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The Trombone ForumPractice BreakChit-ChatReligion(Moderator: bhcordova) Atheism: Good or Bad? (non-PP)
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Andrew Meronek

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« Reply #200 on: Aug 13, 2017, 07:20AM »

The first humans with the wherewithal to even develop animism were only 60K - 70K years ago.  Sure, there were homo sapiens as long ago as 150-200 million years ago, but they were not equipped for anything as sophisticated as religion.

Really? I would have thought that evidence simply doesn't exist either way, that's it's basically impossible to conclude that people from that long ago would have been religious or not. Or the same of the religiosity of the Neanderthals, for that matter.
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« Reply #201 on: Aug 13, 2017, 08:03AM »

Really? I would have thought that evidence simply doesn't exist either way, that's it's basically impossible to conclude that people from that long ago would have been religious or not. Or the same of the religiosity of the Neanderthals, for that matter.
You're right in a way.  There is no direct evidence that sapiens V2.0 developed any kind of religion 70K years ago.  There is indirect evidence that they could have and other humans would have been unlikely to.  This evidence points to sapiens V2.0 having developed the ability for abstract thought and is reflected in artwork that dates back to about 35K-40K years ago.  Abstraction would have been necessary to develop religion.  There has been no evidence of Neanderthal art found with the exception of a few scratches on a rock, and this after 300K years of existence.  Judging by the size of the brains, they were smart, but if they had imaginations they carefully chose not to turn that towards artistic creativity.  Homo erectus was little better creating only zig-zag lines and such, but they did not improve on this 'art' over nearly 400K years.  The same can be said for the first wave of homo sapiens who did not fair too well in any respect in the regions already inhabited by Neanderthal and erectus and created no art in their home range of Africa.
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« Reply #202 on: Aug 13, 2017, 08:39AM »

Really? I would have thought that evidence simply doesn't exist either way, that's it's basically impossible to conclude that people from that long ago would have been religious or not. Or the same of the religiosity of the Neanderthals, for that matter.

It's mostly extrapolated from the way they treated their dead and from petroglyphs and such. The Ancient Egyptians are the gold standard on all of that--of course they also used hieroglyphics to all but flat out explain it, which makes the process a whole lot easier.
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« Reply #203 on: Aug 13, 2017, 08:58AM »

Lucy, the oldest fossil that could be called a human, is only 3 million years old.  I would doubt that hominids of that period had anything resembling religion.  We have the much later cave paintings that can be interpreted.  We have polytheism dating back in the tens of thousands of years -- native Americans, Middle East, and perhaps even Australian Aborigines.
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Andrew Meronek

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« Reply #204 on: Aug 13, 2017, 09:04AM »

You're right in a way.  There is no direct evidence that sapiens V2.0 developed any kind of religion 70K years ago.  There is indirect evidence that they could have and other humans would have been unlikely to.  This evidence points to sapiens V2.0 having developed the ability for abstract thought and is reflected in artwork that dates back to about 35K-40K years ago.  Abstraction would have been necessary to develop religion.  There has been no evidence of Neanderthal art found with the exception of a few scratches on a rock, and this after 300K years of existence.  Judging by the size of the brains, they were smart, but if they had imaginations they carefully chose not to turn that towards artistic creativity.  Homo erectus was little better creating only zig-zag lines and such, but they did not improve on this 'art' over nearly 400K years.  The same can be said for the first wave of homo sapiens who did not fair too well in any respect in the regions already inhabited by Neanderthal and erectus and created no art in their home range of Africa.

Remember not to confuse lack of data with evidence of lack of behavior. Just because evidence didn't survive of hominids from many, many millennia ago being artistic doesn't mean they weren't. It doesn't mean they were, either. We just don't have evidence either way.

It's mostly extrapolated from the way they treated their dead and from petroglyphs and such. The Ancient Egyptians are the gold standard on all of that--of course they also used hieroglyphics to all but flat out explain it, which makes the process a whole lot easier.

And as I'm sure you're aware, this doesn't say much about the matter either. Many cultures around the world are religious yet deal with their dead in ways that very seldom leaves remains.
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Andrew Meronek

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« Reply #205 on: Aug 13, 2017, 09:08AM »

For those of you who can't conceive of non-humans having some amount of religiosity: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/mysterious-chimpanzee-behavior-may-be-evidence-of-sacred-rituals/
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« Reply #206 on: Aug 13, 2017, 10:21AM »

Remember not to confuse lack of data with evidence of lack of behavior. Just because evidence didn't survive of hominids from many, many millennia ago being artistic doesn't mean they weren't. It doesn't mean they were, either. We just don't have evidence either way.
Don't worry, I'm not doing that.  We can only comment on what the evidence we have tells us. 

There are a lot, and I mean a lot of sites from both Neanderthal and erectus.  None show signs these humans had much imagination or ability to abstract.  Same for the first sapiens.  Because of this we can't say any of those humans were capable of developing religious beliefs.  As for sapiens-II there is a lot of evidence beginning at about 40K years ago that they were quite imaginative and able to express that imagination with more direct evidence of religion beginning 30K-25K years ago.

I won't and did not rule out that Neanderthal or erectus did not develop imagination, art and religion, just that there is an almost complete lack of evidence of imagination (art or religion) in a rather rich archaeological record of these humans.  So, according to the data we have now, the only conclusion we can come to is that it was unlikely they became religious.

Remember, a lot of the Neanderthal finds are from times as long as 10K years past where sapiens-II showed their first sings of being capable of abstraction.  A lot of the Neanderthal evidence is newer or not much older than the sapiens-II evidence.  Erectus sites are quite a bit older, but they are plentiful.
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« Reply #207 on: Aug 13, 2017, 10:33AM »

Remember not to confuse lack of data with evidence of lack of behavior. Just because evidence didn't survive of hominids from many, many millennia ago being artistic doesn't mean they weren't. It doesn't mean they were, either. We just don't have evidence either way.
Don't worry, I'm not doing that.  We can only comment on what the evidence we have tells us. 

There are a lot, and I mean a lot of sites from both Neanderthal and erectus.  None show signs these humans had much imagination or ability to abstract.  Same for the first sapiens.  Because of this we can't say any of those humans were capable of developing religious beliefs.  As for sapiens-II there is a lot of evidence beginning at about 40K years ago that they were quite imaginative and able to express that imagination with more direct evidence of religion beginning 30K-25K years ago.

I won't and did not rule out that Neanderthal or erectus did not develop imagination, art and religion, just that there is an almost complete lack of evidence of imagination (art or religion) in a rather rich archaeological record of these humans.  So, according to the data we have now, the only conclusion we can come to is that it was unlikely they became religious.

Remember, a lot of the Neanderthal finds are from times as long as 10K years past where sapiens-II showed their first sings of being capable of abstraction.  A lot of the Neanderthal evidence is newer or not much older than the sapiens-II evidence.  Erectus sites are quite a bit older, but they are plentiful.
For those of you who can't conceive of non-humans having some amount of religiosity: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/mysterious-chimpanzee-behavior-may-be-evidence-of-sacred-rituals/
That's about as convincing a proof of a deity as anything else I've ever seen.  So why not?

However, I'm more likely to agree with their first conclusion - that the male chimps are just impressed with the 'macho' sound it makes.  The one who makes the loudest sound wins!

Reminds me of what happens when you get a bunch of drummers together.
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« Reply #208 on: Sep 23, 2017, 08:14AM »

What is the highest intelligence in your opinion?
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« Reply #209 on: Sep 23, 2017, 08:36AM »

Are you asking me?

I'm not too sure what 'intelligence' exactly is, and I'm fairly sure humans don't know how to measure it.

Back in university I kept hearing that IQ tests were accurate and that it was impossible to cheat them.  I put that hypotheses to a test.  I got copies of dozens of IQ tests and studied them.  It was fairly easy to recognize the kinds of things they tested for.  Pattern recognition, logic, comparison, math skills, etc.  These were all approached in similar ways too.  I found it fairly easy to bone up on these things.  I went to the Mensa club on campus and told them I wanted to take their test. I scored 186.  They told me that that put me in a category of 1 in 26 million.  That I was quite possibly the smartest person in all of Canada.  I told them I had studied for the test, they told me that would not have made any difference.  Well, I am not the smartest man in Canada.  It was such a ridiculous suggestion I refused their invite to be a member of the club.  I recently did another test and scored 167 - 1/70,000.  Did I get dumber over the intervening years or did my IQ test skills atrophy?  I certainly don't have an 'IQ' of 167 and I don't think I even come close to being a genius (140).

So, what is 'intelligence' by your definition?
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« Reply #210 on: Sep 23, 2017, 08:58AM »

So, what is 'intelligence' by your definition?

BillO, you may have seen Stephen Jay Gould's The Mismeasure of Man. He describes various shenanigans in some detail, and opines that reifying "intelligence" in such a context is a mistake, as if it were a real thing, reducible to a single scalar number.

(Here endeth the psittacine interruption. Please continue...)
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« Reply #211 on: Sep 24, 2017, 04:36PM »

I find myself in complete agreement with Gould.
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« Reply #212 on: Nov 28, 2017, 11:57AM »

Thought some of you who consider yourselves materialists might find this book review of materialist Daniel Dennet's new book by Christian theist philosophy professor, Edward Feser, interesting.  Shows how presuppositions play out very well.

Also posting on another thread.


http://www.claremont.org/crb/article/one-long-circular-argument/#.Wh26jpkf2xA.facebook
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« Reply #213 on: Nov 28, 2017, 12:15PM »

Lucy, the oldest fossil that could be called a human, is only 3 million years old.  I would doubt that hominids of that period had anything resembling religion.  We have the much later cave paintings that can be interpreted.  We have polytheism dating back in the tens of thousands of years -- native Americans, Middle East, and perhaps even Australian Aborigines.

I'd be willing to bet that as long as the human mind was able to comprehend self, other, and death, that there has been some type of religion.  Those three concepts, interwoven, fuel religious thought. 
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« Reply #214 on: Nov 28, 2017, 01:24PM »

Thought some of you who consider yourselves materialists might find this book review of materialist Daniel Dennet's new book by Christian theist philosophy professor, Edward Feser, interesting.  Shows how presuppositions play out very well.

Also posting on another thread.


http://www.claremont.org/crb/article/one-long-circular-argument/#.Wh26jpkf2xA.facebook
I think Fesser should stick to theist philosophy.  To equate words like 'want' and 'design' leads me to think he's not a heavy hitter in any sense.

Want is a strictly human thing and there is no existing or possible interpretation of it in any other sense.

However, design is a word that has no such complete tie to human thought or imagined purpose.  Dennett is using the word design as a synonym for creation through process.  In reading his words it is apparent he is poking a little fun at the concept of 'intelligent design' when employs the word design.

It does not take a human mind to create.  When water flows along a constant path it creates a river bed.  Computers can be programed with a few simple rules to design things for us  such as house plans, other computer applications, circuit board layouts, wiring diagrams, etc...  That's all design is, the creation of something new from a set of rules.  Certainly that is true from an engineering perspective.  That's exactly what evolution amounts to.  A set of rules (natural laws) by which nature creates (designs/engineers) new lifeforms - those most fit for survival under the prevailing conditions.

I guess one of Fesser's 'presuppositions' is his limited understanding of the word 'design'.  Another is apparently his lack of understanding of how evolution works.

Don't get me started on his misinterpretation of Dennett's  assertion that manifest image is an illusion. Yeah, RIGHT.  The fact is, it must be, because it is an image based on observation without all the facts.  Perhaps Fesser did not understand Sellars either.

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« Reply #215 on: Nov 28, 2017, 05:55PM »

Thought some of you who consider yourselves materialists might find this book review of materialist Daniel Dennet's new book by Christian theist philosophy professor, Edward Feser, interesting.  Shows how presuppositions play out very well.

Also posting on another thread.


http://www.claremont.org/crb/article/one-long-circular-argument/#.Wh26jpkf2xA.facebook

It is very hard to tell from a review what the book is about.  I read a number of other reviews on Amazon, and was leaning towards the idea that neither Dennet nor Feser had a clue.  I don't have access to Dennet's book.

But I found this video online:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZefk4gzQt4

I am not a fan of videos; I can read in ten minutes what it takes them two hours to say.  I didn't finish this one yet either, but I watched the first half hour or so. 

I still think Feser either had no clue or deliberately misunderstood for argument's sake.  Dennett is pretty solid up to the meme point, and I haven't read far enough past that to see how well he supports it. 
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