Total Posts:25|Showing Posts:1-25
Jump to topic:

Belief in the afterlife was a necessity

Dwint
Posts: 47
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/10/2014 12:40:43 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Belief in the afterlife and later in gods was an evolutionary necessity and it is partly the reason why humans prospered.
Every human believed in god at some point in his life. I always wondered why did belief in god appeared in the first place. We believe in gods because we are taught to, but why did the first religious person believe in god?
So, I took a course in evolutionary psychology recently and I tried to use it to find the reason for our beliefs and I though I would share it here.

Before believing in gods, humans believed in the afterlife. The continuation of existence after death is the dream of any living organism. Fear of death is natural and present in every species and the only way to reduce that fear is believing death isn't the end. Someone who thinks he will exist forever has an easier time accepting death. So, what are the advantages of believing in the afterlife from and evolutionary perspective?
Fear can help us stay alive, but it can also limit our possibilities to progress. Now, when humans started believing in the afterlife, their fear was significantly reduced, allowing them to push the boundaries and achieve so much more.
You know the usual pictures with cavemen hunting mammoths. I think belief in the afterlife encouraged humans to hunt, rather than just gather food. A mammoths must have been very scary for early humans and fear of death probably made them stay away from them. It just seems like belief in the afterlife would open more possibilities to humans.
We are the only mammals that are not afraid of fire and even create it on our own. Why could early humans be comfortable around fire, while all other animals were afraid of it?
Even today, we are comfortable putting our life at risk. Extreme sports, alcohol and drug use and many other activities put our lives at risk, but we aren't too afraid of them.

We are (most likely) the only animals who believe in the afterlife and also the only ones who knowingly put our lives at risk.

Risking your life had many advantages. Fear can save your life, but some fears are irrational and back then taking some chances, like hunting a mammoth or using fire could also save your life. Fire is considered to be the reason why humans survived and became so widespread.

Natural selection also helps this theory, because the benefits of risking your life meant you could reproduce more. Even if these risky actions killed you, their benefits helped you reproduce more before dying.

So, maybe belief in the afterlife was crucial in human development and is the reason why we are so different from all the other animals.

I would like to hear your opinion on this topic. I hope posting this is not a problem, I just though it would be an interesting topic to discuss and I also wanted to share my little "theory"
Hitchens is the way!
philochristos
Posts: 2,614
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/10/2014 12:49:12 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/10/2014 12:40:43 PM, Dwint wrote:

We are (most likely) the only animals who believe in the afterlife and also the only ones who knowingly put our lives at risk.

These goats disprove your whole theory.

https://www.youtube.com...
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
philochristos
Posts: 2,614
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/10/2014 12:50:07 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Lemme try that again.

At 4/10/2014 12:40:43 PM, Dwint wrote:

We are (most likely) the only animals who believe in the afterlife and also the only ones who knowingly put our lives at risk.

These goats disprove your whole theory:
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
philochristos
Posts: 2,614
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/10/2014 12:58:54 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I'm just kidding.

Assuming there actually is no God, it makes sense to come up with an alternative reason for how belief in God emerged. I don't think risk has a lot to do with it, but I do think fear and dread of death as well as missing people who have died could be used as an explanation for belief in an afterlife.

But belief in a god could have emerged a number of different ways. I think the most obvious way would be to have an explanation for the apparent arbitrariness of nature. Plus, people are often too quick to notice patterns, which is what leads to superstition. If you were wearing a particular shirt the day your favourite team won a game, then you associate the wearing of the shirt with the winning of the game and figure the shirt is good luck.

In the same way, if you were dancing the day it rained, you might think dancing caused it to rain, or perhaps your dancing pleased the person who made it rain, so in the future, dancing will please the person who made it rain.

Who knows. It's all very speculative.

Maybe by some random mutation in our genes that affect brain development, some people inherited an innate sense of there being a bigger person behind it all--nature and everything--so something like belief in God emerged. And maybe that belief united people in a way that they had not been united before. So groups of people who shared this belief thrived more than people who didn't, and eventually, everybody had this innate sense of there being a "big other" of some sort.

I remember in one of C.S. Lewis' books, he talked about something like this. He called it the Neumena. I think Alvin Plantinga played on this idea, too, in his book, God and Other Minds, where he compared belief in God to belief in other minds, God being the completely other mind.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
philochristos
Posts: 2,614
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/10/2014 1:03:36 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
My bad. Lewis called it the "Numinous," not the "Neumena." He compared it to a tiger or a ghost being in the other room.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
annanicole
Posts: 19,785
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/10/2014 2:21:45 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
"Fear of death is natural and present in every species and the only way to reduce that fear is believing death isn't the end."

Not true at all. Even among animals that exhibit fear, fear of death is unknown.
Madcornishbiker: "No, I don't need a dictionary, I know how scripture uses words and that is all I need to now."
Fruitytree
Posts: 2,176
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/10/2014 5:38:52 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Religion doesn't solve fear of death (if any)!! it makes it worse.

If no religion : nothing after death, feel safe!

But we know death is not the end somehow, because we know we aren't just bodies, we're also spirits, and if body dies , spirit doesn't necessarily die with it.

And you speak about evolution like it's a sentient being!!!
s-anthony
Posts: 2,582
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/10/2014 10:17:36 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/10/2014 2:21:45 PM, annanicole wrote:
"Fear of death is natural and present in every species and the only way to reduce that fear is believing death isn't the end."

Not true at all. Even among animals that exhibit fear, fear of death is unknown.

Sorry, but this must be one of the most ludicrous statements I've ever heard.

If animals were not afraid of death, then, why do they flee predators?
Idealist
Posts: 2,520
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/11/2014 2:30:34 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/10/2014 12:40:43 PM, Dwint wrote:
Belief in the afterlife and later in gods was an evolutionary necessity and it is partly the reason why humans prospered.
Every human believed in god at some point in his life. I always wondered why did belief in god appeared in the first place. We believe in gods because we are taught to, but why did the first religious person believe in god?
So, I took a course in evolutionary psychology recently and I tried to use it to find the reason for our beliefs and I though I would share it here.

Before believing in gods, humans believed in the afterlife. The continuation of existence after death is the dream of any living organism. Fear of death is natural and present in every species and the only way to reduce that fear is believing death isn't the end. Someone who thinks he will exist forever has an easier time accepting death. So, what are the advantages of believing in the afterlife from and evolutionary perspective?
Fear can help us stay alive, but it can also limit our possibilities to progress. Now, when humans started believing in the afterlife, their fear was significantly reduced, allowing them to push the boundaries and achieve so much more.
You know the usual pictures with cavemen hunting mammoths. I think belief in the afterlife encouraged humans to hunt, rather than just gather food. A mammoths must have been very scary for early humans and fear of death probably made them stay away from them. It just seems like belief in the afterlife would open more possibilities to humans.
We are the only mammals that are not afraid of fire and even create it on our own. Why could early humans be comfortable around fire, while all other animals were afraid of it?
Even today, we are comfortable putting our life at risk. Extreme sports, alcohol and drug use and many other activities put our lives at risk, but we aren't too afraid of them.

We are (most likely) the only animals who believe in the afterlife and also the only ones who knowingly put our lives at risk.

Risking your life had many advantages. Fear can save your life, but some fears are irrational and back then taking some chances, like hunting a mammoth or using fire could also save your life. Fire is considered to be the reason why humans survived and became so widespread.

Natural selection also helps this theory, because the benefits of risking your life meant you could reproduce more. Even if these risky actions killed you, their benefits helped you reproduce more before dying.

So, maybe belief in the afterlife was crucial in human development and is the reason why we are so different from all the other animals.

I would like to hear your opinion on this topic. I hope posting this is not a problem, I just though it would be an interesting topic to discuss and I also wanted to share my little "theory"

You've made some very broad claims and interpretations here. The earliest Egyptians only believed that their Pharaohs lived after death. Then they began to believe that his close family members might live. Gradually this was extended to persons of notable fame or power in a kind of 'trickle-down' effect as the Egyptians gained wealth and power. It took quite some time for them to accept the notion that everyone might have an afterlife. The same was true of other cultures in various areas of the world. I can't see why you would say it was a "necessary" belief, except that it gave the rulers another way to claim that they were special. There are many atheists today who are terrified of death and who are looking to science to provide them with lengthened or eternal life through bio-improvements and through finding ways to save their "minds" on hard-drives which will supposedly be eventually implanted into artificial bodies. Freud claimed that human minds were incapable of conceptualizing their own end, and this required people to believe in certain things in order to make that lack of ability fit into a known paradigm. It's hardly the definitive science you seem to be making it out to be.
Iredia
Posts: 1,608
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/11/2014 2:52:23 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/10/2014 10:17:36 PM, s-anthony wrote:
At 4/10/2014 2:21:45 PM, annanicole wrote:
"Fear of death is natural and present in every species and the only way to reduce that fear is believing death isn't the end."

Not true at all. Even among animals that exhibit fear, fear of death is unknown.

Sorry, but this must be one of the most ludicrous statements I've ever heard.

If animals were not afraid of death, then, why do they flee predators?

They are afraid of danger. More importantly, your point is moot because no one expects an animal to ponder over death the way man does.
Porn babes be distracting me. Dudes be stealing me stuff. I'm all about the cash from now. I'm not playing Jesus anymore.
Dwint
Posts: 47
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/11/2014 3:39:40 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/11/2014 2:30:34 AM, Idealist wrote:
At 4/10/2014 12:40:43 PM, Dwint wrote:
Belief in the afterlife and later in gods was an evolutionary necessity and it is partly the reason why humans prospered.
Every human believed in god at some point in his life. I always wondered why did belief in god appeared in the first place. We believe in gods because we are taught to, but why did the first religious person believe in god?
So, I took a course in evolutionary psychology recently and I tried to use it to find the reason for our beliefs and I though I would share it here.

Before believing in gods, humans believed in the afterlife. The continuation of existence after death is the dream of any living organism. Fear of death is natural and present in every species and the only way to reduce that fear is believing death isn't the end. Someone who thinks he will exist forever has an easier time accepting death. So, what are the advantages of believing in the afterlife from and evolutionary perspective?
Fear can help us stay alive, but it can also limit our possibilities to progress. Now, when humans started believing in the afterlife, their fear was significantly reduced, allowing them to push the boundaries and achieve so much more.
You know the usual pictures with cavemen hunting mammoths. I think belief in the afterlife encouraged humans to hunt, rather than just gather food. A mammoths must have been very scary for early humans and fear of death probably made them stay away from them. It just seems like belief in the afterlife would open more possibilities to humans.
We are the only mammals that are not afraid of fire and even create it on our own. Why could early humans be comfortable around fire, while all other animals were afraid of it?
Even today, we are comfortable putting our life at risk. Extreme sports, alcohol and drug use and many other activities put our lives at risk, but we aren't too afraid of them.

We are (most likely) the only animals who believe in the afterlife and also the only ones who knowingly put our lives at risk.

Risking your life had many advantages. Fear can save your life, but some fears are irrational and back then taking some chances, like hunting a mammoth or using fire could also save your life. Fire is considered to be the reason why humans survived and became so widespread.

Natural selection also helps this theory, because the benefits of risking your life meant you could reproduce more. Even if these risky actions killed you, their benefits helped you reproduce more before dying.

So, maybe belief in the afterlife was crucial in human development and is the reason why we are so different from all the other animals.

I would like to hear your opinion on this topic. I hope posting this is not a problem, I just though it would be an interesting topic to discuss and I also wanted to share my little "theory"

You've made some very broad claims and interpretations here. The earliest Egyptians only believed that their Pharaohs lived after death. Then they began to believe that his close family members might live. Gradually this was extended to persons of notable fame or power in a kind of 'trickle-down' effect as the Egyptians gained wealth and power. It took quite some time for them to accept the notion that everyone might have an afterlife. The same was true of other cultures in various areas of the world. I can't see why you would say it was a "necessary" belief, except that it gave the rulers another way to claim that they were special. There are many atheists today who are terrified of death and who are looking to science to provide them with lengthened or eternal life through bio-improvements and through finding ways to save their "minds" on hard-drives which will supposedly be eventually implanted into artificial bodies. Freud claimed that human minds were incapable of conceptualizing their own end, and this required people to believe in certain things in order to make that lack of ability fit into a known paradigm. It's hardly the definitive science you seem to be making it out to be.

I wasn't talking about religions, I was talking about belief in the afterlife and later in gods. Before any religions appeared, humans believed in gods and attributed different phenomenons to them. This is why most early religions have gods associated with lightnings, storms, floods etc. Religions developed a lot later, but belief
in gods appeared long before any religions.
Hitchens is the way!
s-anthony
Posts: 2,582
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/11/2014 7:33:44 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/11/2014 2:52:23 AM, Iredia wrote:
At 4/10/2014 10:17:36 PM, s-anthony wrote:
At 4/10/2014 2:21:45 PM, annanicole wrote:
"Fear of death is natural and present in every species and the only way to reduce that fear is believing death isn't the end."

Not true at all. Even among animals that exhibit fear, fear of death is unknown.

Sorry, but this must be one of the most ludicrous statements I've ever heard.

If animals were not afraid of death, then, why do they flee predators?

They are afraid of danger. More importantly, your point is moot because no one expects an animal to ponder over death the way man does.

Please, tell me, how it is you know the amount of time an animal's thinking is consumed by death?

It would seem, since most animals in the wild have more natural predators, a lot fewer defenses, and spend more time fleeing these predators than human beings, they would have more occasions to not only think of death but come face to face with it.
Iredia
Posts: 1,608
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/11/2014 10:06:41 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/11/2014 7:33:44 AM, s-anthony wrote:
At 4/11/2014 2:52:23 AM, Iredia wrote:
At 4/10/2014 10:17:36 PM, s-anthony wrote:
At 4/10/2014 2:21:45 PM, annanicole wrote:
"Fear of death is natural and present in every species and the only way to reduce that fear is believing death isn't the end."

Not true at all. Even among animals that exhibit fear, fear of death is unknown.

Sorry, but this must be one of the most ludicrous statements I've ever heard.

If animals were not afraid of death, then, why do they flee predators?

They are afraid of danger. More importantly, your point is moot because no one expects an animal to ponder over death the way man does.

Please, tell me, how it is you know the amount of time an animal's thinking is consumed by death?

It would seem, since most animals in the wild have more natural predators, a lot fewer defenses, and spend more time fleeing these predators than human beings, they would have more occasions to not only think of death but come face to face with it.

The same can be said of jellyfish, bacteria, viruses, insects etc. Do they also think of death ?
Porn babes be distracting me. Dudes be stealing me stuff. I'm all about the cash from now. I'm not playing Jesus anymore.
s-anthony
Posts: 2,582
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/11/2014 10:33:06 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/11/2014 10:06:41 AM, Iredia wrote:
At 4/11/2014 7:33:44 AM, s-anthony wrote:
At 4/11/2014 2:52:23 AM, Iredia wrote:
At 4/10/2014 10:17:36 PM, s-anthony wrote:
At 4/10/2014 2:21:45 PM, annanicole wrote:
"Fear of death is natural and present in every species and the only way to reduce that fear is believing death isn't the end."

Not true at all. Even among animals that exhibit fear, fear of death is unknown.

Sorry, but this must be one of the most ludicrous statements I've ever heard.

If animals were not afraid of death, then, why do they flee predators?

They are afraid of danger. More importantly, your point is moot because no one expects an animal to ponder over death the way man does.

Please, tell me, how it is you know the amount of time an animal's thinking is consumed by death?

It would seem, since most animals in the wild have more natural predators, a lot fewer defenses, and spend more time fleeing these predators than human beings, they would have more occasions to not only think of death but come face to face with it.

The same can be said of jellyfish, bacteria, viruses, insects etc. Do they also think of death ?

Do they respond to it?
annanicole
Posts: 19,785
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/11/2014 10:54:01 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/10/2014 10:17:36 PM, s-anthony wrote:
At 4/10/2014 2:21:45 PM, annanicole wrote:
"Fear of death is natural and present in every species and the only way to reduce that fear is believing death isn't the end."

Not true at all. Even among animals that exhibit fear, fear of death is unknown.

Sorry, but this must be one of the most ludicrous statements I've ever heard.

If animals were not afraid of death, then, why do they flee predators?

I think you are confusing the fight-or-flight response, or a basic survival instinct, with fear of death. Animals have an innate instinct to survive, but I wouldn't confuse that with a fear of death. I'll word it a different way: an ultimate desire to live is not to be confused with a fear of death. The former is instinct. The latter is learned.
Madcornishbiker: "No, I don't need a dictionary, I know how scripture uses words and that is all I need to now."
Dwint
Posts: 47
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/11/2014 12:18:01 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/11/2014 10:54:01 AM, annanicole wrote:
At 4/10/2014 10:17:36 PM, s-anthony wrote:
At 4/10/2014 2:21:45 PM, annanicole wrote:
"Fear of death is natural and present in every species and the only way to reduce that fear is believing death isn't the end."

Not true at all. Even among animals that exhibit fear, fear of death is unknown.

Sorry, but this must be one of the most ludicrous statements I've ever heard.

If animals were not afraid of death, then, why do they flee predators?

I think you are confusing the fight-or-flight response, or a basic survival instinct, with fear of death. Animals have an innate instinct to survive, but I wouldn't confuse that with a fear of death. I'll word it a different way: an ultimate desire to live is not to be confused with a fear of death. The former is instinct. The latter is learned.

Humans may have a more poetic and philosophical desire to live, but all animals have some desire to live. The survival instinct appeared because animals wanted to live. Fear of death is what motivates animals to fight for survival. They might not perceive fear as we do, but the basic emotion is the same.
Hitchens is the way!
perplexed
Posts: 863
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/11/2014 12:20:16 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/10/2014 12:40:43 PM, Dwint wrote:
Belief in the afterlife and later in gods was an evolutionary necessity and it is partly the reason why humans prospered.
i wouldn't call it a necessity, it's an appeal for additional help.
sorry to be the bearer of bad news...it will rain on your parade, no sense in arguing with the weather...

Every human believed in god at some point in his life.
in their ignorance, sure....

I always wondered why did belief in god appeared in the first place. We believe in gods because we are taught to, but why did the first religious person believe in god?
to explain the unexplainable...had our ancestors had the amount of knowledge we do know, there wouldn't be an appeal for additional help.

So, I took a course in evolutionary psychology recently and I tried to use it to find the reason for our beliefs and I though I would share it here.

Before believing in gods, humans believed in the afterlife. The continuation of existence after death is the dream of any living organism. Fear of death is natural and present in every species and the only way to reduce that fear is believing death isn't the end. Someone who thinks he will exist forever has an easier time accepting death. So, what are the advantages of believing in the afterlife from and evolutionary perspective?
Fear can help us stay alive, but it can also limit our possibilities to progress. Now, when humans started believing in the afterlife, their fear was significantly reduced, allowing them to push the boundaries and achieve so much more.
You know the usual pictures with cavemen hunting mammoths. I think belief in the afterlife encouraged humans to hunt, rather than just gather food. A mammoths must have been very scary for early humans and fear of death probably made them stay away from them. It just seems like belief in the afterlife would open more possibilities to humans.
We are the only mammals that are not afraid of fire and even create it on our own. Why could early humans be comfortable around fire, while all other animals were afraid of it?
Even today, we are comfortable putting our life at risk. Extreme sports, alcohol and drug use and many other activities put our lives at risk, but we aren't too afraid of them.

We are (most likely) the only animals who believe in the afterlife and also the only ones who knowingly put our lives at risk.

Risking your life had many advantages. Fear can save your life, but some fears are irrational and back then taking some chances, like hunting a mammoth or using fire could also save your life. Fire is considered to be the reason why humans survived and became so widespread.

Natural selection also helps this theory, because the benefits of risking your life meant you could reproduce more. Even if these risky actions killed you, their benefits helped you reproduce more before dying.

So, maybe belief in the afterlife was crucial in human development and is the reason why we are so different from all the other animals.

I would like to hear your opinion on this topic. I hope posting this is not a problem, I just though it would be an interesting topic to discuss and I also wanted to share my little "theory"

good post....
: At 4/29/2014 3:14:36 AM, annanicole wrote:

:
: I'll be happy to concede the raping of virgin girls, if you can find it somewhere.
s-anthony
Posts: 2,582
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/11/2014 2:41:55 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/11/2014 10:54:01 AM, annanicole wrote:
At 4/10/2014 10:17:36 PM, s-anthony wrote:
At 4/10/2014 2:21:45 PM, annanicole wrote:
"Fear of death is natural and present in every species and the only way to reduce that fear is believing death isn't the end."

Not true at all. Even among animals that exhibit fear, fear of death is unknown.

Sorry, but this must be one of the most ludicrous statements I've ever heard.

If animals were not afraid of death, then, why do they flee predators?

I think you are confusing the fight-or-flight response, or a basic survival instinct, with fear of death. Animals have an innate instinct to survive, but I wouldn't confuse that with a fear of death. I'll word it a different way: an ultimate desire to live is not to be confused with a fear of death. The former is instinct. The latter is learned.

I'm not confusing anything, with anything. All animals have this fight-or-flight response ; it's called the sympathetic nervous system. If we didn't have it, we wouldn't experience fear of anything. Fear is not some magical notion that exists in our brains, apart from our physiology; it's a product of stress hormones' working on very real glands. We know this because we can regulate the body's reaction to anxiety using sympatholytic drugs.
Idealist
Posts: 2,520
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/11/2014 5:46:06 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/11/2014 3:39:40 AM, Dwint wrote:
At 4/11/2014 2:30:34 AM, Idealist wrote:
At 4/10/2014 12:40:43 PM, Dwint wrote:
Belief in the afterlife and later in gods was an evolutionary necessity and it is partly the reason why humans prospered.
Every human believed in god at some point in his life. I always wondered why did belief in god appeared in the first place. We believe in gods because we are taught to, but why did the first religious person believe in god?
So, I took a course in evolutionary psychology recently and I tried to use it to find the reason for our beliefs and I though I would share it here.

Before believing in gods, humans believed in the afterlife. The continuation of existence after death is the dream of any living organism. Fear of death is natural and present in every species and the only way to reduce that fear is believing death isn't the end. Someone who thinks he will exist forever has an easier time accepting death. So, what are the advantages of believing in the afterlife from and evolutionary perspective?
Fear can help us stay alive, but it can also limit our possibilities to progress. Now, when humans started believing in the afterlife, their fear was significantly reduced, allowing them to push the boundaries and achieve so much more.
You know the usual pictures with cavemen hunting mammoths. I think belief in the afterlife encouraged humans to hunt, rather than just gather food. A mammoths must have been very scary for early humans and fear of death probably made them stay away from them. It just seems like belief in the afterlife would open more possibilities to humans.
We are the only mammals that are not afraid of fire and even create it on our own. Why could early humans be comfortable around fire, while all other animals were afraid of it?
Even today, we are comfortable putting our life at risk. Extreme sports, alcohol and drug use and many other activities put our lives at risk, but we aren't too afraid of them.

We are (most likely) the only animals who believe in the afterlife and also the only ones who knowingly put our lives at risk.

Risking your life had many advantages. Fear can save your life, but some fears are irrational and back then taking some chances, like hunting a mammoth or using fire could also save your life. Fire is considered to be the reason why humans survived and became so widespread.

Natural selection also helps this theory, because the benefits of risking your life meant you could reproduce more. Even if these risky actions killed you, their benefits helped you reproduce more before dying.

So, maybe belief in the afterlife was crucial in human development and is the reason why we are so different from all the other animals.

I would like to hear your opinion on this topic. I hope posting this is not a problem, I just though it would be an interesting topic to discuss and I also wanted to share my little "theory"

You've made some very broad claims and interpretations here. The earliest Egyptians only believed that their Pharaohs lived after death. Then they began to believe that his close family members might live. Gradually this was extended to persons of notable fame or power in a kind of 'trickle-down' effect as the Egyptians gained wealth and power. It took quite some time for them to accept the notion that everyone might have an afterlife. The same was true of other cultures in various areas of the world. I can't see why you would say it was a "necessary" belief, except that it gave the rulers another way to claim that they were special. There are many atheists today who are terrified of death and who are looking to science to provide them with lengthened or eternal life through bio-improvements and through finding ways to save their "minds" on hard-drives which will supposedly be eventually implanted into artificial bodies. Freud claimed that human minds were incapable of conceptualizing their own end, and this required people to believe in certain things in order to make that lack of ability fit into a known paradigm. It's hardly the definitive science you seem to be making it out to be.

I wasn't talking about religions, I was talking about belief in the afterlife and later in gods. Before any religions appeared, humans believed in gods and attributed different phenomenons to them. This is why most early religions have gods associated with lightnings, storms, floods etc. Religions developed a lot later, but belief
in gods appeared long before any religions.

Yes, they did. The ancient Egyptians believed in gods, but as I said, they didn't initially believe in an afterlife except for their Pharaohs, who were themselves believed to be gods. In fact, even today pagans accuse that religions make too big a deal of death and an afterlife. Those people before religions arose were also referred to as pagans, and many of them did not believe in an afterlife despite the fact that they accepted the existence of numerous gods. In the Greek religion beliefs varied from no afterlife to a shadowy existence in an underworld. And of course there have always been atheists, so why is belief in an afterlife an evolutionary necessity? After all everyone evolved whether they believed in an afterlife or not. I just find it hard to accept the idea that any belief would be necessary for a supposedly mindless process such as evolution.
annanicole
Posts: 19,785
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/11/2014 8:10:36 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/11/2014 2:41:55 PM, s-anthony wrote:
At 4/11/2014 10:54:01 AM, annanicole wrote:
At 4/10/2014 10:17:36 PM, s-anthony wrote:
At 4/10/2014 2:21:45 PM, annanicole wrote:
"Fear of death is natural and present in every species and the only way to reduce that fear is believing death isn't the end."

Not true at all. Even among animals that exhibit fear, fear of death is unknown.

Sorry, but this must be one of the most ludicrous statements I've ever heard.

If animals were not afraid of death, then, why do they flee predators?

I think you are confusing the fight-or-flight response, or a basic survival instinct, with fear of death. Animals have an innate instinct to survive, but I wouldn't confuse that with a fear of death. I'll word it a different way: an ultimate desire to live is not to be confused with a fear of death. The former is instinct. The latter is learned.

I'm not confusing anything, with anything. All animals have this fight-or-flight response ; it's called the sympathetic nervous system. If we didn't have it, we wouldn't experience fear of anything. Fear is not some magical notion that exists in our brains, apart from our physiology; it's a product of stress hormones' working on very real glands. We know this because we can regulate the body's reaction to anxiety using sympatholytic drugs.

Lord, I never realized that my fear of emphysema is due to hormones.
Madcornishbiker: "No, I don't need a dictionary, I know how scripture uses words and that is all I need to now."
s-anthony
Posts: 2,582
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/11/2014 10:23:08 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/11/2014 8:10:36 PM, annanicole wrote:
At 4/11/2014 2:41:55 PM, s-anthony wrote:
At 4/11/2014 10:54:01 AM, annanicole wrote:
At 4/10/2014 10:17:36 PM, s-anthony wrote:
At 4/10/2014 2:21:45 PM, annanicole wrote:
"Fear of death is natural and present in every species and the only way to reduce that fear is believing death isn't the end."

Not true at all. Even among animals that exhibit fear, fear of death is unknown.

Sorry, but this must be one of the most ludicrous statements I've ever heard.

If animals were not afraid of death, then, why do they flee predators?

I think you are confusing the fight-or-flight response, or a basic survival instinct, with fear of death. Animals have an innate instinct to survive, but I wouldn't confuse that with a fear of death. I'll word it a different way: an ultimate desire to live is not to be confused with a fear of death. The former is instinct. The latter is learned.

I'm not confusing anything, with anything. All animals have this fight-or-flight response ; it's called the sympathetic nervous system. If we didn't have it, we wouldn't experience fear of anything. Fear is not some magical notion that exists in our brains, apart from our physiology; it's a product of stress hormones' working on very real glands. We know this because we can regulate the body's reaction to anxiety using sympatholytic drugs.

Lord, I never realized that my fear of emphysema is due to hormones.

What did you think increased your heart rate and constricted your blood vessels' raising your blood pressure? What did you think increased your rate of ventilation or decreased motility in your digestive tract or caused an increase in perspiration?

Did you think these physiological mechanisms were effected by ethereal winds wafting down from the dome of heaven?
Dwint
Posts: 47
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/12/2014 6:50:50 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/11/2014 5:46:06 PM, Idealist wrote:
At 4/11/2014 3:39:40 AM, Dwint wrote:
At 4/11/2014 2:30:34 AM, Idealist wrote:
At 4/10/2014 12:40:43 PM, Dwint wrote:
Belief in the afterlife and later in gods was an evolutionary necessity and it is partly the reason why humans prospered.
Every human believed in god at some point in his life. I always wondered why did belief in god appeared in the first place. We believe in gods because we are taught to, but why did the first religious person believe in god?
So, I took a course in evolutionary psychology recently and I tried to use it to find the reason for our beliefs and I though I would share it here.

Before believing in gods, humans believed in the afterlife. The continuation of existence after death is the dream of any living organism. Fear of death is natural and present in every species and the only way to reduce that fear is believing death isn't the end. Someone who thinks he will exist forever has an easier time accepting death. So, what are the advantages of believing in the afterlife from and evolutionary perspective?
Fear can help us stay alive, but it can also limit our possibilities to progress. Now, when humans started believing in the afterlife, their fear was significantly reduced, allowing them to push the boundaries and achieve so much more.
You know the usual pictures with cavemen hunting mammoths. I think belief in the afterlife encouraged humans to hunt, rather than just gather food. A mammoths must have been very scary for early humans and fear of death probably made them stay away from them. It just seems like belief in the afterlife would open more possibilities to humans.
We are the only mammals that are not afraid of fire and even create it on our own. Why could early humans be comfortable around fire, while all other animals were afraid of it?
Even today, we are comfortable putting our life at risk. Extreme sports, alcohol and drug use and many other activities put our lives at risk, but we aren't too afraid of them.

We are (most likely) the only animals who believe in the afterlife and also the only ones who knowingly put our lives at risk.

Risking your life had many advantages. Fear can save your life, but some fears are irrational and back then taking some chances, like hunting a mammoth or using fire could also save your life. Fire is considered to be the reason why humans survived and became so widespread.

Natural selection also helps this theory, because the benefits of risking your life meant you could reproduce more. Even if these risky actions killed you, their benefits helped you reproduce more before dying.

So, maybe belief in the afterlife was crucial in human development and is the reason why we are so different from all the other animals.

I would like to hear your opinion on this topic. I hope posting this is not a problem, I just though it would be an interesting topic to discuss and I also wanted to share my little "theory"

You've made some very broad claims and interpretations here. The earliest Egyptians only believed that their Pharaohs lived after death. Then they began to believe that his close family members might live. Gradually this was extended to persons of notable fame or power in a kind of 'trickle-down' effect as the Egyptians gained wealth and power. It took quite some time for them to accept the notion that everyone might have an afterlife. The same was true of other cultures in various areas of the world. I can't see why you would say it was a "necessary" belief, except that it gave the rulers another way to claim that they were special. There are many atheists today who are terrified of death and who are looking to science to provide them with lengthened or eternal life through bio-improvements and through finding ways to save their "minds" on hard-drives which will supposedly be eventually implanted into artificial bodies. Freud claimed that human minds were incapable of conceptualizing their own end, and this required people to believe in certain things in order to make that lack of ability fit into a known paradigm. It's hardly the definitive science you seem to be making it out to be.

I wasn't talking about religions, I was talking about belief in the afterlife and later in gods. Before any religions appeared, humans believed in gods and attributed different phenomenons to them. This is why most early religions have gods associated with lightnings, storms, floods etc. Religions developed a lot later, but belief
in gods appeared long before any religions.

Yes, they did. The ancient Egyptians believed in gods, but as I said, they didn't initially believe in an afterlife except for their Pharaohs, who were themselves believed to be gods. In fact, even today pagans accuse that religions make too big a deal of death and an afterlife. Those people before religions arose were also referred to as pagans, and many of them did not believe in an afterlife despite the fact that they accepted the existence of numerous gods. In the Greek religion beliefs varied from no afterlife to a shadowy existence in an underworld. And of course there have always been atheists, so why is belief in an afterlife an evolutionary necessity? After all everyone evolved whether they believed in an afterlife or not. I just find it hard to accept the idea that any belief would be necessary for a supposedly mindless process such as evolution.

My point is belief in gods and the afterlife began a lot earlier, before civilizations. The Egyptian religion was controlled by the Pharaoh and very few people actually understood it. Ancient religions weren't so well understood by ordinary people. Manuscripts don't tell the full story. Everyone had a different set of beliefs.
If you take a look at evolutionary psychology, you'll see that certain emotions, impulses and reactions were chosen through natural selection, because they allowed humans to live longer and reproduce more. Rage, for example might seem useless today, but a long time ago, more aggressive men would get more food and women and therefore live and reproduce more, so their genes were passed on and today everyone has that impulse.
Hitchens is the way!
bornofgod
Posts: 11,322
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/12/2014 10:52:41 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/10/2014 12:40:43 PM, Dwint wrote:
Belief in the afterlife and later in gods was an evolutionary necessity and it is partly the reason why humans prospered.
Every human believed in god at some point in his life. I always wondered why did belief in god appeared in the first place. We believe in gods because we are taught to, but why did the first religious person believe in god?
So, I took a course in evolutionary psychology recently and I tried to use it to find the reason for our beliefs and I though I would share it here.

Before believing in gods, humans believed in the afterlife. The continuation of existence after death is the dream of any living organism. Fear of death is natural and present in every species and the only way to reduce that fear is believing death isn't the end. Someone who thinks he will exist forever has an easier time accepting death. So, what are the advantages of believing in the afterlife from and evolutionary perspective?
Fear can help us stay alive, but it can also limit our possibilities to progress. Now, when humans started believing in the afterlife, their fear was significantly reduced, allowing them to push the boundaries and achieve so much more.
You know the usual pictures with cavemen hunting mammoths. I think belief in the afterlife encouraged humans to hunt, rather than just gather food. A mammoths must have been very scary for early humans and fear of death probably made them stay away from them. It just seems like belief in the afterlife would open more possibilities to humans.
We are the only mammals that are not afraid of fire and even create it on our own. Why could early humans be comfortable around fire, while all other animals were afraid of it?
Even today, we are comfortable putting our life at risk. Extreme sports, alcohol and drug use and many other activities put our lives at risk, but we aren't too afraid of them.

We are (most likely) the only animals who believe in the afterlife and also the only ones who knowingly put our lives at risk.

Risking your life had many advantages. Fear can save your life, but some fears are irrational and back then taking some chances, like hunting a mammoth or using fire could also save your life. Fire is considered to be the reason why humans survived and became so widespread.

Natural selection also helps this theory, because the benefits of risking your life meant you could reproduce more. Even if these risky actions killed you, their benefits helped you reproduce more before dying.

So, maybe belief in the afterlife was crucial in human development and is the reason why we are so different from all the other animals.

I would like to hear your opinion on this topic. I hope posting this is not a problem, I just though it would be an interesting topic to discuss and I also wanted to share my little "theory"

I didn't believe in a god until he began using my body for His purpose to testify to His created voice, my true existence within His mind.
perplexed
Posts: 863
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/12/2014 11:02:12 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 4/12/2014 10:52:41 AM, bornofgod wrote:
At 4/10/2014 12:40:43 PM, Dwint wrote:
Belief in the afterlife and later in gods was an evolutionary necessity and it is partly the reason why humans prospered.
Every human believed in god at some point in his life. I always wondered why did belief in god appeared in the first place. We believe in gods because we are taught to, but why did the first religious person believe in god?
So, I took a course in evolutionary psychology recently and I tried to use it to find the reason for our beliefs and I though I would share it here.

Before believing in gods, humans believed in the afterlife. The continuation of existence after death is the dream of any living organism. Fear of death is natural and present in every species and the only way to reduce that fear is believing death isn't the end. Someone who thinks he will exist forever has an easier time accepting death. So, what are the advantages of believing in the afterlife from and evolutionary perspective?
Fear can help us stay alive, but it can also limit our possibilities to progress. Now, when humans started believing in the afterlife, their fear was significantly reduced, allowing them to push the boundaries and achieve so much more.
You know the usual pictures with cavemen hunting mammoths. I think belief in the afterlife encouraged humans to hunt, rather than just gather food. A mammoths must have been very scary for early humans and fear of death probably made them stay away from them. It just seems like belief in the afterlife would open more possibilities to humans.
We are the only mammals that are not afraid of fire and even create it on our own. Why could early humans be comfortable around fire, while all other animals were afraid of it?
Even today, we are comfortable putting our life at risk. Extreme sports, alcohol and drug use and many other activities put our lives at risk, but we aren't too afraid of them.

We are (most likely) the only animals who believe in the afterlife and also the only ones who knowingly put our lives at risk.

Risking your life had many advantages. Fear can save your life, but some fears are irrational and back then taking some chances, like hunting a mammoth or using fire could also save your life. Fire is considered to be the reason why humans survived and became so widespread.

Natural selection also helps this theory, because the benefits of risking your life meant you could reproduce more. Even if these risky actions killed you, their benefits helped you reproduce more before dying.

So, maybe belief in the afterlife was crucial in human development and is the reason why we are so different from all the other animals.

I would like to hear your opinion on this topic. I hope posting this is not a problem, I just though it would be an interesting topic to discuss and I also wanted to share my little "theory"

I didn't believe in a god until he began using my body for His purpose to testify to His created voice, my true existence within His mind.

curious, how did you determine that your true existence isn't within your mind?
: At 4/29/2014 3:14:36 AM, annanicole wrote:

:
: I'll be happy to concede the raping of virgin girls, if you can find it somewhere.
monty1
Posts: 1,084
Add as Friend
Challenge to a Debate
Send a Message
4/12/2014 12:09:51 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Dwint, Fear of death is not present in every species. Who gave you that ridiculous idea?