I, too, had an interchange with Jeff Hilles and came to this conclusion: he gets backed to his wall, that is, his deeply held beliefs, and he said, simply, that that is what he believes, period. And he acts upon those beliefs. Once you get to that back wall and say that is my belief, well, end of discussion. Reasoning no longer matters.

My suggestion to him (and other theists) is that we need then to look at beliefs: how they work, where they come from. What does it mean to “believe” something? How did Hilles build his back wall?

And what is my back wall (in beliefs)? I happen to be in the “naturalist” camp - as opposed to “supernaturalists” who have a supernatural being in their understanding of how it all works. Where did my beliefs come from?

My brief summary is that beliefs are very deep learned pathways in our neural networks, so deep as to give us conviction that we understand the world around us. I think religion and religious beliefs are culturally learned and, in general, passed from parent to child. I think a supernatural God is Mental Construct in the mind of the believer. (see article under my name)

The child may alter matters as he/she learns and grows, and beliefs that form later in development (after age 6) are influenced by more than just parents. But a person grows and learns (new or modified or enhanced neural pathways) and the deep understanding of the world grows more solid.

The dominant pathways in the brain control the thought patterns, that is, beliefs.

I have a recent article on Belief Systems and our Brains under my name.

Of course if one’s belief system says you can’t challenge your belief system, well, end of discussion.


Grandfather, Mountain Runner, Retired IT

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Van Talmage

Van Talmage

Grandfather, Mountain Runner, Retired IT