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Scientists say no Atbheists

Welfare-Worker
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5/26/2015 6:24:58 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
I am just the messenger, passing on what Scientist have found to be "Scientific Truth(?)"
The source document is in Nature, weekly journal of Science, published in 2008, for sale or rent here:
http://www.nature.com...

~ Snip ~
Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that"s not a joke

WHILE MILITANT ATHEISTS like Richard Dawkins may be convinced God doesn"t exist, God, if he is around, may be amused to find that atheists might not exist.

Cognitive scientists are becoming increasingly aware that a metaphysical outlook may be so deeply ingrained in human thought processes that it cannot be expunged.

While this idea may seem outlandish"after all, it seems easy to decide not to believe in God"evidence from several disciplines indicates that what you actually believe is not a decision you make for yourself. Your fundamental beliefs are decided by much deeper levels of consciousness, and some may well be more or less set in stone.

This line of thought has led to some scientists claiming that "atheism is psychologically impossible because of the way humans think," says Graham Lawton, an avowed atheist himself, writing in the New Scientist. "They point to studies showing, for example, that even people who claim to be committed atheists tacitly hold religious beliefs, such as the existence of an immortal soul."

This shouldn"t come as a surprise, since we are born believers, not atheists, scientists say. Humans are pattern-seekers from birth, with a belief in karma, or cosmic justice, as our default setting. "A slew of cognitive traits predisposes us to faith," writes Pascal Boyer in Nature, the science journal, adding that people "are only aware of some of their religious ideas".

INTERNAL MONOLOGUES

Scientists have discovered that "invisible friends" are not something reserved for children. We all have them, and encounter them often in the form of interior monologues. As we experience events, we mentally tell a non-present listener about it.

The imagined listener may be a spouse, it may be Jesus or Buddha or it may be no one in particular. It"s just how the way the human mind processes facts. The identity, tangibility or existence of the listener is irrelevant.

"From childhood, people form enduring, stable and important relationships with fictional characters, imaginary friends, deceased relatives, unseen heroes and fantasized mates," says Boyer of Washington University, himself an atheist. This feeling of having an awareness of another consciousness might simply be the way our natural operating system works.

PUZZLING RESPONSES
These findings may go a long way to explaining a series of puzzles in recent social science studies. In the United States, 38% of people who identified themselves as atheist or agnostic went on to claim to believe in a God or a Higher Power (Pew Forum, "Religion and the Unaffiliated", 2012).

While the UK is often defined as an irreligious place, a recent survey by Theos, a think tank, found that very few people"only 13 per cent of adults"agreed with the statement "humans are purely material beings with no spiritual element". For the vast majority of us, unseen realities are very present.

When researchers asked people whether they had taken part in esoteric spiritual practices such as having a Reiki session or having their aura read, the results were almost identical (between 38 and 40%) for people who defined themselves as religious, non-religious or atheist.

The implication is that we all believe in a not dissimilar range of tangible and intangible realities. Whether a particular brand of higher consciousness is included in that list ("I believe in God", "I believe in some sort of higher force", "I believe in no higher consciousness") is little more than a detail.

~
Statistics show that the majority of people who stop being part of organized religious groups don"t become committed atheists, but retain a mental model in which "The Universe" somehow has a purpose for humanity.

In the US, only 20 per cent of people have no religious affiliation, but of these, only one in ten say they are atheists. The majority are "nothing in particular" according to figures published in New Scientist.

~
But if a belief in cosmic justice is natural and deeply rooted, the question arises: where does atheism fit in? Albert Einstein, who had a life-long fascination with metaphysics, believed atheism came from a mistaken belief that harmful superstition and a general belief in religious or mystical experience were the same thing, missing the fact that evolution would discard unhelpful beliefs and foster the growth of helpful ones. He declared himself "not a "Freethinker" in the usual sense of the word because I find that this is in the main an attitude nourished exclusively by an opposition against naive superstition" ("Einstein on Peace", page 510).
~

"It"s clearly the case that the future will involve an increase in religious populations and a decrease in scepticism," says Steve Jones, a professor in genetics at University College London, speaking at the Hay Festival in the UK recently.

Read more: http://www.science20.com...
UndeniableReality
Posts: 1,897
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5/26/2015 8:10:46 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/26/2015 6:24:58 AM, Welfare-Worker wrote:
I am just the messenger, passing on what Scientist have found to be "Scientific Truth(?)"
The source document is in Nature, weekly journal of Science, published in 2008, for sale or rent here:
http://www.nature.com...


~ Snip ~
Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that"s not a joke

WHILE MILITANT ATHEISTS like Richard Dawkins may be convinced God doesn"t exist, God, if he is around, may be amused to find that atheists might not exist.

Cognitive scientists are becoming increasingly aware that a metaphysical outlook may be so deeply ingrained in human thought processes that it cannot be expunged.

While this idea may seem outlandish"after all, it seems easy to decide not to believe in God"evidence from several disciplines indicates that what you actually believe is not a decision you make for yourself. Your fundamental beliefs are decided by much deeper levels of consciousness, and some may well be more or less set in stone.

This line of thought has led to some scientists claiming that "atheism is psychologically impossible because of the way humans think," says Graham Lawton, an avowed atheist himself, writing in the New Scientist. "They point to studies showing, for example, that even people who claim to be committed atheists tacitly hold religious beliefs, such as the existence of an immortal soul."

This shouldn"t come as a surprise, since we are born believers, not atheists, scientists say. Humans are pattern-seekers from birth, with a belief in karma, or cosmic justice, as our default setting. "A slew of cognitive traits predisposes us to faith," writes Pascal Boyer in Nature, the science journal, adding that people "are only aware of some of their religious ideas".



INTERNAL MONOLOGUES


Scientists have discovered that "invisible friends" are not something reserved for children. We all have them, and encounter them often in the form of interior monologues. As we experience events, we mentally tell a non-present listener about it.

The imagined listener may be a spouse, it may be Jesus or Buddha or it may be no one in particular. It"s just how the way the human mind processes facts. The identity, tangibility or existence of the listener is irrelevant.

"From childhood, people form enduring, stable and important relationships with fictional characters, imaginary friends, deceased relatives, unseen heroes and fantasized mates," says Boyer of Washington University, himself an atheist. This feeling of having an awareness of another consciousness might simply be the way our natural operating system works.

PUZZLING RESPONSES
These findings may go a long way to explaining a series of puzzles in recent social science studies. In the United States, 38% of people who identified themselves as atheist or agnostic went on to claim to believe in a God or a Higher Power (Pew Forum, "Religion and the Unaffiliated", 2012).

While the UK is often defined as an irreligious place, a recent survey by Theos, a think tank, found that very few people"only 13 per cent of adults"agreed with the statement "humans are purely material beings with no spiritual element". For the vast majority of us, unseen realities are very present.

When researchers asked people whether they had taken part in esoteric spiritual practices such as having a Reiki session or having their aura read, the results were almost identical (between 38 and 40%) for people who defined themselves as religious, non-religious or atheist.

The implication is that we all believe in a not dissimilar range of tangible and intangible realities. Whether a particular brand of higher consciousness is included in that list ("I believe in God", "I believe in some sort of higher force", "I believe in no higher consciousness") is little more than a detail.

~
Statistics show that the majority of people who stop being part of organized religious groups don"t become committed atheists, but retain a mental model in which "The Universe" somehow has a purpose for humanity.

In the US, only 20 per cent of people have no religious affiliation, but of these, only one in ten say they are atheists. The majority are "nothing in particular" according to figures published in New Scientist.

~
But if a belief in cosmic justice is natural and deeply rooted, the question arises: where does atheism fit in? Albert Einstein, who had a life-long fascination with metaphysics, believed atheism came from a mistaken belief that harmful superstition and a general belief in religious or mystical experience were the same thing, missing the fact that evolution would discard unhelpful beliefs and foster the growth of helpful ones. He declared himself "not a "Freethinker" in the usual sense of the word because I find that this is in the main an attitude nourished exclusively by an opposition against naive superstition" ("Einstein on Peace", page 510).
~

"It"s clearly the case that the future will involve an increase in religious populations and a decrease in scepticism," says Steve Jones, a professor in genetics at University College London, speaking at the Hay Festival in the UK recently.


Read more: http://www.science20.com...

You didn't post the main point of the piece, which seems to be that religious belief is a byproduct of evolution and that this has certain implications. Namely, it challenges the idea that religions are different from one another in any significant way at a fundamental level and also challenges the idea that personal experiences, life events, or the existence of actual supernatural entities have any role in explaining religious belief.

I was confused at first, because nothing you posted appeared in the paper. Then I realized that you read a blog post that hardly accurately represents the original paper (typical science journalism). I suggest you read the actual paper published in Nature, because it doesn't actually say anything like what the blog post suggests. There is no "discovery" that atheists may not exist.

I recommend that anyone interested read the original article (posted here: http://www.researchgate.net...) in order to avoid being misled about its contents and implications by the blog post referred to in the OP. I'm not attacking the OP here, just pointing out that it doesn't accurately represent the original article being cited.
Welfare-Worker
Posts: 1,176
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5/26/2015 8:49:29 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/26/2015 8:10:46 AM, UndeniableReality wrote:
At 5/26/2015 6:24:58 AM, Welfare-Worker wrote:
I am just the messenger, passing on what Scientist have found to be "Scientific Truth(?)"
The source document is in Nature, weekly journal of Science, published in 2008, for sale or rent here:
http://www.nature.com...


~ Snip ~
Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that"s not a joke

WHILE MILITANT ATHEISTS like Richard Dawkins may be convinced God doesn"t exist, God, if he is around, may be amused to find that atheists might not exist.

Cognitive scientists are becoming increasingly aware that a metaphysical outlook may be so deeply ingrained in human thought processes that it cannot be expunged.

While this idea may seem outlandish"after all, it seems easy to decide not to believe in God"evidence from several disciplines indicates that what you actually believe is not a decision you make for yourself. Your fundamental beliefs are decided by much deeper levels of consciousness, and some may well be more or less set in stone.

This line of thought has led to some scientists claiming that "atheism is psychologically impossible because of the way humans think," says Graham Lawton, an avowed atheist himself, writing in the New Scientist. "They point to studies showing, for example, that even people who claim to be committed atheists tacitly hold religious beliefs, such as the existence of an immortal soul."

This shouldn"t come as a surprise, since we are born believers, not atheists, scientists say. Humans are pattern-seekers from birth, with a belief in karma, or cosmic justice, as our default setting. "A slew of cognitive traits predisposes us to faith," writes Pascal Boyer in Nature, the science journal, adding that people "are only aware of some of their religious ideas".



INTERNAL MONOLOGUES


Scientists have discovered that "invisible friends" are not something reserved for children. We all have them, and encounter them often in the form of interior monologues. As we experience events, we mentally tell a non-present listener about it.

The imagined listener may be a spouse, it may be Jesus or Buddha or it may be no one in particular. It"s just how the way the human mind processes facts. The identity, tangibility or existence of the listener is irrelevant.

"From childhood, people form enduring, stable and important relationships with fictional characters, imaginary friends, deceased relatives, unseen heroes and fantasized mates," says Boyer of Washington University, himself an atheist. This feeling of having an awareness of another consciousness might simply be the way our natural operating system works.

PUZZLING RESPONSES
These findings may go a long way to explaining a series of puzzles in recent social science studies. In the United States, 38% of people who identified themselves as atheist or agnostic went on to claim to believe in a God or a Higher Power (Pew Forum, "Religion and the Unaffiliated", 2012).

While the UK is often defined as an irreligious place, a recent survey by Theos, a think tank, found that very few people"only 13 per cent of adults"agreed with the statement "humans are purely material beings with no spiritual element". For the vast majority of us, unseen realities are very present.

When researchers asked people whether they had taken part in esoteric spiritual practices such as having a Reiki session or having their aura read, the results were almost identical (between 38 and 40%) for people who defined themselves as religious, non-religious or atheist.

The implication is that we all believe in a not dissimilar range of tangible and intangible realities. Whether a particular brand of higher consciousness is included in that list ("I believe in God", "I believe in some sort of higher force", "I believe in no higher consciousness") is little more than a detail.

~
Statistics show that the majority of people who stop being part of organized religious groups don"t become committed atheists, but retain a mental model in which "The Universe" somehow has a purpose for humanity.

In the US, only 20 per cent of people have no religious affiliation, but of these, only one in ten say they are atheists. The majority are "nothing in particular" according to figures published in New Scientist.

~
But if a belief in cosmic justice is natural and deeply rooted, the question arises: where does atheism fit in? Albert Einstein, who had a life-long fascination with metaphysics, believed atheism came from a mistaken belief that harmful superstition and a general belief in religious or mystical experience were the same thing, missing the fact that evolution would discard unhelpful beliefs and foster the growth of helpful ones. He declared himself "not a "Freethinker" in the usual sense of the word because I find that this is in the main an attitude nourished exclusively by an opposition against naive superstition" ("Einstein on Peace", page 510).
~

"It"s clearly the case that the future will involve an increase in religious populations and a decrease in scepticism," says Steve Jones, a professor in genetics at University College London, speaking at the Hay Festival in the UK recently.


Read more: http://www.science20.com...

You didn't post the main point of the piece, which seems to be that religious belief is a byproduct of evolution and that this has certain implications. Namely, it challenges the idea that religions are different from one another in any significant way at a fundamental level and also challenges the idea that personal experiences, life events, or the existence of actual supernatural entities have any role in explaining religious belief.

I was confused at first, because nothing you posted appeared in the paper. Then I realized that you read a blog post that hardly accurately represents the original paper (typical science journalism). I suggest you read the actual paper published in Nature, because it doesn't actually say anything like what the blog post suggests. There is no "discovery" that atheists may not exist.

I recommend that anyone interested read the original article (posted here: http://www.researchgate.net...) in order to avoid being misled about its contents and implications by the blog post referred to in the OP. I'm not attacking the OP here, just pointing out that it doesn't accurately represent the original article being cited.

Yes, I know that is how these things are, that is why I provided a link to the original document.
Did you notice that? It seems not, as it would have reduced your confusion.
I did read four or five articles, which does not add much to the one I used.
I tried your link, but as I am not a professional researcher, I could not register, do not have access.
I always try to read the source document, but it is not not always possible, for under $50. It seems I might be able to buy this for $18, but that is not clear.
Sometimes I spend the money, but mostly not.

I appreciate your input.
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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5/26/2015 12:26:33 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/26/2015 8:10:46 AM, UndeniableReality wrote:
I recommend that anyone interested read the original article (posted here: http://www.researchgate.net...)

Thanks, UR. A colour reproduction of its original appearance in Nature (2008) can also be found here: [https://artsci.wustl.edu...] Author Pascal Boyer works at Washington University in St Louis. He has an interest in religion as an outgrowth of other cognitive development. As he writes:

Naturalness of Religion: This cognitive framework was developed to account for the recurrent properties of religious concepts and norms in different cultures. The latter are parasitic upon standard cognitive systems that evolved outside of religion, such as agency-detection, moral intuition, coalitional psychology and contagion-avoidance. Religious concepts and norms can be explained as a by-product of standard cognitive architecture. [https://artsci.wustl.edu...]

As a suggestion for members who have difficulty sourcing paid science articles: always search for the author and title prior to linking. Since scientific articles are normally paid for with public monies (scientists and their institutions don't normally get a cent from the journals they publish to), scientists often reproduce their articles on their own institutional websites, and some professional science societies may also aggregate them too, and publish freely thereafter.

By way of further context, written as an essay, Boyer's original article is itself an opinion-piece. When written by a respected researcher in the field, such opinion is typically a valuable part of the continuing scientific conversation, but is not so much an experimental finding as a summary of the state of play, and a synthesis of where it might be going.

Moreover, as my colleague UR points out, the blog article quoted at the top of this thread (which is about the same length as the article it cites), seldom refers to, quotes or discusses the article it purports to be talking about, but rather goes off in its own directions. If you're wondering why, its writer describes himself as one who loves "reading the popular science journals but I often find myself having a different point of view." [http://www.science20.com...]

Or put another way, as a science writer he's not interested in science journalism so much as his own ideas about science. He seems not to have interviewed Boyer, or surveyed the literature itself in any methodical way. So to sum up, the article quoted in full at top is a nonscientific opinion about one scientist's opinion about science.

So as another hint for members who want to link science articles: there's science journalism and science opinion. Science journalism is by far the more accurate and comprehensive in its reportage (especially when the journals have editors who are actually scientists), however, science opinion can be interesting too, if a) it's by someone who knows what they're talking about; and b) you realise that's what it is.

But that aside, I myself also say 'no' to ATB-heists. Leave German techno-dance DJ Andre Tanneberger alone! [ http://en.wikipedia.org... ]
janesix
Posts: 3,465
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5/26/2015 12:40:12 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/26/2015 12:26:33 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 5/26/2015 8:10:46 AM, UndeniableReality wrote:
I recommend that anyone interested read the original article (posted here: http://www.researchgate.net...)

Thanks, UR. A colour reproduction of its original appearance in Nature (2008) can also be found here: [https://artsci.wustl.edu...] Author Pascal Boyer works at Washington University in St Louis. He has an interest in religion as an outgrowth of other cognitive development. As he writes:

Naturalness of Religion: This cognitive framework was developed to account for the recurrent properties of religious concepts and norms in different cultures. The latter are parasitic upon standard cognitive systems that evolved outside of religion, such as agency-detection, moral intuition, coalitional psychology and contagion-avoidance. Religious concepts and norms can be explained as a by-product of standard cognitive architecture. [https://artsci.wustl.edu...]

As a suggestion for members who have difficulty sourcing paid science articles: always search for the author and title prior to linking. Since scientific articles are normally paid for with public monies (scientists and their institutions don't normally get a cent from the journals they publish to), scientists often reproduce their articles on their own institutional websites, and some professional science societies may also aggregate them too, and publish freely thereafter.

By way of further context, written as an essay, Boyer's original article is itself an opinion-piece. When written by a respected researcher in the field, such opinion is typically a valuable part of the continuing scientific conversation, but is not so much an experimental finding as a summary of the state of play, and a synthesis of where it might be going.

Moreover, as my colleague UR points out, the blog article quoted at the top of this thread (which is about the same length as the article it cites), seldom refers to, quotes or discusses the article it purports to be talking about, but rather goes off in its own directions. If you're wondering why, its writer describes himself as one who loves "reading the popular science journals but I often find myself having a different point of view." [http://www.science20.com...]

Or put another way, as a science writer he's not interested in science journalism so much as his own ideas about science. He seems not to have interviewed Boyer, or surveyed the literature itself in any methodical way. So to sum up, the article quoted in full at top is a nonscientific opinion about one scientist's opinion about science.

So as another hint for members who want to link science articles: there's science journalism and science opinion. Science journalism is by far the more accurate and comprehensive in its reportage (especially when the journals have editors who are actually scientists), however, science opinion can be interesting too, if a) it's by someone who knows what they're talking about; and b) you realise that's what it is.

But that aside, I myself also say 'no' to ATB-heists. Leave German techno-dance DJ Andre Tanneberger alone! [ http://en.wikipedia.org... ]

Thanks for the tip. It is frustrating that I can't afford to access a lot of the scientific literature that I want to read.
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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5/26/2015 1:04:38 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/26/2015 12:40:12 PM, janesix wrote:
At 5/26/2015 12:26:33 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
As a suggestion for members who have difficulty sourcing paid science articles: always search for the author and title prior to linking. Since scientific articles are normally paid for with public monies (scientists and their institutions don't normally get a cent from the journals they publish to), scientists often reproduce their articles on their own institutional websites, and some professional science societies may also aggregate them too, and publish freely thereafter.
Thanks for the tip. It is frustrating that I can't afford to access a lot of the scientific literature that I want to read.
I'm in the same boat, Jane. As I'm no longer employed by a university, any journals I want, I pay for.

Regarding Science 2.0 -- the organ that published the article in our Original Post, I respect what it's trying to do. However, editorial standards are critical in good science reporting, and Science 2.0 seems more a forum for scientists, science amateurs and aspirational science writers to talk than an organ of quality science journalism. I think it has its place, but I'd always check sources on anything it reports.
UndeniableReality
Posts: 1,897
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5/26/2015 7:42:01 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/26/2015 8:49:29 AM, Welfare-Worker wrote:
At 5/26/2015 8:10:46 AM, UndeniableReality wrote:
At 5/26/2015 6:24:58 AM, Welfare-Worker wrote:
I am just the messenger, passing on what Scientist have found to be "Scientific Truth(?)"
The source document is in Nature, weekly journal of Science, published in 2008, for sale or rent here:
http://www.nature.com...


~ Snip ~
Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that"s not a joke

WHILE MILITANT ATHEISTS like Richard Dawkins may be convinced God doesn"t exist, God, if he is around, may be amused to find that atheists might not exist.

Cognitive scientists are becoming increasingly aware that a metaphysical outlook may be so deeply ingrained in human thought processes that it cannot be expunged.

While this idea may seem outlandish"after all, it seems easy to decide not to believe in God"evidence from several disciplines indicates that what you actually believe is not a decision you make for yourself. Your fundamental beliefs are decided by much deeper levels of consciousness, and some may well be more or less set in stone.

This line of thought has led to some scientists claiming that "atheism is psychologically impossible because of the way humans think," says Graham Lawton, an avowed atheist himself, writing in the New Scientist. "They point to studies showing, for example, that even people who claim to be committed atheists tacitly hold religious beliefs, such as the existence of an immortal soul."

This shouldn"t come as a surprise, since we are born believers, not atheists, scientists say. Humans are pattern-seekers from birth, with a belief in karma, or cosmic justice, as our default setting. "A slew of cognitive traits predisposes us to faith," writes Pascal Boyer in Nature, the science journal, adding that people "are only aware of some of their religious ideas".



INTERNAL MONOLOGUES


Scientists have discovered that "invisible friends" are not something reserved for children. We all have them, and encounter them often in the form of interior monologues. As we experience events, we mentally tell a non-present listener about it.

The imagined listener may be a spouse, it may be Jesus or Buddha or it may be no one in particular. It"s just how the way the human mind processes facts. The identity, tangibility or existence of the listener is irrelevant.

"From childhood, people form enduring, stable and important relationships with fictional characters, imaginary friends, deceased relatives, unseen heroes and fantasized mates," says Boyer of Washington University, himself an atheist. This feeling of having an awareness of another consciousness might simply be the way our natural operating system works.

PUZZLING RESPONSES
These findings may go a long way to explaining a series of puzzles in recent social science studies. In the United States, 38% of people who identified themselves as atheist or agnostic went on to claim to believe in a God or a Higher Power (Pew Forum, "Religion and the Unaffiliated", 2012).

While the UK is often defined as an irreligious place, a recent survey by Theos, a think tank, found that very few people"only 13 per cent of adults"agreed with the statement "humans are purely material beings with no spiritual element". For the vast majority of us, unseen realities are very present.

When researchers asked people whether they had taken part in esoteric spiritual practices such as having a Reiki session or having their aura read, the results were almost identical (between 38 and 40%) for people who defined themselves as religious, non-religious or atheist.

The implication is that we all believe in a not dissimilar range of tangible and intangible realities. Whether a particular brand of higher consciousness is included in that list ("I believe in God", "I believe in some sort of higher force", "I believe in no higher consciousness") is little more than a detail.

~
Statistics show that the majority of people who stop being part of organized religious groups don"t become committed atheists, but retain a mental model in which "The Universe" somehow has a purpose for humanity.

In the US, only 20 per cent of people have no religious affiliation, but of these, only one in ten say they are atheists. The majority are "nothing in particular" according to figures published in New Scientist.

~
But if a belief in cosmic justice is natural and deeply rooted, the question arises: where does atheism fit in? Albert Einstein, who had a life-long fascination with metaphysics, believed atheism came from a mistaken belief that harmful superstition and a general belief in religious or mystical experience were the same thing, missing the fact that evolution would discard unhelpful beliefs and foster the growth of helpful ones. He declared himself "not a "Freethinker" in the usual sense of the word because I find that this is in the main an attitude nourished exclusively by an opposition against naive superstition" ("Einstein on Peace", page 510).
~

"It"s clearly the case that the future will involve an increase in religious populations and a decrease in scepticism," says Steve Jones, a professor in genetics at University College London, speaking at the Hay Festival in the UK recently.


Read more: http://www.science20.com...

You didn't post the main point of the piece, which seems to be that religious belief is a byproduct of evolution and that this has certain implications. Namely, it challenges the idea that religions are different from one another in any significant way at a fundamental level and also challenges the idea that personal experiences, life events, or the existence of actual supernatural entities have any role in explaining religious belief.

I was confused at first, because nothing you posted appeared in the paper. Then I realized that you read a blog post that hardly accurately represents the original paper (typical science journalism). I suggest you read the actual paper published in Nature, because it doesn't actually say anything like what the blog post suggests. There is no "discovery" that atheists may not exist.

I recommend that anyone interested read the original article (posted here: http://www.researchgate.net...) in order to avoid being misled about its contents and implications by the blog post referred to in the OP. I'm not attacking the OP here, just pointing out that it doesn't accurately represent the original article being cited.

Yes, I know that is how these things are, that is why I provided a link to the original document.
Did you notice that? It seems not, as it would have reduced your confusion.

I did notice that. I was confused why you apparently hadn't read the paper you seemed to be discussing. But you explain that below.

I did read four or five articles, which does not add much to the one I used.
I tried your link, but as I am not a professional researcher, I could not register, do not have access.
I always try to read the source document, but it is not not always possible, for under $50. It seems I might be able to buy this for $18, but that is not clear.
Sometimes I spend the money, but mostly not.

I appreciate your input.

Sorry about that. I didn't realize it was paywalled. I automatically go throug
UndeniableReality
Posts: 1,897
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5/26/2015 7:44:02 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/26/2015 12:40:12 PM, janesix wrote:
At 5/26/2015 12:26:33 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 5/26/2015 8:10:46 AM, UndeniableReality wrote:
I recommend that anyone interested read the original article (posted here: http://www.researchgate.net...)

Thanks, UR. A colour reproduction of its original appearance in Nature (2008) can also be found here: [https://artsci.wustl.edu...] Author Pascal Boyer works at Washington University in St Louis. He has an interest in religion as an outgrowth of other cognitive development. As he writes:

Naturalness of Religion: This cognitive framework was developed to account for the recurrent properties of religious concepts and norms in different cultures. The latter are parasitic upon standard cognitive systems that evolved outside of religion, such as agency-detection, moral intuition, coalitional psychology and contagion-avoidance. Religious concepts and norms can be explained as a by-product of standard cognitive architecture. [https://artsci.wustl.edu...]

As a suggestion for members who have difficulty sourcing paid science articles: always search for the author and title prior to linking. Since scientific articles are normally paid for with public monies (scientists and their institutions don't normally get a cent from the journals they publish to), scientists often reproduce their articles on their own institutional websites, and some professional science societies may also aggregate them too, and publish freely thereafter.

By way of further context, written as an essay, Boyer's original article is itself an opinion-piece. When written by a respected researcher in the field, such opinion is typically a valuable part of the continuing scientific conversation, but is not so much an experimental finding as a summary of the state of play, and a synthesis of where it might be going.

Moreover, as my colleague UR points out, the blog article quoted at the top of this thread (which is about the same length as the article it cites), seldom refers to, quotes or discusses the article it purports to be talking about, but rather goes off in its own directions. If you're wondering why, its writer describes himself as one who loves "reading the popular science journals but I often find myself having a different point of view." [http://www.science20.com...]

Or put another way, as a science writer he's not interested in science journalism so much as his own ideas about science. He seems not to have interviewed Boyer, or surveyed the literature itself in any methodical way. So to sum up, the article quoted in full at top is a nonscientific opinion about one scientist's opinion about science.

So as another hint for members who want to link science articles: there's science journalism and science opinion. Science journalism is by far the more accurate and comprehensive in its reportage (especially when the journals have editors who are actually scientists), however, science opinion can be interesting too, if a) it's by someone who knows what they're talking about; and b) you realise that's what it is.

But that aside, I myself also say 'no' to ATB-heists. Leave German techno-dance DJ Andre Tanneberger alone! [ http://en.wikipedia.org... ]

Thanks for the tip. It is frustrating that I can't afford to access a lot of the scientific literature that I want to read.

It's frustrating for researchers as well. We know the taxpayer paid for most of this research, yet publishers block them from accessing it. There's a movement to publish in open-access journals so that our work is publically available, but it costs us thousands of dollars per paper (the publishers require the researchers to pay to publish for the open-access model). We all lose. Except for the publishers.
UndeniableReality
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5/26/2015 7:45:24 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/26/2015 12:26:33 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 5/26/2015 8:10:46 AM, UndeniableReality wrote:
I recommend that anyone interested read the original article (posted here: http://www.researchgate.net...)

Thanks, UR. A colour reproduction of its original appearance in Nature (2008) can also be found here: [https://artsci.wustl.edu...] Author Pascal Boyer works at Washington University in St Louis. He has an interest in religion as an outgrowth of other cognitive development. As he writes:

Thanks for providing a free link. And I do apologize to everyone for not noticing that the link I provided was paywalled.

Naturalness of Religion: This cognitive framework was developed to account for the recurrent properties of religious concepts and norms in different cultures. The latter are parasitic upon standard cognitive systems that evolved outside of religion, such as agency-detection, moral intuition, coalitional psychology and contagion-avoidance. Religious concepts and norms can be explained as a by-product of standard cognitive architecture. [https://artsci.wustl.edu...]

As a suggestion for members who have difficulty sourcing paid science articles: always search for the author and title prior to linking. Since scientific articles are normally paid for with public monies (scientists and their institutions don't normally get a cent from the journals they publish to), scientists often reproduce their articles on their own institutional websites, and some professional science societies may also aggregate them too, and publish freely thereafter.

By way of further context, written as an essay, Boyer's original article is itself an opinion-piece. When written by a respected researcher in the field, such opinion is typically a valuable part of the continuing scientific conversation, but is not so much an experimental finding as a summary of the state of play, and a synthesis of where it might be going.

Moreover, as my colleague UR points out, the blog article quoted at the top of this thread (which is about the same length as the article it cites), seldom refers to, quotes or discusses the article it purports to be talking about, but rather goes off in its own directions. If you're wondering why, its writer describes himself as one who loves "reading the popular science journals but I often find myself having a different point of view." [http://www.science20.com...]

Or put another way, as a science writer he's not interested in science journalism so much as his own ideas about science. He seems not to have interviewed Boyer, or surveyed the literature itself in any methodical way. So to sum up, the article quoted in full at top is a nonscientific opinion about one scientist's opinion about science.

So as another hint for members who want to link science articles: there's science journalism and science opinion. Science journalism is by far the more accurate and comprehensive in its reportage (especially when the journals have editors who are actually scientists), however, science opinion can be interesting too, if a) it's by someone who knows what they're talking about; and b) you realise that's what it is.

But that aside, I myself also say 'no' to ATB-heists. Leave German techno-dance DJ Andre Tanneberger alone! [ http://en.wikipedia.org... ]
Envisage
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5/26/2015 7:49:41 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
An opinion piece... On an opinion piece. And the former barely represents what is written in the latter...

I am not impressed.
UndeniableReality
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5/26/2015 7:54:12 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/26/2015 7:49:41 PM, Envisage wrote:
An opinion piece... On an opinion piece. And the former barely represents what is written in the latter...

I am not impressed.

Some people throw opinions about opinions in your face and call it proof. You know, because the original opinion was published in Nature ;)

(Not referring to the OP by the way, in case this comment is misinterpreted later.)
RuvDraba
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5/26/2015 8:13:40 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/26/2015 7:49:41 PM, Envisage wrote:
An opinion piece... On an opinion piece. And the former barely represents what is written in the latter...
I am not impressed.
Yah. Any website can now put 'Science' in its title, any ratbag can publish opinion under it and say it's scientifically supported, and virtually the whole Internet will assume that it is without checking because y'know... Science, booga-booga.

I get that not every member will always understand the difference between reportage and opinion, or between a science-writer and a research scientist. But you'd hope experienced members would realise when they hadn't fact-checked what was clearly an opinion piece (which can sometimes be for good reason, like as a paywall, or an impenetrably technical source-paper), and have the integrity and respect to acknowledge that up front.
Welfare-Worker
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5/27/2015 6:14:18 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/26/2015 7:49:41 PM, Envisage wrote:
An opinion piece... On an opinion piece. And the former barely represents what is written in the latter...

I am not impressed.

Well, opinion pieces is mostly what we see on this forum.
I am one of a minority who documents their claims.
One noted contributor makes claims as if they were statements of fact, with no support, just more opinion. As you say, I am not impressed.

Boyer did not make this stuff up, he interpreted Scientific research, as any professional would. He had a quantity of data, read it, digested it, and now he is explaining his findings, as he see is. I have seen similar summaries at the end of an actual research report - not an opinion piece.
The fan journals publish it as they always do, to sell copy. They are in the for profit, not education. This is just business as usual, no particular 'cover up' or attempt at 'mind control'.

There does not seem to be much doubt that what UndeniableReality points out from Boyer's piece is true. [seems to be that religious belief is a byproduct of evolution and that this has certain implications.] That is, we are genetically hard wired to be Theists. The condition of the human mind from birth, is Theism, and has to be convinced to go to Atheism.
If that is not an example of 'default', I would like you or others to explain why not.
If that is not what he is saying the data is demonstrating, what do I have wrong?

Some people will say this is evidence god is coding the mind, so we are aware of reality.
Some people will bristle and say this in no way means that our 'natural path' towards Theism is a reality path.
I am saying, it is what it is. The genetic inclination of mankind is towards Theism, and this is yet another reason to say that is the default position of the human mind and condition.
Atheism takes effort, Theism does not. That is supported by the typically nebulas Science we have available.
I am not prescribing, just describing.

A next step is to find the source data for his opinion piece, and see if I agree with his summary. I may get there, I may not.

My research often goes four or five layers deep before I feel like I am on solid ground.
One recent article made some comments about 'Atheists and Agnostics', and the statistics provided set off my crap detector - did not seem to conform with reality. Three layers later, I found out the numbers attributed to 'Atheists and agnostics', included "no religious preference". I know protestants who have been regular church attendees and bible readers their whole life, but the denomination depends on where they are who they are with, no religious preference. Catholics tend to be more loyal to denomination. In the fluff pieces they were lumped in with Atheists and Agnostics.
Social Service/Welfare needs even more excavation. The raw data gets plowed under immediately, and continues.

I have several interest areas, including motorcycle safety, welfare, education, religion, philosophy, cannabis, psychedelics, photography and some others, and it is the same with all of them. What the general pubic reads and 'knows' is a shadow of a puppet on a wall, not the original source.
Some of them are aware, most are not.
By a transfer of knowledge I am skeptical of all information, and consider that if I knew more, I would not believe what I was reading.
UndeniableReality
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5/27/2015 9:18:07 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/27/2015 6:14:18 AM, Welfare-Worker wrote:
At 5/26/2015 7:49:41 PM, Envisage wrote:
An opinion piece... On an opinion piece. And the former barely represents what is written in the latter...

I am not impressed.

Well, opinion pieces is mostly what we see on this forum.
I am one of a minority who documents their claims.
One noted contributor makes claims as if they were statements of fact, with no support, just more opinion. As you say, I am not impressed.

I think we all appreciate that you do your best to source your ideas. We at least should. But there was an error made here that I want to point out. Not to admonish you for making it, but because it is so difficult to avoid with the current barriers between academia and the public that even someone doing a good job of reading what they can and representing it as accurately as possible can become victim of this trap.

In representing an academic paper, you actually used only a blog post about that paper instead of the paper itself. This is understandable, because you were blocked from accessing the paper (thanks to Ruv again for finding a free copy). But the blog post happened to be grossly misrepresenting the paper, and so you inadvertently spread misinformation about the contents of that paper. I don't blame you, actually, though I do blame the blogger to some degree. I am just pointing this out as an illustration of how important it is to be careful to source only what you've actually read and to be very careful about sourcing it accurately. It's a tricky business, especially with all of the paywalls and people writing abstracts about abstracts about abstracts (a kind of broken telephone game of partially-read academic papers).

Boyer did not make this stuff up, he interpreted Scientific research, as any professional would. He had a quantity of data, read it, digested it, and now he is explaining his findings, as he see is. I have seen similar summaries at the end of an actual research report - not an opinion piece.
The fan journals publish it as they always do, to sell copy. They are in the for profit, not education. This is just business as usual, no particular 'cover up' or attempt at 'mind control'.

We could talk about the problems of academic publishing at great length (and I think we've discussed this before), but I think you're oversimplifying the problem here. Journals are successful in attracting the best papers and having the highest prestige (allowing them to charge more and sell more copies) if they also have the highest impact factors and are hard to get into. The rejection rate for very successful journals is above 80% or 90% in many cases, so it's not as simple as journals publishing for profit. They have the financial incentive to make sure their journal is of the top scientific quality if they want to stay ahead of the competition. There are journals that publish for profit. They're called predatory journals. It's a recent phenomena that doesn't yet have a solution. A list is kept of them and there are people who actively search for them. Right now, it's up to us to avoid them.
http://scholarlyoa.com...

There does not seem to be much doubt that what UndeniableReality points out from Boyer's piece is true. [seems to be that religious belief is a byproduct of evolution and that this has certain implications.] That is, we are genetically hard wired to be Theists. The condition of the human mind from birth, is Theism, and has to be convinced to go to Atheism.
If that is not an example of 'default', I would like you or others to explain why not.
If that is not what he is saying the data is demonstrating, what do I have wrong?

In this context, religious belief is meant much more broadly and doesn't necessarily include a god. Just some kind of metaphysical belief about the world. So this doesn't really relate back to the default position issue in any strong or clear sense, that I can gather from the paper. Byt the way, the quoted statement is a hypothesis presented in the paper. What they suggest is supported by data is that religious (read: metaphysical) thoughts are an emergent property of standard cognitive capacities, and the author suggests that religious concepts "hijack" our cognitive resources in a similar way that art and music do.

Some people will say this is evidence god is coding the mind, so we are aware of reality.
Some people will bristle and say this in no way means that our 'natural path' towards Theism is a reality path.
I am saying, it is what it is. The genetic inclination of mankind is towards Theism, and this is yet another reason to say that is the default position of the human mind and condition.
Atheism takes effort, Theism does not. That is supported by the typically nebulas Science we have available.
I am not prescribing, just describing.

Again, it's not theism per se, but yes, atheism probably takes more cognitive effort than theism naturally. However, since we are raised in educational institutions which, when implemented well, help us train our critical cognitive faculties, this might actually be negated. It would be interesting to look at from the view of developmental psychology.

A next step is to find the source data for his opinion piece, and see if I agree with his summary. I may get there, I may not.

My research often goes four or five layers deep before I feel like I am on solid ground.
One recent article made some comments about 'Atheists and Agnostics', and the statistics provided set off my crap detector - did not seem to conform with reality. Three layers later, I found out the numbers attributed to 'Atheists and agnostics', included "no religious preference". I know protestants who have been regular church attendees and bible readers their whole life, but the denomination depends on where they are who they are with, no religious preference. Catholics tend to be more loyal to denomination. In the fluff pieces they were lumped in with Atheists and Agnostics.
Social Service/Welfare needs even more excavation. The raw data gets plowed under immediately, and continues.

I have several interest areas, including motorcycle safety, welfare, education, religion, philosophy, cannabis, psychedelics, photography and some others, and it is the same with all of them. What the general pubic reads and 'knows' is a shadow of a puppet on a wall, not the original source.
Some of them are aware, most are not.
By a transfer of knowledge I am skeptical of all information, and consider that if I knew more, I would not believe what I was reading.

I think that's a good thing to consider whenever reading something.

Appreciated your comments here.
Welfare-Worker
Posts: 1,176
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5/27/2015 12:52:24 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/27/2015 9:18:07 AM, UndeniableReality wrote:
At 5/27/2015 6:14:18 AM, Welfare-Worker wrote:
At 5/26/2015 7:49:41 PM, Envisage wrote:
An opinion piece... On an opinion piece. And the former barely represents what is written in the latter...

I am not impressed.

One noted contributor makes claims as if they were statements of fact, with no support, just more opinion. As you say, I am not impressed.

I think we all appreciate that you do your best to source your ideas. We at least should. But there was an error made here that I want to point out. Not to admonish you for making it, but because it is so difficult to avoid with the current barriers between academia and the public that even someone doing a good job of reading what they can and representing it as accurately as possible can become victim of this trap.

In representing an academic paper, you actually used only a blog post about that paper instead of the paper itself. This is understandable, because you were blocked from accessing the paper (thanks to Ruv again for finding a free copy). But the blog post happened to be grossly misrepresenting the paper, and so you inadvertently spread misinformation about the contents of that paper. I don't blame you, actually, though I do blame the blogger to some degree. I am just pointing this out as an illustration of how important it is to be careful to source only what you've actually read and to be very careful about sourcing it accurately. It's a tricky business, especially with all of the paywalls and people writing abstracts about abstracts about abstracts (a kind of broken telephone game of partially-read academic papers).


We could talk about the problems of academic publishing at great length (and I think we've discussed this before), but I think you're oversimplifying the problem here. Journals are successful in attracting the best papers and having the highest prestige (allowing them to charge more and sell more copies) if they also have the highest impact factors and are hard to get into. The rejection rate for very successful journals is above 80% or 90% in many cases, so it's not as simple as journals publishing for profit. They have the financial incentive to make sure their journal is of the top scientific quality if they want to stay ahead of the competition. There are journals that publish for profit. They're called predatory journals. It's a recent phenomena that doesn't yet have a solution. A list is kept of them and there are people who actively search for them. Right now, it's up to us to avoid them.
http://scholarlyoa.com...

There does not seem to be much doubt that what UndeniableReality points out from Boyer's piece is true. [seems to be that religious belief is a byproduct of evolution and that this has certain implications.] That is, we are genetically hard wired to be Theists. The condition of the human mind from birth, is Theism, and has to be convinced to go to Atheism.
If that is not an example of 'default', I would like you or others to explain why not.
If that is not what he is saying the data is demonstrating, what do I have wrong?

In this context, religious belief is meant much more broadly and doesn't necessarily include a god. Just some kind of metaphysical belief about the world. So this doesn't really relate back to the default position issue in any strong or clear sense, that I can gather from the paper. Byt the way, the quoted statement is a hypothesis presented in the paper. What they suggest is supported by data is that religious (read: metaphysical) thoughts are an emergent property of standard cognitive capacities, and the author suggests that religious concepts "hijack" our cognitive resources in a similar way that art and music do.

Some people will say this is evidence god is coding the mind, so we are aware of reality.
Some people will bristle and say this in no way means that our 'natural path' towards Theism is a reality path.
I am saying, it is what it is. The genetic inclination of mankind is towards Theism, and this is yet another reason to say that is the default position of the human mind and condition.
Atheism takes effort, Theism does not. That is supported by the typically nebulas Science we have available.
I am not prescribing, just describing.

Again, it's not theism per se, but yes, atheism probably takes more cognitive effort than theism naturally. However, since we are raised in educational institutions which, when implemented well, help us train our critical cognitive faculties, this might actually be negated. It would be interesting to look at from the view of developmental psychology.

A next step is to find the source data for his opinion piece, and see if I agree with his summary. I may get there, I may not.

My research often goes four or five layers deep before I feel like I am on solid ground.
One recent article made some comments about 'Atheists and Agnostics', and the statistics provided set off my crap detector - did not seem to conform with reality. Three layers later, I found out the numbers attributed to 'Atheists and agnostics', included "no religious preference". I know protestants who have been regular church attendees and bible readers their whole life, but the denomination depends on where they are who they are with, no religious preference. Catholics tend to be more loyal to denomination. In the fluff pieces they were lumped in with Atheists and Agnostics.
Social Service/Welfare needs even more excavation. The raw data gets plowed under immediately, and continues.

By a transfer of knowledge I am skeptical of all information, and consider that if I knew more, I would not believe what I was reading.

I think that's a good thing to consider whenever reading something.

Appreciated your comments here.

You previously indicated that you are not inclined to philosophy, don't consider yourself much of an authority, so this may be the problem.
Your statement "In this context, religious belief is meant much more broadly and doesn't necessarily include a god. "
"Religious belief" without god is Atheism.
Do you see a problem, as I do?

What you hint at is that genetics incline us to the metaphysical aspects of religion, but not a god concept.
However, this requires a god concept.
'Religion' contains certain elements, one is 'god'.

There are those who expand on the term "religion" and include belief systems such as Atheism - not that Atheism has to be a belief system, but it certainly can be.
This is unusual, and not within the normal usage of 'religion'.

Others expand it the other direction, so that Pantheism and Deism are forms of Atheism, as they lack some traditional elements of religion.

So if someone such as yourself has the opinion that religion is distinct from god, and suggests that someone else (Boyer) shares that view, it would need to be shown, as the term 'religion' includes god.

So when you say "What they suggest is supported by data is that religious (read: metaphysical)(and I add read: god) thoughts are an emergent property of standard cognitive capacities, and the author suggests that religious concepts "hijack" our cognitive resources in a similar way that art and music do.

I think to myself, 'What seems to be the default position for the human mind, 'religion and god' or 'religion and no-god' (read Atheism)'?
Somehow, religion and atheism seems a strange combination, for a default position.

If you offered some of Boyer's words to support you opinion, it would be more convincing.
I just see an unsubstantiated opinion, that claims god does not follow from the metaphysical basis of religion.
God is not an imperative of religion?
UndeniableReality
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5/27/2015 2:24:35 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/27/2015 12:52:24 PM, Welfare-Worker wrote:
You previously indicated that you are not inclined to philosophy, don't consider yourself much of an authority, so this may be the problem.
Your statement "In this context, religious belief is meant much more broadly and doesn't necessarily include a god. "
"Religious belief" without god is Atheism.
Do you see a problem, as I do?

What you hint at is that genetics incline us to the metaphysical aspects of religion, but not a god concept.
However, this requires a god concept.
'Religion' contains certain elements, one is 'god'.

There are those who expand on the term "religion" and include belief systems such as Atheism - not that Atheism has to be a belief system, but it certainly can be.
This is unusual, and not within the normal usage of 'religion'.

Others expand it the other direction, so that Pantheism and Deism are forms of Atheism, as they lack some traditional elements of religion.

So if someone such as yourself has the opinion that religion is distinct from god, and suggests that someone else (Boyer) shares that view, it would need to be shown, as the term 'religion' includes god.

So when you say "What they suggest is supported by data is that religious (read: metaphysical)(and I add read: god) thoughts are an emergent property of standard cognitive capacities, and the author suggests that religious concepts "hijack" our cognitive resources in a similar way that art and music do.

I think to myself, 'What seems to be the default position for the human mind, 'religion and god' or 'religion and no-god' (read Atheism)'?
Somehow, religion and atheism seems a strange combination, for a default position.

If you offered some of Boyer's words to support you opinion, it would be more convincing.
I just see an unsubstantiated opinion, that claims god does not follow from the metaphysical basis of religion.
God is not an imperative of religion?

I think you are being unnecessarily combative here and also missing the point. When I say that religious belief in this context does not necessarily involve a god concept, I am talking about in the context of the paper. You only need to read the paper to see that. It has nothing to do with mine or your concept of religion. It's irrelevant. What I am talking about here is how the term is being used in the paper, because you took a different meaning of religion, which is perhaps more correct, though it doesn't matter, to make an incorrect extrapolation of the implications of the paper's message. That's something we all need to be careful to avoid.

Again, this isn't my view of the meaning of religion. This is just the definition that is clear, though implicit, in the article. Since it's implicit, I cannot give you a quote that explicitly defines religion this way. You just need to read the paper. For example, the paper discusses ritualistic behaviours as being religiously motivated, as well as ideas of purity and pollution. None of these are necessarily tied to a god, but in the context of this paper, they are also being considered religious ideas and behaviours. They Boyer also mentions ideas of dead ancestors, spirits, etc. So while gods are also discussed as religious beliefs in this paper, Boyer is not using the term "religion" to mean a set of ideas necessarily connected to a god or gods.

The default position, at least in science and formal logic, as I understand it, have nothing to do with what the majority believe in. If something is not empirically known or mathematically proven, the default position is to disbelief (to withhold judgement). Whether you agree with that or not, that is what is usually practised in science and mathematics.

I'm not sure what your goal is here. I think you should just read the essay. It is only two pages.

PS. I believe I have said before that I think the importance of philosophy is overstated and its perceived role in helping us understand reality is over-extended. That does not mean that I am ignorant of philosophy and its methods, or that I haven't studied philosophy. Philosophy plays an important enough role in science that most of us were required to study it during our undergraduate degrees.
RuvDraba
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5/27/2015 5:10:02 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/27/2015 2:24:35 PM, UndeniableReality wrote:
I believe I have said before that I think the importance of philosophy is overstated and its perceived role in helping us understand reality is over-extended. That does not mean that I am ignorant of philosophy and its methods, or that I haven't studied philosophy. Philosophy plays an important enough role in science that most of us were required to study it during our undergraduate degrees.

I won't interject in your discussion with Welfare_Worker, UR. In view of the current tone, I simply wish you better luck in establishing a respectful, constructive conversation than I've had.

However, I wanted to say. I strongly agree with your point about philosophy. I think it's a great source of conjecture but a poor source of insight. We cannot claim understanding until our ability to predict is tested, and tested prediction is the domain of science.

Philosophy strives to be logical, but logic alone can't compensate for linguistic confusion, biased assumptions, and a failure to observe and test systematically. Moreover, the discipline itself seems indifferent to the accountability of thought, and is as likely to support apologetics for erroneous thought as to point out the thought was erroneous in the first place.

I think it's valuable as a creative, exploratory discipline, but like you I think its centrality is overstated.
UndeniableReality
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5/27/2015 5:21:25 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/27/2015 5:10:02 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 5/27/2015 2:24:35 PM, UndeniableReality wrote:
I believe I have said before that I think the importance of philosophy is overstated and its perceived role in helping us understand reality is over-extended. That does not mean that I am ignorant of philosophy and its methods, or that I haven't studied philosophy. Philosophy plays an important enough role in science that most of us were required to study it during our undergraduate degrees.

I won't interject in your discussion with Welfare_Worker, UR. In view of the current tone, I simply wish you better luck in establishing a respectful, constructive conversation than I've had.

However, I wanted to say. I strongly agree with your point about philosophy. I think it's a great source of conjecture but a poor source of insight. We cannot claim understanding until our ability to predict is tested, and tested prediction is the domain of science.

Philosophy strives to be logical, but logic alone can't compensate for linguistic confusion, biased assumptions, and a failure to observe and test systematically. Moreover, the discipline itself seems indifferent to the accountability of thought, and is as likely to support apologetics for erroneous thought as to point out the thought was erroneous in the first place.

I think it's valuable as a creative, exploratory discipline, but like you I think its centrality is overstated.

I just reread my post to make sure I wasn't being offensive, only to notice that my spelling and grammar were most certainly offensive. I should proofread more!

As far as I'm concerned, you're welcome to interject, and I'd be happy to hear your thoughts on the issue. So perhaps we should leave it up to WW.

Yep, that is the gist of my view of the role of philosophy in modern times, and some of the problems that arise when we take philosophy to be a way to learn about reality. The methods of philosophy cannot necessarily differentiate between fact and fiction, or determine which set of premises is more true (correspondent with reality), but philosophy can certainly help you derive a method that is capable of making those determinations, as well as help scientists ask better questions.

I'm curious whether your early science education (and by early, of course I mean undergraduate) involved training in philosophy as well. Where I did my undergraduate, courses in philosophy and critical thinking were required for all science students, but I don't think that's true at all schools.
RuvDraba
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5/27/2015 5:42:21 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/27/2015 5:21:25 PM, UndeniableReality wrote:
At 5/27/2015 5:10:02 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 5/27/2015 2:24:35 PM, UndeniableReality wrote:
I believe I have said before that I think the importance of philosophy is overstated and its perceived role in helping us understand reality is over-extended. That does not mean that I am ignorant of philosophy and its methods, or that I haven't studied philosophy. Philosophy plays an important enough role in science that most of us were required to study it during our undergraduate degrees.
I won't interject in your discussion with Welfare_Worker, UR. In view of the current tone, I simply wish you better luck in establishing a respectful, constructive conversation than I've had.
However, I wanted to say. I strongly agree with your point about philosophy. I think it's a great source of conjecture but a poor source of insight. We cannot claim understanding until our ability to predict is tested, and tested prediction is the domain of science.
I just reread my post to make sure I wasn't being offensive, only to notice that my spelling and grammar were most certainly offensive. I should proofread more!
I've never had worse spelling and grammar than on DDO. I'm not sure whether it's age or the UI, but I'm frequently embarrassed by what I've written (as opposed to what I meant.)

As far as I'm concerned, you're welcome to interject, and I'd be happy to hear your thoughts on the issue.
WW has elected to avoid responding to my posts, and I am trying to respect that. :)

I'm curious whether your early science education (and by early, of course I mean undergraduate) involved training in philosophy as well. Where I did my undergraduate, courses in philosophy and critical thinking were required for all science students, but I don't think that's true at all schools.
Philosophy courses were offered but not compulsory in our science degrees. I'm something of a history/humanities geek, so I sucked it up that way as I previously had during my high school studies of history and science. Subsequently I did a postdoc in a project full of logicians, most of whom were former philosophers and seminarians. It was a... er... rarified atmosphere where, when all was said and done, often a lot more was said than done -- but made for fun lunchtime conversations.
RuvDraba
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5/27/2015 7:31:42 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/27/2015 5:42:21 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
I'm something of a history/humanities geek, so I sucked it up that way as I previously had during my high school studies of history and science.

By 'that way', I mean informally, through my own interests, rather than formally, through an assessed course. Sorry for any confusion.
Welfare-Worker
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5/28/2015 6:40:51 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/27/2015 2:24:35 PM, UndeniableReality wrote:
At 5/27/2015 12:52:24 PM, Welfare-Worker wrote:

Others expand it the other direction, so that Pantheism and Deism are forms of Atheism, as they lack some traditional elements of religion.

So if someone such as yourself has the opinion that religion is distinct from god, and suggests that someone else (Boyer) shares that view, it would need to be shown, as the term 'religion' includes god.

So when you say "What they suggest is supported by data is that religious (read: metaphysical)(and I add read: god) thoughts are an emergent property of standard cognitive capacities, and the author suggests that religious concepts "hijack" our cognitive resources in a similar way that art and music do.

I think to myself, 'What seems to be the default position for the human mind, 'religion and god' or 'religion and no-god' (read Atheism)'?
Somehow, religion and atheism seems a strange combination, for a default position.

If you offered some of Boyer's words to support you opinion, it would be more convincing.
I just see an unsubstantiated opinion, that claims god does not follow from the metaphysical basis of religion.
God is not an imperative of religion?

I think you are being unnecessarily combative here and also missing the point. When I say that religious belief in this context does not necessarily involve a god concept, I am talking about in the context of the paper. You only need to read the paper to see that. It has nothing to do with mine or your concept of religion. It's irrelevant. What I am talking about here is how the term is being used in the paper, because you took a different meaning of religion, which is perhaps more correct, though it doesn't matter, to make an incorrect extrapolation of the implications of the paper's message. That's something we all need to be careful to avoid.

On a debate forum, I disagree with your opinion, that is not substantiated with anything except your opinion, and you think I am being combative.
"Religion" has a meaning. No where in the article does the author say he is giving it a new meaning. I read the article,, with the conventional meaning, and it makes perfect sense to me. You read the same article and think that this can't possibly mean 'religion' as it Is used in psychology or philosophy textbooks, it must mean something else.
He goes to considerable length to discuss the 'god concept' people have, and you take this to mean religion without god.
" In other words, what makes a god-concept convincing is not what makes a ritual intuitively compelling or what makes a moral norm self-evident. Most modern, organized religions present themselves as a package that integrates all these disparate elements (ritual, morality, metaphysics, social identity) into one consistent doctrine and practice. But this is pure advertising. These domains remain separated in human cognition. The evidence shows that the mind has no single belief network, but myriad distinct networks that contribute to making religious claims quite natural to many people."


Again, this isn't my view of the meaning of religion. This is just the definition that is clear, though implicit, in the article. Since it's implicit, I cannot give you a quote that explicitly defines religion this way. You just need to read the paper. For example, the paper discusses ritualistic behaviours as being religiously motivated, as well as ideas of purity and pollution. None of these are necessarily tied to a god, but in the context of this paper, they are also being considered religious ideas and behaviours. They Boyer also mentions ideas of dead ancestors, spirits, etc. So while gods are also discussed as religious beliefs in this paper, Boyer is not using the term "religion" to mean a set of ideas necessarily connected to a god or gods.

I just showed one paragraph where it is all there, a discussion of god-concept, modern organized religion, human cognition, mind, and religious claims.
The context seem clear to me. Why are you so confused?
You find sections, out of context, where there may be a disconnect, except, within context, he draws a clear connection.

The default position, at least in science and formal logic, as I understand it, have nothing to do with what the majority believe in. If something is not empirically known or mathematically proven, the default position is to disbelief (to withhold judgement). Whether you agree with that or not, that is what is usually practised in science and mathematics.

You believe the domain of science and mathematics is to define the meaning of the terms 'Theism' and 'Atheism', and decide which is default in the human mind. Seriously?
You read an essay by a profession who says religion is a default position in the human mind, and still believe it is Atheism. Seriously?
What seems to escape you is the 'Why' of Theism.

Did you take time to read the closing paragraph?
"Some form of religious thinking seems to be the path of least resistance for our cognitive systems. By contrast, disbelief is generally the result of deliberate, effortful work against our natural cognitive dispositions " hardly the easiest ideology to propagate."


Disbelief (as required by Atheism) is "effortful work against our natural cognitive dispositions".
It is swimming upstream, against the current. Default takes you downstream, with the current. That is how I see it.
Default does not have to with right or wrong. That is why my computer gives me a choice, the code writers realize for me default may not be the right choice.

I'm not sure what your goal is here. I think you should just read the essay. It is only two pages.

Hello. This is a debate forum. My goal is to defend my claims with substantiation.

I read the paper three or four times. I just read it again.

I find the opining paragraph to support my position very well.
"Is religion a product of our evolution? The very question makes many people, religious or otherwise, cringe, although for different reasons. Some people of faith fear that an understanding of the processes underlying belief could undermine it. Others worry that what is shown to be part of our evolutionary heritage will be interpreted as good, true, necessary or inevitable. Still others, many scientists included, simply dismiss the whole issue, seeing religion as childish, dangerous nonsense.
"
Clearly he is using the word religion as people who practice religion use it.

"Such responses make it difficult to establish why and how religious thought is so pervasive in human societies " an understanding that is especially relevant in the current climate of religious fundamentalism. "

I take it you think he means the kind of 'religious fundamentalism' without god - like that can exist.

PS. I believe I have said before that I think the importance of philosophy is overstated and its perceived role in helping us understand reality is over-extended. That does not mean that I am ignorant of philosophy and its methods, or that I haven't studied philosophy. Philosophy plays an important enough role in science :that most of us were required to study it during our undergraduate degrees.

Bravo for taking Philosophy 101 and Philosophy of Science 201.
Welfare-Worker
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5/28/2015 8:09:59 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/27/2015 5:42:21 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 5/27/2015 5:21:25 PM, UndeniableReality wrote:
At 5/27/2015 5:10:02 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 5/27/2015 2:24:35 PM, UndeniableReality wrote:
I believe I have said before that I think the importance of philosophy is overstated and its perceived role in helping us understand reality is over-extended. That does not mean that I am ignorant of philosophy and its methods, or that I haven't studied philosophy. Philosophy plays an important enough role in science that most of us were required to study it during our undergraduate degrees.
I won't interject in your discussion with Welfare_Worker, UR. In view of the current tone, I simply wish you better luck in establishing a respectful, constructive conversation than I've had.
However, I wanted to say. I strongly agree with your point about philosophy. I think it's a great source of conjecture but a poor source of insight. We cannot claim understanding until our ability to predict is tested, and tested prediction is the domain of science.
I just reread my post to make sure I wasn't being offensive, only to notice that my spelling and grammar were most certainly offensive. I should proofread more!
I've never had worse spelling and grammar than on DDO. I'm not sure whether it's age or the UI, but I'm frequently embarrassed by what I've written (as opposed to what I meant.)

As far as I'm concerned, you're welcome to interject, and I'd be happy to hear your thoughts on the issue.
WW has elected to avoid responding to my posts, and I am trying to respect that. :)

Mr RD
Early on I tried to have a conversation with you and you ignored me. You refused to answer some very simple 'yes' or 'no' questions about your posts.

You finally posted what I considered to be clear and to the point.
"I now understand you have rapidly formed a personal hatred and will be chasing me about in forums trying to abuse and humiliate me."
http://www.debate.org...

When I asked questions, you were humiliated.
Engaging in conversation with you was abuse.

So now you have become the stalker, chasing me about in the forums, despite your obvious clear understanding that I have chosen to let you be free from my abuse.

"To aid you in your efforts I will not respond to any of your posts, that should free you from believing you are being chased."
http://www.debate.org...

Whether you have walked away from the twelve steps, or and are simply a masochist, who can say.

Some people see debate as merely being an expression of opinion.
You state your position, I state mine, and the subject is closed.
Well, I am not interested in that type of discussion.

Some people consider themselves to be such an authority, that they do not have to back up their claims with substantiation. If they hold more pieces of paper, then their position is exhausted, on all subjects. In a debate, they are the winner before they have posted a single word. There is no source that can add any credence to the believability of their claims. Once their position has been stated, all has been said.
Well, I do not find that engaging.

I find enough intelligence in your posts as to be confusing.
At times you seem to have a clear and lucid mind, containing much knowledge.
And then you say something so bizarre that I can only conclude you are one of these wunderkinds who are so fond of frequenting adult discussion forums.
We have some here, nothing unusual about that. I say, let them stay, and interact with the grownups. They may learn a thing or two that is not in their books.
If they want to pretend to be grownups, I will pretend to treat them as grownups, until they are really nothing but a nuisance. My grandchildren are welcome to be involved in any adult conversation, until the are instructed to leave or be silent.

How can someone make a statement such as:
Actually, the historical definition has always been wrong.
http://www.debate.org...

I have two suggestions on how someone might hold this belief.
One, they have only been walking this earth a decade, and little more.
Two, they are a pompous arse.
I am not sure which applies in your case.

An historical definition, as in usage, cannot be 'wrong'. It is what it is.
If we disagree with monarchy, we cannot say England has had the definition of "King" wrong all these centuries, since Kings have no divine or bestowed right to rule a country.
"King" has meant the ruler of a country. When it is spoken, that is what is meant, when heard, that is what is understood. We have no substantiation to say it has not been used properly simply because we disagree with the usage.
Usage defines a word, not precocious 12 year olds or pompous arses.

I have never seen you reference any source to substantiate any of your claims.
I have not read all of your claims, so who is to say it might not have happened? - not me.
I will only say that among the dozens and dozens of outlandish claims I have read (not counting the reasonable ones) never a referenced source, and very seldom any acceptable rational for how you arrived at such highly questionable beliefs.

Your rebuttals have the nature of "The Good Dr has spoken."
If I question the Good Dr, I get silence, or more 'You must not have been reading, as I explained how it is. Nothing more needs to be said.' (paraphrased)
They are equally informative responses.
RuvDraba
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5/28/2015 3:01:26 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/28/2015 8:09:59 AM, Welfare-Worker wrote:
At 5/27/2015 5:42:21 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 5/27/2015 5:21:25 PM, UndeniableReality wrote:
At 5/27/2015 5:10:02 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 5/27/2015 2:24:35 PM, UndeniableReality wrote:
I believe I have said before that I think the importance of philosophy is overstated and its perceived role in helping us understand reality is over-extended. That does not mean that I am ignorant of philosophy and its methods, or that I haven't studied philosophy. Philosophy plays an important enough role in science that most of us were required to study it during our undergraduate degrees.
I won't interject in your discussion with Welfare_Worker, UR. In view of the current tone, I simply wish you better luck in establishing a respectful, constructive conversation than I've had.
However, I wanted to say. I strongly agree with your point about philosophy. I think it's a great source of conjecture but a poor source of insight. We cannot claim understanding until our ability to predict is tested, and tested prediction is the domain of science.
As far as I'm concerned, you're welcome to interject, and I'd be happy to hear your thoughts on the issue.
WW has elected to avoid responding to my posts, and I am trying to respect that. :)
you have become the stalker, chasing me about in the forums, despite your obvious clear understanding that I have chosen to let you be free from my abuse.

WW, I think you often have a problem with tone, and sometimes with the depth of your reading. I think this thread has demonstrated examples of both.

But that's not for me to criticise -- you may simply wish to reflect on that as a possible cause for members to disengage from you abruptly in discussion at times. Nevertheless, I wish you well in this discussion, and hope that won't happen here.

Regarding the regrettable personal rant you posted above, I haven't accused you of stalking; only targeted serial belligerence and abuse. You've always been free to respond to my posts or not as you see fit. You've elected not to, which has done me no harm at all, and which I have therefore sought to respect by not replying directly to yours, except to offer the occasional compliment. You're free to change that position whenever you want, but be assured that if you return to the belligerent rudeness you were previously indulging, I will make my views on that clear.

Beyond that, I have no further comment. I'm using the forums as intended -- to discuss ideas of interest. Most of the time, those ideas will not be yours.

I trust that you are using the forums as intended too, and finding your discussions worthwhile. However, should you ever find my posts disagreeable in any way, this site has a block function, which of course you are welcome to use.

Sincerely, Ruv.
UndeniableReality
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5/29/2015 1:07:12 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/28/2015 6:40:51 AM, Welfare-Worker wrote:
At 5/27/2015 2:24:35 PM, UndeniableReality wrote:

On a debate forum, I disagree with your opinion, that is not substantiated with anything except your opinion, and you think I am being combative.
"Religion" has a meaning. No where in the article does the author say he is giving it a new meaning. I read the article,, with the conventional meaning, and it makes perfect sense to me. You read the same article and think that this can't possibly mean 'religion' as it Is used in psychology or philosophy textbooks, it must mean something else.
He goes to considerable length to discuss the 'god concept' people have, and you take this to mean religion without god.
" In other words, what makes a god-concept convincing is not what makes a ritual intuitively compelling or what makes a moral norm self-evident. Most modern, organized religions present themselves as a package that integrates all these disparate elements (ritual, morality, metaphysics, social identity) into one consistent doctrine and practice. But this is pure advertising. These domains remain separated in human cognition. The evidence shows that the mind has no single belief network, but myriad distinct networks that contribute to making religious claims quite natural to many people."


I said you are being unnecessarily combative because we could simply have a discussion without making underhanded comments or the condescending tone. If that's not something you're use to, fine.

Let me be even more clear. As I said, it isn't my opinion. Reading the article, it is clear that the term "religion" isn't being used to exclusively mean something relating to a god belief. Furthermore, you will find in most dictionaries that the term religion has usages outside of god beliefs or god worship. Finally, there is no need to misrepresent what I have said by stating that I take his discussion about god beliefs to mean that he says religion is without god. I clearly stated that god concepts are also discussed as part of religious belief, but that other sections of the article discuss beliefs, which are being called religious beliefs in the context of the paper, which are not contingent on a god concept. Therefore, religion is being used more broadly than simply referring to beliefs about gods.

I'm sure, especially given what I have already said, that you understand that finding an example where the paper discusses religious beliefs involving gods concepts does not imply that religion, as it is being used in the article, does not necessarily require a god concept, so I am not sure why you thought quoting that section of text had value for your point. I also gave you examples where religion is being discussed with respect to beliefs that are separate, or not contingent on, god beliefs.

I just showed one paragraph where it is all there, a discussion of god-concept, modern organized religion, human cognition, mind, and religious claims.
The context seem clear to me. Why are you so confused?
You find sections, out of context, where there may be a disconnect, except, within context, he draws a clear connection.

And this section of text to you implies that his usage of religion is that it must involve a god belief? Are you sure you've read the whole paper? Regardless, how does finding an example of x in A imply that all A contains an x, which seems to be the premise of your conclusion here.

The default position, at least in science and formal logic, as I understand it, have nothing to do with what the majority believe in. If something is not empirically known or mathematically proven, the default position is to disbelief (to withhold judgement). Whether you agree with that or not, that is what is usually practised in science and mathematics.

You believe the domain of science and mathematics is to define the meaning of the terms 'Theism' and 'Atheism', and decide which is default in the human mind. Seriously?

No. Go ahead and point to anything I have said that suggests this. I am inviting you to demonstrate a definition of "default position" that is consistent with "what the majority believes". Is it no longer true that philosophers hold that the burden of proof rests on the positive claim? Is it now based on popularity?

You read an essay by a profession who says religion is a default position in the human mind, and still believe it is Atheism. Seriously?

You're equivocating on the phrase "default position" here.

What seems to escape you is the 'Why' of Theism.

Relevance? We WERE talking about correctly representing original sources, but the entirety of your posts seem to now be about semantic details.

Did you take time to read the closing paragraph?
"Some form of religious thinking seems to be the path of least resistance for our cognitive systems. By contrast, disbelief is generally the result of deliberate, effortful work against our natural cognitive dispositions " hardly the easiest ideology to propagate."


Yes, I did read it. I thought I had commented on it.

Disbelief (as required by Atheism) is "effortful work against our natural cognitive dispositions".
It is swimming upstream, against the current. Default takes you downstream, with the current. That is how I see it.

I thought you disliked unsubstantiated opinions. This again is an equivocation on "default position". Since you're so keen on philosophy, you should be able to say what the default position typically refers to.

Default does not have to with right or wrong. That is why my computer gives me a choice, the code writers realize for me default may not be the right choice.

Yes. Who said it has to do with right or wrong? Typically it has to do with whether a statement has with it the burden of the proof that it requires.

Hello. This is a debate forum. My goal is to defend my claims with substantiation.

That doesn't come across in your posts. And is that really your goal? Not to find whether your claims are true and to replace false claims with true claims?

I read the paper three or four times. I just read it again.

I find the opining paragraph to support my position very well.
"Is religion a product of our evolution? The very question makes many people, religious or otherwise, cringe, although for different reasons. Some people of faith fear that an understanding of the processes underlying belief could undermine it. Others worry that what is shown to be part of our evolutionary heritage will be interpreted as good, true, necessary or inevitable. Still others, many scientists included, simply dismiss the whole issue, seeing religion as childish, dangerous nonsense.
"
Clearly he is using the word religion as people who practice religion use it.

"Such responses make it difficult to establish why and how religious thought is so pervasive in human societies " an understanding that is especially relevant in the current climate of religious fundamentalism. "

I take it you think he means the kind of 'religious fundamentalism' without god - like that can exist.

How is it clear that he is referring only to sets of beliefs which contain a god belief? You can read that to mean any set of metaphysical beliefs, such as those found in Jainism and certain sects of Buddhism, and it still reads just as coherently.

PS. I believe I have said before that I think the importance of philosophy is overstated and its perceived role in helping us understand reality is over-extended. That does not mean that I am ignorant of philosophy and its methods, or that I haven't studied philosophy. Philosophy plays an important enough role in science that most of us were required to study it during our undergraduate degrees.

Bravo for taking Philosophy 101 and Philosophy of Science 201

That's okay, you're not required to res
UndeniableReality
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5/29/2015 1:08:38 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/28/2015 6:40:51 AM, Welfare-Worker wrote:
At 5/27/2015 2:24:35 PM, UndeniableReality wrote:
At 5/27/2015 12:52:24 PM, Welfare-Worker wrote:

PS. I believe I have said before that I think the importance of philosophy is overstated and its perceived role in helping us understand reality is over-extended. That does not mean that I am ignorant of philosophy and its methods, or that I haven't studied philosophy. Philosophy plays an important enough role in science :that most of us were required to study it during our undergraduate degrees.

Bravo for taking Philosophy 101 and Philosophy of Science 201.

Got cut off there. I meant to write, "That's okay, you're not required to respond to the post-script rationally or maturely".
Mhykiel
Posts: 5,987
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6/5/2015 8:23:22 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/26/2015 7:44:02 PM, UndeniableReality wrote:
At 5/26/2015 12:40:12 PM, janesix wrote:
At 5/26/2015 12:26:33 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 5/26/2015 8:10:46 AM, UndeniableReality wrote:
I recommend that anyone interested read the original article (posted here: http://www.researchgate.net...)

Thanks, UR. A colour reproduction of its original appearance in Nature (2008) can also be found here: [https://artsci.wustl.edu...] Author Pascal Boyer works at Washington University in St Louis. He has an interest in religion as an outgrowth of other cognitive development. As he writes:

Naturalness of Religion: This cognitive framework was developed to account for the recurrent properties of religious concepts and norms in different cultures. The latter are parasitic upon standard cognitive systems that evolved outside of religion, such as agency-detection, moral intuition, coalitional psychology and contagion-avoidance. Religious concepts and norms can be explained as a by-product of standard cognitive architecture. [https://artsci.wustl.edu...]

As a suggestion for members who have difficulty sourcing paid science articles: always search for the author and title prior to linking. Since scientific articles are normally paid for with public monies (scientists and their institutions don't normally get a cent from the journals they publish to), scientists often reproduce their articles on their own institutional websites, and some professional science societies may also aggregate them too, and publish freely thereafter.

By way of further context, written as an essay, Boyer's original article is itself an opinion-piece. When written by a respected researcher in the field, such opinion is typically a valuable part of the continuing scientific conversation, but is not so much an experimental finding as a summary of the state of play, and a synthesis of where it might be going.

Moreover, as my colleague UR points out, the blog article quoted at the top of this thread (which is about the same length as the article it cites), seldom refers to, quotes or discusses the article it purports to be talking about, but rather goes off in its own directions. If you're wondering why, its writer describes himself as one who loves "reading the popular science journals but I often find myself having a different point of view." [http://www.science20.com...]

Or put another way, as a science writer he's not interested in science journalism so much as his own ideas about science. He seems not to have interviewed Boyer, or surveyed the literature itself in any methodical way. So to sum up, the article quoted in full at top is a nonscientific opinion about one scientist's opinion about science.

So as another hint for members who want to link science articles: there's science journalism and science opinion. Science journalism is by far the more accurate and comprehensive in its reportage (especially when the journals have editors who are actually scientists), however, science opinion can be interesting too, if a) it's by someone who knows what they're talking about; and b) you realise that's what it is.

But that aside, I myself also say 'no' to ATB-heists. Leave German techno-dance DJ Andre Tanneberger alone! [ http://en.wikipedia.org... ]

Thanks for the tip. It is frustrating that I can't afford to access a lot of the scientific literature that I want to read.

It's frustrating for researchers as well. We know the taxpayer paid for most of this research, yet publishers block them from accessing it. There's a movement to publish in open-access journals so that our work is publically available, but it costs us thousands of dollars per paper (the publishers require the researchers to pay to publish for the open-access model). We all lose. Except for the publishers.

Given the scientific community is educated like birds.. The elder feeding the younger regurgitated partially digested concepts. Or like a pen where pigs get fat off eating each others feces.

Why don't you experts just mail papers to each other and after review post on a cheap website.

For some genius like yourself it can't be that hard to create a privileged user base and post papers. I bet there is even an open source CMS to do so.
Saint_of_Me
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6/5/2015 8:46:15 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
This school of thought has actually been around for sometime now. And it has its roots in the field of Evolutionary Psychology. (In which I majored in college!) Well, sort of: my degree is only in Psych. But I am currently working on my MA, and when I take it, hopefully in another year or so, it will be in Evo Psych.

So maybe I can weigh in here? First of all, there are several contemporary authors who dwell in this line of thinking. All of them atheists, BTW. Steve Pinker is probably the most popular one. And Dan Dennett is also pretty prolific. Sam Harris, even though not really a man of science as are those two, and is usually a bit more scathing on religion, has too spoke of the idea that belief in some sort of god is engrained in our DNA and probably even was a significant factor in allowing us (homo sapiens) to prevail during the evolutionary process over other subspecies, such as Neanderthal.

The thinking goes something like this: religion, or belief in a god, or a compulsion to do so, is an undesirable by-product of our evolved minds. Which, as we know, are absolutely obsessed with seeking patterns and causes for things. Looking at the Big Picture. Oft-times disavowing the mundane-ness of life, the randomness, and insisting there must be a larger cause or reason at the source of all things.

This is why we have conspiracy theories, for example. So..while this pattern-seeking was unarguably a very desirous trait when we were hunting and gathering on the unforgiving African Savannahs some 70,000 years ago, these days, it is often a tad less desirous and indeed can be problematic.

And in the case of religion, or a belief in a personal god, downright debilitating. LOL

Most of us cannnot even be random if wet tried! For example: did you know the average person cannot even generate a totally random sequence of integers?

Like this.....2-9-33-12-4-77-23-11-8-0-1-1-9-44-13-85-20.

OK..I tried my best there, for a second. And it looks random to me. But I would be willing if any math guy were to take the time to look at it (Dann?) he would find a pattern in there somewhere.

So...the EvoPsych line of reasoning further postulates that once we gained self-awareness, we were ovecome with the dire thought of a tenuous, sure-to-end lifespan. Soooo....ya get gods. And religion. And some say, like the authors of the OP link, that this can NOT be escaped. Even for a Hitchens or a Dawkins.

I disagree. I myself admit I am guilty of sometimes engaging in magical thinking involving higher powers--no matter how hard I try not to--but I believe there are folks bereft of ANY shred of non-logical and pragmatic thought processes.

The OP link equated "self talk" with a belief in a higher power of something vaguely theistic. This I also disagree with. I believe it is merely a personal type of cognitive methodology. Perhaps a motivator. Something like that.
Science Flies Us to the Moon. Religion Flies us Into Skyscrapers.
UndeniableReality
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6/5/2015 10:44:34 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/5/2015 8:23:22 PM, Mhykiel wrote:
At 5/26/2015 7:44:02 PM, UndeniableReality wrote:
At 5/26/2015 12:40:12 PM, janesix wrote:
At 5/26/2015 12:26:33 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 5/26/2015 8:10:46 AM, UndeniableReality wrote:
I recommend that anyone interested read the original article (posted here: http://www.researchgate.net...)

Thanks, UR. A colour reproduction of its original appearance in Nature (2008) can also be found here: [https://artsci.wustl.edu...] Author Pascal Boyer works at Washington University in St Louis. He has an interest in religion as an outgrowth of other cognitive development. As he writes:

Naturalness of Religion: This cognitive framework was developed to account for the recurrent properties of religious concepts and norms in different cultures. The latter are parasitic upon standard cognitive systems that evolved outside of religion, such as agency-detection, moral intuition, coalitional psychology and contagion-avoidance. Religious concepts and norms can be explained as a by-product of standard cognitive architecture. [https://artsci.wustl.edu...]

As a suggestion for members who have difficulty sourcing paid science articles: always search for the author and title prior to linking. Since scientific articles are normally paid for with public monies (scientists and their institutions don't normally get a cent from the journals they publish to), scientists often reproduce their articles on their own institutional websites, and some professional science societies may also aggregate them too, and publish freely thereafter.

By way of further context, written as an essay, Boyer's original article is itself an opinion-piece. When written by a respected researcher in the field, such opinion is typically a valuable part of the continuing scientific conversation, but is not so much an experimental finding as a summary of the state of play, and a synthesis of where it might be going.

Moreover, as my colleague UR points out, the blog article quoted at the top of this thread (which is about the same length as the article it cites), seldom refers to, quotes or discusses the article it purports to be talking about, but rather goes off in its own directions. If you're wondering why, its writer describes himself as one who loves "reading the popular science journals but I often find myself having a different point of view." [http://www.science20.com...]

Or put another way, as a science writer he's not interested in science journalism so much as his own ideas about science. He seems not to have interviewed Boyer, or surveyed the literature itself in any methodical way. So to sum up, the article quoted in full at top is a nonscientific opinion about one scientist's opinion about science.

So as another hint for members who want to link science articles: there's science journalism and science opinion. Science journalism is by far the more accurate and comprehensive in its reportage (especially when the journals have editors who are actually scientists), however, science opinion can be interesting too, if a) it's by someone who knows what they're talking about; and b) you realise that's what it is.

But that aside, I myself also say 'no' to ATB-heists. Leave German techno-dance DJ Andre Tanneberger alone! [ http://en.wikipedia.org... ]

Thanks for the tip. It is frustrating that I can't afford to access a lot of the scientific literature that I want to read.

It's frustrating for researchers as well. We know the taxpayer paid for most of this research, yet publishers block them from accessing it. There's a movement to publish in open-access journals so that our work is publically available, but it costs us thousands of dollars per paper (the publishers require the researchers to pay to publish for the open-access model). We all lose. Except for the publishers.

Given the scientific community is educated like birds.. The elder feeding the younger regurgitated partially digested concepts. Or like a pen where pigs get fat off eating each others feces.

Is that how it worked where you studied?

Why don't you experts just mail papers to each other and after review post on a cheap website.

Maybe you can suggest how the review system should work and how the publishing system should work. There's a whole lot that goes into making a journal work, and I'm not sure whether you've considered most of it. For example, who's job would it be to collect submissions, filter them for things like plagiarism, obvious BS, and relevance to the journal topic, anonymize the papers, find appropriate reviewers, schedule and organize timelines for the review process, etc etc etc,

For some genius like yourself it can't be that hard to create a privileged user base and post papers. I bet there is even an open source CMS to do so.

Do you actually have anything useful and thought out to contribute, or are you just trying to find ways to insult scientists?
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6/6/2015 5:56:41 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/5/2015 8:46:15 PM, Saint_of_Me wrote:
This school of thought has actually been around for sometime now. And it has its roots in the field of Evolutionary Psychology. (In which I majored in college!) Well, sort of: my degree is only in Psych. But I am currently working on my MA, and when I take it, hopefully in another year or so, it will be in Evo Psych.

So maybe I can weigh in here? First of all, there are several contemporary authors who dwell in this line of thinking. All of them atheists, BTW. Steve Pinker is probably the most popular one. And Dan Dennett is also pretty prolific. Sam Harris, even though not really a man of science as are those two, and is usually a bit more scathing on religion, has too spoke of the idea that belief in some sort of god is engrained in our DNA and probably even was a significant factor in allowing us (homo sapiens) to prevail during the evolutionary process over other subspecies, such as Neanderthal.

The thinking goes something like this: religion, or belief in a god, or a compulsion to do so, is an undesirable by-product of our evolved minds. Which, as we know, are absolutely obsessed with seeking patterns and causes for things. Looking at the Big Picture. Oft-times disavowing the mundane-ness of life, the randomness, and insisting there must be a larger cause or reason at the source of all things.

This is why we have conspiracy theories, for example. So..while this pattern-seeking was unarguably a very desirous trait when we were hunting and gathering on the unforgiving African Savannahs some 70,000 years ago, these days, it is often a tad less desirous and indeed can be problematic.

And in the case of religion, or a belief in a personal god, downright debilitating. LOL

Most of us cannnot even be random if wet tried! For example: did you know the average person cannot even generate a totally random sequence of integers?

Like this.....2-9-33-12-4-77-23-11-8-0-1-1-9-44-13-85-20.

OK..I tried my best there, for a second. And it looks random to me. But I would be willing if any math guy were to take the time to look at it (Dann?) he would find a pattern in there somewhere.

So...the EvoPsych line of reasoning further postulates that once we gained self-awareness, we were ovecome with the dire thought of a tenuous, sure-to-end lifespan. Soooo....ya get gods. And religion. And some say, like the authors of the OP link, that this can NOT be escaped. Even for a Hitchens or a Dawkins.

I disagree. I myself admit I am guilty of sometimes engaging in magical thinking involving higher powers--no matter how hard I try not to--but I believe there are folks bereft of ANY shred of non-logical and pragmatic thought processes.

The OP link equated "self talk" with a belief in a higher power of something vaguely theistic. This I also disagree with. I believe it is merely a personal type of cognitive methodology. Perhaps a motivator. Something like that.

Thanks for the post.
I have been accused of having a problem reading for comprehension, so I would like to qualify what I read in your post.
It seems to me you disagree with UR, concerning the content of the opinion piece and the source document for it.
You do not necessarily agree with the conclusions presented - that is - that there is a DNA link to Religion and Theism, but you do agree with me that that is the information presented by Boyer and other Atheists, who are considering the evidence of Evolutionary Psychology.

Do I have it right, that between myself and UR, I seem to have a better understanding of the content, and the recent discussions in Evolutionary Psychology?