“We are the descendants of those who were most successful at finding patterns. This process is called association learning and is fundamental to all animal behavior, from C. elegans to H. sapiens. I call this process patternicity, or the tendency to find meaningful patterns in both meaningful and meaningless noise.”
We can’t help believing. Our brains evolved to connect the dots of our world into meaningful patterns that explain why things happen. These meaningful patterns become beliefs. Once beliefs are formed the brain begins to look for and find confirmatory evidence in support of those beliefs, which adds an emotional boost of further confidence in the beliefs and thereby accelerates the process of reinforcing them, and round and round the process goes in a positive feedback loop of belief confirmation. Dr. Shermer outlines the numerous cognitive tools our brains engage to reinforce our beliefs as truths and to insure that we are always right.