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Author Topic:   Born believers: How your brain creates God
DevilsAdvocate
Member (Idle past 1438 days)
Posts: 1548
Joined: 06-05-2008


Message 16 of 48 (497773)
02-06-2009 5:31 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by Larni
02-06-2009 4:53 AM


I was drawn to 'The Rats' by James Herbat as a kid because the grown ups were reading it.

I will have to read that. Of course the fictional but much researched 'Lord of the Flies' is also a good case study of the behavior of feral children IMO.


For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.
Dr. Carl Sagan

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Modulous
Member (Idle past 440 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 17 of 48 (497798)
02-06-2009 6:46 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by uco:nin
02-05-2009 11:04 PM


I wasn't interested in the skill of the presenter, nor the issue with the fixed camera making the slides difficult to read. It was just some of the cognitive mechanisms hinted at in Ned's post, described in more detail than the OP - for those who might be interested in learning a little more about them.

This is a 'links and information' post. You may follow links and view information here as you wish. It is not really meant to make 'headway' in the general debate.

Welcome to fora, I hope to see you more often.

Edited by Modulous, : No reason given.


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Thugpreacha
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Posts: 13349
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003
Member Rating: 1.1


Message 18 of 48 (497802)
02-06-2009 6:54 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by NosyNed
02-04-2009 3:09 PM


Imaginary Friends
I particularly like this part:
Born believers: How your brain creates God writes:

People readily form relationships with non-existent others: roughly half of all 4-year-olds have had an imaginary friend, and adults often form and maintain relationships with dead relatives, fictional characters and fantasy partners. As Barrett points out, this is an evolutionarily useful skill. Without it we would be unable to maintain large social hierarchies and alliances or anticipate what an unseen enemy might be planning.

My critics tell me that the God I believe in is but an imaginary friend within my own mind, since the real GOD, if He exists, would be so vast and all-encompassing as to be unknowable. My counter argument is that through Jesus Christ God is knowable, but my critics are unimpressed with my argument. ;) I would tell them to "get saved" but they are already Christians! :laugh:

Edited by Phat, : No reason given.


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DevilsAdvocate
Member (Idle past 1438 days)
Posts: 1548
Joined: 06-05-2008


Message 19 of 48 (497847)
02-06-2009 9:21 AM
Reply to: Message 18 by Thugpreacha
02-06-2009 6:54 AM


Re: Imaginary Friends
The human brain even at a very young age can learn the distinction between real and not real. However, even the oldest among of us can be easily fooled, hense the popularity of optical illusions, the occult, paranormal phenomena and the like.

BTW, I have a 4 year old daughter, who is an only child and does not go to preschool or day care. She is very imaginative and just for the sake of having someone to play with has dozens of imaginary friends (mainly dolls and stuffed animals). However she knows the difference between real and imaginary. She knows these imaginary friends are not real. She knows that cartoon animals really can't talk. Though she still believes in Santa Claus, mainly because the barrage of "realistic" Santa Claus movies at Christmas and he looks like a real person (and we are not so heartless to tell her he is not real).

Some things are better to let them figure out for themselves. Both for Santa Claus and for God.

Edited by DevilsAdvocate, : No reason given.


For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.
Dr. Carl Sagan

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ICANT
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Posts: 6269
From: SSC
Joined: 03-12-2007
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 20 of 48 (497984)
02-06-2009 10:38 PM
Reply to: Message 15 by DevilsAdvocate
02-06-2009 5:20 AM


Hi DA,

DevilsAdvocate writes:

It is not innate though. One is not born believing in God or religion.

I don't think I said anyone was born believing in God.

I think I said they were born with a vacuum that only God can fill.

And yes I read the Bible and yes I found it could fill that void I had in me and that void does not exist now as it is full.

God Bless,


"John 5:39 (KJS) Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."

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Replies to this message:
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Larni
Member
Posts: 3990
From: Liverpool
Joined: 09-16-2005


Message 21 of 48 (498028)
02-07-2009 10:10 AM
Reply to: Message 20 by ICANT
02-06-2009 10:38 PM


ICANT writes:

I don't think I said anyone was born believing in God.

ICANT writes:

In other words it seems a person has to learn to not believe in God.

What else could this mean?


This message is a reply to:
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Capt Stormfield
Member
Posts: 404
From: Vancouver Island
Joined: 01-17-2009


Message 22 of 48 (498029)
02-07-2009 11:57 AM
Reply to: Message 20 by ICANT
02-06-2009 10:38 PM


I think I said they were born with a vacuum that only God can fill.

On what basis would you make that claim? The many happy and fulfilled people who are raised without belief in gods would seem to be direct evidence that you are wrong.

Capt.


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ICANT
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Posts: 6269
From: SSC
Joined: 03-12-2007
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 23 of 48 (498045)
02-07-2009 2:49 PM
Reply to: Message 21 by Larni
02-07-2009 10:10 AM


Hi Larni,

Larni writes:

What else could this mean?

This:

quote:
In other words it seems a person has to learn to not believe in God.

Meant exactly what it says.

I had put forth that because of the different atheist that had said they believed in God at an early age but when they got older they did not believe in God.

That:

"IT SEEMED" a person has to learn to not believe in God.

That does not address when or why they believed in God to begin with.

Just that they did and had ceased to do so.

If my assumption is incorrect please point out where I went wrong.

God Bless,


"John 5:39 (KJS) Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."

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Replies to this message:
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DevilsAdvocate
Member (Idle past 1438 days)
Posts: 1548
Joined: 06-05-2008


Message 24 of 48 (498047)
02-07-2009 3:29 PM
Reply to: Message 23 by ICANT
02-07-2009 2:49 PM


Meant exactly what it says.

I had put forth that because of the different atheist that had said they believed in God at an early age but when they got older they did not believe in God.

That:

"IT SEEMED" a person has to learn to not believe in God.

That does not address when or why they believed in God to begin with.

Just that they did and had ceased to do so.

If my assumption is incorrect please point out where I went wrong.

So in totallity this is actually what is happening:

1. A baby is born a clean slate from which all beliefs are learned after they are born including religious beliefs i.e. the belief in God.

2. Some children are indoctrinate early in life with religious beliefs. Others grow up in nonreligious homes and later learn religion on there own.

3. Some people will maintain there religious beliefs there entire life but this belief may evolve to a greater or lesser degree or may stay relatively the same. Some people will chuck religion all together later in life and some people who were never had religious beliefs in the first place will mantain there nonreligious worldview

Either way, when a human is born they are not born with an innate belief in God. It has to be acquired later in life.

Edited by DevilsAdvocate, : No reason given.

Edited by DevilsAdvocate, : No reason given.


For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.
Dr. Carl Sagan

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 Message 23 by ICANT, posted 02-07-2009 2:49 PM ICANT has not yet responded

  
DevilsAdvocate
Member (Idle past 1438 days)
Posts: 1548
Joined: 06-05-2008


Message 25 of 48 (498049)
02-07-2009 3:57 PM
Reply to: Message 23 by ICANT
02-07-2009 2:49 PM


I had put forth that because of the different atheist that had said they believed in God at an early age but when they got older they did not believe in God.

Like myself. I also believed in Santa Claus at one time.

"IT SEEMED" a person has to learn to not believe in God.

And a person has to learn to believe in God in the first place. Your point?

We all go through life evolving in our beliefs and knowledge.

That does not address when or why they believed in God to begin with.

But you agree that a baby does not believe in God, correct? So a young child has to learn somehow to believe in God before he or she can later reject that belief. Is that not correct?

If my assumption is incorrect please point out where I went wrong.

You can believe anything you want. However whether these beliefs in any way reflects reality is what I am trying to discern.

Edited by DevilsAdvocate, : No reason given.


For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.
Dr. Carl Sagan

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 Message 23 by ICANT, posted 02-07-2009 2:49 PM ICANT has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 26 by ICANT, posted 02-07-2009 4:28 PM DevilsAdvocate has responded

  
ICANT
Member
Posts: 6269
From: SSC
Joined: 03-12-2007
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 26 of 48 (498051)
02-07-2009 4:28 PM
Reply to: Message 25 by DevilsAdvocate
02-07-2009 3:57 PM


Hi DA,

DevilsAdvocate writes:

But you agree that a baby does not believe in God, correct? So a young child has to learn somehow to believe in God before he or she can later reject that belief. Is that not correct?

Here is my statement in Message 4.

I tend to agree with Bloom, that it is hardwired.

Since I believe in God I believe he inserted a God vaccumn in each person. In this vaccumn God tries to draw all men unto Himself.

I believe it is the spirit part of mankind that has a vaccumn that nothing can fill but God.

I also believe a person can come to the point that he can not hear in his mind that vaccumn say fill me, because the mind has been filled with natural things.

God Bless,


"John 5:39 (KJS) Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."

This message is a reply to:
 Message 25 by DevilsAdvocate, posted 02-07-2009 3:57 PM DevilsAdvocate has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 27 by DevilsAdvocate, posted 02-07-2009 4:43 PM ICANT has responded

  
DevilsAdvocate
Member (Idle past 1438 days)
Posts: 1548
Joined: 06-05-2008


Message 27 of 48 (498053)
02-07-2009 4:43 PM
Reply to: Message 26 by ICANT
02-07-2009 4:28 PM


Hi ICANT,

ICANT writes:

Myself writes:

But you agree that a baby does not believe in God, correct? So a young child has to learn somehow to believe in God before he or she can later reject that belief. Is that not correct?

Here is my statement in Message 4.

I believe it is the spirit part of mankind that has a vaccumn that nothing can fill but God.

I also believe a person can come to the point that he can not hear in his mind that vaccumn say fill me, because the mind has been filled with natural things.

I'll take that as no, that is a baby does not believe in God but does have the capacity to in the future believe in God. Let me know if I am misinterpreting you on this as you kind of dodged around my question and your answer didn't really answer my question directly (I didn't ask about filling some spiritual vaccuum).

So if a baby does not believe in God but does have the capacity to (this is what I infer from your statments), then that child has to LEARN to believe in God, either on there own or through indoctrination by someone else. Correct??

Edited by DevilsAdvocate, : No reason given.


For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.
Dr. Carl Sagan

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 Message 26 by ICANT, posted 02-07-2009 4:28 PM ICANT has responded

Replies to this message:
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ICANT
Member
Posts: 6269
From: SSC
Joined: 03-12-2007
Member Rating: 1.4


Message 28 of 48 (498055)
02-07-2009 5:01 PM
Reply to: Message 27 by DevilsAdvocate
02-07-2009 4:43 PM


Hi DA,

DevilsAdvocate writes:

So if a baby does not believe in God but does have the capacity to (this is what I infer from your statments), then that child has to LEARN to believe in God, either on there own or through indoctrination by someone else. Correct??

Incorrect.

I believe if it were possible to perform an experiment with a male and a female baby where they were totally isolated from the world on an island, they would grow up believing in a God.

I could be wrong.

But that would explain why we have never discovered a people who were isolated from the world that did not believe in some kind of a God.

When people came to America they found tribes of Indians who had no Bibles yet worshiped the Great Spirit up in the happy hunting grounds.

Why did they do that?

God Bless,


"John 5:39 (KJS) Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."

This message is a reply to:
 Message 27 by DevilsAdvocate, posted 02-07-2009 4:43 PM DevilsAdvocate has responded

Replies to this message:
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Larni
Member
Posts: 3990
From: Liverpool
Joined: 09-16-2005


Message 29 of 48 (498056)
02-07-2009 5:07 PM
Reply to: Message 23 by ICANT
02-07-2009 2:49 PM


That does not address when or why they believed in God to begin with.

Can I use this as a quote when I'm next (because it is going to happen) pointing out that ToE has nothing to do with abiogenesis?


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DevilsAdvocate
Member (Idle past 1438 days)
Posts: 1548
Joined: 06-05-2008


Message 30 of 48 (498084)
02-08-2009 1:21 AM
Reply to: Message 28 by ICANT
02-07-2009 5:01 PM


ICANT writes:

I believe if it were possible to perform an experiment with a male and a female baby where they were totally isolated from the world on an island, they would grow up believing in a God.

This may or may not be true depending on how you define the term "god". However, I would venture that it is sociologically/psychologically impossible for one human being in one generation to develop a monotheistic belief in a creator God on par of the Jewish/Christian God with no previous exposure/cultural transmission of religious beliefs.

But that would explain why we have never discovered a people who were isolated from the world that did not believe in some kind of a God.

You are wrong.

The Pirahã tribe of the Amazon have no concept of God(s) or religion, though they do have a primitive form of belief called animism (human like "spirits" inhabit living and nonliving tangible things to make things animate/move). They did not worship or pray to these "spirits" but just believed them to exist to help explain their view of the world. The only purpose of these spirits is to explain why things were animate (moved), thats it. They were not considered supernatural (as everything to them was natural) and they were not considered anything like our definition of god(s). This belief is common among primitive unexposed cultures that have very little cultural transmission from one generation to the next and no exposure to cultures outside there own (up until the present day).

Here is an excerpt from Dr. Daniel Everett, a linguist professor at Illinois State University and one time missionary who has studied the Pirahã for over 30 years stated this:

Dr. Everett writes:

I sat with a Pirahã once and he said, what does your god do? What does he do? And I said, well, he made the stars, and he made the Earth. And I asked, what do you say? He said, well, you know, nobody made these things, they just always were here. They have no concept of God. They have individual spirits, but they believe that they have seen these spirits, and they believe they see them regularly. In fact, when you look into it, these aren't sort of half-invisible spirits that they're seeing, they just take on the shape of things in the environment. They'll call a jaguar a spirit, or a tree a spirit, depending on the kinds of properties that it has. "Spirit" doesn't really mean for them what it means for us, and everything they say they have to evaluate empirically. This is what I hadn't been doing, and this challenged the faith that I thought I had, to the extent that I realized that it wasn't honest for me to continue to claim to believe these things when I realized how little investigation I had done into the nature of the things I claimed to believe.

You can read more about Dr. Everett here: Recursion and Human Though: Why the Piraha Do Not Have Numbers

BTW, other cultures/religions that are atheist include Buddhism and Taoism amongst others. Religion does not have to incorporate a belief in god(s).

ICANT writes:

When people came to America they found tribes of Indians who had no Bibles yet worshiped the Great Spirit up in the happy hunting grounds.

Why did they do that?

It is only through thousands of years of human psychological and social evolution that humans have gone from:

a. acognitive (lack of thought/rationalization) i.e. an animals lack of higher cognition needed to develop a system of religious belief
b. animism/totemism (belief in human-like spirits which inhabit both living and non-living things)
c. polytheism
d. monotheism

However, even if your statement were true, would this supernatural being/entity be anything like the Jewish/Christian God of the Bible? I would have to say that would be a resounding NO. There is no way I can see that you can prove this to be absolutely true. Your historical examples i.e. the American Indians, etc only show how religious beliefs have evolved through time and have been culturall transmitted/evolved from one generation to the next.

Even so, would you consider an American Indian a Christian and saved? Would he/she go to heaven without believing in Jesus?


For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.
Dr. Carl Sagan

This message is a reply to:
 Message 28 by ICANT, posted 02-07-2009 5:01 PM ICANT has responded

Replies to this message:
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