Why are we religious, if there is nothing there?

Discussion in 'Ancient History and Mythology' started by juantoo3, May 9, 2017.

  1. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Except science updates its books...

    We don't use any 2000, 3000, year old texts and teach from them....we throw out the parts that we learn are not valid...we don't write volumes of explanations in order to maintain them...we write new books to replace them
     
  2. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    While focused on something else, I realized...if the Ice Age started +/- 110,000 years ago

    And, per Wiki: "According to the recent African origin of modern humans hypothesis (Out of Africa II), anatomically modern humans started moving into Eurasia and replacing earlier hominins c. 100,000 years ago."

    That means modern humans, Cro Magnon, moved out of the lush, tropical (far less deserty, as the Sahara had not yet become barren) continent of Africa to chase off and intermingle with Neanderthal, Denisovans and what ever other related species of Homo were freezing their butts off in the Northern climes.

    Hmmm...does this make any rational sense? Not that humans aren't capable of making irrational decisions, indeed that function of the brain wouldn't have fully developed, but still..."common" sense would seem to me to indicate "why go freeze your butt?" if all else is equal, particularly to a species that was incubated and thrived in tropical climes and to whom "cold" was relatively unknown. Something here doesn't add up. Whether it was increasing competition for food, war, or some other factor that pushed Cro Magnon out of Africa into the heart of the glaciers, I'm beginning to wonder if it was a move undertaken voluntarily?

    Stated another way...it would appear modern humans were pushed out of Africa, not pulled out.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2017
  3. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Thomas Kuhn would argue the point...from the perspective of scientists.

    Wasn't it you, Wil, that pointed out to me that school science texts were still teaching about Brontosaurus *long* after it had been reclassified to Apatosaurus?

    Far more to the point, is the apples and oranges argument. While both are fruit, or in this case both science and religion teach a point of view of looking at the world around us, they do so from entirely different perspectives that seldom overlap.
     
  4. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Yup, that is true... Eventually though, may take a.century... Science changes its books.

    Muslims, and creationists, constantly say their texts are scientific and historical fact.

    Not apples and oranges. Fact. And their evidence? G!d said it. Therein lies our issue.
    We can't speak with such broad strokes for all religions or all religionists.
     
  5. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    I can't help but wonder how much scientific FACT of today will be changed in 100, 200, 500 years? FACTS, at least in science, do tend to change over time. Religious texts are not fact books, they are morality plays. Prehistoric humanity had neither one, not science texts and not religious texts yet still managed to invent "god."

    I have no argument about Muslims and Creationists constantly saying their texts are scientific and historical fact...we've seen them here, and you've watched me argue vigorously with them. Just as vigorously as I argue with Evolutionists. The key here, that I tried to point out and is always glossed over by people who have an agenda...is that this kind of myopic position is not held by the people most involved with the disciplines. Perhaps one could make exception for the zealots with an axe to grind, Richard Dawkins or Harun Yaya come to mind. But for the most part those most deeply involved with the disciplines do not endorse the extreme views. It is the laity of both disciplines that are most vigorous in digging trenches to stand their otherwise untenable ground, as if they "know" something when in point of fact they know little or nothing.

    And yes, apples and oranges. We are back at the point of view, and the vantage from which the view comes. Science is about "how?" Religion is about "why?" It is this key fact that seems to escape almost every argument between science and religion. I didn't invent this, look up Stephen J Gould. An atheist and paleontologist whose view on the subject of science v. religion is the most eloquent I've read to date. He did not dismiss the role of religion (coming from an atheist now!), but that the role of religion was to answer questions decidedly different from those answered by science. To describe the same concept I wrote "science and religion teach a point of view of looking at the world around us, they do so from entirely different perspectives that seldom overlap." I think Gould would agree.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2017
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  6. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    "And the essential thing, psychologically, is that in dreams, fantasies, and other exceptional states of mind the most far-fetched mythological motifs and symbols can appear autochthonously at any time, often, apparently, as the result of particular influences, traditions, and excitations working on the individual, but more often without any sign of them. These "primordial images" or "archetypes," as I have called them, belong to the basic stock of the unconscious psyche and cannot be explained as personal acquisitions. Together they make up that psychic stratum which has been called the collective unconscious.

    The existence of the collective unconscious means that individual consciousness is anything but a tabula rasa and is not immune to predetermining influences. On the contrary, it is in the highest degree influenced by inherited presuppositions, quite apart from the unavoidable influences exerted upon it by the environment. The collective unconscious comprises in itself the psychic life of our ancestors right back to the earliest beginnings. It is the matrix of all conscious psychic occurrences, and hence it exerts an influence that compromises the freedom of consciousness in the highest degree, since it is continually striving to lead all conscious processes back into the old paths."

    Carl Jung, The Significance of Constitution and Heredity in Psychology (November 1929)
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2017
  7. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    "The existence of a common psychic substratum explains why analogous mythological motifs and symbols can be found in religions of all ages and in places very far apart. The point is that these archetypal patterns (such as, for example, the motif of the death and resurrection of the hero, or the symbol for wholeness as represented by the mandala) have not been made by man, nor are they in the first instance due to diffusion, cultural influences or education. Instead, such constellations of ideas have over an immense period of time evolved and become rooted in the depth of the human psyche from where they spontaneously arise even - or perhaps especially - when the conscious mind is inactive and in need of introspection. All our conscious actions, thoughts, imaginations and religious practices have developed from the substratum of these unconscious archetypal images, and they will always remain connected with them.

    Viewing the decorated caves of the Palaeolithic period, we may perhaps be tempted to think of these early artists as 'them' versus 'us', the 'primitive' as contrasted to the 'modern' man. Such simple distinctions are, however, deceptive because as homo sapiens we not only have the same psychic substratum but also the same brain structure. The supposition therefore that so-called 'primitive' man thought or experienced his world in a way that was significantly different from us is not based on fact. True, our consciousness is far more developed than that of our forebears and we may justifiably think of ourselves as modern. All the same, we cannot escape the fact that there is another life in us, one that from our higher but lopsided rational position we either cannot or no longer want to see: our prehistoric past. According to Jung, 'every civilized human being, however high his conscious development, is still an archaic man at the deeper levels of his psyche.' This being the case, what is it then that distinguishes our psychology from that of Ice-age man?"
    The Descent into the Cave by Dr. Ilse Vickers
    http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/cave_art_an_intuition_of_eternity/decent_into_the_cave/index.php

    This is a snippet of an interesting article I stumbled on that shows promise, tying together some of Jung's work on archetypes as applied to Ice Age cave paintings.

    It continues:

    "Briefly, in primitive man the conscious mind is as yet hardly differentiated from the unconscious. We assume that he still lives in a primordial state and in total harmony with his surroundings; he is so tuned in that he can hear the 'voice' of his mountains, his woods, his rivers, etc., and know, for example, when the weather will turn long before it actually happens. Primitive man still has what the French philosopher Levy-Bruhl (1857-1939) termed, a participation mystique, a mystical relationship or identification with his world. As studies into primitive societies that have survived to the present have shown, primitive man is convinced that not only human beings but animals and even objects have a spirit, a soul or a voice, and that all he has to do, is find the right wood, the right piece of land, or rock, etc., and he will hear the voice. Unlike modern man who has learnt to differentiate between the subjective and the objective, primitive man is unable to make such a distinction; for him the subjective and the objective are fused in the external world."

    "Assuming that the cave paintings were depictions made by shamans following such ecstatic experiences, the cave paintings may be seen to reflect the visionaries' mystical experience. Moreover, since the psychological experience springs from the deep layers of the unconscious concerned not with the personal but with the universal, collective problems of humankind, the paintings are of archetypal nature. The remarkable thing is not that the shamans of the Palaeolithic had the visions they did but that they accepted them as divinely or externally inspired, and that accepting them they translated them into mortal form, the art of their rock paintings. The visions captured in the form of paintings seem to point to a higher, archetypal truth. Rather than giving individual stories, they tell of man's intimate relationship with nature, of his understanding of the coming and going of the seasons and the animal herds, and of man's role as hunter that he has played since time immemorial. Perhaps one of the reasons why the paintings communicate such a sense of wholeness is that they are not man-made but divinely-given masterpieces - man was not their creator; he was the emissary of the creation."

    " As soon as we try and dissect the Palaeolithic cave paintings and state that they either mean this or that, we have unravelled the precious and complicated weave of strands, and their true meaning is lost: their treasure lies in their totality. Psychologically speaking, the rock paintings of Ice-age man, like the mystery cults, indeed like all the great religious belief systems are not a matter of the intellect but a psychic experience which expresses itself in symbols. The unconscious - because it is unconscious - can only communicate and be communicated in the form of symbols, visions, dreams, and metaphors. The symbolic language of the unconscious is at the same time a most primitive language, arising from the remote, bestial instinctive spheres of our being, and it is also the language which gives man insights of the highest order, far beyond what our rational mind could produce by itself."

    "One can try to replace symbols and the religious experience which they carry with science but to do so may be an impoverishment: symbols are like a treasure chest and harbour an immense wealth of age-old insights. Moreover, no science will ever be able to create or replace the archetypal language of man's visions as we find them expressed in the form of the arts. No science will ever be able to explain why we feel entranced by the Palaeolithic cave paintings; why they have the power to move us, address our deepest hopes and fears, and help us to momentarily transcend our human limitations."

    "It appears that modern, 'civilized' man's highly differentiated consciousness has come at a price. Modern man's inward path is made difficult by the demands for explanation, logic, justification, profit, use, effect, and so on. However, those willing to push past these obstacles, those with the stamina to brave the downward-inward journey to the unchartered regions of the mind will, like Palaeolithic man, find the 'right' spot, the place of penetration, where all opposites fuse in the divine spark of creation."
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2017
  8. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Ganzfeld Effect: (from Wiki)

    "The ganzfeld effect (from German for “complete field”) or perceptual deprivation, is a phenomenon of perception caused by exposure to an unstructured, uniform stimulation field.[1] The effect is the result of the brain amplifying neural noise in order to look for the missing visual signals.[2] The noise is interpreted in the higher visual cortex, and gives rise to hallucinations.[3]

    It has been most studied with vision by staring at an undifferentiated and uniform field of colour. The visual effect is described as the loss of vision as the brain cuts off the unchanging signal from the eyes. The result is "seeing black",[4] an apparent sense of blindness. A flickering ganzfeld causes geometrical patterns and colors to appear, and this is the working principle for mind machines and the Dreamachine.[5] The ganzfeld effect can also elicit hallucinatory percepts in many people, in addition to an altered state of consciousness.

    Ganzfeld induction in multiple senses is called multi-modal ganzfeld. This is usually done by wearing ganzfeld goggles in addition to headphones with a uniform stimulus.

    A related effect is sensory deprivation, although in this case a stimulus is minimized rather than unstructured. Hallucinations that appear under prolonged sensory deprivation are similar to elementary percepts caused by luminous ganzfeld, and include transient sensations of light flashes or colours. Hallucinations caused by sensory deprivation can, like ganzfeld-induced hallucinations, turn into complex scenes.[5]

    The effect is a component of a Ganzfeld experiment, a technique used in the field of parapsychology.[6]

    In the 1930s, research by psychologist Wolfgang Metzger established that when subjects gazed into a featureless field of vision they consistently hallucinated and their electroencephalograms changed.

    The Ganzfeld effect has been reported since ancient times. The adepts of Pythagoras retreated to pitch-black caves to receive wisdom through their visions,[7] known as the prisoner's cinema. Miners trapped by accidents in mines frequently reported hallucinations, visions and seeing ghosts when they were in the pitch dark for days. Arctic explorers seeing nothing but featureless landscape of white snow for a long time also reported hallucinations and an altered state of mind.[8]"
     
  9. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    http://dbem.ws/Does Psi Exist?.pdf

    Replicable Evidence for an Anomalous Process of Information Transfer, a paper written in 1993 by Daryl J Bem and Charles Honorton

    Another promising looking paper to read on the subject of how our minds work under sensory deprivation such as deep in a cave

    I'm about a quarter of the way through this paper, and so far it is setting up to be very informative regarding this discussion. The subject is Ganzfeld studies as they relate to parapsychology, and I've already seen suggestions that would parallel (though not fully agree with) Thomas' comment elsewhere regarding undirected meditation.

    I can't copy/paste as it is a pdf file, I would have to transcribe the text, and frankly it would be too boring and scholarly, not to mention esoteric, for most people. Those that survive that far, would have to overcome bias to the subject, which seems to me to be comparing parapsychological studies conducted years ago regarding telepathy, when the receiver is in an altered state of consciousness, eg: a state very similar to the hypnogogic state just prior to sleep, meditation, or in these laboratory cases by using the Ganzfeld Effect.

    In short, the Ganzfeld Effect mimics very closely the sensory deprivation one would experience deep in a cave. It is the closing off of external inputs that seem to make one more receptive to psychic signals.

    The Summary begins on page 15. As I understand....extroverted people make better receivers (and the explanation is there), artistic people make better receivers - especially musicians, static and dynamic images were sent and the dynamic (moving) images seemed to send better statistically. The studies did not investigate who made better senders, and what incidental information available (friend v. stranger) was inconclusive. Sex images, for whatever reason, appeared not to send well at all, although this study was interrupted and inconclusive. Receivers with previous experience, eg: meditation, Meyers-Briggs factors of Feeling and Perception, etc., seemed to score better than others.

    The study was totally unrelated to cave art, and no mention of prehistoric psychology was mentioned. So what follows are merely my armchair observations:

    The cave paintings frequently picture animals in motion...this would seem to correspond with the better reception of dynamic moving images. While inconclusive, human sex is seldom represented (occasionally human anatomy, but not the act). This is not including portable art such as the Venus figures. Humans in general in the cave paintings typically are stick figures, and on rare occasion as lycantropes (half-human, half-animal...termed "sorcerors"). Humans are never given the same artistic development afforded animals (to my knowledge). The animals typically are very lifelike, the humans are cartoons.

    There is no way to know what type of persons the artists may have been like circa 10k to 40k years ago, what types of Meyers-Briggs scores they may have had, or what other personality and psychic traits. If we could project a personality that might serve as a Shaman, such person would likely be extroverted (as any religious leader would seem to me), clearly artistic (evident by the paintings themselves), and could be conjectured to be more Perceptive than others. And we already know music was available, and suspected to be a common pastime, though whether a Shaman or cave painter would necessarily be a musician is largely irrelevant.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2017
  10. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Sensory deprivation tanks and rooms are definitely a thing.
     
  11. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Oh yeah...but it goes WAAAAY farther than that.
     
  12. qaz

    qaz New Member

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    the whole , simple point is : if you believe in god in deterministic terms, how do you distinguish between reality and phantasies? i mean, methodologically.
     
  13. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    Welcome aboard, Qaz.

    How do you invent god? Really, that is the question.

    If there is a "god," (that is, if "god" really exists) is it deterministic?

    If there is no "god," why bother?

    Whether belief itself is deterministic really is irrelevant, to this discussion anyway.

    You do have a point with the comment "how do you distinguish between reality and phantasies?" In that, to a pre-"conscious" mind there would be little if any distinction. It is only after we developed symbolic thought that we could segregate and compartmentalize in our minds, to separate the mental wheat from the chaff. So to an ancient mind, all was reality. But fantasy, at least in the modern sense, wouldn't exist...certainly not in the same manner.

    Part is the question "when did humanity learn to deceive?" We have no way to know. We have no way to know when humans first coveted their neighbor's wife, or their neighbor's goods, or their neighbor's cave. We have no way to know when humans first exhibited greed, taking not for need but to have more, and to deprive another.

    I suppose some elements of early human morality could be drawn from social ape studies...like the 800 pound Gorilla sleeps anywhere he wants to. At some point humans grew beyond that, and finding the threshold has been a daunting challenge.
     
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  14. qaz

    qaz New Member

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    indeed the question arises when believers themselves claim any rationality for their faith, that is when they apply measurable concepts as time, or space, or will, or existence - or their own overcoming - to the indemonstrable idea of god.

    in this case , for example, your argument would be sociology.
     
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  15. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    More like Archeological / Sociocultural Anthropology with a dash of Developmental Psychology
     
  16. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    I believe they both are the premise of a movie....the invention of lying.
     
  17. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    LOL

    Not altogether unrelated, but I don't think the threshold level is simple untruth. I've watched chimps hide things from their comrades so they have them for later, otherwise their comrades would take the things. So simple lies...lies of omission, lies to protect oneself...I think have a lesser threshold.

    However once some human learned "he" could deliberately mislead another human, either to his benefit or to their detriment, that raises the bar to an altogether different level. Once humans realized they could deliberately deceive, that would be a marked turning point in the development of the human mind. It would also go far to explain how "god" was invented if "god" doesn't exist. But the nature of the beast makes this an unsolvable riddle.

    If I had to speculate, I would say this would require higher order brain functions, which didn't come around until after the agricultural revolution. But if prehistoric humans were using psychotropic plants to induce Shamanic hallucinations, then that could very likely bump the timeline up considerably.

    This is brief, but shows support for my comment about deception requiring higher order brain function:

    "Although several brain areas appear to play a role in deception, the most consistent finding across multiple fMRI studies is that activity in the prefrontal cortex increases when people lie. The prefrontal cortex, situated just behind the forehead, is a collection of regions responsible for executive control (the ability to regulate thoughts or actions to achieve goals). Executive control includes cognitive processes such as planning, problem solving, and attention — all important components of deception — so it’s no surprise the prefrontal cortex is active when we lie. Dishonesty requires the brain to work harder than honesty, and this effort is reflected by increased brain activity. Studies even show people take longer to respond when lying."
    http://www.brainfacts.org/in-societ...he-truth-about-lies-the-science-of-deception/
     
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  18. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    [​IMG]

    Pech Merle
     
  19. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    [​IMG]

    Apollo 11 Cave, Namibia (SW coast of Africa, dated 25K +/-)
     
  20. juantoo3

    juantoo3 ʎʇıɹoɥʇnɐ uoıʇsǝnb

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    [​IMG]

    Lascaux, Hall of Bulls (dated 14k - 16k +/-)
     

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