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Stupid People Being Suckered in by Religion: Negative Correlation With Intelligence

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    #61
    Actually, Dawkins's answer is that the watchmaker argument doesn't solve anything, because it becomes a problem of regression. If you posit God to explain biological complexity, when how do you explain God? The Christian version would be a highly complex entity, extremely unlikely to arise by chance. The faithful then evade this by simply asserting that "God always existed", "Your puny human mind can't understand", or even "God is simple by definition" (saying it's so don't make it so, buddy) -- all of which, of course, simply try to shunt off the responsibility of coming up with something credible.

    In other words, if you suppose there's a god, then how did it come about?

    Dawkins likes to refer to skyhooks and cranes, an invention of Dennett's:
    The idea of skyhooks and cranes belongs to Daniel Dennett who wrote the marvellous book Darwin's Dangerous Idea, a book all scientists should read. They should not only read it, they should use it to beat off the attacks on the idea of a scientific understanding of the world that are becoming so common today. Common enough for some to talk of a coming dark age, an age of antiscience, of cults and mysticism, astrology and crystal power, channelling and Sheng Fui.

    As you might gather, I like this book.

    Dennett argues that the antiscientific approach to the world always has a skyhook lurking somewhere, a skyhook being the mythical thing that holds aeroplanes up in the air. Antiscientists, those who rely on a belief in some ultimate supernatural force or purpose in the universe, always resort to a skyhook to stop their world from crashing down. They cannot accept that the grandeur of the universe, the stunning diversity of life in this particular corner of it, and especially the incredible creature that is Homo sapiens could have come about naturally, that is, without some sort of divine intervention, some skyhook.

    But just as Newton showed that the physical universe could operate quite satisfactorily without a god, Charles Darwin showed that the incredible complexity of the living world could also come into being, could evolve and change, through the simplest mechanism, natural selection. He showed that evolution by natural selection was, to use Dennett's word, a crane: a process that, by selecting that which is good, and winnowing out that which is bad, improves itself, lifts itself up. It needs no plan, no guidance, no divine intervention.

    Of course, by good and bad, I am talking about fitness to the organism's environment, not some ethical sense of the word.

    Cranes not only build living things, but since living things do the building, cranes build themselves, passing on the information on how to do it through genes.
    From here.

    Dawkins proceeds to argue that only the crane approach can possibly work, because it has the power of building itself gradually, through only slightly improbable steps (that is, steps that can be expected to happen -- occasionally), rather than the massively improbable events that would have to occur to explain life by chance (rather than by natural selection) or an incredibly improbable entity such as a deity.

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      #62
      Hmmm...I miss the simplicity of th old "Science vs. Religion Debates".

      Science: But why is this the way it is, then?
      Religion: Because God made it so.
      Science: Well then, why did God make it so?
      Religion: Heretic! Guards, burn this man at stake!

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        #63
        Originally posted by Shawarma
        What if he's wrong? What if there is indeed a vengeful God that is simply keeping Dawkins around as a plaything and to test the faith of his followers only to exact brutal assrapery on his immortal soul come judgement day? How does Dorkins KNOW for a fact that this is not the case?
        God you're a moron.

        What if he picks the WRONG religion and the God of the TRUE religion would rather have agnostics than people of the opposite religion?

        What if he becomes religious "just in case"? What God would say "Okay, you get to go to Heaven. You didn't really believe in me, but you went church and shit just in case."

        This isn't a fucking insurance policy. This is something that is supposed to guide your life. You can't go halfway. And if you go all the way, and it turns out you went the wrong way, then what?

        Second, if there IS an asshole God that has a world of playthings, do you really want to worship him? Cuz I fucking don't want to. Might as well worship Hitler or Bush.

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          #64

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            #65
            Let's face it boys, believing in god is the same thing as believing in Chi Masters, although I posit that there is much more proof that Chi Masters exist......

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              #66
              I think you mean believing in God is the same as believing in chi. Because there is no doubt in anyone's mind that George Dillman et al actually exist.

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                #67
                Originally posted by Vince Tortelli
                I think you mean believing in God is the same as believing in chi. Because there is no doubt in anyone's mind that George Dillman et al actually exist.
                Aye -- much as people like 'Mother' Teresa, Darth Ratzinger of the Inquisition (and child abuse cover-ups), and the Westboro Baptist bastards are, alas, real as well.

                (Yes, yes, I realise there are lots of good religious people, too. There are surely nice chi masters, as well, who are perfectly good people save for being a bit befuddled.)

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                  #68
                  I have been reading brief summaries of what Richard Dawkins has said (on Wikipedia, because I am too lazy to buy one of his books and read it), and most of what he has to say is pretty interesting. However, what bothers me is the fanaticism with which he says it. It sounds like fanatical religious belief (I know that others have pointed this out already).

                  But what it makes me think of is that not even the poster child for atheism is free of faniticism. Belief in some dogmatic system is inherent to organized human societies, be it Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, or Atheism.

                  We didn't start seeing evidence of ritual burials until around the time that we see evidence for organized societies (I think I read this in Jarod Diamond's book, "Guns, Germs, and Steel"). What is strange to me is that we see some form of religious belief in all organized societies today. I can't think of a single one that lacks it. This leads me to believe that we evolved to have the capacity and predisposition for religion in much the same way that we evolved the capacity for language (and for similar reasons). I think that religion served the purpose of providing a structured moral system shared by all members of a society, guiding their actions in the absence of a government powerful enough to enforce law universally.

                  I am guessing that there probably were early pre-historic societies that were not religious, and they probably never became stable, unified forces through war and social depravity. Because while they similarly lacked a strong government, they also lacked a dogmatic system to gude the behavior of their members. This allowed them to be out-competed by societies that were more stable due to a population that adhered to accepted set of rules, and whose members policed themselves essentially, because the majority of them were for lack of a better word, fanatical about everyone also believing and following the religion's moral guidelines.

                  Please note that this is all just conjecture, and I have no evidence to back this up. Because it involves social behavior that is probably impossible to determine by fossil records, I am only hypothesizing. But what it leads me to believe is that, right or wrong, religion is inherent to humanity. In a sense, it did create us (or at least lead us to become the beings that we are today).

                  So what does this mean for today, now that we have strong government that can enforce our laws? Religion may be a holdover from our distant past, but it is not completely vestigial. There are plenty of situations where law enforcement can not prevent people from doing terrible things, and we rely on "common decency" (which varies quite a bit from culture to culture), accepted by all members of a society (to varying degrees today). I believe that religion is part of what indoctrinates common decency into our population. But the degree to which world civilizations have advanced, some of the dynamics of religious belief have come into conflict with their original purposes. For example, the members of modern societies are still largely very religious, but governments have become powerful enough to mobilize large numbers of people in armies and make use of devastating weapons. This ability did not exist in the past.

                  More to come maybe. I'm doing laundry and I need to move it on to the dryer. Please argue with me about this. I'd love to hear what people think.
                  Last edited by Bahuyuddha; 10/30/2007 1:50am, .

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                    #69
                    Continuing...

                    So, today we have largely centralized governments that can mobilize their populations to war, and make use of a unified cultural identity, moral belief system, and an inherent sense that outsiders who do not share our religion are in some way morally deficient. This makes it possible for governments to take advantage of a system that was once useful in promoting social stability and peace, and use it to commit atrocities on a larger scale than before.

                    I know that there are holes in this idea because for example in the US we have a diverse society with many different religious views, but possibly the strength of our government allowing it to enforce law to the degree that it can (including draft its citizens into the military), compensates for the lack of social unity. Perhaps the ideology of Democracy serves to unify us in spite of our cultural diversity. I believe that most who are able to immigrate to the US (and who are represented in the affluent and educated sector that comprise most of the voters) at least subconsciously value the benefits of Democracy, or else they would not have immigrated.

                    (Again, more conjecture with no proof by me. Perhaps this diatribe of mine is becoming my religion.)

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                      #70
                      When you speak of evolving religious capacity, are you speaking in a darwinian sense?
                      I would disagree with that point. And raise you one "what is a trait?" Things like language, writing and art are all passed down from generation to generation, but not by genetic inheritance. Trading ideas, skills, etc are all passed down at a faster rate and are more Lamarkian in nature. If I take you to church, we don't have to wait until your kids to find out if the ideas were passed on.

                      I also take issue with some points of dawkins etal. arguments. As most of their arguments are strictly adaptationist. A lot of has become the search for a plausible anecdote to describe what is happening. Good stories aren't always the best part of the truth.
                      Last edited by jubei33; 10/30/2007 3:53am, .

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                        #71
                        I also disagree with labeling atheists like Dawkins a fanatical. Who does he advocate killing? What practices does he want forced onto society through state violence? Atheists and actual religious fanatics have nothing in common.

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                          #72
                          I hesitate to wade in on this one, although I am enjoying the debate immensely. I am afraid that I haven't read any of the books you are quoting, I can only try to clarifiy from my own experience. So here goes....

                          I am an engineer (which puts me in the scientfically-minded, generally intelligent catagory), but I also believe in God. I was raised Catholic, but also taught to think for myself, and if I had to catagorize my current beliefs, they are definitely more United than Catholic at this point.

                          So, how can a scientist believe in God? Many do. My personal beliefs tend to run close to what Einstein noticed - that there is so much complexity and beauty in the universe, it's hard to believe that there was no guiding force there. My personal spirituality deepened when I was expecting my first child - a process so complex that it turns two tiny cells into a unique, fully functional human being in only 9 months - it boggles the mind. The dividing of cells, the development of organs, how each of the billions of cells somehow develops it's own special functions that together create a human being - I stand in awe of this, and I cannot fathom the method for it's creation. That is God to me.

                          [quote=Shawarma]Because religious KNOWING is something you KNOW because GOD SAID IT, in many cases said it to them PERSONALLY!
                          quote]

                          I don't 'KNOW' anything because of what I am told, by anybody. I simply feel God in the world around me, in the beautiful complexity of the universe, in the systems that drive everything from growing flowers to moving stars.

                          Do I seem irrational to you? Un-intelligent? Easily lead? Spouting dogma? That is how some posters on this thread characterize people who believe in God. I challenge that - it is quite possible to believe in God and still be an intelligent, rational person, as hopefully I have demonstrated.

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                            #73
                            Originally posted by Virus
                            I also disagree with labeling atheists like Dawkins a fanatical. Who does he advocate killing? What practices does he want forced onto society through state violence? Atheists and actual religious fanatics have nothing in common.

                            Fanatical might not be the correct word(though you're clearly confused on the word yourself). He most certainly is zealous, though(which isn't neccesarily a negative quality).

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                              #74
                              [quote=AeroChick]I hesitate to wade in on this one, although I am enjoying the debate immensely. I am afraid that I haven't read any of the books you are quoting, I can only try to clarifiy from my own experience. So here goes....

                              I am an engineer (which puts me in the scientfically-minded, generally intelligent catagory), but I also believe in God. I was raised Catholic, but also taught to think for myself, and if I had to catagorize my current beliefs, they are definitely more United than Catholic at this point.

                              So, how can a scientist believe in God? Many do. My personal beliefs tend to run close to what Einstein noticed - that there is so much complexity and beauty in the universe, it's hard to believe that there was no guiding force there. My personal spirituality deepened when I was expecting my first child - a process so complex that it turns two tiny cells into a unique, fully functional human being in only 9 months - it boggles the mind. The dividing of cells, the development of organs, how each of the billions of cells somehow develops it's own special functions that together create a human being - I stand in awe of this, and I cannot fathom the method for it's creation. That is God to me.

                              Originally posted by Shawarma
                              Because religious KNOWING is something you KNOW because GOD SAID IT, in many cases said it to them PERSONALLY!
                              quote]

                              I don't 'KNOW' anything because of what I am told, by anybody. I simply feel God in the world around me, in the beautiful complexity of the universe, in the systems that drive everything from growing flowers to moving stars.

                              Do I seem irrational to you? Un-intelligent? Easily lead? Spouting dogma? That is how some posters on this thread characterize people who believe in God. I challenge that - it is quite possible to believe in God and still be an intelligent, rational person, as hopefully I have demonstrated.
                              You believe in something you can't phsyically touch, smell, see, hear, or taste. You can't measure your "feeling" with any type of scientific instrument at all. You're assuming a belief without any type of proof whatsoever. Yes, that is irrational.

                              Rational is not black and white, no all or nothing. You can believe evolutionary theory and still hold irrational, unprovable beliefs in supernatural beings and powers.

                              What you just said is basically creationism. You "feel" like everything is so complex, obviously, there must be a god. That's false. That complexity is easily covered by natural laws.

                              Here comes the counter-arguement, "What if God made those natural laws?"
                              That's also a false arguement. It doesn't survive Occam's Razor. It's an assumption which creates flaws with the idea. You cannot assume a positive without proof, which is exactly what you are doing.


                              a bunch of people have made your exact same arguement, and even worse, as using pseudoscience to try and bring it into our kid's classrooms. shennanigans.

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                                #75
                                *shrugs*



                                Last edited by AeroChica; 10/30/2007 9:04am, . Reason: bad font size

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