Author Topic: Old habits die hard?  (Read 670 times)

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Offline Heisenburger

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Old habits die hard?
« on: May 07, 2013, 10:55:09 PM »
Do any former Christians have advice for a new atheist? I've studied the scientific reasoning for speaking in tongues. My problem is wondering if these learned behaviors ever turn off? I can speak in tongues at will, and still catch myself seeing what my brain used to recognize as divine intervention. Seeking signs and patterns I guess.
“The reason people use a crucifix against vampires is because vampires are allergic to bullshit.”  -Richard Pryor

Offline Star Stuff

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Re: Old habits die hard?
« Reply #1 on: May 07, 2013, 11:02:43 PM »
Hmmm, I was a christian for the first 25 years of my life, and in that time visited a few Pentecostal type churches where I witnessed people doing that, but I can't say anything specifically about it from experience.  I would suggest that speaking in tongues - like any other learned habit, is just that, a habit, and those neuro-pathways will naturally be easily activated.  What's that old saying  -  Something like 95% of what we do is habit?

Things take time.  I recall certain thought processes I used to have long ago which now feel embarrassing as my critical thinking skills have become better.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2013, 11:41:52 PM by Star Stuff »
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Offline Heisenburger

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Re: Old habits die hard?
« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2013, 11:15:19 PM »
Did it frighten you? I know it did me before I did it.  Actually, an agnostic friend stopped believing because, after speaking in tongues at a youth revival, a doctor determined she was having a seizure the entire time. She planted my first doubts with that story and I chose to stop doing it.  Ha!  I just realized I was afraid of my own faith.
“The reason people use a crucifix against vampires is because vampires are allergic to bullshit.”  -Richard Pryor

Offline Star Stuff

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Re: Old habits die hard?
« Reply #3 on: May 07, 2013, 11:40:10 PM »
I never spoke in tongues.  Even as a kid, my skepticism began early, and I always viewed the people speaking in tongues as faking it or just fooling themselves.  Being one of the 'special ones" who speak in tongues is tantamount to a boy scout getting a new badge, or getting to any new, higher level in any club or video game.  It feeds the ego.
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Offline Bluecolour

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Re: Old habits die hard?
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2013, 11:55:45 PM »
I've studied the scientific reasoning for speaking in tongues.

Do you have any links to this you might share? I think this might be very interesting.

Offline Heisenburger

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Re: Old habits die hard?
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2013, 12:16:42 AM »
http://www.skeptical-science.com/religion/speaking-in-tongues-the-real-story/

It's called glossolalia if you just want a broader search. "The science of speaking in tongues" yields great results on youtube as well.
“The reason people use a crucifix against vampires is because vampires are allergic to bullshit.”  -Richard Pryor

Offline kin hell

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Re: Old habits die hard?
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2013, 03:01:11 AM »
As a hard atheist since childhood, I still find myself uttering unconscious prayers for help in moments of extreme stress (getting into trouble in the surf being the most common)

The abuse of childhood indoctrination into these bogus belief systems is abuse.
"...but on a lighter note, demons were driven from a pig today in Gloucester."  Bill Bailey

all edits are for spelling or grammar unless specified otherwise

Online Fiji

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Re: Old habits die hard?
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2013, 04:14:29 AM »
Seeking signs and patterns I guess.

That's what our brains do. They're input processing monsters. We've got so much excess processing capacity that we see links, patterns, signs that simply aren't there. And we don't have an 'Idle process' to switch to.
Personally, when I notice my mind wandering in directions I don't like, I switch to movie/tv scripts or Metal lyrics. That helps.

This is also the reason, prophets from several religions have epiphanies when they go to an input-poor environment.
Like Paul on the road to Damascus, or the Buddha under his tree. With little or no new input to process their minds wander and wander and wander until they convince themselves that their inner dialogue has some special meaning.
Science: I'll believe it when I see it
Faith: I'll see it when I believe it

Schrodinger's thunderdome! One cat enters and one MIGHT leave!

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Offline Add Homonym

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Re: Old habits die hard?
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2013, 04:27:19 AM »
Did it frighten you? I know it did me before I did it.  Actually, an agnostic friend stopped believing because, after speaking in tongues at a youth revival, a doctor determined she was having a seizure the entire time. She planted my first doubts with that story and I chose to stop doing it.  Ha!  I just realized I was afraid of my own faith.

How did the docter establish that she was having a seizure? Was she in a PET scanner?

PET scanner -> http://news.nationalgeographic.com.au/news/2003/04/0416_030416_seizuredogs.html

I'm sure that I can speak in tongues. It's very easy, if you are not required to make any sense, or communicate with someone who is supposed to understand you. I don't think that you have to have a seizure while doing it, but it could be possible.

Humans, in general, don't waste any opportunity to be unfathomably stupid - Dr Cynical.

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Old habits die hard?
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2013, 06:30:01 AM »
I'm sure that I can speak in tongues. It's very easy, if you are not required to make any sense, or communicate with someone who is supposed to understand you.

Oh yeah.  Vassa da muni.  Bo kat im vartulish goranta bo la torek.  Mopoto marada.

Heck, sometimes I sound like I'm speaking in tongues even when I'm trying for proper English.....   ;D
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline Mrjason

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Re: Old habits die hard?
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2013, 06:56:31 AM »
Seeking signs and patterns I guess.

That's what our brains do. They're input processing monsters. We've got so much excess processing capacity that we see links, patterns, signs that simply aren't there. And we don't have an 'Idle process' to switch to.

I cnduo't bvleiee taht I culod aulaclty uesdtannrd waht I was rdnaieg. Unisg the icndeblire pweor of the hmuan mnid, aocdcrnig to rseecrah at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mttaer in waht oderr the lterets in a wrod are, the olny irpoamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rhgit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whoutit a pboerlm. Tihs is bucseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey ltteer by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Aaznmig, huh? Yaeh and I awlyas tghhuot slelinpg was ipmorantt! See if yuor fdreins can raed tihs too

pttaren rcoegitnion aynone?  ;)

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Old habits die hard?
« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2013, 08:00:40 AM »
Seen that a couple times, but I still find it incredible!

Does it work in other languages, does anyone know?
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline Mrjason

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Re: Old habits die hard?
« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2013, 08:08:59 AM »
it is nuts.

I wonder if it only works in your native language too

Offline Tonus

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Re: Old habits die hard?
« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2013, 08:48:04 AM »
My problem is wondering if these learned behaviors ever turn off? I can speak in tongues at will, and still catch myself seeing what my brain used to recognize as divine intervention. Seeking signs and patterns I guess.

As Fiji said, this is how our minds work.  Our minds appear to be extremely good at recognizing patterns, and it appears to be a very useful tool, as it provides us with mental "shortcuts" that make our minds much more efficient at whatever it is doing.  It has pitfalls, of course, since what it is doing is inserting/assuming information that may not be there.  But in general it works just fine.  But as you note, it can also be improperly wired by false beliefs or understanding.

The key is not to try to "turn them off" as much as simply re-program the mind to see illogical or irrational behaviors as exactly what they are.  I don't know how completely that can be done, but your change in perspective shows that it is possible to change it enough that you recognize it for the unreasonable belief that it is.

True story: I was afraid of the dark for most of my life.  Not on the level of a phobia; I could get around in the dark and such, but I tended to get a bit panicky if I was wandering the house and didn't turn on a light.  After I came to terms with my lack of belief in god, that fear disappeared.  Which means that the fear was linked to my religious belief, probably a fear of demons and devils.  Once I understood that they weren't real... poof!  Nothing to fear in the dark aside from a stubbed toe.

Find your demons, and you might find the quickest way to "turn off" those learned behaviors.

Offline Graybeard

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Re: Old habits die hard?
« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2013, 08:50:20 AM »
As I understand it, infirmities that fall under the general heading of schizophrenia cause erroneous neural inputs that convince the mind that reality is not what it appears and that the sufferer becomes, understandably, convinced that “only he understands the situation correctly.” Both a ‘normal’ subject and a sufferer will experience the same stimuli, but the sufferer will find himself interpreting the stimuli in an abnormal and irrational manner and thus arriving at irrational conclusions.

So it is with glossolalia, there are two discrete events – the production of noise that conforms roughly to speech patterns and the irrational mind running a script, often by way of an image or “feelings” in the native tongue or at least in an “apparently comprehensible” manner.

To the outside observer, (and later, when played a recording, to the actor), the noises are incomprehensible. However, this does not prevent the actor from asserting the clear impression that he received at the time, i.e. he was speaking a language comprehensible (or at least expressing meaning) both to himself and to whomsoever he was speaking.

In the mind there is often an image of the imaginary listener whose facial features an other gesture often respond appropriately to the imagined meaning. The imaginary listener may then respond in a like manner and the person speaking in tongues will receive a mental image of the intentions and a “feeling” of the meanings of the imaginary person he was addressing.

It seems to be similar to going “Dum-diddly-dum-di-dee, etc” to a song you know but whose words you do not. The essential difference is that when presented with several sets of lyrics, the normal person will be able to recognise the correct set, whereas the person “speaking in tongues” would have no idea what was said. He would explain this by giving an irrational excuse.

A problem with glossalalia is that it is an easy habit to get into and a difficult one for the mind to break. I would suspect, without evidence, that there are learned neural pathways that have been developed or that the autonomic nervous system is malfunctioning and sending inappropriate (amounts of) neurotransmitter to the brain (See http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130418124641.htm) or both.

Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Old habits die hard?
« Reply #15 on: May 08, 2013, 09:01:50 AM »
To the outside observer, (and later, when played a recording, to the actor), the noises are incomprehensible. However, this does not prevent the actor from asserting the clear impression that he received at the time, i.e. he was speaking a language comprehensible (or at least expressing meaning) both to himself and to whomsoever he was speaking.

Only - what - 10% of communication is the words themselves?  A whole lot more is in the tone and the delivery.  So if nonsense words seemed to flow like real language, then I'm sure people would perceive meaning in it.

Anyone who has fond memories of "The Clangers" will grok this.  The Clangers communicated solely by whistles, but there WAS a script - the actors just whistled it.  That meant that instead of random whistly noises, their "conversations" flowed in the same way as if they had been speaking English.  I suspect that was why it was so popular and remains fondly regarded, because it wasn't just random sounds - the little cloth bags had character and relationships.

So I strongly suspect that even when someone is speaking nonsense words, their metre and stresses will follow the general rules of their native tongue (the ups and downs of romance languages, the ending upwards inflection of the Australian).
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Old habits die hard?
« Reply #16 on: May 08, 2013, 09:03:48 AM »
True story: I was afraid of the dark for most of my life.  Not on the level of a phobia; I could get around in the dark and such, but I tended to get a bit panicky if I was wandering the house and didn't turn on a light.  After I came to terms with my lack of belief in god, that fear disappeared.  Which means that the fear was linked to my religious belief, probably a fear of demons and devils.  Once I understood that they weren't real... poof!  Nothing to fear in the dark aside from a stubbed toe.

Funnily enough, me too.  Horror films used to really get to me - I couldn't go upstairs alone the night I first saw the Exorcist! - but once I'd really worked out there was no god, no boogeyman, no demons and imps and scarys, their "after effects" just vanished.  I'd watch one, and jump like we're supposed to - but then quite happily walk into the bedroom without turning the  light on.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline Graybeard

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Re: Old habits die hard?
« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2013, 09:14:54 AM »
To the outside observer, (and later, when played a recording, to the actor), the noises are incomprehensible. However, this does not prevent the actor from asserting the clear impression that he received at the time, i.e. he was speaking a language comprehensible (or at least expressing meaning) both to himself and to whomsoever he was speaking.

Only - what - 10% of communication is the words themselves?  A whole lot more is in the tone and the delivery.  So if nonsense words seemed to flow like real language, then I'm sure people would perceive meaning in it.

I think there might be too much weight on what you suggest. I did say

Quote
So it is with glossolalia, there are two discrete events – the production of noise that conforms roughly to speech patterns and the irrational mind running a script, often by way of an image or “feelings” in the native tongue or at least in an “apparently comprehensible” manner.

And we know that "speaking in tongues" is never comprehensible.

I remember The Clangers, and also the incomparable, Pingu. The context given by the narrator enabled the meaning in the Clangers and it was clear that it was scripted. There is no context in "speaking in tongues", no script and no narrative. Each person seems to develop their own idea of what is should be as scenes play out in their mind. Others remain unaware of what is going on in the head of the sufferer.

Quote
So I strongly suspect that even when someone is speaking nonsense words, their metre and stresses will follow the general rules of their native tongue (the ups and downs of romance languages, the ending upwards inflection of the Australian).

I would be surprised if this were not so but I would be surprised to find any great consistency of vocabulary as related to (imagined) meaning.
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline jdawg70

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Re: Old habits die hard?
« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2013, 09:23:42 AM »
Only - what - 10% of communication is the words themselves?  A whole lot more is in the tone and the delivery.  So if nonsense words seemed to flow like real language, then I'm sure people would perceive meaning in it.
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Online Fiji

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Re: Old habits die hard?
« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2013, 09:32:21 AM »
it is nuts.

I wonder if it only works in your native language too

I manager to read it quite fluently and English is my fourth language, so, there.
Science: I'll believe it when I see it
Faith: I'll see it when I believe it

Schrodinger's thunderdome! One cat enters and one MIGHT leave!

Without life, god has no meaning.

Offline Mrjason

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Re: Old habits die hard?
« Reply #20 on: May 08, 2013, 09:46:37 AM »
it is nuts.

I wonder if it only works in your native language too

I manager to read it quite fluently and English is my fourth language, so, there.

Cool. Can you do it in other languages too?

Online Fiji

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Re: Old habits die hard?
« Reply #21 on: May 08, 2013, 12:12:42 PM »
I vaguely recall making a Dutch version a decade or two ago, when the Internet was still Young and exciting. With the exception of One rather ditzy girl, people had Little trouble reading it. Never tried it in French or German ... Ask viocjit orwhatshisname, maybe?
Science: I'll believe it when I see it
Faith: I'll see it when I believe it

Schrodinger's thunderdome! One cat enters and one MIGHT leave!

Without life, god has no meaning.

Offline Heisenburger

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Re: Old habits die hard?
« Reply #22 on: May 08, 2013, 12:29:00 PM »
Did it frighten you? I know it did me before I did it.  Actually, an agnostic friend stopped believing because, after speaking in tongues at a youth revival, a doctor determined she was having a seizure the entire time. She planted my first doubts with that story and I chose to stop doing it.  Ha!  I just realized I was afraid of my own faith.

How did the docter establish that she was having a seizure? Was she in a PET scanner?

PET scanner -> http://news.nationalgeographic.com.au/news/2003/04/0416_030416_seizuredogs.html

I'm sure that I can speak in tongues. It's very easy, if you are not required to make any sense, or communicate with someone who is supposed to understand you. I don't think that you have to have a seizure while doing it, but it could be possible.

PET scan;D Wow!  My friend is about to have labor induced but will get back to me on her experience when life calms back down.  I've had a dog alert me seconds before an ex-girlfriend's seizures and was able to prevent some nasty falls near coffee tables. She (the dog, not the bitch) would lay nearby, watching intently for her owner's recovery.
“The reason people use a crucifix against vampires is because vampires are allergic to bullshit.”  -Richard Pryor

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Old habits die hard?
« Reply #23 on: May 09, 2013, 01:55:21 AM »
So I strongly suspect that even when someone is speaking nonsense words, their metre and stresses will follow the general rules of their native tongue (the ups and downs of romance languages, the ending upwards inflection of the Australian).

I would be surprised if this were not so but I would be surprised to find any great consistency of vocabulary as related to (imagined) meaning.

Oh yeah - me too.  I'm pretty sure I read studies where the "tongues" were taped and their "meanings" recorded, and later recordings showed different meanings ascribed to the same sounds, or the same sounds given different meanings.  But I may have hallucinated that.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?