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Man is by Nature Religious
Posted: 28 January 2012 08:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Jerry Shugart - 28 January 2012 05:46 PM

If I understand you correctly you are saying that the continuation of the species is dependent on man evolving to such a state whereby he has developed an absolute moral code in his inner being that has enabled mankind to to continue to exist.

Is that right? But if this inner moral code is a result of man’s evolution and is the very thing which has enabled mankind to continue to exist then how do you explain the fact that wrong-doing is easy for man while doing good requires a sustained effort? It seems as if it should be the opposite if your theory is right—well-doing should be easy and wrong-doing would require a sustained effort.

When we examine the history of the human race the evidence would suggest that mankind is not evolving in the manner which you seem to think, especially considering the events that happened in Germany in regard to the Jews during World War II as well as what was going on in Russia under Stalin during the 20th century.

You are looking at this in too simplistic a fashion. Both altruism and violence towards others have their survival advantages. Altruism towards those who more closely share your gene pool ensures the survival of those genes while violence and antagonism towards those more distantly related improves the survival possibilities for your gene pool as well. This is a relative thing. People may be antagonistic toward their neighbor to protect their family yet stand shoulder to shoulder with that neighbor to protect their village from another one.

Obviously human relationships are more complex than this simple example but these are the basic evolutionary forces that may have lead to our complex behavior. Altruism is not entirely biological though. Compassion for others can be derived from reason as well.

Belief in god is in no way required for compassion, empathy, and altruism to exist. Atheists exhibit these traits all the time and at times they do so to a much greater degree than many of their religious counterparts. Look at THIS LINK and take a look at some comments your fellow believers made about a 16 year old Atheist we were discussing in a previous post. A true display of brotherly love huh?

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Posted: 28 January 2012 08:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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One evolutionary theory is that religiosity promotes group cohesion, which promotes survival of the group over others, which results in the proliferation of religiosity.

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“What people do is they confuse cynicism with skepticism. Cynicism is ‘you can’t change anything, everything sucks, there’s no point to anything.’ Skepticism is, ‘well, I’m not so sure.’” -Bill Nye

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Posted: 28 January 2012 09:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Occam. - 28 January 2012 06:27 PM

I said NOTHING about how the human race is evolving.  If you want to make believe you are answering my post, at least stick to what I said. 

Sorry. I misunderstood what you were saying. Let us look at what you said again:

Unexplained occurrences can often lead to an animal being damaged or eaten so I believe we all have a motivation to find reasons.  If we can’t find them, we tend to come up with hypotheses.  If they don’t cause pain, even if they are meaningless, we gradually accept them.  Second, we all learn extremely early that our parents are the ultimate authority both for knowledge and power.  As we grow away from them, we still have the tendency to expect and depend on some source of ultimate knowledge and power.  If we don’t have the insight to recognize this, we anthropomorphize natural events and come up with some being who is like our natural parents but far more “super”.

I cannot relate what you said here to my own personal experiences about my beliefs. Are you saying that what you said explains what C.P.Tiele said in his book Outlines of the History of Religion?:

“The statement that there are nations or tribes which possess no religion, rests either on inaccurate observations, or on a confusion of ideas. No tribe or nation has yet been met with destitute of belief in any higher beings, and travellers who asserted their existence have been afterwards refuted by facts. It is legitimate, therefore, to call religion, in its most general sense, an universal phenomenon of humanity (C.P. Tiele, Outlines of the History of Religion [London: Trubner & Co., 1877], 6).

Thanks!

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Posted: 28 January 2012 11:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Jerry Shugart - 28 January 2012 10:51 AM

Professor Max Muller wrote that “We may safely say that, in all researches, no human beings have been found anywhere who do not possess something which to them is religion” (Max Muller, Origin and Growth of Religion, [London: Longmans Green and Co., 1901], Lecture ii.).

Charles Darwin also wrote that “a belief in all-pervading spiritual agencies seems to be universal” (Charles Darwin, Descent of Man, Part 3, Chapter 21).

According to this a man is by nature religious. How can this be explained?

Most humans do have an innate predisposition to belive in the supernatural to varying degrees,but some do not have that predisposition; others become less inclined to supernatural belief as they get older or through certain life experiences.  It is clear that these people are in the minority,as the vast majority of humans find non - belief to be sickening.  All of these traits can be explained by biology.

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Posted: 29 January 2012 12:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Again, I said NOTHING about your personal beliefs (your post #18).  You claimed that all people were inherently religious.  That’s what I was disputing.

You are doing it again.  Don’t you have the vaguest idea of how to discuss anything?  I don’t care about C.P. Thiele.  I wasn’t referring to his book.  I will never bother with it.  I have no interest in it.  Do you want to discuss what we are stating in these posts, or are you going to keep going off on crazy tangents that have nothing to do with what we have written?  Write your own comments and ideas, not things that you have read but which mean nothing to us and have no likelihood to me of being true.

Occam

edited to correct symbol.

[ Edited: 29 January 2012 01:48 PM by Occam. ]
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Posted: 29 January 2012 02:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Thevillageatheist - 28 January 2012 07:54 PM

If I’m not mistaken, and I may be, wasn’t the Max Muller that you mentioned in post one (sans the umlauts) the very one who espoused Aryanism, the superiority of the white European? This later led to the pseudoscientific eugenics used by the National socialists.

It seems he was not glad about that:

... Müller’s work contributed to the developing interest in Aryan culture which set Indo-European (‘Aryan’) traditions in opposition to Semitic religions. He was deeply saddened by the fact that these later came to be expressed in racist terms. This was far from Müller’s own intention. For Müller the discovery of common Indian and European ancestry was a powerful argument against racism ...

From Wikipedia.

(If the link does not work, search for Friedrich Max Müller (or Muller, or Mueller)).

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Posted: 29 January 2012 02:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Jerry Shugart - 28 January 2012 10:51 AM

Professor Max Muller wrote that “We may safely say that, in all researches, no human beings have been found anywhere who do not possess something which to them is religion” (Max Muller, Origin and Growth of Religion, [London: Longmans Green and Co., 1901], Lecture ii.).

Charles Darwin also wrote that “a belief in all-pervading spiritual agencies seems to be universal” (Charles Darwin, Descent of Man, Part 3, Chapter 21).

According to this a man is by nature religious. How can this be explained?

Yes, I think it is natural. It is a side product of capabilities to look and find causes for events, to recognise agents (in Occam’s line above), combined with fear of death. But that does not mean the contents of religion are right. Science could be described as the systematic search for causes, and is very successful in finding these. It is even so successful that it can explain agency in terms of causal processes. It could do away with ideas of demons, spirits and gods.

So maybe it is also natural that religion is overcome by better explanations of nature.

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Posted: 29 January 2012 04:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Jerry Shugart - 28 January 2012 10:51 AM

According to this a man is by nature religious. How can this be explained?

There are two meanings of “religious”, and if separate them the explanation might be clearer.

Man is by nature superstitious.  Much of many religions is superstitious nonsense.  Basically observed phenomena were erroneously attributed to an unseen cause.  Sacrificing animals so the weather will be good for farming.  The whole concept of sacrifice is superstitious.

Man is arguably spiritual by nature. This is not the same as ‘relgious’, and it’s not the same as ‘superstitious’.  Man finds wonder in the universe.

Anyway, I’m inclined to shorten the explanation to a confusion between religion and superstition.  Most religous folks can see how people in OTHER religions are superstitious.

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Posted: 29 January 2012 08:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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GdB - 29 January 2012 02:02 AM

[It seems he was not glad about that:

Do you actually have any evidence that Mueller epoused the superiority of the white European, as was stated here on this forum?

If I’m not mistaken, and I may be, wasn’t the Max Muller that you mentioned in post one (sans the umlauts) the very one who espoused Aryanism, the superiority of the white European?

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Posted: 29 January 2012 08:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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You may want to avoid the ad hominum attack against Mueller, Jerry, and concentrate on what is relevant to your OP.

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Posted: 29 January 2012 08:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Occam. - 29 January 2012 12:29 AM

I don’t care about C.P. Thiele.  I wasn’t referring to his book.  I will never bother with it.  I have no interest in it. 

That surprises me none since you obviously want nothing to do with anyone who could be considered an expert on the very subject of this thread. Here are Thiele’s words again so that you can ignore them again:

“The statement that there are nations or tribes which possess no religion, rests either on inaccurate observations, or on a confusion of ideas. No tribe or nation has yet been met with destitute of belief in any higher beings, and travellers who asserted their existence have been afterwards refuted by facts. It is legitimate, therefore, to call religion, in its most general sense, an universal phenomenon of humanity (C.P. Tiele, Outlines of the History of Religion [London: Trubner & Co., 1877], 6).

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Posted: 29 January 2012 09:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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Jerry Shugart - 29 January 2012 08:55 AM
Occam. - 29 January 2012 12:29 AM

I don’t care about C.P. Thiele.  I wasn’t referring to his book.  I will never bother with it.  I have no interest in it. 

That surprises me none since you obviously want nothing to do with anyone who could be considered an expert on the very subject of this thread. Here are Thiele’s words again so that you can ignore them again:

“The statement that there are nations or tribes which possess no religion, rests either on inaccurate observations, or on a confusion of ideas. No tribe or nation has yet been met with destitute of belief in any higher beings, and travellers who asserted their existence have been afterwards refuted by facts. It is legitimate, therefore, to call religion, in its most general sense, an universal phenomenon of humanity (C.P. Tiele, Outlines of the History of Religion [London: Trubner & Co., 1877], 6).

I think what is causing an apparent disagreement over this point is equivocation between people, meaning nations or tribes and people, meaning individuals.

Stephen

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Posted: 29 January 2012 09:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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George - 29 January 2012 08:49 AM

You may want to avoid the ad hominum attack against Mueller, Jerry, and concentrate on what is relevant to your OP.

I tried to ignore it but it appears when som,e people cannot answer the message they attack the messenger. Let us look at what you said earlier George:

We have evolved to behave morally and immorally because it has been advantageous for us to behave in a such way.

So when we behave in an immoral way we can excuse that action by saying that it is merely a result of the way which we evolved? Are you saying that our “conscience” is nothing more than something that has evolved over time?

I believe that my conscience reveals an “absolute” right and wrong but if there is no God then morality collapses into human opinion. That is because only a higher power can serve as a foundation of ethics. If there is no higher power than man then in the end it will be force and force alone which will determine what is ethically permissible and what is not.

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Posted: 29 January 2012 09:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Jerry Shugart - 29 January 2012 09:15 AM

So when we behave in an immoral way we can excuse that action by saying that it is merely a result of the way which we evolved?

No, might help with understanding, forgiveness, empathy and compassion though. grin

I believe that my conscience reveals an “absolute” right and wrong

That is silly because people’s morality differs and we can’t all be right.

Stephen

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Posted: 29 January 2012 10:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Jerry Shugart - 29 January 2012 09:15 AM
George - 29 January 2012 08:49 AM

You may want to avoid the ad hominum attack against Mueller, Jerry, and concentrate on what is relevant to your OP.

I tried to ignore it but it appears when som,e people cannot answer the message they attack the messenger. Let us look at what you said earlier George:

We have evolved to behave morally and immorally because it has been advantageous for us to behave in a such way.

So when we behave in an immoral way we can excuse that action by saying that it is merely a result of the way which we evolved? Are you saying that our “conscience” is nothing more than something that has evolved over time?

I believe that my conscience reveals an “absolute” right and wrong but if there is no God then morality collapses into human opinion. That is because only a higher power can serve as a foundation of ethics. If there is no higher power than man then in the end it will be force and force alone which will determine what is ethically permissible and what is not.

If God told us it was okay to own a slave and gave us instructions on how we are allowed to kill the slave, would you consider it morally acceptable? And a second question, if there was no God, would you think it would be morally acceptable for people to own a slave?

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