Is religious belief innate to our brains?

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Plot Device

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They call that "God of the gaps" if I remember right.

To which I would say that God by any other name is still God.

Or to put it another way (using an example):

If one person says: "Things fall to the earth because God made it that way."

And another person says: "Things fall to the earth because of gravity."

Neither statement is contradictory to each other. One is a more educated, scientific statement than the other, but the two statements do not contradict each other.


The people to worry about are the ones who say: "Nothing falls to the Earth. Everything levitates. Even right now: I'm levitating. See??"
 

Susan Gable

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Or to put it another way (using an example):

If one person says: "Things fall to the earth because God made it that way."

And another person says: "Things fall to the earth because of gravity."

Neither statement is contradictory to each other. One is a more educated, scientific statement than the other, but the two statements do not contradict each other.

Or we can combine those statements:

Things fall to earth because of gravity, which God created. Cause He didn't want us floating off the planet. That would have made things difficult. <G>

Susan G.
 

Lyv

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Can you respond, then, to my tornado in a junkyard/explosions-creating chaos-not-order questions?

How did randomness create order?

(I'm not being cheeky, I'm seriously curious as to the answer.)

thanks!

Susan G.
It sort of looks like you're unwilling to believe I have not "dismissed" God unless I give you a satisfactory answer to your scenario. That's how it's worded.
 

Norman D Gutter

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This does not bode well for advancing the interests of reason and science in the continuing economic crisis

Steve:

Please explain how increasing religious belief does not bode well for advancing the interests of reason and science--especially science.

Also, how, in your mind, are reason and science related to getting us out of this economic crisis?

NGD
 
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Lyv

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They call that "God of the gaps" if I remember right.

To which I would say that God by any other name is still God.
Only if one believes. A myth can just be a myth.

Or to put it another way (using an example):

If one person says: "Things fall to the earth because God made it that way."

And another person says: "Things fall to the earth because of gravity."

Neither statement is contradictory to each other. One is a more educated, scientific statement than the other, but the two statements do not contradict each other.
Neither statement is contradictory, but you don't have to believe both. I believe only the second.
 

GeorgeK

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Things fall to earth because of gravity, which God created. Cause He didn't want us floating off the planet. .

religion dude: "Aha! Proof that aeronotics is blasphemy! Burn those textbooks!"

science dude: "No, it disproves the existence of god!"
 

James81

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Only if one believes. A myth can just be a myth.

Neither statement is contradictory, but you don't have to believe both. I believe only the second.

Understandable.

I was speaking in terms of how some atheists use the phrase "God of the gaps" to DISMISS religion.

It's a logical fallacy to use "God of the gaps" as a dismissive reason as to why God doesn't exist.

Personally, I've discovered that atheists are extremely dismissive. I'd much rather debate the existence of a God with an agnostic than an atheist, because, in my experience, atheists are as close-minded as they claim the people they dismiss are.
 

Plot Device

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I'm going to leave this thread now. But before I do, here's my final position:

I have zero desire to debate God in this sub-forum. This is a sub-forum to discuss contemporary political issues and the latest stuff in the news. The OP gave us two news articles, both quite legitimately related to "the latest in the news," and the OP also gave a reaction to the issues raised by the two artciles.

But I take issue with the needless inclusion in the OP of the prejudicial stance that:

religious belief = irrational thinking and a hinderance to the advancement of science

I do not deny that history shows us that religion and science have not always agreed. I do not deny that history shows us that some religious leaders have deliberately blocked scientific advancement. I do not deny that some religious leaders have even persecuted scientists. What I take issue with is the blanket position that "All wood floats. Therefore, all that floats must be wood," a position that all of us here KNOW to be incorrect.

Meanwhile, the unflinching position put forth in the OP is that "ALL religious people are irrational." And that's unacceptable to me. It's a form of prejudice that keeps people out of job positions and blocks people from attaining public office. And it's just as unacceptable to say "ALL non-religious people are irrational." Or (worse) "ALL atheists are cold-hearted unfeeling machines with no sense of morality and utterly lacking in imagination." Blanket prejudice is blanket prejudice, no matter which demographic you aim at.

I'm done. Carry on.


::ETA::

I have returned. But only to say this: The original OP for the thread that I was particiating in was found in the sub-forum called "Politics and Current Event." And here was the OP for that thread:

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=3275421#post3275421

And then that thread got merged into "Critical Theory and Philosophy of Language."

So NOW the OP is by Colorado Guy. (And I take no issue with his OP at all.)
 
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James81

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I'm going to leave this thread now. But before I do, here's my final position:

I have zero desire to debate God in this sub-forum. This is a sub-forum to discuss contemporary political issues and the latest stuff in the news. The OP gave us two news articles, both quite legitimately related to "the latest in the news," and the OP also gave a reaction to the issues raised by the two artciles.

But I take issue with the needless inclusion in the OP of the prejudicial stance that:

religious belief = irrational thinking and a hinderance to the advancement of science

I do not deny that history shows us that religion and science have not always agreed. I do not deny that history shows us that some religious leaders have deliberately blocked scientific advancement. I do not deny that some religious leaders have even persecuted scientists. What I take issue with is the blanket position that "All wood floats. Therefore, all that floats must be wood," a position that all of us here KNOW to be incorrect.

Meanwhile, the unflinching position put forth in the OP is that "ALL religious people are irrational." And that's unacceptable to me. It's a form of prejudice that keeps people out of job positions and blocks people from attaining public office. And it's just as unacceptable to say "ALL non-religious people are irrational." Or (worse) "ALL atheists are cold-hearted unfeeling machines with no sense of morality and utterly lacking in imagination." Blanket prejudice is blanket prejudice, no matter which demographic you aim at.

I'm done. Carry on.

Heh, just do what I do and detach emotion from the debate at hand.

In fact, in MOST "emotional" discussions I've discovered that emotion is a killer to the debate because you can't debate something rationally when emotion takes over.

I've discovered that the stronger I am in my beliefs, the less emotional I get when someone challenges my beliefs. And I am strong in my beliefs about certain subjects (the subject of "the existence of God" being one of them) because I've looked at it from both sides and have analyzed it frontwards and backwards.

So a statement such as "All religious people are irrational" doesn't bother me because I see the ridiculousness of the statement itself (that it's a generalization and not aimed at ME, because I am fairly religious), and that most sweeping generalizations like that are rooted in personal bitterness or insecurity of some kind. Which actually falls back to the original post, in that these "chemicals" that are driving us to believe certain things to "reconcile" other things, are the same chemicals that are driving the exact opposite, equally close-minded beliefs.

When you approach a debate in that fashion, and realize the logical fallacies behind a lot of the statements that are made in debates like this, it helps keep emotion in check because you understand that the people making these assertions are just like you and me.

So assert your opinion with the same loftiness, the same confidence, that they assert theirs and don't back away just because they say something ridiculous.

Pick off the parts that are relevant, and ignore the rest. :)
 

GeorgeK

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So assert your opinion with the same loftiness, the same confidence, that they assert theirs and don't back away just because they say something ridiculous.

Yes, but eventually the entertainment value and or educational value approaches the point of diminishing returns and it simply becomes unproductive. That's why people leave threads. That's why threads die. That's why some posters are placed on ignore.
 

Susan Gable

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It sort of looks like you're unwilling to believe I have not "dismissed" God unless I give you a satisfactory answer to your scenario. That's how it's worded.

No, not at all. You have not dismissed God. You just don't believe. Fine by me. I believe you.

But you said you have carefully considered it. Cool. I thought since you've carefully considered it, you might be able to respond to my questions.

I'm just looking for an answer to my question, that's all. :Shrug: It doesn't have to be you who addresses it, but I would like to hear from someone in response to them.

:)

Susan G.
 

Tirjasdyn

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:ROFL:

As a pagan I'd have to say that belief in a god is unreasonable thinking...that's why it's faith...it's not based on reason at all. :D Oh sure, folks try to rationalize it but that's not reason.

Course I believe that the gods don't give two shits about us and have better things to do...so I'm all for science and tech. :D
 

steveg144

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This back-peddling post of your does NOT expunge the statement you made earlier where you said:

"As it happens, I do think that belief in a deity = unreasonable thinking."

So, by the transitive power:

unreasonable thinking = unreasonable person = I don't like that person, I don't trust that person, I don't want that person taking public office, I don't want that person anywhere near children, that person and all persons like him/her are a scourge on society

Very much the way a lot of religious people feel about us atheists, I'd say. To many religious people, my lack of belief in a deity is unreasonable thinking, and so the rest of your ='s follow in their thinking about me. So yes, I'd say it's sauce for the goose for me to follow their same train of daisy-chained ='s from "you don't believe in God" to "you are a scourge on society", flip it on it's head, and say yes, all those things you've strung together with your ='s do follow from my position. And I'm 100% OK with that.
 

aka eraser

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Interesting article. From it:

These cognitive biases are so strong, says Petrovich, that children tend to spontaneously invent the concept of god without adult intervention: "They rely on their everyday experience of the physical world and construct the concept of god on the basis of this experience."

Maybe they're not constructing the concept of god. Maybe they're remembering something. Children are closer to the source than adults. And most of us have forgotten what they know.
 

kuwisdelu

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No, not at all. You have not dismissed God. You just don't believe. Fine by me. I believe you.

But you said you have carefully considered it. Cool. I thought since you've carefully considered it, you might be able to respond to my questions.

I'm just looking for an answer to my question, that's all. :Shrug: It doesn't have to be you who addresses it, but I would like to hear from someone in response to them.

I'm with Lyv, there, I kind of took issue with your suggestion that non-believers are just "poo-pooing" god.

Personally, I've also thought about it, and just can't come to a good reason to believe in a god's or gods' existence. I'm not really an atheist, but I do believe the burden of proof should be on the positive, and ultimately I'm completely open to the idea; I just don't subscribe to it.

I don't think one necessarily has to deeply consider religion to not be "poo-pooing," it. It just might not be that important to someone. Just because someone doesn't deeply consider the many-worlds interpretation of the Schrodinger equation but still doesn't believe in it, that doesn't mean they're poo-pooing or dismissing quantum physics. It's just not important to them. At least that's my perspective.

With regard to the question you posed to Lyv, I don't think this is the thread to debate that, but I'll point you to my own general thoughts and ideas from this post of mine from this thread. It doesn't directly address your question as a whole, but it addresses some of the basic principles with specific examples.

That said, I won't be debating that in this thread, but since you asked for someone else's thoughts, I just thought I'd point you to mine. ;)

:ROFL:

As a pagan I'd have to say that belief in a god is unreasonable thinking...that's why it's faith...it's not based on reason at all. :D Oh sure, folks try to rationalize it but that's not reason.

Course I believe that the gods don't give two shits about us and have better things to do...so I'm all for science and tech. :D

This is along my own thinking.

I do think most religious belief is, by definition, not reasonable. Where people run into difficulties is that this does not mean the person is unreasonable. It's just the religious belief tends to be based on faith, which doesn't have to be reasonable. If faith is completely reasonable, it's not usually really "faith" as most people understand it.

There are a few religions I think that get closer to "reasonable" than others. For example, Deism believes one can only arrive at religious truths through logic and reason from the natural world. However, it still presupposes the existence of a divine being as a postulate, so it isn't entirely reasonable either.

What I'm saying is that faith usually isn't reasonable, and that isn't a bad thing. If most religions could be found through completely unbiased reason, we'd all be religious. What needs to be remembered is that people with faith can still be reasonable.
 
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IMO.

Anyone who says "I KNOW there is a god" is an idiot.

And

Anyone who says "I KNOW there isn't a god" is an idiot.

Having faith or belief in god or there not being a god is different from knowing.

On the subject of god, no one KNOWS.

Thank you.
 

GeorgeK

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IMO.

Anyone who says "I KNOW there is a god" is an idiot.

And

Anyone who says "I KNOW there isn't a god" is an idiot.

Having faith or belief in god or there not being a god is different from knowing.

On the subject of god, no one KNOWS.

Thank you.

You don't know that. Maybe God came down and gave somebody a swift kick in the pants and said, "Hi, I exist. Have a piece of fairy cake. Would you like fries with that?"

They would not be able to proove that they met God but they'd know. And they'd have some really awesome fries...but of course they would have already eaten them so they couldn't proove that the fries existed either.
 

kuwisdelu

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For some believers, believing is the same as knowing.

In a way, to blatantly plagiarize a South Park episode, even God isn't real, there are so many who believe in Him, and for those people he has transformed and affected their lives. For true believers, God will always be there for them.

It could be said that believing in God *is* His existence, and for many, it seems, that should be enough. Who cares whether a god or gods or higher powers exist or not?

I'm not among those believers, but sometimes it's nice to think about it that way.
 

kuwisdelu

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You don't know that. Maybe God came down and gave somebody a swift kick in the pants and said, "Hi, I exist. Have a piece of fairy cake. Would you like fries with that?"

They would not be able to proove that they met God but they'd know. And they'd have some really awesome fries...but of course they would have already eaten them so they couldn't proove that the fries existed either.

Or they could be hallucinating. Wouldn't be the first time in history.
 

steveg144

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You don't know that. Maybe God came down and gave somebody a swift kick in the pants and said, "Hi, I exist. Have a piece of fairy cake. Would you like fries with that?"

They would not be able to proove that they met God but they'd know. And they'd have some really awesome fries...but of course they would have already eaten them so they couldn't proove that the fries existed either.

Screw the fries, where can a brother get some of that fairy cake????

;)
 

James81

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For some believers, believing is the same as knowing.

In a way, to blatantly plagiarize a South Park episode, even God isn't real, there are so many who believe in Him, and for those people he has transformed and affected their lives. For true believers, God will always be there for them.

It could be said that believing in God *is* His existence, and for many, it seems, that should be enough. Who cares whether a god or gods or higher powers exist or not?

I'm not among those believers, but sometimes it's nice to think about it that way.

I've always taken great interest in the belief that believe that WE are God.

A lot of people criticize that belief, but if you think about it it makes way more sense than a separate entity in the sky somewhere.

To me it makes more sense to belief that we are all parts of God, not Gods among ourselves, but the whole of us combined make up God. And that the reason we can't see a physical "god" (in the traditional sense) is because we ARE God...all of us together.

Or, Conversations with God puts it in a much more concise understandable way:

"There is only one of us." (pertaining to the question as to where is god and who is God)
 

kuwisdelu

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God's in the brownies.

brownies.jpg





Yes, this is the same picture I used in the Phelps thread.
 

GeorgeK

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I guess there won't be any brownies left by the time Plot Device gets back.
 
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