We've evolved to be creationists

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"We've evolved to be creationists"

“We’ve evolved to be creationists”

“We’ve evolved to be creationists” is a quote from the “The Atlantic Monthly” article “Is God an Accident?”—December 2005 issue.

Paul Bloom, author of the article, informs us that “human beings come into the world with a predisposition to believe in supernatural phenomena…this predisposition is an incidental by-product of cognitive functioning gone awry”.

Paul Bloom informs us that nearly everyone on earth believes in miracles, afterlife, and the creation of the earth by some supernatural power. While doing research into infant behavior, psychologists have recently discovered that humans are born with a predisposition to believe in some supernatural actuality. These scientists conclude that this predisposition is a random happenstance of cognitive functioning gone awry. These conclusions led to the question “Is God an Accident?”--the title of the article.

I have just found the answer to a question that has baffled me for years. Why do non-believers love to talk religion? Perhaps talking about religion is much like ‘whistling past the cemetery’.

Everyone loves to talk religion because we are all born with the “gut feeling” that there is a body/mind duality. Because we “feel” that mind is a “spiritual” entity we easily accommodate heaven, soul, god etc.

Science says that this gut feeling is a result of “cognitive functioning gone awry” and religion tells us that this is a matter of faith. What do you think?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
jonegil
ya...it seems that religious and spiritual phenomena is connected to the temporal lobes of the brain...check michael persinger's experiments out...there is an interesting Horizon documentary about this...it is "god on brain"
 
  • #3
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I haven't read it all yet, but Daniel Dennet's "Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon" sort of explores this avenue. So far it's a good read.

Most people do not think so rationally, and it is not surprising that so many people people believe such things, despite lack of evidence.
 
  • #4
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When written history began five thousand years ago humans had already developed a great deal of knowledge. Much of that knowledge was of a very practical nature such as how to use animal skins for clothing, how to weave wool, how to hunt and fish etc. A large part of human knowledge was directed toward how to kill and torture fellow humans. I guess things never really change all that much.

In several parts of the world civilizations developed wherein people learned to create laws and to rule vast numbers of people. Some measure of peace and stability developed but there was yet no means for securing the people from their rulers. I guess things never really change all that much

Almost everywhere priests joined rulers in attempts to control the population. Despite these continual wars both of external and internal nature the human population managed to flourish. Egypt was probably one of the first long lasting and stable civilizations to grow up along the large rivers. Egypt survived almost unchanged for three thousand years. This success is attributed to its geographical location that gave it freedom from competition and fertile lands that were constantly replenished by the river overflowing its banks and thus depositing new fertile soil for farming.

Western philosophy emerged in the sixth century BC along the Ionian coast. A small group of scientist-philosophers began writing about their attempts to develop “rational” accounts regarding human experience. These early Pre-Socratic thinkers thought that they were dealing with fundamental elements of nature.

It is natural for humans to seek knowledge. In the “Metaphysics” Aristotle wrote “All men by nature desire to know”.

The attempt to seek knowledge presupposes that the world unfolds in a systematic pattern and that we can gain knowledge of that unfolding. Cognitive science identifies several ideas that seem to come naturally to us and labels such ideas as “Folk Theories”.

The Folk Theory of the Intelligibility of the World
The world makes systematic sense, and we can gain knowledge of it.

The Folk Theory of General Kinds
Every particular thing is a kind of thing.

The Folk Theory of Essences
Every entity has an “essence” or “nature,” that is, a collection of properties that makes it the kind of thing it is and that is the causal source of its natural behavior.

The consequences of the two theories of kinds and essences is:

The Foundational Assumption of Metaphysics
Kinds exist and are defined by essences.

We may not want our friends to know this fact but we are all metaphysicians. We, in fact, assume that things have a nature thereby we are led by the metaphysical impulse to seek knowledge at various levels of reality.

Cognitive science has uncovered these ideas they have labeled as Folk Theories. Such theories when compared to sophisticated philosophical theories are like comparing mountain music with classical music. Such theories seem to come naturally to human consciousness.

The information comes primarily from “Philosophy in the Flesh” and http://www.wku.edu/~jan.garrett/302/folkmeta.htm
 
  • #5
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Sure we are all metaphysicians. But apparently not a lot of us can hold our metaphysical desires back and explore nature from an objective, scientific perspective.
 
  • #6
Ivan Seeking
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If we ignore 5000 years of human experience, sure, we can chalk it all up to our imaginations. But we might as well throw out the history books as well since, obviously, human experience counts for nothing.

Beliefs are often rooted in personal experiences. This is why many religions focus on testimonials to help keep the faith. To ignore this aspect of religious beliefs is to ignore the basis for faith.

Since we are born with an innate sense of the divine, divinity must not exist. It's perfectly logical?
 
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  • #7
baywax
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If it isn't too much trouble could someone please post the geneological or cytological evidence that shows how "creationism" has been adopted into our genetic evolution. This should be simple in that it only requires a cytological profile or DNA analysis showing a specific gene present in all humans that evokes a need for, or visions of, a creator. MmmK? Thank you.
 
  • #8
Evo
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I have just found the answer to a question that has baffled me for years. Why do non-believers love to talk religion? Perhaps talking about religion is much like ‘whistling past the cemetery’.
Non-believers that I know do not enjoy talking about religion and only address it when clarifications need to be made. That is why you don't see groups of non-believers gathering together to hold meetings about not believing, don't buy tv time to talk about not-believing, they don't go door to door to tell people they don't believe, and they don't hand out pamphlets stating why they don't believe.

Ever wonder why? Because they don't believe and it's not an issue and they do not care. The exception is when believers try to force their beliefs on others.
 
  • #10
baywax
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Here's a link to the full article if anyone's interested.

http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200512/god-accident
Opinionated horse hockey. "Everyone believes the same thing"... can we get anymore fallacious than that? Is there the possibility of getting a less biased reference on how "creationism evolved"? Or is this a doomed thread?
 
  • #11
Astronuc
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The article states "nearly everyone believes . . . ". I wonder how they do there roundoff.

It would appear a majority of people share similar believes, or perhaps a subset of beliefs, but the personal details may vary considerably.
 
  • #12
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“We’ve evolved to be creationists”
I have just found the answer to a question that has baffled me for years. Why do non-believers love to talk religion? Perhaps talking about religion is much like ‘whistling past the cemetery’.
Although I find the idea, of describing religion as a cemetary, apt and amusing, we non-believers generally only discuss religion because as a minority we are surrounded by it, and are generally annoyed by the fact we can't avoid its influence.
 
  • #14
Astronuc
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Belief and faith are personal.

I simply don't believe what others do.

I respect the right of others to have their beliefs, and I expect others to respect my right to believe/understand/know what I do.

If people want to gather in a group with which they share beliefs - fine. But don't expect me to join. I'll join if I want to, not because someone else wants me to.

If I'm intersted in what someone believes, I'll ask.
 
  • #15
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Sure faith and belief are personal. But I'm suppose to respect your belief in the toothfairy? I think not. But I would only bother to go out of my way to show the disrespect if you are making the claim and forcing it on others.
 
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  • #16
Sure faith and belief are personal. But I'm suppose to respect your belief in the toothfairy? I think not. But I would only bother to go out of my way to show the disrespect if you are making the claim and forcing it on others.
"Respect?" Or agree? I don't agree with many people's beliefs, but I do respect their beliefs and their right to believe what they will. I may not respect impelling those beliefs on others by force, but persuasion is acceptable.
 
  • #17
baywax
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Sure faith and belief are personal. But I'm suppose to respect your belief in the toothfairy? I think not. But I would only bother to go out of my way to show the disrespect if you are making the claim and forcing it on others.
You have about 100 million parents to convince that spreading stories about the toothfairy is harmful to their children. Actually, Southpark has done a pretty good job of it.:devil:
 
  • #18
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You have about 100 million parents to convince that spreading stories about the toothfairy is harmful to their children. Actually, Southpark has done a pretty good job of it.:devil:
Well it's different when the teller actually knows it's not true. But that's not the case with religion.
 
  • #19
baywax
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Well it's different when the teller actually knows it's not true. But that's not the case with religion.
Jimmy Swagart, Jim Baker and wife, Pat Robinson, the Law dude etc..; how many religious posers are only in it for the money or the power or for the lack of consequence for their actions? The list is presently and historically endless.
 
  • #20
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Jimmy Swagart, Jim Baker and wife, Pat Robinson, the Law dude etc..; how many religious posers are only in it for the money or the power or for the lack of consequence for their actions? The list is presently and historically endless.
Ok ok. You forgot Peter Popoff btw. Thank you James Randi.
 
  • #21
baywax
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  • #22
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Sure faith and belief are personal. But I'm suppose to respect your belief in the toothfairy? I think not. But I would only bother to go out of my way to show the disrespect if you are making the claim and forcing it on others.
So everyone who believes in some type of God but isn't trying to force their beliefs on you should perceive your comparison of their God to a "toothfairy" as respectful?

Not all believers are stupid and not all people who find this attitude offensive are believers.
 
  • #23
Evo
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So everyone who believes in some type of God but isn't trying to force their beliefs on you should perceive your comparison of their God to a "toothfairy" as respectful?

Not all believers are stupid and not all people who find this attitude offensive are believers.
To people that do not believe in a supernatural supreme being all supernatural creatures fall into the same bucket, gods, trolls, fairies, gnomes, elves, unicorns, they are all make believe to a non believer, but some people believe they are real. It's not showing any disrespect to lump them together because to a non-believer one imaginary being isn't due more respect than another. Expecting people to show respect for something they consider make believe is getting rather silly.

I respect their "right" to believe, I don't have to respect "what" they believe. Do you see the difference?
 
  • #24
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I do not really agree with the OP, but it is interesting to study the actions and reactions of small children.

Small children often start throwing things before they can walk. Other behaviors also suggests that they are exploring our world with empiricism and a sort of trial-and-error method, testing what they can and cannot do until their parents intervene.

It is obvious that children are predisposed to believe the word of authority, because using empiricism to find out what happens if you go close to a big animal or jump of a cliff would probably make the child die, so it is reasonable to assume that this belief in authority have been selected over time to at least some extent.

A lot of small children are often introduced to religion at an early age if their parents are religious.

As for other supernatural entities goes, one tends to remember a certain thing better if one had more adrenaline in the blood system and one could suggest that the idea of a monster would not only scare children, but also make them remember it further.
 
  • #25
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To people that do not believe in a supernatural supreme being all supernatural creatures fall into the same bucket, gods, trolls, fairies, gnomes, elves, unicorns, they are all make believe to a non believer, but some people believe they are real. It's not showing any disrespect to lump them together because to a non-believer one imaginary being isn't due more respect than another. Expecting people to show respect for something they consider make believe is getting rather silly.
And there is a reason why they are all lumped together. Either they are not even in the realm of probable knowledge, or evidence to suggest they might exist doesn't exist or is insufficient. I know this is getting off topic, but I just wanted to clarify.
 
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