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BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God

Jack the Sailor 09 Aug 11 - 11:11 AM
Musket 09 Aug 11 - 11:24 AM
Amos 09 Aug 11 - 11:30 AM
GUEST,Lighter 09 Aug 11 - 11:35 AM
Jack the Sailor 09 Aug 11 - 11:41 AM
Amos 09 Aug 11 - 11:42 AM
Jack the Sailor 09 Aug 11 - 11:43 AM
frogprince 09 Aug 11 - 11:54 AM
Jack the Sailor 09 Aug 11 - 11:59 AM
Jack the Sailor 09 Aug 11 - 12:00 PM
Jack the Sailor 09 Aug 11 - 12:02 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 09 Aug 11 - 12:03 PM
Jack the Sailor 09 Aug 11 - 12:30 PM
Jim Dixon 09 Aug 11 - 02:41 PM
gnu 09 Aug 11 - 02:55 PM
Jack the Sailor 09 Aug 11 - 03:36 PM
Jack the Sailor 09 Aug 11 - 03:48 PM
josepp 09 Aug 11 - 04:32 PM
Little Hawk 09 Aug 11 - 04:33 PM
Amos 09 Aug 11 - 04:42 PM
GUEST,Lighter 09 Aug 11 - 04:43 PM
Jack the Sailor 09 Aug 11 - 04:43 PM
Jack the Sailor 09 Aug 11 - 04:45 PM
olddude 09 Aug 11 - 05:09 PM
Alice 09 Aug 11 - 06:09 PM
GUEST,Lighter 09 Aug 11 - 06:22 PM
Stringsinger 10 Aug 11 - 10:47 AM
GUEST,Lighter 10 Aug 11 - 10:55 AM
Alice 10 Aug 11 - 11:02 AM
Jack the Sailor 10 Aug 11 - 11:04 AM
Jack the Sailor 10 Aug 11 - 11:08 AM
Bobert 10 Aug 11 - 11:11 AM
Jack the Sailor 10 Aug 11 - 11:14 AM
josepp 10 Aug 11 - 12:01 PM
Jack the Sailor 10 Aug 11 - 12:10 PM
josepp 10 Aug 11 - 12:19 PM
Jack the Sailor 10 Aug 11 - 12:21 PM
Bill D 10 Aug 11 - 12:24 PM
Little Hawk 10 Aug 11 - 12:27 PM
Jim Dixon 10 Aug 11 - 12:34 PM
Amos 10 Aug 11 - 12:37 PM
Little Hawk 10 Aug 11 - 12:48 PM
Little Hawk 10 Aug 11 - 12:58 PM
Little Hawk 10 Aug 11 - 01:01 PM
Jack the Sailor 10 Aug 11 - 01:45 PM
Jim Dixon 10 Aug 11 - 01:45 PM
Jack the Sailor 10 Aug 11 - 01:46 PM
Jack the Sailor 10 Aug 11 - 01:49 PM
Jack the Sailor 10 Aug 11 - 01:51 PM
Amos 10 Aug 11 - 01:59 PM
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Subject: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 09 Aug 11 - 11:11 AM

NPR interactive special on God and the Brain.

What ever it is, religion is more than a scam. Are we hard wired for religious experience? Do most people "need" religion? What a bout quasi religion like Yoga, Astrology, Tea Party politics? (I am semi-serious about the latter and yes, there are similar faith based affiliations on the "left")

In my humble opinion. I don't think that Dawkin's idea to ban religion is destined to work. Whether God exists or not, we need to study the biological mechanisms and know a lot more to make misguided religion a less destructive force in out politics and global economy.

I know many of you have thought on this and have your own ideas. Please share them. Try to be nice.


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: Musket
Date: 09 Aug 11 - 11:24 AM

I agree that banning religion won't work. if it didn't exist, it would soon be invented..

Religion seems to be one of two things.

A personal creed, using your faith to give yourself a moral compass with which to give your life fulfilment.

Or

A tool for oppressing others for your own benefit.

Me, I prefer to consider myself irreligious. Not atheist, because that can be a belief system in itself by proclaiming everybody has got it wrong. No, I just don't want to be a member of the club. any club.

Oh, I am hard wired for religion I suppose. I have been a supporter and season ticket holder at Sheffield Wednesday since I was seven years old. No matter how bad they play, no matter how humiliating the relegation, no matter how pathetic some of the boardroom tussles have been over the years... They are the best team in the world, no team can hold a candle to them and no, I am not interested in your statistics that may show Man Utd have more silverware, that's blasphemy at my church, (Hillsborough S6.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: Amos
Date: 09 Aug 11 - 11:30 AM

IT's more than a scam because, when all the persiflage and chatter is subtracted, there is always the small still link to our spiritual side, buried but undead. And following up on that leads to contemplating the things and actions we think of as Goddish.

It becomes a scam rapidly because that order of direct perception is not something most folks can sustain, and they relax back into the clutter of entropy-driven struggles and mechanics, pictures, alterations, arbitrary construc6ts, semantic bubble-wrap and emotional vulcanism which is the human condition. The result is a "religion" in the organizational sense of the word.

The two things are dissimilar--like the difference between a crisp morning sea-breeze along the 100-fathom line, and a dissertation on semantic nuances deriving from cultural influences on Coleridge as manifested in stylistic choices in the Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

VIVA la difference!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 09 Aug 11 - 11:35 AM

Just as a general point: nobody is "hard-wired" for anything.

Everyone has genetic predispositions and potentialities. But unless they're stimulated by the environment, they may or may not kick in.

The relevance to this discussion is that some people claim that "because" religion is "hard-wired" (based on the observation that parts of the brain light up when stimulated by religious states of mind), Someone did the "hard-wiring" to make people notice that Someone.

And there is a second fallacy at work. If Someone did "hard-wire" the brain for religion, everybody would be religious. They'd have no choice and, like eating and breathing, they wouldn't question it (though they might still be able to choose what religion they preferred).


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 09 Aug 11 - 11:41 AM

From my own experience, I have found that the associations, unrelated to the influencing events can have undue influence. The first big concert I went to was Muddy Waters and his band. It was fantastic. That was also my first time smoking something.

I ended up smoking significant quantities of something, trying to get that feeling back.

I wonder about a kid who goes to a mega church, enjoys the music and the fellowship and all, then is shown fighter jets, the flag, the national anthem and told that Democrats are evil. No amount of education or information is likely to undo that kind of conditioning.


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: Amos
Date: 09 Aug 11 - 11:42 AM

I am pretty sure that there is such a thing as hard-wiring--meaning an inherent biochemical predisposition to certain sensory, emotional and even cognitive loops. Such loops are not our finest and best reflections, though, and often detract sadly and sometimes tragically from our capabilities.


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 09 Aug 11 - 11:43 AM

I think that almost everyone is "religious" about something. Your mileage may vary.


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: frogprince
Date: 09 Aug 11 - 11:54 AM

I'm very skeptical about man being biologically "hard wired" for religion, but really have no more case against the concept than my feeling that it's something of a stretch.

Certainly there is no end of examples of people who wouldn't touch traditional religion with a ten foot pole, but at the same time hold other beliefs with fervor indistinguishable from that of the deeply religious.

I've seen one example that strikes me as particularly odd, and a bit inane, among nudists. For the most part, I've found most of them to be folks who just find it pleasant to relax in the open air, or water, sans clothing. But there are a minority who are highly doctrinare; it's typical for them to lambast a "clothing optional" approach, insisting on consistent total nudity, much the same as fundamentalists won't acknowledge liberal believers as true Christians.


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 09 Aug 11 - 11:59 AM

Fair enough frogprince. If you get some time, have a gander at the link I provided in the first post. It probably will raise a lot more question than it answers. But nevertheless, I find it very interesting.


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 09 Aug 11 - 12:00 PM

"During epileptic seizures, sufferers often claim to hear the voice of angels or of God. Some epileptologists believe that many of the great religious figures, such as Moses and St. Paul, had epilepsy. Now neurologists believe they've found the sweet spot for spiritual experience -- in the temporal lobe. Some scientists say the temporal lobe, which is associated with emotion and memory, is the seat of spirituality. It's also where epileptic activity takes place."


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 09 Aug 11 - 12:02 PM

I think that the explanation for Moses especially goes way beyond mere epilepsy. It's one thing to have visions. It is another to convince others, thousands of followers and Pharaoh for example, that they are real.


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 09 Aug 11 - 12:03 PM

Is it a case of biological hardwiring, though? It could simply be the fulfillment of a deep-rooted psychological need to feel that there's something more out there than This. That after all an individual has created and learned and battled to achieve in a lifetime we don't just face permanent extinction when our threescore and ten is up. That somewhere somehow someway all the injustices and horrors and wrongs and cruelties will in the end be put right. That we'll see our lost loved ones again. These are all part of the human condition and there is a need to make sense of them. The alternative is a random universe and terminal loss.

I would not ban religion either, though I hate some of the things that are done in its name. But I've also seen people draw huge power and support from it, becoming more than the sum of their parts because of their beliefs, and giving strength to their communities. This often happens in a million small ways which are too undramatic to make the news, but it's part of the glue that holds society together. The ethics of right vs. wrong that the major religions teach are as vital to us as air and food. (For the record, I believe in the practical teachings of Christianity, and try my best to live by them, but struggle with the supernatural aspects.)

Anyone who thinks we don't need some external system of values and ideals to anchor us, just log onto YouTube and watch London burn. This isn't being done by poor kids who have nothing. Poor kids who have nothing don't steal 42-inch plasma screens, they steal food. Poor kids who have nothing don't communicate with each other via their Blackberrys and laptops. These people - for whatever reason - do not feel for those whose lives they have destroyed, or even seem to think they're doing anything wrong. That's why we need religions.


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 09 Aug 11 - 12:30 PM

Though not exactly on topic. I think this article belongs in the discussion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 09 Aug 11 - 02:41 PM

Does Richard Dawkins really want to ban religion? I would be very surprised if that were true. Do you have any supporting citation? (I assume you mean a more pervasive ban than just banning religion from schools or from other government-sponsored, tax-supported activities. That's already pretty much the law in the US, although there are places where the fundamentalists are still fighting to keep a toehold in.)

Even if you could prove that people have a biologically-based proclivity to believe in God, that wouldn't constitute evidence that God exists. Showing that people (or other animals) have an innate fear of snakes doesn't prove that all snakes are evil.


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: gnu
Date: 09 Aug 11 - 02:55 PM

Christmas snakes.

JtS... you wait'll Little Hawk gets here. >;-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 09 Aug 11 - 03:36 PM

Sorry, I was thinking about Hitchens. Who argues that religion is evil as compared to Atheism, IE that there is no path from Atheism to atrocity. While the path from religion to atrocity is clear.

Please pardon me for mixing the two.


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 09 Aug 11 - 03:48 PM

OK Gnu, I'll play along.


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: josepp
Date: 09 Aug 11 - 04:32 PM

I'm hardwired to be an atheist.


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: Little Hawk
Date: 09 Aug 11 - 04:33 PM

A lot to talk about here...but I don't have the time today. I also need to live a life!


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: Amos
Date: 09 Aug 11 - 04:42 PM

You'll have to do better than that, LH!! At least copy some of your earlier screeds and paste them here to instruct and improve our struggling minds for us!


A


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 09 Aug 11 - 04:43 PM

If *all* people had an *innate* aversion to snakes, that would certainly convince humanity that snakes were, if not necessarily "evil," at least always and innately bad.

But all people don't have such an aversion, and it's stronger in some than in others. If necessary, the aversion can be overcome.

Presumably, everyone who has a serious aversion to snakes was frightened by them as a small child - if not by an actual snake, then by scary parental warnings about poisonous snakes.

I think snakes are fine.

Just don't get bitten by a poisonous one. You could die.


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 09 Aug 11 - 04:43 PM

We are looking up to you for enlightenment!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 09 Aug 11 - 04:45 PM

sorry lighter, talking to lh.


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: olddude
Date: 09 Aug 11 - 05:09 PM

Brain on God works a whole lot better for me anyway


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: Alice
Date: 09 Aug 11 - 06:09 PM

RE: epilepsy and religious experience.

The cult leader, Elizabeth Clare Prophet, who had a new age dooms-day sect and claimed to speak for god and being higher than Jesus, had life-long epilepsy with untreated seizures. All the notions she came up with in her delusions were marketed across the world, convincing thousands of people to leave their families and join her group in the USA. People abandoned their jobs, children, countries, education, everything, to follow her, working as unpaid slaves (chelas) living in overcrowded trailers, sleeping on the floor, handing over all their assets to her "new religion".

Yes, if the person is charismatic enough, narcissistic enough, their own hallucinations and delusions can be used to inspire many other vulnerable people who gravitate to what the ideas that are being sold to them.

In the case of Elizabeth Clare Prophet and her Summit Lighthouse A.K.A. Church Universal and Triumphant, Alzheimer's disease eventually killed her, but even now, she still has followers and the cult continues on, because some people just cannot let go of the indoctrination that they believe. Her cult is smaller, but still continuing at its headquarters just north of Yellowstone Park, and still selling itself across the world and drawing new people in.


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 09 Aug 11 - 06:22 PM

Yeah, somebody had to think up the Aztec blood-religion too.

The continual wars and human sacrifices to keep the sun shining took place over period of about a hundred years, starting suddenly around 1430. Whoever started it (one of the royal counsellors is frequently mentioned) had the power of the throne behind him - one more inducement to believe, if any were needed.


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: Stringsinger
Date: 10 Aug 11 - 10:47 AM

Most people who talk about Dawkins have never read him. I suggest that they so so.

As a species, we are susceptible to superstition, imaginary and unreal views of the world,
becoming turgid in our thinking processes, and delusions. Mental institutions are filled with people espousing religion and god.

Yes, religion is more than a scam, it's a delusion.

Look at the foundations of most wars, this is your brain on god.


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 10 Aug 11 - 10:55 AM

>Look at the foundations of most wars, this is your brain on god.

You mean atheists wouldn't have wars?


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: Alice
Date: 10 Aug 11 - 11:02 AM

Stringsinger said "most wars", not all wars.


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 10 Aug 11 - 11:04 AM

Yeah, of course not. Stalin and Mao had no wars. Quiet, non violent self-described atheists.


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 10 Aug 11 - 11:08 AM

Most people in history have had religion. It stands to reason that most wars would have involved it.

But the only officially atheist governments in history have bloody hands. No offense stringsinger, but your argument does not hold water.


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: Bobert
Date: 10 Aug 11 - 11:11 AM

Well, me and God got a nice little thing going and that's how I know that the Tea Party and Christian Right are Godless... God don't think they way these people think... God is about love and sharing and good and those folks are about hate, greed and evil... And thems is God's words coming thru me...

BTW, God also told me that George W. Bush was no more Christian than the Pope is a Baptist...

B~


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 10 Aug 11 - 11:14 AM

I think the Tea Party believes in GOD, the Sodom smashing God, THe flood sending God, not the Jesus sending God.


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: josepp
Date: 10 Aug 11 - 12:01 PM

////Yeah, of course not. Stalin and Mao had no wars. Quiet, non violent self-described atheists.////

No they were not. Neither had an atheistic state. They simply replaced the concept of god with the state (i.e. themselves). They were just another cult of personality--a.k.a. religion.

Whether or not there's ever been an atheist state and whether or not it ever started a war is immaterial. Your examples do not hold water but that's not so very surprising, is it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 10 Aug 11 - 12:10 PM

They were just another cult of personality--a.k.a. religion.

So Brittany Spears is a religion?

They said that they were atheist. They told their people not to believe in God. They told their people to work for each other and the good of the state. It's pretty tortured logic to call that religion. Even though Hitchen's does.


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: josepp
Date: 10 Aug 11 - 12:19 PM

////So Brittany Spears is a religion?////

If she had the apparatus of the state to make an example of anyone who said anything bad about her--yeah, she would be.

/////They said that they were atheist. They told their people not to believe in God.////

Why not? Then you don't have to share power with some damned church. They probably studied the European model for what not to do. Then make themselves god and cut out the middle man.

///They told their people to work for each other and the good of the state.////

Bingo. They ARE the state.

////It's pretty tortured logic to call that religion. Even though Hitchen's does.////

It's tortured not to.


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 10 Aug 11 - 12:21 PM

OK you win.... Black is white. Up is down. In is out. Religion = State. The English language is just meaningless sounds.


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: Bill D
Date: 10 Aug 11 - 12:24 PM

I have posted here thousands of words on god, religion in general and the science & culture that supports or denies various concepts and ideas. MY brain is full of interwoven strings of analysis, exploration, explanation and conceptual variables on the issue... You got a few weeks for me to lay it all out?

No?...Well, then...a short introduction.

There IS, as Jack's links show, more & more evidence that various physical-chemical 'wirings' of the brain can well affect a person's tendencies toward certain belief systems...or towards a basic skepicism towards all 'belief systems' in general. Maybe that's why *I*, having been brought up as a Methodist, gradually gravitated to skepticism.....but *IF* I am sorta hard-wired to NOT believe, maybe others are sorta wired TO believe.

My basic point is: Because there are no absolutely solid, hard facts supporting ANY position, the only sane position is to BE an open-minded doubter/skeptic. There is a reason why we say someone believes in a god...or gods. Belief means 'not proven'. We don't have to 'believe' in turkeys, Turkey, turnips or Turner (the painter). Even capitalizing a word and saying that one 'believes' OR 'disbelieves' in *God* is an implicit assertion that there IS such a thing, and one is only stating their personal acceptance of some particular view of Him/Her/It. Just look at the thousands of conflicting views of what a 'god' is all about and what one should DO with the concept!

I don't understand why, in this day & age, it is not clearer to more people how religion naturally developed in out remote ancestors...and why the enormous variety of religions and 'god concepts' might just indicate that it IS only a cultural adaptation to various brain functions...some of which MAY well be semi-hard wired.

   Now.... because various religious concepts do have such profound consequences when acted on -(both good and bad)- there is no way to 'ban' folks from thinking that way. The only thing that can clarify the situation is to promote and teach (and that means TEACH...early and carefully) reason, logic and 'thinking' in general. It does NOT mean to teach/argue for or against gods or religion....just give people the ability to see beneath their own impulses and to seriously examine the very basis of what **evidence** means when trying to decide what to believe or accept or deny.

(I don't want much, do I? )

We know that the concept of 'god' is more or less present in various societies, and may well be partially controlled by physiochemical brain functions.... which may mean that my idea of 'teaching' is gonna be harder in some people & societies. What can you do when 2 seemingly intelligent people can look at exactly the same facts, evidence, arguments and history ...and come to diametrically opposed positions? What you can do is show them that that very situation shows something about the danger OF 'belief' and perhaps allow them to examine more closely their own prior assumptions about what is and is not relevant.


(I couldn't help typing all that...my brain was hard-wired to do it..........maybe.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Aug 11 - 12:27 PM

Every state IS a state religion...about itself. (regardless of whether or not it is a state religion devoted to God or to some holy book or tradition).

On the one hand, josepp's statement that Stalin and Mao replaced the concept of God with themselves (and their political system) is quite correct. On the other hand, josepp's statement does not fairly address what Jack said about officially atheistic (meaning anti-God) governments committing atrocities just as heinous as theocracies do.

You appear to be arguing both sides of the issue, josepp, and using mutually exclusive examples to somehow prove that Jack is "wrong".

And yet you both agree that Stalin and Mao:

1. committed atrocities, and...
2. were opposed to traditional religions, therefore were officially "atheistic" (being against the idea of a "theos", meaning against the idea of a non-human spirit-based God of some kind).

Why not stop trying to just prove that the other guy is "wrong", josepp, and focus on that which you two obviously agree on instead????

Or would that just be too agreeable? Would it not provide you the satisfaction of being "right" and making Jack "wrong"?

It's a very interesting point Jack made way back in this thread that all people are religious about something! Yes, they are. Only question is, what is it that they are religious about?

Going by my own observations I'd say that the majority of people in this society are religious about...in descending order of importance...

1. themselves! (their ego, I mean) They ARE the God of their little cosmos...and they defend that God in their every utterance.
2. money! They'll do virtually anything for enough of it.
3. material possessions
4. good looks and youthfullness
5. fame
6. popularity
7. the many social customs they take for granted
8. the many laws they take for granted
9. the political parties they take for granted
10. their government and nation and flag
11. and finally...limping along at the dusty end of a very long procession of dominating ideas in their mind....their religious beliefs about "God...OR...their fervent anti-religious beliefs to the effect that there bloody well IS no God!!!! (despite or perhaps because of the fact that they worship their own ego on a daily basis)

And there you have it. Those are the major religions ruling present day society. The number one is self-worship. The number 2 is worship of the dollar. You can probably come up with a few more that I missed, but those were the ones I was able to come up with on short notice.

Most of them are just as foolish and exaggerated as the worst forms of traditional, fundamentalist religion, but people think it's okay, because they're used to worshipping all that stuff they bow down to, and they would never question it.

And their standard routine is to attack anyone who doesn't share their particular set of mental idols....


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 10 Aug 11 - 12:34 PM

//Even capitalizing a word and saying that one 'believes' OR 'disbelieves' in *God* is an implicit assertion that there IS such a thing//

Well, I don't believe in Hobbits. Do you consider that an implicit assertion that there is such a thing?

Maybe I'm hard-wired to be a skeptic. I am even skeptical of arguments and evidence that lead to conclusions that I basically agree with.

But by "hard-wired" I don't mean I was born that way. Skepticism is a useful skill developed by lots of practice.


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: Amos
Date: 10 Aug 11 - 12:37 PM

I would have thought that by now the insatiable theology-addicts in this community would have learned that you enter a squirrel-cage without end when you start an argument using one word to mean multiple, very different, things, and fail to define your terms.


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Aug 11 - 12:48 PM

I forgot a few other things that a vast number of people are religious about in today's society...

- technology
- science
- mainstream medicine
- legal drugs
- illegal drugs
- various forms of psychotherapy and related approaches to dealing with mental health issues

If they give anything their unquestioning obedience and faith....without having actual knowledge of it, withouth having actual experience of it or without having direct and clear evidence of it...then they are being religious about it. They're adopting a form of dogma that was passed on to them by someone else.

If they give it unwarranted influence in their lives, and in an unthinking and dogmatically unrealistic manner...then they are being religious about it.

If they credit it with infallibility or with powers considerably beyond what it really has...then they are being religious about it.

I've observed people worshipping all of the above things. It's very common behaviour. They don't question, they simply swallow whatever is doled out to them as long as it comes from a peer group they are in with or an official authority hierarchy that they have decided to trust.

*****

The road to personal freedom is first to question EVERYTHING. Don't believe it just because someone told you to. Re-examine it. Test it out in the field of actual experience. Find out firsthand. See if it works for you. See if it feels right for you. Don't take anyone's word for it, don't take any book's word for it, don't take any government's or church's or club's or party's word for it, don't take any guru's word for it, don't take your parents' or teachers' word for it....find out for yourself.

Your parents may be right. Your teacher may be right. Your church or your government may be right. (about something) But you'll never find out for sure unless you find out for yourself by your own actual experience.


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Aug 11 - 12:58 PM

Jim, everyone knows perfectly well that the Hobbits were created as fictional creatures in a book that was clearly written by its author AS fiction from the start and was never intended as anything but fiction and allegory.

Therefore it's not a suitable example to illustrate your point.

Skepticism is indeed a useful skill. That's why I bring a certain amount of it to what ANY authority system or peer group tells me...not just the traditional religious authority systems.

The shortcoming of the average so-called "skeptic" is that he is only vigorously skeptical about things in certain mental boxes that he has already labelled in his mind as "unreal"...such as the "religious" box or the "UFOs and aliens" box...or the "spirits and ghosts" box or the "existence of a soul" box, etc. He has an antipathy toward those certain subjects, and he directs his skepticism just at those subjects while he fails to be equally rigorous in his skeptical approach to a whole host of far more conventional mental boxes that he takes for granted, such as the box of conventional science, conventional medicine, conventional politics, conventional social customs, etc.

His skepticism is not parcelled out in a fair and equal fashion acorss the board. Prior prejudice directs it only into certain specific areas of life and spares the rest.


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Aug 11 - 01:01 PM

Yeah, it's an endless rabbit-hole, Amos.


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 10 Aug 11 - 01:45 PM

I don't find calling any thing that has something in common with religion a religion very useful. Though Lord of the Rings fandom has a lot in common with some aspects of religion, it is not a religion in any normally defined or practical sense. Likewise communism.

People could read and follow the dictates of Mao's little red book without believing him to be a God. I think that most did.


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 10 Aug 11 - 01:45 PM

//Therefore it's not a suitable example to illustrate your point.//

If it's not a suitable example, then how do you know what my point was? If you don't know what my point was, how can you tell whether it was a suitable example?

By the way, what WAS my point anyway?


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 10 Aug 11 - 01:46 PM

I know about the Rabbit Hole. But I enjoy talking to many of you about it. Not being a beagle, I simply need to spend a little less time chasing the rabbits.


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 10 Aug 11 - 01:49 PM

I thought your point was about capitalization, and taken on its own it made perfect sense. But Bill was making a distinction between god and *God*, which seemed to be a different point than distinguishing between hobbit and Hobbit.


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 10 Aug 11 - 01:51 PM

I would ask you all to please stick to the current, generally accepted, definition of religion.


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Subject: RE: BS: Your Brain, Your Brain on God
From: Amos
Date: 10 Aug 11 - 01:59 PM

Goddiness means so many things to so many that the discussion always reverts to the scenario described in the tale of the blind men and the elephant.

Goddiness is a verb.

Goddiness is an anthropomorphic figurehead generating moral strictures.

Goddiness is an endless pool of mystic beingness without form, shape or location in spacetime.

Goddiness is the principle that forms female psyches here on Earth.

Etc., etc.

Goddiness is tantamount to giddyness.


A


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