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Humans hard-wired to be religious—especially in hard times
Posted: 11 February 2009 11:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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George - 11 February 2009 11:24 AM
Chris Crawford - 11 February 2009 10:47 AM

Again, George, genetic predisposition is not the same thing as genetic determinism. The foundation for behavior is genetic, but cultural and personal factors play a larger overall role than genetic factors.

Yes, I understand that. That’s why I said I don’t understand why it is that these two peoples who share the same genes and almost identical environment (cultural, geographical and political) differ immensely in their religious denomination. And the difference is enormous. I am beginning to suspect that we know next to nothing about the human nature. I, personally, can’t make any sense of it.

Ditto. It’s why I prefer dogs. Them I can make sense of.

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Posted: 11 February 2009 11:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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steveg144 - 11 February 2009 11:33 AM

Ditto. It’s why I prefer dogs. Them I can make sense of.

Yes, it is much easier to understand why dogs treat us as their gods. To begin with, THEY CAN SEE US!  grin

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Posted: 11 February 2009 12:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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George - 11 February 2009 11:47 AM
steveg144 - 11 February 2009 11:33 AM

Ditto. It’s why I prefer dogs. Them I can make sense of.

Yes, it is much easier to understand why dogs treat us as their gods. To begin with, THEY CAN SEE US!  grin

And when they grovel and kiss our arses, we invariably grant their petitions and give them walkies or chewies! How
could they not believe in us?

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Posted: 11 February 2009 01:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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I don’t understand why it is that these two peoples who share the same genes and almost identical environment (cultural, geographical and political) differ immensely in their religious denomination.

Obviously, if one group is religious and the other isn’t, that’s a cultural difference. And I think that’s what we should chalk this difference up to. Slight cultural differences are a much better explanation for this phenomenon than any recourse to genetics, because cultural factors almost always trump genetic factors in human behavior.

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Posted: 11 February 2009 01:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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So they are culturally different because they are culturally different?  smirk

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Posted: 11 February 2009 02:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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No, I’m not arguing a tautology, I’m questioning your assertion that these two peoples are culturally identical. If they don’t share religious beliefs, then they most certainly are not culturally identical. If you could show that the religious beliefs was the ONLY difference between the two cultures, then you’d have a perfect laboratory case. But in fact, Czechs and Slovaks are not culturally identical; the very fact that the Slovaks chose to separate is demonstrative of that.

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Posted: 11 February 2009 02:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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I guess you’re right…

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Posted: 11 February 2009 03:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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MountainHumanist - 11 February 2009 09:31 AM

I wish this message could become more mainstream.

My wife is a believer. I used to be. She can’t imagine not being a believer. The biological disconnect is obvious.

If more people could begin to understand that belief is subjective based on brain chemistry, we could then engage in a dialog of perhaps more toleration.

You don’t believe in anything? That’s not my impression.

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I cannot in good conscience support CFI under the current leadership. I am here in dissent and in support of a Humanism that honors and respects everyone.

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Posted: 11 February 2009 03:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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steveg144 - 11 February 2009 06:22 AM

Apparently our brains have “a natural inclination for religious belief, especially during hard times.” This does not bode
well for advancing the interests of reason and science in the continuing economic crisis—especially if you believe, as
I do, that what we’re seeing now is just the beginning.


Born Believers: How Your Brain Creates God
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126941.700-born-believers-how-your-brain-creates-god.html?full=true
WHILE many institutions collapsed during the Great Depression that began in 1929, one kind did rather well. During
this leanest of times, the strictest, most authoritarian churches saw a surge in attendance.

This anomaly was documented in the early 1970s, but only now is science beginning to tell us why. It turns out that
human beings have a natural inclination for religious belief, especially during hard times. Our brains effortlessly conjure
up an imaginary world of spirits, gods and monsters, and the more insecure we feel, the harder it is to resist the pull of
this supernatural world. It seems that our minds are finely tuned to believe in gods.


See also:
The Credit Crunch Could Be A Boon For Irrational Belief
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126943.600-the-credit-crunch-could-be-a-boon-for-irrational-belief.html

dougsmith Posted: 11 February 2009 10:22 AM

Joined 2006-02-14 I don’t see how humans could be “hard-wired to be religious” in any serious sense of the term “religious”. I imagine what they’re talking about is a hard-wired tendency to find agency where it is not; spirits, ancestors, and yes gods; but there is nothing necessarily religious about this. How could we be hard-wired to be religious if religions basically didn’t exist until five or ten thousand years ago? They are a relatively modern phenomenon, as much sociopolitical as anything.

Perhaps the thought is that our hard-wiring tends to make people receptive to religious ideas in the present environment. But that’s sort of a vague claim, and not clearly true either, especially when the same hard-wiring could easily lead someone into non-religious New Agey ideas. A large portion of the present acceptance of religion has to do with temporary factors of culture and family background (one tends to slide into the same religion that one’s parents hold).

Are you two talking about the same thing? It doesn’t appear so. By all appearances, Steve is talking about religious belief, while Doug appears to be referring to the institutions of religions.

Steve, how are you defining “religious”?

Doug, how are you defining it?

If you both post your answer, we’ll know whether you’re talking to or past each other.

How much of this simple exchange is a contest for etymological turf?

Of what use is that? What are its drawbacks?

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