ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Why Do People Believe Stupid Sh*t?

Updated on May 27, 2010

Why Do People Believe Stupid Stuff

Why do people believe stupid stuff? Other people, not us ofcourse. Our beliefs are true. Our parents told us so, teachers, priests, scientists.

There are those beliefs that are hamful, racism, bad medical advice, unsafe practices touted by 'experts' that turned your portfolio into a debt ledger. Well, it's because some to these ideas have played quite a trick on us.

Some ideas are self-replicating evolving entities called memes. For example, the ideas of the ancient Greeks were lost for generations yet they had been replicated from speech onto paper and stone tablets that survived medieval centuries in a library in Timbuktu. Their rediscovery sparked the Age of Enlightenment. They continue to be influential today and moved from stone to brains to paper to hard drives and now you can get them on the internet.

Some religious memes threaten with eternal torture if you don't believe them and spread them. They even contain strategies for ensuring you don't forget them like having you repeat them several times a day. Many of these memes are helpful when they elicit greater love and cooperation among people. The problem is that harmful memes or just plain stupid beliefs may use the same strategies.

For example, the ideas behind the Cold War, neo-colonialism, militant missionary democracy and communism had replicated themselves in many minds, in many books, structures such as statues, and even on computers. Those very ideas could have easily led to nuclear annihilation of the human race, getting rid of it's major motor for replication, but those books, structures, and computers with the ideas written on them would have survived. Aliens or advanced ants might decipher them, become indoctrinated and lead their own wars in the name of democracy and communism. Ideas can have that effect.

The biggest reason people believe stupid stuff is because beliefs aren't necessarily as rigid as we like to think. For example, just because someone believes in the bible doesn't mean they've read it or know what's in it. It means they have a general devotion to the idea and may be somewhat partial to religious arguments. How can you believe something you haven't read? The same way I generally trust my calculator without working out all the problems by hand to confirm the calculator isn't lying to me. In the same way, you can see how stupid beliefs can easily sneak in. I've trusted my calculator even when it was stuck on some function that made all my answers come out wrong. We defer to books and devices that we trust because our brains can't always hold and retrieve our trusted ideas, but we can recognize them on a prosthetic device.

Many beliefs people simply hold out of convenience.  If most people you are surrounded by believe something, you are likely to go along with it out of a sense of community or if you live in a country without religious freedom, you may simply believe it out of tradition or because you had better of it's going to be a short and difficult life for you.  Belief and disbelief are often practical concerns.  Also, people may hold a belief strongly, weakly, situationally, temporarily, or provisionally.  Or, one may have a general agnostic attitude about all beliefs and use them only as tools to enhance success.

What's the point of all this. Respect beliefs that pass the moral test. If it does good for people, it's worth respecting. If it spreads hate and division, be more skeptical. In the end, whatever we believe is only gonna be a partial truth so it's not worth busting anyone's head over.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Dillwood 

      8 years ago

      Each to their own fella, I wouldn't think about it too much myself,Doesn't do any good, Well written though.

    • kkbunnylover profile image

      kkbunnylover 

      8 years ago

      so true (comment or FOLLOW ME

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 

      8 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      Belief is based upon emotions. They are not "rational."

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)