Fact Or Belief? Your Brain Can’t Tell

When a committed Christian says he believes in the Second Coming of Christ, he believes it the way he believes that Michael Jordan was a basketball player. When an avowed atheist says there is no such thing as God, she knows it the way that she knows that Elvis was a rock star. According to new research—published yesterday in the online science journal PLoS One—by Sam Harris (the neuroscientist and atheist author of The End of Faith) and colleagues, “belief is belief is belief,” as Harris puts it. “We seem to be doing the same thing when we accept a proposition about God or the virgin birth as we do about astronomy.”