Are atheists born or made?

Creationism, Evolution, and other science issues

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harvey1
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Are atheists born or made?

Post #1

Post by harvey1 »

I think there's a reasonable case to be made that some people have a physical predisposition toward atheism. Having talked to atheists for many years I notice a preference to these points as being reasonable beliefs:

1) Something can come from absolutely nothing.
2) There could exist a cause for every effect going back in time without any beginning.
3) Fine-tuning presupposes a design objective that when nature is properly understood does not exist so there is no coincidence problem with the physical constants.
4) Consciousness is merely electrochemical processes in the brain that results (or is identical with) consciousness that is itself causally efficacious as an emergent system of the brain.
5) Etc.

Now each of these beliefs strike me as ridiculous once we get to the nitty gritty as to what they actually mean. But, surprising to me, atheists continue to defend these beliefs, and not only defend they often expect others to think it is irrational to deny them.

So, given that these are often intelligent folks making these claims, this leads me to ponder whether there is a physical predisposition to see the world atheistically. It seems that there is reason to believe this is the case.
People say of the last day, that God shall give judgment. This is true. But it is not true as people imagine. Every man pronounces his own sentence; as he shows himself here in his essence, so will he remain everlastingly -- Meister Eckhart

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Re: Are atheists born or made?

Post #41

Post by Donray »

[Replying to post 39 by Tcg]

OK answer me why Christians want laws that allow them to be bigots and hate others? They want to hate gays for one. Tell me all about the atheists that hate gays and will not service them.

What about the good kind Christians that brunt woman for being witches?

What about the kind religious folks that killed thousands September 9th???????
They did that because they were unkind atheists??

What about the devote religious that belive in the same god as the Jews and Christians that blowup babies and children? They are not atheist. Tell me the last time an atheist strapped a bomb to themselves and blew up children?

We are all born atheists and are brainwashed into our parents religious beliefs.

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Tcg
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Re: Are atheists born or made?

Post #42

Post by Tcg »

[Replying to post 41 by Donray]

I'm not sure how this addresses my post. Perhaps it is a reply to the poster I quoted?


Tcg
To be clear: Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods.

- American Atheists


Not believing isn't the same as believing not.

- wiploc


I must assume that knowing is better than not knowing, venturing than not venturing; and that magic and illusion, however rich, however alluring, ultimately weaken the human spirit.

- Irvin D. Yalom

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Re: Are atheists born or made?

Post #43

Post by Menotu »

[Replying to post 1 by harvey1]

Are atheists born or made?

Born, at least in the aspect that they don't believe in anything. A belief is learned by outside influence and experience. When you're born, you know nothing of anything. You just eat, sleep and poop. Everything else is gained knowledge that comes along the way.

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Re: Are atheists born or made?

Post #44

Post by bluegreenearth »

harvey1 wrote: I think there's a reasonable case to be made that some people have a physical predisposition toward atheism. Having talked to atheists for many years I notice a preference to these points as being reasonable beliefs:

1) Something can come from absolutely nothing.
2) There could exist a cause for every effect going back in time without any beginning.
3) Fine-tuning presupposes a design objective that when nature is properly understood does not exist so there is no coincidence problem with the physical constants.
4) Consciousness is merely electrochemical processes in the brain that results (or is identical with) consciousness that is itself causally efficacious as an emergent system of the brain.
5) Etc.

Now each of these beliefs strike me as ridiculous once we get to the nitty gritty as to what they actually mean. But, surprising to me, atheists continue to defend these beliefs, and not only defend they often expect others to think it is irrational to deny them.

So, given that these are often intelligent folks making these claims, this leads me to ponder whether there is a physical predisposition to see the world atheistically. It seems that there is reason to believe this is the case.
Some evolutionary psychologists have suggested that all modern human beings have an evolved capacity to perceive agency where none actually exists. This tendency to falsely presume an observed pattern in nature was deliberately caused by an agent is known as a Type 1 cognitive error.

This instinct to believe, for example, that the sound of rustling emanating from the nearby bushes is being caused by another living creature rather than just the wind blowing through the leaves has been advantageous to our survival as a species. When our ancient ancestors took immediate action to protect themselves after falsely presuming the rustling sound from the bushes was caused by a large predatory animal sneaking up on them, their Type 1 cognitive error in that moment did not negatively impact their ability to survive and reproduce. However, had they falsely believed the rustling sound was the result of wind blowing through the leaves when it was actually caused by a man-eating predator about to pounce on them, that Type 2 cognitive error would have drastically reduced their probability of surviving long enough to produce offspring. So, it was the genetic predisposition to make more Type 1 than Type 2 cognitive errors that was passed down to subsequent generations. Thus, the genetic predisposition to make more Type 2 than Type 1 cognitive errors was all but eliminated by the process of natural selection.

Therefore, we can infer from this analysis that atheists will instinctively react to rustling in the bushes as though the sound was caused by another living creature in the same way as a theist would. The only difference is that most atheists are willing to acknowledge the possibility that they might have made a Type 1 cognitive error in that presumption, subsequently search for falsifiable hypotheses that might explain the cause of the rustling sound from the bushes, and conduct tests designed to rule-out all but the single most reasonable explanation supported by the evidence. In this way, atheists are in the best position to discover if the belief about the rustling in the bushes being caused by another living creature is correct or mistaken. Many theist, on the other hand, would seem to be content with simply having faith that the sound of rustling they heard coming from the bushes could have only been caused by another living creature and appear to be confused by the atheists subsequent attempts to discover if it could have merely been the wind blowing through the leaves.

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Post #45

Post by ttruscott »

MY take on what the bible says about this?

I accept that all sinners are self made by their free will choice and then they are sown into the world to be conceived and born as human.
PCE Theology as I see it...

We had an existence with a free will in Sheol before the creation of the physical universe. Here we chose to be able to become holy or to be eternally evil in YHWH's sight. Then the physical universe was created and all sinners were sent to earth.

This theology debunks the need to base Christianity upon the blasphemy of creating us in Adam's sin.

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Post #46

Post by bluegreenearth »

ttruscott wrote: MY take on what the bible says about this?

I accept that all sinners are self made by their free will choice and then they are sown into the world to be conceived and born as human.
Can that claim be tested to determine if it is false? What would that test look like?

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Re: Are atheists born or made?

Post #47

Post by Purple Knight »

I realise this is an old topic but religiosos really need the answer to be that atheists are made, and not born, don't they?

If people are born presupposed not to believe in gods, it throws a wrench in their gearworks of what people are expected to do, to be good, one of these things usually being to have faith.

I don't have any problem admitting that atheism, genetically, is the flaw, and religiosity is the design. Societies seem to need a moral centre and it's got to have some real gravitas to it.

However, this is exactly what I would expect from a world governed by evolution, according to random chance, and it doesn't surprise me that I'm in the defective 5%, or that 5% of us would be defective. People are born defective all the time, and in the wild, these just don't reproduce. It takes this random process without a mind behind it a billion and one tries to made an advancement, and in so doing it hammers the sheet into a billion defects. The defects fall by the wayside and the advancement continues.

I am the defect. I see belief in God as no different than belief in Santa Claus or the tooth fairy. I'm the one that needs to not continue. Without this predilection to believe in fairy tales, I lose the advantage of community and a moral centre.

However I'm also correct about the nature of the universe: There probably isn't a God, we're floating in a purposeless void, and when we die, we rot in the ground and that's it. If religion were true, this is one defect that wouldn't happen. If I'm born accounting God the same as the tooth fairy, because I'm missing some critical part of my brain that gives in to the comfort and believes it, that's not the same as being born missing a leg or even aging to 90 before you're 13 - this defect has the moral implication that I can't really be expected to worship God any more than you could be expected to worship the tooth fairy.

I still try to be a good person, but it's not the same thing.

And let me be fair here: If your religion says that's all you need, or even that it's not but maybe I'll be reborn into a brain without this defect, well then perhaps defectives such as myself don't disprove it. But if your religion is that God caused me to be defective and unable to believe in religion, and God is fair, and people get one life and that's it, and God will toss me into Hell to burn because of what he made me, then that's pretty well logically ruled out, isn't it?

At that point you would have to argue that I, for some inconceivable reason, choose to believe the horrible terrifying thing that's hurtful to myself even though I can well see that the comforting happy thing is actually true. I'd have to be insane, and a masochist. For what it's worth I admit to the former, but I'm hardly so far gone that if I thought the comforting, happy thing was likely to be true, I would still turn away from it and choose to believe the terrifying misery of annihilation awaited me, just to torture myself.

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Re: Are atheists born or made?

Post #48

Post by William »

As brunumb noted on another thread;
It is also worth noting that, unlike religion, one doesn't choose atheism because of anything it may offer. It is a position reached as a result of not being convinced by the arguments and evidence offered up for the existence of gods.
[link]

One isn't born already having reached that position. If theism did not exist, nor would atheism.

Theism, is a position reached through being convinced of whatever arguments and/or evidence is offered up in support of the existence of either a creator of this universe or creators of this universe.

That appears to be the main difference between theism and atheism. Theism maintains the belief in the idea that we exist within a creation [implying some type of creators(s) while atheism takes the opposing belief.

In this, is it not a matter of some are born with or without abilities to believe one way or the other. It is more the matter of interpreting the same evidence, differently and believing in that interpretation as the truth.

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Re: Are atheists born or made?

Post #49

Post by William »

As brunumb noted on another thread;
It is also worth noting that, unlike religion, one doesn't choose atheism because of anything it may offer. It is a position reached as a result of not being convinced by the arguments and evidence offered up for the existence of gods.
[link]

One isn't born already having reached that position. If theism did not exist, nor would atheism.

Theism, is a position reached through being convinced of whatever arguments and/or evidence is offered up in support of the existence of either a creator of this universe or creators of this universe.

That appears to be the main difference between theism and atheism. Theism maintains the belief in the idea that we exist within a creation [implying some type of creators(s)] while atheism takes the opposing belief.

In this, is it not a matter of some are born with or without abilities to believe one way or the other. It is more the matter of interpreting the same evidence, differently and believing in that interpretation as the truth.

Just as theists cannot show atheists that a creator exists, atheists cannot show theists that we do not exist within a creation.

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Re: Are atheists born or made?

Post #50

Post by Tcg »

William wrote: Wed Dec 16, 2020 10:56 am As brunumb noted on another thread;

Theism maintains the belief in the idea that we exist within a creation [implying some type of creators(s)] while atheism takes the opposing belief.
Atheism does NOT take the opposing belief. It simply lacks the belief theism requires.


Tcg
To be clear: Atheism is not a disbelief in gods or a denial of gods; it is a lack of belief in gods.

- American Atheists


Not believing isn't the same as believing not.

- wiploc


I must assume that knowing is better than not knowing, venturing than not venturing; and that magic and illusion, however rich, however alluring, ultimately weaken the human spirit.

- Irvin D. Yalom

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