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Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
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16-09-2016, 11:33 PM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
(12-09-2016 09:54 PM)Banjo Wrote:  I think this entire idea presupposes belief before atheism. I was first an atheist. An atheist I remain.

No it doesn't. Atheism would have originally been the default position. Now it isn't. Let me ask you: Are you an atheist because you were born that way or did you come to the conclusion through rational thought?
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16-09-2016, 11:44 PM (This post was last modified: 17-09-2016 05:42 AM by EvolutionKills.)
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
(16-09-2016 11:11 PM)Randy Ruggles Wrote:  You said:

"Again, the most you can claim is that a predisposition for belief is present but that is not the same as being a theist. The way you continually conflate the two . . ."

If I'm conflating them, then so are the rest of the scholars who do the research because that's what they are saying.

You said:

"I'm still trying to figure out what it would mean if this turned out to be true. If would not be a justification for theism, only an explanation for it."

I agree. But the theism part has already been explained. This hypothesis is attempting to explain atheism. See this article from New Scientist. The authors say, "What we need now is a scientific study not of the theistic, but the atheistic mind. We need to discover why some people do not "get" the supernatural agency many cognitive scientists argue comes automatically to our brains. Is this capacity non-existent in the non-religious, or is it rerouted, undermined or overwritten - and under what conditions?"

http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/print43456.htm


Theism is not the same as deism. The god of theism is more specific than the incredibly vague god of deism, let alone something like pantheism. How can people take you seriously if you cannot get your 'isms' straight?


The founding fathers were deists, not theists. Infants and those not indoctrinated into a particular religion, regardless of any predisposition to magical thinking, would be deists at best.


Evolution theory already rather handily has an explanation for our predisposition for agenticity (our tendency to infuse patterns with meaning, intention, and agency). I don't suppose you bothered to look it up?


Whenever our long lost ancestors had to come down out of the trees to survive on the African Savannah, we had to compete with predators that were already far more adapted to the environment. Our ancestors lacked the sharp claws, acute sense of smell, and the better night vision of those predators that preyed upon them. Knowing this, if you think you hear or see a rustle in the grass, it is either a predator or not a predator. If you assume it is a predator and run away, even if it wasn't a predator (false positive), you are more likely to survive the next time it is. If however you assume that it is not a predator, and you're wrong (false negative), you're lunch. Thus, natural selection favored scared and paranoid apes with an overactive imagination that favored false positive reasoning. Always running away keeps you safer, and more likely to survive and pass down your paranoid favoring genes, than taking a gamble and standing your ground. Give this a few hundred thousand years, and the advent of language, and it's no surprise that our ancestors were attributing agenticity to just about everything they didn't understand. Once you codify these beliefs, you've invented religion. Nature spirits, animal veneration, the basis of proto-religions is born out as co-opting of a survival mechanism by our desire to understand the world around us.


But we know better now. Just because false positive reasoning was evolutionary advantageous when you're a naked ape on the plains of Africa competing with lions, doesn't mean that it's a good tool today. We have better and more accurate ways of thinking and reasoning. We may be born with a predisposition for magical reasoning, but we know enough now to recognize how flawed that predisposition is, and we have taught ourselves to do better and hold ourselves to a higher standard. This is why the scientific method charges you with trying to prove yourself wrong, as a way to codify a step that attempts to counter our biases by having us challenge them directly.


Nothing supernatural is needed to explain our predispositions.


We no longer need magical thinking. We try to do better. You, not so much...

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16-09-2016, 11:47 PM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
(12-09-2016 11:20 PM)SYZ Wrote:  
(11-09-2016 11:02 PM)Randy Ruggles Wrote:  [...] Think of it this way: If there really is no God, and if it's true, as the evidence seems to suggests, that most people are born with a predisposition to believe, and if it is further true that some people are not, how would you explain that scientifically? What makes the most sense? What conclusion would you come to? What causes us to be born without other things we no longer need?

There is zero evidence [sic] that would suggest we're "born with a predisposition to believe"—other than as proposed by some misinformed believers in supernatural entities, otherwise known as Christians.

Newborns are neither theists OR atheists, a point you've ignored previously. Religious belief is a product of nurture and not nature.

There are several other unnecessary things we're born with too; vestigial organs. The female epoophoron and the male nipple, the vomeronasal organ, the coccyx, the palmaris and plantaris mucles, the arrector pili, the plica semilunaris, vitamin C pseudogene, cervical ribs... I could go on. How is it that an omniscient designer could make so many obvious mistakes in his most perfect creation?

Obviously Christians do not see them as mistakes in the same way you do. But they would explain them in exactly the same way: random genetic mutations acted on by natural selection.

To specifically address your question about the omniscient designer making mistakes would require a theological answer and this thread is about science so I am purposely avoiding the topic of theology so I can never be accused of coming here to preach. I'm sure you can do your own research to better understand how a Christian might answer the charge of flawed design. Respectfully, if you're not willing to do that, then why pose a question you do not truly want an answer to? I will say that I can assure you that your question in no way impugns the claims of Christianity.
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16-09-2016, 11:49 PM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
(12-09-2016 11:34 PM)SYZ Wrote:  
(12-09-2016 08:49 PM)Randy Ruggles Wrote:  Perhaps NO ONE - with the exception of maybe autistics - are born atheopaths.

Your bullshit never ceases does it? You stubbornly ignore all alternatives to your nonsensical "hypotheses" and insist on flogging to death your absurd notion of neonatal "theopathy" as a given.

And you continue to stubbornly claim some sort of pseudo-scientific conflation of autism and your (made-up) "atheopothy". Which proves you have as much knowledge of autism as do I of string theory.

Hmmm. I didn't know you were an expert on string theory. Wink
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17-09-2016, 12:02 AM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
(13-09-2016 12:20 AM)DLJ Wrote:  
(12-09-2016 09:13 PM)Fatbaldhobbit Wrote:  No the current research does not.

Link

From the link...
Quote:A crucial development occurs around 4 years of age when children realize that thoughts in the mind may not be true.
Quote:By the age of 4 or 5 years, children realize that people talk and act on the basis of the way they think the world is, even when their thoughts do not reflect the real situation,

Which would lead anyone (without an agenda) to conclude that continuing to uncritically accept authority is the '-opathy'.

Yet, theists don't continue believing in fairies, Santa, etc. but only the memetically transmitted god(s)-belief.

Does this imply that the developing 'deceit-detector' (don't bother Googling that, Tomasia, I made it up) is not picking up the signals regarding the god-fairy because the meme transmitter (peer, parent, priest etc.) is not displaying the deceit micro-signals i.e. they are genuinely deluded? Meaning that this particular meme engenders cognitive ease not cognitive dissonance.

Going back to the "sucker, cheater, grudger" idea (from Dawkins, Selfish Gene) the implication is that 'gruders' have a more sensitive deceit-detector (dissonance from the 'model' pattern) but for 'suckers' this is absent or underdeveloped.

So this explains e.g. the success of Joel Osteen. Big Grin

Or is 'grudging' a learnt behaviour i.e. once bitten, twice shy? i.e. a software update following a potentially harmful incident.

But, again, note that this occurs in only one facet of life. Someone who is sucker enough to buy one of Randy's books is not necessarily a sucker in other regards e.g. they would test a used car before purchasing.

So, the 'misinformation effect' and 'confirmation bias' must have something to with it, as opposed to purely being related to childhood development.

Consider

You said:

"Which would lead anyone (without an agenda) to conclude that continuing to uncritically accept authority is the '-opathy'."

Here's your error. My hypothesis has nothing to do with accepting authority and everything to do with pattern recognition. So what non-offensive word can I use that means "born without"? I'm open to changing the word. I'm not committed to it. But I need a word to distinguish those born without a God belief from those who became atheists for other reasons such as logic and reason.
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17-09-2016, 12:13 AM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
(13-09-2016 12:31 AM)morondog Wrote:  
(12-09-2016 11:56 PM)Randy Ruggles Wrote:  Personally, I find atheism a much more comforting belief than theism.

Rolleyes Because belief is all about *comfort*, not about truth. What's so uncomfortable about theism? You get to talk up a load of manure and write books which are accepted by an uncritical audience.

I realize I misspoke here because atheism is not a belief. Thank you for not jumping all over me for my mistake.

You said:

"What's so uncomfortable about theism?"

For me personally, as a Christian, it means having to abstain from doing things I'd like to do (eg. sleeping around with a lot of women) and having to do things that might come naturally to me like having love and compassion for my enemies. That's all I mean.

You said:

"Because belief is all about *comfort*, not about truth."

That's not really accurate. Belief is merely the assent to a proposition. If you believe, something you hold it to be true. Beliefs can be true or false. That's how I use the word. Atheists I talk to who say things like, "I don't BELIEVE in evolution, I accept the evidence," don't really understand the meaning of the word believe. Or they want to obfuscate.
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17-09-2016, 12:18 AM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
(17-09-2016 12:13 AM)Randy Ruggles Wrote:  For me personally, as a Christian, it means having to abstain from doing things I'd like to do (eg. sleeping around with a lot of women) ...

Maybe instead of relying on religion you should reexamine those things that you'd like to do.

#sigh
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17-09-2016, 12:25 AM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
(13-09-2016 12:35 AM)SYZ Wrote:  
(12-09-2016 11:50 PM)Randy Ruggles Wrote:  You said:

"It was not their theism that made them great scientists."

Uh, yes it was. Try read a book on the history of science. Even prominent atheists like Richard Dawkins have conceded this point. [...]

Your conclusions re this statement are erroneous. Their religious viewpoint had absolutely no causational effect upon their scientific viewpoints. Neither one influenced the other in any practical sense. In fact, their science prospered in spite of their religion—or at the very least alongside it.

UK scientist and philosopher John W Draper (d.1882) postulated a "conflict thesis", maintaining that religion and science have been in conflict factually, methodologically, and politically throughout history. This thesis is supported by several contemporary scientists such as Richard Dawkins, Steven Weinberg and the late Carl Sagan.

I'm afraid we'll have to agree to disagree on this point. Isaac Newton, arguably the greatest scientist who ever lived wrote more about the Bible than he did about science. Johannes Kepler said he was "thinking God's thoughts after him."

Sure science and religion sometimes come into conflict. Especially if one takes the first chapters of Genesis literally. But there is no inherent conflict between science and religion. And scientists who are Christians do not merely say, "God did it so we don't need to investigate any further." Instead, Christians are motivated to study science to discover the brilliance of how the Designer did it. As long as they are atheists when they enter the lab, there can be no conflict.
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17-09-2016, 12:29 AM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
(17-09-2016 12:18 AM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(17-09-2016 12:13 AM)Randy Ruggles Wrote:  For me personally, as a Christian, it means having to abstain from doing things I'd like to do (eg. sleeping around with a lot of women) ...

Maybe instead of relying on religion you should reexamine those things that you'd like to do.


Seriously. So long as everyone involved are consenting adults, and nobody is otherwise being hurt (such as with a marital affair), then have all the consensual sex you like with as many different people as you can.


Sex is not bad. Consensual sex hurts nobody, unless they're into that really kinky shit, in which case good for them. Sin is nothing more than a means of the people exerting behavioral control in a religion.


You want to fight religious fundamentalism in the middle east? Drop smart phones with unrestricted internet access and crates of condoms and KY lube, not bombs. I bet a lot of the pent up frustration will, uh, work itself out.

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17-09-2016, 12:31 AM
RE: Feedback requested on a new hypothesis on the origin of atheism
(13-09-2016 01:04 AM)Peebothuhul Wrote:  At work.

(O_o)

Um..... not being in any way, shape or form a Physicist, I have read Mr Krauss' book and listened to his video on said matter.

He doesn't 'Redefine' the word but goes to reasonable pains to explain the concept(s) behind the word........ Not just the Dictionary meaning.

He essentially redefines it. Nothing means literally "no thing." Krauss's version of nothing is something by anyone's definition. If a theist pulled what he did, they would be castigated for their dishonesty. He has been taken to task even by other atheist physicists so bias is not a factor.
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