Humanity, despite existing in discrete units (which we call people), is really one grander entity which breathes and behaves in peculiar manners. The casual modern anthropologist can easily witness the human machine’s idiosyncrasies, though often these details go unnoticed for being too ingrained into the quotidian lifestyle. Why most subway-car riders, for instance, deign not to speak nor make eye contact, or why these creatures by the thousands prolong internal discomfort by withholding offensive gaseous emissions can be understood as an adaptive response to living in close, interactive proximity with one another and living to certain established social standards which evolve over time. Without consciously considering why or how these responses came to be as they are, many millions passively act them out on autopilot.
The human autopilot transcends actions and delves into thoughts and beliefs. I have wanted to perform an experiment whereby a handful of assorted passers-by would be propositioned to agree or disagree on the statement that consumption of sugar causes hyperactivity. Without a doubt the response would be a staggering ‘yes’, and my experiment would demonstrate a general understanding of this concept in the populace. The interesting quirk of this exercise is that in truth, this understanding is unfounded, and is instead the result of many generations of hearsay and anecdotal evidence. Why, then, is this non-truth so prevalent?
How does the singular human machine operate? It has up-time and down-time, ill days and well days, nutritional needs, waste removal systems, mood swings, shaving needs, clipping needs, washing needs, and dirty deeds. On the molecular level, its nuance surpasses anything Steve Jobs could have dreamed of, and it always hangs in a tenuous balance between health and death. Naturally, the ways of sustaining the singular human machine must be conservative; that is, whatever worked the day before could and should work again today. One foot in front of the other, and so on, leads man to his mate and home, and puts bread in his mouth, and allows him to breathe through the night to see the next day. He cannot afford to dramatically alter his schedule lest he neglect his body’s urgent requirements for refreshment.
By understanding that the autopilot which guides man through his living-chores also guides his assumptions and understandings, one can see the main reason for why I am an atheist. The gods are the giddiness of children after they eat too many cookies; the gods are understanding that illness is due to humour imbalance; the gods are knowing that the left-handed are evil. Without evidence to sustain it, the god-concept is the co-pilot to the autopilot of the human machine – it was there yesterday, and is therefore true today, all things coming from god, post hoc ergo procter hoc. I do not believe in gods because the concept is a human response to a lack of information about our bodies.
What I suspect sustains the non-truth concept of god or gods is a shared quasi- understanding of similar yet distinct psychosomatic phenomena. Another way, it can be understood as such: two parties who can at least minimally agree on having experienced some similar conscious feeling can more easily misappropriate the cause of that feeling to an external agent than can either of them alone. A thousand parties who can at least minimally agree on having experienced the same phenomena increases the apparent truth even more. Through generations of snowballing, the assumptions which underlie the god-concept have been taken as granted without warrant, and the result is the rainbow of devotions that exist today. They are the product of (and targeted at) mens’ minds, in order to make sense of shared sensations and feelings. Cognitive psychology and an emerging neuroscience will expose nuances of the human condition that gods once were so useful to explain.