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Is the idea of a "god" inherent in our minds? posted 17 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionIs the idea of a "god" inherent in our minds? by Grantaire, Moderator

(note that I'm not saying "belief in a god", but rather just the idea, the concept)

Religions of all sorts exist around the world, and usual a central tenet is belief in a god (or multiple gods). Even if a person is agnostic or athiest, the concept of a god is still in their head.

If we were raised away from any religious influences, would we still come to find the concept of 'god'?

I'm probably not explaining very well what I mean, but you probably get the gist of it <!-- s:wink: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=":wink:" title="Wink" /><!-- s:wink: --> My thoughts on the matter are very jumbled. view post


Is the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? posted 17 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionIs the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? by Loof, Peralogue

I think we have a inate need to explain our world, so I think the concept of god comes very easily to us. But that if someone was intentionaly raised so that every existential question he asked was answerd with another explanation then god It might be posible that he/she would never form the concept. view post


Is the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? posted 17 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionIs the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? by Taliesin, Peralogue

I think that in the modern world, where science has explained so much of the world around us and taken away the mystery of so much of our existence, one would be much less likely to come up with a concept of a god, as there is so much less in the world that seems unexplainable. But, in some remote environment without modern science and technology, it would make perfect sense for a group or individual to come to believe in a higher power, as so much of our world seems quite miraculous. I actually find it kind of sad that so much of that wonder at the world around us is gone these days.... view post


Is the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? posted 17 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionIs the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? by drosdelnoch, Subdidact

But technically speaking were the ideology of god/s mainly brought to the fore in a way to control the masses?

The reason that I wonder this is that in the name of christianity the poor were always told that if they did what was required of them in the name of the church and thier sovereign then a place in heaven was assured, it mattered little that they had nothing, the thought that they gave what they could would assure them a place.

Its also quite easy to use the concept of a deity to launch the controling powers wars. IE, god is on your side, they are the devils children and will do evil things to you and yours if we dont stop them.

Looking at that realistically, it sounds much better than saying, right lads, theyre just like you, I want more of thier gold and lands so that Im better off, right, get em.

Probably gone off at a tangent but still a point that I think is worth mentioning. view post


Is the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? posted 18 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionIs the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Every society develops an ideology to conserve the status quo. Since societies are, in the most fundamental sense, collections of people acting in systematically interrelated ways, and since desire and belief are the bases of all directed actions, stable societies, by definition, require that its members be socialized with the proper desires and beliefs. Religion has always played a pivotal role in this.

But the question of whether we're hardwired to believe in deity is a different one, I think. What seems to be the case is that human cognition is largely the evolutionary result of sexual selection: our version of a peacock's colours, you might say. We seem to be designed to understand one another more than the world, and as a result, we're predisposed to prefer intentional explanations - understanding by recourse to reasons and agency - over causal or functional explanations (which is why so much training is required for people to see the world from a scientific perspective - it's an accomplishment).

As a result, we seem predisposed to understand natural events in the same way we understand human events. We believe (falsely, it appears) that natural events have reasons. And since reasons belong to agents, we conjure quasi-human agencies to explain things. We anthropomorphize.

Given our hardwired preferences for simplicity and synthesis, it seems almost inevitable that the multiple agencies that characterize animism would, over time, be condensed into a single 'agent of agents.' God.

So I wouldn't so much say we're hardwired to believe in God as I would say we're hardwired to eventually arrive at Him. view post


Is the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? posted 18 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionIs the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? by Grantaire, Moderator

Ah, excellent explanation Cu'jara. I wonder if too, the time period and level of industrialization would have an effect- a primitive farming community would be pretty much have its prosperity depending on the weather, something they can't control and is simple to explain as the result of a gods actions etc. Whereas a more modern, industrialized society wouldn't be affected so much by nature.

Meh. view post


Is the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? posted 19 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionIs the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? by saintjon, Auditor

I wonder that so many people chalk religion up to a need for explanation. I mean, in my experience I have also had moments of awe. A really amazing sun shower isn't a big deal scientifically, and it hasn't really left me wondering about the meaning of it, but nonetheless something like that can be moving. The natural world, IMO can do more than baffle or confuse to persuade you of the existence of something more. Sometimes the world assails you with poetry instead of questions I guess. view post


Is the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? posted 19 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionIs the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? by Sovin Nai, Site Administrator

I know what you are talking about, but to me it doesn't hint at anything greater. It's a statistical marvel. How many beautiful rain showers are there per year? If I see one when I am more statistically likely to not, I consider myself fortunate and revel in its scarcity.

I have a deep belief in statistical spirituality, I gues you would call it. Maybe I should start a thread... view post


Is the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? posted 19 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionIs the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

'Statistical spirituality' - there's no way I'm letting you get away without explaining that, Jack! view post


Is the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? posted 10 August 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionIs the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? by JustifiedHeretic, Peralogue

I'm intrigued, do explain. view post


Is the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? posted 11 August 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionIs the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? by Sovin Nai, Site Administrator

See the thread titled 'Statistical Spirituality' in this forum. <!-- s:? --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_confused.gif" alt=":?" title="Confused" /><!-- s:? --> view post


Is the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? posted 28 August 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionIs the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? by AjDeath, Didact

I do not see that our minds are predisposed to believe in a God. I see society needing a way to explain accepted folkways and mores. Stories and parables are the easiest way to achieve this. When we tell them to our children, which is a natural thing to do, our children grow up believing at least some of these lessons at face value. Mans incessant need to explain his suroundings and why we are here I believe stem from our fear of the unknown, meaning death. In my opinion, our belief in God has more to do with our inability to cope with our own mortality and our pride. view post


Is the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? posted 02 September 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionIs the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? by Scarred, Candidate

I think that humans are predisposed to believing in a God, or at least some sort of higher authority. We, as people, yearn for a reason to exist, a purpose so to speak. Without something higher than us, we have nothing to act for, we effectively have no hope for anything past what we can see. If we didnt believe in God, we would think that once we died, there's nothing for us. That could either be a motivating though, or a depressing one. For those who need a purpose, and something to hope for, the thought of a God is comforting, and motivates those peopel to do their best in this world, so that they may reach paradise in the next. view post


Is the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? posted 06 September 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionIs the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

I do not see that our minds are predisposed to believe in a God.


It's not that we're predisposed to believe in God, it's that we're predisposed to comprehend the world in intentional (purposive and normative) terms. This is just a fancy way to say that we're hardwired to ascribe objective agency to the world - to think things happen for reasons. We anthropomorphize. Since we're also hardwired to generally prefer simplicity, the notion of some 'agent of agents' begins to seem like an inevitability. view post


Is the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? posted 07 September 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionIs the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? by AjDeath, Didact

Quote: &quot;Cu'jara Cinmoi&quot;:sir4s5f1
I do not see that our minds are predisposed to believe in a God.


It's not that we're predisposed to believe in God, it's that we're predisposed to comprehend the world in intentional (purposive and normative) terms. This is just a fancy way to say that we're hardwired to ascribe objective agency to the world - to think things happen for reasons.[/quote:sir4s5f1]I know this will sound slightly off in the head. But I really do not believe that anything happens for a reason. I do not believe in a past nor a future. I beleive all that happens is right now (really hard to explain sorry). For instance, right now I am typing this, but I could just as well bash my head through my monitor, or I could jump out my window. What I am trying to say is that I recognize all the junk put into me and I see the place society has made for me and I disregard it, I and everyone else can do anything if so inclined, though the man made boundaries of society may prove difficult to surpass. Well, I will agree that some things are so ingrained in our minds that to route them out would be nearly impossible. Ahh, to be normal would be nice. I am just a twenty-two year old hippie that listens to death metal, who believes that conciousness is the soul, and thinks that time does not exist. Some call me crazy. (/really crazy, maybe not on topic rant) view post


Is the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? posted 07 September 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionIs the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? by Grantaire, Moderator

I believe things do happen for a reason. Know the exact configuration of the universe at any one instant of time, and you can calculate its exact state at any other time. Needless to say, quite impossible for us to do, but scientific determinism is the point. Other than quantum effects (which perhaps may have rules governing them, even if we can't discern them yet), science makes particles and forces follow certain rules, that allow us to predict cause and effect. The exact state of the universe is the result of every motion of an atom, every exchange of forces, etc for all time. view post


Is the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? posted 07 September 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionIs the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Know the exact configuration of the universe at any one instant of time, and you can calculate its exact state at any other time.


This is the old Laplacian thesis (which as far as I know, has been thoroughly discredited by modern physics), isn't it? In principle, there's no way of knowing the exact state of any part of the universe at any given time.


I believe things do happen for a reason.


I thought you tended to nihilism, Grantaire. A change of heart? <!-- s:wink: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=":wink:" title="Wink" /><!-- s:wink: --> view post


Is the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? posted 07 September 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionIs the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? by Replay, Auditor

This is the old Laplacian thesis (which as far as I know, has been thoroughly discredited by modern physics), isn't it? In principle, there's no way of knowing the exact state of any part of the universe at any given time.


And even if you could map the entire universe (which I agree is impossible), that does not have to mean that you could predict what would happen next. Not unless you really believed that all the universe is is a bunch of matter/energy randomly bouncing into itself. view post


Is the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? posted 07 September 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionIs the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? by Grantaire, Moderator

I know Scott, it's quite impossible to do. But I'm simply saying, there's a fundamental level of determinism, even past the whole free will argument. And yes, I do tend towards nihilism. But I think you're taking my use of the word "reason" wrong. I think that things don't have inherent value, the only value is what is created by society and by our needs. When I said that I believe things happen for a reason is my belief in a determinable chain of cause and effect. Things just don't spontaneously happen. I would think that this would be something that you would be a proponent of, seeing as how that seems to be a key idea of the concept of "the darkness that comes before" in the thus named book. view post


Is the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? posted 07 September 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionIs the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? by AjDeath, Didact

Quote: &quot;Grantaire&quot;:8quh5cio
I believe things do happen for a reason. Know the exact configuration of the universe at any one instant of time, and you can calculate its exact state at any other time. Needless to say, quite impossible for us to do, but scientific determinism is the point. Other than quantum effects (which perhaps may have rules governing them, even if we can't discern them yet), science makes particles and forces follow certain rules, that allow us to predict cause and effect. The exact state of the universe is the result of every motion of an atom, every exchange of forces, etc for all time.[/quote:8quh5cio] What I would have to say to all of that is, well, science is not the be all, end all of humanity. To me all science is human words formed by observations, more precisley, useless. How the hell do we know that everything is based on atomic structure/particles? We don't, it is just our latest observation and humanity's infinite pride demands that these facts(which is all just really conjecture) as truth (laws and so forth). How can humanity determine the color blue? Really it could be anything. view post


Is the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? posted 07 September 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionIs the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? by Grantaire, Moderator

Aj, you say science is useless, but think about how much in our world is based on the observations of science, and the laws and theories it creates. Science is the basis of modern medicine, engineering, flight, and so much more. You reject atomic theory, but ever heard of nuclear fission? Sure, maybe science provides interpretive analysis of things we observe, but it works. Obviously, it can be somewhat different than we imagine (i.e. wave/particle duality, other funkyass quantum stuff), but we can discover laws that govern them such as we observe them. Where is the uselessness in that? view post


Is the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? posted 08 September 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionIs the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? by AjDeath, Didact

Obviously there are many uses for these observations, I was being a tw@t. <!-- s:oops: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_redface.gif" alt=":oops:" title="Embarassed" /><!-- s:oops: --> <!-- s:o --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_surprised.gif" alt=":o" title="Surprised" /><!-- s:o --> I just do not like how science and all of it's relevant studies has become the new "God" of our time. Since when has man become infallible? What I mean about science though is this, how can we ever really be sure of what we beleive (in) to be the truth? A lot of medication hurts rather than cures. Also, I never said that I rejected atomic theory, I am saying that it is exactly what you called it, the latest theory in a long succesion of theories. Of course we have put this theory to a test (sort of) and killed a whole lot of people with it. yea. I do not reject science, I reject humanity's total faith in it. view post


Is the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? posted 08 September 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionIs the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? by Grantaire, Moderator

Well, I agree with you in that total faith should not be put into science. That would simply be another example of the arrogance of humanism. But I would prefer that people lay their hopes in science than in religion, because in my eyes, science is more likely to give results. Humanity should have total faith in nothing, and total belief in nothing. I prefer uncertainty to irrational faith. view post


Is the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? posted 08 September 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionIs the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

Total faith in science is actually very unscientific, which is what, ironically, has made science - far, far and away - more successful than any other truth-claim generating institution in the history of humanity: it's capacity for self-correction in the light of new evidence. The 'weakness' you refer to AJ, is actually science's greatest strength.

Otherwise, it's been my experience that people are far more likely to underestimate than overestimate the power of science. I poll my classes on this question every year, and I'm always dismayed by how skeptical students are of science, and how credible they are of other institutional modes of claim-making. view post


Is the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? posted 08 September 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionIs the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? by AjDeath, Didact

Quote: &quot;Cu'jara Cinmoi&quot;:2ofxqsuk
Total faith in science is actually very unscientific, which is what, ironically, has made science - far, far and away - more successful than any other truth-claim generating institution in the history of humanity: it's capacity for self-correction in the light of new evidence. The 'weakness' you refer to AJ, is actually science's greatest strength.

Otherwise, it's been my experience that people are far more likely to underestimate than overestimate the power of science. I poll my classes on this question every year, and I'm always dismayed by how skeptical students are of science, and how credible they are of other institutional modes of claim-making.[/quote:2ofxqsuk]

I will have to disagree, while I do not totally reject science, in fact I most certainly do not, I see it as mans total immersion in its own importance. Believing that what we think is truth is not cutting it for me. I do not believe in Darwinism, or creationism. To me they are the two sides of faith. one is total faith, belief that is totally unfounded and therefore the practitioners of this belief use this as their defense. The other believes that they do not beleive in anything at all, which is false. I am not saying science science is wrong. What I am saying is that believing in an evolutional jump, (such as the eye) and the big bang is not a leap of faith? Why would a person think this? To believe these things is to have total faith in humanity's ability to discover the unknowable, and total faith in mankind itself, which I think has been proven disastrous. view post


Is the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? posted 08 September 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionIs the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? by Grantaire, Moderator

Well Aj, I admit that you do have a point. Humanity doesn't exactly have the best track record when it comes to being rational and learning from history, and other such things. But that doesn't mean that science should just automatically be rejected. Sure, science can only really explore within the realms of human understanding or perception, but too be honest, isn't that all that's important than? Like the colors, they are the way we see them because it's how we see them. But that's really the relevant thing, because it is the only way we can percieve them. Do you get what I'm saying? I'm not sure how well I'm explaining my thoughts...Yes, science is imperfect. It cannot tell us some things, such as value or meaning. It makes mistakes sometimes. But it is self-correcting. When a hypothesis isn't supported by experimental evidence, do we still accept it? To become a widely accepted theory, something has to be supported by evidence. Now look at something like religion- it doesn't have evidence, but don't people still believe in it (something they attribute to *faith*). Religion isn't self-correcting, and doesn't feel the need to necessarily have evidence. Which would you rather trust? view post


Is the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? posted 09 September 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionIs the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? by AjDeath, Didact

Quote: &quot;Grantaire&quot;:15dono7i
Well Aj, I admit that you do have a point. Humanity doesn't exactly have the best track record when it comes to being rational and learning from history, and other such things. But that doesn't mean that science should just automatically be rejected.[/quote:15dono7i] Whoah, like I said, I do not reject science, just society's inclination to rely on it toatally, and I am not talking about the sciences of technology or medicine, although the most medicine seems to be able to do these days is almost cure hairloss, and give you a 45 hour hard on.
Quote: &quot;Grantaire&quot;:15dono7i
Sure, science can only really explore within the realms of human understanding or perception, but too be honest, isn't that all that's important than? Like the colors, they are the way we see them because it's how we see them. But that's really the relevant thing, because it is the only way we can percieve them. Do you get what I'm saying? I'm not sure how well I'm explaining my thoughts...[/quote:15dono7i] I do, I just think in a way that is totally different. I think that believing that Humanity is the only thing that matters is loosing sight of humanity in it's most important sense ( to me at least), a part of a whole.
Quote: &quot;Grantaire&quot;:15dono7i
Yes, science is imperfect. It cannot tell us some things, such as value or meaning. It makes mistakes sometimes. But it is self-correcting. When a hypothesis isn't supported by experimental evidence, do we still accept it? To become a widely accepted theory, something has to be supported by evidence.[/quote:15dono7i] Self correcting in it's own, how should I put this, plane of beliefs (really bad way to put this) evidence to support mans view of the world is one thing, but to claim that it is truly how the world exists is laughable. It is also a form of faith.
Quote: &quot;Grantaire&quot;:15dono7i
Now look at something like religion- it doesn't have evidence, but don't people still believe in it (something they attribute to *faith*). Religion isn't self-correcting, and doesn't feel the need to necessarily have evidence. Which would you rather trust?[/quote:15dono7i] As I also said, I do not agree with religion either, I admit to believing in a God, but I tend to try and be the best person I can be without the Indiana Jones Leap Of Faith.

An admittance to myself, my belief in a God has been slipping away for a little while now, I really do not know what to believe, it may be nothing. It may be a blend of religion and science, and plain old spirituality. Eh. what are beliefs anyway but grandiose opinions. <!-- s:wink: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=":wink:" title="Wink" /><!-- s:wink: --> view post


Is the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? posted 09 September 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionIs the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? by Grantaire, Moderator

Whoah, like I said, I do not reject science, just society's inclination to rely on it toatally, and I am not talking about the sciences of technology or medicine, although the most medicine seems to be able to do these days is almost cure hairloss, and give you a 45 hour hard on

Nice observation <!-- s:wink: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=":wink:" title="Wink" /><!-- s:wink: --> I agree that humanity shouldn't rely on science totally, but that doesn't seem to be the case anyway. Sure, we're inclined to believe the science that we hear, because we trust the scientific method. But when a friend or loved one dies, do people pray to science for comfort? Do they worship at the altar of science to answer their pleas for meaning and aid? No, they turn to religion and sometimes philosophy. I admit it myself, for all my claims of nihilism and scientific examination, I sometimes pray. It is comforting to think that maybe, just maybe there is some all-powerful, benevolent god out there willing to help me. I know that is not a very likely scenario, but it is still comforting sometimes. So even people such as I don't rely on science entirely.
I do, I just think in a way that is totally different. I think that believing that Humanity is the only thing that matters is loosing sight of humanity in it's most important sense ( to me at least), a part of a whole.

I get what you're saying here- and don't get me wrong, I actually agree with you, at least in part. We can look at earth and humanity in the bigger picture of the universe as a whole. But humans, by nature are concerned for the large part only about their own good and self-advancement. So naturally, we look at things that are important and relevant to ourselves. Ever heard the theory that even acts that would seem to be altruistic are for motives of self-gain and advancement, even if subconciously? We just naturally tend to focus on things that are more important to our own survival, reproduction, and gain...
Self correcting in it's own, how should I put this, plane of beliefs (really bad way to put this) evidence to support mans view of the world is one thing, but to claim that it is truly how the world exists is laughable. It is also a form of faith.

You're quite correct. Science is self-correcting in its own...view (you're also right in that there's no way to put that well <!-- s:lol: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_lol.gif" alt=":lol:" title="Laughing" /><!-- s:lol: --> ). Maybe this world is just like the Matrix showed, and we're all just brains in vats. Or maybe we are just the dreams of a butterfly. We can't know the fundamental truths such as that, and science can't show us that. Maybe this entire world is only ideas. Maybe we are just the toys of some god. Who knows? We can't, and won't know. But science can show us things in the...plane that we see them. And that is what is relevant, because it is what we can understand. Do you get what I'm saying? Maybe science can't show us a fundamental truth below the surface of this reality, but if we can't ever see that "truth", does it make the discoveries of science any less worthwhile?
As I also said, I do not agree with religion either, I admit to believing in a God, but I tend to try and be the best person I can be without the Indiana Jones Leap Of Faith.

An admittance to myself, my belief in a God has been slipping away for a little while now, I really do not know what to believe, it may be nothing. It may be a blend of religion and science, and plain old spirituality. Eh. what are beliefs anyway but grandiose opinions. Wink

I'm in the same boat, really. I've been raised Roman Catholic, but as I discover more of the world, and things such as science and philosophy, my mind seems to be automatically bent on systematically destroying my religious upbringing. My belief in god and the other teachings of the church has been slipping for a while now. I too try to be the best person possible, because even if there is no god, I still believe a basic level of morality is important.

I'm enjoying this conversation quite a bit <!-- s:) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_smile.gif" alt=":)" title="Smile" /><!-- s:) --> view post


Is the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? posted 09 September 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionIs the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? by Cu'jara Cinmoi, Author of Prince of Nothing

I do not reject science, just society's inclination to rely on it toatally


It's this 'totally' you have to sell me on, AJ. The polls I've seen show the majority of people being deeply skeptical of science.

The problem is that no where, not once in our public school past, are we ever taught the difference between good beliefs and bad beleifs. Since we don't know what we don't know (ignorance is invisible), we simply assume that we can tell the difference between good beliefs and bad, when psychological study after psychological study has shown we're actually quite miserable at it.

Take your statement that evolution and creation are two instances of 'faith' - this is in fact what the majority of people do: they simply assume that both are 'theories' in the sense of 'speculation,' the way we use the word in everyday contexts, when in fact evolution is a theory in a scientific sense. Once you probe beneath the surface, the differences become dazzling.

All theories can be evaluated according to very basic 'epistemic virtues.' Take explanatory power: evolution can explain, in mundane biomechanical terms, much of what we call 'life,' so much you could spend the rest of your life studying it. On the other hand, ask yourself, can creationism explain the rise of new 'superbugs' in the age of antibiotics?

Or take predictive success: did you know that Darwin actually postulated there must be something with the characteristics belonging to DNA for evolution to be possible? Was it an accident that it just so happens that life turns on DNA (the mechanism that evolution predicts)? Is it just a coincidence that genetics and evolution display a remarkable compatibility? Or how about evolution and geology?

Another virtue is fecundity, or a theory's ability to generate new theories, techniques, technologies, and so on: Did you know that the cornerstone of evolution, natural selection, has become the cornerstone of an entirely new way of computer programming. By creating artifical environments, then using competition and reproduction, designers are now 'evolving' new programs (in some cases, more efficient than anything humans have been able to design), and even inventing new circuits.

Or how about theoretical parsimony: evolution is able to do all of this simply by proposing a new mechanism for stuff we already know exists - it doesn't need to assume anything mysterious or spooky to do the work it does. As revolutionary as it sounds, it's in fact very mundane: it needs only the biology that we already know, that makes the doctor rather than the priest the person we most want to see when we're afraid of dying.

The list of virtues goes on and on, AJ, and in not one instance does creation even come close to evolution when it comes to them. In scientific terms, it's a horrible theory. This is a simple fact, not a philosophical argument. And if the opposite were the case, then creation and not evolution would be a foundation of biology: once again, science is largely self-correcting.

This is not to say evolution is the 'absolute truth' (whatever that is), only that it's one of the more powerful scientific theories (which is why it's a foundation of the biological sciences), and far, far and away, the best explanatory framework we've found.

Lots of social institutions making lots of claims all the time, so the question is, Who do you believe? When it comes to generating truth-claims that are reliable, efficacious, parsimonious, comprehensive, fecund, etc., no institution in the history of the human race has even come close to matching the track record of science. And that is a mundane fact. All truth-claims are not equal - the computer you're reading this on, the fabrics in your clothes, your health, your material comfort, all shout this very same thing. view post


Is the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? posted 09 September 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionIs the idea of a &quot;god&quot; inherent in our minds? by Aldarion, Sorcerer-of-Rank

And yet, despite (or perhaps in direct relationship to) all this, it seems as though "modern" societies are undergoing a crisis of meaning, trying to find something tangible or intangible even that they can rescue from this oft-bewildering flood of new developments. Sometimes, they choose to blind themselves to what's developing (literal Creationists tend to fall into this group, at least in my opinion), while others might try to integrate as much as possible to create a synthesis of the older beliefs and the newer theories of how existence came to be.

Needless to say, this perceived crisis of meaning should keep whole teams of philosophers busy in the coming years, yes? <!-- s;) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=";)" title="Wink" /><!-- s;) --> view post


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