Teleological Reasoning: Why We Believe There is Order in Things
We have a general bias to read intentionality into things, to see things as happening for a reason, to believe that objects around us have been designed for some purpose.
Matthew Hutson is a science journalist and the author of The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking: How Irrational Beliefs Keep Us Happy, Healthy, and Sane. Hutson is a former editor at Psychology Today, has a B.S. in cognitive neuroscience from Brown University and an M.S. in science writing from MIT. He has written for Wired, Discover, Popular Mechanics and The New York Times Magazine.
We have a general bias to read intentionality into things, to see things as happening for a reason, to believe that objects around us have been designed for some purpose. This is called teleological reasoning.
We’re especially likely to do this when we see something that has a lot of order to it. If a bunch of particles just got together and fell together in a pile and it turned into a human, you’d be very surprised. So it seems like there should be some sort of organism or intentionality that would arrange these things.
So we believe that whenever order comes together, it’s because someone or something put it that way.
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