The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies---How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths - Chapter 5: Agenticity Summary & Analysis

Michael Shermer
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Chapter 5: Agenticity Summary and Analysis

Unlike other animals, man has the ability to infuse patterns with meaning, intention and agency which Shermer calls "agenticity." Man often imbues patterns with intentional agents such as souls, spirits, ghosts, gods, demons, angels, aliens, the intelligent designer, and conspiracists instead of natural laws that actually make up the world. This tendency stems from man's attempts to find meaning in the meaningless. Even highly intelligent humans believe that powerful sources are operating in the universe that are not substantiated by science. Examples of agenticity abound. A child thinks the sun follows him around and will depict the sun with a smiling face in a drawing. Bananas and oysters are thought to enhance sexual potency because of their genital-shaped appearances.

Agents exist through the ages, however, their appearance and origin change. Five-hundred years ago, demons were the feared agents; two...

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This section contains 353 words
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