TA 106 (Müller)


Commentary 47 (to C45, Patlavskiy)



by Henry (Zvi) Lothane
12 September 2009, posted 19 September 2009



I agree with Sergey Patlavskiy's viewing both religion and science as  (1) PRODUCTS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL-PHILOSOPHICAL ACTIVITY and would add that both are fueled by two powerful emotional-cognitive needs: the  (2) NEED TO BELIEVE, THE  (3) NEED TO FIND CAUSES OF PHENOMENA.



First we need to eat, then we can philosophize. Thought and language have created the categories for philosophy, religion, science, art, literature. God is a CONCEPT, not a thing, therefore all talk that god does not exist because he cannot be observed is foolish, like the neurologist who said he examined 1,000 brain slides under the microscope and did not find the soul.



The need to believe is basic to all human psychological functions. A scientist BELIEVES the evidence, he believes in the laws of nature, and as Edwin Burtt argued in 1924, religious belief in one god fueled the belief in one substance, or the "one" of philosophers. Do you believe in medicine? Do you believe in psychiatry? Do you believe in the Big Bang myth or in Greek mythology? As George Bernard  Shaw argued in the preface to Saint Joan, each age, each culture, have their own system of credulity.



The need to believe is matched by the equally powerful hunger for causality. We look for ultimate causes (creationism, evolution), or for proximate causes -- what makes Sammy run?  Why did the man, woman or child behave in a certain way?


What causes people to believe in God and others to believe in the brain?


Many questions and many intriguing answers, which is what the history of philosophy, religion, and science is all about.


Let's live and let believe.




Henry (Zvi) Lothane, MD, DLFAPA

Clinical Professor Department of Psychiatry

Mount Sinai School of Medicine

1435 Lexington Avenue New York, NY 10128(212) 534 5555

     e-mail <Schreber (at) lothane.com