A potential benefit from early religion?
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16-08-2016, 10:39 AM
A potential benefit from early religion?
Something struck me today when I was reading a reddit thread about advertising on Youtube. There were many posts complaining about it saying Youtubers were in the wrong for including advertisements. Such posts would provoke what I'll call a voice of reason saying that the advertising provides for the whole system and keeps users from having to pay for content. The response and general attitude from the people complaining... any money that comes in to Youtube and Youtubers should be a "bonus" and that Youtubers were entitled for expecting to make money from videos. The voice of reason would appropriately explain that if it weren't for the advertisements no one would be able to expect free content. This went back and forth with the argument against including a supposed expert who "got in early" on Youtube thus giving him the expertise to claim that ads used to pay more (they did in many cases) and that now they pay almost nothing, making anyone trying to earn money on Youtube "stupid", guilty of the crime of annoying people, and subverting the purpose of the website. His figures for how little advertising brings in were probably ten times lower than what a Youtuber could reasonably expect. The expert was also wrong in other things he claimed, mistakes that a person who understands Youtube shouldn't be making. His post got a lot of upvotes. Another person attacked someone who was explaining the necessity of advertising saying that it's not the primary revenue stream, probably meaning that a Youtuber's primary revenue stream is sponsored content (wrong in many cases) and that if it is, "fuck you".

Anyways, I digress (and please forgive me if this introduction bored you). Why this struck me was that it really hit home how much sway ignorance has when it's on the side of what an individual or group of people wants. It seemingly can have more influence than the facts or truth, even if they are insurmountable. Why this made me think of early religion (early Christianity and Judaism to be specific) was because of the influence these religions would have had on a society that was largely ignorant. An attitude I come across a lot with people who have a problem with religion is that they believe it is largely forced on an ignorant population thus creating an inability for society to develop through means more rational. This attitude might be deserved, but I wonder if the majority of enlightened people living in these societies would have agreed.

If you look at early Jewish and Christian texts they are largely focused on issues of morality and how people should live. If you consider how the most ignorant portions of society function today and also consider that this ignorance might have been systemic in early societies it makes a lot of sense to me that religion could have been something that contributed greatly to a person's development. Such a person would hold their religion to be very valuable. It might also follow that the most intelligent people in these societies were influenced by religion in a very positive way (due to the morality and sensibilities it taught) and thus contributed greatly to it.

Many people would argue that these societies were ignorant largely due to religion, and this might be so, but I think if you asked some of the brightest people living in these societies you might have gotten some interesting, unexpected, and maybe refreshing views on why religion played a positive role in their lives.

Well, in any case, I have to go to a doctors appointment now so I'm going to end this thought here. Hopefully someone finds this worth reading. Take care everyone.
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16-08-2016, 11:09 PM
RE: A potential benefit from early religion?
I think all early religions served useful functions, just as natural philosophy did, and all other precursors to modern science. It, like the others, had its bad points, and like the others I think we've gotten to the point where religion is irrelevant, we have better models. I even think some of the nasty stuff may have been, overall, beneficial. Sort of like how the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs led to higher functioning brains, and how the Titanic led to better safety for ocean-going vessels, and how the electronic computer was first mainly developed as a tool of war, sometimes a disaster can spur people to useful things, though you might argue we'd have got there eventually anyway.
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18-08-2016, 04:04 AM
RE: A potential benefit from early religion?
The only way to answer such questions is to run "fine grained" simulations of the world. You do a bunch with the existence of early religions and bunch without the existence of early religion. Then you see which worlds on average turn out better.
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18-08-2016, 06:23 AM
RE: A potential benefit from early religion?
(18-08-2016 04:04 AM)Heywood Jahblome Wrote:  The only way to answer such questions is to run "fine grained" simulations of the world. You do a bunch with the existence of early religions and bunch without the existence of early religion. Then you see which worlds on average turn out better.

Really. That's the ONLY way ? Fuck, you are a stupid (pontificating) man.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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18-08-2016, 06:59 AM
RE: A potential benefit from early religion?
(16-08-2016 10:39 AM)seoq Wrote:  Something struck me today when I was reading a reddit thread about advertising on Youtube. There were many posts complaining about it saying Youtubers were in the wrong for including advertisements. Such posts would provoke what I'll call a voice of reason saying that the advertising provides for the whole system and keeps users from having to pay for content. The response and general attitude from the people complaining... any money that comes in to Youtube and Youtubers should be a "bonus" and that Youtubers were entitled for expecting to make money from videos. The voice of reason would appropriately explain that if it weren't for the advertisements no one would be able to expect free content. This went back and forth with the argument against including a supposed expert who "got in early" on Youtube thus giving him the expertise to claim that ads used to pay more (they did in many cases) and that now they pay almost nothing, making anyone trying to earn money on Youtube "stupid", guilty of the crime of annoying people, and subverting the purpose of the website. His figures for how little advertising brings in were probably ten times lower than what a Youtuber could reasonably expect. The expert was also wrong in other things he claimed, mistakes that a person who understands Youtube shouldn't be making. His post got a lot of upvotes. Another person attacked someone who was explaining the necessity of advertising saying that it's not the primary revenue stream, probably meaning that a Youtuber's primary revenue stream is sponsored content (wrong in many cases) and that if it is, "fuck you".

Anyways, I digress (and please forgive me if this introduction bored you). Why this struck me was that it really hit home how much sway ignorance has when it's on the side of what an individual or group of people wants. It seemingly can have more influence than the facts or truth, even if they are insurmountable. Why this made me think of early religion (early Christianity and Judaism to be specific) was because of the influence these religions would have had on a society that was largely ignorant. An attitude I come across a lot with people who have a problem with religion is that they believe it is largely forced on an ignorant population thus creating an inability for society to develop through means more rational. This attitude might be deserved, but I wonder if the majority of enlightened people living in these societies would have agreed.

If you look at early Jewish and Christian texts they are largely focused on issues of morality and how people should live. If you consider how the most ignorant portions of society function today and also consider that this ignorance might have been systemic in early societies it makes a lot of sense to me that religion could have been something that contributed greatly to a person's development. Such a person would hold their religion to be very valuable. It might also follow that the most intelligent people in these societies were influenced by religion in a very positive way (due to the morality and sensibilities it taught) and thus contributed greatly to it.

Many people would argue that these societies were ignorant largely due to religion, and this might be so, but I think if you asked some of the brightest people living in these societies you might have gotten some interesting, unexpected, and maybe refreshing views on why religion played a positive role in their lives.

Well, in any case, I have to go to a doctors appointment now so I'm going to end this thought here. Hopefully someone finds this worth reading. Take care everyone.

I can only see one benefit to early religions and that is that it filled a need in man for a comprehensive view of the world or in other words, a philosophy. It was only a positive in that it was better than nothing. Religion is a pre-rational, pre-scientific philosophy. It served a purpose as a transition from the cave to something slightly better. But what it teaches is wrong, metaphysically wrong. It has no epistemology to speak of. It is anti-reason. Its ethics is anti-life. Its foundational principles can only lead to collectivism in politics. Today it serves no positive function but in fact is holding people back. Aristotle taught us that we can do much better, we can have a philosophy of reason. But that's going to be hard because who religion is forced on is children, just as it was forced on me when I was a wee lad. It is forced on them before they can develop their little rational faculties and for many the conditioning sticks for life. I think the real reason that atheists are hated so much is that we are the ones who took the pill and left the matrix. Let's work for the day when children are taught to reason properly and not taught that their minds are impotent to understand the most important aspects of reality and their implications for life on this planet. Let's work for the day when children are not taught as toddlers that they are evil by nature. What most do now to their children is the equivalent of a mother bird breaking its fledgling's wings before they ever leave the nest.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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18-08-2016, 09:00 AM
RE: A potential benefit from early religion?
I have it down to a question that I've asked many times, at work-

"Since when does force of personality outweigh reason?" Turns out, it happens a lot.

We would have a problem with a nice easy logical solution, but someone in authority would run their mouth off, people would get behind them, and go the wrong direction. Eventually the correct answer would be reached, but not in a very efficient manner- a lot of time and money would get wasted.

I blame that "force of personality" (authority figure) for religion and its propagation.

It's a sick kind of leadership.
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