Belief in a deity helps humans cooperate and live in large groups, studies say

August 1, 2016 by Peter Reuell, Harvard University
Belief in a deity helps humans cooperate and live in large groups, studies say
Joseph Henrich, Professor of Human Evolutionary Biology, is the author of a recent study on how belief in an omniscient, punishing God helped people to cooperate and form larger societies. Credit: Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff Photographer

There are plenty of things that make it possible for humans to live in large groups and pack into cities. New building techniques and materials, for instance, allow construction of high-rise buildings; plumbing delivers clean, fresh water and sewage systems that help to prevent diseases.

One factor, however, is rarely included on the list: having one or more gods.

In two studies published earlier this year in the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Professor of Human Evolutionary Biology Joseph Henrich examined the notion that, by helping enforce ethical and cultural norms, belief in a powerful, omniscient God helped quickly grow. Complementing that premise in a second study published in Nature, Henrich showed that people who believe in God are more likely to treat others fairly.

"What we want to understand is how humans were able to scale up from being relatively small societies to larger groups very quickly," Henrich said. "One answer is that religion can act as a kind of social technology that helped humans scale up and build large, .

"If you look at the religion of very small-scale societies, like hunter-gatherers, there's no intertwining between religion and ethics or morality," he said. "There are supernatural agents, but they tend to be weak, they can be tricked, and they don't have any power over the afterlife. It's only over time that gods become increasingly concerned with human affairs. Gods that have control over the afterlife don't appear until relatively late in human history."

Where did the concepts of those more powerful gods come from?

"We have evolved some basic cognitive abilities that allow us to represent and understand these supernatural beings," Henrich said. "Cultural evolution can then shape the details of what those gods care about and how powerful they are."

As gods grew more powerful, Henrich said, they gradually were represented as being more interested in the day-to-day affairs of mankind and more willing to punish those who did not conform to social norms.

And as the gods changed, so too did the rituals that played a key part of binding people to their faiths.

Where small hunter-gatherer societies often used dance and moving in synch to help bind groups together, the shared belief in omniscient, powerful gods and rituals like Sunday services and prayer help unite larger communities of faith, Henrich said.

Such tight-knit societies eventually either were able to outcompete their neighbors—by sharing resources, growing faster, or fielding ever-larger armies—or they served as an example of their gods' powers, and in attracting converts.

"The key element is that there is an in-group pro-sociality," Henrich said. "You are willing to support other members of your group … but that circle expands over time."

To understand whether and how belief in God might influence people's behavior, Henrich and colleagues conducted experiments that took them to more than half a dozen locations around the world.

"We went to eight societies and tested Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, and others," Henrich said. "What we did was give people a chance to essentially cheat at a game or to be biased toward themselves and their local communities over strangers from the same religious group."

At the beginning of the experiment, participants were given a number of coins, along with two cups, one for a distant person of the same religion, and the other for either themselves or a member of their community. Participants then selected one of the cups in their minds, and rolled a black and white die. If the die came up black, they placed a coin in the cup they'd mentally selected. If it was white, a coin went in the other cup.

Importantly, Henrich said, the experiment is designed in a way that only the participants know whether or not they followed the rules. Using statistics, however, researchers were able to calculate how likely any outcome might be, and to understand how biased participants were toward themselves, a close member of their group, or a distant member of the same religion.

"Based on interviews done later, what we found was how omniscient and punishing people believe their god to be—predicted how much they would cheat, essentially," Henrich said. "Those who believed in more-punishing and more-knowing deities cheated less in favor of themselves and their local groups over distance co-religionists, although everyone cheated in favor of themselves or in favor of their local group a little bit. What this means is they were allocating more coins to a distant co-religionist, and expanding the social sphere."

While religion—and the cooperation it engendered—was likely a key factor in helping society reach the heights of modernity, its role is now gradually being supplanted by secular institutions.

The job of enforcing ethical behavior, once the purview of a punishing god, now falls to the justice system, where crimes are punished not with damnation, but with prison sentences, Henrich said.

Explore further: How punitive, omniscient gods may have encouraged the expansion of human society

More information: Bauer, M., Blattman, C., Chytilova, J., Henrich, J., Miguel, E., & Mitts., T. (Forthcoming). Can War Foster Cooperation?. Journal of Economic Perspectives. henrich.fas.harvard.edu/files/ … cluding_appendix.pdf

Henrich, J., & Tennie, C. (Forthcoming). Cultural Evolution in Chimpanzees and Humans. In M. Muller, R. Wrangham, & D. Pilbream (Ed.), Chimpanzees and Human Evolution . Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press. henrich.fas.harvard.edu/files/ … ised_final_final.pdf

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richardwenzel987
4.7 / 5 (14) Aug 01, 2016
First they form coherent groups and then they kill each other. Gee, thanks a lot.
epoxy
Aug 01, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
BrettC
3.5 / 5 (10) Aug 01, 2016
It comes down to familiarity and trust. People are more comfortable with people they feel they understand. We wan't to feel that we can reasonably predict someones behavior, otherwise we are uncomfortable around them and will not trust them.This is why cultural differences induce racism and is such a problem. Religion is very much a part of culture and is therefore an element of this equation.
RMQ
1.6 / 5 (11) Aug 01, 2016
To BrettC.

Racism started on Europe around the 17 century when they discovered that Africa had so much gold and diamonds, they needed a excuse to murder them and take their natural resources. So they called them primitive and sent them Leopold II, the Hitler for the Africans. You can see this in a BBC video on history with Andrew Mars. You can confirm if you study Russian history that humans do not fear or reject people from different skin color or religions. For example:

https://en.wikipe...Gannibal

I heard from German people that the same happened in ancient Germany, that groups of migrants came to German towns and integrated and over time their features faded within the local community.
RMQ
2.3 / 5 (12) Aug 01, 2016
Second. Humans are highly unpredictable, otherwise life would be so easy, there would be no need for psychological science since human prediction would be simple.

Racism is a (learned) vice. Some people were born into it, with their families hating for generations, so they think is inherent to humanity and try to justify it and forgive it. But a vice will be a vice no matter how hard people try to soften it with sugar coated words.
BrettC
4.4 / 5 (10) Aug 01, 2016
To RMQ. I think your referring to the origin of the concept of ,or labeling of, racism. That's not really what I meant. You mention Hitler as if he is the defacto standard of racist behavior. If you want to associate Hitler with this concept, which is strongly tied to the persecution of the Jewish peoples, then the 17 century is far to late a period, as Hitler was not the first person to persecute the Jewish people, nor were the Romans. In fact I seriously doubt the Jewish people were the first to be persecuted for their beliefs, although recorded history only goes back so far. I was simply referring to Human nature.
Captain Stumpy
4.3 / 5 (18) Aug 01, 2016
Racism started on Europe around the 17 century
@RMQ
i am going to challenge this

one big reason:
racism is a derivative of the tribal dynamic and fear of the unknown - it is a part of human nature: anything different from the norm is considered suspect by the typical human

modern interpretations of racism & as an ideology are learned, true, but even with education there will always be a minority who fear the unknown and thus utilise racism as a means to justify their beliefs

this is also demonstrative of the flaws which bring us conspiracist ideation, pseudoscience, religion and other common belief systems that exist still without empirical evidence supporting them

see also:
Psychology of racism
and
https://books.goo...;f=false
tblakely1357
2.1 / 5 (11) Aug 01, 2016
"Belief in a deity helps humans cooperate and live in large groups, studies say"

Duh
BrettC
4.6 / 5 (9) Aug 01, 2016
Thank you for the clarification Captain Stumpy.
I think everyone fears the unknown, as it's a basic inherited survival mechanism. It's only one base piece of a very large puzzle that is the human condition. Understanding our limitations and suppressing our urges may be our only defense against our own built in programming. Of course a huge part of it is making sure we don't reinforce our failures in our children and teach them to suppress their same limitations. Eventually, in time, maybe we will be freed from our weakness. Sadly, that's not likely to happen.
torbjorn_b_g_larsson
4.3 / 5 (12) Aug 01, 2016
Yikes, Henrich publish a lot. [ http://henrich.fa...ications ]

It is a mess of mass of meta-analysis. In the end, they tell a Big Fuzzy Story, which they can adapt to anything. Some of the scientific criticism is along the line of comments here, there were societies where the "Big Gods" weren't controlling, as shown in a table on p 50, but they are dismissed as being "early religious traditions". [ http://www2.psych...tion.pdf ]

Mostly they are relying on later communities that had some form of written language to investigate the use of "Big Gods".

So a theory that can't be really tested, by data that can't really be used, as far as I can see.
torbjorn_b_g_larsson
4.1 / 5 (9) Aug 01, 2016
"Belief in a deity helps humans cooperate and live in large groups, studies say"


RTFM: "... religion ... now gradually being supplanted by secular institutions."
BartV
1.2 / 5 (17) Aug 02, 2016
I am so glad Christianity is completely set apart from other world religions. As a Christian I know my own few gains are not because of me, or because of my own beliefs, but are because of God working in me. He gets the glory, not me.

In other religions like Buddhism and Islamism, it is about the individual trying to attain morality.

The article of course makes no mention of such distinctions, nor can atheist scientists really comprehend or study or seriously comment on what they know not.
jwooden23
4.4 / 5 (7) Aug 02, 2016
Sociologist Emile Durkheim postulated the same with his theories of social solidarity.
epoxy
Aug 02, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
jonesdave
4.7 / 5 (13) Aug 02, 2016
I am so glad Christianity is completely set apart from other world religions. As a Christian I know my own few gains are not because of me, or because of my own beliefs, but are because of God working in me. He gets the glory, not me.

In other religions like Buddhism and Islamism, it is about the individual trying to attain morality.

The article of course makes no mention of such distinctions, nor can atheist scientists really comprehend or study or seriously comment on what they know not.


Yep, where would we be if man hadn't invented gods ;)
Phys1
4.7 / 5 (12) Aug 02, 2016
How can belief in common set of fairy tales improve cooperation between people?
The answer is that it is a step forward over believing in a _divergent_ sets of fairy tales.
Also not just any fairy tale works. Fairy tales involving excessive slaughter do not work out well.

A story based on facts backed up by evidence will outperform any religion, though.
jonesdave
4.7 / 5 (12) Aug 02, 2016
I'm honestly not sure what this study is trying to say. Surely the most interesting epoch in human evolution, where we were living in large groups, was back in the early palaeolithic. No way of knowing what people believed, if anything, back then.
Chimpanzees live in large groups, and cooperate, and generally do just fine. As I'm sure our earliest ancestors did. An inability to live in large groups, and to cooperate, would not have been traits that were evolutionarily suitable, and would not have been selected for amongst the ancestors of both chimps and ourselves, I'd have thought.
Religion, I suspect, was a much, much later invention.
Phys1
4.7 / 5 (13) Aug 02, 2016
I am so glad Christianity is completely set apart from other world religions.

The article does not make such a statement. On the contrary, it states
"how omniscient and punishing people believe their god to be—predicted how much they would cheat".
BartV, your morality is just fear of getting caught and punished.
This "god takes the glory" thing is just Stockholm syndrome.
BartV, if you only knew how pathetic you are.

Otherwise, very predictable findings, even my dog knows this.
jonesdave
4.6 / 5 (11) Aug 02, 2016

In other religions like Buddhism and Islamism, it is about the individual trying to attain morality.



Technically, I wouldn't actually call Buddhism a religion. They certainly don't go in for this all seeing Sky Father bit that other belief systems do.
And christianity is just an evolutionary offshoot of a group of religions. It only has the status it carries today due to an historical fluke. Constantine loses that battle, he doesn't become a christian. Britain, as a roman colony, and its own subsequent colonies, including America, don't become christian, etc.
epoxy
Aug 02, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Phys1
4.7 / 5 (12) Aug 02, 2016
How can belief in common set of fairy tales improve cooperation between people?
For example belief in Big Bang leads into cooperation between scientific people

No it does not. Belief in the scientific method does.
jonesdave
4.6 / 5 (10) Aug 02, 2016
@epoxy,
So how does a radical idea gain popularity? Such as the big bang, when steady state was the accepted explanation? Evolution, when "God did it" was the accepted view? Plate tectonics, etc, etc.
Captain Stumpy
4.2 / 5 (10) Aug 02, 2016
I am so glad Christianity is completely set apart from other world religions. As a Christian I know my own few gains are not because of me, or because of my own beliefs, but are because of God working in me. He gets the glory, not me
@barfV
this is the exact argument ISIS/ISIL and the taliban use when killing non-believers, BTW
and before you say they're not of your religion, don't forget that all Muslim and Jewish faiths are the religion that is the foundation of xtianity
fanaticism is belief even in the face of refuting evidence

belief in Big Bang leads into cooperation between scientific people
@zeph
you're a f*cking idiot... it's not belief in anything, it's following the evidence

evidence is the keyword here, you know... that stuff you have none of?

this is why your precious aether religion bullsh*t is not on the table: it's falsified by the evidence
Captain Stumpy
3.8 / 5 (10) Aug 02, 2016
@the idiot zeph cont'd
Because many people join to research due to its technology, conditions and equipment and the condensation of money in some branch of research
you do realise that most researchers are paid very poorly, right?
especially considering the long hours, incredibly stiff requirements (you know, like education and the ability to comprehend the data... that stuff you apparently think is irrelevant to science?) and the (more often than not) lack of any kind of real recognition for their hard work (can you name any people working at CERN? "There are over 2,250 staff members employed by CERN but there can be up to 13,000 people on site at any one time." https://jobs.web....ormation )

so you're blatantly lying about that crap, zeph... because you're pissed off that your religion of aether isn't recognized

get some evidence and you too can be as recognized as all those 13,000 CERN employee's getting rich off the mainstream science
jonesdave
4.6 / 5 (10) Aug 02, 2016

so you're blatantly lying about that crap, zeph... because you're pissed off that your religion of aether isn't recognized


Aether? I'm sure that's what the dentist gave me when I was a kid, and needed a tooth taking out. So, aether it is recognised or it isn't ;)
Da Schneib
4.7 / 5 (12) Aug 02, 2016
This is just another twist on the altruism trick that the religion mind virus uses as one of its techniques to get and keep a hold on its victims, ensuring that they will transmit the virus to other hosts.
Captain Stumpy
4 / 5 (8) Aug 02, 2016
Aether? I'm sure that's what the dentist gave me when I was a kid, and needed a tooth taking out. So, aether it is recognised or it isn't ;)
@jonesdave
LMFAO

was it really sweet smelling? almost sickly sweet?
that was ether, not aether

LOL

.

.

This is just another twist on the altruism trick that the religion mind virus uses as one of its techniques to get and keep a hold on its victims, ensuring that they will transmit the virus to other hosts
@DaSchneib
maybe
but it also seems to be hard-wired into the psyche of the human (at least, the delusion seems to be required by humans due to hard-wiring of our paranoia which helped our survival)
check this out: "The Belief Instinct: The Psychology of Souls, Destiny, and the Meaning of Life" by Jesse Bering
here is a short vid about it from "Wormhole"
https://youtu.be/A0NotU4_KWk

we kinda discussed this at the Joint: thread is locked
PM me for the link if you want
jonesdave
4.5 / 5 (8) Aug 02, 2016
Aether? I'm sure that's what the dentist gave me when I was a kid, and needed a tooth taking out. So, aether it is recognised or it isn't ;)
@jonesdave
LMFAO

was it really sweet smelling? almost sickly sweet?
that was ether, not aether

LOL



So, it was either aether or ether? :) Actually, it was probably nitrous, but it was some weird sh*t. Very strange visions. Bit like Bowman when he travels into the monolith in 2001. Very trippy.
Anyone know where I can get some?
cantdrive85
1.5 / 5 (14) Aug 02, 2016
Belief in the big bang religion and it's deity Einstein is as dangerous and cultish as any of the fringe crazies out there. I can see it now, mass suicides at the first sign of an Einstein ring. To bad it's pseudoscientific mumbo jumbo, we'd be much better off as a society without the relativists.
gkam
2.1 / 5 (7) Aug 02, 2016
The "big bang religion" does not burn people alive or chop their heads off like Abrahamic religions.

So, I guess it is not a real religion, is it?
gkam
1.6 / 5 (7) Aug 02, 2016
"Actually, it was probably nitrous"
---------------------------

Maybe not. I got ether when I had my tonsils out. Nasty stuff.
Phys1
4.6 / 5 (9) Aug 02, 2016
@cd
What is a relativist?
Anyway, without people like you people would take real science for granted.
Thanks to you they know what wronger than wrong means.
Thanks.
torbjorn_b_g_larsson
4.7 / 5 (12) Aug 02, 2016

The article of course makes no mention of such distinctions, nor can atheist scientists really comprehend or study or seriously comment on what they know not.


It doesn't mention distinctions, but that is mainly because the science of religion you weren't interested in showed there were none.

And as we all know, statistics shows that atheists know their religions *better* than believers, with the exceptions of Mormons and Jews. Mostly because many atheists still are raised by believers, and they leave the religion when they study it and its place in the universe.

According to your own argument, most religionists shouldn't comment on religion because they don't know it as well as most seculars. Or perhaps they and everyone else should, because we have freedom of opinion - and of religion or no religion. But they should likely not put their (less factful, according to facts) opinion in a discussion about the science they don't know about and don't care about.
jonesdave
4.5 / 5 (8) Aug 02, 2016
Belief in the big bang religion and it's deity Einstein is as dangerous and cultish as any of the fringe crazies out there. I can see it now, mass suicides at the first sign of an Einstein ring. To bad it's pseudoscientific mumbo jumbo, we'd be much better off as a society without the relativists.


As opposed to the evidence free, quasi-religious cult who worship at the feet of the demi-gods Thornhill & Talbott? Remind me of anything they have ever contributed to the world of science. Won't take long. What would take longer is a list of the egregious errors, omissions, misrepresentations and obfuscations they have used to con their unquestioning acolytes.
Da Schneib
4.5 / 5 (8) Aug 02, 2016
@Cap'n
but it also seems to be hard-wired into the psyche of the human (at least, the delusion seems to be required by humans due to hard-wiring of our paranoia which helped our survival)
Yes, that's another mechanism the religion mind virus exploits. It has lots of them or it wouldn't be so successful.

@CD86
Belief in the big bang religion and it's deity Einstein
Is nonexistent.

The Big Bang isn't religion.
Einstein is not a deity.
You're making fairy stories up again.
Da Schneib
4.2 / 5 (5) Aug 02, 2016
Double post.
epoxy
Aug 02, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Captain Stumpy
3.9 / 5 (7) Aug 02, 2016
Actually, it was probably nitrous, but it was some weird sh*t
@jonesdave
depends:
how sensitive is your sense of smell?
how did it smell?
was it gaseous or injected?

if it smelled sweet (gaseous), it was either:
ether (Diethyl ether, also known as ethoxyethane, ethyl ether, sulfuric ether)
or chloroform (trichloromethane)

if there was no smell, it was nitrous (although people with sensitive noses can get a faint sweet smell from it, and modern science can also add smells for youths)

if it was injected:
it was likely (in the old school) Sodium Pentathol - depending on when this happened

if it was anytime since the 1990:
general anesthesia is frowned upon unless required (see: The report "A Conscious Decision" 2000 UK)

modern anesthesia (esp post 1990's) means it can be just about anything

that is just off the top of my head, mind you... i can look it up if it's important
Captain Stumpy
3.7 / 5 (6) Aug 02, 2016
Yes, that's another mechanism the religion mind virus exploits. It has lots of them or it wouldn't be so successful
@DaSchneib
too right... if you want, check out this series of video's that are quite interesting
https://www.youtu...6EF60BB0

.

.

by accepting/misinterpreting the evidence and systematical ignoring/misinterpreting the counterevidence
@ZephTROLL
this is demonstrative of almost every post of yours, and every post of the eu cult

in fact, the simple fact that you can't actually provide counter-evidence is demonstrative of the lack of evidence supporting your own delusional belief

more to the point:
it also is demonstrative of the facts - you believe in something so powerfully that you refuse to accept any evidence that refutes your belief

that is religion 100%
it is the very definition of religion: belief in something via faith and the lack of evidence, regardless of the contrary evidence!
epoxy
Aug 02, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Captain Stumpy
3.5 / 5 (8) Aug 02, 2016
The belief in Big Bang model
@idiot illiterate trolling zephir
repeating a lie doesn't make it more true
there is far more evidence for the BB than there is for your falsified aether stupidity
that makes your "belief" in aether religious by definition

if ya can't actually abide by or conform to the scientific method, it is, again, by definition, pseudoscience
therefore you're belief in aether is based upon pseudoscience which has been falsified by validated scientific evidence

to leave you with your own words:
you've straight-forwarding evidence for it before your nose

PS- linking to a privately owned phishing site of pseudoscience bullsh*t isn't source material, nor is it valid science

it is, however, demonstrative of you not being able to actually refute the claims with actual valid peer reviewed evidence from a source that can be validated

stories are for children
that is what your site has - stories for children
not science
Phys1
4.4 / 5 (7) Aug 02, 2016
/* So how does a radical idea gain popularity? Such as the big bang, when steady state was the accepted explanation? Evolution, when "God did it" was the accepted view? Plate tectonics, etc, etc. */

Easily: by accepting/misinterpreting the evidence and systematical ignoring/misinterpreting the counterevidence. In addition, the Big Bang is apparently inspired / motivated with Christian religion and medieval theology. In both cases there is social demand for such a belief, otherwise it wouldn't spread so quickly. At the case of Big Bang theory, this social demand started with incorporating of general relativity and Friedman model into it: this opened the job positions for wast number of theorists.

Show that the big bang never happened I will be the first to applaud,
but you have nothing but tons and tons and more tons of scientese spam not worth responding to.
Life is too short.
Unwillingness to read your spam does not prove it correct.
epoxy
Aug 02, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Da Schneib
4.3 / 5 (6) Aug 02, 2016
/* So how does a radical idea gain popularity? Such as the big bang, when steady state was the accepted explanation? Evolution, when "God did it" was the accepted view? Plate tectonics, etc, etc. */

Easily: by accepting/misinterpreting the evidence and systematical ignoring/misinterpreting the counterevidence.
Second biggest conspiracy theory of all time, right behind the invisible super magic daddy who gives you pie in the sky when you die.
epoxy
Aug 02, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
epoxy
Aug 02, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Captain Stumpy
3.7 / 5 (6) Aug 02, 2016
Religions aren't based on conspiracies, but on pluralistic ignorance
@idiot illiterate trolling zephir
repeating this lie doesn't make it more true either
religion isn't about pluralistic ignorance at all- "In short, pluralistic ignorance is a bias about a social group, held by that social group" https://en.wikipe...gnorance

by its very definition we are objective observers of said group, not in the group

this is why science trumps religion like yours anyway: your entire argument is about pluralistic ignorance over the evidence presented (evidence which refutes your fanatical fundamentalist belief in aether)

because you refuse to believe the evidence (from science)
AND
because you lead the discussion boards on aether (by definition: NOT SCIENCE)
AND
because you claim to be an expert in said topic as well as a leader in the trolling anti-science community
THEN
by definition you are presenting Pluralistic ignorance
Da Schneib
4.3 / 5 (6) Aug 02, 2016
Religions aren't based on conspiracies
Sure they are: invisible super magic sky daddies. <- evidence
epoxy
Aug 02, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Captain Stumpy
3.3 / 5 (7) Aug 02, 2016
@idiot illiterate trolling zephir cont'd
fits the visit of extraterrestrials (they will kidnap you at your cosmic ship)
there is no reputable evidence of aliens, intelligent or otherwise, anywhere on earth (or the solar system, for that matter)
therefore allusion to aliens means you have no evidence
and BTW - if it's "aliens" then it can't be UFO's, by definition
see first 4 min - https://youtu.be/m5WK_7GQ9GQ

now... if you have evidence of aliens, it should be reputable for starters
(as in - not eyewitness testimony)
it should also be testable and able to be validated
(we know that mass hysteria exists, we can demonstrate this, therefore we can state that a mass delusion of the exact same vision/UFO can be linked to mass hysteria, or delusional behaviour, etc)

what have you got to demonstrate your aliens?
is it the same type evidence for your aether?
you know... bullsh*t links to people's statements a-la-bschitt?
Da Schneib
4.3 / 5 (6) Aug 02, 2016
Religion is about pluralistic ignorance of evidence.
Actually it's about pluralistic ignorance of lack of evidence.

Carry on.

On edit: The real problem here is literalism. The Babble cannot be literally true; it explicitly claims that pi is equal to three. That's sufficient evidence to toss the whole thing in a dumpster.
epoxy
Aug 02, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
epoxy
Aug 02, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
cantdrive85
2 / 5 (8) Aug 02, 2016
The "big bang religion" does not burn people alive or chop their heads off like Abrahamic religions.

So, I guess it is not a real religion, is it?

You're right, it's a cult if anything. And it doesn't burn BB heretics alive, just their careers. See Halton Arp and Sir Fred Hoyle both ostracized for opposing POV's.
Captain Stumpy
3.7 / 5 (6) Aug 02, 2016
The ignorance of cold fusion is also religion, based on belief
@proselytizing illiterate trolling zephir
no, it isn't
this is the "pluralistic ignorance" you keep alluding to and you're demonstrating it with spades:

first off, define the scientific method:https://en.wikipe...c_method

now define scientific evidence: https://en.wikipe...evidence

considering there is none of the latter to support the former then, by definition there is no evidence to support CF, especially "your version" of CF which you can't even define to begin with
(and before you start linking more pseudoscience sites: remember - source material is important in science. you don't open the bible to learn about physics, so don't link pseudoscience or bullsh*t blogs)
and it also has its own socio-economical motivation
this is where you fail, epically

IF there was viable repeatable evidence for CF, there is much money to be made
epoxy
Aug 02, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
gkam
1 / 5 (6) Aug 02, 2016
"it explicitly claims that pi is equal to three"
------------------------------

Well, I guess it was before they invented the decimal or fractions. That was as close as they could get.

I guess Absolute Truth was approximate back then.
Phys1
4.4 / 5 (7) Aug 02, 2016
@epoxy
Religions are based on much more, such as every possible method to take, maintain, extend and abuse power. In fact if I was Satan, I would start a religion, what , I would start THREE religions.

Btw epoxy, is there any crackpot theory that you DON'T believe in?
epoxy
Aug 02, 2016
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Captain Stumpy
3.7 / 5 (6) Aug 02, 2016
For example, I don't also believe in let say hollow Earth theory, but frankly - I have absolutely no need to convince the people about the opposite
@proselytizing illiterate trolling zephir
that is because you don't advocate for science over pseudoscience; real over belief

of course you won't argue for factual over belief... that would eliminate your own belief system

it's not about advocating for something that you think is correct anyway:
it's about advocating for something that can be demonstrably proven with the evidence

.

all astrophysicists know that the BB is incomplete, just like scientists know about the limitations between QM and GR, etc... it's not about belief, it's about being able to prove, with evidence

Example:
in an investigation, your arguments are considered hearsay until you can validate them
they have no merit unless they're valid and can be proven as such

consider your source (alibi) ... if it aint reputable, neither are your words
Phys1
4.5 / 5 (8) Aug 02, 2016
The "big bang religion" does not burn people alive or chop their heads off like Abrahamic religions.

So, I guess it is not a real religion, is it?

You're right, it's a cult if anything. And it doesn't burn BB heretics alive, just their careers. See Halton Arp and Sir Fred Hoyle both ostracized for opposing POV's.

These things happen, not only in science but in every part of society.
It is not the sign of a cult. You are way out of line with this accusation.
epoxy
Aug 02, 2016
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Captain Stumpy
3.9 / 5 (7) Aug 02, 2016
@proselytizing illiterate trolling zephir cont'd
This is not scientific argument
it is logic 101
considering the green movement: if there was reputable viable repeatable evidence for CF that could be utilised in a commercial capacity (IOW- scientific level evidence) there would be billions poured into it as a viable alternative energy

the evidence, however, states CF isn't a viable energy source and the evidence you give isn't reputable nor is it viable, etc
There is no fundamental difference between dismissal of cold fusion and let say for example evolution
actually, there is a world of difference, and not just "observational" evidence
there is Lenski - still going after all these years (experimental evidence) - so not only do we observe evolution, but we can replicate it in a lab

absolutely no, REPEAT, no reputable evidence for a viable energy source in CF that is lab reproduced, validated and checked by multiple unrelated sources like evolution
Phys1
5 / 5 (7) Aug 02, 2016
@epoxy
So you don't believe in hollow earth but you are "agnostic" about it?
You don't know?
Is there anything you DO know?
epoxy
Aug 02, 2016
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Captain Stumpy
3.5 / 5 (8) Aug 02, 2016
@proselytizing illiterate trolling zephir cont'd
In my experience most of crackpot ideas hide rational core inside them
i can debunk that with two words: reg mundy
where is the rational core in that whole log of turd-scraping?

it sure aint physics, nor logic, nor even consistency... so... care to speculate?

the problem with finding a rational core is that the core is usually delusional based, therefore the "rationality" comes well after the fact
it's easy to consider the thought process of x-tians logical if you read the holy comic... but is that justification for a belief? especially considering the power it once had?
not in the real world, which is why science has given us the tech and advanced us to the current point, not religion

religion, all of it, be it pseudoscience or otherwise, is based upon delusion, narcissism and D-K and it's reason for existence is about control, not reality or anything else

even you, zeph

you want recognition and control
Phys1
4.5 / 5 (8) Aug 02, 2016
if there was reputable viable repeatable evidence for CF that could be utilized in a commercial capacity (IOW- scientific level evidence) there would be billions poured into it as a viable alternative energy
This is like to say Mr. Shockley: look you idiot - if the transistor would work, as you claim, wouldn't we have already billions of dollars poured into computers and tamagochi games?

Well there are. Electronics is huge.
Epoxy, you are totally illiterate. You have no skills to distinguish sense from nonsense so you ended up embracing every bit of nonsense while acting up against very bit of sense. Study physics or go fishing.
Captain Stumpy
3.5 / 5 (8) Aug 02, 2016
This is like to say Mr. Shockley: look you idiot - if the transistor would work, as you claim, wouldn't we have already billions of dollars poured into computers and tamagochi games?
that's nonsensical and a really crappy analogy

it's not like science doesn't know sh*t about CF... it knows a lot about it
this is one reason why it's a dead end and not being funded ...

more to the point: it can't actually shake off the crackpot status because of people like you who advocate for alien CF anti-gravity aether drives with cloaking devices [hyperbole]

until people are STEM literate enough to actually follow the evidence, understand it (at least the basics) then there will always be people like you advocating for dead tech, dead falsified hypothesis or some religious something

you are not in it for anything other than self-aggrandizement, control, attention and your fanatical belief

the only reason you still post here is because it's not moderated
epoxy
Aug 02, 2016
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epoxy
Aug 02, 2016
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Captain Stumpy
3.7 / 5 (9) Aug 02, 2016
five - ten years, before such thing will be considered just a bit seriously
and again, it's about evidence
if you could produce a reputable study indicating the science behind a perpetual motion machine or self-running motor, you would be world famous

this is like being addicted to gambling: you are gambling that you're outrageous beliefs will pay off in some way big for you

this is all about attention, self-aggrandizement, control and the con game

this is easily proven because you require a sock-army to be taken semi-seriously and even get your arguments uprated (or your dissenting opinions downrated) enough to be considered viable

if you had evidence, you wouldn't need your socks/sock army
you would be able to present viable evidence for a logical argument

because you don't have evidence and you require a sock army, this is demonstrative of an infantile response and troll tactic (and bullying -all for perceived authority you cant get legitimately)
epoxy
Aug 02, 2016
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epoxy
Aug 02, 2016
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epoxy
Aug 02, 2016
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Phys1
4.6 / 5 (10) Aug 02, 2016
Well there are. Electronics is huge
Well, by now - but not in times of Mr. Shockley:

What are you whining about? He received the Noble prize already 8 years after his discovery.
every finding has it own dynamics. Some people cannot understand,

And you are definitely one of them.
Is there anything that you DO understand?

epoxy
Aug 02, 2016
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jeffensley
1.6 / 5 (7) Aug 02, 2016
We're wired to seek solace in something bigger than us. I hypothesize that frequently, those that do not believe in higher powers substitute it with faith in the idea of a wise and compassionate governing body. In my experience, atheists tend to have strong socialist leanings.
Phys1
4.6 / 5 (9) Aug 02, 2016
The magnetic motors or cold fusion isn't any exception: we have at least six different announcements of room temperature superconductivity, but no one takes a sh*t about it.

Because no one can afford to waste his time on obvious baloney.
epoxy
Aug 02, 2016
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Captain Stumpy
3.5 / 5 (8) Aug 02, 2016
Disproved by experience: Galileo also had an evidence
@idiot trolling pseudoscience zeph
actually this proved my point
he was inhibited through the power and authority of the church and their influence of religion over science... as i stated above, when the church lost it's influence and the world became more scientifically literate (following evidence over belief) it also surged ahead and in the years between G and us, created a technological civilisation that has been unequaled in time by any earth-bound race

like i said: EVIDENCE over belief
I don't have any socks army
repeating a lie that you already admitted to is proof you are here for accolades, attempted control, self-perceived authority and the big payoff i stated above
the number of people, who are getting gradually upset with your ignorance
that can only magically appear and vote when you aren't posting?
ROTFLMFAO

i didn't fall for it years ago
what makes you think it will work now?
Phys1
4.3 / 5 (11) Aug 02, 2016
We're wired to seek solace in something bigger than us.
No we aren't, we are social.
I hypothesize that frequently,
and so you started believing it is true
those that do not believe in higher powers substitute it with faith in the idea of a wise and compassionate governing body.
Crap.
In my experience,
who cares
atheists tend to have strong socialist leanings.

Crap. God was a capitalist, but Jesus was a socialist himself.
epoxy
Aug 02, 2016
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Captain Stumpy
3.8 / 5 (10) Aug 02, 2016
In my experience, atheists tend to have strong socialist leanings.
@jeffe
two can play that game, except we can produce evidence for the claims... you know, like the following:

A lot of religious people are homophobic or anti-gay rights

so - would you be willing to take a 25 question test to determine your own homophobic responses?
this is a scientific test to determine how homophobic a person is

why?

because there is a direct proven validated correlation between those who speak out against homophobia and those who have homosexual tendencies and desires

actually, the correlations specifically and directly are linked to the study/questionnaire: the higher you score the more likely you are to have homosexual tendencies and desires

****

so, where is your evidence supporting atheist being socialistic?

does it have the same validity as the studies i can provide for your test?

religion doesn't confer special morality power
belief it does is fallacious
jeffensley
1.7 / 5 (6) Aug 02, 2016
We're wired to seek solace in something bigger than us.
No we aren't, we are social.
I hypothesize that frequently,
and so you started believing it is true
those that do not believe in higher powers substitute it with faith in the idea of a wise and compassionate governing body.
Crap.
In my experience,
who cares
atheists tend to have strong socialist leanings.

Crap. God was a capitalist, but Jesus was a socialist himself.


Thank you for supporting my hypothesis. I'll add you to the data set ;)
Captain Stumpy
3.7 / 5 (9) Aug 02, 2016
@idiot trolling pseudoscience zeph
Or rather less religiously literate
the average person today is orders of magnitude more scientifically literate than 100 and especially more than 200yrs ago, even though most aren't capable of being physicists (especially and including yourself)
... the excess of the dual religious propaganda
and this is true today of science

because you tend to promote your religious beliefs over the factual evidence based scientific approach, you are the propaganda being used to deter the acceptance and learning of scientific literacy, especially with the young where your target audience rests in reddit

this is about religion over science, and you promote that with your pseudoscience proclamations to those who can't actually validate claims or research enough to find evidence

it's not just about scientific illiteracy, but laziness, ignorance and the need to belong to something, supporting a self-serving bias
you're a great example
Phys1
4.6 / 5 (10) Aug 02, 2016
We're wired to seek solace in something bigger than us.
No we aren't, we are social.
I hypothesize that frequently,
and so you started believing it is true
those that do not believe in higher powers substitute it with faith in the idea of a wise and compassionate governing body.
Crap.
In my experience,
who cares
atheists tend to have strong socialist leanings.

Crap. God was a capitalist, but Jesus was a socialist himself.


Thank you for supporting my hypothesis. I'll add you to the data set ;)

Have you concluded that I am a socialist then? How?
jeffensley
1.7 / 5 (6) Aug 02, 2016
Have you concluded that I am a socialist then? How?


The amount of personal offense you seemed to take in a fairly innocuous statement. So I'm wrong?
epoxy
Aug 02, 2016
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Phys1
4.6 / 5 (10) Aug 02, 2016
Because no one can afford to waste his time on obvious baloney
Apparently it makes no problem for string theorists.

Whether string theory is baloney or not, it certainly is not obvious.
Btw I don't believe you know even the first thing about it.
You just like to use the term.
Phys1
4.7 / 5 (12) Aug 02, 2016
IMO the most literate people of all ages were the people in Victorian era,

Abject poverty, starvation even, cold and disease, and illiteracy were the norm.
Phys1
4.6 / 5 (10) Aug 02, 2016
Have you concluded that I am a socialist then? How?


The amount of personal offense you seemed to take in a fairly innocuous statement.
Do I?
So I'm wrong?

So you _are_ guessing that I am a socialist, to "support your hypothesis".
Your hypothesis obviously is baloney. The problem with religion is that is limits a persons possibilities to make sense.
Captain Stumpy
3.7 / 5 (9) Aug 02, 2016
@idiot trolling pseudoscience zeph
Most of people have no idea about one thousandth of actual volume of scientific research
ignorance of the volume of science doesn't mean the same thing as scientifically illiterate
people 200 years ago thought it was gross to sh*t in their own homes where they slept and ate
they also didn't believe in germs, even with the empirical evidence (and their use against native american tribes)
today, everyone knows about germs, the need for hygeine, brushing teeth, the link between smoking and cancer, that eating/drinking off of lead plates/utensils/painted stuff can be life threatening, etc...

that is orders of magnitude over the typical person of even just 150 years ago - the US war of northern aggression demonstrates that with spades if you look at the acceptable cures for pneumonia alone, and the fact that the average educated person actually allowed it to happen - not average citizen, but average educated one!
epoxy
Aug 02, 2016
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Captain Stumpy
3.9 / 5 (11) Aug 02, 2016
@idiot trolling pseudoscience zeph cont'd
IMO the most literate people of all ages were the people in Victorian era
WTF?
really?
they used bloodletting as a means to help psychotic patients and anemic's both... tell me that is logical and literate!

what you mean is that Victorian people, in your opinion, had better literature
they were in no way, shape or form, more literate and that can be proven with the average education of the average person... not the bluebloods, rich or well-to-do, or even just the emerging middle class, mind you...but average overall
that includes the world, not just England or the US

you have no evidence over their superiority at all

the best you can do WRT literacy (reading/writing only) is the Cherokee after the Syllabus publication of Sequoyah... and that is not scientific literacy, just literacy

jeffensley
1.7 / 5 (6) Aug 02, 2016
Have you concluded that I am a socialist then? How?


The amount of personal offense you seemed to take in a fairly innocuous statement.
Do I?
So I'm wrong?

So you _are_ guessing that I am a socialist, to "support your hypothesis".
Your hypothesis obviously is baloney. The problem with religion is that is limits a persons possibilities to make sense.


Me hypothesizing a direct correlation between atheism and socialism isn't support for religion. It's just an illustration that both atheists and deists are seeking the same solace/security, just in different places.

And you didn't answer my question? ;)
antiantigoracle
Aug 02, 2016
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antiantigoracle
Aug 02, 2016
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Captain Stumpy
3.9 / 5 (15) Aug 02, 2016
It's just an illustration that both atheists and deists are seeking the same solace/security, just in different places.
@jeffe
uhm... no, it isn't

if that was your purpose, you failed miserably, because it neither illustrates the "seeking the same solace/security, just in different places"
NOR does it in any way have any relation to the topic of solace or security, religion or correlating behaviour between athiests and religious

for that you would have to demonstrate how two wildly separate and opposing viewpoints make the same choices for the same reasoning, as well as demonstrate the same behaviour based upon defferent criteria

all you did was make a false statement that isn't supported by evidence in an effort to piss someone off (AKA- Trolling)
Mark Thomas
4.9 / 5 (11) Aug 03, 2016
"Belief in a deity helps humans cooperate and live in large groups"

It is not unreasonable to infer the adoption of religion helped some groups to compete against each other to better survive. So take the next step and realize that groups, not just individuals, evolve.
richardwenzel987
4.6 / 5 (10) Aug 03, 2016
If religionists didn't have severely defective brains, they would not be religionists. You can judge the quality of a brain by output-- logical, coherent, complex, amenable to data, reality bound? That's quality, and you find none of those good things among religionists. In fact, religionists embrace ideas that would not be out of place in a psych ward. They have an inability to actually think. Hey, religionists don't think, they stink!
BendBob
5 / 5 (9) Aug 03, 2016
Freedom from religion.

Please, let's end religion as a qualifier of being human.
jeffensley
1.5 / 5 (8) Aug 03, 2016
If religionists didn't have severely defective brains, they would not be religionists. You can judge the quality of a brain by output-- logical, coherent, complex, amenable to data, reality bound? That's quality, and you find none of those good things among religionists. In fact, religionists embrace ideas that would not be out of place in a psych ward. They have an inability to actually think. Hey, religionists don't think, they stink!


This statement and its rating supports my above hypothesis. It only makes sense... if you aren't seeking solace in a powerful benevolent being, you are seeking it in science and faith in humanity. Unfortunately, data is devoid of compassion and humans are fallible. Whether you believe scriptures are the word of an actual God or simply wisdom of human seekers from the past, they can guide us toward embracing our condition with compassion while science seeks to "cure" it altogether via drugs and technology. Both are necessary IMO.
gkam
1.4 / 5 (9) Aug 03, 2016
" if you aren't seeking solace , . . . "
--------------------------------

I am more interested in science.

You need a hug.
Captain Stumpy
4.2 / 5 (10) Aug 03, 2016
This statement and its rating supports my above hypothesis
@jeffe
no, it doesn't
and the voting/rating system isn't about factual accuracy at all, as proven by the downrating of factually accurate evidence supported comments all over PO by delusional religious fanatics, pseudoscience advocates and other politically (or other) motivated posters

I happened to think it was funny
Both are necessary IMO
i disagree
for starters, delusion is hardwired into humans as a species

here is a great series on it (with references and studies in an easy to understand format for you)
http://saposjoint...start=10

for two:
your post intimates that morality/compassion etc comes from religion, whereas we can see this isn't true by observing nature itself (altruistic behaviour in nature - google scholar it)

if religion were necessary, it would have promoted evidence over faith
it didn't (until forced to do so)
(see all of recorded history)
jeffensley
1.6 / 5 (7) Aug 03, 2016
Both are necessary IMO
i disagree
for starters, delusion is hardwired into humans as a species


I know you do, and that's fine. The problem is you're trying to win some argument that's unwinnable. You're trying to prove your belief system (facts as we understand them) is superior when in fact it's as limited as our own intellects. No matter how advanced we become, we'll never know all the answers. Spirituality is a submission to the greatness of the mystery. Just because we can observe and give arbitrary names to phenomena doesn't mean we understand the how's or why's nor does that "knowledge" give us meaning or purpose. Science is practical for day to day life, spirituality gives us a reason to live it. Both are necessary for survival of the species.
epoxy
Aug 03, 2016
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jeffensley
1.4 / 5 (10) Aug 03, 2016
And please understand since I haven't explained it, spirituality is more than doctrine, in fact I'd say it is often separate from it. Doctrine is limiting whereas spirituality is limitless. I'd venture to say however that the actions suggested in many doctrines are intended to help us reach the spiritual experience, something far greater than our finite selves. Forgiveness is not in our nature, anger and judgement are. Selflessness is not in our nature, greed and selfishness are. To attain these things takes a great amount of personal effort and time whereas out gut reactions are easy. Without religion/spirituality asking us to transcend the programming of Nature and experience, what direction would we go in? I think it's naive to believe Science can answer that question for you.
jeffensley
1.4 / 5 (10) Aug 03, 2016
I think it's naive to believe Science can answer that question for you.


Of you have to admit that spiritual seekers are the "scientists" of the human experience :)
LifeBasedLogic
Aug 03, 2016
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Phys1
5 / 5 (7) Aug 03, 2016
Spirituality is a submission to the greatness of the mystery.

Spirituality is to indulge in ignorance.
Captain Stumpy
4 / 5 (8) Aug 04, 2016
You're trying to prove your belief system (facts as we understand them) is superior
@jeffe
1- it's not a "belief system" when it's supported by evidence, it is an evidence based rational thought process for learning and advancement called the scientific method
Belief systems are for faith based or religious orders
just because delusion is hard wired doesn't mean it's fatal: we can learn, using a strict methodology and analysis, to remove bias and the delusions we have, through study and hard work, education and application

2- it *is* superior to belief in a known unprovable delusion like a religion (See history)

No matter how advanced we become, we'll never know all the answers
so?
even now no one person is a polymath knowing everything we've learned in history...

you should read these links:
https://www.simon...ngs-out/

http://www.math.u...man.pdf|

2Bcont'd
Captain Stumpy
4 / 5 (8) Aug 04, 2016
@jeffe cont'd
Spirituality is a submission to the greatness of the mystery
philosophical babble
& subjective
spirituality gives us a reason to live it. Both are necessary for survival of the species
1- bullsh*t: i'll take science any day over spirituality because it's far more fascinating than bullsh*t psycho-babble philo double-talk

2- false statement as well: it's entirely subjective and opinion, not fact
spirituality is more than doctrine
for the record: i see no problem with spirituality.

never have - don't care

it is the separate "doctrine" as you put it that i despise. i call that "religion"- the codified rules surrounding a faith used for judgement and control of others

belief is found in all humans

once you set up a dogma or tenets for being a "better [insert label]" then it becomes a religion and that is where the danger begins
it actually advocates fanaticism and prejudice despite refuting evidence
(eu, zeph, etc)
Captain Stumpy
4 / 5 (8) Aug 04, 2016
@jeffe cont'd
Forgiveness is not in our nature, anger and judgement are. Selflessness is not in our nature, greed and selfishness are
and you think we can only attain these through religion or some other higher spiritual belief?

that is total crap: as i stated, use google scholar and simply look up altruism in the animal kingdom
that single search debunks any belief that spirituality, religion or belief in some higher power is somehow linked to moralistic behaviour etc
Without religion/spirituality asking us to transcend the programming of Nature and experience, what direction would we go in?
and again, bullsh*t
See above for reasons
I think it's naive to believe Science can answer that question for you
but it already has answered some of it: watch the vid links i left you

just because you believe it to be true doesn't mean it is, nor does it mean it applies to all humans
especially the requirement for spirituality
Captain Stumpy
4 / 5 (8) Aug 04, 2016
but the fact I'm not getting upvoted by at least few people here indicates
@idiot trolling pseudoscience zeph
let me finish that for you: it means they're ignoring you and not taking the time to read your bullsh*t
nothing more
It just confirms my pluralistic ignorance theory
1- no, it doesn't
you can't even demonstrate correlation let alone that you comprehend what pluralistic ignorance is: and i've already proved you don't know what it means

2- just because you believe it doesn't mean it's true...and repeating the lie doesn't suddenly give it authority to anyone who requires evidence
you have yet to make a case for it, and the case you have made demonstrated your ignorance, literacy problems (or translation prob) and that you know jack sh*t about science and it's methodology

thanks for sharing that, though... it helps when i have to point others to something to teach them what pluralistic ignorance really means
you're a great example of it
Captain Stumpy
4 / 5 (8) Aug 04, 2016
@idiot trolling pseudoscience zeph
i had to answer this separately
It just seems for me, that the people resigned their destiny or they lost faith and basic self-preservation instincts, which makes me sad
do you know why people have issues understanding basic science and "follows it faithfully" when mainstream science finds new evidence?

1- the evidence speaks for itself

2- people don't understand because of people like you who think you do understand - you promote pseudoscience because you can't actually take the time to learn real science

3- b/c of mainstream media giving people like you (pseudoscience idiots) equal time when discussing Science (especially true for climate science)
Not that i dislike skepticism, but it's all about evidence, not "belief" in something
(like you, z, or the anti-agw idiots)

you're a darwin award waiting to happen
have you created your perpetual motion machine that is based on old proven stuff like you claim?
no?
wonder why?
humy
4.6 / 5 (10) Aug 04, 2016
So this link implies that we all should have a stupid delusional superstitious belief in God/gods to 1, be moral; 2, cooperate to form a functional society?
Err, no thanks; I will stick to being moral and cooperate in society WITHOUT a stupid superstitious belief in God/gods, thanks. I for one am living proof that we can do this and I know of many other examples of atheists that can do this. I don't see how having a stupid delusional superstitious belief in God/gods would help me to be moral anyway; one stupid delusional belief makes it easier to have many others including it being somehow morally OK to fly passenger aircraft into tall buildings etc.
Phys1
4.6 / 5 (10) Aug 04, 2016
I think it's naive to believe Science can answer that question for you.


Of you have to admit that spiritual seekers are the "scientists" of the human experience :)

So the delusionists want the same respect as the scientists, the doctors, the space explorers. IIt is the same feeling of inferiority and being excluded from the real world that drives religious terrorism.
The solution is so simple: get informed, learn to think for yourself, question your and other's motives etc. and IF you have to read ancient scriptures make sure you have the skills to understand what the text really means. In short get enlightened. It does not make life easier but at least you stand a fair chance of not being a ludicrous fool any longer WITHOUT resorting to repressing others.
Phys1
4.6 / 5 (11) Aug 04, 2016
Wow, the moderator is back from a global fishing trip, or catching butterflies in Amazonia, or 7 years in Tibet.
Welcome on this blog.
Read the guidelines first and then for chrissake enforce them.
Although I must admit that I learn a lot from discussing delusions (the psychology of religious extremism is now clear to me) and pseudoscience (occasionally bring in new - to me - facts, laying pseudoscience to rest).
Phys1
4.6 / 5 (9) Aug 04, 2016
As far as the PO article goes, I repeat: even my dog is more copperative if he believes he _will_ get caught and then he _will_ be punished. Rest assured: I only use a specific tone of voice to punish. For all practical purposes I am his god.
richardwenzel987
4.5 / 5 (8) Aug 04, 2016
To give you an idea of how toxic religionists are, I have heard them say things like: "All is well, for God is on his throne", in reference to global warming. And: "Do not worry, God will provide", in reference to overpopulation. If humanity consisted of nothing but religionists, I really doubt that mankind would have moved much beyond the 10th century, in terms of living standards. Actually, many religionists are hostile to free inquiry, certainly hostile to knowledge of nature. Religionist thinking made it easy to justify the inquisitions, witch burnings, ethnic and religious persecutions that have plagued mankind for much of history. Oddly enough, even Joe Stalin, Hitler, and Pol Pot practiced religionist thinking. They abandoned empiricism and skepticism for the One True Path, in defiance of all contrary evidence, in defiance of what science would have told them. That's religionist: that horrible certainty based on wishful thinking and "faith", in defiance of even common sense.
Uncle Ira
4 / 5 (8) Aug 04, 2016
Oh no, another Zephir-Skippy bites the dust.
ElectricBoobVerses
Aug 04, 2016
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jeffensley
2 / 5 (4) Aug 04, 2016
Spirituality is a submission to the greatness of the mystery.

Spirituality is to indulge in ignorance.


Translation: "I'm superior for the simple fact that I attach my beliefs to the known... which isn't very much"
jeffensley
2 / 5 (4) Aug 04, 2016
So the delusionists want the same respect as the scientists, the doctors, the space explorers. IIt is the same feeling of inferiority and being excluded from the real world that drives religious terrorism.
The solution is so simple: get informed, learn to think for yourself, question your and other's motives etc. and IF you have to read ancient scriptures make sure you have the skills to understand what the text really means. In short get enlightened. It does not make life easier but at least you stand a fair chance of not being a ludicrous fool any longer WITHOUT resorting to repressing others.


You're confusing spirituality (which is personal) with how SOME people attempt to impose religious doctrine on others. They are not the same thing. And just out of curiosity, how much personal spiritual work have you done that you feel entitled to comment on it? Seems very "unscientific" to pass judgement on things you haven't experienced yourself.
jeffensley
2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 04, 2016
But there is a common thread between ALL of us that transcends doctrine. The experience of previous spiritual seekers whether that's the Buddha or Thomas Merton for example, has value that folks like you seem to write off because their work has a "spiritual" label attached to it. That's very limiting and unscientific. Drugs (provided by science as you define it) might help alleviate particular sensations in the body we deem "negative" but they don't provide for the compassion and meaning that humanity needs in order to survive. Religion attempts to do that and apparently has success as this study indicates. You not liking it doesn't change it.
Captain Stumpy
3.7 / 5 (6) Aug 04, 2016
You're confusing spirituality (which is personal) with how SOME people attempt to impose religious doctrine on others
@Jeffe
no, i don't think so

so long as there is someone willing to believe in something without evidence we will have another who codifies rules around how to be a better [insert label based upon the belief]

this is also human nature - it's likely where we evolved our "rule of law" from
has value that folks like you seem to write off
and again: no
you can accept the moral or other anecdote as being valid without accepting the spirituality or tenets that come with it

rejection of the spiritual part isn't a bad thing, it's necessary for logic and critical thinking to prevail because accepting that spiritual part means accepting faith as being equivalent to validated fact

it's not... not even close
2Bcont'd
Captain Stumpy
3.7 / 5 (6) Aug 04, 2016
@jeffe cont'd
That's very limiting and unscientific
actually, it is the very definition of the scientific method
remove bias and anything that can't be validated

See also: above
Drugs ... they don't provide for the compassion and meaning that humanity needs in order to survive
why are you seeking to obfuscate the issue with nonsense wrapped in pseudoscience?

drugs also don't fly, yet we see birds doing it
same thing!

in nature, we see where nature has demonstrated altruistic behaviour as well as "love" or "compassion" as you define it

are you saying nature isn't something we can understand through science?
we're doing pretty f*cking spectacular so far... even if we don't know everything
Religion attempts to do that
no, spirituality attempts to do it
religion doesn't do anything but add prejudice, the means to control others and a set of rules that allow both to happen
it is the reason for fanaticism
Eikka
4 / 5 (4) Aug 05, 2016
Translation: "I'm superior for the simple fact that I attach my beliefs to the known... which isn't very much"


Obviously. By definition. Consider the alternative: attaching your beliefs to the unknown, which isn't really anything at all because you know nothing of it.

You forget the wisdom of the east:
The Dao that can be stated, is not the eternal Dao;
The name that can be named, is not the eternal name.
The nameless is the origin of the heaven and earth;
The named is the mother of the myriad things.


Or in the words of western philosophy: "Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent."

When you speak of the spiritual, you speak of all the things that cannot be spoken of because they're beyond description. When you think of the spiritual, you're thinking about things that cannot be thought of using thoughts you can think, which is not the same.

A "spiritual" man is blinded by his own hubris to confusing his own thoughts with reality.
jeffensley
2 / 5 (4) Aug 05, 2016
and again: no
you can accept the moral or other anecdote as being valid without accepting the spirituality or tenets that come with it


And again, no. I'm saying the experience of previous seekers IS the evidence... science is slowly catching up to it. Research it yourself if you are so inclined. I already have and also have personal experience to back it up. The problem is, as soon as you think you "possess" knowledge, you've lost what it was you were seeking. Spirituality is submission to and taking joy from the infinite mystery. People need wisdom that helps them on the day to day scale of life. A book of "facts" provides none of that... finding acceptance, joy, and humor in the human condition does.

What you all seem to be arguing for is an existence based on perpetual anxiety that cannot resolve itself until we know and control all... which of course you will acknowledge will never happen.
Eikka
4.3 / 5 (6) Aug 05, 2016
Spirituality is submission to and taking joy from the infinite mystery.


I.e. nonsense.

What you all seem to be arguing for is an existence based on perpetual anxiety that cannot resolve itself until we know and control all... which of course you will acknowledge will never happen.


What are you proposing then? Withdrawal from reality under a "mystery" which is completely void of content, and simply sitting there humming om mani padme hum until you perish?

What sort of liberation is that?

People need wisdom that helps them on the day to day scale of life.


And that doesn't come from spirituality. If you meet a cyclist with a flat tire, do you offer them the eternal mystery, or do you offer them a lift to the nearest service station?
jeffensley
2 / 5 (4) Aug 05, 2016
Nonsense? The unknown is all we have. Do you honestly think one day science is going to map the extent of our known universe and we're all just going to sigh with relief and be content? I'm not suggesting there's no use for science...as I've said before it has practical applications for day to day life... but it will never provide meaning or contentment and we can't survive without that. That's where spirituality comes in. What does your Utopia look like, just out of curiosity?
Eikka
4.2 / 5 (5) Aug 05, 2016
When the mind is at peace,
the world too is at peace.
Nothing real, nothing absent.
Not holding on to reality,
not getting stuck in the void,
you are neither holy or wise, just
an ordinary fellow who has completed his work.

P'ang Y�Ľn (é��č�Š Hõ Un) (The Enlightened Heart 34)


Nonsense? The unknown is all we have.


That's getting stuck in the void. The void will never provide meaning or contentment because it's literally empty, nonsense, nothing. You may think you have something, but again when you think you've found something that's just you, talking nonsense to yourself. Is that the kind of wisdom you think people should follow? Inventing fairytales and mysteries and indulging themselves in them?
Eikka
4 / 5 (4) Aug 05, 2016
we can't survive without that


What do you think meaning and contentment is?

I have no other emblems of my glory than
The mountains and hills without a spot of dust.
My magical power and spiritual exercise consists in
Carrying water and gathering firewood.

Food and clothes sustain
Body and life;
I advise you to learn
Being as is.
When it's time,
I move my hermitage and go,
And there's nothing
To be left behind.
-P'ang Yün
jeffensley
3 / 5 (2) Aug 05, 2016
I know one sign of DIS-contentment is taking offense in, denigrating and suggesting the banishment of the beliefs of others. If "knowledge" however you define that, provides you with what you seek, then be happy. Don't worry about what others believe.

Regarding "the void". It's NOT empty for me. It's scary getting there sometimes because I have to surrender the ego, my personal desires/expectations... but it provides an often compassionate and direct connection to the present... about as real and content as you can get. I leave those moment more open to the experiences of others, less selfish. That's what spirituality looks like for me... and IMO, many religious texts and rituals seek to guide followers to this same place.... in Christianity (New Testament) love and forgiveness are common themes, in Islam it's to "submit" to God, in Buddhism (which I most closely attach to) "acceptance" is a major theme. (cont'd)
jeffensley
3.7 / 5 (3) Aug 05, 2016
I don't see these as the words of an all-powerful God but as the shared wisdom of many different spiritual seekers in their search for truth and contentment in the human condition. I'm more interested in the commonalities than differences. Seeing how we are alike is far more productive than focusing on and fearing our differences. If "truth" and contentment come to you in data and observation, be happy that it works for you and try not to worry that others don't feel the same. That religion provides many hundreds of millions with solace alone is "truth", even if it is not founded in facts as you understand them. If it's any consolation, science suggests we are "wired" to believe in something bigger than us. That alone is a profound mystery.
jeffensley
3 / 5 (2) Aug 05, 2016
These two scenes from the movie "Contact" are a nice parallel to this discussion...

https://www.youtu...HpamkHII
https://www.youtu...aHxI5-P8
gkam
2.5 / 5 (8) Aug 05, 2016
jeff, that is fine. The idea that we must all obey the strictures of one person's dogma is not.

Let's all keep our religion to ourselves.
jeffensley
4 / 5 (4) Aug 05, 2016
jeff, that is fine. The idea that we must all obey the strictures of one person's dogma is not.

Let's all keep our religion to ourselves.


Yup, doctrine to me is just a reflection of societal expectations at the time it was written. The hypocrisy of people referring to Leviticus to judge homosexuality just makes me shake my head.
Captain Stumpy
4.2 / 5 (5) Aug 05, 2016
And again, no
@jeffe
there is absolutely no empirical evidence whatsoever that demonstrates the only method to acquire morality is through the acceptance of a religion

case in point: prisons are rife with "religious" and spiritual people both

have you ever actually looked at the statistics?
what is the correlation of religion/spirituality to criminal acts?

more to the point: if religion/spirituality conferred morality, why then are there religious or spiritual leaders committing immoral and illegal acts?

and why is morality is found in nature when we can count, on one hand, the number of converted true believer spiritual religious:
dogs, cats, birds, monkey's (need i go on?)

making the claim while stating historical eye-witness testimony (based on cultures that typically required religious affiliations for education and/or success) is like claiming ownership of houses in modern humans confers mechanical and carpentry ability because HISTORY
Captain Stumpy
3.3 / 5 (7) Aug 05, 2016
@jeffe cont'd
I'm saying the experience of previous seekers IS the evidence
not only is this a subjective experience, but it's written in local colloquial terminology for impact
not too reputable nor is it replicable
I already have and also have personal experience
1- your experience is anecdotal and subjective - not applicable

2- then you won't mind posting links/references to reputable peer-reviewed journals validating your claims, right?
thanks
...People need wisdom that helps them on the day to day scale of life
not only is your definition of "spirituality" lacking, but it's also wrong: try again

you can be happy without being spiritual, and any happy athiest is a debunking of that claim

also: you can get wisdom from non-spiritual sources, which is where all historical spiritual sources drew their anecdotal evidence, making your claims debunked with simple logic

sorry - that was a big fail, jeffe
jeffensley
3 / 5 (2) Aug 05, 2016
So Stumpy, are you suggesting because immoral acts have been perpetrated under the guise of religion or by religious people, that it somehow negates the overall good?

You know very well I can make the same argument regarding deliberate and disgusting acts done in the name of science or immoral acts by people who call themselves "scientists". It wasn't as if that label somehow granted them morality.
Captain Stumpy
3.7 / 5 (6) Aug 05, 2016
@jeffe cont'd
What you all seem to be arguing for is an existence based on perpetual anxiety that cannot resolve itself until we know and control all... which of course you will acknowledge will never happen
nope
what i am arguing is far simpler than your percieved complex interpretations of my post
don't look into the argument and assume something that isn't there
more to the point: you are intentionally biasing your interpretation of my posts with your own dogma and biases, ASSuming that i am writing from a perspective of non-experience
that is a big fail as well
Nonsense? The unknown is all we have
i can debunk that with one simple link: http://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm

not all is "unknown" or "unknowable"
Do you...of our known universe
you just debunked your own last quoted comment in this post

that is the circular and irrational argument tactics of religion and conspiracist ideation, not logic/science & especially not reality
Captain Stumpy
3.7 / 5 (6) Aug 05, 2016
@jeffe cont'd
So Stumpy, are you suggesting because immoral acts have been perpetrated under the guise of religion or by religious people, that it somehow negates the overall good?
nope
I am saying that if you ASSume that only religion and/or spirituality confers morality than there are plenty of examples that it's not true (holy wars, jihad, genocide of US Native aboriginals by the "moral" religious, etc)

AND
that morality is not conferred by acceptance of or belief in religion or spirituality

this is best demonstrated by altruistic behavior in nature, which is not only studied, but has a long and anecdotal historical precedent far exceeding your own "spiritual" anecdotal precedents, as they've been considered "outside the norm" or conferred by some deity [insert any name] and written as not only myth/parable but also as proof of existence of said deity
Captain Stumpy
4.2 / 5 (5) Aug 05, 2016
@jeffe cont'd
You know very well I can make the same argument regarding deliberate and disgusting acts done in the name of science or immoral acts by people who call themselves "scientists"
while you are at it... insure you include said scientists religious affiliations with said examples

you will always find someone who makes a weapon out of anything from science, be it medicine (weaponized smallpox) to engineering (Rail guns) to Physics (Nukes, etc)
WHY?
because fundamental science doesn't confer morality, just knowledge
experience and internal controls is where your morality come from, and that can be found in nature as well

and you know that if you actually studied this topic... unless you're guilty of confirmation bias, that is

well?

are you?
Captain Stumpy
4.2 / 5 (5) Aug 05, 2016
PS @jeffe
I know one sign of DIS-contentment is taking offense in, denigrating and suggesting the banishment of the beliefs of others. If "knowledge" however you define that, provides you with what you seek, then be happy. Don't worry about what others believe
1- no one is telling you *how* to believe
only that your beliefs aren't true just because you believe in them

2- the scientific method doesn't confer or deal with belief at all: it deals with and makes repeatable factual data that is built upon to further knowledge

by your examples above:
you are ASSuming that happiness and morality come from spirituality and religion

they don't, otherwise we would never, ever, see this in nature
we would only see it in humans, where "spirituality" and "religion" exist

(can you name any religious affiliation for, say... Ravens? Owls? Bonobo's? Dolphins?)
Eikka
4 / 5 (4) Aug 05, 2016
Don't worry about what others believe.


You have to, when what others believe is infringing on your happiness and even your ability to live and survive.

The morality of faith and superstition is far cry from the "spirituality" you espouse. The whole question is a red herring because morality is subjective, not objective fact that can be discovered in nature or known by any sort of universal rational reasoning process. It always depends.

That's what also makes "spirituality" a bit dangerous, at least the way you interpret it, because it's asserting that by these "experiences" you can actually learn what is right and wrong, when in reality you're just cementing your own subjective and arbitrary beliefs of the matter and then making the irrational appeal that because it is "spiritual" it is right.

In other words, the holy man never recognizes that they're a total sham, because to admit that you're a rascal would throw off the whole "spiritual" game.
Eikka
5 / 5 (3) Aug 05, 2016
(can you name any religious affiliation for, say... Ravens? Owls? Bonobo's? Dolphins?)


Skinner managed to make pigeons religious by giving them treats randomly. They started worshipping the food dispenser because they had learned that doing tricks in front of it gave them food, and when the food came randomly they started latching on to whatever they were doing when the food actually did arrive.

So they developed a set of superstitious repeating rituals, and the more they repeated them the higher the likelyhood that the machine would dispense food during the ritual, and so the ritual was reinforced.

Compare and contrast some early hominid making a rain dance. If you dance enough, then sure, it will rain eventually.
Eikka
5 / 5 (3) Aug 05, 2016
The question that any "spiritual" person fails to ask themselves is usually, "how do I know I'm not simply insane?"

To answer that - assuming they're honest to themselves - they then must dive right into examining what they're really talking about, and that's where they run into the problem of mysticism, or basically words and thoughts failing to grasp what they think they're on about because what they're actually talking about is the void.

You can't talk about it. So the question remains unanswered - you can't know that you're not insane and just rambling nonsense, and if you assume you're not then you definitely are.
jeffensley
2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 05, 2016
I'm not even discussing morality except in the context of compassion. I've simply noted that the spiritual experience helps guide people toward that. My argument has never been that religion/spirituality are supposed to completely displace science... in fact I said above that both are necessary. I'm simply saying that science cannot replace the need for spirituality. Science is just observation and has nothing to do with morality. Even if you studied what happens when you stab children with knives, science only returns with the answer "they feel pain" based on facial expressions or the "anecdotal" evidence of their words. Data is cold.

Perhaps you don't like the idea that people, under the label of spirituality and religion, were exploring things centuries before modern science began to even touch them? Maybe your problem is labels? I suggested earlier that spiritual seekers are the scientists of the human condition. (cont'd)

Eikka
4 / 5 (4) Aug 05, 2016
I'm not even discussing morality except in the context of compassion. I've simply noted that the spiritual experience helps guide people toward that.


Well then, what is compassion?

In the middle ages, compassion was burning witches to save their souls. In today's world, compassion is picketing in front of an abortion clinic to save the babies' souls.

Compassion is dependent on morality.

science cannot replace the need for spirituality.


But that's a red herring again because the spirituality you're talking about is irrational. It cannot be replaced as long as people are irrational. The question is, should people be irrational and what is the point of that?
jeffensley
2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 05, 2016
Will you feel differently once "science" confirms what millions of practicing already knew?

http://www.npr.or...04310443

I don't feel threatened by what you consider the subjective spiritual experience because I think based on talking with others, reading, and my own personal experience that it leads us to the same place... a sense of oneness and compassion for all beings. If the peaceful survival and existence of our species is the end game, it would make sense to pay attention to those experiences.

jeffensley
2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 05, 2016
Compassion is dependent on morality.


I think the opposite is true... morality is dependent on compassion. Compassion is a truth. The inability of science to quantify it or know how it came to be doesn't change that. Your example of the witches I would argue is evidence of fear-based action... not compassion at all.
Eikka
5 / 5 (3) Aug 05, 2016
Will you feel differently once "science" confirms what millions of practicing already knew?

But that's just what science already knew: brain plasticity

The brains of London taxi cab drivers are different from the rest because they spend untold number of hours learning the street map. This is nothing special to "spirituality".

Compassion is a truth.


That's a meaningless statement. Like saying "bicycling is a lie". This is what I mean when I say your spiritual statements are nonsense - you think you have something, but upon rational examination you have just some non-sequitur leaps of imagination or confused statements.

The human brain is capable of very disjointed thoughts.
jeffensley
1 / 5 (3) Aug 05, 2016
But that's just what science already knew: brain plasticity


You're really going to say that "science" knew about this before the people who have been practicing it for centuries??? Neuroplasticity, the scientific term, has been around for a few decades. People have been praying and meditating for thousands of years.

jeffensley
1 / 5 (4) Aug 05, 2016
That's a meaningless statement. Like saying "bicycling is a lie". This is what I mean when I say your spiritual statements are nonsense - you think you have something, but upon rational examination you have just some non-sequitur leaps of imagination or confused statements.


Please watch this.... https://www.youtu...aHxI5-P8

And admit your scientific conundrum in trying to discount my statement.
Eikka
5 / 5 (4) Aug 05, 2016
You're really going to say that "science" knew about this before the people who have been practicing it for centuries???


Yes, because the people who have been practicing it for "centuries" have barely any idea how the brain works in the first place. How could they have known?

You're talking about people who believe in souls and spirits and ghosts and whatnot. You're talking about people who believed not in the material brain as a seat of conciousness, but in a vague mystical entity that exists beyond the body - and that has nothing to do with brain plasticity

And admit your scientific conundrum in trying to discount my statement.


First come up with a satisfactory definition of "God" to have any discussion over it at all. Your problem is that the whole concept is too vague to even need disproving or discounting, because you yourself don't have any idea what you're talking about.

How can you believe or disbelieve something you can't even think about?
Eikka
5 / 5 (5) Aug 05, 2016

Besides, the movie you're quoting is making a very weird and disjointed argument:
"did you love your dad"
"yes, very much"
"prove it"

What does that have to do with the problem of spirituality? Love is a biochemical reaction and a state of emotion that can be proven to exist, and examined. If the actors were real, we could show the woman a photograph of her dad and measure some level of oxytocine etc. to show that she indeed loves her dad very much.

Beyond that, it's just another vague concept like "god" that is void of any discernible meaning, like saying "compassion is a truth". It may have some private meaning to the mystic, but carries no information value for anyone else.

The deeper point is that there is no supernatural - the term is an oxymoron. That which is real, which can move us, is by definition natural - it is discoverable, measurable, and ultimately knowable although maybe not practically so.

What lies "beyond" simply isn't for us. How could it?
Eikka
5 / 5 (6) Aug 05, 2016
The issue is that all questions about "god", or "spirit", or "supernatural" break down into meaningless babble because they run into oxymorons, circular definitions, or simply meaningless labels.

Such as, what is a "creator" in the sense of God? Certainly when we say "create", we mean to take something that exists and interact with it to produce something else, but this makes no sense when we're talking about God because there we assume nothing did exist, so nothing to create with, so we're left with a word "creator" that we don't understand the meaning of.

So to define "God is the creator" is a void sentence. It doesn't mean anything, or, we don't understand what it means because we haven't explained it. It's just a slight of hand to sweep the problem under the carpet.

So all these "spiritual" people are talking nonsense in a way that makes it seem sensible, and they believe it's sensible when in reality they're just opening and closing their mouths saying nothing.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (4) Aug 05, 2016
I'm not even discussing ...
@jeffe
1- bullsh*t

2- do you honestly think compassion only comes from spirituality or religion?
the spiritual experience helps guide...
no, it doesn't
compassion isn't about spirituality any more than owning a house makes you a termite
... both are necessary
no, they're not

you argue the point but you can't bring any empirical evidence supporting your claim
Science...has nothing to do with morality
never said it had anything to do with morality

I said morality is natural and found in nature, which has been observed by science
big difference

you are the one claiming spirituality/religion is where morality comes from
you even say
Without religion/spirituality asking us to transcend the programming of Nature and experience
while claiming forgiveness isn't in our nature (bullsh*t, it's every bit as natural as survival)
just because you think/believe/claim it doesn't mean it's true

Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (4) Aug 05, 2016
@jeffe cont'd
Perhaps you don't like the idea...Maybe your problem is labels?
actually, you are the one with the problem
1- you can't clearly define your argument

2- you can't actually prove any of your argument except through your faith in said argument

3- philosophy (your argument) is subjective, thus you're argument isn't factual considering every person is different
spiritual seekers are the scientists of the human condition
no, they studied the human condition
this is why religion is so effective and targets the youth in order to literally brainwash the belief into them
you can also make children believe dogs are cattle if that is what you teach them, though eventually they will either have to learn to think critically and accept that they've been lied to
OR
they will have to accept their delusion and live with it
Will you feel differently once "science" confirms what millions of practicing already knew?
i follow the evidence, not the belief
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (6) Aug 05, 2016
@jeffe cont'd
as for your link:
self-hypnosis also can "reshape the brain" and have the same effect as "prayer", just like emotional trauma (PTSD)
so prayer is no different than self-hypnosis or PTSD
I don't feel threatened
i don't feel threatened by your beliefs etc either

i do, however, emphatically state that your subjective experience is unique to you and just because you believe it doesn't mean it's true

NOR does it mean it's applicible to the human condition/nature etc
Compassion is a truth
bullsh*t

truth is subjective as well, it is the whole reason the scientific method has been created to remove bias, because each culture/religion etc has it's own unique obvious "truth" that is taught by rote and example throughout history

do you agree that the "Truth" of the Great Sioux nation is the same as your own?
exactly... no, you don't (otherwise you would move to Europe or wherever your ancestors invaded from)

it's subjective
period
Eikka
5 / 5 (8) Aug 05, 2016
The curious fact is that some people believe explaining things makes them less beautiful, or less "magical".

As if explaining how rainbows work makes the rainbow go away.

What actually goes away is the belief that God made the rainbow as a sign of the covenant with Noah, and that's what upsets the believer - not the fact that the rainbow's bands got a rational explaination. In a similiar way, "spiritual" people who have conjured up their own subjective understanding of the world get upset when someone tells them how it really happens and what their misunderstanding is, because it undermines their self-image. Even people who claim to have "lost their ego" are actually running on the biggest ego-trip imaginable!

That in Buddhism - which is a spirituality - is called a klesha, a hangup, which is one of the sources of misery in the human condition. It's saying directly that clinging on to mystical notions and spirituality is bringing you the pain you're running away from.
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (6) Aug 05, 2016
@jeffe cont'd
You're really going to say that "science" knew about this before the people who have been practicing it for centuries???
are you really trying to say that 200 year old spiritualists who have never seen an autopsy, let alone surgery, were aware that actual physical changes were taking place in the brain?

ROTFLMFAO
really?
Neuroplasticity, the scientific term, has been around for a few decades. People have been praying and meditating for thousands of years
sh*t! you do believe that crap!

the history of meditation (or prayer, or self hypnosis, torture or any othter mind control technique used by criminal, gov't or cult) in no way, shape, or form is indicative of historical knowledge of physical alterations in a brain of a subject over time

like i said: prayer is no different than PTSD, self-hypnosis etc

the *fact* is, no one knew about how real physical changes could be made until recently

get it yet?
Eikka
5 / 5 (8) Aug 05, 2016
That said, any time you see a bald fellow in a yellow/orange robe telling people things, watch out. Buddhism doesn't exclude superstitions and telling fables -- it simply says the truth is ultimately the responsibility of the listener, not the speaker.

And in Zen especially.
Captain Stumpy
4.3 / 5 (6) Aug 05, 2016
@jeffe... i gotta chime in on this one
Please watch this.... https://www.youtu...aHxI5-P8

And admit your scientific conundrum in trying to discount my statement
for starters:
you're using philosophy to argue a belief against fact, and that will always fail

for two:
as Eikka noted - there is a way to track neurological and biochemical effects of "love" in a body, so that argument in itself means "love" can be proven, if only by the hormonal stimulation and reactions in the body

just like we can literally make fairly accurate predictions of decision making in a person
http://exploringt...u-decide

so that argument is a bad one right out of the gate as it fails due to empirical evidence and science

essentially your argument boils down to "the god of the gaps"
https://www.youtu...kg4hMRjs

Captain Stumpy
4.4 / 5 (7) Aug 05, 2016
Please watch this.... https://www.youtu...aHxI5-P8
@jeffe
to underscore my point (and the one Eikka made as well)
you can see that "love" is quantifiable in many ways: http://jn.physiol...27.short

just like you can see that well-being and ill-being are also quantifiable to a degree: http://www.karger...ct/90892

so again, as you argue with philosophy and use the "god of the gaps" argument, science has taken steps to actually quantify what is biologically, neurologically and otherwise happening in the body

50, 100 and 200 years ago (etc), love and emotion would have been called part something science could never explain (as you intimate above about certain things) and the realm of spirituality, religion, metaphysics, philosophy etc...

now we know it isn't any of the latter and science actually can explain it

the god of the gaps argument is always going to fail, regardless of the topic
because science always asks "WHY?"
koitsu
5 / 5 (7) Aug 06, 2016
How do we explain Japanese society then?
Most Japanese are atheist or simply agnostic. And yet they seem to cooperate and work in teams more effectively (in many ways) than many in the West.

Although I don't deny that the findings may indeed have validity, I am catching the scent of confirmation bias from this "study."
koitsu
5 / 5 (6) Aug 06, 2016
PS--I live here and have worked in Japan or with the Japanese for over 20 years now. I can't bear to listen to armchair sociologists counter what I've said with uninformed explanations regarding Shintoism, Buddhism, etc. Those religions (yes, they are religions) are simply not observed in the same way or degree Christianity is observed by Catholics or Methodists, for instance. But this is a sensitive and needlessly personal topic, so I expect people to hold tight to their preconceived notions despite any first-hand observation and experience I may have to offer. ^^;
Zzzzzzzz
4.2 / 5 (5) Aug 06, 2016
I'll try to avoid involvement in futile attempts to educate delusional people...... but the subject matter of this article is also closely related to an earlier study which concluded that the capacity for self-delusion provides a survival benefit for humans. The results of the research described above reveals a mechanism by which the self delusion provides such a benefit. I appreciate the direct cause and effect relationship between the two. Of course, it also shows the delusional person the true nature of belief systems, should that person develop the ability to expand his or her grasp of reality.
humy
4.4 / 5 (7) Aug 06, 2016
How do we explain Japanese society then?
Most Japanese are atheist or simply agnostic. And yet they seem to cooperate and work in teams more effectively (in many ways) than many in the West.


That is just one of the MANY things wrong with any claim that we need superstitious belief in God/gods to cooperate in societies. It would be a claim without rational premise. I am an atheist (and also without any religion) and see no contradiction or even merely possible hindrance in being both atheist and having both compassion and/or cooperating with other people; -because there is no contradiction or even merely possible hindrance. What has a stupid superstitious belief in God/gods (or ANY religion for that matter) got to do with cooperating and/or having compassion?
Zzzzzzzz
4.2 / 5 (5) Aug 06, 2016
Kaitsu - today's societies are not necessarily reflective of all past processes that led to today's set of circumstances, and perhaps not every human society followed the same developmental path. It would be interesting to see the right kind of work done to reveal the value that the capacity for self-delusion brought to unique societal development, such as exists in Japan today.
greenonions
4.2 / 5 (5) Aug 06, 2016
jeff
Please watch this.... https://www.youtu...aHxI5-P8
So the argument is - I loved my Dad, I can't prove that I loved my Dad - therefore god. Did you miss the bit where Jody Foster says "What if god never existed in the first place?" At the end of the movie - Foster is showing a group of kids the telescope array. A boy ask "Is there other life in the Universe?" Foster says "That is a great question. What do you think?" The boy says "I don't know." Foster says "That is a great answer." Please watch this Jeff - https://www.youtu...kg4hMRjs
LuisDineman
5 / 5 (2) Aug 06, 2016
The increased size of human populations results in increased information asymmetry, which leads to unequal resource distribution, which results in conflict and competition, and eventually leads society's polarization into classes. Overtime, the struggle for power among the elites (unless the whole upper class are members of one large family, like in some arab countries) leads to increased inequality and corruption and results in lower class hitting "fight or flight" level, at which point they either migrate or revolt.
The only viable option for the highly outnumbered upper class is to aggressively encourage regim's supporters and suppress those that disagree. In a matter of a couple of generations, all the "undesirable" elements of population are filtered out, and only the most ignorant, loyal and submissive survive. The founders of the ruling dynasty are elevated to the ranks of gods. North Korea is a good example of early evolution of religion.
LifeBasedLogic
Aug 08, 2016
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LifeBasedLogic
Aug 08, 2016
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LifeBasedLogic
Aug 08, 2016
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LifeBasedLogic
Aug 08, 2016
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Phys1
3.3 / 5 (3) Aug 08, 2016
Everything is truth. Except lies. Lies are not truth.
Verbal compulsive-obsessive diarrhea. Fascinating.
jeffensley
not rated yet Aug 17, 2016
jeff
Please watch this.... https://www.youtu...aHxI5-P8


I know that scene well and agree with it entirely. It's a good one for atheists and deists alike to watch and take to heart.
jeffensley
not rated yet Aug 17, 2016
jeff
Please watch this.... https://www.youtu...aHxI5-P8


I know that scene well and agree with it entirely. It's a good one for atheists and deists alike to watch and take to heart.

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