Psychology and Beliefs


Psychology studies Beliefs in various modalities

 Beliefs as Placebos: as personally reinforcing ideas of things not easily conceived or provable but assure us of a personal reality

 Beliefs as Heuristics: as shortcuts to cognitive processing

 Beliefs as Prototypical thinking:

beliefs that start as prototypes that lead to asking what if this is true, not true, or how the idea may vary.

Example of belief: Man cannot fly/man can fly

Example of first airplane-went through may modifications to lead to things and "ideas" that work better.


Beliefs can be a bridge form the concrete-operational to the abstract.

 Sensorimotor stage {ages 0-2}

gathering cognitive information about our body;

coordination of motor actions with sensory experiences

 Pre-operational stage {ages 2-7}

gathering information about the self and our relationship to others;

some understanding of symbols

 Concrete-Operational stage {ages 7-11}

gathering information of the world around us;

some understanding of classes, relations, and quantities.

 Formal Operational stage {ages 11+}

learning the meaning of things and our relationship to it;

the beginning of the use of logic and abstract concepts;

not every adult gets beyond the base use of symbolic logic;

 These stages are discontinuous not continuous as was once thought. One does not necessarily lead to the next. Being able to think in one stage in one context does not mean a person is able to think in that higher stage in another context.

 Dialectical Thinking:

a higher level of formal operational thought;

the view that every idea implies it's opposite; the ability to consider opposing viewpoints simultaneously

Every Thesis leads to it's Anti-thesis to produce a new Synthesis

Science terminology



cause-effect relationships

Beliefs system terminology

my ideas about things

if I have not experienced it -it does not exist

it has to be true because so many people believe like I do

A bridge between science and belief systems is to ask:

what do you know? how do you know what you know? what do you still need to know?

 Example: Belief in alien life-life on other planets

Believing or not believing in life on other planets does not influence the fact of life on other planets. Life exists on other planets or it does not. Or it has in the past or it has not. Or it will in the future or it will not.The fact of intelligent life on other planets falls under the same statements of logic as those stated above.Whether intelligent life {if it exists} on other planets has visited our planet is improbable because of what we know of the vastness of space and the limitations of travel as we know it would put on living systems. However that does not mean that it has not happened, could not happen, or will never happen.Only some kind of direct contact or communication will ever give us empirical evidence that intelligent life forms exists on other planets.

 When it comes to non-intelligent life on other planets, it is highly probable that some form of life exists somewhere out side of the confines of our planet. The more we know about the conditions of life the more we can conceive of some form of life existing in extreme conditions of temperature, pressure, and in situations completely different than what we find on earth. Some forms of life on earth have been subjected to very extreme situations and they have not only survived, but reproduced, made adaptive changes and thrived.

 Some form of microbial life could exist within our solar system. The right conditions have been found in several environments. One or two of the moons of Jupiter have such conditions. Some spacecraft have collected information that shows some promising evidence. But until a sample of some alien life is found or the appropriate "signature" is found there is no direct evidence that life exists outside of our planet within our solar system.

 The probability of life outside our solar system exists. Our ability to conceive of the probabilities of such life and the belief that such life does not and could not exist defies the known quantities. The understanding of probability requires abstract thinking and a knowledge of mathematics. If a person is not good at abstract thinking and/or has difficulty with mathematics will never know or understand probabilities. An understanding of probabilities has led to the discovery of quantum physics, nuclear energy, high speed processing devices, and most of the technology we have today. So something that may be highly improbable can become fact and everyday realities if understood.

 There are a potential 100 Billion Galaxies known. This comes from astronomical data from the Hubble Telescope and other data. Our galaxy, the Milky Way is a statistically average galaxy in every way. It's dimensions 100,000 light years long, and 25,000 light years wide is unremarkable. { A light year is the distance light travels in one year. Light travels 186,000+ miles per second. If light travels 186,000 miles per second andyou multiple that number by the number of seconds in a minute, times the number of minutes in an hour, times the number of hours in a day, and times the number of days in a year. You come up with the figure of 5.86 trillion miles per year. The math involved here is simple arithmetic. This is a concrete-operational stage of thinking. The actual understanding of the distances involved is abstract thinking.}

 Physicists, Astronomers, Mathematicians, Biologists, etc. those that collaborate on scientific knowledge say that life within our galaxy is highly probable. They collectively say that 100,000,000 planets have the probability of having life on them within our galaxy. There are 100 billion galaxies. If these were average galaxies like our own, then there could be 100,000,000 x 100,000,000,000 or 10{ to the nineteenth power as an exponent}of planets with life on them in our known visible universe.

Intelligent life within our galaxy has been calculated variously to be 1/100 to 1/1000 of the probability of planets having life on them. So that within our galaxy alone, their may be 100,000 to 1,000,000 planets with intelligent life on them.

There are perhaps 9 planets with 200 moons within our solar system. Life exists, and intelligent life at that exists on one planet. The probability of life within our solar system is 1/200. Not bad odds.