Shortcomings of the "probability of life" argument
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05-04-2016, 09:41 AM (This post was last modified: 05-04-2016 09:46 AM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Shortcomings of the "probability of life" argument
(05-04-2016 07:09 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  It seems the other way around to me, particularly given the near universality of religious beliefs, and the minority of actual atheists, who seems to have primarily appeared in recent history more so than in the past. Even in societies today often deemed as primarily non-religious, folks still tend to believe in some life force, or energy, or higher power. The universality here speaks volumes for what the intuitive conclusions we draw would be. In fact we can say that going against our intuitive assumptions, not believing that life has a spiritual, teleological components, requires teaching.

Prove it. You're just making up shit, as you like to demean the positions of atheists, to feel superior.
It would be learning, not (the implied jab at militant atheism) "teaching". Nice try though.
How about you reference all that crap with some objective studies.
See the graph on P. 3
http://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/up...-Youth.pdf
You're just dead wrong.
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/arch...nt/304425/

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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05-04-2016, 09:41 AM
RE: Shortcomings of the "probability of life" argument
(05-04-2016 07:09 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  It seems the other way around to me, particularly given the near universality of religious beliefs, and the minority of actual atheists, who seems to have primarily appeared in recent history more so than in the past. Even in societies today often deemed as primarily non-religious, folks still tend to believe in some life force, or energy, or higher power. The universality here speaks volumes for what the intuitive conclusions we draw would be. In fact we can say that going against our intuitive assumptions, not believing that life has a spiritual, teleological components, requires teaching.

A few things here.
1) Non-belief or the challenging of religious claims goes back to at least Epicurus (and probably before). Even in Pascal's discourse resulting in his famous wager, he acknowledges that there are those who are made to not believe which is where Pascal offers the "fake it till you make it" option. We do not know the extent of non belief because for most of human history since people who did not believe in at least something were often killed or ostracized. The rest were kept in line with fear. The fear of violence, loss of the tribe, or the fear of punishment from said deity.
2) I do not believe that there are more people in the "none" category because people are changing their minds, I think it is because people are less afraid. As religious influence crumbles in the West, the fear and the power to ostracize diminishes and the ability to not follow the institution becomes a reality. I think that more people are simply able to speak up in a manner then they hadn't before.
3) The only universal thing here is the demonstration that people can make up or be taught to believe unsubstantiated nonsense.
4) Absolutely none of this suggests that this "life force" or whatever you want to call it is actually real. This is a fallacious argument. A majority of people believed the Earth was flat at some point as well.

(05-04-2016 07:09 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  In fact there are studies that show that young children even when raised in non-religious homes, are prone to teleological beliefs, that life is part of some creative order, believing that pointy rocks exist for porcupines to scratch their backs on. We’re meaning seeking creatures, so the fact that we ascribe an intrinsic meanings and purposes intuitively shouldn’t be that surprising. This is not the exception, but the rule. You’re more representative of the exception. Atheism seems to depend more on teaching, than on the intuitive assumptions humanity has long been prone too.

1) Citation on this study please.
2) I do think that due to the history of religion and it's deeply embedded nature in society where the tenants of whatever faith our parents are is drilled into our minds at a young age. This is why deconversions tend to take a very long time and only with learning of other ideas can it be excised from the mind. I do not, however, think that if you leave a child alone and do not tell them that there is a thunder and lightning god, that they will arrive at a theistic conclusion on their own. The Pirahã are an example that contradicts your idea.
3) Teleological arguments do not get you anywhere. How can you tell the difference whether the rock was designed for this purpose or was the rock just happened to be able to perform a desired function? Again, this is a fallacious argument due to the fact that simply because people ascribe a meaning to something, doesn't make it true. Just because evolution has given humans a penchant for ascribing meanings to things, does not mean anything to the truth of the ascribed meaning. There is an evolutionary explanation for this.

Here is a very detailed explanation. It is long but good.





(05-04-2016 07:09 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  A growing up me, still minus these influences would perhaps hold to some form of deism, and a more reflective grown up version of myself, would say that whatever meaning is to be found in the world, that’s it both tragic, and hopeful. On one end encapsulating an unavoidable despair, and on the other end a transformative hope. That Goodness is something to be aimed for, that kindness, love are to be sought, that cruelty and hatred to be avoided, all aspects of that meaning glimpsed but not known. That is if I wasn’t increasingly distracted, avoiding contemplating life when possible.

Everything you said here was told to you. I don't believe for one second that if you were left to your own devices as a child and not told that there is despair waiting for you or there is "transformative hope" at the end that you would look at the trees and rocks and conclude any of these things. Nonsense.


(05-04-2016 07:09 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  And the same can be said possibly of dolphins? That if dolphins can possibly contemplate their origin, they can possibly hold some sort of god belief as a response to this? I just want to know if your consistent here.

If a dolphin can contemplate it's origin, I guess it is possible that one could dream up some imaginary creator. I never said that it wasn't possible, just unlikely. Since we can't talk to dolphins, one can only speculate and have nothing concrete. Your point?

"If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality.
The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination."
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05-04-2016, 09:57 AM
RE: Shortcomings of the "probability of life" argument
(05-04-2016 08:15 AM)Banjo Wrote:  Tomasia, why are you here? You obviously have nothing to offer to sway a person interested in fact to your side. So why bother?

I have no interest in swaying anyone to my side. My interest are both personal, and non-personal, and have less to do with atheism, or theism, or my religious beliefs.

One of which is a constant curiosity of what it's like in the life of other minds other than my own, what composed them, and makes them different then mine. What historical forces shaped and molded their sense of self, that's distinct from my own.

Another reason, is a bit more personal, but it's to have better control of my moods, and emotional states, and what better place to do so than where people by their very dispositions are hostile towards you. If I can take the overall nastiness of someone like TbD, trying as he is, and resist the urge to be as nasty back, that's an accomplishment for me, not that I don't give in often.

Another is to make downtime at work go by faster.

Those are just some reasons as to why I bother, but there's perhaps many other reasons as well.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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05-04-2016, 10:06 AM
RE: Shortcomings of the "probability of life" argument
(05-04-2016 09:57 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(05-04-2016 08:15 AM)Banjo Wrote:  Tomasia, why are you here? You obviously have nothing to offer to sway a person interested in fact to your side. So why bother?

I have no interest in swaying anyone to my side. My interest are both personal, and non-personal, and have less to do with atheism, or theism, or my religious beliefs.

One of which is a constant curiosity of what it's like in the life of other minds other than my own, what composed them, and makes them different then mine. What historical forces shaped and molded their sense of self, that's distinct from my own.

Another reason, is a bit more personal, but it's to have better control of my moods, and emotional states, and what better place to do so than where people by their very dispositions are hostile towards you. If I can take the overall nastiness of someone like TbD, trying as he is, and resist the urge to be as nasty back, that's an accomplishment for me, not that I don't give in often.

Another is to make downtime at work go by faster.

Those are just some reasons as to why I bother, but there's perhaps many other reasons as well.

A good example of writing a lot, saying nothing, and in some cases, contradicting himself.

Dishonesty thy name is Tomasia.

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05-04-2016, 12:40 PM
RE: Shortcomings of the "probability of life" argument
(05-04-2016 09:57 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  One of which is a constant curiosity of what it's like in the life of other minds other than my own, what composed them, and makes them different then mine.

Right and that might float if you didn't CONSTANTLY rush to dictate to other people what's in their mind and what they think as if you know better than they do.

When valour preys on reason, it eats the sword it fights with.
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05-04-2016, 12:43 PM
RE: Shortcomings of the "probability of life" argument
(05-04-2016 09:57 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  If I can take the overall nastiness of someone like TbD, trying as he is, and resist the urge to be as nasty back, that's an accomplishment for me, not that I don't give in often.

Guess you're a failure than. Drinking Beverage

Oh and he's nasty to you cause your dishonest and evasive, so you have earned it.

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05-04-2016, 02:12 PM
RE: Shortcomings of the "probability of life" argument
(05-04-2016 09:41 AM)The Organic Chemist Wrote:  A few things here.
1) Non-belief or the challenging of religious claims goes back to at least Epicurus (and probably before). Even in Pascal's discourse resulting in his famous wager, he acknowledges that there are those who are made to not believe which is where Pascal offers the "fake it till you make it" option. We do not know the extent of non belief because for most of human history since people who did not believe in at least something were often killed or ostracized. The rest were kept in line with fear. The fear of violence, loss of the tribe, or the fear of punishment from said deity.
2) I do not believe that there are more people in the "none" category because people are changing their minds, I think it is because people are less afraid. As religious influence crumbles in the West, the fear and the power to ostracize diminishes and the ability to not follow the institution becomes a reality. I think that more people are simply able to speak up in a manner then they hadn't before.
3) The only universal thing here is the demonstration that people can make up or be taught to believe unsubstantiated nonsense.
4) Absolutely none of this suggests that this "life force" or whatever you want to call it is actually real. This is a fallacious argument. A majority of people believed the Earth was flat at some point as well.


Challenging religious claim has a long history while folks who a lacked a belief in God, were fairly non-existent for much of human history.

And it’s primarily in the advent of Darwinism, that an anti-religious side previously occupied by deist, were able to formulate an alternative to a teleological views. Even now, with an advent of all this, self-identifying atheist in a country like ours barely rises above the single digits percentage wise, and even less so in the past. The non-atheists nones on the other hand, tend to believe in a God of some sort, but just don’t identify with any particular organized religion. And even among self identifying atheists you have about 8% of them who also claim to believe in a God or a universal spirit. It seems even atheists have a hard time being atheists.

None of this may add to the veracity of these beliefs, but it does point to the near universality of them, and that a lack of belief in God/s/Higher Power, are an exceedingly small minority, a population only larger now than it was in the past. The suggestion that people need to be taught, rather than intuitively given to such beliefs, or that it’s fear that keeps people from lacking a belief in God, is not a very good one.

The rise of nones seem to be more driven by their lack of dependency on organized religion, than anything else, but they don’t seem particularly prone to a lack of belief in God though. Countries where non-religiousness is fairly dominant, can blame much of that on the advent of the welfare state than anything else, rather than their own Dawkins and Harris types paving some safespace where you no longer had to fear not believing.

But I would say one aspect that makes people not so much inclined to be atheists, it’s entirely the identifying marker here, atheism is identity for those who prefer to lack a belief, as opposed to believing something. It’s not even an alternative to theism in this regards, not even a belief that God does not exist, but a lack of belief. It seems persuasive to a crowd attracted to the idea of believing in nothing, while most of humanity seems given to believing in something. Blame it on our evolutionary tendency to draw patterns, as opposed to not doing so.


Quote:1) Citation on this study please.

There’s a variety of studies in regards to children and teleological beliefs. These are just two articles I found on the first page of a google search:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25327783

http://www.csr-arc.com/files/27/ARC-24-K...Rosset.pdf

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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05-04-2016, 02:14 PM
RE: Shortcomings of the "probability of life" argument
"Challenging religious claim has a long history while folks who a lacked a belief in God, were fairly non-existent for much of human history."

Please provide the data to back this up. Humans have been around for ~2 million years so...

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05-04-2016, 02:15 PM
RE: Shortcomings of the "probability of life" argument
You do realize that no one buys your bullshit claims like "Challenging religious claim has a long history while folks who a lacked a belief in God, were fairly non-existent for much of human history." because you have NEVER presented a shred of evidence to back these assertions and claims up, right?

Literally everything else can be ignored when you base your bullshit on verifiable bullshit. Drinking Beverage

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05-04-2016, 02:17 PM
RE: Shortcomings of the "probability of life" argument
(05-04-2016 09:41 AM)The Organic Chemist Wrote:  Everything you said here was told to you. I don't believe for one second that if you were left to your own devices as a child and not told that there is despair waiting for you or there is "transformative hope" at the end that you would look at the trees and rocks and conclude any of these things. Nonsense.

Not as a child, but as stated, a grown up reflective version of myself. I should also say that we’re unlikely to have many parallel experiences here. I didn’t grow up with many people telling me stuff, nor did I grow up in an authoritative home, and most of the immediate adult influences in my life barely even spoke English, and devoted much of their time to the pressing concerns of managing their adult life in a foreign country. As a result I had considerably more autonomy as a child, than perhaps most children do, with no one to tell me I should think this way or that way, or that I shouldn’t believe this or that.

But a child me unlike the grownup me, didn’t find the world to be a tragic thing, that sort of stuff barely registered on my radar, but I found world endlessly enchanting, purposeful, full of meaning. The world being occupied was one so overwhelmingly teleological in this regard.

And no one taught me about despair or hope, as if these are philosophical concepts, waiting for initiated, but as I grew older, more reflective, I looked upon it. Maybe that’s not true for your life, but the one that constantly stares back at me is a tragic one, part of the everyday struggle. Some are broken under the weight of it, and some carry that weight with ease. Some are hopeless, some are so full of hope. Life seems like such a mangled and broken thing, consistent with a world void of any God, occupied by a great sadness that’s only rarely ever articulated. But it’s not just that, there’s something else, something more, something deeper and profound, redemptive and transformative, no one has to teach you about that, in fact no one can, you can only lay witness to it. More a matter of seeing than believing.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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