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 Science and religion: God didn't make man; man made gods 
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Post Science and religion: God didn't make man; man made gods
I hesitate to post this because of the previous "discussions" on this and related topics, in the end though I am posting this as information and something I find interesting and wanted to share with all of you. If you have a tendency to get easily upset, offended, appalled by this discussion or are unable to view this objectively and as information, then I would recommend you either not go any further in this thread or start working on deep breathing techniques :D

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LA Times wrote:
Op-Ed
Science and religion: God didn't make man; man made gods
In recent years scientists specializing in the mind have begun to unravel religion's "DNA."
July 18, 2011|By J. Anderson Thomson and Clare Aukofer

Before John Lennon imagined "living life in peace," he conjured "no heaven … / no hell below us …/ and no religion too."

No religion: What was Lennon summoning? For starters, a world without "divine" messengers, like Osama bin Laden, sparking violence. A world where mistakes, like the avoidable loss of life in Hurricane Katrina, would be rectified rather than chalked up to "God's will." Where politicians no longer compete to prove who believes more strongly in the irrational and untenable. Where critical thinking is an ideal. In short, a world that makes sense.

In recent years scientists specializing in the mind have begun to unravel religion's "DNA." They have produced robust theories, backed by empirical evidence (including "imaging" studies of the brain at work), that support the conclusion that it was humans who created God, not the other way around. And the better we understand the science, the closer we can come to "no heaven … no hell … and no religion too."

Like our physiological DNA, the psychological mechanisms behind faith evolved over the eons through natural selection. They helped our ancestors work effectively in small groups and survive and reproduce, traits developed long before recorded history, from foundations deep in our mammalian, primate and African hunter-gatherer past.

For example, we are born with a powerful need for attachment, identified as long ago as the 1940s by psychiatrist John Bowlby and expanded on by psychologist Mary Ainsworth. Individual survival was enhanced by protectors, beginning with our mothers. Attachment is reinforced physiologically through brain chemistry, and we evolved and retain neural networks completely dedicated to it. We easily expand that inborn need for protectors to authority figures of any sort, including religious leaders and, more saliently, gods. God becomes a super parent, able to protect us and care for us even when our more corporeal support systems disappear, through death or distance.

Scientists have so far identified about 20 hard-wired, evolved "adaptations" as the building blocks of religion. Like attachment, they are mechanisms that underlie human interactions: Brain-imaging studies at the National Institutes of Health showed that when test subjects were read statements about religion and asked to agree or disagree, the same brain networks that process human social behavior — our ability to negotiate relationships with others — were engaged.

Among the psychological adaptations related to religion are our need for reciprocity, our tendency to attribute unknown events to human agency, our capacity for romantic love, our fierce "out-group" hatreds and just as fierce loyalties to the in groups of kin and allies. Religion hijacks these traits. The rivalry between Sunni and Shiite Muslims, for example, or the doctrinal battles between Protestant and Catholic reflect our "groupish" tendencies.

In addition to these adaptations, humans have developed the remarkable ability to think about what goes on in other people's minds and create and rehearse complex interactions with an unseen other. In our minds we can de-couple cognition from time, place and circumstance. We consider what someone else might do in our place; we project future scenarios; we replay past events. It's an easy jump to say, conversing with the dead or to conjuring gods and praying to them.

Morality, which some see as imposed by gods or religion on savage humans, science sees as yet another adaptive strategy handed down to us by natural selection.

Yale psychology professor Paul Bloom notes that "it is often beneficial for humans to work together … which means it would have been adaptive to evaluate the niceness and nastiness of other individuals." In groundbreaking research, he and his team found that infants in their first year of life demonstrate aspects of an innate sense of right and wrong, good and bad, even fair and unfair. When shown a puppet climbing a mountain, either helped or hindered by a second puppet, the babies oriented toward the helpful puppet. They were able to make an evaluative social judgment, in a sense a moral response.

Michael Tomasello, a developmental psychologist who co-directs the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, has also done work related to morality and very young children. He and his colleagues have produced a wealth of research that demonstrates children's capacities for altruism. He argues that we are born altruists who then have to learn strategic self-interest.

Beyond psychological adaptations and mechanisms, scientists have discovered neurological explanations for what many interpret as evidence of divine existence. Canadian psychologist Michael Persinger, who developed what he calls a "god helmet" that blocks sight and sound but stimulates the brain's temporal lobe, notes that many of his helmeted research subjects reported feeling the presence of "another." Depending on their personal and cultural history, they then interpreted the sensed presence as either a supernatural or religious figure. It is conceivable that St. Paul's dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus was, in reality, a seizure caused by temporal lobe epilepsy.

The better we understand human psychology and neurology, the more we will uncover the underpinnings of religion. Some of them, like the attachment system, push us toward a belief in gods and make departing from it extraordinarily difficult. But it is possible.

We can be better as a species if we recognize religion as a man-made construct. We owe it to ourselves to at least consider the real roots of religious belief, so we can deal with life as it is, taking advantage of perhaps our mind's greatest adaptation: our ability to use reason.

Imagine that.

J. Anderson Thomson is a psychiatrist at the University of Virginia. He serves as a trustee of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science. Clare Aukofer is a medical writer. They are the authors of "Why We Believe in God(s): A Concise Guide to the Science of Faith."

http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jul/18 ... m-20110718

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July 20th, 2011, 10:55 am
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Post Re: Science and religion: God didn't make man; man made gods
holy cow! Religeon is evil! after reading this article im a total covert! im an athiest now for sure!...or not. It's funny the picture that gets painted when you only wan to look at something from one side. Personally i find it sad....

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July 20th, 2011, 11:16 am
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Post Re: Science and religion: God didn't make man; man made gods
I agree to some degree with Joe here, there has also been a ton of good done in this world thanks to religion and the article doesn't touch that at all. The initial focus was all negative and it should have been more balanced. I get the point they are making, but there are two sides involved here.

As for the psychology, or man's evolved "need" for a God, that does make sense as well as most folks are somewhat hard wired to become "believers" one thing or another. IMO those "needs" are becoming replaced by other things now at an ever increasing rate and I think the ratio of believers to non-believers will begin to drop dramatically over the next century or two.

Even so, their will be a long lasting impact of religion on morals and values of future generations even if religion itself becomes less relevant. It served a major function in man's evolution.

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July 20th, 2011, 11:40 am
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Post Re: Science and religion: God didn't make man; man made gods
Pablo wrote:
I agree to some degree with Joe here, there has also been a ton of good done in this world thanks to religion and the article doesn't touch that at all. The initial focus was all negative and it should have been more balanced. I get the point they are making, but there are two sides involved here.

As for the psychology, or man's evolved "need" for a God, that does make sense as well as most folks are somewhat hard wired to become "believers" one thing or another. IMO those "needs" are becoming replaced by other things now at an ever increasing rate and I think the ratio of believers to non-believers will begin to drop dramatically over the next century or two.

Even so, their will be a long lasting impact of religion on morals and values of future generations even if religion itself becomes less relevant. It served a major function in man's evolution.


I agree with everything ya put here. If ya wanna argue we can debate on whether people finding other ways to fill said "need" is a good thing or not :wink:

EDITTO ADD: JUST last night a friend of mine and I were discussing the need for Muslims to change or they will see a HUGE decline in..."membership(?)". the world is getting smalller by the day and Saudiu Arabia's "Womens Driving protest" is a shining example of how the old ways arnt going to float through the next century.

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July 20th, 2011, 12:31 pm
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Post Re: Science and religion: God didn't make man; man made gods
I thought it was common knowledge that man created God in order to subjugate the masses. For those that don't understand this, I don't know what to tell you. :roll:

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July 20th, 2011, 12:46 pm
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Post Re: Science and religion: God didn't make man; man made gods
Just another unprovable theory on what truth is. Nothing to get upset with until someone tries to state it as "more logical."

Ironically, Pablo already noted some flaws... all the good morality from religion has created. If reality serves me right, religious people are the biggest philanthropist in the US. No one does more or gives more to help the needy than religious people. From helping the homeless to adopting a child in need of a home, religious people donate more money to provide help and go to the ground helping more often...

Side note... we don;t do it enough still...

But... where does evolutionary adaptations come into play trying to take care of and focusing on keeping alive down syndrome babies, mentally unstable homeless persons, etc. That is not an adaptation... that flies int he face of the evolutionary theory. Why does every culture have some idea of "modesty?" Lots of things about morality just simply cannot be explained by said proposal above and there are just too many gaps to fill to take it as a clear logical reason for what we see.

Religion and morality just fly too much in the face of social/biological evolution to be explained.

Again, if someone wants to believe that over something else... their choice... but if someone is going to act like it just makes more "sense" they are clearly missing the boat on the bigger complications. It is a plausible explanation that needs more meat to fill in some gaping holes.

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July 20th, 2011, 1:21 pm
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Post Re: Science and religion: God didn't make man; man made gods
regularjoe12 wrote:
EDITTO ADD: JUST last night a friend of mine and I were discussing the need for Muslims to change or they will see a HUGE decline in..."membership(?)". the world is getting smalller by the day and Saudiu Arabia's "Womens Driving protest" is a shining example of how the old ways arnt going to float through the next century.

This reminded me of something I heard last week about how bad/harmful/hateful/however you want to say it the Muslim faith/religion appears to be; it was said (paraphrasing) "Wasn't Christianity in the same place a few hundred years ago? A lot of turmoil, misdirection, etc. Let's see what Islam looks like in a couple hundred years, could be a lot like Christianity does today."
I'm not saying I agree or disagree with the assessment/opinion, just that I found in interesting.

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July 20th, 2011, 1:57 pm
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Post Re: Science and religion: God didn't make man; man made gods
steensn wrote:
Religion and morality just fly too much in the face of social/biological evolution to be explained.

Again, if someone wants to believe that over something else... their choice... but if someone is going to act like it just makes more "sense" they are clearly missing the boat on the bigger complications. It is a plausible explanation that needs more meat to fill in some gaping holes.


Are you dismissing what the scientists say here?
Quote:
Morality, which some see as imposed by gods or religion on savage humans, science sees as yet another adaptive strategy handed down to us by natural selection.

Yale psychology professor Paul Bloom notes that "it is often beneficial for humans to work together … which means it would have been adaptive to evaluate the niceness and nastiness of other individuals." In groundbreaking research, he and his team found that infants in their first year of life demonstrate aspects of an innate sense of right and wrong, good and bad, even fair and unfair. When shown a puppet climbing a mountain, either helped or hindered by a second puppet, the babies oriented toward the helpful puppet. They were able to make an evaluative social judgment, in a sense a moral response.

Or is it that you just don't agree with it?

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July 20th, 2011, 1:59 pm
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Post Re: Science and religion: God didn't make man; man made gods
Nope... that piece seems plausible. It just doesn't explain the length that religion goes regarding morality. Working together and playing nice is one thing, creating an idea that we need to help the weakest of the group survive and reproduce passing on flawed genetic material. Having the stronger bond together to be a force together is one thing, using that to make the human race more suitable to genetic flaws does not fit the statement made. Working together to build great cities and conquer places to live through group ingenuity... that all makes sense. Asking people and having a moral obligation to care for mentally handicapped people, giving support to the weakest to allow them better chances for reproduction, etc... this does not fit at all the idea that morals is based on grouping together to succeed.

Christianity has said for thousands of years that one is born with the innate understanding of right and wrong but gave a different reason. How can a scientist come in with a new reason, do a study to prove it, and then be called groundbreaking? That makes no sense... basically it is a flawed logic as there are other hypothesis available that explain the data collected and have ironically been around for thousands of years longer. It is not "new" to think through observation that humans are born with innate knowledge of good and evil. Every parent from the dawn of human existence could tell you that...

The question is, what is the cause... there are clearly different ideas out there and this one certainly does not explain the reason for this trait surviving the evolutionary progression to such a stringent level. We go above and beyond what makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint. There is something drawing us too a much deeper level across all cultures and societies independently.

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July 20th, 2011, 2:29 pm
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Post Re: Science and religion: God didn't make man; man made gods
steensn wrote:
Nope... that piece seems plausible. It just doesn't explain the length that religion goes regarding morality. Working together and playing nice is one thing, creating an idea that we need to help the weakest of the group survive and reproduce passing on flawed genetic material. Having the stronger bond together to be a force together is one thing, using that to make the human race more suitable to genetic flaws does not fit the statement made. Working together to build great cities and conquer places to live through group ingenuity... that all makes sense. Asking people and having a moral obligation to care for mentally handicapped people, giving support to the weakest to allow them better chances for reproduction, etc... this does not fit at all the idea that morals is based on grouping together to succeed.

Christianity has said for thousands of years that one is born with the innate understanding of right and wrong but gave a different reason. How can a scientist come in with a new reason, do a study to prove it, and then be called groundbreaking? That makes no sense... basically it is a flawed logic as there are other hypothesis available that explain the data collected and have ironically been around for thousands of years longer. It is not "new" to think through observation that humans are born with innate knowledge of good and evil. Every parent from the dawn of human existence could tell you that...

The question is, what is the cause... there are clearly different ideas out there and this one certainly does not explain the reason for this trait surviving the evolutionary progression to such a stringent level. We go above and beyond what makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint. There is something drawing us too a much deeper level across all cultures and societies independently.

OK, I think I get it now. Your view is that only some 'morality' is innate, the rest is from Religion. Thanks for your response; I disagree with you on this, but thanks for your response nonetheless.

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July 20th, 2011, 3:38 pm
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Post Re: Science and religion: God didn't make man; man made gods
And as long as we keep it to what it is... opinion then we are fine. Once we start saying "here is a study that proves we evolved this way" then the nonsense starts.

I only try to argue people to the point they realize it simply comes down to a personal belief in every case, not some logical, unarguable, clear reasoning. It isn't...

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July 20th, 2011, 4:34 pm
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Post Re: Science and religion: God didn't make man; man made gods
steensn wrote:
And as long as we keep it to what it is... opinion then we are fine. Once we start saying "here is a study that proves we evolved this way" then the nonsense starts.

I only try to argue people to the point they realize it simply comes down to a personal belief in every case, not some logical, unarguable, clear reasoning. It isn't...

No worries; I think we're both on the same page in that we're discussing opinion on both sides.

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July 20th, 2011, 4:52 pm
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Post Re: Science and religion: God didn't make man; man made gods
I thought it was common knowledge that man created God in order to subjugate the masses. For those that don't understand this, I don't know what to tell you.

sorry sly you got your signals crossed, that was WELFARE that was meant to subjugate the masses. NOW GET BACK IN LINE!!! :P

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July 21st, 2011, 1:52 am
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