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Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
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10-09-2016, 11:58 AM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
Ah, I did some digging to find out why he (and, more famously, Jonathan Wells, essentially the inventor of "Intelligent Design" Creationism) thought that Haeckel's ideas were still being presented in science books.

Apparently, Stephen Jay Gould was on quite a tear about it, not too long ago, as some books aren't sufficiently clear about what the embryo pictures show (and don't show), and the way it's presented as evidence for evolution... the Creationists jumped on his objections and modified them into their own version of it, of course. (See: http://www.discovery.org/a/3935 )

As the Discovery Institute folks make plain, they're confusing/conflating the argument I made above with the discredited "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny" argument (in English, that means "embryonic development stages retrace the evolutionary history of the species"). Haeckel, like Darwin, had no idea about genetics, or how inheritance actually worked, mechanically speaking; the "ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny" was an attempt by Haeckel to explain why things appeared to look similar along several stages, as they developed, until they split off to form the shape they would take as newborns/adults. Though Mendel published late in his life, Mendel's work went largely unread in a minor journal for decades after his death, and was only just becoming known to anyone in the field around the time Haeckel died.

The reality is pretty simple: all vertebrate "building instructions" start off with the same base pattern, in the early stages of development, and this is passed down mostly-intact to later generations, because it works just fine. Later instructions that have become encoded in the gene pools of various species tell the instructions to take a different path, and this is basically how we get different types of vertebrates. In other words, we don't go through our evolutionary history as we develop, but we do share early building instructions with other creatures with whom we share a common ancestry, and this results in visually-similar embryonic development until later stages.

The dishonest f**ks (folks?) at DI have taken this argument about how genetics works and deliberately conflated it with the pictures that Haeckel incorrectly used to promote his incorrect (pre-genetic) ideas about evolution. I can see why Gould objects so strongly to the inclusion of any of Haeckel's drawings in the books, now-- they do show something that is critical to understanding how evolution works, but they're too loaded down with the old, discredited notions of evolving from "lower" to "higher" forms, and do more harm than good if students (and observers) get the wrong ideas from it.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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10-09-2016, 12:02 PM (This post was last modified: 10-09-2016 03:13 PM by Gloucester.)
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
Another quotation in the book:

Quote: “This monkey mythology of Darwin is the cause of permissiveness, promiscuity, pills, prophylactics, perversions, pregnancies, abortions, pornography, pollution, poisoning, and proliferation of crimes of all types.”
- Judge Braswell Deen of Georgia, Time, March 16, 1981, p. 82.

Yeah, not a lot different from the Borgias and other leading Christians throughout history.

The good judge is obviously an intelligent, well, clever at least, man who produces all the usual stuff out and hangs it up to view.

Like:
Quote: Today evolutionists suggest things began by a big bang blast.

Well, I will leave you to deduce the quality of his knowledge and thinking to your own satisfaction...

Just one final exposė:

Quote:“If you brought in a smart scientist from another discipline and showed him the meager evidence we’ve got, he’d surely say, ‘forget it: there isn’t enough to go on’.”
- David Pilbeam, Harvard University paleoanthropologist as quoted by Richard E. Leakey, “The Making of Mankind,” 1982, p. 43.

I have the Leakey book on my lap at this moment, open at p43.

Quote:Of the primates, the chimpanzee is man's closest relative, while the two other great apes, the gorilla and orang-utan, are slightly more distant evolutionary cousins. The apes and hominids are collectively known as the 'hominoids'. Biologists would dearly like to know how modern apes, modern humans and the various ancestral hominids have evolved from a common ancestor. Unfortunately, the fossil record is somewhat incomplete as far as the hominids are concerned, and it is all but blank for the apes. The best we can hope for is that more fossils will be found over the next few years which will fill the present gaps in the evidence. The major gap, often referred to as 'the fossil void', is between eight and four million years ago.
David Pilbeam comments wryly, 'If you brought in a smart scientist from another discipline and showed him the meagre evidence we've got he'd surely say, "forget it; there isn't enough to go on".' Neither David nor others involved in the search for mankind can take this advice, of course, but we remain fully aware of the dangers of drawing conclusions from the evidence that is so incomplete.
Fortunately, there is quite good evidence regarding the ape-like creatures that lived over fourteen million years ago [...]

[No, I did not type that in, pinched it from here.]

Now out of date, of course, the bonobos are our closest relatives.

[Tsk! Another badly placed snip! Smile]

Added: I had to plough through about two Google pages of creationist sites misusing the above quotation before finding the truth. With the Leakey book in front of me I was sure it would be there. So, twenty sites full of creationist lying crap! Sorry, bad grammar there, should read, "Lying creationist crap."

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10-09-2016, 12:13 PM (This post was last modified: 10-09-2016 12:18 PM by RocketSurgeon76.)
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
(10-09-2016 12:02 PM)Gloucester Wrote:  Now out of date, of course, the bongos are our closest relatives.

Banjo will be delighted to learn that!

[Image: 20598920-beautiful-woman-playing-bongos-...-Photo.jpg]

(I'm presuming you meant "bonobos".) Tongue

Edit to Add: Unless you meant "bonobos playing bongos", which is Double The Awesomeness™...

[Image: 13579d1144412889-bonobos-bongos-07apr200...onkeys.jpg]

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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10-09-2016, 12:20 PM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
(10-09-2016 12:13 PM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  
(10-09-2016 12:02 PM)Gloucester Wrote:  Now out of date, of course, the bongos are our closest relatives.

Banjo will be delighted to learn that!

[Image: 20598920-beautiful-woman-playing-bongos-...-Photo.jpg]

(I'm presuming you meant "bonobos".) Tongue

Yup, between my lousy typing and this tablet's attempts to correct words one gets some really interesting sentences.

Like them there bongos though

Drooling

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10-09-2016, 02:01 PM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
I ain't related to no Bongo!

[Image: bongo-animal-picture.jpg]

---
Flesh and blood of a dead star, slain in the apocalypse of supernova, resurrected by four billion years of continuous autocatalytic reaction and crowned with the emergent property of sentience in the dream that the universe might one day understand itself.
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10-09-2016, 02:11 PM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
Bongo?
[Image: kia%20bongo%20k2700%20%C3%A7%C4%B1kma%20....37.59.jpg]

Bongo?
[Image: bongo_and_raven_8982.png]

Nope, still not related.

Still makes more sense that Randy's drivel.

---
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10-09-2016, 02:14 PM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
(07-09-2016 10:12 PM)Randy Ruggles Wrote:  Hello. This is my first time posting and even visiting here. I must say at the outset that I am not an atheist but a Christian theist. However, most of my friends are atheists and I enjoy discussing logic and reason with them and even engaging in some friendly debates from time to time with mutual respect.

I have a tremendous interest in science and am considering writing a book about a new hypothesis I have been working on for the origin of atheism.

Please allow me to explain.

First, this is a completely naturalistic and scientifically testable and falsifiable hypothesis. There is no appeal to a deity.

A common claim from atheists I encounter is that we are all born atheists, that atheism is the default position and that people typically come to their theistic beliefs through childhood indoctrination.

But new research in neuroscience, however, is showing that this appears not to be the case and that we are actually all born believers. For evidence, I point to the work of Dr. Justin Barrett (see link below) and also Dr Paul Bloom.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion...laims.html

You have no doubt heard the explanation of religion given by Michael Shermer and others that evolution has caused us to see teleology in nature because of its survival advantage. If a rabbit hears a rustle in the bushes, it is better off to assume the noise came from a dangerous predator and either run or hide. Those rabbits that assumed the noise was merely the wind got eaten and thus did not pass on their genes. In this way, we are inclined to experience many "false-positives" and this, so the theory goes, is the origin of religion.

But if we are truly born believers, I would like to propose a hypothesis for what I call "atheopathy" - being born without a belief in God. Please note, I use the term "atheopath," not in a derogatory manner, but simply for someone born without a belief in God - much the same way a sociopath is born without empathy.

Here is my hypothesis:

1. Our starting assumption is not that a god exists or doesn't exist but that its existence is outside of the purview of science. We will not consider supernatural or non-natural explanations.

2. Theism is the default position. We are all born believers. Evolution has caused us to be this way due to its survival advantage.

3. Atheopaths lack a belief in God. They are "born that way." Their "agency detector" is broken. Studies have, in fact, demonstrated that theists see patterns that don't exist and atheists miss patterns that do exist. Their "pattern recognition software," so to speak, has been corrupted.

4. One mechanism that we know of which tends to break things and corrupt information is genetic mutation.

5. So, my testable, falsifiable prediction is that one or more genetic mutations are responsible for atheopathy.

Incidentally, a connection has been made between atheism and autism in the peer-reviewed literature. Perhaps if we find the cause of autism, we will be closer to finding the cause of atheopathy. (Hint: I don't believe it is vaccines. Wink )

Any feedback from members is sincerely appreciated. This is a serious hypothesis that I believe deserves careful consideration and study with the intent to understand why some people are born without a belief in God.

Also, please do not take offense to anything I have said. You might choose to look at this hypothesis as humans evolving away from religion and, for atheopaths, any remnant of faith being vestigial.

Thank you for your time and attention.

OK, but taking you seriously at what point in evolution did this aberration get embedded in humans? I have often wondered about that as far as dogs go. How did it evolve to be basically in servitude to humanity? Yes I realize that it was a forced evolution and those which refused were probably killed, but still.
Btw I do like your ideas.
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10-09-2016, 02:16 PM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
(10-09-2016 02:01 PM)Paleophyte Wrote:  I ain't related to no Bongo!

[Image: bongo-animal-picture.jpg]

How about this guy? I could be convinced about this guy. I am told they are so close to us they can tell us apart as individuals by face. You walk into his room, leave. Someone else walks in. And he knows this is a different guy. Not from the smell or dress. But the face.

[Image: 03-bonobo-aka-pygmy-chimpanzee-670.jpg]

We have to remember that what we observe is not nature herself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning ~ Werner Heisenberg
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10-09-2016, 02:29 PM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
(10-09-2016 02:16 PM)tomilay Wrote:  
(10-09-2016 02:01 PM)Paleophyte Wrote:  I ain't related to no Bongo!

[Image: bongo-animal-picture.jpg]

How about this guy? I could be convinced about this guy. I am told they are so close to us they can tell us apart as individuals by face. You walk into his room, leave. Someone else walks in. And he knows this is a different guy. Not from the smell or dress. But the face.

[Image: 03-bonobo-aka-pygmy-chimpanzee-670.jpg]

Wow! That's better than I can achieve some days!

Wink

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10-09-2016, 02:34 PM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
(10-09-2016 02:16 PM)tomilay Wrote:  
(10-09-2016 02:01 PM)Paleophyte Wrote:  I ain't related to no Bongo!

[Image: bongo-animal-picture.jpg]

How about this guy? I could be convinced about this guy. I am told they are so close to us they can tell us apart as individuals by face. You walk into his room, leave. Someone else walks in. And he knows this is a different guy. Not from the smell or dress. But the face.

[Image: 03-bonobo-aka-pygmy-chimpanzee-670.jpg]

I think that you may have missed the joke. The antelope pictured above is a bongo. I am related to it but only very distantly given that it's a bovine and I'm a primate.

Bonobos I have no problem with, but that isn't the typo that Gloucester made.

That and at this point I'm pretty much discussing anything but the OP since anything else makes more sense.

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