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Tags atheism , atheists , clive james , obituaries

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Old 27th November 2019, 02:35 PM   #1
Thor 2
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Atheism - Obvious Default?

Clive James has died.

Clive amused us with comments like: "advertising agencies for a product that doesn't exist" when describing religions, and saw atheism as the obvious default position to take.

Hard to argue against this presumption I think, given that children raised without being indoctrinated in a particular religion, tend to reject them all. Well this has been my observation anyway.

It's interesting that even if kids are sent to religious schools, (as a very high percentage are in Australia), they don't embrace the religion they are exposed to there. Parental shove seems necessary.
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Old 27th November 2019, 03:18 PM   #2
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Or being raised in a home of two parents always pointing out how the religion of the other is so wrong. And saying why in a a solid manner.

Neither could prove theirs was ever right either. We had to choose an option C.
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Old 27th November 2019, 03:27 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Clive James has died.

Clive amused us with comments like: "advertising agencies for a product that doesn't exist" when describing religions, and saw atheism as the obvious default position to take.

Hard to argue against this presumption I think, given that children raised without being indoctrinated in a particular religion, tend to reject them all. Well this has been my observation anyway.

It's interesting that even if kids are sent to religious schools, (as a very high percentage are in Australia), they don't embrace the religion they are exposed to there. Parental shove seems necessary.
Seems clear to me at least that "There are no god/s" must be the null hypothesis.

The null hypothesis is generally assumed to be true until evidence indicates otherwise. (wiki) And that is generally where atheists are at. And agnostics for that matter.

In general terms, if the claimed god can be demonstrated to exist, then sure. I will believe in it an foot of the evidence provided. No theist has ever been able to do that and thus the null hypothesis stands.
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Old 27th November 2019, 04:07 PM   #4
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Well, I think we must really qualify here what kind of god.

The omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient and omnibenevolent god of Xianity for example not only isn't a default, but it's a maximally counter-intuitive proposition that not even the xians can really work with. It gets twisted into something that isn't more than one of those at a time, or even none. E.g., god couldn't save those kids from the tsunami because he was busy fixing a football match across the globe. That's denying not just omnipresence, but even omnipotence (if he can't do two things at the same time, he isn't.) Or something happened because God wasn't paying attention. The moment you have to drop most attributes to make it work in any particular situation, it tells you that it's a concept that you can't fully wrap your head around even when you want to, much less have it as a natural a default.

At the other end of the spectrum, though, animism in various forms and to various degrees seems rather natural. And not far away from one of the child mental development stages. I wouldn't be surprised if, in the absence of other information, people would default to some form of it.
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Old 27th November 2019, 04:21 PM   #5
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If atheism is such an obvious default, why is human history full of societies that settled on some form of theism? Do we even have historical examples of societies defaulting to atheism?

Too, there's the problem of ideologically atheist societies still committing the worst sins of religion. Avoiding the theos doesn't avoid the problem. So atheism probably isn't the solution

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Old 27th November 2019, 05:12 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
Seems clear to me at least that "There are no god/s" must be the null hypothesis.

The null hypothesis is generally assumed to be true until evidence indicates otherwise. (wiki) And that is generally where atheists are at. And agnostics for that matter.

In general terms, if the claimed god can be demonstrated to exist, then sure. I will believe in it an foot of the evidence provided. No theist has ever been able to do that and thus the null hypothesis stands.
The history channel had a survivor-type reality show a few years back, only it was not set in a tropical paradise so we could check out the gals in bikinis. It was set on Vancouver Island in late fall, and the idea was to put these guys who had good survival skills there with minimal equipment and see who could last the longest.

From the looks of it, the weather was terrible; nearly constant rainfall impeded their efforts at anything--hunting, fishing, cooking, staying warm, etc. And it wasn't long before the guys were praying for a break.

And that's how I suspect religion got started--with bouts of nasty weather. We are not exposed to it as much as we used to be, so it has less power over us. And we understand it much better, so most of us don't associate it with God punishing us for our sins.
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Old 27th November 2019, 07:57 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
If atheism is such an obvious default, why is human history full of societies that settled on some form of theism? Do we even have historical examples of societies defaulting to atheism?
This is my thought also. It seems to me that some kind of supernaturality has to be the default. This is then shaped by the culture in which the person finds themself born.

Null hypothesis, yes, logically I agree. But evidence suggests otherwise. To me, at least.
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Old 28th November 2019, 03:37 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Clive James has died.



Clive amused us with comments like: "advertising agencies for a product that doesn't exist" when describing religions, and saw atheism as the obvious default position to take.



Hard to argue against this presumption I think, given that children raised without being indoctrinated in a particular religion, tend to reject them all. Well this has been my observation anyway.



It's interesting that even if kids are sent to religious schools, (as a very high percentage are in Australia), they don't embrace the religion they are exposed to there. Parental shove seems necessary.
This has always been what is claimed in the UK, we all get a small dose of religion in school and that inoculates us against a full blown infection.

It's obviously not a very nuanced view and an over generalisation but I think there is a kernel of truth in it.
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Old 28th November 2019, 03:44 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well, I think we must really qualify here what kind of god.
..snip..



At the other end of the spectrum, though, animism in various forms and to various degrees seems rather natural. And not far away from one of the child mental development stages. I wouldn't be surprised if, in the absence of other information, people would default to some form of it.
I suspect it is an inevitable result of our kind of intelligence, one based on pattern detection and recognition and cause and effect and prediction. We see patterns everywhere and attempt to create models that allows us to predict the world around us, it's only comparatively recent in human history that we've found ways to objectively test our models.
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Old 28th November 2019, 05:39 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Hard to argue against this presumption I think, given that children raised without being indoctrinated in a particular religion, tend to reject them all. Well this has been my observation anyway.

Thor 2 makes a mistake that is very similar to the one that American psychologists made in the mid-1900s when they experimented with children and came to the (social-darwinist) conclusion that human beings are competitive by nature and unable to cooperate unless they are forced to do so. When a similar experiment was conducted with children from an Israeli kibbutz, they solved the exercise splendidly by cooperating. So the 'default positition' wasn't natural competitiveness. The kibbutz children had learned to cooperate, the American children had learned to compete! (And in the meantime we have even seen apes cooperate.)

So when Thor 2 makes the claim "this has been my observation anyway", you have to ask: Who exactly was observed? And the answer is obvious: Like the American psychologists, he observed the children that he is familiar with, forgetting how ethnocentric his observation is.
It is a valid objection to his idea that throughout the ages, atheism hasn't been the "obvious default position" at all, but it doesn't tell us why, so let me refer to one of my favourite examples,
Originally Posted by dann View Post
the case of the children in Beslan who were held hostage at a school by Chechen rebels:
Carat, 11: "I was hoping that Harry Potter would come. I remembered that he had a cloak that made him invisible and he would come and wrap me in it, and we'd be invisible and we'd escape."
Nine-year-old Laima draws pictures of what she saw when she was held hostage:
"I found a little cross on the gym's floor. I kept it on me for all of the three days. It helped me to survive."

What these children needed was to get the hell out of there! Once they were in safety, you could start telling them about the superstitions that people invent in uncomfortable situations that are out of their control.

Notice that Laima, in her hour of need, resorts to the religion that she is familiar with, whereas Carat invents a religion entirely of his own making by turning a fictitious character from a novel into his personal savior.
Is there any reason to think that he does so because his parents have indoctrinated him? I don't think so. Parental shove isn't necessary at all. The human mind, even the mind of a child, is all it takes to create a religion from scraps. (And in a way, all religions are akin to this: People always choose the parts of the catechism they want to believe in, the angry, vengeful God or the forgiving, merciful God, for instance.)

Nowadays, those of us who live cosy and comfortable lives find religion to be a waste of time, so it's not completely wrong to hope that non-religion will become (and is already well on the way of becoming) the default mode.
But for those of us who live in squalor and whose lives aren't (made!) secure? ... well, not so much!

And then we shouldn't forget the people who choose to believe that they are exceptionally bright and tough because they've found out that there are no gods. Even in their case, their faith is a personal choice.
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Old 28th November 2019, 05:44 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
At the other end of the spectrum, though, animism in various forms and to various degrees seems rather natural. And not far away from one of the child mental development stages. I wouldn't be surprised if, in the absence of other information, people would default to some form of it.

Even if they did, it still wouldn't be natural. It would be cultural, i.e. people, not nature, came up with it. You don't find gods in nature, not even animistic ones, unless you make them up.
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 28th November 2019, 07:15 AM   #12
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Seems to me that all the religions of the world, in all their diversity, offer one thing in common.... An afterlife.
This would have been the very early thought of primitive Animists.... That if “spirits” existed there was some sort of “spirit world”..... And since humans had a spirit too they would experience this spirit world and thus cheat death.

To my knowledge, all religions took this particular idea and ran with it, conjuring up everything from some sort of “underworld” to eternal bliss in Heaven... And dozens of other ideas in between.
We humans seem to be the only species that knows they will someday die, and we don’t much like the notion.
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Old 28th November 2019, 07:48 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Bikewer View Post
Seems to me that all the religions of the world, in all their diversity, offer one thing in common.... An afterlife.
This would have been the very early thought of primitive Animists.... That if “spirits” existed there was some sort of “spirit world”..... And since humans had a spirit too they would experience this spirit world and thus cheat death.

The 'inventors' of animism were too busy tackling the forces of nature, which they didn't understand, on a daily basis to come up with the idea of heaven. When they were afraid of thunder and ligtning, before the invention of the lightning rod, they invented a god of thunder that could be appeased. In this way, at least they could pretend to have some kind of control of their environment instead of lying scared ****less on the floor of the cave.
And no, not all religions believe in an afterlife. Some of them don't even find it desirable:

Quote:
The Lucumí religion doesn't share the Christian belief that humans are rewarded for good behavior in the afterlife. The idea that one might live a difficult, painful, and unrewarding life on earth but have eternal glory in Heaven is foreign to practitioners of Santería. Instead, Santeros and Santeras try to have the best life they can have on earth, and to live out their natural life span with the blessings of good health, prosperity, inner peace, and good relationships with others.
About Santeria

I was married to a Cuban santera, who was very religious but explicitly didn't believe in an afterlife. Los Van Van, one of my favourite Cuban salsa bands with many textual references to Santeria, sings: "La vida es una sola / Hay que vivirla y punto / Sin temor" There's only one life, you have to live it, and that's it, without fear

Quote:
To my knowledge, all religions took this particular idea and ran with it, conjuring up everything from some sort of “underworld” to eternal bliss in Heaven... And dozens of other ideas in between.
We humans seem to be the only species that knows they will someday die, and we don’t much like the notion.

Many religions are much more concerned with attaining some kind of imaginary control of events that are actually out of their control. That's the point of both all the saints of Catholicism and all the orishas of Santeria/Lucumi.
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"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx

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Old 28th November 2019, 10:13 AM   #14
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In rational thinking, yes, Atheism is default. What isn't empirically and rationally there doesn't count for anything.

But empirical/rational thinking as the basis of decision making and belief is somewhat a new thing for our species. We are rooted in, and most people operate from (see the politics section of the Forum) mythopoetic, emotional narratives and a anthropocentric paradigm for relating to nature and the universe.

So called "primitive man" takes hir environment personally, approaching other creatures and natural features as if they were Human and communal. Personality and spirit are projected onto things that don't objectively behave like Human persons. Relating to nature this way was the default for tens of thousands of years. And it's still very much with us.

Most of us navigate the world through stories, especially those narratives that are integral to our personal identities. So we have a strong tendency to think in terms of protagonists. History is made of special people, heroes, extraordinaires. And when it comes to our natural environment, if we aren't finding dyads in trees, or the Great Spirit of the forest, we want to posit a tinkerer, artist, or inventor to account for the existence of trees.

So, as a child, I didn't question the obvious, the Great Protagonist.

If you throw reasons and facts at a Theist, you know what happens. it's a whoosh. Or as is the case for a very intelligent and educated Theist I know it's the occasion to quote Kierkegaard, "Truth is subjectivity."

We Humans have an emotionally felt sense of transcendence that we fill with stories and their protagonists, so I'd wager that if androids birthed Human embryos from artificial wombs on a planet far, far away from Animists and Theists, those Humans would shortly begin yearning for the Great Spirit, as quickly as they'd be making of their own self-consciousnesses supernatural spirits.
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Old 28th November 2019, 01:53 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Apathia View Post
Or as is the case for a very intelligent and educated Theist I know it's the occasion to quote Kierkegaard, "Truth is subjectivity."

Oh boy, that's a Dane I really can't stand. (And I used to teach at a high school where he had been both a student and a teacher.) One of the most overrated philosophers of all time. Always good for an aphorism that pretends to be clever but never is.
What makes you think that the theist you know is very intelligent?
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 28th November 2019, 02:18 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
Thor 2 makes a mistake that is very similar to the one that American psychologists made in the mid-1900s when they experimented with children and came to the (social-darwinist) conclusion that human beings are competitive by nature and unable to cooperate unless they are forced to do so. When a similar experiment was conducted with children from an Israeli kibbutz, they solved the exercise splendidly by cooperating. So the 'default positition' wasn't natural competitiveness. The kibbutz children had learned to cooperate, the American children had learned to compete! (And in the meantime we have even seen apes cooperate.)

When in doubt throw in an analogy - even if it's not a good one.

In this case your thesis that cooperation/competitiveness is learned is discredited by that final bit about apes cooperating. Did they learn this?
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Old 28th November 2019, 05:24 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
Oh boy, that's a Dane I really can't stand. (And I used to teach at a high school where he had been both a student and a teacher.) One of the most overrated philosophers of all time. Always good for an aphorism that pretends to be clever but never is.
What makes you think that the theist you know is very intelligent?
It would be convenient if I could characterize him as less intelligent than myself, but it isn't the case. Certainly compared to my family, he has intellect.
But degrees of IQ don't really say much about what kind of beliefs one finds plausible. We use our rationality most often for rationalizing. He does so to his own satisfaction. And I do as well.

(A BTW if necessary, I'm not a Theist.)
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Old 29th November 2019, 12:35 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
When in doubt throw in an analogy - even if it's not a good one.

In this case your thesis that cooperation/competitiveness is learned is discredited by that final bit about apes cooperating. Did they learn this?

Thor 2 got it wrong again by staring himself blind on the beginning of a post instead of reading the whole thing:
1) My 'thesis' was that Thor 2 didn't consider his sample size, present day Australian children, when he came up with his thesis that atheism is the obvious default. He didn't consider other parts of the world or other periods of time, i.e. basically all of human history.
2) U.S. psychologists made a similar mistake when they concluded that human nature is to be competitive instead of cooperative - based on studies of American children only.
3) Do apes learn to be cooperative? I don't know. Is it important in the context to know if they do or not? Not really. How would you go about trying to find out if it is learned or innate behaviour? Well, you could have chimps grow up without any kind of parenting, but that tends to screw up primate babies, so it probably wouldn't be a good idea.

What we do know is that chimps cooperate - whether by nurture or nature. And we know that "social learning pervades primate ontogenetic development, importantly shaping locally adaptive knowledge and skills that span multiple aspects of the behavioral repertoire." So it's not unlikely that they learn to cooperate.
But we also know that in the case of the genus homo sapiens, many are very unwilling to do so, i.e. to cooperate as well as to learn.
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 29th November 2019, 12:37 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Apathia View Post
(A BTW if necessary, I'm not a Theist.)

I never suspected that you were.
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 29th November 2019, 02:50 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
Thor 2 got it wrong again by staring himself blind on the beginning of a post instead of reading the whole thing:
1) My 'thesis' was that Thor 2 didn't consider his sample size, present day Australian children, when he came up with his thesis that atheism is the obvious default. He didn't consider other parts of the world or other periods of time, i.e. basically all of human history.
2) U.S. psychologists made a similar mistake when they concluded that human nature is to be competitive instead of cooperative - based on studies of American children only.
3) Do apes learn to be cooperative? I don't know. Is it important in the context to know if they do or not? Not really. How would you go about trying to find out if it is learned or innate behaviour? Well, you could have chimps grow up without any kind of parenting, but that tends to screw up primate babies, so it probably wouldn't be a good idea.

What we do know is that chimps cooperate - whether by nurture or nature. And we know that "social learning pervades primate ontogenetic development, importantly shaping locally adaptive knowledge and skills that span multiple aspects of the behavioral repertoire." So it's not unlikely that they learn to cooperate.
But we also know that in the case of the genus homo sapiens, many are very unwilling to do so, i.e. to cooperate as well as to learn.

Well I did read read the whole thing dann although inspiring it was not. The above elaborate attempt at re-enforcing you thesis seems a little desperate also. I have some problem with the following from said post:

Quote:
Nowadays, those of us who live cosy and comfortable lives find religion to be a waste of time, so it's not completely wrong to hope that non-religion will become (and is already well on the way of becoming) the default mode.
But for those of us who live in squalor and whose lives aren't (made!) secure? ... well, not so much!

In the OP I was quoting the words of Clive, who I imagine was talking about people in the West, not about those without education and living in squalor elsewhere. Another piece of fiction you might enjoy and use to re-enforce your thesis, apart from the one you quoted, would be "The Lord of the Flies". An entertaining story but not one I found convincing. Perhaps you would.

Then we have the following:

Quote:
And then we shouldn't forget the people who choose to believe that they are exceptionally bright and tough because they've found out that there are no gods. Even in their case, their faith is a personal choice.

If choosing is something you do in order to believe or not believe something ...... I am puzzled. I really don't think I do this but instead feel compelled to believe something as a result of evidence.
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Old 29th November 2019, 04:09 PM   #21
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Thor2, if atheism is such an obvious default, where is the historical record of societies defaulting to atheism?
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Old 29th November 2019, 04:39 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Thor2, if atheism is such an obvious default, where is the historical record of societies defaulting to atheism?

Well you would have to be living under a rock if you hadn't observed Western society defaulting to atheism today.

As I have indicated before it is modern day educated societies I am talking about here. Clive James lived in such a society.
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Old 29th November 2019, 05:33 PM   #23
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Atheism does seem to have been my obvious default from the start. I was raised in a religious environment and just never took it seriously. But that appears not to be the case for everybody, and the automatic default mentality for a population can be different from that of some (possibly even a majority) of its individual members.
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Old 30th November 2019, 05:38 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
The history channel had a survivor-type reality show a few years back, only it was not set in a tropical paradise so we could check out the gals in bikinis. It was set on Vancouver Island in late fall, and the idea was to put these guys who had good survival skills there with minimal equipment and see who could last the longest.

From the looks of it, the weather was terrible; nearly constant rainfall impeded their efforts at anything--hunting, fishing, cooking, staying warm, etc. And it wasn't long before the guys were praying for a break.

And that's how I suspect religion got started--with bouts of nasty weather. We are not exposed to it as much as we used to be, so it has less power over us. And we understand it much better, so most of us don't associate it with God punishing us for our sins.
OK, I will add to that, suspicion. If one of our ancient ancestors suspected a hungry predator in the bushes and avoided it, then they survived whether one was there or not. This gives rise to belief in things unseen that might kill you. That quickly gives rise to gods and such.
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Old 30th November 2019, 05:45 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Thor2, if atheism is such an obvious default, where is the historical record of societies defaulting to atheism?
Roughly 200,000 years of humanity had no organised religion and all children are born atheist. Do you really think every baby springs forth from their mothers loins with a bible in hand, praising jebus? Really?

Add to that the simple fact that primitive tribes are known to be atheist. The Piraha for example.
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Old 30th November 2019, 10:30 AM   #26
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The Pirahã may not believe in God, but they aren't irreligious:

Quote:
Their decoration is mostly necklaces, used primarily to ward off spirits. The concept of drawing is alien to them and when asked to draw a person, animal, tree, or river, the result is simple lines. However, on seeing a novelty such as an airplane, a child may make a model of it, which may be soon discarded.
According to Everett, the Pirahã have no concept of a supreme spirit or god, and they lost interest in Jesus when they discovered that Everett had never seen him. They require evidence based on personal experience for every claim made. However, they do believe in spirits that can sometimes take on the shape of things in the environment. These spirits can be jaguars, trees, or other visible, tangible things including people. Everett reported one incident where the Pirahã said that “Xigagaí, one of the beings that lives above the clouds, was standing on a beach yelling at us, telling us that he would kill us if we go into the jungle.” Everett and his daughter could see nothing and yet the Pirahã insisted that Xigagaí was still on the beach.
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Old 30th November 2019, 10:40 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
The Pirahã may not believe in God, but they aren't irreligious:
No God = atheist.

Atheism does not imply no other beliefs, only one particular belief.
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Old 30th November 2019, 10:56 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Well I did read read the whole thing dann although inspiring it was not. The above elaborate attempt at re-enforcing you thesis seems a little desperate also.

So not inspiring and a little desperate. What a marvelous argument ...

Quote:
I have some problem with the following from said post:

Yes, you do.

Quote:
In the OP I was quoting the words of Clive, who I imagine was talking about people in the West, not about those without education and living in squalor elsewhere. Another piece of fiction you might enjoy and use to re-enforce your thesis, apart from the one you quoted, would be "The Lord of the Flies". An entertaining story but not one I found convincing. Perhaps you would.
So your conclusion based on Clive Jones and alleged observations has to be restricted to people who live fairly secure lives, whereas the point you were trying to make was that "children raised without being indoctrinated in a particular religion, tend to reject them all."
And they obviously only tend to do so in very particular circumstances. Neither you nor Clive Jones made that clear.
I understand why you want to introduce fiction at this point, but unlike you I don't consider imaginary tales to be a good way to back up my argument.

Quote:
Then we have the following:

If choosing is something you do in order to believe or not believe something ...... I am puzzled. I really don't think I do this but instead feel compelled to believe something as a result of evidence.

And yet you feel compelled to believe that "children raised without being indoctrinated in a particular religion, tend to reject them all," in spite of the evidence that shows that this is only the case in very particular circumstances and not at all a default position.
Your idea is not based on evidence but on your desire to believe that religion is a result of parental indoctrination. This is also the reason why you ignore evidence that proves you wrong, for instance Carat in Beslan who invents his own personal religion when he feels the need to do so.
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"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 30th November 2019, 11:43 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
So not inspiring and a little desperate. What a marvelous argument ...
Factually correct.

Point by point...

Quote:
Thor 2 got it wrong again by staring himself blind on the beginning of a post instead of reading the whole thing:
I don't believe he got it wrong at all because you claimed...

Quote:
1) My 'thesis' was that Thor 2 didn't consider his sample size, present day Australian children, when he came up with his thesis that atheism is the obvious default. He didn't consider other parts of the world or other periods of time, i.e. basically all of human history.
That is a huge claim for which you cannot possibly have evidence. Nobody has evidence. Of any sort.

But we do know that no child is born with belief built in.

You claimed...

Quote:
2) U.S. psychologists made a similar mistake when they concluded that human nature is to be competitive instead of cooperative - based on studies of American children only.
When it is clearly both regardless of nationality.

You claimed...

Quote:
3) Do apes learn to be cooperative? I don't know. Is it important in the context to know if they do or not? Not really. How would you go about trying to find out if it is learned or innate behaviour? Well, you could have chimps grow up without any kind of parenting, but that tends to screw up primate babies, so it probably wouldn't be a good idea.
We have that evidence already. Orphan chimps tend to be a mess. Once again it is a blend of innate tendencies with learned behaviour.

Trying to go exclusively one way or the other is a fools errand because it is both.


Originally Posted by dann View Post
Yes, you do.

So your conclusion based on Clive Jones and alleged observations has to be restricted to people who live fairly secure lives, whereas the point you were trying to make was that "children raised without being indoctrinated in a particular religion, tend to reject them all."
And they obviously only tend to do so in very particular circumstances. Neither you nor Clive Jones made that clear.
Those are particular circumstances.

Originally Posted by dann View Post
I understand why you want to introduce fiction at this point, but unlike you I don't consider imaginary tales to be a good way to back up my argument.
Nothing imaginary about it. They are observed behaviours in all apes including us.


Originally Posted by dann View Post
And yet you feel compelled to believe that "children raised without being indoctrinated in a particular religion, tend to reject them all," in spite of the evidence that shows that this is only the case in very particular circumstances and not at all a default position.
I will believe you right at the point where you produce a newborn who demonstrably believes in jahweh, or allah, or vishnu or whatever. You cannot.

Originally Posted by dann View Post
Your idea is not based on evidence but on your desire to believe that religion is a result of parental indoctrination.
Of course it is. Children born in christian regions are raised christian. Children born in islamic regions are raise muslim. What? do you somehow think that Hindu's are giving birth to innately scientology children and don't care? Or even notice?

Originally Posted by dann View Post
This is also the reason why you ignore evidence that proves you wrong, for instance Carat in Beslan who invents his own personal religion when he feels the need to do so.
Everyone who has religion invents their very own version. We have posters on this site actively doing that right now.
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Old 30th November 2019, 01:07 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by dann View Post
So not inspiring and a little desperate. What a marvelous argument ...

Snip

Many thanks for that.


As abaddon did such good job in responding to your post I will leave it there.
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Old 30th November 2019, 01:25 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Many thanks for that.


As abaddon did such good job in responding to your post I will leave it there.
Apologies. I did not mean to speak for you.
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Old 30th November 2019, 04:54 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
No God = atheist.

Atheism does not imply no other beliefs, only one particular belief.
When one applies that word to people who believe in "spirits" (including some individually named ones), one must know of a difference between spirits and gods.
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Old 30th November 2019, 05:42 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
When one applies that word to people who believe in "spirits" (including some individually named ones), one must know of a difference between spirits and gods.
Is there a difference? I mean about gods? In regard to the word, "atheist?"

The lower case word, god, is used for spirits including very influential sprits of the departed, nature spirits, ie of mountains, trees, animals, elemental spirits of water, earth, air, or fire, emperors, deities of polytheistic religions, such as the Greek and Roman.

Upper case "God" is used for the creator God of the Judeo-Christian-Islam-Bahai traditions. The upper case God is not a finite being as the god's above (unless you're an LDS) but is a being in contrast to other existing beings only in angelic emanations and incarnation.

Therefore can one be said to be an Atheist because ze doesn't believe in God, though ze still believes in god-spirits?
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Old 30th November 2019, 09:31 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Apathia View Post
The lower case word, god, is used for spirits including very influential sprits of the departed, nature spirits, ie of mountains, trees, animals, elemental spirits of water, earth, air, or fire, emperors, deities of polytheistic religions, such as the Greek and Roman.

Upper case "God" is used for the creator God of the Judeo-Christian-Islam-Bahai traditions. The upper case God is not a finite being as the god's above (unless you're an LDS) but is a being in contrast to other existing beings only in angelic emanations and incarnation.
God is just another god.

That fact is solidly established not only by pre-Biblical and para-Biblical writings from the Hebrews' ancestors and cousins in closely related languages, in which the two main names of God in the Bible appear as two separate members of a Roman-style pantheon, but also by the Bible itself, which unmistakably presents one thoroughly lowercase god among multiple others like him in a pantheon, just without talking as much about the pantheon's other members.
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Old 30th November 2019, 09:51 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
God is just another god.

That fact is solidly established not only by pre-Biblical and para-Biblical writings from the Hebrews' ancestors and cousins in closely related languages, in which the two main names of God in the Bible appear as two separate members of a Roman-style pantheon, but also by the Bible itself, which unmistakably presents one thoroughly lowercase god among multiple others like him in a pantheon, just without talking as much about the pantheon's other members.
OK! It take then that an Atheist does not believe in god or Gods. Animistic spirits fall under the category of gods. So that Piraha Tribe Abaddon cited is not Atheist.
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Old 1st December 2019, 12:00 AM   #36
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Having no belief in a god (atheism) is the default (original) position of all people, as is having no belief in a Santa (aSantaism)
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Old 1st December 2019, 04:42 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
Factually correct.

Point by point...

I don't believe he got it wrong at all because you claimed...

That is a huge claim for which you cannot possibly have evidence. Nobody has evidence. Of any sort.

It isn't really necessary to prove that for most of the existence of humanity most people have believed in gods. And your Pirahãs believed they saw that “Xigagaí, one of the beings that lives above the clouds, was standing on a beach yelling at us, telling us that he would kill us if we go into the jungle.”
And if it were true that children as such "raised without being indoctrinated in a particular religion, tend to reject them all," it's really hard to explain why religions exist at all. (Unless you're a believe who thinks that a god made them!)

Religions seem to have something in common with languages: If a group of people don't have one and obviously need one because they are a group and need to communicate, they invent one. If one is already there, they don't need to do so, and inventing a new one would be contrary to the need to communicate.

When people find themselves in circumstances where they need a comforting (albeit utterly fictitious) idea of supernatural powers that they can resort to and try to appease in order to achieve some kind of peace of mind, they invent them. Unlike language, however, this one depends on the circumstances that people find themselves in: Some circumstances are more likely to make people wish that there is a god than others. When people don't feel that their lives are threatened, they lose the need to believe.

Quote:
But we do know that no child is born with belief built in.

Yes, no child is born with belief built in. Nor is any child born with atheism built in. Or with language. But (almost) every child is born with the ability built in to develop (religious as well as all other) beliefs. And with the ability built in to learn or create a language.

Quote:
You claimed...

When it is clearly both regardless of nationality.

You seem to be saying that I am right in criticizing the psychologists who claimed that competitiveness is the 'default mode.' I think so too, obviously.

Quote:
You claimed...

We have that evidence already. Orphan chimps tend to be a mess. Once again it is a blend of innate tendencies with learned behaviour.

Trying to go exclusively one way or the other is a fools errand because it is both.

So you appear to agree with me again.

Quote:
Those are particular circumstances.

Yes, of course they are. The children in Beslan are particular circumstances, and so are the children born into (fairly) secure and safe societies where they don't need to believes. They are very different particular circumstances, and the need to believe depends very much on particular circumstances as I've been stating from the very beginning.

Quote:
Nothing imaginary about it. They are observed behaviours in all apes including us.

??? You can't seriously believe that Lord of the Flies isn't imaginary, can you???

Quote:
I will believe you right at the point where you produce a newborn who demonstrably believes in jahweh, or allah, or vishnu or whatever. You cannot.

Why would I have to 'produce' something as unimaginable as that?! You don't make the effort of trying to understand what I'm writing, so you make something up instead. The classical strawman.

Quote:
Of course it is. Children born in christian regions are raised christian. Children born in islamic regions are raise muslim. What? do you somehow think that Hindu's are giving birth to innately scientology children and don't care? Or even notice?

Once again, you don't even try to read and understand what I am writing. And you don't even seriously consider your own argument, which is very wrong:
What I wrote about was Thor 2's "desire to believe that religion is a result of parental indoctrination." Religion, get it?!! Not a particular religion. It is fairly obvious that most Christian parents will (try to) raise their children in the Christian faith, and most Muslim parents will (try to) raise their children to become Muslims.

However, what you (and Thor 2) don't seem to notice is that when Christian as well Muslim parents lose their need to believe and become cultural Christians or Muslims, even "children born in christian regions" aren't "raised christian." Even the institutions of the church lose their religious meaning. People still get married in church because it's a tradition and some of them even have their children baptized there for the same reason, but hardly anybody but the vicar (and sometimes not even he) think of God in that context. God is actually dying (and not soon enough for some of us), and he didn't die because of some imaginary hard intellectual struggle. That wasn't required at all, and I really prefer this death of religion to the one of the (often imaginary) intellectual struggle with facts and evidence. For most Danes in 2019, there is as little need for this pretense as there is for religion. And I much prefer this kind of irreligion to the kind of pretentious atheism that I see here from many of you.
A quotation from a book about Denmark that I used in another thread with a similar discussion:
Quote:
Psychologists at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, found that the better educated and wealthier a nation is, the less likely its population is to believe in a higher being. The Global Index of Religion and Atheism also assessed that poverty was a key indicator of a society's tendency towards religion - so that poorer countries tend to be the most religious. The one exception to the rule? America. But in the strongly religious USA, despite the country's wealth, there's no universal health care, little job security, and a flimsy social welfare safety net. This means that the USA has a lot more in common with developing countries than she might like to think.
http://www.internationalskeptics.com...4#post12298344
(And by the way, nobody ever turned to God because of the evidence, which is what makes the attempts to present the reasons for the non-existence of God so vain.)


Quote:
Everyone who has religion invents their very own version. We have posters on this site actively doing that right now.

Yes, they do!!! But you shouldn't neglect the fact that everyone who has atheism invents their very own version, too! And one of the versions of atheism that I really can't stand is the one of (imaginary) moral and intellectual superiority. I have met an awful lot of despicable atheists in my time, probably more than despicable Christians, but only because the latter are a dying breed.
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"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 1st December 2019, 04:44 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Having no belief in a god (atheism) is the default (original) position of all people, as is having no belief in a Santa (aSantaism)

Having no belief in anything is the default condition of all newborns.
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 1st December 2019, 05:07 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
Seems clear to me at least that "There are no god/s" must be the null hypothesis.

The null hypothesis is generally assumed to be true until evidence indicates otherwise. (wiki) And that is generally where atheists are at. And agnostics for that matter.

In general terms, if the claimed god can be demonstrated to exist, then sure. I will believe in it an foot of the evidence provided. No theist has ever been able to do that and thus the null hypothesis stands.

Gods are not hypotheses. They are elements of religions, which also aren't hypotheses.
Ralph ("Piggy"), too, isn't a hypothesis. He is a character in a novel, which also isn't a hypothesis, so why would treat him as if it were science rather than fiction?
Your "null hypothesis" takes gods much more seriously than they deserve.
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"Stupidity renders itself invisible by assuming very large proportions. Completely unreasonable claims are irrefutable. Ni-en-leh pointed out that a philosopher might get into trouble by claiming that two times two makes five, but he does not risk much by claiming that two times two makes shoe polish." B. Brecht
"The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions." K. Marx
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Old 1st December 2019, 07:59 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Having no belief in a god (atheism) is the default (original) position of all people, as is having no belief in a Santa (aSantaism)
Originally Posted by dann View Post
It isn't really necessary to prove that for most of the existence of humanity most people have believed in gods. And your Pirahãs believed they saw that “Xigagaí, one of the beings that lives above the clouds, was standing on a beach yelling at us, telling us that he would kill us if we go into the jungle.”
And if it were true that children as such "raised without being indoctrinated in a particular religion, tend to reject them all," it's really hard to explain why religions exist at all. (Unless you're a believe who thinks that a god made them!)

Religions seem to have something in common with languages: If a group of people don't have one and obviously need one because they are a group and need to communicate, they invent one. If one is already there, they don't need to do so, and inventing a new one would be contrary to the need to communicate.

When people find themselves in circumstances where they need a comforting (albeit utterly fictitious) idea of supernatural powers that they can resort to and try to appease in order to achieve some kind of peace of mind, they invent them. Unlike language, however, this one depends on the circumstances that people find themselves in: Some circumstances are more likely to make people wish that there is a god than others. When people don't feel that their lives are threatened, they lose the need to believe.

Yes, no child is born with belief built in. Nor is any child born with atheism built in. Or with language. But (almost) every child is born with the ability built in to develop (religious as well as all other) beliefs. And with the ability built in to learn or create a language.
Almost everything you wrote is what I was about to write in response to the previous quote, until I saw that you already had, except the highlighted bits.

Calling one's religion "comforting" is pretty uncommon. (I'd almost say it's uniquely Christian because I've heard the "comforting" thing nowhere else, but it wouldn't surprise me if somebody managed to dig up some rare obscure version of something that's non-comforting in its mainstream forms... especially Judaism or Islam, where it would hypothetically be easy to pick up from Christianity. But even Christianity still has a tendency to slip and expose that the "comfort" that's claimed to be there is a false modern disguise for its true ages-long nature as the worship of a god of fear, hatred, and suffering.)

Most religions treat their gods as just characters in stories, with various relationships with humans, from caring for us to hating us to ignoring us to making demands and needing to be appeased, so the forces of nature that they control end up having all kinds of effects on us from the best to the worst, whether deliberately or as a side effect of something else they were really after. With no pretense that it's all about love & comfort, they have no need to pretend that the bad-for-us behaviors by their gods are somehow driven by love in ways we can't understand; they can just call it what it is.

But yes, the thing about babies being born with no supernatural beliefs is a worthlessly trivial distraction to bother pointing out, and language is another good example of why, along with the combination of balance & motor control & coordination that it takes to walk bipedally and use tools and play sports. Babies being born without things that they are built to develop later is meaningless. And when it gets used as an argument about those things being unnatural and getting imposed on us instead of part of most people's own innate development, it shifts from meaningless to false.
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