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Do You Agree With What I Said


Heimdall
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On the thread “Holy Grail” on the Unexplained Mysteries Website, during a discussion involving (among many things) Christianity, Jospehus, etc, I entered the following post:

 

Sorry Gid, I'm just a forgetful ol' coot....didn't mean to ignore you. Scientists have noted that we seem to have a belief in a higher power "hard-wired" into our psyche. One scholar has postulated that this is genetic and has called the gene controlling this phenomena, the "God Gene". That would mean that Atheistism is the result of a malfunctioning gene, in other words a genetic disease. I don't think so...I do recognize that we have an inherent and possibly "hard-wired" desire to believe in a deity and that it might be either cultural or genetic, but I don't think Atheism is the result of a "bad" gene.

 

 

To which an individual using the handle “Azalin” responded:

 

What then would you consider Atheism to be ?.

 

This was my response to the question, do y’all agree with my view of Atheists?

 

another belief system. One that (in some ways like Deism) denies tying oneself down to a

Bronze Age dogma of fear and retribution (this covers most of the orgainzed religions) and

Attempts (usually much more successfully than the organized religions) to live a moral, good life, believing that they only go around once and that once should leave the world a better place for them having lived. - Heimdall :yellow:

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Good post to the guy. I disagree about the whole "god gene" thing though.....

 

What I believe IS hardwired is that humanity is first and foremost a social animal. No different than wolves, dolphins, whales, chimpanzees....etc.

 

You couple that with what truly seems to set us apart from other animals....our problem solving ability (whatever they call our adaptability to that which is new)......and you've easily got a creature primed in every way to believe in a higher being.

 

Could such a social creature look at a night sky, knowing that beyond the safety of the fire is danger and death in the dark, REALLY look up at the stars in the sky and envision only millions of miles of empty cold void?

 

Envisioning that one is not truly alone, and that something more is going on "burying the dead with tools and gifts" may well have been that which encouraged and helped a weak young species survive.

 

The safety and strength of modern civilization is what enables us to move beyond the realm of supernatural thinking. We are now "safe" enough to realize those belief systems are no longer necessary for our survival (and of course the indoctrinated crap has NEVER been conductive to survival).

 

My .02 cents

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The God gene really isn't a gene, I think. It's more of a genetic predisposition to spiritual beliefs, and Dr. Hamer, the author of "The God Gene" admits that spirituality could be a learned personality trait. I don't know if there is a scientist who actually claims that they are doing researh on a gene, but if not, it means that there can't be a mutation of the gene. BTW, it's a pretty good book. The god gene debate mimicks the nature / nurture thing, and pretty much Hamer concludes that it's unclear whether genes or heredity have anything to do with spirituality.

 

Good book though.

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Good post to the guy. I disagree about the whole "god gene" thing though.....

 

What I believe IS hardwired is that humanity is first and foremost a social animal. No different than wolves, dolphins, whales, chimpanzees....etc.

 

You couple that with what truly seems to set us apart from other animals....our problem solving ability (whatever they call our adaptability to that which is new)......and you've easily got a creature primed in every way to believe in a higher being.

 

Small contestation: if "adaptability" is what seperates the humans from the animals, then wouldn't roaches and other beetle be more inclined to go around searching for a beetle god? We are, by no means, the most adaptable creature. Toss us in nuclear winter and we're going to die horribly.

 

I think what sets us apart from animals is our ability to combine the past and the present in order to predict future actions in a cohesive story. Humans are supremely concious of time and strive to find patterns inside of time that will explain things. We're storytelling animals. That's what sets us apart.

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Small contestation: if "adaptability" is what seperates the humans from the animals, then wouldn't roaches and other beetle be more inclined to go around searching for a beetle god? We are, by no means, the most adaptable creature. Toss us in nuclear winter and we're going to die horribly.

 

I think what sets us apart from animals is our ability to combine the past and the present in order to predict future actions in a cohesive story. Humans are supremely concious of time and strive to find patterns inside of time that will explain things. We're storytelling animals. That's what sets us apart.

 

Oops, that's not quite the adaptability I meant. I meant our individual capacity for adaptability. To be able to extract more complex variations of "cause" and "effect" and actual problem solving capability. Cerebral cortex abilities.

 

Beetles and roaches do not have cerebral cortexes.

 

And while people may not be the most adaptable, we have made the most of the adaptations we do possess. If being more genetically adaptable indicated life-form superiority, then beetles would rule the world.

 

It's not about quantity of adaptation, it's about quality of the adaptations.....how else could a bunch of puny, hairless, clawless, and slow beings with cruddy rudimentary senses EVER manage to dominate the planet?

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In the book "Phantoms in the Brain", the author talks about the "God" experience being related to a specific area of the brain, the left temporal lobe. When this area of the brain was electrically stimulated, the person "experienced God". People have been known to become extremely religious and "enlightened" after having an epileptic seizure which originated in this area of the brain.

 

So, perhaps the attraction towards religion or the desire to experience God is, in part, a biological trait which relates to the functioning of the left temporal lobe of the brain. If this is the case, it might indeed be passed from one generation to the next, and could be considered genetic.

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In the book "Phantoms in the Brain", the author talks about the "God" experience being related to a specific area of the brain, the left temporal lobe. When this area of the brain was electrically stimulated, the person "experienced God". People have been known to become extremely religious and "enlightened" after having an epileptic seizure which originated in this area of the brain.

 

So, perhaps the attraction towards religion or the desire to experience God is, in part, a biological trait which relates to the functioning of the left temporal lobe of the brain. If this is the case, it might indeed be passed from one generation to the next, and could be considered genetic.

 

I don't think stimulating areas of the brain answers the question of whether we have a genetic trait. If doctors stimulate an area of the hypothalamus people will react violently. Consistent behaviors can be observed by stimulating various areas of the brain. It seems more similar to a reflex than a personality trait, especially considering that an external stimulus is applied instead of the spiritual experience being the product of genetic traits.

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I don't think stimulating areas of the brain answers the question of whether we have a genetic trait.

 

That wasn't what I was trying to convey. What I meant was that possibly the tendency to be attracted to religion can be attributed to a specific area in the brain. If this turns out to be true, then some individuals may have different physical components in their brains that either lead a person to be highly interested in religion or ambivalent towards it.

 

If this is true, then this trait could be passed on from generation to generation just as surely as high or low I.Q.

 

Perhaps this is just as instrumental in determining whether a person will be attracted to "God" as being raised and indoctrinated in a certain faith.

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I don't think stimulating areas of the brain answers the question of whether we have a genetic trait.

 

What I meant was that possibly the tendency to be attracted to religion can be attributed to a specific area in the brain. If this turns out to be true, then some individuals may have different physical components in their brains that either lead a person to be highly interested in religion or ambivalent towards it.

 

If this is true, then this trait could be passed on from generation to generation just a surely as high or low I.Q.

 

Perhaps this is just as instrumental in determining whether a person will be attracted to "God" as being raised and indoctrinated in a certain faith.

 

But then one has to ask.....what factors determine how a stimulus is interpreted by a particular brain? How much of a person's "who" comes into play when it comes to reacting to stimulus like that?

 

I'd be very interested in seeing if a hard-core atheist getting an electric stimulus in the "god" zone interprets that sensation as god, or something else.

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