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Thread: Darwin's God

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    MNFINFAN's Avatar
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    Darwin's God

    Interesting topic for the evolutionists here, or ones of a scientific bent.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/04/ma...da7&ei=5087%0A

    It is something that I have pondered for quite some time.
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    Yeah, very good article, even though it had to be written in an age where we basically have no real clue what the answer to the question of why a belief in the supernatural evolved.

    Brain science is definitely taking some first crucial steps in this regard. Being able to stimulate certain portions of the brain to elicit sensations, especially religious sensations, is one good starting point. Neuroscience has also found neurons that fire only when the object stimulating it is an animate object. Maybe that's why anthropomorphic concepts exist?

    And once you find neurons that code things like that, genes are inevitably involved, meaning there must be some evolutionary reasons for it. Add all this to the possible social utilities of religion (in organization for example) and the stage is set for some good answers to come about on this matter.

    We'll probably have to wait another half century before something definitive emerges, but I really do want to see what the science produces.

    Nice find MNFINFAN :cooldude:
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    Interesting stuff. Very good and well written article. I don't really have anything to add. But I like that questions are being raised and people are studying this. Hopefully they find some answers.


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    It's an interesting article but it should be noted that it relies on the premise that religion is a mental fabrication.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miamian View Post
    It's an interesting article but it should be noted that it relies on the premise that religion is a mental fabrication.
    Oh indeed, its the reason for the title and why I said it would be for evolutionists like myself. I have pretty much felt this way in regards to religion. I have always regarded religion to be a crutch for mankind so that they can feel that someone or thing is there looking out for them, and explaining the unknown.
    A second mental module that primes us for religion is causal reasoning. The human brain has evolved the capacity to impose a narrative, complete with chronology and cause-and-effect logic, on whatever it encounters, no matter how apparently random. “We automatically, and often unconsciously, look for an explanation of why things happen to us,” Barrett wrote, “and ‘stuff just happens’ is no explanation. Gods, by virtue of their strange physical properties and their mysterious superpowers, make fine candidates for causes of many of these unusual events.” The ancient Greeks believed thunder was the sound of Zeus’s thunderbolt. Similarly, a contemporary woman whose cancer treatment works despite 10-to-1 odds might look for a story to explain her survival. It fits better with her causal-reasoning tool for her recovery to be a miracle, or a reward for prayer, than for it to be just a lucky roll of the dice.
    Without ever knowing how to say it properly this sums up most of my belief in why there are so many different religions, and why they exist even in races that have never been influenced by the main religion followers.

    Now my wife, read this and thought it was interesting but like you Miamian, said how could this be possible when God exists, and that they were forgetting the basic tenet that God not evolution created religion. I personally think she is wrong, but that is for another day. I like this article, because it gives me a thought process on why would anyone believe in a God, and not that they including my wife were nuts j/k!
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    Miamian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MNFINFAN View Post
    Oh indeed, its the reason for the title and why I said it would be for evolutionists like myself. I have pretty much felt this way in regards to religion. I have always regarded religion to be a crutch for mankind so that they can feel that someone or thing is there looking out for them, and explaining the unknown.
    Without ever knowing how to say it properly this sums up most of my belief in why there are so many different religions, and why they exist even in races that have never been influenced by the main religion followers.

    Now my wife, read this and thought it was interesting but like you Miamian, said how could this be possible when God exists, and that they were forgetting the basic tenet that God not evolution created religion. I personally think she is wrong, but that is for another day. I like this article, because it gives me a thought process on why would anyone believe in a God, and not that they including my wife were nuts j/k!
    I actually used to be agnostic, but a personal experience changed my mind. Don't get me wrong I don't presume to dictate religion to anyone; it's something people have to understand for themselves. I just think that the reader should understand the underlying premise vis-a-vis the debate over the existence of the Almighty.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ckb2001 View Post
    Yeah, very good article, even though it had to be written in an age where we basically have no real clue what the answer to the question of why a belief in the supernatural evolved.

    Brain science is definitely taking some first crucial steps in this regard. Being able to stimulate certain portions of the brain to elicit sensations, especially religious sensations, is one good starting point. Neuroscience has also found neurons that fire only when the object stimulating it is an animate object. Maybe that's why anthropomorphic concepts exist?

    And once you find neurons that code things like that, genes are inevitably involved, meaning there must be some evolutionary reasons for it. Add all this to the possible social utilities of religion (in organization for example) and the stage is set for some good answers to come about on this matter.

    We'll probably have to wait another half century before something definitive emerges, but I really do want to see what the science produces.

    Nice find MNFINFAN :cooldude:
    I liked this article because it didn't have the definitive answers, just like the topic it was talking about. Of course as I come from a genetics/ evolutionary background I find it very provoking whereas I am sure some of our friends here will write it off as garbage, but I think it was well enough written to provoke some good clean debate.

    Nice find MNFINFAN :cooldude:
    Thanks dude!
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