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Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
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12-09-2016, 09:55 PM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
(09-09-2016 02:09 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(08-09-2016 09:57 PM)Randy Ruggles Wrote:  The belief that we are all born atheists, while a popular talking point with some of the New Atheists, seems to not be supported by the latest scientific research.
1. What is a new atheist?
2. scientific research does not support your absurd position that babies are born with a belief in gods.
(08-09-2016 09:57 PM)Randy Ruggles Wrote:  Perhaps we are finally out-growing our need for a god to explain natural phenomena.
Well, our sceintific knowledge has certainly explained away why we have complexity and order and life and why life is adapted so well to its environment. Science is the method of discovery. Religious is the oppossite, it is resistance to discovery.


(08-09-2016 10:02 PM)Randy Ruggles Wrote:  my personal theological views have no bearing on this hypothesis so I'd rather not lose focus and keep this about science.
Oh, but they do. You keep saying that science has said we are born with belief, but that is not what the articles you have referred to say.
Your claim has nothing to do with science and your conclusion is a far stretch. It certainly betrays your biases. But anyway, good luck with your book.

(08-09-2016 11:20 PM)Randy Ruggles Wrote:  For the record, I find it very interesting that most people are rejecting the idea of us being born with beliefs when I'm afraid this is rapidly becoming a well-established scientific fact.
It's interesting that you aren't listening at all. You keep making your assertions.
Of course people reject this notion of yours that babies are born believing in gods.
How do you establish what a baby believes?
Does a baby pop out of the vagina yelling, "Hallelujah, Praise be to Jesus!"?

The idea that a child (not a baby) might look at the things in the world and wonder what things are for, what is the purpose of things, did they have a design.? Well this is not an indicator that we are born with a belief in magical gods.

Stevil, every one of your concerns are addressed elsewhere. I can't keep repeating myself.
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12-09-2016, 10:00 PM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
(09-09-2016 02:36 PM)Gloucester Wrote:  This is probably child psychology 101 stuff but I need to reiterate it after reading several versions of the same thing to get a real grip of it.

We are born with certain faculties and needs, the ability to communicate being one of the most important.

We are also born with an inherent desire to investigate and to learn. Perhaps our first scientific experiment is chuking something out of the pram, or whatever, to see how it behaves. Then comes the first study in human psychology - can I con the nearest big person to pick it up for me so I can re-run the experiment and see whether Karl Popper was right or wrong?

But are we also born with a faculty for belief? I think we are, but it is an empty vessel that may, or may not, be filled with some specific system. That system will mostly come from external influence, which may or may not include a deity of some form.

With no external influence the possibility of the construction of a fantasy belief, based solely on our perception and interpretation of the world around us, seems high. With no guiding principle, then it will be purely formed by our reactions to experience.

As phobias are mostly learned from others so will our beliefs be if there is some form of guiding principle. Even if that principle guides in other than a rational direction.

Thus I can only feel that there is a shapeless hole, waiting for life and other people to offer things to give it shape, waiting for some form of belief system - but any belief system will fit maybe, not a theistic one necessarily.

Therefore, before that hole is supplied from deliberate external influences the chilld may be considered just about ''a'' everything other than its own deductions from experience. Amoral, a-ethical, apolitical and atheistic. Entirely innocent in its ignorance. Then the indoctrination starts . . . . . . ''That is nauighty'' is rule one.

You said:

"But are we also born with a faculty for belief? I think we are, but it is an empty vessel that may, or may not, be filled with some specific system. That system will mostly come from external influence, which may or may not include a deity of some form."

Yes, I totally agree. And this is something of value for me that I can say has come out of this thread so far: to make clear the distinction between "pattern recognition" (ie. agency detection, theism) and religion. I see how people can all too easily conflate them.
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12-09-2016, 10:11 PM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
(09-09-2016 03:29 PM)kim Wrote:  Sorry - I didn't read past the first page of this thread - I'll do that after I write this and maybe I'll find other things to address...

Hi RR - welcome to the forum. Smile

(07-09-2016 10:12 PM)Randy Ruggles Wrote:  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.

and
Randy Ruggles Wrote:I admit that I do feel the first hurdle I must get over is to convince atheists with evidence from the peer-reviewed literature that belief in God is innate. And many Christians will reject my hypothesis as well because the Bible states that everyone knows God exists and there really are no atheists. So I fear that it will be an uphill battle to persuade either side of the value of my hypothesis if they don't accept the starting assumptions.

To begin with, you negate your very first assumption ... in fact you say: I'm not saying a whether there is a god or not a god, I'm saying there is a god, somewhere.

You state: "Our starting assumption is not that a god exists or doesn't exist"... then you go on to state: "it's existence is outside of the purview of science." You've already designated it to exist, albeit somewhere.

***

Also, from what you've written, you appear to think evolution has some kind of "goal" or that species get "better" somehow. You say "mutation" like it's a bad thing... you call it "corruption". Evolution has no "goal", per se - it's only continual outcome being survival, it's very often hit and/or miss.

You might want to brush up on the process of evolution. It might help.

Again, welcome. Shy

Thank you.

You said:

"To begin with, you negate your very first assumption ... in fact you say: I'm not saying a whether there is a god or not a god, I'm saying there is a god, somewhere."

No, I'm not saying that at all. I'm saying my hypothesis - and the scientific method itself - does not address whether a god exists or not. This is about BELIEF in the existence God, not about whether that belief is justified or not.

You said:

"Also, from what you've written, you appear to think evolution has some kind of "goal" or that species get "better" somehow."

No, I said nothing of the sort and I don't believe that. Evolution is undirected. Mutations are random.

You said:

"You say "mutation" like it's a bad thing... you call it "corruption"."

If I implied that, I didn't mean it. The mutation itself was "unbiased" so to speak. Its effect, however, was a corruption of a previously working system.
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12-09-2016, 10:18 PM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
(09-09-2016 04:56 PM)kim Wrote:  
(08-09-2016 11:13 PM)Randy Ruggles Wrote:  Why would you look forward to that? I would think someone who loves science would be willing to follow the evidence wherever it leads. Why get emotional? Just a question.

No emotion really - the job of the scientist is not to prove rather, to disprove. If a hypothesis can not stand up to and survive scrutiny then, it is not science.

I totally agree. But looking forward to seeing my hypothesis "totally demolished several times over" sounds a little emotional. Would you ever look forward to seeing the theory of gravity totally demolished? How about the theory of evolution or quantum theory? I would think that a truly unbiased seeker of truth would simply accept the outcome regardless of his personal feelings. I know I would. But I'll let it go.
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12-09-2016, 10:27 PM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
(09-09-2016 05:08 PM)SYZ Wrote:  
(08-09-2016 09:57 PM)Randy Ruggles Wrote:  [...] The belief that we are all born atheists, while a popular talking point with some of the New Atheists, seems to not be supported by the latest scientific research.

No it's not. A couple of global examples does not adequately "support" a hypothesis—any hypothesis. It takes multiple peer reviews, sometimes spanning decades. If you're seriously going to cite such shaky references in your thesis, then it ain't gonna be worth much.

Quote:Even if we are born believers, as the evidence suggests, that does not mean we must accept the proposition that "God exists."

The "evidence" does not suggest we are "born believers". 99.99% of the current scientific literature supports the tenet that we're born (effectively) as atheists. The former is just a case of selective bias on your part. You're a theist, so naturally you support theistic tenets. Doesn't make them right. At any rate, we're not literally born as either theists or atheists, but you seem to have a problem understanding that at the get-go.

And you can't pick and choose by what means you interpret theism. You must accept that your god exists. Theism itself is defined as a belief in the existence of deities. The term theism also describes the classical conception of gods that are found in all monotheistic and polytheistic religions, (and is derived from the Greek word theos meaning "god").

Quote:Why could this atheopathy, though rare, not be viewed as an evolutionary adaptation?

I note that Creation Ministries International (CMI) uses this made-up, nonsensical "atheopathy" term—which is where I'm presuming you dug it up from. Atheopathic is an inherently derogatory term used by theists, meaning "one who suffers from atheism". As in one who suffers from alcoholism or diabetes or kleptomania. In fact, I'm not even sure that you know what the word means, even as you inject it into all your comments. CMI even has the audacity to describe Stephen Hawking as an atheopath LOL.

Presumably—using your logic [sic] and made-up words, I could describe you as "theopathic"—the disease of believing in the existence of paranormal events or supernatural entities.

Dodgy

You said:

"The "evidence" does not suggest we are "born believers". 99.99% of the current scientific literature supports the tenet that we're born (effectively) as atheists. The former is just a case of selective bias on your part."

Actually it doesn't. Care to support that claim? And I actually have no bias in this regard. It makes more sense to me that we are born atheists and I accepted that as a fact. I was wrong. So are you.

You said:

"Creation Ministries International uses this made-up, nonsensical "atheopathy" term—which is where I'm presuming you dug it up from."

Nope. I coined it before I realized they use it in a derogatory sense. I made it clear that I am not using it that way. In fact, they would use it to apply to ALL atheists. I clearly do not. It's a nice short form way of say "people who are born without a belief in God" - which would get pretty tedious in a book. You might say, "But that would be everyone" and I am saying that the current research refutes that.

I'm sorry if you are butt-hurt at the term "atheopath" but if you understand the way I am using it, you won't be. Would you like to suggest another term I could use?
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12-09-2016, 10:31 PM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
(09-09-2016 09:48 PM)Fireball Wrote:  
(09-09-2016 09:24 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  It is not becoming any such thing, AND you have posted NOT ONE peer reviwed article that says humans are born with any such thing. You CLAIM it. You offer no evidence. You haven't even posted a METHOD to determine what you claim, scientifically. You have posted nothing about the mutation, where it is located, when it arose, why and how it (would have to exist) in genetically diverse and UNRELATED groups. It's simply a stupid idea posited by someone who basically knows nothing about science or genetics, and who has no real evidence for his pet crazy idea. (We get you "crazy idea" loonies here ... about once a week. You're as common as dirt.

Yet another theist with some claim about scientific evidence, yet who is clueless about the scientific method, by his own admission. Facepalm

Atheopathy? FFS. Make up a word, but at least make up a decent word, "Randy". There is already a word that describes atheists. Guess what it is? Dodgy

Yes, but what is a word for atheists who specifically were born that way and did not arrive at their views through logic and reason?
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12-09-2016, 10:38 PM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
(09-09-2016 10:56 PM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  
(09-09-2016 10:32 PM)Randy Ruggles Wrote:  Well said, Tomasia. You have obviously kept up on the current scientific literature more so than some others have. I agree with you - and I'm not suggesting anything else other than a natural explanation.

We used to be born atheists. Our brains grew and, through natural selection, we evolved a predisposition to seeing teleology in nature for its survival advantage. Today, most people are born with this predisposition. But with the rise of science, we no longer need to posit a god and, due to a genetic mutation, a rare few are being born without this predisposition. This is a purely natural and scientific explanation. There is nothing to feel threatened by.

This is correct, except for the "due to a genetic mutation" part. Allele frequency changes in populations without mutation via selection (rate at which a particular set of genes is reproduced), not by novel mutation. Mutation is what allows a new gene to enter the gene pool, but is not what alters the levels of each one.

In the case of psychology-causing genetics, it's rarely one gene at work, and is almost never an either-or proposition, with people having varying degrees of expression of that gene.

What appears to have happened, by my reading, is that people developed a genetic "religiousity" tendency, which was favored by NS over the course of thousands of generations in our cave-man history, until the frequency hit the ~80% mark. The causes for that frequency increase have now mostly disappeared.

However, I'd venture to say that most of the changes in the rise of the "nones" has to do with people who followed the religious programming (childhood indoctrination) no longer feeling the need to bow to that pressure. If they have the religiousity gene set, they're likely to say they're now "spiritual, not religious", and if they don't then they will say they stopped pretending to be religious to go along with family/societal expectations.

That's your scientific explanation. There's no such thing as a child born with a religion, and there's no such thing as "atheopathy". The assertions being piled on top of what is otherwise pretty astute reading of the human evolutionary history are unnecessary. Calling atheism a "genetic mutation" also suggests that it is something new, rather than one of the standard allele options that have existed all along.

Edit to Add: It's a bit like saying that brown eyes, which are the default, become a "genetic mutation" if for some reason blue-eyed people--the novel gene, emerging about 8000 years ago--somehow hit 80%... if the Nazis had purged the planet, for instance (not Godwin's Law, just trying to come up with a reason why blue eyes would hit 80% of the human population). For a blue-eyed person to come along and claim that brown eyed people had some sort of genetic anomaly is ridiculous, but that's almost exactly what you're asserting, here, from a genetics standpoint.

You said:

"There's no such thing as a child born with a religion . . ."

I agree. I've continuously made a distinction between religion and pattern recognition/agency detection.

". . . and there's no such thing as "atheopathy".

Now that's a claim you're going to have to support with evidence.

By the way, I like your "blue eyes" analogy - but with one modification. What if the population of blue-eyed people reached 100 percent for, say, 5,000 years and then a brown-eyed person was suddenly born?
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12-09-2016, 10:43 PM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
(09-09-2016 11:11 PM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  Also I'd like to point out that 1 in 5 persons is not "a rare few".

Same with calling atheism a "genetic mutation". Your use of language is highly loaded.

You said:

"Also I'd like to point out that 1 in 5 persons is not "a rare few"."

If, by that, you mean 1 in 5 people are atheists, that may be true. But a much smaller percentage are atheopaths as I have defined the term.

You said:

"Same with calling atheism a "genetic mutation". Your use of language is highly loaded."

I did no such thing. I said that atheopathy - not atheism - might be the result of one or more genetic mutations. And I no where implied that all genetic mutations are bad. Maybe, due to your own bias, you are reading into my words something that is not there.
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12-09-2016, 10:45 PM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
(09-09-2016 11:32 PM)Deesse23 Wrote:  
(09-09-2016 05:02 AM)Deesse23 Wrote:  For someone who wants to write a whole book about atheism (or anyother given topic) it should be mandatory to know what atheism even is. It is certainly not defined by the belief in evolution. Atheism has no requirement to believe in evolution. So dont count on my $, i wont buy it unless you educate yourself about the topic you are going to discuss. But this ignorance is not my main beef.

This is my main beef:
This quote of yours below combined with the statement above implies that you must be an atheist by your own definition. But in your introduction you claimed to be a theist. How so?

I am still waiting for an explanation to this contratiction. Drinking Beverage

I addressed it. There's no contradiction.
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12-09-2016, 10:51 PM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
(09-09-2016 11:36 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(09-09-2016 11:30 PM)Randy Ruggles Wrote:  I need to make it clear that there is distinction between being predisposed to seeing teleology in nature and being born with a particular religion in mind. Nowhere am I claiming that people are born with an innate belief in the Judaeo-Christian God. I suppose I need to be more clear about that in the future.

But here is a list of Donald Brown's human universals. Every society every discovered has had a "belief in the supernatural and religion."

http://joelvelasco.net/teaching/2890/bro...ersals.pdf

Wrong again.

http://www.shh.mpg.de/38601/Complex_soci...y_Big_Gods
http://www.nature.com/news/complex-socie...ty-1.17040
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirah%C3%A3_people
http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/disbe...s-religion
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-...-societies
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/a...finds.html
http://evolution-institute.org/article/d...societies/
http://phys.org/news/2016-02-punitive-om...human.html
http://www.askwhy.co.uk/judaism/0010Reli...opological
http://www.askwhy.co.uk/judaism/0010Reli...#Scholarly
http://www.askwhy.co.uk/judaism/0010Reli...php#Eliade
http://www.askwhy.co.uk/judaism/0010Reli...s.php#Holy
http://www.askwhy.co.uk/judaism/0010Reli...p#Paradise
http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB1000142405...0997846742
http://www.china-mike.com/chinese-cultur...confucius/

That was ridiculously easy. You really are an ignoramus.

Well, I checked out your links. (I'd say thanks for going to the trouble but you said it was ridiculously easy. Wink ) Unfortunately, none of them has any bearing on the strength of my hypothesis or on virtually anything I've said. They made for interesting reading though, thanks.

Now, it's probably best if you go to your room and let the grown-ups talk.
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