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Deism might be perfectly compatible with objectivism

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Also, what I am trying to explain is that it is just as reasonable for a [Pink Unicorn] by whose nature would not leave evidence and is bound to natural laws to exist as such a being to not exist and our choice to deny its existence is just a whim or personal preference.

See below again.

A further point for moot to consider: IF one grants logical value to an arbitrary concept, then to be consistent, one must grant equal logical value to ALL arbitrary concepts. Thus not only God, but Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, the Invisible Pink Unicorn, the Quazi Purple Sky Dragon and the Flying Spaghetti Monster are ALL equally valid - one cannot prove they do not exist (not even Santa), and so they all MIGHT exist.

Once one admits the arbitrary, the flood gates are opened and the most absurd arbitrary one can imagine ...

If it helps, reading some information from ITOE and The Philosophy of Objectivism on "arbitrary" may help further explain why such views cannot be consistent with Objectivism.
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Now that Ayn Rand has finally demonstrated the efficacy of Reason to man in the 20th century, a new speculation about God has emerged as a revision of Blaise Pascal's 17th c. thought that it is safer

2. Belief that the nature of God is abstract and generally incomprehensible which puts it beyond definition for humanity at this time. Furthermore, human language is limited and inadequate to define God; however, man can use Reason to theorize and speculate on what this possible nature is.

Whatever you choose to consider, be it an object, an attribute or an action, the law of identity remains the same. A leaf cannot be a stone at the same time, it cannot be all red and all green at the same time, it cannot freeze and burn at the same time. A is A. Or, if you wish it stated in simpler language: You cannot have your cake and eat it, too. - John Galt

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Is Deism compatible with Objectivism? No. Why? Because, if you think about this issue in terms of fundamentals, then you will quickly discover that Deism amounts to the primacy of consciousness. Since the primacy of consciousness violates every single basic philosophic axiom and is false, Deism is therefore also false for the very same reasons. There is really nothing more that needs to be said.

Furthermore, I find it very interesting that some people insist on believing in something for which there is not a shred of evidence and never will be (because according to the very false premises of Deism nothing in this causally orderly universe suggests God, and there is no need for any God to explain, prove or understand anything). Even when they know that this supposed God would make no practical difference in their own life whatsoever.

Since there are no facts that suggest the existence of any God, since there are no logical reasons to believe in God, and since Deism suggests that God makes no difference in your own life, this strongly suggests that this is a matter of WANTING to believe in something regardless of the facts of reality, i.e., of putting one's emotions above reality.

It therefore seems to me that Deism is a rationalization for those who for some emotional reason still want to cling on to the belief in God. The reason to strongly suspect that it is a rationalization is the very fact that this belief in God makes no difference in their life except on a emotional level (they have some emotional connection to the idea of God that they, for some reason, cannot let go of).

Deism is not compatible with reality or reason. It is not compatible with Objectivism. Check your premises.

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Is Deism compatible with Objectivism? No. Why? Because, if you think about this issue in terms of fundamentals, then you will quickly discover that Deism amounts to the primacy of consciousness. Since the primacy of consciousness violates every single basic philosophic axiom and is false, Deism is therefore also false for the very same reasons. There is really nothing more that needs to be said.

Furthermore, I find it very interesting that some people insist on believing in something for which there is not a shred of evidence and never will be (because according to the very false premises of Deism nothing in this causally orderly universe suggests God, and there is no need for any God to explain, prove or understand anything). Even when they know that this supposed God would make no practical difference in their own life whatsoever.

Since there are no facts that suggest the existence of any God, since there are no logical reasons to believe in God, and since Deism suggests that God makes no difference in your own life, this strongly suggests that this is a matter of WANTING to believe in something regardless of the facts of reality, i.e., of putting one's emotions above reality.

It therefore seems to me that Deism is a rationalization for those who for some emotional reason still want to cling on to the belief in God. The reason to strongly suspect that it is a rationalization is the very fact that this belief in God makes no difference in their life except on a emotional level (they have some emotional connection to the idea of God that they, for some reason, cannot let go of).

Deism is not compatible with reality or reason. It is not compatible with Objectivism. Check your premises.

The following are things I have read before that, in the past, convinced me.

1. The origin of life is unexplained. Objectivism doesn't explain it, but then it need not. The 'origin of life' which some scientists (I don't remember which, I'm sorry to equivocate) have even proposed it arrived on Earth riding the backs of crystals, or that an alien race dropped it off here... which doesn't answer the question, but merely pushes it down one turtle on the infinite regression of them.

2. The radiation echo and the expanding universe both support belief in a finite universe (that the universe had a beginning), which Objectivism does not support.

3. Matter is not infinite, by its nature.

4. The universe is running out of usable energy; things get constantly less ordered (2nd law of thermodynamics)

The extent of my "deism" has been a labeling of the source of the contents of the universe as 'god.'

The above is selected paraphrastically from a book called Unshakable Foundations by Norman Geisler and Peter Bocchino

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The following are things I have read before that, in the past, convinced me.

1. The origin of life is unexplained. Objectivism doesn't explain it, but then it need not. The 'origin of life' which some scientists (I don't remember which, I'm sorry to equivocate) have even proposed it arrived on Earth riding the backs of crystals, or that an alien race dropped it off here... which doesn't answer the question, but merely pushes it down one turtle on the infinite regression of them.

2. The radiation echo and the expanding universe both support belief in a finite universe (that the universe had a beginning), which Objectivism does not support.

3. Matter is not infinite, by its nature.

4. The universe is running out of usable energy; things get constantly less ordered (2nd law of thermodynamics)

The extent of my "deism" has been a labeling of the source of the contents of the universe as 'god.'

The above is selected paraphrastically from a book called Unshakable Foundations by Norman Geisler and Peter Bocchino

None of this is relevant to the fundamental point I made in my post. (Also, even if you ignore my point or simply misunderstand it, which is why you do not even attempt to address it, none of these points suggest the existence of a God of any kind.)

Edited by knast
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In my case religiosity and Gods have been a very interesting topic during all my life

I was born in an agnostic/atheist family and I have been agnostic/atheist most of my 46 years of existence

Some years ago though I read Matthew Alper's book "The God part of the Brain" which main premise is HERE

Matthew Alper proposes a theory that I find absolutely compatible with Objectivism since it doesn't say that God exists, bur explain instead why this issue is so important for mankind: There is something genetically "hard-wired" inside our brains to have some religious behavior, tendency, instinct

My interest in Man's religiosity drove me to write some (polemic) topics in this forum like:

God exists

Seven Deadly Sins against Reason

The problem with this guy called Jesus of Nazareth

And in the end I have to admit that I am some sort of Deist in a very particular way that I follow to explain:

I know that surely there is no one "out there", nothing supernatural, but I also recognize inside me the tendency Matthew Alper talks about, so I find healthy to exercise it in some way compatible with the rest of my values and rational mind-structure. And one way to do it is by example praying before every time I practice martial arts in my backyard to some Pantheon of Gods I found in the virtual World of Tamriel inside a know video-games series. Silly? I don't know, probably, but it works for me and connects me to some transcendental dimension of my consciousness which otherwise would be lost

Akatosh.jpg

Akatosh, dragon god of time, creator of the Universe and soul of the World

Arkay.jpg

Arkay, god of the cycle of birth and death

Dibella.jpg

Dibella, goddess of beauty and arts

Julianos.jpg

Julianos, god of wisdom and science

Kynareth.jpg

Kynareth, goddess of the air and the ghosts

Mara.jpg

Mara, mother goddess of love

Stendarr.jpg

Stendarr, god of mercy

Talos.jpg

Talos, the man-god, the Emperor, the warrior

Zenithar.jpg

Zenithar, god of work and commerce

Thank you all for being here in this wonderful World,

in this wonderful time...

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Researching a little bit more I am probably something in the frontier between Deism, Pantheism and Atheism with a touch of Agnosticism

A related and interesting YouTube video about Alber Einsten's postion about God and religion is HERE

Enjoy!

PS: Please note the nasty reactions of the Establishments of different religions when someone important to public opinion like AE puts in danger their power...

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I know that surely there is no one "out there", nothing supernatural, but I also recognize inside me the tendency ...
What's this tendency? I remember thinking God was a weird idea when I was around 12, and deciding it was a bunch of crap in the next few years. I have never detected a tendency toward any type of religion in myself. Is there a three-sentence way to explain this tendency of which you speak?
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I pulled this from an unofficial Deist Website and it seems the basic tenants do not necessarily disagree with the tenants of Objectivism. I am intrigued as to what anyone has to say about this. after all the founders were mostly deists and it would make sense that there was some first cause and it very well may be intelligent.

How does any of this validate the existence of God? You could believe a purple flying monkey with a golden spatula created the universe in a boiling cauldron, but that still doesn't make your belief any more palpable toward the realist, rational minded, individual. You have to go with what your senses tell you about your surrounding environment when trying to understand reality, or else you'll dwindle away into another stupid, sooth saying, barbaric, mystical fool, no matter how original your ideas are. "Intelligent" religious people are still boobs, just to a smaller degree, depending upon how far they lean toward the side of reason/science and away from mysticism/dogmatism.

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What's this tendency? I remember thinking God was a weird idea when I was around 12, and deciding it was a bunch of crap in the next few years. I have never detected a tendency toward any type of religion in myself. Is there a three-sentence way to explain this tendency of which you speak?

About you in particular as individual, possibly you belong to the statistic group less affected by this "instinctual tendency"

Alper's scientific research is polemical because it is based on statistical information. When you say that a group (in this case the whole mankind) has some statistical trait, you can always find inside this group individuals that have the trait enhanced, diminished or even annulated compared to group's average

I read Alper's interesting book some years ago but I forgot the details so for a short explanation of this theory I will quote Alper himself:

"...For every physical characteristic that is universal to a species, there must exist some gene or set of genes responsible for the emergence of that particular trait. For example, the fact that all cats possess whiskers means that somewhere within a cat's chromosomes there must exist "whisker" genes..."

"...The same principle not only applies to universal physical traits, but to universal behaviors as well. Take, for instance, the fact that all honeybees construct their hives in the same hexagonal pattern. That all honeybee colonies, regardless of whether they've been exposed to any other, construct their hives in such an identical fashion means that they must be "hard-wired" to do so..."

"...This would suggest that somewhere in the honeybees' brains there must exist a specific cluster of neurons that contain genetically inherited instructions which compel the bees to construct hexagonally shaped hives..."

[Along the evoultion of the human animal] "...With the emergence of self-awareness, humans became the dysfunctional animal, rendered helpless by an inherent and unceasing anxiety disorder. Unless nature could somehow relieve us of this debilitating awareness of death, it's possible our species might have soon become extinct. It was suddenly critical that our animal be modified in some way that would allow us to maintain self-conscious awareness, while enabling us to deal with our unique awareness of our own mortalities, of death..."

"...Here lies the origin of humankind's spiritual function, an evolutionary adaptation that compels our species to believe that though our physical bodies will one day perish, our "spirits" or "souls" will persist for all eternity. Only once our species was instilled with this inherent (mis)perception that there is something more "out there," that we are immortal beings, were we able to survive our debilitating awareness of death."

Edited by Tonix777
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About you in particular as individual, possibly you belong to the statistic group less affected by this "instinctual tendency"

Alper's scientific research is polemical because it is based on statistical information. When you say that a group (in this case the whole mankind) has some statistical trait, you can always find inside this group individuals that have the trait enhanced, diminished or even annulated compared to group's average

I read Alper's interesting book some years ago but I forgot the details so for a short explanation of this theory I will quote Alper himself:

"...For every physical characteristic that is universal to a species, there must exist some gene or set of genes responsible for the emergence of that particular trait. For example, the fact that all cats possess whiskers means that somewhere within a cat's chromosomes there must exist "whisker" genes..."

"...The same principle not only applies to universal physical traits, but to universal behaviors as well. Take, for instance, the fact that all honeybees construct their hives in the same hexagonal pattern. That all honeybee colonies, regardless of whether they've been exposed to any other, construct their hives in such an identical fashion means that they must be "hard-wired" to do so..."

"...This would suggest that somewhere in the honeybees' brains there must exist a specific cluster of neurons that contain genetically inherited instructions which compel the bees to construct hexagonally shaped hives..."

[Along the evoultion of the human animal] "...With the emergence of self-awareness, humans became the dysfunctional animal, rendered helpless by an inherent and unceasing anxiety disorder. Unless nature could somehow relieve us of this debilitating awareness of death, it's possible our species might have soon become extinct. It was suddenly critical that our animal be modified in some way that would allow us to maintain self-conscious awareness, while enabling us to deal with our unique awareness of our own mortalities, of death..."

"...Here lies the origin of humankind's spiritual function, an evolutionary adaptation that compels our species to believe that though our physical bodies will one day perish, our "spirits" or "souls" will persist for all eternity. Only once our species was instilled with this inherent (mis)perception that there is something more "out there," that we are immortal beings, were we able to survive our debilitating awareness of death."

I see no reason why this method of evading the reality of death has to be anything instinctual, it could just as well be a voluntary evasion of reality.

I also feel the need to throw in that I never in my life felt any overwhelming involuntary desire to perform any sort of worship rituals, or believe in any gods.

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I see no reason why this method of evading the reality of death has to be anything instinctual, it could just as well be a voluntary evasion of reality.

I also feel the need to throw in that I never in my life felt any overwhelming involuntary desire to perform any sort of worship rituals, or believe in any gods.

According to Wikipedia only 2.5% of humankind is atheist and 12.7% non-religious so these numbers seem to be in line with Alper's research...

On the other hand I can guess 99% of Objectivists are atheists, so this Forum is probably not the best place to look for adherents to Alper's theory :)

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According to Wikipedia only 2.5% of humankind is atheist...
I'll bet less than 0.1% of humanity can program in C++. So, I propose a neo-Alper theory that humankind has evolved not to know C++, and that anyone who does is acting against his human nature. Edited by softwareNerd
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As has been pointed out Alper has made a mistake. It is your job now to admit that he has made that mistake. I have read smaller articles not by Alpers regarding what you are speaking of. It is not instinctual and thats an improper use of the term. Also there is no reason to believe those statistics are in line with his theories, there are many reasons people believe in god including temporal lobe epilepsy among other things.

"And one way to do it is by example praying before every time I practice martial arts in my backyard to some Pantheon of Gods I found in the virtual World of Tamriel inside a know video-games series. Silly? I don't know, probably, but it works for me and connects me to some transcendental dimension of my consciousness which otherwise would be lost."

This is a compartmentalized evasion of reality and can bring nothing beneficial to you. You are praying for no good reason and you know that and wish to propagate such actions, fabricating the idea that it is beneficial. It is silly as you already half way admitted and if it it "works for you" you need to explain in what way. It does not connect you to some transcendental dimension of your consciousness that would otherwise be lost, I have read about this thing you speak of by other writers and you seem to be inferring many things that are not included in the theory, at least by people other than Alpers. You have lost nothing, it doesn't exist and you cannot connect to it. Its your brain fooling itself, this is from older functions of our brain that were there for survival purposes etc. that we no longer have use for, and you are allowing that this to happen with your Elder Scrolls pantheon even though you know better.

Edited by CapitalistSwine
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As has been pointed out Alper has made a mistake. It is your job now to admit that he has made that mistake. I have read smaller articles not by Alpers regarding what you are speaking of. It is not instinctual and thats an improper use of the term. Also there is no reason to believe those statistics are in line with his theories, there are many reasons people believe in god including temporal lobe epilepsy among other things.

"And one way to do it is by example praying before every time I practice martial arts in my backyard to some Pantheon of Gods I found in the virtual World of Tamriel inside a know video-games series. Silly? I don't know, probably, but it works for me and connects me to some transcendental dimension of my consciousness which otherwise would be lost."

This is a compartmentalized evasion of reality and can bring nothing beneficial to you. You are praying for no good reason and you know that and wish to propagate such actions, fabricating the idea that it is beneficial. It is silly as you already half way admitted and if it it "works for you" you need to explain in what way. It does not connect you to some transcendental dimension of your consciousness that would otherwise be lost, I have read about this thing you speak of by other writers and you seem to be inferring many things that are not included in the theory, at least by people other than Alpers. You have lost nothing, it doesn't exist and you cannot connect to it. Its your brain fooling itself, this is from older functions of our brain that were there for survival purposes etc. that we no longer have use for, and you are allowing that this to happen with your Elder Scrolls pantheon even though you know better.

"pointed out" doesn't mean demonstrated as far as my concern

And I "pray" to the Nine Divines for several good reasons indeed:

1-I like it

2-I like the Elder Scrolls games

3-It reminds me about important concepts in life represented by those virtual deities (could have been represented by other metaphors of course) and also helps me put in perspective the daily struggles of mundane life.

4-None of these concepts gets in contradiction with my Objectivist values. The key here is that I integrated this into my mind without incongruity as I did also by example with Bushido the ancient code of honor of the Samurai which I also like very much because of my Japanese martial arts practice

5-Probably this transcendental connection (to myself not with anything supernatural) can be and is achieved also by other means like reading a good book, traveling to a beautiful place, learning something new, etc. but I still like my little private ceremony. I only shared it here to demonstrate that Objectivists can also explore these frontiers without danger of being expelled from Galt's Paradise

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4-None of these concepts gets in contradiction with my Objectivist values

This statement highlights the fact that, despite your repeated assertions, you do NOT understand Oism. Particularly it's heirarchal nature. Your position of "praying" to video game gods because it performs some alleged benefit even though it is nonsense, is more in line with pragmatism than a philosophy that considers evasion repugnant and immoral.

Edited by Plasmatic
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I "pray" to the Nine Divines for several good reasons indeed:

1-

2-

etc.

And yet you seem unsatisfied to simply leave it at that. Instead, you rationalize what you like by the use of pseudo science. if you simply said "I like it" you might be ignored, but less so when you claim the mantle of science. Then, when challenged on the unscientific nature of your argument, you fall back to "I like it", and to childish insults.Why bother with the whole argument thing. Simply say: "I like to imagine there is a God even if there's no reason to think there's one" and leave it like that.

Someone might say: "I like to imagine that my grand-dad is still alive and always following me around, and that he has my back if things go bad, like he used to do when I was little". That's something that another person can at least grasp, even if they find it odd. However, if you start trying to prove that it is natural for human beings to think gramps is alive and literally protecting them, you're going to run into arguments from reasonable people who might otherwise simply ignore your idiosyncrasy. If you then have to resort to insult and fall back on "I like to think this", it merely demonstrates how empty your argument was in the first place.

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And yet you seem unsatisfied to simply leave it at that. Instead, you rationalize what you like by the use of pseudo science. if you simply said "I like it" you might be ignored, but less so when you claim the mantle of science. Then, when challenged on the unscientific nature of your argument, you fall back to "I like it", and to childish insults.Why bother with the whole argument thing. Simply say: "I like to imagine there is a God even if there's no reason to think there's one" and leave it like that.

Someone might say: "I like to imagine that my grand-dad is still alive and always following me around, and that he has my back if things go bad, like he used to do when I was little". That's something that another person can at least grasp, even if they find it odd. However, if you start trying to prove that it is natural for human beings to think gramps is alive and literally protecting them, you're going to run into arguments from reasonable people who might otherwise simply ignore your idiosyncrasy. If you then have to resort to insult and fall back on "I like to think this", it merely demonstrates how empty your argument was in the first place.

Ok let's cut it in "I like it" which is true :)

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Hey tonix for fun could you please define what you mean by "transcendental"??

"For fun"? Whose fun? Yours?

OK there it goes

"Transcendental" in this context is a special sensation/feeling/emotion/mental state that connects with Alper's "instinctual tendency" I spoke about before

I you accept Alper's theory I guess this special sensation/feeling/emotion/mental state is probably generated in the "God part of the brain"

If you don't accept Alper's theory then I will not try to explain it deeper in order not to increase your "fun" beyond the limits of decency :)

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I just don't understand how any of this is necessary if you are an Objectivist. No praying should be necessary or even viewed as sensible, whether you realize it is fake or not. No "code" should need to be integrated, one only needs the conclusions brought forth via the Objectivist heierarchal system and its fundamental normative ethics (rationality, honesty, independence, justice, integrity, productiveness, and pride).

I have to agree that based on discussion so far I don't think you understand Objectivism properly as another poster suggested. You need to explain your reasonings better than just "I like it" and you need to provide evidence as to why you think Alper's theory can be attributed to instinctual in regards to the realm of human behavior.

The reason I would like further explanation from you is because there are quite a few reviews like of this nature regarding this Alper's book on Amazon:

Not a Scientific Book:

I am still reading this book. I was expecting that this book would explain the "GOD" in our brain scientifically, but I think this book is not scientific. There are some logical jumps, which is kind of the author's faith.

----------

Interpretation more than scientific:

This book will appeal to those who already believe that religion is a product of the human mind. This is neither a scholarly work nor a scientific treatise but rather Alper's interpretation of data from various unconnected studies and experiments that support his world view. On the back cover of the book, one of the reviewers described Alper's work as "a lively manifesto." That is a perfect summary of this book.

--------------------------

Recipe to achieve piece on Earth: Just remove a tiny part of our brains..

By A. Panda (Guadalajara, Mexico)

I thought that finding "the God part of the brain" would bring us closer to understanding why some people are more religious than others or not religious at all. If it proved to be a part of our brains, it could be more developed in some people or completely missing from others; this fact would render being religious as natural as being an atheist just as some people have blue eyes while others have brown eyes. I was rather disappointed, since the author does not write how perception, language or any brain function could "create" our perception of God, but limits himself to state that a region of the brain seems to be related with this perception by mentioning a few examples of brain injuries that could point towards this conclusion. For a deeper, more complete and far better explanation of these clinical cases and their probable conclusions read Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind. You can find an excellent anthropological study of why people tend to believe in a superior godlike all-knowing being and why we tend to perform religious rites in Religion Explained, both are first-hand accounts of the respective studies.

The book is very easy to read and it contains one interesting chapter, namely the one in which the author explains his perception of all the sciences being one only science, but focused on a different section of the space-time scale. Particle physics studies the origin of matter and of the universe; Cosmology studies its further development, Astronomy studies the stars and planets, Geology concentrates on the earth, Chemistry studies the composition of substances, Biochemistry studies the origins of life, Biology studies life on earth, then follow Paleonthology, Anthropology, etc.

I consider the rest of the book completely unscientific. The author jumps to conclusions, that for me lack even basic logic, like the following: If two human groups with different religious beliefs live close together and there is a food shortage in the region, they will kill each other for religious reasons. If there is no food shortage they will coexist pacifically. Therefore religion is the source of our evils. Excuse me??? Am I missing something? Is this a new science of parallel or indeterminated causality?

The author claims that if we could precisely localize the "God part of the brain", we could remove it with brain surgery (he mentions that he would not recommend it because of cost and risk reasons), but otherwise it would be possible and highly desirable to improve peace on earth. Isn't this a kind of atheist "fundamentalism"?

Wouldn't it be easier to improve food supply or energy supply or whatever the people are fighting for? Otherwise we would have to identify and remove with surgery the "race identity part of the brain", the "nation concept part of the brain", the "left and right wing parts of the brain", the "class fight part of the brain" and maybe even the "liberte, egalite e fraternite parts of the brain". For all of these some more and some less good reasons, blood has been shed on earth. It has happened frequently that initially noble concepts like "liberte, egalite e fraternite", bringing a "liberating" faith to some people, liberating others from the "opium" of it or even liberating an "oppressed" nation from its tyrant are imprinted on battle flags and a lot of suffering is brought to the people that apparently were going to be "liberated". At least, there is no need to kill all those naughty believers, just remove a tiny little part of their brains...

I will dare a bold conclusion in the author's style: Once we have removed all these parts of the brain and after no more brain is left, humanity will be as pacific as an oak tree (desireless and completely zen).

After reading this book, I would like to read an anthropological, psychological or biological explanation of the "mine is the only truth" part of the brain or why do we tend to go to extremes. Any suggestions?

-----------------------------

These are the things I have seen that are valid regarding religion and the brain:

========================================

If all human experiences are generated by the brain, then religious experiences should be no different (St-Pierre and Persinger 2005).

When Tibetan Buddhists meditate, neural activity is increased in the brain’s frontal lobes alongside a decrease in activity within the temporal lobes. Increased activity in the left prefrontal cortex is correlated with decreased activity within the left superior parietal lobe (Newberg et al. 2001).

When a Carmelite nun prays to “God”, there is significant neural activity in the: “…right medial orbitofrontal cortex, right middle temporal cortex, right inferior and superior parietal lobes” (Beauregard and Paquette 2006, 186), as well as in the “right caudate, left medial prefrontal cortex, left anterior cingulated cortex, left inferior parietal lobule, left insula, left caudate, and left brainstem” (Beauregard and Paquette 2006, 186). Notably, the superior parietal lobe is utilized for spatial perception of the self; when this region is activated, the believer feels like they’re in the presence of something greater than themselves.

When a Christian speaks in tongues (glossolalia), there is a decreased amount of activity in the prefrontal cortices. Since the frontal lobes are utilized for attention focusing tasks; a decrease in neural activity leads a glossolalia practitioner to feel like they have less control over their actions (Newberg et al. 2006).

It is clear from these examples that religious experiences are generated by the brain.

----------------------------------------

Man Replaces God

Religious experience can be replicated using magnetic fields:

During the last 15 years experiments have shown that the sensed presence of a “Sentient Being” can be reliably evoked by very specific patterns of weak (<1microT) transcerebral magnetic fields applied across the temporoparietal region of the two hemispheres … Re-analyses with additional data for 407 subjects (19 experiments) showed that the magnetic configurations, not the subjects’ exotic beliefs or suggestibility, were responsible for the experimental facilitation of sensing a presence (St-Pierre and Persinger 2005, 1079).

Dr Persinger from Laurentian University, found that 80% of normal people will feel a sensed presence within the room if you stimulate a person’s temporal lobes with magnetic fields (Persinger 2009).

Temporal Lobe Epilepsy

There is a class of people who experience the sensed presence naturally; they are temporal lobe epileptics (TLEs). TLEs often report: seeing God, religious visions, revelations and other mystical phenomena when they have a seizure, within their temporal lobes (seizures are not outwardly visible, the TLE looks normal during a seizure) (Howard 2006). Before modern medicine, TLEs would have genuinely believed that God was talking to them, or that their visions regarding the end of the world were accurate. It is entirely plausible that the history of religious revelation has been dictated by temporal lobe epileptics. Scholars have long thought that the apostle Paul most likely suffered from epilepsy (Dewhurst and Beard 1970).

References

Beauregard, M., and V. Paquette. 2006. Neural correlates of a mystical experience in Carmelite nuns. Neuroscience Letters, 405(3): 186-190.

Dewhurst, K., and A.W. Beard. 2003. Sudden religious conversions in temporal lobe epilepsy. British Journal of Psychiatry, 4(1): 78-87.

Howard, P.J., 2006. The Owner's Manual for the Brain. Austin: Bard Press.

Newberg, A., A. Alavi, M. Baime, M. Pourdehnad, J. Santanna, and E. d'Aquali. 2001. The measurement of regional cerebral blood flow during the complex cognitive task of meditation: a preliminary SPECT study. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 106(2): 113-122.

Newberg, A.B., N.A. Wintering, D. Morgan, and M.R. Waldman. 2006. The measurement of regional cerebral blood flow during glossolalia: A preliminary SPECT study. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 148(1): 67-71.

Persinger, M.A. 2009. Are our brains structured to avoid refutations of belief in God? An experimental study. Religion, 39(1): 34-42.

St-Pierre, L.S. and M.A. Persinger. 2005. Experimental Facilitation Of The Sensed Presence Is Predicted By The Specific Patterns Of The Applied Magnetic Fields, Not By Suggestibility: Re-Analyses Of 19 Experiments. International Journal Of Neuroscience, 116(9): 1079-1096.

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There are 5 main theories by scientists regarding God & the brain:

1. God as an artifact of the brain (propagated by Stewart Guthrie, an anthropologist at Fordham University in New York City)

2. Similar religious experiences as attributable to commonalities in episodes stemmed from the same neural processes (Andrew Newberg, neuroscientist at Univ of Pennsylvania)

3. God as a Cerebral Mistake (Persinger, neuroscientist)

4. The God Gene (Dean Hamer, head of gene structure and regulation at National Cancer Institute)

5. God as a "holy hallucinogen" proposed by Rick Strassman (associate professor of pschiatry at Univ. of New Mexico school of medicine)

Edited by CapitalistSwine
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I just don't understand how any of this is necessary if you are an Objectivist. No praying should be necessary or even viewed as sensible, whether you realize it is fake or not. No "code" should need to be integrated, one only needs the conclusions brought forth via the Objectivist heierarchal system and its fundamental normative ethics (rationality, honesty, independence, justice, integrity, productiveness, and pride).

First than nothing please allow me to point out that "necessary" is an opinion not a fact. Necessary according to who or for whom? According to what standard? and besides this I don't do only "necessary" things in my life, I also do things that I just enjoy whether or not I have a full explicit explanation of why I enjoy them. Here I agree with AR when she said that over time your sense-of-life becomes the product of your conscious philosophy, so I usually trust my sense-of-life in most matters

On the other hand Objectivism for me is not a full-time occupation, it gave me somewhat late in my life (my 40's) the best basic structure I found so far for my mind and where to re-build an important part of my soul, but I am much more than an Objectivist: I AM (Anthem)

I have to agree that based on discussion so far I don't think you understand Objectivism properly as another poster suggested. You need to explain your reasonings better than just "I like it" and you need to provide evidence as to why you think Alper's theory can be attributed to instinctual in regards to the realm of human behavior.

Again "properly" is an opinion not a fact. Properly according to who or for whom? According to what standard?

But besides this I have discussed this subject in another topic before: Whether you should integrate yourself to Objectivism or Objectivism to yourself, I did and still do the last the best I can

The reason I would like further explanation from you is because there are quite a few reviews like of this nature regarding this Alper's book on Amazon:

[several bad reviews of the book]

Bad reviews are a good guide but to form a final opinion you should read the book with an open mind

There are 5 main theories by scientists regarding God & the brain:

1. God as an artifact of the brain (propagated by Stewart Guthrie, an anthropologist at Fordham University in New York City)

2. Similar religious experiences as attributable to commonalities in episodes stemmed from the same neural processes (Andrew Newberg, neuroscientist at Univ of Pennsylvania)

3. God as a Cerebral Mistake (Persinger, neuroscientist)

4. The God Gene (Dean Hamer, head of gene structure and regulation at National Cancer Institute)

5. God as a "holy hallucinogen" proposed by Rick Strassman (associate professor of pschiatry at Univ. of New Mexico school of medicine)

Well 1, 4 and probably 3 seem to be somewhat in line with Alper's theory at least according to the tiltle?

It seems to me that there is a misconception among some Objectivists referring science. Science is not infallible, it is just the best tool available to know reality and specially in this field of the humanities, anthropology, etc. there are a lot of different theories and arguments between scholars

Finally I can see a some people at this forum writing logic fallacies just in order to justify their own points of view probably in an attempt to accommodate reality to their own previous opinions, like by example softwareNerd few posts above said "I'll bet less than 0.1% of humanity can program in C++. So, I propose a neo-Alper theory that humankind has evolved not to know C++, and that anyone who does is acting against his human nature."

The fallacy here is that Alpers research is not based in the 5% of mankind that is atheist but in the 95% that is/was religious

Edited by Tonix777
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The fallacy here is that Alpers research is not based in the 5% of mankind that is atheist but in the 95% that is/was religious
There you go again, calling this "research" when it actually boils down to the assertion that anything that the vast majority does is good.

If you have not read Ralph Waldo Emerson, I suggest you do.

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