Feed on Posts or Comments 01 August 2014

Christianity &Islam &Judaism Thomas on 20 Oct 2009 12:01 am

Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens are wrong — not only about religion, but also about politics — because they are wrong about human nature. Homo sapiens is also Homo religiosus.

Good article:

Think Again: God

But it is only since Sept. 11, 2001, that God has proven to be alive and well beyond all question — at least as far as the global public debate is concerned. With jihadists attacking America, an increasingly radicalized Middle East, and a born-again Christian in the White House for eight years, you’ll have a hard time finding anyone who disagrees. Even The Economist’s editor in chief recently co-authored a book called God Is Back. While many still question the relevance of God in our private lives, there’s a different debate on the global stage today: Is God a force for good in the world?

15 Responses to “Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens are wrong — not only about religion, but also about politics — because they are wrong about human nature. Homo sapiens is also Homo religiosus.”

  1. on 20 Oct 2009 at 3:56 pm 1.Lou said …

    “and a born-again Christian in the White House for eight years,”

    Shouldn’t that have read nine and counting? But again then there was Bill, George H, Reagan, Carter, eh you get the picture.

    Difficult to deny man is a creature with an inborn sense of God.

  2. on 20 Oct 2009 at 5:25 pm 2.Denis Loubet said …

    Or is a creature with an inborn ability to delude himself with false-positive pattern seeking.

  3. on 20 Oct 2009 at 8:50 pm 3.Boz said …

    Excellent diagnosis Denis. Now give us the pattern of evolutionary steps that would have brought about this “psychosis”?

  4. on 21 Oct 2009 at 8:50 am 4.Denis Loubet said …

    Are you suggesting that our brains do not engage in pattern-seeking, or that they’re never wrong when they do, or that perhaps people don’t delude themselves?

    Because I thought it was pretty obvious that people do all of those things. Do you disagree?

  5. on 21 Oct 2009 at 10:29 am 5.Boz said …

    Do you always answer a question with a question?

  6. on 21 Oct 2009 at 7:44 pm 6.Denis Loubet said …

    No. But that time I did.

    I thought to grant that you could figure out yourself why pattern-seeking would be an evolutionary advantage.

    I further thought that you might be able to assemble an argument that suggested that our abilities – including pattern-seeking – are not, on the whole, perfect, without my help.

    I also figured you would not disagree that many people can delude themselves given the number of mutually contradictory religions in the world.

    Given my evaluation of your abilities above, I treated your question as a rhetorical one. If I was incorrect in my evaluation of your abilities, I apologise.

  7. on 21 Oct 2009 at 8:30 pm 7.Boz said …

    I didn’t ask if pattern seeking was an evolutionary advantage or if individuals are capable of deluding themselves considering the numerous religions and may I state “other questionable beliefs” in the world.

    I asked, can you provide the evolutionary steps that would have brought about this “psychosis”? I would expect one with your set of beliefs to be able to provide us with the steps necessary to bring mankind to this point in his development. If not just acknowledge the fact.

  8. on 22 Oct 2009 at 5:15 am 8.Denis Loubet said …

    Well, apparently I was incorrect in my evaluation of your abilities. I was hoping you could assemble the necessary evolutionary steps yourself from the response I gave you, and save me a bunch of typing.

    Plus, only you know what you mean by “evolutionary steps”, so I was hoping I wouldn’t have to waste time wrenching a definition out of you. Oh well, so much for that.

    Ok, so what exactly do you mean by “evolutionary steps”, an example would help.

    While I wait, here’s a gross oversimplification:

    I expect that creatures that are good at pattern seeking are better than other creatures at detecting and identifying threats and prey, and are thus better at surviving to reproduce and pass on the pattern-seeking ability to the next generation.

    I further expect that no matter how good the pattern-seeking ability is, it is not perfect, and can thus be fooled into reporting false positives.

    I also expect that people are perfectly capable of stubbornly sticking with the false positive reports even in the face of subsequent contradicting data, due to whatever investment they have placed in the truth of the false positives.

    Since people are social animals, they will seek confirmation with their peers, and thus seek to convince as many people as possible to agree with their false positives.

    The way to identify a false positive is to see how it diverges from any single coherent answer. Religion does this, it splinters into sects and cults, to the point where there’s as many religions as there are followers.

    Science, on the other hand, tends to converge on a single coherent answer, with multiple lines of research independently moving towards the same conclusion. You can thus tell that something real, or at least consistent, is being examined.

  9. on 22 Oct 2009 at 11:20 am 9.Boz said …

    Your sarcastic elitist comments are noted. I suspect you know exactly what I ask when I use the term evolutionary steps but rather you would rather dodge the question. It is a simple question for I am a simple guy.
    There was a time when the ability to pattern seek did not exist. Now we have this ability and evidently even have developed the ability to form psychosis. What steps in the natural selection process would have needed to take place to go from totally lacking this ability to eventually over time obtain the ability to pattern seeking.

  10. on 22 Oct 2009 at 2:25 pm 10.AntiRoss said …

    There is nothing elitist in anything Denis said, Boz. The sarcasm is deserved because you refuse to think for yourself.
    Even the first self-replicating molecules had to interact with other molecules, from there natural selection takes off. Surely you can make the leap.
    There’s no magic involved.

  11. on 22 Oct 2009 at 2:54 pm 11.Horatio said …

    You mean “the leap” of faith AntiRoss, yes?

  12. on 22 Oct 2009 at 5:18 pm 12.Denis Loubet said …

    So overestimating the abilities of others is now labeled elitist. Wonderful.

    You were correct about the sarcasm though.

    Single celled creatures will respond to certain chemical gradients, travelling towards or away from concentrations that indicate food or threat. This is simple pattern recognition. Since single cells don’t have brains to speak of, this pattern seeking is pretty much chemically mechanical. If this doesn’t suggest a possible sequence of evolutionary steps in both directions, then I cannot help you.

    But of course, the request for this information was irrelevant. It was a rhetorical device, called a red herring, to cloud the issue. My statement to the effect that humans are a creature with an inborn ability to delude themselves with false-positive pattern seeking had nothing to do with evolution. It was a comment about present humans, and one that you have not contradicted in any of its parts.

    So my statement stands.

  13. on 22 Oct 2009 at 6:10 pm 13.AntiRoss said …

    No, Horatio.
    The step by step inference required to think through things.
    “Leap” was just a poor choice of words on my part.
    Funny comment though.

  14. on 22 Oct 2009 at 9:25 pm 14.Boz said …

    I love herring, thanks for the dinner suggestion Denis.

    True, my question was irrelevant to the original intent of your response. I only went through the process to show just how ridiculous atheism really is when looked at from the rationale perspective at life and and the process of natural selection. I, of course, realize you would not be able to go the process. Many leaps of faith required to follow it through.

    I do believe that humans are quite capable of self-delusion is like stating mice like cheese, eh?

  15. on 22 Oct 2009 at 10:54 pm 15.Denis Loubet said …

    Well then it’s a good thing you failed, what with atheism having absolutely nothing to do with natural selection or rationale.

    And no, no faith was necessary.

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