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Magicjax

Your Road to Atheism?

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Tiggs

If their relationship with the ghost includes elements of behaviour based on beliefs about the ghost, then yes. For example, if they try to propitiate it, avoid it or not anger it, then they are worshipping it. In the same way early people worshipped trees rocks animals and /or the presumed spirits within those things. Given the article, as sourced, these people display a relationship with the spirits that is a form of worship.

Being scared of something is not worship.

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Tiggs

I see no foundation for describing a cooperative unresponsive reply to a question about beliefs as being in any sense a negative reply.

Well, then I suggest you don't.

Personally, for day to day use, I just need to classify people into "Those who are going to want to pray before we eat" and "Those who wont". Your mileage may vary.

Where is the harm in the modest admission that some people are inherently unclassifiable as one among theist, atheist and agnostic, and that the problem is deeper than can be solved by slapping adjectives on the root terms, to coin oxymorons and loaded phrases?

I thought I'd made it abundantly clear that I was pretty much open to calling them whatever anyone wanted? I honestly don't care which demographic they're attached to for purposes of identification. I've used implicit Atheism because it was the classification I was taught when growing up (as a Christian).

Edited by Tiggs

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eight bits
I thought I'd made it abundantly clear that I was pretty much open to calling them whatever anyone wanted?

That's great to hear, Tiggs. I was a little confused.

That bit that I quoted and responded to was presented as somebody's "preferred definition." Meh. If you'd like, you can think of what I posted as less of a rebuttal, and more of an acceptance of your invitation,

If you'd rather call them "unaware" because you have a particular aversion to the thought of children ever being "Atheist" - then again - be my guest.

with a free explanation thrown in :) 'Cause, I really would rather call them something like "unaware," but not for the reason you mentioned. Plus, I think the classification problem exists among adults, too.

Edited by eight bits

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Beckys_Mom

So - in your world - People who claim to have seen a ghost are actually worshiping that ghost?

* Bangs head slowly against the desk *

Ohh my now I HAVE heard it all...Ghost worshiping... lol

Being scared of something is not worship.

I guess if we have a fear of something.. we also worship it.. Gee that is a bummer.. it means I worship...clowns, spiders... religious extremists and Keanue Reeves movies ...!!

Because, Mr Walker, Toddlers do not create Pantheons.

Simple as that.

Ha ha I swear.. you just couldnt make this stuff up lol

Edited by Beckys_Mom

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White Crane Feather

Isn't the concept of spirits/supernatural ingrained in our DNA? Primitive man hears a bush move, doesn't see anything so he doesn't run. Gets eaten. Another man hears a bush move, doesn't see anything, but runs away anyway. He survives. Fear of invisible forces that are out to get us made us evolve this sense of the supernatural.

As for me. I grew up in a very strict catholic household. I was constantly told I was going to hell if I misbehaved; not only by my family, but the nuns in my catholic school. As a side note I'll say those nuns were some of the most evil creatures I've ever seen in my life. Their black shriveled hearts had no concept of empathy. Yelling at the top of their lungs with great anger right in front of my face of 7,8,9,10yo that I'm going to hell.

When I was little (4,5,6 yo) I would ask about the obvious problems like "if Adam and Eve only had boys, where did everyone else come from?", and get dismissive answers. The questions grew but the answers didn't get any better. At 7 I had my first existentialist crisis. In the lines of, "I came from my parents, they came from my grandparents, they came from my great grandparents...where does it end? .... oh, Adam and Eve. Where did they come from? God... Where did he come from? ..." and that was enough. I couldn't sleep for weeks and went into depression. I dealt with it by trying to forget the topic and avoid it at all cost.

At 12 I figured God must've spontaneously gotten created. But that lead to my second existentialist crisis. The topic open once again for inspection, the line of reasoning was the following: "I'll be good all my life and when I die, I'll go to heaven...and I'll be happy forever...forever...like a trillion years later I'll still be there...happy....a quadrillion years later I'll still be there....what if I can't stand existing anymore? How many quintillion years until there's just no more point to it? What is going to be worth living for a sixtillion years from now?" and at 12 I went into a more severe depression. I developed psychosomatic symptoms even. Once again I vowed to avoid the topic at all costs.

My older sister introduced me to atheism. I though she *had* to be wrong, but just knowing the possibility opened the door to all new lines of thinking. Funny enough, she is also the one that told me Santa Claus wasn't real. At the time I couldn't appreciate the parallel between the two. About Santa (when I was 7) my comeback to her was, "Oh yeah! Then who brings us the presents then, huh?" Burrrrrrn, I thought. Then she said, "Mom and Dad"...I stood there in shock for a while as I sorted the consequences in my head. About Religion (when I was 12) my great comeback was, "Oh yeah! Then what happens to our souls when we die, huh?" Burrrrrn, I thought. She said, "nothing. you just stop existing". Again, I stood there in shock for a looong time. Got a little depressed but ironically not as bad as the other episodes. It's no coincidence that my 7 and 12 episodes coincides with my sister revealing the social lies I was exposed to. I seeked her out for comfort through my depressive episodes.

At college I went into Physics partly to see if I could get a better understanding of some of these questions (besides one day building a time machine, off course). I also studied the human element, religions through history, a little bit of anthropology, etc. The greater my knowledge of our universe and ourselves, the smaller and smaller the world of the religious become...until I didn't think it was needed anymore. The science game - all conclusions must be based on evidence that is independently verifiable, reproducible, and predictive - became ingrained in me. I thought the pure atheist stance of "I believe there's nothing" betrays that, since it's a statement not based on evidence. In science we don't say "it doesn't exist", we say, "we don't have any evidence of that". So I relabeled myself agnostic.

The interesting thing is that when I finally let go of religion it was an incredibly freeing feeling. A huge weight off my shoulders. Things got simpler, more predictable, with real, satisfying answers.

"Guessing the lion in the grass" is certainly apart of our evolution, but it is the source of irrational fear not spirituality. Nor is trying to explaine nature with story's of gods. This certainly has happened, but it's quit obviouse that the source for spirituality is OBEs, NDEs, and altered states of conciousness as they continue to be even to this day. Wether it's written in our DNA or not I doubt it. If its purely a materialistic affect, it's more like a bi product. Of course that dosnt seem very likely.

Edited by Seeker79

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Tiggs

That's great to hear, Tiggs. I was a little confused.

That bit that I quoted and responded to was presented as somebody's "preferred definition." Meh. If you'd like, you can think of what I posted as less of a rebuttal, and more of an acceptance of your invitation,

with a free explanation thrown in :) 'Cause, I really would rather call them something like "unaware," but not for the reason you mentioned. Plus, I think the classification problem exists among adults, too.

I'm perfectly good with unaware. Implicit atheism is my preferred definition purely because it's the one I've always used, and to be honest, thought was the one that was in most general usage.

I have no attachment to it's name, though, nor have I ever thought of implicit atheists as being kindred spirits in any meaningful manner.

Edited by Tiggs
Because, apparently, almost every other word I write is "particularly".

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Uncle Sam

Tiggs keep shredding those arguments of Theists trying to compare us to aspects of religion. :)

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ranrod

"Guessing the lion in the grass" is certainly apart of our evolution, but it is the source of irrational fear not spirituality. Nor is trying to explaine nature with story's of gods. This certainly has happened, but it's quit obviouse that the source for spirituality is OBEs, NDEs, and altered states of conciousness as they continue to be even to this day. Wether it's written in our DNA or not I doubt it. If its purely a materialistic affect, it's more like a bi product. Of course that dosnt seem very likely.

OBEs, NDEs and altered states are things that we rationalize as modern humans. The sense of spirituality as an evolutionary trait would be something that develops over hundreds of thousands of years dating back to more primitive ancestors. "lion in the grass" is a basic survival thing and seems like a reasonable seed for the rest to build upon. Of course, this is all speculation.

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Apopo

A baby is never born an atheist/agnostic.. he doesn't know. He can be what one calls sitting on the fence, but I would say he is somehow sleeping on the fence (metaphor). How can one choose sides (god vs no god) if one does not know the concept of a god? Does a baby know what a god is?

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ranrod

A baby is never born an atheist/agnostic.. he doesn't know. He can be what one calls sitting on the fence, but I would say he is somehow sleeping on the fence (metaphor). How can one choose sides (god vs no god) if one does not know the concept of a god? Does a baby know what a god is?

There's some arguing about semantics, but I agree ignorance is not the same as rejection. If a theist is someone who has a religion, what do you call someone who doesn't have one? An a-theist? Non-theist? Lack-theist? Ignorant? Innocent? Pure? unspoiled?

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Uncle Sam

I eat gods for breakfast and still have room for more... :)

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Mr Walker

Mr Walker

To me belief in the supernatural is a human trait, therefore it must be in our DNA somewhere. The problem I see with these studies is that if the kids really knew nothing about the supernatural, they wouldn't be able to articulate what they think. So you give them choices and many of them might pick B for no good reason. The questions seem to pre-requisite a knowledge of God, and where did they get that? On the other hand, tell these kids to go down the dark hallway alone and open the big curtains at the end and you'll find a lot of them will be too afraid to do so. Afraid of an invisible ominous force that is all around us. I speculate that whatever brain function is making those things happen evolve into religious thoughts as individuals get older and try to explain it to themselves/others. Sounds like obvious traits you would evolve developing in a very hostile environment.

I argue that if you get a bunch of kids and show them the ominous curtains and ask what's behind the curtain: A) Your parents, B) A Dinosaur, C) Nothing. A lot of kids would answer B. When I was 4 and was asked that as I displayed fear of opening a curtain, that's what I answered.

Like Tiggs you are making a fundamental misunderstanding. Humans DO NOT NEED to be taught anything about the human construct we call "god". It is not a construct which requires passing down from genreation to generation. it evolves spontaneously within individual minds, as those minds learn symbolic language and begin to explore and shape an understanding of their world.

Children create this construct "from scratch" as a consequence of the way the human mind processes information, and how it constructs language and symbolic representations of non physical and physical things, via language and thought. No they wont cal' it "god" until they learn that term, but yes, they will create a construct which matches our own adult construct of god, in order to explain the inexplicable to themselves. How else can the inexplicable become comprehensible to a young child, within its own mind, other than via a self created construct to do that for them..

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Mr Walker

Being scared of something is not worship.

Thats not ALL that i said was required. Being scared of something and then acting to propitiate, not anger, or avoid the consequences of something IS a form of worship, even if based on fear, because our belief informs our behaviour .

It is the very form of worship practiced, as far as we know, by the first humans and probably by neandertals. It was practiced by animists and many early pagans. Theism /deism does not require one big god. It can consist of hundreds of thousands of very "small" gods.

Edited by Mr Walker

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Mr Walker

My apologies. It wasn't my intent to claim that, but I can see how you may have read it that way.

Because, Mr Walker, Toddlers don't create Pantheons.

Simple as that.

I'd have thought that the word "rigged" in my last post would have given it away.

I see an obvious disconnect between Petrovich's experiment and the conclusions that she claims that they represent.

Thats because you either dont get, or refuse to accept the processes involved in the constructon of gods by children Actually, in a way, a child does consruct a pantheon of gods. Every time it creates the concept of a 'god" to explain the inexplicable, it may see it as a different god.

Early animists and pagans did precisely this. Every tree, every object ,every animal, and every human being had a spirit in it that explained its; nature, form and function; and connection/relationship to the human being and to the wider environment.

The nature of that spirit determined a humans relationship with the physical entity. Thus one did not walk in the woods without offering a small sacrifice to the spirits. One did not take an animal without offering something back to the earth, the animal or another god. One did not brew or drink a beer without offerng a small portion of it back to the gods.

The ancient sumerians believed everything was a product of the gods, including even the houses which they built them selves. Australian aboriginals have strong spiritual connections with the earth. But also they believe that the spirits of the dead are real and inhabit the place where they die. This effects their behaviour even in the modern age.

Children do not have to be taught to do these things. They evolve such constructs, explanations, beliefs and behaviours, from within their own minds.

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ranrod

Like Tiggs you are making a fundamental misunderstanding. Humans DO NOT NEED to be taught anything about the human construct we call "god". It is not a construct which requires passing down from genreation to generation. it evolves spontaneously within individual minds, as those minds learn symbolic language and begin to explore and shape an understanding of their world.

Children create this construct "from scratch" as a consequence of the way the human mind processes information, and how it constructs language and symbolic representations of non physical and physical things, via language and thought. No they wont cal' it "god" until they learn that term, but yes, they will create a construct which matches our own adult construct of god, in order to explain the inexplicable to themselves. How else can the inexplicable become comprehensible to a young child, within its own mind, other than via a self created construct to do that for them..

You've been trying to establish this, and it sounds reasonable, but I haven't seen enough to back this up. Where do you get this from? If it's a matter of opinion, I assert that kids have a concept of invisible forces, but that is not the same as a god. What kind of god(s) are we talking about?

EDIT: I see your later post to Tiggs. That answers what kind of god(s) you're talking about. I think we're talking about invisible forces that mostly cause fear in little kids. I think using the word "god" is too specific. Even that notion of spirits/invisible forces is biased by my memories of the time and i can't really back it up as a general rule.

Edited by ranrod

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Mr Right Wing

OBEs, NDEs and altered states are things that we rationalize as modern humans. The sense of spirituality as an evolutionary trait would be something that develops over hundreds of thousands of years dating back to more primitive ancestors. "lion in the grass" is a basic survival thing and seems like a reasonable seed for the rest to build upon. Of course, this is all speculation.

All he ever posts is speculation but he tries to put it forward as fact.

God has not been disproved.

Edited by Mr Right Wing

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ranrod

All he ever posts is speculation but he tries to put it forward as fact.

God has not been disproved.

damn those pronouns!!! Yes! He speculates! Me too! Sry :rofl:

Edited by ranrod

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Mr Right Wing

I think you missed the part where I wrote "this is all speculation". So as I write "this is all speculation" you think, "why is he trying to pass this off as fact?"??? Maybe I should write "this is all speculation" at the end of every sentence?

The sense of spirituality (this is speculation) is an evolutionary trait (this is speculation) that would take hundreds of thousands of years (this is speculation) to develop (this is speculation). Better?

...and your right, God has not been disproved (this is speculation). That *might* be impossible (this is speculation)

You replied to a posters comment ending by saying this is all speculation. I commented all he ever does is speculate.

My reply wasnt a criticism of you but the poster you replied too.

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Mr Walker

You've been trying to establish this, and it sounds reasonable, but I haven't seen enough to back this up. Where do you get this from? If it's a matter of opinion, I assert that kids have a concept of invisible forces, but that is not the same as a god. What kind of god(s) are we talking about?

EDIT: I see your later post to Tiggs. That answers what kind of god(s) you're talking about. I think we're talking about invisible forces that mostly cause fear in little kids. I think using the word "god" is too specific. Even that notion of spirits/invisible forces is biased by my memories of the time and i can't really back it up as a general rule.

I can only suggest you try and get a copy of the "British" New Scientist magazine 4 feb 2009, followed by a number of connected articles over the next 6 months . They used to be available online but are now only accessible via subscription.

No not invisible forces per se, and not necessarily scary. The human mind uses modes of thought to process information. Children, lacking a wide data base and experiential knowedge, use a similar process to ancient humans, who were in the same fix as modern children.

Their mind constructs logical explanations for all inexplicable things and events in order to put it self at ease and create a sort of categorisation, taxonomy, or order, of the world around them.

Now self aware childen realise they are self aware. A natural assumption of a young self aware mind i tha t many other things in their world wil also be self aware (they dont know an different) So they endow things with consciouss self awareness and purpose. Also they interpolate how certain inexplicalbe things could come to be; from something as simple as the movement of the sun across the sky to more complex observations of their world. One logical conclusion, given their lack of data and experience, combined with their awareness of their own consciousness and intent, is that "gods", or beings of power and purposeful intent must be behind a lot of what they observe. Otherwise, to them, the world does not make sense, and the human mind "INSISTS" on creating sense of things, however it can achieve that sense of order and "sense."

Thus they create deus ex machinas (which i first learnt of as child as a device in novel writing) but which literally means

A deus ex machina (11px-Loudspeaker.svg.png/ˈd.əs ɛks ˈmɑːknə/ or /ˈdəs ɛks ˈmækɨnə/ DAY-əs eks MAH-kee-nə;[1] Latin: "god from the machine"; plural: dei ex machina) is a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly solved with the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability, or object.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deus_ex_machina

Children use this device, naturally in their thought processes, to solve the problems posed by their observations of, and lack of knowledge about, the world around them.

Edited by Mr Walker

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Tiggs

Thats not ALL that i said was required. Being scared of something and then acting to propitiate, not anger, or avoid the consequences of something IS a form of worship, even if based on fear, because our belief informs our behaviour .

It is the very form of worship practiced, as far as we know, by the first humans and probably by neandertals. It was practiced by animists and many early pagans. Theism /deism does not require one big god. It can consist of hundreds of thousands of very "small" gods.

Again. Purely being afraid of something is not worship.

Worship requires Propitiation.

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ranrod

I can only suggest you try and get a copy of the "British" New Scientist magazine 4 feb 2009, followed by a number of connected articles over the next 6 months . They used to be available online but are now only accessible via subscription.

No not invisible forces per se, and not necessarily scary. The human mind uses modes of thought to process information. Children, lacking a wide data base and experiential knowedge, use a similar process to ancient humans, who were in the same fix as modern children.

Their mind constructs logical explanations for all inexplicable things and events in order to put it self at ease and create a sort of categorisation, taxonomy, or order, of the world around them.

Now self aware childen realise they are self aware. A natural assumption of a young self aware mind i tha t many other things in their world wil also be self aware (they dont know an different) So they endow things with consciouss self awareness and purpose. Also they interpolate how certain inexplicalbe things could come to be; from something as simple as the movement of the sun across the sky to more complex observations of their world. One logical conclusion, given their lack of data and experience, combined with their awareness of their own consciousness and intent, is that "gods", or beings of power and purposeful intent must be behind a lot of what they observe. Otherwise, to them, the world does not make sense, and the human mind "INSISTS" on creating sense of things, however it can achieve that sense of order and "sense."

Thus they create deus ex machinas (which i first learnt of as child as a device in novel writing) but which literally means

A deus ex machina (11px-Loudspeaker.svg.png/ˈd.əs ɛks ˈmɑːknə/ or /ˈdəs ɛks ˈmækɨnə/ DAY-əs eks MAH-kee-nə;[1] Latin: "god from the machine"; plural: dei ex machina) is a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly solved with the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability, or object.

http://en.wikipedia....Deus_ex_machina

Children use this device, naturally in their thought processes, to solve the problems posed by their observations of, and lack of knowledge about, the world around them.

According to what you wrote, I think I'm just disapproving of the choice of words. God is a very specific concept. I don't think that is the right word. However, I can see how a little kid's unformed minds would find the world around them a lot more malleable than adults do. Not understanding the boundaries of reality. Might believe in invisible forces that control things, etc. Pure speculation but from my very unreliable memories of an early age, it rings true.

I dreamed about "evil spirits" that lived in a house at the end of my block when I was very little. I remember the spirit of a bear that ate anyone who got near that house. My house had spirits too. It remains a mystery how much of that was caused by what. It was difficult at the time to tell what was a dream and what was real, adding to the confusion. For a few days I was convinced realities were reversed. I should add I have memories from very little: 1.5 years old and on, though that is off course unreliable. A few years ago I shared with my mom one of my memories from that time in great detail. She said that it sounded very familiar so she started looking through her old pictures. She found one that showed exactly what I had just described. Only that my memories where 1st person, and the picture was 3rd person, but showed the same event

Edited by ranrod

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Uncle Sam

Again. Purely being afraid of something is not worship.

Worship requires Propitiation.

I gave up Tiggs, Mr. Walker is using wordplay, twisting them to suit his idea of what the world is like. If you don't convince them, you are going to be debating this topic forever.

Edited by Uncle Sam
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Euphorbia

I can only suggest you try and get a copy of the "British" New Scientist magazine 4 feb 2009, followed by a number of connected articles over the next 6 months . They used to be available online but are now only accessible via subscription.

No not invisible forces per se, and not necessarily scary. The human mind uses modes of thought to process information. Children, lacking a wide data base and experiential knowedge, use a similar process to ancient humans, who were in the same fix as modern children.

Their mind constructs logical explanations for all inexplicable things and events in order to put it self at ease and create a sort of categorisation, taxonomy, or order, of the world around them.

Now self aware childen realise they are self aware. A natural assumption of a young self aware mind i tha t many other things in their world wil also be self aware (they dont know an different) So they endow things with consciouss self awareness and purpose. Also they interpolate how certain inexplicalbe things could come to be; from something as simple as the movement of the sun across the sky to more complex observations of their world. One logical conclusion, given their lack of data and experience, combined with their awareness of their own consciousness and intent, is that "gods", or beings of power and purposeful intent must be behind a lot of what they observe. Otherwise, to them, the world does not make sense, and the human mind "INSISTS" on creating sense of things, however it can achieve that sense of order and "sense."

Thus they create deus ex machinas (which i first learnt of as child as a device in novel writing) but which literally means

A deus ex machina (11px-Loudspeaker.svg.png/ˈd.əs ɛks ˈmɑːknə/ or /ˈdəs ɛks ˈmækɨnə/ DAY-əs eks MAH-kee-nə;[1] Latin: "god from the machine"; plural: dei ex machina) is a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly solved with the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability, or object.

http://en.wikipedia....Deus_ex_machina

Children use this device, naturally in their thought processes, to solve the problems posed by their observations of, and lack of knowledge about, the world around them.

You seem to be making a lot of generalizations. I happen to be in the camp that believes that I was "born with a clean slate", so to speak. Not born an atheist. At around the age of twelve I became aware that I was an atheist. I now simply call myself a non-believer.

All of the things you have been saying in this thread may happen to some small children, but not to me. I never had a thought of god or religion until after the age of ten when I started hearing about it from other people. I never created a god or religion in my mind. I never had invisible friends nor did I try to create explanations in my head for all of the things I didn't understand. I can assure you that no matter what you've read, it doesn't apply to all. If it didn't apply to me, then certainly there are more like me out there that none of this applies to.

I don't always trust certain studies like this because there are almost always biases right from the start. I always look at studies like this and think......they didn't ask me!

And for the record........I have never worshiped anything.....ever! Whether you want to believe it or not.

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White Crane Feather

OBEs, NDEs and altered states are things that we rationalize as modern humans. The sense of spirituality as an evolutionary trait would be something that develops over hundreds of thousands of years dating back to more primitive ancestors. "lion in the grass" is a basic survival thing and seems like a reasonable seed for the rest to build upon. Of course, this is all speculation.

OBEs, NDEs, rationalized? Well certainly an attempt has been made to rationalize them.... But those vary rationalizations are not very rational at all.

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Tiggs

Thats because you either dont get, or refuse to accept the processes involved in the constructon of gods by children

Are those the only possible options?

I have a simple question for you. The same question that should be asked of every scientific conclusion:

If you were asked to create a list of possible experiments which would provide the necessary evidence for the conclusions that Petrovich has drawn - would the experiment that Petrovich has performed satisfy the criteria to be on that list?

Your gut will immediately say yes, because you've already been sold on the belief that it does. But if your rational mind chooses to move past that initial reaction and take some time to objectively compare what she does with what she claims - that, Mr Walker, is where you'll find the entrance to this particular rabbit-hole.

Early animists and pagans did precisely this. Every tree, every object ,every animal, and every human being had a spirit in it that explained its; nature, form and function; and connection/relationship to the human being and to the wider environment.

The nature of that spirit determined a humans relationship with the physical entity. Thus one did not walk in the woods without offering a small sacrifice to the spirits. One did not take an animal without offering something back to the earth, the animal or another god. One did not brew or drink a beer without offerng a small portion of it back to the gods.

The ancient sumerians believed everything was a product of the gods, including even the houses which they built them selves. Australian aboriginals have strong spiritual connections with the earth. But also they believe that the spirits of the dead are real and inhabit the place where they die. This effects their behaviour even in the modern age.

Children do not have to be taught to do these things.

Children do not have to be taught these things because they simply do not do them.

The homunocular belief that children recreate humanity's proto-religions before growing up to the age where they're old enough to accept Monotheism for Big Boys™ is simply untrue.

Toddlers have basic issues with standing up and eating a jam sammich at the same time. They're really not wandering around creating individual carpet spirits in their heads to whom they are offering small tasty Jammy sacrifices.

As evidenced by absolutely no-one being able to remember the name of their childhood carpet God.

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