The God Delusion - Chapter 5

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The God Delusion - Chapter 5

Post #1

Post by otseng »

According to Dawkins, how did religion arise?

McCulloch's question:
Is religion as an accidental by-product – a misfiring of something useful?

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Post #41

Post by otseng »

Furrowed Brow wrote:
Otseng wrote: Further, suppose that it is a product of natural selection, how does he know that religion is not the final useful product rather than a by-product?
We don’t. But that would require a supernatural explanation to be added on to what is a naturalistic explanation.
Why would it require a supernatural explanation if religion was the final useful product?

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Post #42

Post by Furrowed Brow »

otseng wrote:
Furrowed Brow wrote:
Otseng wrote: Further, suppose that it is a product of natural selection, how does he know that religion is not the final useful product rather than a by-product?
We don’t. But that would require a supernatural explanation to be added on to what is a naturalistic explanation.
Why would it require a supernatural explanation if religion was the final useful product?
Well none if you mean the “end” point brings social cohesion, group affiliation etc. However there is no final end point if we are taking a naturalistic stance. But if you mean that the end product is to develop a code for living that will “save souls” or "bring us closer to God" , then a supernatural explanation will be invoked. Moreover - unlike a naturalistic stance - this does seem to be a final end product

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Post #43

Post by bunyip »

> "I've already read through the entire book. No insights on this have been found."

Wot? Did you burn Chapter 9 before reading it? There are many references to infusing children with religious notions throughout the book. I thought we were debating "The God Delusion", not people's preconceptions.

> "In the face of evidence? What evidence are you referring to? "

That gods are a delusion. You did see the title of the book we're debating, did you not?

/quote] As I tell atheists, if you believe that God does not exist, then damnation should not be a concern.[/quote]

It's not "atheists" that are a matter of concern here, but people raised in an environnment promoting the idea of "eternal punishment". It's not non-theists who go through life wrapped in a mental miasma of avoiding "sin", but those unfortunate people whose parents [or somebody] taught them to fear its consequences in themselves and scorn others who, in their eyes, appear to be engaged in it. There are scared non-theists, but they are mostly frightened of what some "religious" might perpetrate on them in the name of "faith".

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Post #44

Post by otseng »

Furrowed Brow wrote:
otseng wrote:
Furrowed Brow wrote:
Otseng wrote: Further, suppose that it is a product of natural selection, how does he know that religion is not the final useful product rather than a by-product?
We don’t. But that would require a supernatural explanation to be added on to what is a naturalistic explanation.
Why would it require a supernatural explanation if religion was the final useful product?
Well none if you mean the “end” point brings social cohesion, group affiliation etc. However there is no final end point if we are taking a naturalistic stance. But if you mean that the end product is to develop a code for living that will “save souls” or "bring us closer to God" , then a supernatural explanation will be invoked. Moreover - unlike a naturalistic stance - this does seem to be a final end product
What I mean simply by final end product is that it is not a by product of something else. I'm not implying that there is any sort of finality in natural selection.

And since Dawkins never does mention what religion is a by product of, it would seem more logical to deduce that religion is the final end product if natural selection did cause it.
bunyip wrote:Did you burn Chapter 9 before reading it? There are many references to infusing children with religious notions throughout the book. I thought we were debating "The God Delusion", not people's preconceptions.
No, I've read all 10 chapters. I don't disagree that people do infuse their children with religous notions. But that in itself does not constitute as mental abuse.
That gods are a delusion. You did see the title of the book we're debating, did you not?
The title of the book does not serve as evidence.
It's not "atheists" that are a matter of concern here, but people raised in an environnment promoting the idea of "eternal punishment". It's not non-theists who go through life wrapped in a mental miasma of avoiding "sin", but those unfortunate people whose parents [or somebody] taught them to fear its consequences in themselves and scorn others who, in their eyes, appear to be engaged in it. There are scared non-theists, but they are mostly frightened of what some "religious" might perpetrate on them in the name of "faith".
If the God of the Bible truly does exist, then it would not really matter if they didn't like what it states.

I don't like the idea of being thrown in jail for not giving a large percentage of money that I've earned to the federal and state governments to do things that I oppose. Though I wish my dislike of it could disprove the existence of the IRS, in the end, it would not keep away the auditors.

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Post #45

Post by bunyip »

Good grief! Now i know how Schliemann felt when he was seeking Troy and went down seven layers, going past the city without realising it.

> "And since Dawkins never does mention what religion is a by product of, it would seem more logical to deduce that religion is the final end product if natural selection did cause it."

Yes he does, but without going into clinical detail. His citing of Atran, Boyer and others on the human universality of belief in agency, how much more explanation would you like? It's a behaviour trait of our species which suggests a mental phenomenon. There's been little enough research done on how our brain works, let alone how it generates that trait.

> "No, I've read all 10 chapters. I don't disagree that people do infuse their children with religous notions. But that in itself does not constitute as mental abuse.

Really? The book carries the word "Delusion" in the title. If parents teach their children lies to maintain that delusion, wouldn't you consider that child abuse? If parents teach their children that blacks/Jews/redheads/epileptics/myopic people are evil/sinful/bad/angels/demented/heroes would you not consider that a "delusion" as well. It's universally accepted among the human species that teaching lies to children is cruel and abusive. The only problem we have here is finding out which are the lies. In this instance, the culprit is "god".

> "I don't like the idea of being thrown in jail for not giving a large percentage of money that I've earned to the federal and state governments to do things that I oppose. Though I wish my dislike of it could disprove the existence of the IRS, in the end, it would not keep away the auditors.

That's irrelevant and misleading. Also specious. The laws you pay taxes for are human-made. They can be changed by you and others of like minds. The deity, on the other hand [although also obviously "man-made"] isn't subject to modification or amendment. At least that's what those in "authority" in such matters tell me . . .

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Post #46

Post by otseng »

bunyip wrote:Yes he does, but without going into clinical detail. His citing of Atran, Boyer and others on the human universality of belief in agency, how much more explanation would you like?
Could you give a page number and quote of what Dawkins states in regards to what religion is a by-product of?

Really? The book carries the word "Delusion" in the title. If parents teach their children lies to maintain that delusion, wouldn't you consider that child abuse?
Yes, it is in the title. But how has Dawkins demonstrated that it is a delusion?
That's irrelevant and misleading. Also specious.
I don't think so. My point is that just because one does not like something does not show that it does not exist.
The laws you pay taxes for are human-made. They can be changed by you and others of like minds.
I so wish that was true. Though I'm a supporter of the Fair Tax, I have little hope that it'll get implemented.

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Post #47

Post by AClockWorkOrange »

i come to odds a little bit with this definition, becuase i have always viewed religion as thus:

It was an early form of explaining the world (pre-science) and it incompased every part of these peoples lives. Becuase science has only emmerged to be more correct in relatively recent year, the stranglehold of the all-encommpassing religions of the world are still fairly secure.

Its like a cancer on the base of the brain. Its...hard to get out...to say the least.

This is probably why science has yet to replace religion in terms of idea-evolution.

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Post #48

Post by bunyip »

> "Could you give a page number and quote of what Dawkins states in regards to what religion is a by-product of?"

Your use of the term "by-product" reveals you already know the answer. He cites Atran, Boyer and Hinde [who i haven't read] on p. 177.[repeated on p. 184]

I'm still perplexed as to why he omiitted David Lewis-Williams, who has proposed the best foundations for human preception of what we call the "spiritual" world. Richard isn't the only one to have missed that - Dennett's "Sweet Drams" and "Breaking the Spell" seem to have overlooked the book, although it was published in 2002 to rather mixed [to say the least] reaction.

Yes, it is in the title. But how has Dawkins demonstrated that it is a delusion?

He demonstrates there is no evidence for the supernatural. If an adult comprehends that he/she is basing his/her own belief iin a falsehood, then passing that on to a child is clearly mental abuse.

> " My point is that just because one does not like something does not show that it does not exist."

That's the wrong point. The issue here is not whether something is "liked", but whether there is evidence for gods. There is none. "Showing it doesn't exist" is a meaningless contention.

I don't know what "Fair Tax" is , but it bypasses the issue of man-made versus "divine" law. Divine law is presumably universal and absolute. Where do we see examples of "divine" law [and please don't come back to me with "Laws of Nature"!}

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Post #49

Post by otseng »

bunyip wrote:Your use of the term "by-product" reveals you already know the answer. He cites Atran, Boyer and Hinde [who i haven't read] on p. 177.[repeated on p. 184]
I know what Dawkins seems to state, but it doesn't really answer his own question.

He states, "My specific suggestion about the useful gullibility of the child mind is only an example of the kind of thing that might be the analogue of moths navigating by the moon or the stars." (page 177)

But, the "gullibility" of children at most could only explain the propagation of religion, it cannot explain the origin of religious notions.

He does however mention what others thinks religion is a by-product of - "normal psychological dispositions" and "to fall in love". But the only one he goes into detail is his own gullible child theory.

"Once infected, the child will grow up and infect the next generation with the same nonsense, whatever it happens to be." (page 188)

But the issue is how does it become "once infected"?
He demonstrates there is no evidence for the supernatural.
As I've argued previously, his arguments that there are no evidence of the supernatural is very weak. I don't wish to repost everything I've already stated. But, if you have specific responses to posts that I've already made, I can address those in the appropriate threads.
bunyip wrote:That's the wrong point. The issue here is not whether something is "liked", but whether there is evidence for gods.
You stated the following:
bunyip wrote:It's not "atheists" that are a matter of concern here, but people raised in an environnment promoting the idea of "eternal punishment". It's not non-theists who go through life wrapped in a mental miasma of avoiding "sin", but those unfortunate people whose parents [or somebody] taught them to fear its consequences in themselves and scorn others who, in their eyes, appear to be engaged in it. There are scared non-theists, but they are mostly frightened of what some "religious" might perpetrate on them in the name of "faith".
You mentioned "fear its consequences", "scared", "frightened" as reasons for concern. I'm simply making the point that these things in itself do not show the belief to be false.

But, you're correct in that the main point is whether there are evidence for the gods or not.

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Post #50

Post by bunyip »

> "I know what Dawkins seems to state, but it doesn't really answer his own question."

Perhaps you are having problems with his level of provided detail. One of the problems with palaeontology or palaeoanthropology is that behaviour traits don't fossilise. Since there are no fossils to demonstrate the origins of religion, details are going to be scanty. Richard can't tot out the fossils of religion for detailed analysis, 'cause they aren't there.

It's clear that religion is a human mental state. That's not a value judgement , just a statement of condition. If the work recently started can be extended and encompass more people, we might be able to provide the details you seek, but you'll have to be patient.

As a starting point, you might pick up Dan Dennett's "Breaking the Spell" for some parallels.

But, the "gullibility" of children at most could only explain the propagation of religion, it cannot explain the origin of religious notions.

Perhaps, but the real point about children is that they are doomed to be the perpetrators of religion the first time a parent drags them to "religious" training.

> "He does however mention what others thinks religion is a by-product of - "normal psychological dispositions" and "to fall in love". But the only one he goes into detail is his own gullible child theory."

Whell, of course, the way to prove/disprove a theory is to put it to the test. Ban all religious training for people under a specified age and see what results. I'm willing to wager the number of Falwells and suicide bombers would pretty much dry up. On the other hand, if The Sprite is truly around guiding things, then we could expect numerous "revelatory" experiences as the deity stoked up the mental furnaces of faith.

But the issue is how does it become "once infected"?

We just dealt with that - training inexperienced children in religious dogma.

As I've argued previously, his arguments that there are no evidence of the supernatural is very weak.

Sorry? Richard's arguements about "no evidence of the supernatural is very weak"?? Where is the "strong" evidence for anything supernatural??

> "You mentioned "fear its consequences", "scared", "frightened" as reasons for concern. I'm simply making the point that these things in itself do not show the belief to be false."

Quite so, but those things do demonstrate how dangerous mindless faith training can be. And is. That is, after all, a sub-theme of this and others' recent publications.

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