.
You arbitrarily pick Ford.
If you want to believe that Ford is the best, eventually you will come to that belief.
Because of Anchor Bias, it will take much more effort to change your belief to Chevy.
Even if someone gave you unarguable evidence of Chevy’s superiority,
you will still be anchored in the Ford belief.
Because of Confirmation Bias, you will also see patterns of Ford’s superiority
ignore patterns of Chevy’s superiority.

You Can’t Choose What You Believe, Well, Sort Of

If you somehow had a strong belief that Ford was better than Chevy
that belief cannot be changed immediately, even if you wanted that belief.
If a Chevy dealer hooked you up to a perfect lie detector and then said
if you believe Chevy is better, you win this new ZR1 Corvette
you would not win the Corvette.
But, if that dealer said you can take the test in 2 months then
you could achieve that belief by spending the next 2 months reading
positive articles on Chevy and negative ones on Ford.
With particular actions and particular echo chambers
you could achieve any belief.

If you seek God or Jesus, you will find Him

Many religions implore people to seek their beliefs in order to achieve those beliefs.
Once that belief gets anchored some experience the “Holy Spirit” which validates their belief.
Conversion into religion is often quick and emotionally driven.
Deconversion takes more time, months or years, and is driven by critical thinking.
Conversions happen when people read religious text with emotion, like a love letter.
Deconversions happen when people read religious text with objectivity
Slow critical reading of the Bible and the Quran are a part of many atheists origin stories.

It is difficult to seek truth when carrying baggage of cognitive biases.

Bias from faith

The 1st half of Hebrew 11:1, biblical definition of faith is
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for”
which is to establish belief in something that you hope for, desire.
So rather than believe in something that is true regardless of desirability
some believe because they want to.

Ford Child Indoctrination

What if your father put in man loyal years of service at the GM plant and was laid off.
All of your life you hear disparaging remarks about Chevy and praise of Ford.
This Ford indoctrination sets up an Anchor bias for Ford and against Chevy.
You would face evidence that Ford is not better with rationalizations.
You then to go an out-of-town college that is not sponsored by the automotive industry.
With much reflection on why you believe Ford is better you can reduce biases.


Why am I an atheist?

No Child indoctrination

My parents never went to church and never talked about religion.
They sent my siblings and me to bible school for a few months,
not enough time for any influences to settle in.

Santa and collateral damage of other beliefs

One year, a week before Christmas my brother and I found the Santa stash.
I lost belief in Santa and other supernaturals, like Jesus, the tooth fairy, and God.
I still had a faint God/Jesus belief, but just didn’t think about it.

I got baptized

One year in high school I went to church with an evangelizing girl.
After a month or so, I got baptized in a big fish tank in front of a large congregation.
Before the dunking, I was evangelized by a 9-year-old, which turned me off.
I stopped going a few weeks after that.
I had always found church tedious.

Mother Teresa treatment

In college, I lived with a bunch of Christians who asked me to ask God for faith.
I asked for a sign and got the same as Mother Teresa, no Holy Spirit, nothing.
I tried to read the Bible, but could not get out of Genesis,
it was too tedious.

The closer

I few years after college, I read
“A History of God” by Karen Armstrong.
It was clear then that the Bible and other religious text were
not God influence and just inventions of man.
I then identified myself as an agnostic atheist.

In a Godless World

In a world without a god (Don LaFontaine voice).
What if …
Big Bang led to the creation of planet systems
Water formed on one planet
Abiogenesis happened
Evolution happened
One social species developed a high level of consciousness via collective learning
This social started assigning agency to non-agents which may have inspired religion
That species invented many various religions to deal with different problems
So …
How is that world different than ours?


Why do atheists hate God?

Atheists don’t hate God

Atheists don’t hate something that does not exist
Imagine hating some non-existent entity like the tooth fairy, or leprechauns.
Many atheists don’t even hate religious people or their religion.
There are several reasons that theists still think that atheists hate God.

Fake Atheists

Those ‘atheists’ that claim they hate God are not atheists.
You have to believe in the existence of something in order to hate it.
Many Christians were dealt bad hands in life and rejected God,
but still, believe in his existence.
Most of them eventually ‘kiss and make up’ with God
and some will claim they converted from atheism to theism.

Some atheists hate religion

It is common for an atheist who converted from a religion to hate that religion.
They are mad at themselves for being in a false belief for so long.
They typically are angry, militant atheists.
Eventually, some of them cool off and lose their hate.


Agnostic Atheist?

A simple analogy with black and white marbles

Two guys are walking in a mall and see a huge jar with black and white marbles.
One guy says “there are an even number of black marbles”.
The other guy says “I don’t believe you” or “I don’t know”.
He is not asserting an odd number, he just doesn’t have confidence in the initial assertion.

Two flavors of atheism

There are two types of atheists, gnostic and agnostic.
Agnostic says
“I don’t believe in the assertion that there is a God”.
“I don’t believe there is an even number of black marbles”.
Gnostic says
“there is no God”
“odd number of black marbles”.


An antitheist is one who opposes belief in a god or gods,
they can be gnostic or agnostic.
Christopher Hitchens, an antitheist, says religion is harmful to society.
“Even number of black marbles are a bad thing and should not be allowed”.

Academic Definition of Atheism

I am using the colloquial, popular internet definition of atheist.
If I were using the Stanford Encylopedia definition then
an atheist is one who positively asserts “there is no God”.
I value lowering the friction in a conversation, so
I will go with the internet version unless
the person needs the proper version.
I’m good with either.