Author Topic: Why God?  (Read 7033 times)

Tank

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Re: Why God?
« Reply #30 on: September 06, 2011, 05:59:52 AM »
TFL

I agree with all you have said in your post. I didn't mean to demean our ancestors by calling them ignorant, they were not willfully ignorant but lacked the technologies and world view to challenge their own lack of understanding.

I think your point about pattern matching is also extremely relevent to this matter. We want to see patterns, we are evolved to see patterns, and often create patterns and associations where none actually exist. Humans often confuse coincidence with causation, your point about Sirius being a perfect example. Prayers being answered is another example where one takes the statistically insignificant percentage that appear to be answered as proof where it is really just coincidental. The same goes for astrology too.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2011, 06:01:31 AM by Tank »
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
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Too Few Lions

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Re: Why God?
« Reply #31 on: September 06, 2011, 09:40:47 AM »
very true, your original post is really good, I just wanted to add that little bit. I think the belief in gods (particularly in the heavens) wasn't unreasonable or inherently illogical a few thousand years ago, although obviously that's not the case in our modern age!

Tank

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Re: Why God?
« Reply #32 on: September 06, 2011, 10:10:57 AM »
very true, your original post is really good, I just wanted to add that little bit. I think the belief in gods (particularly in the heavens) wasn't unreasonable or inherently illogical a few thousand years ago, although obviously that's not the case in our modern age!
I agree that superstition/belief/faith are the default behaviours when faced with a lack of accurate understanding/information.
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
“Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.” ― Richard P. Feynman
'It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it's called Life.' - Terry Pratchett

xSilverPhinx

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Re: Why God?
« Reply #33 on: September 06, 2011, 11:06:22 AM »
You can also ask the rather intersesting question of when did people first start to believe in gods? Is it something that only our species has done, or did homo erectus, Neanderthal man and others also believe in their own gods? Was the part of the brain that leads to the belief in gods suitably developed in other human species?

Apparently Neanderthals buried their dead, so it's possible that they believed in some sort of "unworldly realty" for the "unworldy soul". Doesn't say much if they believed in any gods, though.
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Stevil

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Re: Why God?
« Reply #34 on: September 06, 2011, 12:05:29 PM »
I think it's unfair to conclude that 'us humans created God out of ignorance and need'.
Let's say that religion has been around for over 6,000 years. There are well over 6 billion people on the planet today.
With all this time and all these people, no-one has found any evidence or proof of any of the gods.

Some of the main theistic "proofs" implore the god of the gaps.
e.g. Cosmological Argument, Fine tuning argument, complexity argument.

God 100% completely comes from ignorance. I challenge you to prove otherwise.

Tank

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Re: Why God?
« Reply #35 on: September 06, 2011, 01:24:18 PM »
ISoK I have split off your derail into its own thread. Please do not attempt to distupt serious threads with derails.

Split thread can be found here http://www.happyatheistforum.com/forum/index.php?topic=8221.0
« Last Edit: September 06, 2011, 01:26:31 PM by Tank »
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
“Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.” ― Richard P. Feynman
'It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it's called Life.' - Terry Pratchett

Gawen

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Re: Why God?
« Reply #36 on: September 06, 2011, 05:03:08 PM »
While I think you're right about most things in your hypostheis Tank, personally I think it's unfair to conclude that 'us humans created God out of ignorance and need'. I think that may be a major reason why the belief in gods persists today, but it might not be the reason why people originally started to believe in their existence.

To me, it doesn't seem illogical or ignorant for people to have believed in gods thousands of years ago, when people lacked the technology and scientific knowledge we have today.

Technology has nothing to do with it. Ignorance, credulity and evidence has everything to do with it. Early man has the same problem theists have today...faith. There was no proof whatsoever for early man to believe there was a mountain god or a spirit of the river and the like. Because they didn't know the 'scientific' how's and why's of lightning, it is still illogical for them to "believe" in a lightning god without evidence of the lightning god itself.  It is perfectly logical to think that early humans created the gods out of ignorance and need.
The essence of the mind is not in what it thinks, but how it thinks. Faith is the surrender of our mind; of reason and our skepticism to put all our trust or faith in someone or something that has no good evidence of itself. That is a sinister thing to me. Of all the supposed virtues, faith is not.
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Sweetdeath

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Re: Why God?
« Reply #37 on: September 06, 2011, 11:17:52 PM »
You can also ask the rather intersesting question of when did people first start to believe in gods? Is it something that only our species has done, or did homo erectus, Neanderthal man and others also believe in their own gods? Was the part of the brain that leads to the belief in gods suitably developed in other human species?

Apparently Neanderthals buried their dead, so it's possible that they believed in some sort of "unworldly realty" for the "unworldy soul". Doesn't say much if they believed in any gods, though.


I ju st saw a documentary about the origin of man, and this was mentiomed!  They also offered the pit (where they threw the dead) a shiny rock.  No, seriously! xD
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The Magic Pudding

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Re: Why God?
« Reply #38 on: September 07, 2011, 03:00:51 AM »
If someone says they saw Zeus's arm appear from a cloud just before the lighting struck, that would be evidence.
Someone telling the village that Jesus took the form of a goat and assured him the pope truly is infallible is evidence.

As for the first person to find god, well I blame mushrooms.

While I'm being disagreeable there's probably much creativity going into god creation and maintenance.  After all there's all those inconsistencies to be explained away, improved super powers and adventures to be attributed.


Too Few Lions

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Re: Why God?
« Reply #39 on: September 07, 2011, 05:09:54 AM »
While I think you're right about most things in your hypostheis Tank, personally I think it's unfair to conclude that 'us humans created God out of ignorance and need'. I think that may be a major reason why the belief in gods persists today, but it might not be the reason why people originally started to believe in their existence.

To me, it doesn't seem illogical or ignorant for people to have believed in gods thousands of years ago, when people lacked the technology and scientific knowledge we have today.

Technology has nothing to do with it. Ignorance, credulity and evidence has everything to do with it. Early man has the same problem theists have today...faith. There was no proof whatsoever for early man to believe there was a mountain god or a spirit of the river and the like. Because they didn't know the 'scientific' how's and why's of lightning, it is still illogical for them to "believe" in a lightning god without evidence of the lightning god itself.  It is perfectly logical to think that early humans created the gods out of ignorance and need.

technology has everything to do with it. If you didn't know what the Sun, Moon, stars and planets are, why wouldn't you consider them gods? 5000 years ago, how could anyone have known that the Earth was round or that it rotated around the Sun, or that the Sun was a giant ball of helium and hydrogen. Science and technology have helped us to explain the Universe, but people didn't have that luxury 5-6,000 years ago, they explained the cosmos through myths.

I think it was perfectly logical for people to believe in a flat Earth, then a geocentric model of the cosmos. They then saw the heavenly bodies that inhabited the celestial dome as gods / heavenly rulers and to explained their movement through myths and stories.

Obviously there was also faith and supersition in there too, but there was a strong element of science in ancient religion (particularly mathematics and astronomy). My point was I don't think it was inherently ignorant for people to believe in gods thousands of years ago as there was no scientific explanation for the existence of the cosmos, the movement of the heavens or anything else. Before 5000 years ago there wasn't even any writing.

I don't think many Greeks who were reasonably educated or intelligent ever seriously thought that lightning was Zeus throwing thunderbolts down from heaven. He was a celestial sky god, and lightning comes from the sky, therefore it became one of his attributes and he was often depicted with a keraunos in his hand.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2011, 05:24:28 AM by Too Few Lions »

Tank

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Re: Why God?
« Reply #40 on: September 07, 2011, 05:34:24 AM »
I would contend that technology has speeded up the demise of superstition. The classic case being the creation of the lens and the tools to make it. Personally I would count the lens as being one of the most important technological developments ever. Initially for the telescope and microscope. These two pieces of scientific equipment opened up the perception of humanity to the universe and the microscopic. Thus the moons of Jupiter and bacteria were discovered, one destroyed geocentrism and the other the 'demon theory' of disease and started the route to modern medicine.

I would agree that logically technology is not needed to disprove the supernatural, there is plenty of obvious stuff around that just needs intelligence and critical thinking to convince one that the supernatural does not exist. However the number of people intelligent enough and with suitable mental skills is so low that anything they said would be shouted down by the superstitious rabble, as it often still is today. However for most people it's very difficult to deny what they see with your own eyes, so seeing Jupiter's moons or a bacteria are a very persuasive demonstration of reality. Trying to argue somebody from a position they are emotionally bound to using logic is much more difficult.

So technology is not needed to disprove god. However imagine walking across America or catching a jet airliner to do the same. Which is quicker and easier?
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
“Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.” ― Richard P. Feynman
'It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it's called Life.' - Terry Pratchett

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Re: Why God?
« Reply #41 on: September 07, 2011, 07:20:46 AM »
Very interesting reads, I enjoyed all of them.

I'd also like to add that beyond confusing cause and effect, humans tend to confuse correlation and effect very readily. When it comes to religion, you can best see this in a long tradition of "sympathetic magic". If you keep a pile of rags in the corner of your house and you discover that rats start springing from them, you come to believe that the rats were literally created out of the pile of rags. This may seem to be a logical assumption, since every time you leave rags in an area, you find rats there. There is a strong correlation, and you take that to be evidence for your superstition.



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Too Few Lions

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Re: Why God?
« Reply #42 on: September 07, 2011, 07:51:17 AM »
I would contend that technology has speeded up the demise of superstition. The classic case being the creation of the lens and the tools to make it. Personally I would count the lens as being one of the most important technological developments ever. Initially for the telescope and microscope. These two pieces of scientific equipment opened up the perception of humanity to the universe and the microscopic. Thus the moons of Jupiter and bacteria were discovered, one destroyed geocentrism and the other the 'demon theory' of disease and started the route to modern medicine.

I couldn't agree more. Both allowed us to realise the vast scale of the universe that people thousands of years ago could never have imagined.

I was reading about the Antikythera mechanism last week, which is a fascinating example of the importance of the movement of the stars and heavenly bodies to the ancient Greeks, and ancient astronomy;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antikythera_mechanism
« Last Edit: September 07, 2011, 08:10:10 AM by Too Few Lions »

xSilverPhinx

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Re: Why God?
« Reply #43 on: September 07, 2011, 08:26:06 AM »
Apparently not only people are superstitious animals. Look up B.F. Skinner's superstitious pidgeons if you're interested.

I take the evolutionary biological approach (since we evolved, it's a good place to start, and it makes a lot of sense). Superstition is a result of our brains doing what they evolved to do.
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Gawen

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Re: Why God?
« Reply #44 on: September 07, 2011, 04:59:23 PM »
Quote from: Too Few Lions

technology has everything to do with it.
No no no, TFL. You're mixing two different things. The supernatural cannot be verified as can the sun, moon, etc. That's why I didn't use the rest of your post.


The essence of the mind is not in what it thinks, but how it thinks. Faith is the surrender of our mind; of reason and our skepticism to put all our trust or faith in someone or something that has no good evidence of itself. That is a sinister thing to me. Of all the supposed virtues, faith is not.
"When you fall, I will be there" - Floor