Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke

Discussion in 'Religion' started by Jan Ardena, Apr 8, 2018.

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  1. Capracus Registered Senior Member

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    Religion is a variety of philosophy that generally is associated with the belief and reverence for theological concepts. Since most if not all philosophical propositions can likewise generate the same devotional fervor among adherents, it would be just as appropriate to brand all of them as religion as well. But unfortunately if we label all philosophies as religion, the usefulness of the original definition of religion becomes diminished. So while we can show similarities among various philosophies, I think it best for linguistic clarity to allow them their own definitional identity.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2018
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  3. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

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    No, it's to point out that humans created the gods. And that means the gods are right bastards.
     
    Xelasnave.1947 likes this.
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  5. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    The problem is that Theists NEVER have linguistic or scientific clarity about the properties of God, except for the two most unlikely properties of sentience and motivation.

    IMHO, what people identify as the "hand" of God is nothing more than the unobservable and still partially unknown universal mathematical/physical laws and functions. This ignorance of the inherent but unseen universal functions gave a very early rise to Theism and as most people are still uninformed (sometimes purposefully), these natural phenomena are still interpreted as the workings of a sentient and motivated God.

    While scripture can provide moral guidance, even for Atheists, it is not and never will be science. Evolution and Natural Selection are not indications of "intervention", but rather proof of the implacable mathematical functions which permeate the universe. Andif anyone thinks that we are a favorite creation of God, there is overwhelming proof this is a false assumtption.

    Good people die at the same rate as bad people or another organism and the stars. So where is any particular favoritism to be found? Humans are not the only organisms capable of abstract thought, IMO.

    Even Lemurs know how to count, albeit subconsiously. Other organisms have specific adaptive powers well beyond the mental capacity of humans.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2018
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  7. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

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    Ok.
    So its the latter.
    Carry on as you were.
     
  8. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    There you have it, no one can define God, other than as human interpretations of local phenomena and presents the problem who is right and who is wrong, and more sinister, is the cause for religious wars by zealots who delude themselves that their god is the one Supreme causality and must be adopted by all societies. I call that deluded hubris.

    Even in the most abstract sense, there is no agreement about the properties of God, whereas science is slowly dissasembling individual events and eventually find worldwide concensus of how things work in reality.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2018
  9. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

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    If you're trying to scold me you have a huge amount of work ahead of you.
     
  10. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

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    It's more that you aren't successful in surmounting the "It's not a joke" part of the op.
     
  11. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

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    Gods are jokes. Try this, insert "fairies" for "gods" in any dialog.
     
  12. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

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    Yes.
    As I said.
    Carry on ....
     
  13. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

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    You win, whatever you were playing for.
     
  14. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Post deleted. Formatting got all screwed up and it needs to be rewritten.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2018
  15. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    It's a mistake to confuse 'metaphysics' with 'religion', and another mistake to imply that 'religion' means 'theism' (or that'theism' means 'monotheism').

    I think that it's probably true that human beings have innate cognitive propensities for what often becomes religious-style thinking. Of course that doesn't mean that atheism is wrong, let alone that it's impossible for human beings to be atheists.

    I don't believe that Graham Lawton is a cognitive scientist is he? He doesn't seem to be a philosopher or to be trained in the study of religion either. He's a journalist, one of the deputy editors of New Scientist. My impression is that he's personally interested in the philosophy of religion (he writes about it a lot in the magazine) and is trying to interpret the cognitive science of religion for New Scientist's readers, arguably without fully understanding it himself.

    Some atheists do believe in a dualistic distinction between spiritual and physical substance, but most probably don't. That kind of view is rather out of favor these days, except among a large faction of philosophers of mind who insist that their "qualia" somehow prove the explanatory inadequacy of physicalism. But they often seem to shy away from a full-blown substance dualism, opting instead for what they argue is a property dualism (a form of 'neutral monism' I guess).

    But that's more an issue for metaphysics and for the philosophy of mind. It doesn't necessarily have anything to do with God or the belief in God.

    I've long felt that the presence of the word 'quantum' in laypeople's non-technical writing indicates that what follows is likely to be bullshit. Unfortunately, in the last few years the phrase 'scientists say' seems to indicate that the reader is about to be bullshitted as well. It's just inserted in there as an appeal to authority, a warning to laypeople that they had better accept everything that follows the phrase or be denounced as 'anti-science' or as a 'denier'. Just Shut Up and Believe.

    I'm inclined to agree with most of that and believe that it's probably true. But it's a huge leap to imagine that cognitive predispositions to religious-style thinking implies that people are born 'religious', that everyone remains 'religious' in adulthood, let alone that people are born monotheists with an innate knowledge of "God" (whatever that word means).

    I certainly agree that ethics, our human sense that some things are 'right' and others 'wrong', probably does arise from innate human social instincts. We come from the factory already optimized to behave appropriately in social groups. (The precise details of what is considered right and wrong depend on the particular social group in which we are raised, so that's probably 'socially constructed'.)

    What's more, I have long speculated that human beings are optimized in other ways to live with other human beings. There's our language instinct (again, we are born with a propensity to acquire language, but the particular language we learn depends on the circumstances in which we are raised). We attribute mental states to our companions and have the ability to read and reconstruct their mental states from very subtle clues of tone, wording and gesture. A great deal of that seems to be innate since children naturally do it without any explicit instruction. New babies naturally seek out things shaped like faces in their visual fields. (Baby monkeys do the same.) Adults often experience pareidolia where they imagine that chance arrangements of features in the natural environment look like human faces.

    Kids find it much easier (and more pleasurable) to hang out interacting with their friends than to do algebra homework, even though the algebra is a far simpler data-processing task. People just naturally socialize with each other, interpreting the behavior of those around them in terms of intentions, emotions and purposes. It comes so naturally that we are typically unaware that we are doing it.

    What's more, we have a tendency to overlook gaps in our own understanding. Everyone generally feels like they have most things figured out. I expect that paleolithic cave-people felt the same way sitting around their campfires telling their stories. They had it all figured out too. So most people (except the philosophers, which more or less defines philosophy) simply ignore the gaps and cognitive voids in their own understanding. Or if the voids are too large they fill them in imaginatively, often without being aware they are doing so. Given what I said in the paragraphs immediately preceding, I'd speculate that people will typically fill in the voids by attributing unseen mental states and purposes to events in the physical environment when they lack better explanations. And that kind of projection in turn suggests that people will be imagining unseen personalities with extraordinary powers who wield those purposes. Thunder and lightening display the raw angry emotion of some super-powered personality in the sky and so on.

    But that doesn't really suggest monotheism, which seems to be a fairly late arrival in the history of religious thought. It's probably more likely to generate some kind of animism, the idea that the physical environment is inhabited and animated by unseen spirits psychologically rather like us.

    While I'd agree that human beings do have innate propensities to think in that kind of way, I don't think that there's any necessity that they must. It's obviously possible for people to be physicalists and materialists and to think of their surroundings (apart from other people and perhaps animals) in a far less personalized way.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2018
  16. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

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    Athiests do not belong to a religion because they believe there is no God.

    Athieism is not and never will be a religion and to suggest such is simply nonsence.

    Relgion involves a god and its a pity many folk suggest "this or that" is a religion simply because they hope to heap on "this or that" the nonsence and fanatical approach common with religion and its followers.

    And athiests dont need to know anything at all about religion or god to reject such nonsence.
    Who needs to know the history or development of the tooth fairey or any other made up mythical character to simply recognise that it is made up nonsence...or to be specific...lies and bulldust.

    If any theist wants to be taken seriously then let them bare the normal and reasonable burden of proof all other matters suffer.

    Theists start from god exists so lets discuss its qualities which is simply wrong ... no no no...lets start with a supportable observation offerring reasonable evidence of god ...what no evidence? None at all...I mean besides the made up speculation that derives its credibility only via the passing of time and the lack of challenge to the nonsence, and we know why the nonsence was not challenged ...not because intellect could bring it down but from fear of death imposed by those who present the nonsence...with no evidence that is the end of it and discussion past that point is less than speculation and serves no purpose other than letting fools (theisits) indulge their fairey tales and delusions.

    Religion and god is a joke perhaps the first attempt at comedy humans made and only became serious because no one understood it was always going to be a joke...thank goodness our humour became refined and moved to "pie in the face" reality...pity few see the greatly improved sophistication... but such a shame so many have fallen victim of that original imaginative but baseless joke.

    Talk all you want about gods attributes but realise all such talk avoids the first step in establishing any reality and of course I utter the word feared by all theists...evidence.

    And reference to a scripture is only a reference to delusional blogging of an ancient theist expounding mere opinion and a cart load of such raving does not and never will avoid that first fundamental requirement and step, which is to provide some reasonable basis and evidence such that there is anything at all worthy of discussion.

    I have not read the science Jan brings to the table because his last "tabling" of science showed he called upon biased works prepared by an individual who clearly was never interested in science but only in pushing a christian notion.
    That children were prone to believe in god...of course those who sit at a table and their parents say grace before a meal and tell them fairey tales about impossible floods and animal management.

    If some humans have a propensity for the accepting of nonsence that is unfortunate but undestandable given the many many years humans lived without science and relied upon folk who simply made stuff up to explain the world.
    Look at the very first passage in the bible...written as if observed and yet as any rational thinker can determine there could be no witness therefore the account is simply made up...made up and that trend continues through out that text.

    Athiests are the next evolutionary step where humans shake off their superstitious imprisonment and elevate themselves to become beings devoid of the joke played upon them that is religion.

    Athiests are winning back that part of their brain that enables them to think rather than abdicate such things to bullshitters and liars.


    Alex
     
  17. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Why do many animals, other than humans, have the same abilities of organizing social interactions?
    A Bonobo will welcome strangers among their midst, offer hospitality and share food and sexual favors as well as the ability to act cooperatively when a common problem needs to be solved.
    Most higher order animals have a social life based on certain moral behaviors, but without the necessity of believing in a God.
    IMO, the concept of God is an abstract identification of natural imperatives, which will continue to exist, regardless if we "believe" in a divine intervention or not.

    If everyone instantly became atheist, following practical secular methods of social order and cooperation, NOTHING would change in the universe.
     
  18. Gawdzilla Sama Valued Senior Member

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    Yep.

    "Take the Universe.
    Take away God.
    Nothing changes."
     
  19. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    This thread connects to the thread on "what God does", if we substitute for "God" the metaphysical tendencies and spiritual level insights the OP has conflated with theism.

    There are some genuine benefits to encouraging and organizing one's metaphysical perceptions in certain ways, and deity is one of those ways - it provides a mechanism for escaping the Tragedy of the Commons with less violence than would be involved in most ways of reducing demand on the common resource, for example.

    Some God says you can't enrich yourself by beggaring everyone else like that, and a common belief in that God provides the visible organization of those neighbors with which you will visibly and predictably be confronted if you attempt to do so. It's in that particular context that the common requirement of poverty and moderation of life in theistic authority looms largest.

    But atheistic spiritual authority seems to fill exactly that same role, in those cultures: for example, the shaman who reads entrails or fire-cracked turtle shells to guide hunting and raiding expeditions is doing exactly what an ecologist well versed in game theory would recommend from patterns whose scientific establishment required a modern industrial economy unavailable to the nomads of the steppes - only from deeply inspired and profound recognition of metaphysical patterns in the world, as available to the most profound intellects among those nomads.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2018
  20. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

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    I dont know about that as I can think how many things would change for the better.

    Resources would not be wasted on building churches etc.
    Huge revenue streams would not escape taxation and application for the community at large.

    Folk would have to take responsibility for their actions and not have the cop out that "its gods will".

    Claims on land priveledge and possessions would need more than a claim that god gives me priority over others.

    Children could be raised without brain washing and terrorised with fear of hell because they notice they have genitals.

    Without god there would be less lies about history and cosmology.

    Without god there would be no delussions that there is another life after death...what nonsence...life after death.

    Unsupported nonsence.

    Folk would be forced to recognise the planet was not made for humans nor do humans have a god given right to abuse the planet nor are animals etc placed on Earth for the sole use of humans.

    In short the place would be better and any rational and thinking human will understand why and how it would be better.

    Females world wide could actually be treated as humans...suicide bombings would be no more.

    Sexuality would not be the focus to cause guilt and anguish over what is completely normal behaviour.

    Lives would not be snuffed out because of religious wars.

    Oh you could make a list but theists dont have the brain power to work out the benefits and cling to made up nonsence written thousands of years ago when superstition and ignorance ruled humanity.

    Thankfully the ignorant are becoming informed and the superstitious are revealing their stupidity.

    Alex
     
  21. Musika Last in Space Valued Senior Member

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    My Little Pony meets Atheism.

    Granted that some people take religion as a fanciful indulgence, but I think you have just clearly illustrated they don't have a monopoly on the tendency.
     
  22. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

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    Er no.
    Alex
     
  23. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

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    What are you talking about.

    Is smugness all you offer?

    You cant elevate discussion of religion to where you seem to think it could be...nonsence is nonsence irrespective of the literature or the manner used to call it nonsence.
    Alex
     
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