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Old 01-28-2013, 15:37   #201
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Originally Posted by hooligan74 View Post
Inhumane to not expose a child to the idea of a sentient creator? Really?
Hit the brakes, put it in reverse and back up a couple of blocks. Didn't we set out the way to find out if it is the default in another thread.

The only way that I can comprehend of finding out what the "default" position for humans is to isolate a child at birth, no human or animal contact, let him reach adulthood. And then ask him how he got there. I'd imagine that since the human mind is inquisitive and imaginative, more than one possible answer would happen.

Doing that would be inhumane.

Can you imagine any other way to get a true result.
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Old 01-28-2013, 15:54   #202
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Originally Posted by Cavalry Doc View Post
...Can you imagine any other way to get a true result.

Don't expose the child to any ideas of an intelligent creator. That doesn't mean cut them off from any and all human interaction.

Besides, their ultimate decision/conclusion about how we got here isn't the point. What is their position the instant this question comes into their head? Is it: "I don't know." or is it "There must be some intelligent, purposeful being that created all of this from nothing."

THAT would define the default stance.
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Old 01-28-2013, 16:23   #203
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Originally Posted by hooligan74 View Post
Don't expose the child to any ideas of an intelligent creator. That doesn't mean cut them off from any and all human interaction.

Besides, their ultimate decision/conclusion about how we got here isn't the point. What is their position the instant this question comes into their head? Is it: "I don't know." or is it "There must be some intelligent, purposeful being that created all of this from nothing."

THAT would define the default stance.
I'm not so sure. You'd have to consider the time period, the pollution of other origin assumptions either intended or unintended. To be honest, I don't think it's really possible to determine the default position without preventing someone else from accidentally giving them a clue of what they believe. And the only way to do that would be rather extreme.

It's all very hypothetical anyway, because both of us were born where we were born, when we were born, and we get to decide what we will believe or not. We were both exposed to multiple religious beliefs, and we are where we are now by choice. Isn't that cool enough?

I'm not sure insulating a child from what they will run into in life is a good idea anyway. Kids should know that there are good people out there, bad people out there. Not all the good ones are going to agree with you about everything, and not all the bad one's will disagree with you about everything.

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Old 01-29-2013, 04:57   #204
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Since, for several reasons, we can't isolate a child from the surrounding culture and wait till he is adult before asking him about his views on existence, we are forced to speculate.

Anyone who pays attention to his children will understand that children actively create explanations for all the things they see around them. These explanations are often logical within their knowledge framework, but are often wrong. They tend to hold onto these ideas with a degree of stubbornness that is resistant to reason and only over time do they replace them with better ones. It should surprise no one who thinks about it that this mental process does not disappear with maturity but is just less obvious.

We create explanations of the things that exist or occur in the world about us so that we can use them to predict the world's future behavior and so that we can create behavioral strategies to deal with them. The further our explanations are from reality the more likely our strategies are to produce an undesirable effect. When our explanations and strategies are about things that happen a lot we quickly find out that we are wrong and, if the wrong action was not lethal, we have the chance to correct the explanation and strategy.

The drive to produce explanations is obviously a major survival benefit but the drive is all encompassing. We want explanations for everything! The consequence is that we create explanations for everything. That includes things where there is no possibility of of our explanations bumping into reality. Just a we can observe in children, we tend to hold onto these explanations with a stubbornness that is resistant to reason.

Ideas are interesting. Good ideas are even more interesting. Your own good ideas are still more interesting and so the originator of a good idea thinks about it and elaborates it in various ways. Then he tells others about it and tries to persuade them that it is worth thinking about and believing in. Those that believe it to be a good idea then elaborate it further and create a sub-community of followers of the idea. If it is a very good idea, the sub community becomes the majority community. This is the basis of culture and technological innovation. Clearly, to any open minded person, this is also the basis of religion.

All good ideas have to have a basis of observable facts and other ideas which are coherent with the new idea, even if they refute other accepted ideas. In the case of the existence of the world one of those bases is the observable fact of the human environment is that many things are made by conscious human design and effort. For a child those things are made and all things are known by superior beings, namely parents and other adults. So a child creating explanations of his environment outside the obvious creations of human technology will use those two consistent bases of his existence to explain the sun, stars, animals, trees and so on.

It is entirely natural for a child to create a creator as an explanation for the world about him and hence for humanity itself. Just as a child must respect and please his own superior beings, so he incorporates the same concept into his elaboration of the nature of the Creator. Anything which can create a mountain or a sea or an elephant must be worthy of a very high and frightening level of respect. Without conflict with reality, those stubborn ideas of childhood will persist, with elaborations, into adulthood.

Because of the above, I believe that any group kept isolated from concepts of religion and science would create their own religion. Their concept of a creator would be much the same as that of any other religion. As time goes on, schisms would form as developments of the original ideas produce conflicting new ideas. In time, and with increased population size, this process will lead to a new religion co-existing alongside the original religion with considerable friction and the possibility of violence. With more time those will schism again and so on. As this is happening there will be a drift of the ideas of each religion so that time will separate each religion from its original form as much as schism separates new forms from older forms.

All of this will come about because the tendency to think about explanations for the world, for life and everything will continue and will be unconstrained by conflict with reality. When reality is removed from ideas, ideas are constrained by nothing more than their appeal to the mind. One kind of good idea is an idea that tells you what you would like to hear. Unfortunately, that is not a useful good idea but one that hides you from reality as much as cocaine.

English

Last edited by English; 01-29-2013 at 05:01..
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:25   #205
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Quote:
Originally Posted by English View Post
Anyone who pays attention to his children will understand that children actively create explanations for all the things they see around them. These explanations are often logical within their knowledge framework, but are often wrong.
Expanding on this thought, children also tend to internalize everything around them such that their derived explanations for events and experiences are usually associated with their own behavior and actions. The classic example being the child that somehow convinces themselves that their parents got divorced because they didn't clean their room often enough.

As you mentioned, we don't lose this aspect of our psyche as we get older, it just becomes more subdued. Another classic example is the island tribe that comes to believe that the volcano erupted because they failed to appease the deity that lives inside. From there, it is only a short step of logic to arrive at the modern example of christians who convince themselves that god will remove his favor and protection from the U.S. if we allow gay marriage.

It's all just an extension of the same concept and the real reason why so many are willing to accept arbitrary rules of morality in the hopes that it will curry favor for them with some imagined deity.
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CavDoc: "If you have to pretend that a person with a different opinion has an opinion other than his own in order to score points in an argument, you've forfeited any points that you pretended to have."
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JBnTX: "Freedom of religion doesn't mean you can worship any God, anyway you see fit or not even worship any God if you so choose. [...] Christianity should be the only religion protected under the constitution, and congress shall make no law restricting its practice."

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