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Mr Walker

The evolutionary place and function of spiritual and religious belief

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Mr Walker

quote from Walker from different thread.

"It is institutional  diversity and tolerance which allows /enables a modern person to live without religion

A century or so ago it would have been almost impossible to do so.."

 

I think you are overstating a bit.

https://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/disbelieve-it-or-not-ancient-history-suggests-that-atheism-is-as-natural-to-humans-as-religion

 

People in the ancient world did not always believe in the gods, a new study suggests – casting doubt on the idea that religious belief is a “default setting” for humans.

 

Early societies were far more capable than many since of containing atheism within the spectrum of what they considered normal

Tim Whitmarsh

Despite being written out of large parts of history, atheists thrived in the polytheistic societies of the ancient world – raising considerable doubts about whether humans really are “wired” for religion – a new study suggests.

The claim is the central proposition of a new book by Tim Whitmarsh, Professor of Greek Culture and a Fellow of St John’s College, University of Cambridge. In it, he suggests that atheism – which is typically seen as a modern phenomenon – was not just common in ancient Greece and pre-Christian Rome, but probably flourished more in those societies than in most civilisations since.

As a result, the study challenges two assumptions that prop up current debates between atheists and believers: Firstly, the idea that atheism is a modern point of view, and second, the idea of “religious universalism” – that humans are naturally predisposed, or “wired”, to believe in gods.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/feb/17/atheism-has-ancient-roots-claims-new-study

“Both are guilty of modernist vanity. Disbelief in the supernatural is as old as the hills. It is only through profound ignorance of the classical tradition that anyone ever believed that 18th-century Europeans were the first to battle the gods.”

“We tend to see atheism as an idea that has only recently emerged in secular western societies. The rhetoric used to describe it is hyper-modern. In fact, early societies were far more capable than many since of containing atheism within the spectrum of what they considered normal,” said Whitmarsh.

“Rather than making judgments based on scientific reason, these early atheists were making what seem to be universal objections about the paradoxical nature of religion – the fact that it asks you to accept things that aren’t intuitively there in your world. The fact that this was happening thousands of years ago suggests that forms of disbelief can exist in all cultures, and probably always have.”

In the fourth century BC, he points to Plato, as the philosopher imagines a believer chastising an atheist: “You and your friends are not the first to have held this view about the gods! There are always those who suffer from this illness, in greater or lesser numbers.”

 So Walker

It would seem that there where many recorded since the 6-5th century bc

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Mr Walker
Posted (edited)

This is such a fascinating and significant topic, that I wanted it to have its own thread .

"Closed for business " raises a legitimate and interesting question, but before we get into that, i wanted to make one point clear. 

Where i said that it was almost impossible to live a non religious life more than a century ago I was referring to the way society was structured. For millennia western society was totally dominated and integrated with religious belief 

Even well into the 1800s this was still happening although other options were becoming available. It remained  true in part in the latter half of the 20 century and continues even today In many places abortion and euthanasia are still illegal and/or just being legalised That's due to the remnant authority of Christianity which sees a human life as god's not our own   Laws prohibiting sport, drinking,   and trade on Sunday, still exist and, in Australia, were the norm for the first half of my life.  

in the 1800s birth  marriage death and much of life  were regulated by religious beliefs.

To be born a b****** was a real source of shame, and difficulty in your life  

One struggled to live outside of wedlock  in any relationship. and it was illegal in many western countries  

Many sexual practices were banned (by civil law)    Not just outside of heterosexuality but within it .

Censorship based on religious attitudes to sex affected everyone 

In Europe the days, weeks months and year were organised around ancient  religious times,  celebrations  etc  These affected what you could or couldn't eat, and what activities were permissible.  Your religion dictated what jobs you could get, the quality of education available to you,  your social status and who you could marry 

Even in the 1970s I was explicitly told by parents  of adult young women that, as an Atheist, I could not court their daughters who were catholic or other religion.

It was even worse for a non catholic trying to court a catholic 

Marriages like that  simply were not possible

It wasn't impossible to be an atheist, except in some jurisdictions, but it was very, very, hard .

 

 

However. my wider question is about how spiritual beliefs and religious beliefs evolved 

Closed for business, presents one interesting modern theory.

However it remains highly unlikely. given all we know about the evolutionary purpose and function of  human belief 

I am in the  middle of getting us tea (a stew with mince meat and lots of veges, )so will leave it until later to present the counter argument 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Mr Walker
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jmccr8
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Mr Walker said:

This is such a fascinating and significant topic, that I wanted it to have its own thread .

"Closed for business " raises a legitimate and interesting question, but before we get into that, i wanted to make one point clear. 

Where i said that it was almost impossible to live a non religious life more than a century ago I was referring to the way society was structured. For millennia western society was totally dominated and integrated with religious belief 

Even well into the 1800s this was still happening although other options were becoming available. It remained  true in part in the latter half of the 20 century and continues even today In many places abortion and euthanasia are still illegal and/or just being legalised That's due to the remnant authority of Christianity which sees a human life as god's not our own   Laws prohibiting sport, drinking,   and trade on Sunday, still exist and, in Australia, were the norm for the first half of my life.  

in the 1800s birth  marriage death and much of life  were regulated by religious beliefs.

To be born a b****** was a real source of shame, and difficulty in your life  

One struggled to live outside of wedlock  in any relationship. and it was illegal in many western countries  

Many sexual practices were banned (by civil law)    Not just outside of heterosexuality but within it .

Censorship based on religious attitudes to sex affected everyone 

In Europe the days, weeks months and year were organised around ancient  religious times,  celebrations  etc  These affected what you could or couldn't eat, and what activities were permissible.  Your religion dictated what jobs you could get, the quality of education available to you,  your social status and who you could marry 

Even in the 1970s I was explicitly told by parents  of adult young women that, as an Atheist, I could not court their daughters who were catholic or other religion.

It was even worse for a non catholic trying to court a catholic 

Marriages like that  simply were not possible

It wasn't impossible to be an atheist, except in some jurisdictions, but it was very, very, hard .

 

 

However. my wider question is about how spiritual beliefs and religious beliefs evolved 

Closed for business, presents one interesting modern theory.

However it remains highly unlikely. given all we know about the evolutionary purpose and function of  human belief 

I am in the  middle of getting us tea (a stew with mince meat and lots of veges, )so will leave it until later to present the counter argument 

 

 

 

 

Walker you can still call me Jay. Yes I think the Christian/Muslim wars not to mention the inquisition forced people to be more discrete about expressing certain personal thoughts but the mind is unreachable in many ways when it comes to forcing change so in their heats and minds they still held that with them that they did not believe.

I opened at thread earlier about this but maybe we can have a discussion here as well as but who knows maybe Saru or another mod will merge them because it is the same discussion.

My position would be that because atheism not an organization and wasn't built on a following so no numbers can be assumed and do not suggest that is was the common norm but in a city of several thousands there could be several hundred different gods of different culture being worshipped in a region so if not everyone had the same religious constructs and were not in conflict with their neighbors then how much difference does it make if even the same as current percentage existed. For the most part in modern times there is really no physical conflicts and mostly trash talk each other and given that the only real differences between then and know is the toys we have and were equally intelligent to us.

I am not so much an atheist as I do not know if gods exist or not and to date have seen nothing so I live my life the best I can and pretty sure that was the main theme throughout history for man.

PS

 My dad was Presbyterian and had to get baptized in the Catholic Church after taking a course/counseling and that was 70 yrs ago

Edited by closed for business
added context

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Mr Walker
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, closed for business said:

Walker you can still call me Jay. Yes I think the Christian/Muslim wars not to mention the inquisition forced people to be more discrete about expressing certain personal thoughts but the mind is unreachable in many ways when it comes to forcing change so in their heats and minds they still held that with them that they did not believe.

I opened at thread earlier about this but maybe we can have a discussion here as well as but who knows maybe Saru or another mod will merge them because it is the same discussion.

My position would be that because atheism not an organization and wasn't built on a following so no numbers can be assumed and do not suggest that is was the common norm but in a city of several thousands there could be several hundred different gods of different culture being worshipped in a region so if not everyone had the same religious constructs and were not in conflict with their neighbors then how much difference does it make if even the same as current percentage existed. For the most part in modern times there is really no physical conflicts and mostly trash talk each other and given that the only real differences between then and know is the toys we have and were equally intelligent to us.

I am not so much an atheist as I do not know if gods exist or not and to date have seen nothing so I live my life the best I can and pretty sure that was the main theme throughout history for man.

PS

 My dad was Presbyterian and had to get baptized in the Catholic Church after taking a course/counseling and that was 70 yrs ago

Thanks Jay

My argument has a number of parts 

Children today all evolve their first  beliefs without any influence from  adults The y then adapt those beliefs to the beliefs of adults around them   

Humans have to learn how to be nonbelievers 

Thats because the human mind raises questions to which it needs answers.

It then creates answers to the questions, to satisfy it's own needs   for safety, security and predictability 

Where it has scientific knowledge it uses that.  Where it does not it uses what it can observe and what it knows about itself.

Thus gods are often personified, with human characteristics

Historically you can trace the increasing sophistication of human religions ,but if you  go back 100000 years you see the first evidences of precursors to religions ie spiritual beliefs.

These appear in cave paintings, ritualised burials and ceremonies, fertility figures etc.

The less a person knows or understands about it's world the more it uses imagination and logical thinking to construct answers  Thus the first writings we have show how Sumerians thought of a world where material and spiritual were indivisible.

To make a brick or a bottle of wine, required not just physical ingredients but spiritual ones  If you didn't involve the gods the brick would fail and the wine would be undrinkable :) 

You CANT (IMO) be an atheist in such a culture because your world will make no sense.
What i do agree with in your  post I used in my OP  is the bit about people who denied specific gods or beliefs because the y were illogical, didn't make sense to them or defied what was observably true 

That doesn't make a person an atheist, it just shapes the gods spirits  etc. which the person  believes in 

World wide surveys of modern people show about 10% of modern humans  are atheists, around  40-50% believe in physical gods, while the rest believe in something in between  

Given that current education/ knowledge and science  only causes 10% of people to become atheists,  then, in the past, the number of atheists would have been much smaller 

 

I cant argue there were none in ealry societies but there was no basis for them to DISBELIEVE in gods spirits etc.

No science, no theory of evolution,    No competing ideas or ideologies. 

Your dad's experience illustrates what i was saying about the power of religion in past generations.

Funny, but not surprising, how we both, independently, felt this was worth pursuing 

I hadn't seen your thread when i posted but didnt  want the topic cut off .

Happy if the threads can be merged  

Edited by Mr Walker

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Crazy Horse
10 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

 

Tim Whitmarsh

Despite being written out of large parts of history, atheists thrived in the polytheistic societies of the ancient world – raising considerable doubts about whether humans really are “wired” for religion – a new study suggests.

The claim is the central proposition of a new book by Tim Whitmarsh, Professor of Greek Culture and a Fellow of St John’s College, University of Cambridge. In it, he suggests that atheism – which is typically seen as a modern phenomenon – was not just common in ancient Greece and pre-Christian Rome, but probably flourished more in those societies than in most civilisations since.

As a result, the study challenges two assumptions that prop up current debates between atheists and believers: Firstly, the idea that atheism is a modern point of view, and second, the idea of “religious universalism” – that humans are naturally predisposed, or “wired”, to believe in gods.

 

 

Seeing as how this seems to be the crux of the matter, then I would suggest that the human brain is hardwired for GOD, or at least the "Holy Spirit".

Religion in and of itself being the shared ideas of likeminded individuals upon the same pathway, and in that sense, is no different than any other idea.

And besides, I would suggest that its not the brain that realises GOD anyhow, but the heart.

Whereas the real kicker is that its ones experience of GOD, that helped shape religion, past and present.

Not so much the objective, but the subjective life.

 

 

 

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jmccr8
Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

Children today all evolve their first  beliefs without any influence from  adults

Hi Walker

Quite possibly but why do you think those first rationalizations are religious in nature? Imaginary friends is more likely in my mind as I am the oldest of my generation of cousins and up until my late teens took care of most of them and not once did any of them make spiritual/religious relations of the observable.

 

 

Edited by closed for business

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jmccr8
9 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

Humans have to learn how to be nonbelievers 

Thats because the human mind raises questions to which it needs answers.

It then creates answers to the questions, to satisfy it's own needs   for safety, security and predictability 

potential for belief and non-belief are equal in my mind and just because one questions and creates answers is no guarantee for belief(religious). 

9 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

Where it has scientific knowledge it uses that. 

We are talking about a time prior to scientific method so that pretty much excludes science as a factor.

9 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

Historically you can trace the increasing sophistication of human religions

If we stick with the material in the links even during Greek history he states that the religions did not have the rules religion has now and preists did not tell people what to do so we really should look at how life actually was for those people at that time.

9 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

Historically you can trace the increasing sophistication of human religions ,but if you  go back 100000 years you see the first evidences of precursors to religions ie spiritual beliefs.

These appear in cave paintings, ritualised burials and ceremonies, fertility figures etc.

Some inferences of ritualistic activity like burials may not have had the religious significance that was assigned to it as it could just be a matter of showing respect/honor and nothing to do with a god. As for cave paintings it has also been proposed that they were an educational tool so again it may have no religious significance and may have been a means of teaching children how to survive we just can';t make those claims concrete without more data and chances are that they will always be open to interpretation.

9 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

To make a brick or a bottle of wine, required not just physical ingredients but spiritual ones  If you didn't involve the gods the brick would fail and the wine would be undrinkable :) 

Do you have documentation to support this position?

9 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

You CANT (IMO) be an atheist in such a culture because your world will make no sense.

How would it make less sense than how I live in this culture we still have religion and live in urban centers?

9 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

That doesn't make a person an atheist, it just shapes the gods spirits  etc. which the person  believes in 

World wide surveys of modern people show about 10% of modern humans  are atheists, around  40-50% believe in physical gods, while the rest believe in something in between  

Given that current education/ knowledge and science  only causes 10% of people to become atheists,  then, in the past, the number of atheists would have been much smaller 

I am sure most of this is covered in the links I gave but if you cannot find it yourself I can go back and link quotes from the articles that discuss this.

9 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

I cant argue there were none in ealry societies but there was no basis for them to DISBELIEVE in gods spirits etc.

They questioned what religions were saying about gods and it was the discrepancies with the teaching that they questioned just in the same way we do today. My lack of belief was created in the same way without science so why would equally intelligent humans from a different time in history be less able to reason it out for themselves?

10 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

Your dad's experience illustrates what i was saying about the power of religion in past generations.

My dad was Catholic as a word only and was not a practicing Christian at any time in his life that I knew him so basically he was an atheist as he never preached or spoke of religion other than the one time he told me not to tell the nuns to go to hell again.

10 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

Funny, but not surprising, how we both, independently, felt this was worth pursuing 

I hadn't seen your thread when i posted but didnt  want the topic cut off .

Happy if the threads can be merged 

Yes and it's good that we can talk about it and hopefully get some positive feedback:tu:

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Mr Walker
13 hours ago, closed for business said:

Hi Walker

Quite possibly but why do you think those first rationalizations are religious in nature? Imaginary friends is more likely in my mind as I am the oldest of my generation of cousins and up until my late teens took care of most of them and not once did any of them make spiritual/religious relations of the observable.

 

 

Not religious per se but precursors to religious beliefs 

Eg we know that very young children identify agents of change Ie intelligent, self  directed entities,  who alter the world of the child Their parents are one example 

They can distinguish between agents and non agents (things which don't make changes in the world) although they might misidentify something as an agent when it is not  

So, when the y observe, but can't explain changes in their world, they attribute the changes to those intelligent, self  directed agents of change, even when they can't see any.  

Eg Ask a very young child how seeds get inside a gourd and the reply will be " some one/thing PUT them there. 

From there, the belief in gods, spirits, invisible beings of power with their own agendas, is a natural progression in every human child  By the time a child can speak, its mind is already filled with such beliefs 

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Mr Walker
13 hours ago, closed for business said:

potential for belief and non-belief are equal in my mind and just because one questions and creates answers is no guarantee for belief(religious). 

We are talking about a time prior to scientific method so that pretty much excludes science as a factor.

If we stick with the material in the links even during Greek history he states that the religions did not have the rules religion has now and preists did not tell people what to do so we really should look at how life actually was for those people at that time.

Some inferences of ritualistic activity like burials may not have had the religious significance that was assigned to it as it could just be a matter of showing respect/honor and nothing to do with a god. As for cave paintings it has also been proposed that they were an educational tool so again it may have no religious significance and may have been a means of teaching children how to survive we just can';t make those claims concrete without more data and chances are that they will always be open to interpretation.

Do you have documentation to support this position?

How would it make less sense than how I live in this culture we still have religion and live in urban centers?

I am sure most of this is covered in the links I gave but if you cannot find it yourself I can go back and link quotes from the articles that discuss this.

They questioned what religions were saying about gods and it was the discrepancies with the teaching that they questioned just in the same way we do today. My lack of belief was created in the same way without science so why would equally intelligent humans from a different time in history be less able to reason it out for themselves?

My dad was Catholic as a word only and was not a practicing Christian at any time in his life that I knew him so basically he was an atheist as he never preached or spoke of religion other than the one time he told me not to tell the nuns to go to hell again.

Yes and it's good that we can talk about it and hopefully get some positive feedback:tu:

I agree that discrepancies and inconstancies might lead a critical  thinker to question how a god was perceived, but why would it cause them to question the existence of gods 

Rather they would think that other humans had got it wrong ABOUT the god 

respect and honour are beliefs  

However the nature of many burials goes to a belief about an after life and we see this evolve into more  formalised practices and beliefs in ancient civilizations 

We can also look a t modern "primitive "  peoples and how the y perceive burial and life after death Many continue to this day .

eg quote

Aboriginal funeral traditions

Funerals and mourning are very much a communal activity in Aboriginal culture. Families, friends and members of the larger community will come together to grieve and support each other.

Within some Aboriginal groups, there is a strong tradition of not speaking the name of a dead person, or depicting them in images. It is believed that doing so will disturb their spirit. This is why some Aboriginal families will not have photographs of their loved ones after they die. They may also use a substitute name, such as ‘Kumanjayi’, ‘Kwementyaye’ or ‘Kunmanara’, in order to refer to the person who has died without using their name. Not all communities conform to this tradition, but it is still commonly observed in the Northern Territory in particular.

https://www.funeralguide.net/help-resources/arranging-a-funeral/religious-funerals/aboriginal-funerals

This belief in the ongoing sprit seems to be consistent for over 40000 years 

 

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jmccr8
12 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

I agree that discrepancies and inconstancies might lead a critical  thinker to question how a god was perceived, but why would it cause them to question the existence of gods 

Generally when one finds contradiction about what is said about god and live in a group that may have several different god constructs then it would be fair to question all in the same manner. If one comes to the conclusion that none of them are without unbelievable aspects then it is the constructs that are disregarded and I do not believe in god is not the same as saying there is no god. I came to the same point, there was no tangible evidence that there is a god why would that be different a couple of thousand years ago?

12 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

respect and honour are beliefs 

If I give respect or honor to a person dead or alive it is because of what I personally know about that person first hand there does not have to be an implication that it is due to me having a god construct or not.

12 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

However the nature of many burials goes to a belief about an after life and we see this evolve into more  formalised practices and beliefs in ancient civilizations 

In early human times we have no idea if they had a construct of life after death and goods buried with the deceased may be nothing more than personal respect for them.

12 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

We can also look a t modern "primitive "  peoples and how the y perceive burial and life after death Many continue to this day .

Modern primitives are not comparable and have still had thousands of years to develop a communal system.

12 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

Funerals and mourning are very much a communal activity in Aboriginal culture. Families, friends and members of the larger community will come together to grieve and support each other.

No one inferred otherwise and we still can not impose modern ideas on ancient people who left no stories about what they thought or why they did things.

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DieChecker

There is no such thing as a time before the scientific method. Anyone who asks questions, gathers information, and reaches a conclusion is using the scientific method. And doing so is a major variable in what makes us sentient creatures. The ability to question and learn.

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DieChecker
On 6/16/2021 at 12:15 AM, Mr Walker said:

quote from Walker from different thread.

"It is institutional  diversity and tolerance which allows /enables a modern person to live without religion

A century or so ago it would have been almost impossible to do so.."

I would tend to agree. Religion served a purpose and so it was retained. If it served no purpose, or was harmful, it would have fallen away millennia ago.

That people "don't need" religion is really, IMHO, a cover. They're simply substituting something else into that "Need" for a divine/supernatural connection.

I do believe we are hard wired to accept the supernatural. IMHO, it allowed the early humans to imagine dangers and avoid them ahead of time. Which slowly was morphed into religion.

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Crazy Horse
48 minutes ago, DieChecker said:

I would tend to agree. Religion served a purpose and so it was retained. If it served no purpose, or was harmful, it would have fallen away millennia ago.

That people "don't need" religion is really, IMHO, a cover. They're simply substituting something else into that "Need" for a divine/supernatural connection.

I do believe we are hard wired to accept the supernatural. IMHO, it allowed the early humans to imagine dangers and avoid them ahead of time. Which slowly was morphed into religion.

And if one is looking for happiness, and a lasting emotional delight, joy, within the material realm only, then there's going to be disappointment, at least.

And because we are hardwired to connect with GOD, because we are a part of that Whole, then each and every one of us may know and experience THAT for oneself.

 

 

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Liquid Gardens
6 hours ago, DieChecker said:

Anyone who asks questions, gathers information, and reaches a conclusion is using the scientific method.

That's too simplistic and isn't really true, the scientific method is much more precise than that, I can't find a description of the scientific method that doesn't include the word 'hypothesis' for example which is not mentioned in your description.  You seem to just be describing how most people reach conclusions; astrologers do the above but they aren't using the scientific method.

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Crazy Horse
3 hours ago, Liquid Gardens said:

That's too simplistic and isn't really true, the scientific method is much more precise than that, I can't find a description of the scientific method that doesn't include the word 'hypothesis' for example which is not mentioned in your description.  You seem to just be describing how most people reach conclusions; astrologers do the above but they aren't using the scientific method.

And what is the difference between someone who proposes an hypothesis, and someone who only asks a plain old question?

Answer.

Those who stand to make money from the truth, and those who just want to help.

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jmccr8
2 minutes ago, Crazy Horse said:

And what is the difference between someone who proposes an hypothesis, and someone who only asks a plain old question?

Answer.

Those who stand to make money from the truth, and those who just want to help.

This and the other thread on the same topic are not about blaming or arguing religion or believers, it is simply about ancient atheists so lets not take this someplace that is not the OP intention and if anyone on either side of the fence tries to take it that way I will call you out on it and ask that they either adapt to the thread topic or leave the discussion.

Thanks

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Mr Walker
Posted (edited)
23 hours ago, DieChecker said:

There is no such thing as a time before the scientific method. Anyone who asks questions, gathers information, and reaches a conclusion is using the scientific method. And doing so is a major variable in what makes us sentient creatures. The ability to question and learn.

Kinda true, but  not practical when you lack even basic knowledge or data Eg how would you even know what  the  sun or  the  moon were, let alone how big they were or how far away.

Early people certainly used observation and logic but, without other knowledge, that led them to construct beliefs to explain what the y observed This is absolutely universal in every human society and civilization.

Yes we question and learn.

But another unique abilty of human cognition is the abilty to construct logical beliefs, to answer questions to which we have no factual answers; and indeed we have  a  deep psychological need to provide  such answers, in order to make us feel safe because we think we can understand and predict the world around us .  

Edited by Mr Walker

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eight bits
2 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

But another unique abilty of human cognition is the abilty to construct logical beliefs, to answer questions to which we have no factual answers; and indeed we have  a  deep psychological need to provide  such answers, in order to make us feel safe because we think we can understand and predict the world around us .

And yet, it is our ability to understand and predict the world around us which confronts us with the simple fact that we aren't reliably safe, ever.

And despite your projection of your own sweaty fear of mortality onto the rest of us, there are plenty of people who accept their mortality, and accept not knowing what if anything comes after life.

Those people, too, are the products of evolution.

It is not that your theory is wrong, it is that your theory fails to explain even easily observed facts. Your theory apparently gives you personally some comfort (which, ironically, is the "place and function" you attribute to other, more conventionally religious beliefs).

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Mr Walker
Posted (edited)
On 6/19/2021 at 7:35 PM, eight bits said:

And yet, it is our ability to understand and predict the world around us which confronts us with the simple fact that we aren't reliably safe, ever.

And despite your projection of your own sweaty fear of mortality onto the rest of us, there are plenty of people who accept their mortality, and accept not knowing what if anything comes after life.

Those people, too, are the products of evolution.

It is not that your theory is wrong, it is that your theory fails to explain even easily observed facts. Your theory apparently gives you personally some comfort (which, ironically, is the "place and function" you attribute to other, more conventionally religious beliefs).

And that is precisely why we evolved faith/belief; to give us a feeling of safety and predictability, even where it is illusory 

I have no fear of death. Mortality is naturel.  At the very worst we come from  nothing and go back to nothing.

Been there, done that.

  I have already been given a couple of decades of extra life, due to modern medical science.

I dont know where you get any idea that I fear  death, from. 

Of course i would prefer to live for ever,  (or at least  a millennia or two) because I LOVE life and enjoy every moment of it 

But that's just wishful positive thinking  (my Druthers)  

There is something wrong with a person, or their life, where the y prefer death to living   eg they may be in great physical or emotional pain. 

less than 10% of humans today, across the world, self report believing in nothing at all ie they have no sense of anything beyond the material world  Given modern knowledge this is incredible and is explained by the evolved nature of human cognition, and our inner psychological need to believe, and to construct certainty, and thus a feeling of safety  . 

Its not my theory. It is modern  scientific theory/understanding, across multi disciplines .

https://www.discovermagazine.com/planet-earth/how-did-belief-evolve

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0084672420909479

quote

 

https://www.americanscientist.org/article/cognition-lite-studies-of-human-belief

In many respects, Konner’s book is an answer to the antireligious, semi-scientific polemics of the 2000s. Drawing on anthropology, neuroscience, psychology, and sociology of religion and spirituality, he impressionistically builds the case that religious beliefs have strong natural foundations in humanity (with highly variable individual expression) and at times have played (and continue to play) valuable roles in human societies. Konner recognizes that religious beliefs can be sometimes irrational, or at least nonrational, but simultaneously precious: “Just as some people are tone-deaf to music, or insusceptible to poetry’s magic, some atheists are insensitive to religion and spirituality. But no one who is musically tone-deaf goes around telling music lovers that they are imagining things and need to snap out of it.”

Yet because genetic evolution favors people of faith (because they have more babies), and cultural evolution favors nonbelief (allegedly because education and economic security work against religious belief), Konner sees humanity settling into “an equilibrium in which a substantial minority are conventionally religious, many are unconventionally religious or spiritual, and a substantial minority are Nones,” by which he means nonreligious. He urges us all to find meaning and morality where we can and learn to live with one another, regardless of which categories we fall into.

end quote

Ps its particularly poignant speaking of death and loss today 

We woke to find our older golden retriever (Beauregard Brummell Or Beau for short) had passed away peacefully in his sleep 

I noticed he was breathing   loudly as he slept on his mat by our bed  before i went to sleep,  but otherwise he had seemed perfectly ok other than the complaints of old age

Spent   the morning digging a hole in the back garden for him (my wife's wishes)    and will finish it off this afternoon.   

 

Edited by Mr Walker
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eight bits
5 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

And that is precisely why we evolved faith/belief; to give us a feeling of safety and predictability, even where it is illusory 

Repetitive pontification doesn't make it any more true. Put aside that natural selection has no purposes, full stop. Humans and other species did not develop the capacity for hueristic reasoning in order to relieve your personal terror of death. Judging from your posts, fanciful indulgence hasn't been very effective at providing you relief anyway.

6 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

less than 10% of humans today, across the world, self report believing in nothing at all ie they have no sense of anything beyond the material world 

That's not the issue. Marcus Aurelius frequently discussed the will of his gods whom he obviously believed to exist, to have personalities, and to take some interest in earthly affairs. No atheist he, but he understood the terms of his lease on life, among those terms being that one day he would have to leave the premises.

The gift is ours to borrow. (Ed Kleban's lyric from A Chorus Line, which could have been Marcus's line just as easily). Evolution yields up the capacity to understand the simple truth, and evolution yields up the capacity to dither around it instead. Which you choose is on you, not on natural selection.

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Manwon Lender
On 6/17/2021 at 3:08 AM, Crazy Horse said:

Seeing as how this seems to be the crux of the matter, then I would suggest that the human brain is hardwired for GOD, or at least the "Holy Spirit".

Religion in and of itself being the shared ideas of likeminded individuals upon the same pathway, and in that sense, is no different than any other idea.

And besides, I would suggest that its not the brain that realises GOD anyhow, but the heart.

Whereas the real kicker is that its ones experience of GOD, that helped shape religion, past and present.

Not so much the objective, but the subjective life.

 

 

 

I think that the human brain is hardwired, but not for any God or Holyspirit. I believe that Spirituality is created by the world around us, and inspires us to look for the meaning of life. But, long before the holyspirit ever existed our ancestors worshiped nature because it had the greatest effect on their lives.

Since that time there have been numerous Gods, and deities who have all come and gone. To me Spirituality is found within each of us and no outside force controls us or the world and Universe around us. Once mankind stops relying upon outside invention to solve its problems many of worst parts of humanity like war, can come to an end.

From there humanity may have chance to become something more, however as long as any religion manifests man's destiny there will never be peace on earth. 

JIMO

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Sherapy
Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Mr Walker said:

And that is precisely why we evolved faith/belief; to give us a feeling of safety and predictability, even where it is illusory 

I have no fear of death. Mortality is naturel.  At the very worst we come from  nothing and go back to nothing.

Been there, done that.

  I have already been given a couple of decades of extra life, due to modern medical science.

I dont know where you get any idea that I fear  death, from. 

Of course i would prefer to live for ever,  (or at least  a millennia or two) because I LOVE life and enjoy every moment of it 

But that's just wishful positive thinking  (my Druthers)  

There is something wrong with a person, or their life, where the y prefer death to living   eg they may be in great physical or emotional pain. 

less than 10% of humans today, across the world, self report believing in nothing at all ie they have no sense of anything beyond the material world  Given modern knowledge this is incredible and is explained by the evolved nature of human cognition, and our inner psychological need to believe, and to construct certainty, and thus a feeling of safety  . 

Its not my theory. It is modern  scientific theory/understanding, across multi disciplines .

https://www.discovermagazine.com/planet-earth/how-did-belief-evolve

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0084672420909479

quote

 

https://www.americanscientist.org/article/cognition-lite-studies-of-human-belief

In many respects, Konner’s book is an answer to the antireligious, semi-scientific polemics of the 2000s. Drawing on anthropology, neuroscience, psychology, and sociology of religion and spirituality, he impressionistically builds the case that religious beliefs have strong natural foundations in humanity (with highly variable individual expression) and at times have played (and continue to play) valuable roles in human societies. Konner recognizes that religious beliefs can be sometimes irrational, or at least nonrational, but simultaneously precious: “Just as some people are tone-deaf to music, or insusceptible to poetry’s magic, some atheists are insensitive to religion and spirituality. But no one who is musically tone-deaf goes around telling music lovers that they are imagining things and need to snap out of it.”

Yet because genetic evolution favors people of faith (because they have more babies), and cultural evolution favors nonbelief (allegedly because education and economic security work against religious belief), Konner sees humanity settling into “an equilibrium in which a substantial minority are conventionally religious, many are unconventionally religious or spiritual, and a substantial minority are Nones,” by which he means nonreligious. He urges us all to find meaning and morality where we can and learn to live with one another, regardless of which categories we fall into.

end quote

Ps its particularly poignant speaking of death and loss today 

We woke to find our older golden retriever (Beauregard Brummell Or Beau for short) had passed away peacefully in his sleep 

I noticed he was breathing   loudly as he slept on his mat by our bed  before i went to sleep,  but otherwise he had seemed perfectly ok other than the complaints of old age

Spent   the morning digging a hole in the back garden for him (my wife's wishes)    and will finish it off this afternoon.   

 


To begin, sorry for the loss of your wife’s/your dog, to lose a beloved pet is always sad. 

Secondly, the number one thing on any Homo sapiens mind going way back was survival, our brains were wired to either feel safe or to be anxious or alert to impending dangers. In your current situation as a carer, this is part and parcel of this type of journey. This need to feel safe shows itself in a need to always be right, in modern terms. in stress management therapy this is called the anxious brain. Being “right” is a way to be in control of one’s environment.  Due to being in this mode the majority of time the person seems as if they have no ability to critically think or use rational reflection, or problem solve, everything is about them, a hyper-vigilance such as combing thru posts looking for a reason to defend oneself, trying to create an experience where one can feel safe. 

 

“If the environment feels positive for the person, the brain releases endorphins stimulating the frontal lobe, which is responsible for higher- level thinking and problem-solving. In an environment that feels negative—such as stressful or frightening—the brain releases epinephrine rather than endorphins. Cortisol is the hormone involved in the fight-or- flight response.”

 

You do seem to have a white knuckle approach based on your posting history and 8ty is just giving feedback. 
 

I recognize the stress in you as I too once operated in this modality what helped me was feedback and quality suggestions from my doctor. Once she knew I was a caregiver we discussed the actual reality and options, I went into SMT early as long term stress can give chronic health issues down the road. A calm brain is one that is curious, it asks questions and wants to learn, wants coping skills that actually are geared towards optimal functioning or knowing and using what is there naturally. Clinging to a belief (any belief ) is more a sign of a need to feel safe or anxiety. Chronic stress affects the brain structure too and reshapes neural functions towards the negative and can and often does affect ones health too. At our ages, the best thing a person can have is their health. 
 

There are other approaches. Just my two cents, these are only suggestions you can take them or leave them. As always, all the best to you and your wife. 

 

Edited by Sherapy
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Mr Walker
12 hours ago, eight bits said:

Repetitive pontification doesn't make it any more true. Put aside that natural selection has no purposes, full stop. Humans and other species did not develop the capacity for hueristic reasoning in order to relieve your personal terror of death. Judging from your posts, fanciful indulgence hasn't been very effective at providing you relief anyway.

That's not the issue. Marcus Aurelius frequently discussed the will of his gods whom he obviously believed to exist, to have personalities, and to take some interest in earthly affairs. No atheist he, but he understood the terms of his lease on life, among those terms being that one day he would have to leave the premises.

The gift is ours to borrow. (Ed Kleban's lyric from A Chorus Line, which could have been Marcus's line just as easily). Evolution yields up the capacity to understand the simple truth, and evolution yields up the capacity to dither around it instead. Which you choose is on you, not on natural selection.

Natural selection has no purpose as unintelligent design of an end goal, yet it causes/enables  traits which enhance longevity and the abilty to breed.  Traits severe enough to prevent breeding tend to die out or be rare, while those which enhance survival long enough to allow for breeding are spread. 

No You are correct Heuristic reasoning evolved,  once we mutated enough to have the physiology of the brain which enabled it,   because it was a survival trait 

Two aspects of evolution here.

The original biological /genetic change in the human brain,  and second the growth of that  trait  across the species, as it proved to be pro survival

A third form of evolution then occurred, as humans evolved the abilty to  learn, use, and teach, the skills this abilty conferred on them.  

How I use it was never the purpose of evolution, any more than how I use my fingers was. Evolution didn't give me an opposable thumb so I could text more effectively 

Evolution gave me the abilty to use my mind and my fingers.

HOW i chose to use them is is an entirely different question and perhaps a much more complex one, going to the nature of human self  aware consciousness and current human relationships with each other and their world.

    Unless you are using "you "generically, you ignored my true statement that I have no fear of death

In general that's because I understand the nature and origin of all fear. How it is constructed and   it's purpose. 

Specifically, death is a cessation of life, which comes to all.

To fear it is illogical, and wasteful, of time and energies,  and of course we were all "dead" before we ever lived.

Like most self  aware beings, I enjoy life, and would rather  be alive than dead .

  I don't like the idea of not being aware anymore,  because being aware is so much fun. But its not a fear, just a niggling annoyance  

The point is, the fact  that less then 10% of modern humans are atheists, which, given our current knowledge, indicates a powerful driver towards belief.

Such drivers are always products of evolution . 

I agree with your last point

Indeed its been the basis of most of my life  

However its the capacity/product of evolution which has enabled the growth of science, including an understanding of the nature of evolution, an understanding of psychology,  anthropology, neurology, human cognition   etc.

In turn, it is those tools which have enabled you and I to know and understand who we are, how we got here, and what  we are capable of  and also to see into the future and extrapolate the most probable  path(s)  of human history over the next century or two. 

 

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Mr Walker
12 hours ago, Manwon Lender said:

I think that the human brain is hardwired, but not for any God or Holyspirit. I believe that Spirituality is created by the world around us, and inspires us to look for the meaning of life. But, long before the holyspirit ever existed our ancestors worshiped nature because it had the greatest effect on their lives.

Since that time there have been numerous Gods, and deities who have all come and gone. To me Spirituality is found within each of us and no outside force controls us or the world and Universe around us. Once mankind stops relying upon outside invention to solve its problems many of worst parts of humanity like war, can come to an end.

From there humanity may have chance to become something more, however as long as any religion manifests man's destiny there will never be peace on earth. 

JIMO

I like this, but the two are not mutually exclusive Ie "god" may exist within us and all about us.

We may exist within "god"

Thus people may find "god" inside themselves or in the word around them or in both.

It is when we become unified, so that " god" connects us to the world and to others that we become most complete, most empowered, and most powerful. 

"god does not control us but it may teach/ educate, help and protect us; guiding us to happier more productive lives 

Religions are just formalised/ritualised expressions of belief /faith

An individual can have a unique religion if the y codify their beliefs and act upon them. 

Wider religions both unify and divide 

IMO its about altering the basic thoughts and behaviours of humans,  which go deeper than religion.

ie eliminating greed,  selfishness lust, anger, fear, hate, etc. and developing love, compassion, generosity,  altruism, peace of mind,  forgiveness etc 

Then, for example; war, famine, inequality, and violence would stop, even if religions remained 

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Manwon Lender
1 hour ago, Mr Walker said:

I like this, but the two are not mutually exclusive Ie "god" may exist within us and all about us.

We may exist within "god"

Thus people may find "god" inside themselves or in the word around them or in both.

It is when we become unified, so that " god" connects us to the world and to others that we become most complete, most empowered, and most powerful. 

"god does not control us but it may teach/ educate, help and protect us; guiding us to happier more productive lives 

Religions are just formalised/ritualised expressions of belief /faith

An individual can have a unique religion if the y codify their beliefs and act upon them. 

Wider religions both unify and divide 

IMO its about altering the basic thoughts and behaviours of humans,  which go deeper than religion.

ie eliminating greed,  selfishness lust, anger, fear, hate, etc. and developing love, compassion, generosity,  altruism, peace of mind,  forgiveness etc 

Then, for example; war, famine, inequality, and violence would stop, even if religions remained 

The human race is a product of being located on a planet that was in the right place during the right time. Which allowed the vast cosmic chemistry set to combine the right ingredients at a place where those ingredients could become life. It's all a natural process that has occurred in many places across the Univserse. In addition to my comments above the life that we evolved from on Earth, also gave us intelligence and this made us curious beings. 

This intelligency gave us the ability to dream and try to learn as much as possible about who we are and were we came from, and most of all were we are going. This is how religion was born, people used it to explain what they were unable to themselves. However, as time has progressed and our knowledge has grown we have learned through science to answer many of the questions we would once ask the Gods for guidance or help dealing with. 

As time goes forward people will rely less and less on Gods or Deities because we will begin to realize more and more that our individual actions and thoughts can be controlled by each of us. This is the Spirituality of self and the realization that all our problems are nothing more than cause and effect. Once we realize this we can control ourselves by eliminating the cause that creates the effects of our sadness, unhappiness, and fear. Then we can find happiness within ourselves and share it with those around us. 

JIMO

 

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