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evan51
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« Reply #1420 on: Jul 19, 2010, 10:23AM »

I don't think there's any wisdom attached to feeling certain - we can't tell if there's an underlying truth.  The belief that we are being protected by a powerful being is comforting whether it is Yahweh, Thor, Santa Claus, etc.  The belief that we can exert control over natural phenomena (storms, floods, earthquakes, global warming) is not affected by the actual lack of influence or understanding. 

As far as the mechanism, we evolved in uncertain times, far more so than today.  There could easily be an adaptive advantage at work here. 
Interesting line of inquiry here, Tim. I was thinking back to Jared Diamond's book and wondering if Religion (as well as politics and other specializations) isn't really an outgrowth of evolution rather than a cause  of it. The periods where we evolved preceded civilization. IOW, we have various classes of specialists (priests, monarchs, military, even artists) claiming credit for civilization when in truth, their power derives from the parasitical or symbiont nature of their activities. And it occurs to me that if we were as evolved as a society as we think, we would have little use for most of the specialist classes.

The priests "selling comfort" were engaged, prior, to selling discontent ("The Gods are Angry!" "God is punishing Louisiana for homosexuality!") as a prelude to "solving" the comfort problem. Of course, perhaps Ernest Becker was correct:
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The idea of death. the fear of it, haunts the human animal like nothing else; it is a mainspring of human activity---activity designed largely to avoid  the fatality of death, to overcome it by denying in some way that it is the final destiny for man.
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evan51
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« Reply #1421 on: Jul 21, 2010, 11:30PM »

They seek him here
They seek him there
they seek....The God Who Wasn't There?

(Has anyone seen this?)
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« Reply #1422 on: Jul 22, 2010, 05:03AM »

I don't think there's any wisdom attached to feeling certain - we can't tell if there's an underlying truth.  The belief that we are being protected by a powerful being is comforting whether it is Yahweh, Thor, Santa Claus, etc.  The belief that we can exert control over natural phenomena (storms, floods, earthquakes, global warming) is not affected by the actual lack of influence or understanding.

It is pretty odd, it seems to me, but I suspect there may be something physical (neurological) or perhaps something about our socialization process that makes most people pretty uncomfortable with uncertainty. Most people seem very averse to acting and making choices based upon any significant degree of uncertainty (not that we have a choice most of the time, other than simple awareness and whatever preparation we've already done), and it seems most people need the assurance of feeling they have more control than they really do--intellectually, regarding answers and "truths" they believe in, or physically, I guess, regarding the results of their actions. Seems odd to me. It's not like reality is going to oblige their sense that they need to appease this discomfort and provide a more predictable and controlled world for them ...
 
 ... which brings us back to the whole God/religion schtick, of course.
 
 
As far as the mechanism, we evolved in uncertain times, far more so than today.  There could easily be an adaptive advantage at work here.

 ... which brings us back to the article Evan posted a little while back.
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« Reply #1423 on: Jul 22, 2010, 05:10AM »

They seek him here
They seek him there
they seek....The God Who Wasn't There?

(Has anyone seen this?)

We had a brief discussion about it a while back, I think ... doesn't show up in a search for "The God Who Wasn't There" though (but neither did your post, for some reason).
 
I have a copy. Lottsa good basic info, but the last segment is all about the documentarian dude chasing down a personal demon. It's interesting and the dialog is revealing, I think, but it's tangential from the subject of the film.
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evan51
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« Reply #1424 on: Jul 22, 2010, 09:01AM »

I have a copy. Lottsa good basic info, but the last segment is all about the documentarian dude chasing down a personal demon. It's interesting and the dialog is revealing, I think, but it's tangential from the subject of the film.
Hmm...I've been holding off buying a copy because I suspected it might be a lot of soundbites and edited dialog of a subject that is a bit more serious. And, I wondered what his target audience might be? for those not shocked by the title it's like preaching to the choir. For those who might benefit, it's unlikely they'll have an interest.
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« Reply #1425 on: Jul 22, 2010, 09:21AM »

Hmm...I've been holding off buying a copy because I suspected it might be a lot of soundbites and edited dialog of a subject that is a bit more serious. And, I wondered what his target audience might be? for those not shocked by the title it's like preaching to the choir. For those who might benefit, it's unlikely they'll have an interest.

I'll loan you my copy if you'd like, but it's not going to give you much if any information you don't already have on board ... except the nature of the issues Brian Flemming has with the principal of his (fundy Christian) high school.
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« Reply #1426 on: Aug 03, 2010, 11:43AM »

Right Click, View Image, Zoom In:
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evan51
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« Reply #1427 on: Aug 13, 2010, 12:51AM »

Quote
When Humans Almost Died Out; Earthy Exoplanets; And Scientific American's 165th Birthday
Podcast host Steve Mirsky (picture left) talks with human evolution expert Kate Wong about the small group of humans who survived tough times beginning about 195,000 years ago gave rise to all of us, a story told in the cover article of the August issue of Scientific American, our 165th anniversary edition. And editor-in-chief Mariette Dichristina talks about the rest of the contents of the issue, including our coverage of the search for rocky exoplanets. Plus we test your knowledge about some recent science in the news. Websites related to content of this podcast include http://snipurl.com/10louuPodcast linkl

I've read other research that claims all of mankind was represented by less than 4,000 individuals 75,000 years ago, sometime near the explosion of Krakatoa. So much of human diversity was wiped out, it seems, and we truly are one species, one group as it were.

Quote
Key Concepts

    * At some point between 195,000 and 123,000 years ago, the population size of Homo sapiens plummeted, thanks to cold, dry climate conditions that left much of our ancestors’ African homeland uninhabitable. Everyone alive today is descended from a group of people from a single region who survived this catastrophe.
    * The southern coast of Africa would have been one of the few spots where humans could survive during this climate crisis, because it harbors an abundance of shellfish and edible plants.
    * Excavations of a series of sites in this region have recovered items left behind by what may have been that progenitor population.
    * The discoveries confirm the idea that advanced cognitive abilities evolved earlier than previously thought—and may have played a key role in the survival of the species during tough times.
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« Reply #1428 on: Aug 24, 2010, 10:51AM »

Ann Druyan: Beyond Belief 2006
 
Ann Druyan Talks About Science, Religion, Wonder, Awe . . . and Carl Sagan
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« Reply #1429 on: Aug 24, 2010, 05:03PM »

Shows the question as well as the response  It makes the answer even better, imho.  The question comes from a self-identified scientist.
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« Reply #1430 on: Aug 24, 2010, 05:22PM »

Shows the question as well as the response  It makes the answer even better, imho.  The question comes from a self-identified scientist.

I agree completely. I'm glad you spotted that and posted it, man.
 
It's striking how much it seems the guy is really describing his own demeanor, and how much Anne Druyan demonstrates what he's "called" to claim he strives for in contrast.
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evan51
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« Reply #1431 on: Sep 06, 2010, 01:00PM »

Hawkings:"Why God did not create the Universe."

I've heard some interesting claims by various clergy in response to Hawkings' latest thoughts. Some say they're "disappointed," others that Hawkings' poor physical condition must have made him a cynic or "angry" with God, and that Hawkings was "irresponsible" to publish his conclusions. As usual, though, no actual response to Hawkings' arguments.  :(
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« Reply #1432 on: Oct 15, 2010, 05:02AM »


 
Or put in other terms:
"Should a conflict arise between the witness of the Holy Spirit to the fundamental truth of the Christian faith and beliefs based on argument and evidence, then it is the former which must take precedence over the latter, not vice versa."   -- William Lane Craig (Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics)
 
--
 
Science and Religion Aren't Friends
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« Reply #1433 on: Oct 15, 2010, 07:48AM »


 
Or put in other terms:
"Should a conflict arise between the witness of the Holy Spirit to the fundamental truth of the Christian faith and beliefs based on argument and evidence, then it is the former which must take precedence over the latter, not vice versa."   -- William Lane Craig (Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics)
 
--
 
Science and Religion Aren't Friends

Ha! Spot on! Growing up (as students), whenever we questioned clergy on the inconsistencies of religious dictates/dogma, we were told "God always was, and God always will be", and the conversation thus ended.
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« Reply #1434 on: Jan 20, 2011, 08:16AM »

The Edge Foundation World Question Center
This year's question:
What scientific concept would improve everybody's cognitive toolkit?
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« Reply #1435 on: Feb 28, 2011, 04:24PM »

Interesting notion (from the Reason Project Forum):
 
Quote from: epochonaut
Maybe using science to refute nonsense isn't always the best strategy. Science requires intellectual integrity and serious research and study. Scientific knowledge is hard won. But you can pull nonsense out of your ass all day long.

You can refute one creationist argument just to have ten more thrown at you. Creationists reserve the right to invoke magic & miracles, but expect biologists to live up to impossible standards of proof in defense of evolution.

I say that instead of refuting nonsense with science, we should fight nonsense with nonsense. I think we should invent a rival intelligent design theory that invokes polytheistic beliefs, like the Greek or Norse pantheon. It would be obviously tongue-in-cheek, but at the same time show them why their own arguments don't make sense.

We could mirror the arguments used by creationists, but in a pagan guise that they would be forced to reject. For example we could argue that the universe is too complex to have been the product of just one creator. They would be forced to attack their own arguments for creationism. And it gives us the same ability as they have to invoke magic and miracles with a sprinkling of science on top to make it sound, well, sciency.

I'd like to explore this idea because I sense some potential in it. Maybe some clever memes could come out of it. Does anyone have any thoughts on it? What would be a good name for it? "Polytheistic Design"?
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« Reply #1436 on: Aug 14, 2011, 09:01AM »

Has Darwin Failed?
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« Reply #1437 on: Aug 17, 2011, 04:00AM »

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« Reply #1438 on: Aug 29, 2011, 09:26AM »

What they preach, and what it really looks/sounds like.
 
Another exemplary piece of standard issue True Believer rhetoric (Christian in this case), and how it goes over when you're not on the Kool-Aid. It says everything about the believing mind and pretty much nothing about the alleged subject of the rhetoric. In fact, like faith rhetoric, it's actually all about what the subject isn't.
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« Reply #1439 on: Sep 16, 2011, 10:08AM »

Here's a cartoon investigating pregnancy crisis centers.

 Idea!
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