Biological basis for skepticism?

Indiana Cajones
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Biological basis for skepticism?

Does anyone think there may be a biological basis for skepticism in some people? Even as a child growing up in a christian environment I simply could not believe something when my senses and observation of the world showed me otherwise. It still boggles my mind that our culture continues to hold to superstition when the evidence for a natural cosmos is so overwhelming!   


Jeffrick
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Welcome to the forums.

 

 

 

                   I think it is safe to say that skeptisim is a powerful survival instinct in homonids, and in fact every animal in the world.  Without skeptical thinking our ancient ancesters would have thought nothing of running up to Lions and tigers and bears out of curiosity, becoming lunch or dinner and we would not exist.

 

 

                  With civilization there are fewer things to be skeptical "afraid" of.  In first grade I was skeptical about those bible stories the nuns taught us in catholic school. It sounded like the Saturday morning cartoons I watched,  I knew Top Cat & Felix & Bugs weren't real,  ergo religion was not real.

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Ken G.
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Indiana Cajones wrote:It still boggles my mind

    First off,let me just say------ Welcome to the Machine,enjoy. Back too your question,I would have to say that about 30% of the people seem to be critical thinkers,and it makes one wonder why some people have the baloney test built into their brains when most people conform to the status quo- like sheep.And it also makes one wonder why in the world would some modern day man or woman still believe this crap ? with all of this technology that we encounter every day,it makes you wonder !

Signature ? How ?


Atheistextremist
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Yeah

 

I agree with this. I think scepticism is a personal characteristic and proactive non-believers are different from believers rather than immoral. My fundy family think in ways I simply can't think. Even when I was trying to believe a voice (the voice of satan according to my mother but in truth my own voice) used to say, but there is no god. Where is he. I don't see him, hear him. The godly have stronger imaginations, perhaps.

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


BobSpence
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Michael Shermer discusses

Michael Shermer discusses what genetic basis there may be for 'belief in God' in his book "How we Believe", which I have. There are many references to how general skepticism is involved, as well, of course - the subtitle of the book is "Science, Skepticism, and the SEARCH FOR GOD".

There was apparently a famous "Minnesota twins" study, involving 53 pairs of identical twins and 31 pairs of fraternal twins, studying "religiosity", where researchers concluded that "... genetic factors account for approximately 50 percent of the observed variance in our measures" They used five different measures of 'religiosity'.

Shermer quotes another writer, Nancy Segal, as saying that "religious interest and commitment to certain practices, such as regular service attendance or singing in a choir partly reflect genetically based personality traits such as traditionalism and conformance to authority." The parts I underlined I find significant, as being apparently 'genetically based'.

So it seems highly likely that there is a genetic influence on the variation in skepticism from person to person.

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

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Kapkao
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Indiana, Your last sentence

Indiana, Your last sentence seems a bit moot to me- a "natural" cosmos does not rule out any or all superstitious beliefs, including the presence of deities. Most scientists will readily admit to your fact that they have no idea how the cosmos came into being.

This has increasingly become an unavoidable obstacle in the way of spreading atheism, since many of the denominations, religious sects, and meditation groups out there have adapted their doctrines to become highly compatible with many of the discoveries that pure science has accumulated over the past century-and-a-half. This sort of religious adaptation isn't readily deconstructed- thus it allows individuals to cling to their religious beliefs* (or superstition) while no longer treating science as an "enemy".

I am still baffled to this day as to why other atheists besides myself are under the impression that scientific progress -in any shape, form, or fashion- goes against mainstream religious establishments and somehow disproves the existence of a god or gods...

... because in truth, -fundamentalists and Young-Earth creationists aside- they don't.

I have a nagging suspicion that the aforementioned phenomena falls under the category of 'wishful thinking'.


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Does anyone think there may be a biological basis for skepticism in some people?

For a good while now - before you even registered, iirc- I was (imo) the most visible proponent of biology playing some part in our development of belief in a deity. Specifically, I believe that a particular complex or 'chain' of nerve cells is responsible for the phenomena of theism.

And yes- there do appear individuals who are -from the moment of birth- more inclined to believe in a natural philosophy of their surroundings rather than in some intangible force being responsible for all that they can perceive.

In many cases, there is a psychiatric descriptor for this form of atheism - Asperger's Syndrome and high-functioning autism. So yes, there certainly appears to be a biological component to both theism and atheism.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


Kapkao
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Jeffrick wrote:With

Jeffrick wrote:
With civilization there are fewer things to be skeptical "afraid" of.  In first grade I was skeptical about those bible stories the nuns taught us in catholic school. It sounded like the Saturday morning cartoons I watched,  I knew Top Cat & Felix & Bugs weren't real,  ergo religion was not real.

For me, the more fitting analogies were "Santa Clause" and "Tooth Fairy" -both of which I found out weren't real in pre-puberty years because of my own apathy towards such flamboyant and pointlessly sentimental ideals, how adults rarely discuss these things with each other, and because of how I noted subtle changes in the behavior of adults -body language, tone, facial expression, urgency, superficial emotion, vague of hints of what Orwell called "doublethink"- when addressing fairy tales with children (usually trying to get them excited about such things.)

And then, sometime after my 8th birthday, I slip a tooth under the pillow one night without telling the elders, wake up the next day, and discover nothing's there except the tooth. Then I suddenly remember all of my and everyone-else's unanswered prayers piling up over the years, and about two years later, it suddenly occurs to me that "blind faith" has quite a few parallels with fairy tales and make believe. I then realize that belief in gods and religious doctrines is little more than extra baggage, propelled by power-mongers, apologists, and emotionally insecure adults looking for direction in their lives.

 

Being one of the quiet, observant kids growing does wonders for healthy, rational skepticism.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


Indiana Cajones
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Lol, I also was one of those

Lol, I also was one of those kids that stayed up to see who Santa really was. Did not think of the tooth fairy experiment, tho'!

 

I must say that if there is a Hell for Atheists it has to be West Texas. The level of superstition is unbelievable, and there are very real consequences for being known as a non believer. I put a "Darwin fish" on my bumper, and someone tore it off with a paint scraper damaging my vehicle.

 

The level of scientific ignorance is appalling and no doubt this is the reason there are 200 churches in a town of 100,000. I do not believe one can be scientifically literate and religious at the same time without hanging your hat out on a serious metaphysical limb. There is simply nothing in the physical universe that supports supernatural belief...


BobSpence
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Yep - 'supernatural' is just

Yep - 'supernatural' is just an way to give a name to all the raw feelings that 'there must be something "out there", something "responsible for all this"', and "where did we come from?", some 'explanation' for all the stuff they don't understand, and so on, that "Science can't explain", or, more accurately, in their ignorance of science, that they think Science can't even begin to investigate.

It seems to me mostly a simple persistence of primitive ways of perceiving the world in under-educated people, even when they may have an adequate raw intelligence. 

There is also the direct effects of what you experienced, the discouragement of any questioning of the prevailing ideas.

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


Kapkao
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Oh that's easy, hoss!

BobSpence1 wrote:
"where did we come from?"

"Hadrons"

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


v4ultingbassist
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Kapkao wrote:I am still

Kapkao wrote:

I am still baffled to this day as to why other atheists besides myself are under the impression that scientific progress -in any shape, form, or fashion- goes against mainstream religious establishments and somehow disproves the existence of a god or gods...

... because in truth, -fundamentalists and Young-Earth creationists aside- they don't.

 

Right, because virgin birth, miraculous healing, and resurrection are perfectly compatible with science.  All of christianity allows suspension of established scientific fact.


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v4ultingbassist wrote:Kapkao

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Kapkao wrote:

I am still baffled to this day as to why other atheists besides myself are under the impression that scientific progress -in any shape, form, or fashion- goes against mainstream religious establishments and somehow disproves the existence of a god or gods...

... because in truth, -fundamentalists and Young-Earth creationists aside- they don't.

Right, because virgin birth, miraculous healing, and resurrection are perfectly compatible with science.  All of christianity allows suspension of established scientific fact.

And it ain't just the fundies and yecks that believe prayer works... or that condoms actually encourage more sex, and don't reduce HIV-AIDS... and so on. 

It isn't so much the God-shit that goes against science, its all the other crap that they justify by reference to God's will, in the face of solid scientific evidence that it is totally f**king wrong.

Science doesn't directly conflict with some sort of God existence, just destroys most of the arguments for the existence of a God.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


Kapkao
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v4ultingbassist wrote:Right,

v4ultingbassist wrote:
Right, because virgin birth,

fail

Dermoid cysts are basically fetuses that attempt their own conception with only half the required DNA. Contrary to your fallacies first attempt in  championing science... gynecology has actually discovered that virginal conception *IS* achievable by simply providing a human ovule with the other 1/2 of it's required DNA.

poorly conceived philosophical BS wrote:
miraculous healing

Fail+1

Miraculous? As in "previously thought impossible"? /facepalm

(Since I'm at a humongous disadvantage here, with regards to the xtian bible and the sordid crap found inside of it...)

What types of "miraculous healing" are we referring to, here? Is it possible that a good deed can be exaggerated after several decades of word-of-mouth recollection? (partly-rhetorical questions, I'll admit... but also sincere)

another, last fallacy wrote:
and resurrection

It's difficult for someone to fake their own death -namely during Antiquity?

And how's this for an additional take on "resurrection"- maybe he did die and asked a "resurrection double" to replace him, before hand.



("You fail at atheism" didn't bring up any results in google image search)
Actually, this might work:

 

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


v4ultingbassist
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Really? Artificail

Really?

 

Artificial insemination can lead to virgin birth, but not 2000 years ago.

 

Crippled people don't suddenly walk fine after someone touches them.

 

A faked death doesn't lead one to walk around with holes in their hands and to fly up to the sky.

 

I get the impression that you seem to WANT it all to be true...


Kapkao
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Artificail? LOL; Freudian slip detected!

v4ultingbassist wrote:

Really?

 

Artificial insemination can lead to virgin birth, but not 2000 years ago.

 

I wasn't talking about artificail insemination - or "ArtSem" as Orwell put it- I was talking about "simply providing a human ovule with the other 1/2 of it's required DNA"

 (it can even be manually injected into the cellular nucleus, which would have the same effect- but is irrelevant to the point I'm trying to make.

Quote:
Crippled people don't suddenly walk fine after someone touches them.

You mean usually, not "suddenly", correct? Ever hear of Faith Healing

 

Quote:
A faked death doesn't lead one to walk around with holes in their hands and to fly up to the sky.

So he and the remaining Jews actually collaborated with Romans to fake his own death, and his heart never actually stopped beating. The rest can be interpreted as "Tall tale".

Dude, at the rate you're going, the remainder of RRS might as well prepare itself for The Second Coming.

Quote:
I get the impression that you seem to WANT it all to be true...

[sarcasm=Kapkao]Only so I could get away with killing someone over and over and over and over and over. [/sarcasm]


"He's no Atheist Gunslinger!"

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


v4ultingbassist
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It's a lot easier for me to

It's a lot easier for me to accept that it was all a story, instead of your crackpot conspiracy theory.  Christians believe those events happened as they REPORTEDLY happened.  They literally believe their man-god came back to life, after being dead.  Consequently, their beliefs CONTRADICT science, whether or not you can explain the events is irrelevant, because that ISN'T what the people believe.