viernes, 30 de noviembre de 2012

Why natural disasters are considered as supernatural revenges


The evaluation of whether harm against us is produced by accident or by the intentional act of someone is critical, because the adequate reaction may vary depending on it.  Because the response time may be critical, the time spent in the discrimination between both cases may be also critical.


A study showed that within 60 milliseconds, the right posterior superior temporal sulcus (also known as TPJ area), located in the back of the brain, was first activated, with different activity depending on whether the harm was intentional or accidental. It was followed in quick succession by the amygdala, often linked with emotion, and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (180 milliseconds), the portion of the brain that plays a critical role in moral decision-making.

There was no such response in the amygdala and ventromedial prefrontal cortex when the harm was accidental.

 http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2012/11/28/moral-evaluations-harm-are-instant-and-emotional-brain-study-shows

Seems like being able to tell the difference between an accident and free will is a top priority for human consciousness. Under .06 seconds. That's more than three times faster than it takes to recognize an emotion in a human face.

There are other examples of abilities optimized for speed. At the functional level, a module for fast processing of logical rules involved in cheating detection (or breaking of deontic rules ) has been discovered:

http://www.psych.ucsb.edu/research/cep/papers/PNASCosmidesBarrettTooby2010.pdf

Apparently, the purpose is to react quickly to avoid further damage and/or to react with the appropriate punishment to dissuade the aggressor/cheater from making more damage.

This speed in the evaluation is a consequence of evolutionary pressures: A teleological agent that is executing a violent plan against us is much more dangerous than a casual accident. because the first will continue harming us, so a fast reaction against further damage is necessary, while in the case of an accident no stress response is necessary. (stress responses compromise long term health)

That distinction may explain the  consideration of natural disasters as teleological: For example earthquakes or storms: The stress response necessary to react against these enduring phenomena make them much more similar to teleological plans of unknown agents than try to harm us than  ocassional accidents

Hence, it is no surprise that the  natural disasters are considered as teleological  and moral. For example, as deliberated acts of the goods against the corruption of the people, or currently, the response of  "Gaia" against the aggression of the "immorally rich countries that deplete the resources"

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