Are we born atheists?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by aaqucnaona, Apr 15, 2012.

  1. aaqucnaona This sentence is a lie Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,620
    Or would non-theist be a better term? What difference is there anyway between the two?
     
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. Saturnine Pariah Hell is other people Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,072
    Neither, children are born as blank slates. From the time they enter this world the child is genetically programmed and hardwired to accept the word of any parental figure as obsolete truth, this phenomenon is a survival mechanism that once useful for our ancestor’s survival in the world with very little room for error or second chances, is a powerful tool for influence of an entire generation. Infants…don’t really believe anything until they learn or are told what to believe.
     
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  5. wellwisher Banned Banned

    Messages:
    5,160
    Atheism is learned behavior. If you took a group of small children, they will have an affinity toward fairy tales. They have no problem with a talking rabbit or inviting a doll to the tea party, even if this defies cause and effect.

    Small children like Santa Claus. The natural little child does not care about atheism which would imply this is out of touch with cause and affect. The natural affinity for the imaginary ends when peer pressure gets the child to conform to external social expectation; learned behavior. Then atheism is learned.
     
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  7. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,950
    Humans 'Predisposed' to Believe in Gods and the Afterlife:
    www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110714103828.htm

    Keep Your Fingers Crossed - How Superstition Improves Performance:
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100713122846.htm

    My opinion: In the misery and scant knowledge of life back in early days, organizing and motivating people would have been easier by making them feel special (in the next life if not this one), rather than their being insignificant and fleeting occurrences in the universe. Large groups would thus favor grunt workers / warriors with a tendency for embracing tribal-integrating myths, and a tinier elite class that was good at inventing or propagating or tweaking the latter for socio-political purposes.

    Edward O. Wilson = "The human mind evolved to believe in the gods. It did not evolve to believe in biology. Acceptance of the supernatural conveyed a great advantage throughout prehistory, when the brain was evolving. Thus it is in sharp contrast to biology, which was developed as a product of the modern age and is not underwritten by genetic algorithms. The uncomfortable truth is that the two beliefs are not factually compatible. As a result those who hunger for both intellectual and religious truth will never acquire both in full measure." --The Biological Basis of Morality
     
  8. Crunchy Cat F-in' *meow* baby!!! Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    8,423
    It would be a slightly better term yet it would result in inaccuracy. Atheism is the non-acceptance of the assertion "God exists". A newborn hasn't yet been exposed to the concept of 'God' (regardless of predispositions and instincts); therefore, it is not an atheist and it is not a theist.

    Atheism is the non-acceptance of the assertion "God exists". Theism is the acceptance of the assertion "God exists".
     
  9. lightgigantic Banned Banned

    Messages:
    16,330
    incorrect - there is a genetic algorithm for belief in biology
     
  10. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    15,058
    Yeah, if by "God," you mean 'nonexistent invisible sky fairy' or things to that effect.
     
  11. AlexG Like nailing Jello to a tree Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,304
    Or any other definition you can come up with.
     
  12. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    15,058
    For one, this depends on what you mean by "atheism" and by "born and raised," "culturation/socialization" and some other terms.

    If you have the conviction that "society corrupts the true human," that a "child is born pure, and then gets indoctrinated," you'll view atheism as the human natural, original state, and thus superior and preferred over theism.

    If you believe that society is essentially good, but that newborn humans are essentially bad and yet need to be cultivated and all that, then either atheism or theism will seem to you as the natural state babies are born in. If you hold that conviction, then, if you are now as an adult a theist, you will believe that babies are born atheists; if you are now as an adult an atheist, you will believe babies are born theists; whichever you now deem to be below yourself, is what you will believe babies are born as.

    If you are convinced of some form of eugenics, your beliefs about the religiosity of newborns will be 1. informed by whether you are now a theist or an atheist and where on the eugenics ladder you believe yourself to be (but you probably believe yourself to be at the top, if you're into eugenics), and 2. diverse according to your eugenic beliefs.
    So you'll believe that eugenically superior babies are theists, and those lower are atheists, if you are now an eugenic theist. If you are now an eugenic atheist, you'll believe that eugenically superior babies are atheists, and those inferior are theists.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2012
  13. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    15,058
    Like "God is the being without whose supervision nothing happens in this Universe."

    Totally, unproblematically consistent with the "non-acceptance of the assertion "God exists"."
     
  14. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    15,058
    Then how come children are known for rebellion against their parents?
     
  15. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    15,058
    I'm sure you've read Nagel's "What it is like to be a bat?"
    Based on the reasoning there, I do not think that your projection is justified.



    To begin with, for a modern biologist to believe in free will, justice and democracy, is a fine example of a supernaturalist belief.
     
  16. Crunchy Cat F-in' *meow* baby!!! Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    8,423
    I mean external sapient life form that exhibits one or more of the following traits: omnipotence, omniscience, and / or omnnipresence.
     
  17. Balerion Banned Banned

    Messages:
    8,596
    It's an interesting question (the first one, I mean), in that it's very tricky, and inevitably leads to an argument on semantics. If we consider theism and atheism as intellectual or philosophical positions, then we cannot be born as either, since we do not have the intellectual capacity to understand such concepts at birth.

    If you are asking if we are born without a concept of god, the answer is yes. "Nontheism" is a broad term for the rejection of theism, and covers a wide array of attitudes and beliefs, not all of them nonreligious. Atheism is one such attitude that would fall under the nontheism umbrella. I can't off the top of my head think of a good word for what would cover what you're asking.

    I think it may have been argued that some of us predisposed to religious belief, but this would not necessarily mean that we are predisposed to believe in a god, personal or otherwise.
     
  18. Epictetus here & now Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    554
    Yes. We are born atheist, but then some god-botherer gets hold of us, if we're to be Catholic, and baptizes us as infants so young there is little we can do about it but join the Hare Krsnas later in life.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  19. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    15,058
    Ha! Best laugh of the day!
     
  20. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    15,058
    How can you hold that definition of God,
    not accept the assertion "God exists",
    and still think you are being consistent?
     
  21. Buddha12 Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,862
    We are all born human beings with no religion inherited except what our parents make us become. If given the opportunity to choose what religions would be wanted and without any interferences from parents , children would not become something they were made to accept from their parents always.
     
  22. Crunchy Cat F-in' *meow* baby!!! Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    8,423
    What is inconsistent about not accepting someone elses assertion?
     
  23. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,950
    Genetic algorithms are human inventions inspired by evolution. Not to mention that biology is too recent a practice for it already having acquired instantiation and maintenance in molecular templates for somatic assembly and species behavior. With what it studies being distinct from this research endeavor. ("Jane investigates the city of Plath; but the city of Plath was around before Jane commenced her investigation").
     

Share This Page