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Religious gullibility

#11JonWood007Posted 3/27/2013 8:34:34 PM(edited)
So anyway, to go off of fingerpuppet in a way, the reasons to believe, and where I stand on them.

1) "Because it was what I was raised to believe / argument from popularity" - If everyone else jumped off of a cliff, would you? This is basically peer pressure. Which you're supposed to ignore when it comes to other things.

2) Because there's an intellectual argument for it - Upon close inspection, there is none, zlich, nada. And a year coming back to this board and surfing reddit I haven't really learned of any convincing ones.

3) Because it makes me feel good - Once again, comforting lies aren't comforting once you realize they were lies.

4) Personal experience that makes the intellectual arguments not matter - haven't experienced anything that can't be as easily explained as statistical coincidence.

5) Fear - Either earthly or supernatural. In some areas of the world, coming out as a nonbeliever is a death sentence, or is grounds for severe persecution. There's also supernatural, fear of hell, fear that despite your best intellectual attempts to find a reason to believe, that you can't get there, and you're gonna burn for it. I actually get this at times personally, but honestly, it's a really poor reason to believe, and looking at it intellectually, it's a form of social control meant to keep people in line.

Speaking of social control...6) Various forms of social control. I'd argue a lot of lessons in Christianity are meant to keep people down. The Bible has some very powerful and dangerous arguments against knowledge. When Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, what was their crime? Disobedience, and the idea that attempting to gain knowledge and be like God is a bad thing. To an extent, gaining moral and intellectual knowledge is considered prideful. You're not supposed to be prideful. You're not supposed to be smart morally. Stop thinking for yourself and do what we tell you! Paul seemed to have a contempt for knowledge, bashing Jews for seeking signs and Greeks for seeking wisdom. He tried to spin believing in junk as a good thing, pointing it out as a stumbling block and folly to these groups of people. Even if many Christians are not anti intellectual, and I know many Christians on this board and elsewhere aren't. I really have a tendency to believe Christianity is actually an elaborate means of social control, meant to dumb people down and stop them from thinking for themselves. Because thinking for yourself is showing pride and thinking you're better than God, which, based on the arguments I already addressed above, is a load of crap because there's no evidence of any of this. What's more believeable, that an infinitely wise being who understands us thoroughly would punish people for seeking evidence for their beliefs and questioning things, or that a group of people is using such a belief system as a tool to keep people in line? As someone who has studied social sciences like political science, sociology, and criminology, I would say the latter.

So yeah, suffice to say, I really have no reason to believe, and generally don't think there are many good reasons out there, minus possibly personal experiences that can not be explained naturally. Even then, such experiences are only a reason for you to believe, not for me. People may or may not experience God, but I have no reason to believe they do. Just like I'm inclined to be skeptical when someone says that they were abducted by aliens.
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#12bratt100Posted 3/27/2013 8:47:42 PM
One very minor nitpick Jon. Life expectancy, it was only so low because childbirth was incredibly risky at the time and many mothers passed away giving birth, another thing that ruined the stats were the deaths of babies.

So it isn't that we live considerably longer today it's just that our medical care of at risk children and massive decrease in death during child birth have skewed the numbers.

And now many have this perception that we live considerably longer today then we did 200 years ago. It simly isn't as dramatic as we would like to think.
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"If the victim was a mute, then she shouldn't really be out alone."- OrangeWizard on rape
#13Faust_8Posted 3/27/2013 8:57:52 PM
bratt100 posted...
If it makes you feel any better, there are no more lions to stalk us.


...Yeah there are.

That's like saying there's no ocean to drown you anymore just because you moved inland. It's still there, and will kill you just the same, but you've taken a few measures to prevent it. It still happens though.

Look up the Tsavo man eaters for example. Happened in 1898, not exactly "cave man" days.
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#14bratt100Posted 3/27/2013 9:31:29 PM
Not for long...
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"If the victim was a mute, then she shouldn't really be out alone."- OrangeWizard on rape
#15almasbaby(Topic Creator)Posted 3/28/2013 4:25:35 AM
KNessJM posted...
What kozlo said. If there's an especially strong predominant psychological trait that seemingly all humans share in common, across cultural boundaries, then there's a good chance that it has something to do with how we evolved.

Gullibility regarding danger is especially easy to understand in an evolutionary context. If, thousands of years ago, someone shouted "RUN! LION!", then everybody who ran would likely survive. However, the skeptic that remained behind to see if there really was a lion coming might be eaten. Over time, those who are more gullible in regards to claims of danger were more likely to survive, and whatever psychological trait that made them more susceptible was more likely to be passed on.

Notice how many scams and conspiracy theories are predicated upon people's fears and insecurities. This formula will keep you from getting cancer, the government is taking away your freedoms, aliens are abducting people, God will punish you if you don't act this way, etc. We as humans have been bred to have a 'better safe than sorry' approach.


I think you're stretching evolutionary psychology here. What "lion" are these people running from? They're looking for something different/more than the mundane existence of the status quo. I don't know what natural selection has to do with that.

I use to love EP when I first came across it. It seemed to explain so much. Now, I think it's just imaginary thinking born of science, but not really science itself.
#16CdrRoguePosted 3/28/2013 7:57:42 AM(edited)
Michael Shermer has explained it quite well in the past. It's an old human tendency to assign agency or intention to all unexplained phenomena. Those that did, erred on the side of caution, and generally had a better chance of survival. Those that didn't, got lucky or died. Fortune statistically favours the cautious. That tendency now been transferred in modern day to miracles, UFO sightings and poltergeists.
#17almasbaby(Topic Creator)Posted 3/28/2013 8:01:20 AM
CdrRogue posted...
Michael Shermer has explained it quite well in the past. It's an old human tendency to assign agency or intention to all unexplained phenomena. Those that did, erred on the side of caution, and generally had a better chance of survival. Those that didn't, got lucky or died. Fortune statistically favours the cautious. That tendency now been transferred in modern day to miracles, UFO sightings and poltergeists.


There's no evidence to support this at all, that we inherited the genes of the cautious. It's sheer pseudo-science. Sounds good in theory but that's as far as it goes.
#18CdrRoguePosted 3/28/2013 8:07:28 AM
Perhaps, but I'd give it a little more credence than pseudo-science. We know for a fact that evolution happens. And it's really the suggestion of nothing more than evolution in action.
#19almasbaby(Topic Creator)Posted 3/28/2013 8:08:50 AM
I just saw the full movie. It was actually touching in the way he connected with his students. He even says that he never connected with people on as deep a level as who he really was as he did as Kumare.

The funny thing is that when he was playing Kumare the lesson he hammered into his students again and again is that they don't need a guru. It made him endearing to his students because most gurus establish a mystique about themselves that they're on some higher plane of awareness. He never did. His students could relate to him as just another person, which is all any guru really is. He just never pretended to be anything else.
#20KNessJMPosted 3/28/2013 1:03:09 PM
I don't really know what to tell you other than that evolutionary psychology is an established branch of science. It's well documented that certain emotional and psychological instincts are borne out of genetic patterns. The progressing frontier of gene manipulation is beginning to allow scientists to conduct experiments in which they can remove or deactivate certain genes and examine the difference in physiology or behavior that results.
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