• christian2017
    1.2k
    I'm sure i'm far from the first to have this idea but perhaps religion began because humans have more
    complex speech/communication than most animals, and....

    thus

    1. we understood death better than other animals in terms of communicating decomposure and physical details associated with it.

    2. we feared death more because abstract thought tends to encourage severe depression. (how many animals commit suicide?)

    3. we were a social animal so we felt the need to encourage good behavior in these small tribes. Primitive people are more prone to resort to religion to encourage ethics.

    Anyone read Noah Harrari's "Sapiens".

    Questions and comments?
  • praxis
    2k
    I’ve read Sapiens.

    1) I suppose that’s true.

    2) Prolonged anxiety may have a tendency to lead to clinical depression. Sapiens may be unique in our capacity for existential angst.

    3) Social critters encourage 'good behavior' without utilizing religion, as did sapiens prior to developing it. 'Advanced' societies utilize religion and other shared fictions.

    Not sure where this is going or what the point may be. The gist of Sapiens is the theory that shared fictions like religion or money help to bind groups in cooperative behavior and that this has proven to be an extremely successful survival strategy.
  • 180 Proof
    900
    The gist of Sapiens is the theory that shared fictions like religion or money help to bind groups in cooperative behavior and that this has proven to be an extremely successful survival strategy.praxis
    :up:
  • christian2017
    1.2k


    My assumption is you know the onion is a parody website. Yeah i'll read the article. The onion is very often funny.
  • christian2017
    1.2k


    I watched parts of it. Thats funny. Abstract thought leads to depression which is why i would argue humans are more prone to depression than most animals.
  • Harry Hindu
    2.8k
    I'm sure i'm far from the first to have this idea but perhaps religion began because humans have more
    complex speech/communication than most animals, and....

    thus

    1. we understood death better than other animals in terms of communicating decomposure and physical details associated with it.

    2. we feared death more because abstract thought tends to encourage severe depression. (how many animals commit suicide?)

    3. we were a social animal so we felt the need to encourage good behavior in these small tribes. Primitive people are more prone to resort to religion to encourage ethics.
    christian2017

    1. If we understood death, we wouldn't need religion. Religion is a knee-jerk knowledge-gap-filler. When our ancestors didn't understand something (which was a lot), they asserted a religion.

    2. Exactly. We fear what we don't understand. Religion alleviates that fear for a lot of people still today

    3. Absolutely. As Praxis pointed out,
    that shared fictions like religion or money help to bind groups in cooperative behavior and that this has proven to be an extremely successful survival strategy.praxis

    But then this raises another question: Is religion a viable source of encouraging ethical behavior today? If not, then what changed - the religions, or us?

    4. I'm adding another point as to the origin of religion: Humans are inherently self-centered. We believe the world was made just for us, and that there is a plan, or purpose, made just for us.

    It seems to me that art, ethics, rights and political ideology also fall into that same category of "fictions that help bind groups in cooperative behaviors." What about science? Is science a shared fiction? Has science proved to be an even better survival strategy? If so, then maybe "extremely successful" isn't a proper characteristic of the outcome of shared fictions. How do we know that we wouldn't have been more successful if our ancestors adopted science instead of religion?
  • christian2017
    1.2k
    I'm sure i'm far from the first to have this idea but perhaps religion began because humans have more
    complex speech/communication than most animals, and....

    thus

    1. we understood death better than other animals in terms of communicating decomposure and physical details associated with it.

    2. we feared death more because abstract thought tends to encourage severe depression. (how many animals commit suicide?)

    3. we were a social animal so we felt the need to encourage good behavior in these small tribes. Primitive people are more prone to resort to religion to encourage ethics.
    — christian2017

    1. If we understood death, we wouldn't need religion. Religion is a knee-jerk knowledge-gap-filler. When our ancestors didn't understand something (which was a lot), they asserted a religion.

    2. Exactly. We fear what we don't understand. Religion alleviates that fear for a lot of people still today

    3. Absolutely. As Praxis pointed out,
    that shared fictions like religion or money help to bind groups in cooperative behavior and that this has proven to be an extremely successful survival strategy.
    — praxis

    But then this raises another question: Is religion a viable source of encouraging ethical behavior today? If not, then what changed - the religions, or us?

    4. I'm adding another point as to the origin of religion: Humans are inherently self-centered. We believe the world was made just for us, and that there is a plan, or purpose, made just for us.

    ↪praxis It seems to me that ethics, rights and political ideology also fall into that same category of "fictions that help bind groups in cooperative behaviors." What about science? Is science a shared fiction? Has science proved to be an even better survival strategy? If so, then maybe "extremely successful" isn't a proper characteristic of the outcome of shared fictions. How do we know that we wouldn't have been more successful if our ancestors adopted science instead of religion?
    Harry Hindu

    The hunter gatherers had limited knowledge so saying they are just simply selfish is an oversimplification.

    They understood death better than the animals that were less verbally talented but they didn't understand death the way you or i do.

    How would our ancestors have adopted science (considering scientific understanding is a spectrum?)?

    In the beginning it was hard to get writing materials and a phonetic alphabet came with time and these two things are very important for science. The Native Americans didn't have these as far as i know which is why just like everyone else they resorted to religion.
  • Harry Hindu
    2.8k
    The hunter gatherers had limited knowledge so saying they are just simply selfish is an oversimplification.christian2017
    I didn't say, "selfish". I said self-centered. There's a difference. It seems to me an inherent human quality to think oneself as "important", or "valuable". These are subjective, mental properties that we project onto the world that isn't important or valuable. It just is.

    They understood death better than the animals that were less verbally talented but they didn't understand death the way you or i do.christian2017
    They didn't "understand" death. They were aware of it, but didn't understand it. There's a difference. If they understood it, then how did they understand it other than how their religion described it?

    Also, language isn't needed for understanding. Understanding is needed in order to learn a language, so understanding is prior to language-use.

    How would our ancestors have adopted science (considering scientific understanding is a spectrum?)?christian2017
    By making observations of the world and making sure that they aren't projecting their wants and needs (like being accepted in the social group) onto what it is they are observing.

    In the beginning it was hard to get writing materials and a phonetic alphabet came with time and these two things are very important for science. The Native Americans didn't have these as far as i know which is why just like everyone else they resorted to religion.christian2017
    At root, science identifies and integrates sensory evidence (which is the nature of reason). Science is essentially based, not on experiment, but on observation and logic; the act of looking under a rock or into a telescope is the quintessentially scientific act. So is the act of observing and thinking about your own mental processes--a scientific act is completely private. (Proof of one's conclusions to others comes later, but that is argumentative, not inquisitive.) Science is willing to accept and integrate information from any observational source, without concern about persuading other people.
  • christian2017
    1.2k
    The hunter gatherers had limited knowledge so saying they are just simply selfish is an oversimplification.
    — christian2017
    I didn't say, "selfish". I said self-centered. There's a difference. It seems to me an inherent human quality to think oneself as "important", or "valuable". These are subjective, mental properties that we project onto the world that isn't important or valuable. It just is.
    Harry Hindu

    I understand there can be a difference based on context, however self-centered is sometimes used to mean selfish.
  • christian2017
    1.2k
    They understood death better than the animals that were less verbally talented but they didn't understand death the way you or i do.
    — christian2017
    They didn't "understand" death. They were aware of it, but didn't understand it. There's a difference. If they understood it, then how did they understand it other than how their religion described it?

    Also, language isn't needed for understanding. Understanding is needed in order to learn a language, so understanding is prior to language-use.
    Harry Hindu

    Considering this is conjecture on both our parts, how would either of us prove it either way. The forum topic was food for thought. But once again neither of us can prove to what extent they understood death. To some measure they did, because understanding is a spectrum.
  • christian2017
    1.2k
    How would our ancestors have adopted science (considering scientific understanding is a spectrum?)?
    — christian2017
    By making observations of the world and making sure that they aren't projecting their wants and needs (like being accepted in the social group) onto what it is they are observing.

    In the beginning it was hard to get writing materials and a phonetic alphabet came with time and these two things are very important for science. The Native Americans didn't have these as far as i know which is why just like everyone else they resorted to religion.
    — christian2017
    At root, science identifies and integrates sensory evidence (which is the nature of reason). Science is essentially based, not on experiment, but on observation and logic; the act of looking under a rock or into a telescope is the quintessentially scientific act. So is the act of observing and thinking about your own mental processes--a scientific act is completely private. (Proof of one's conclusions to others comes later, but that is argumentative, not inquisitive.) Science is willing to accept and integrate information from any observational source, without concern about persuading other people.
    Harry Hindu

    True. But how would you expect these early hunter gatherers to make this leap without alot of knowledge considering they didn't have a writing system.

    Have you ever read Noah Harrari's "Sapiens". He argues one of the things that enabled cohesion on a massive scale among humans was fictional concepts like money(gold) and religion.
  • praxis
    2k
    It seems to me that art, ethics, rights and political ideology also fall into that same category of "fictions that help bind groups in cooperative behaviors." What about science? Is science a shared fiction? Has science proved to be an even better survival strategy? If so, then maybe "extremely successful" isn't a proper characteristic of the outcome of shared fictions. How do we know that we wouldn't have been more successful if our ancestors adopted science instead of religion?Harry Hindu

    I'm thinking that the 'glue' of a shared fiction is in the perceived value or 'promise', if you will, that it contains. Things like money and religion are very different things, yet they function to provide cooperative behavior across the globe, and I imagine the common denominator is value, or rather, the promise of value. For instance, you identify as a Libertarian and by identifying as such you are in a sense making a promise that you will act in particular ways. If a group of sapiens all agree to act in a particular way, to cooperate across the globe, that is obviously very powerful.

    Scientists across the globe cooperate using the same method and this is clearly powerful for any number of applications, but any particular application? Philosophers across the globe cooperate and exchange ideas, but do they agree on any particular philosophy?

    If someone identifies as a scientist or philosopher what can I expect from them? I can expect that they value rationality and that's good because I also value rationality. Still, they may have all sorts of beliefs and values that I don't share. The designation of scientist or philosopher is not specific enough to have much meaning for me. Currently, if someone identified as a stoic I'd be very interested in being their friend.
  • 180 Proof
    900
    I'm thinking that the 'glue' of a shared fiction is in the perceived value or 'promise', if you will, that it contains. Things like money and religion are very different things, yet they function to provide cooperative behavior across the globe, and I imagine the common denominator is value, or rather, the 'promise'of value. [ ... ] If a group of sapiens all agree to act in a particular way, to cooperate across the globe, that is obviously very powerful.praxis
    :up:

    Re: 'institutional facts' - public promises - whereby 'is' entails 'ought' (Searle, et al), no?
  • praxis
    2k


    Institutional facts arise out of collective intentionality. With this understanding, how would you say something like religion develops?
  • christian2017
    1.2k
    I’ve read Sapiens.

    1) I suppose that’s true.

    2) Prolonged anxiety may have a tendency to lead to clinical depression. Sapiens may be unique in our capacity for existential angst.

    3) Social critters encourage 'good behavior' without utilizing religion, as did sapiens prior to developing it. 'Advanced' societies utilize religion and other shared fictions.

    Not sure where this is going or what the point may be. The gist of Sapiens is the theory that shared fictions like religion or money help to bind groups in cooperative behavior and that this has proven to be an extremely successful survival strategy.
    praxis

    Oh wow, i missed this post probably because my feed didn't give an alert.

    How would you prove social critters don't have some irrational or fictional beliefs related to images considering they can't communicate with us. I'm not saying they have religion but they do have irrational or fictional beliefs. At the very least you could say they aren't the best at survival nor can they predict certain things as well as we can. However the common religious concept is that if something is done dumb it shouldn't be punished too bad for its wrong doing or it's stupid act because its dumb.

    The book sapiens said religion probably began in some form (in some form) with hunter gatherers.

    As to "where this is going": we are all supposed to keep an open mind or rational people tend to push people off of sites like this. Considering atheism argues for an eternity without feeling, i'm not sure there would be negative repercussions to find out there was no god or afterlife.
  • praxis
    2k
    How would you prove social critters don't have some irrational or fictional beliefs related to images considering they can't communicate with us. I'm not saying they have religion but they do have irrational or fictional beliefs.christian2017

    I'm sure social animals can be conditioned to have maladaptive responses to situations and in that way be considered irrational. And social animals can communicate with us. My dog and I communicate daily with body language and verbally. We don't philosophize about the existence of God together but our communication has the virtue of lacking all human bullshit, at least from his side.

    At the very least you could say they aren't the best at survival nor can they predict certain things as well as we can.christian2017

    Just looking at dogs, it's estimated that there are almost a billion in the world. There are 7.8 billion sapiens. So canine survival ain't too shabby by comparison. In some ways, dogs are better predictors than we are because their minds aren't preoccupied with ruminating about human bullshit. Dogs pick up on subtle patterns that most people would miss and they respond instantly to those patterns.

    I think you mean abstract thought or mental simulation rather than prediction.

    As to "where this is going": we are all supposed to keep an open mind or rational people tend to push people off of sites like this.christian2017

    It is a philosophy forum, after all.

    Considering atheism argues for an eternity without feeling, i'm not sure there would be negative repercussions to find out there was no god or afterlife.christian2017

    The repercussion is commonly believed to be, in a word, nihilism.

    Not sure what you mean by "atheism argues for an eternity without feeling."
  • christian2017
    1.2k
    How would you prove social critters don't have some irrational or fictional beliefs related to images considering they can't communicate with us. I'm not saying they have religion but they do have irrational or fictional beliefs.
    — christian2017

    I'm sure social animals can be conditioned to have maladaptive responses to situations and in that way be considered irrational. And social animals can communicate with us. My dog and I communicate daily with body language and verbally. We don't philosophize about the existence of God together but our communication has the virtue of lacking all human bullshit, at least from his side.

    At the very least you could say they aren't the best at survival nor can they predict certain things as well as we can.
    — christian2017

    Just looking at dogs, it's estimated that there are almost a billion in the world. There are 7.8 billion sapiens. So canine survival ain't too shabby by comparison. In some ways, dogs are better predictors than we are because their minds aren't preoccupied with ruminating about human bullshit. Dogs pick up on subtle patterns that most people would miss and respond instantly to them.

    I think you mean abstract thought or mental simulation rather than prediction.

    As to "where this is going": we are all supposed to keep an open mind or rational people tend to push people off of sites like this.
    — christian2017

    It is a philosophy forum, after all.

    Considering atheism argues for an eternity without feeling, i'm not sure there would be negative repercussions to find out there was no god or afterlife.
    — christian2017

    The repercussion is commonly believed to be, in a word, nihilism.

    Not sure what you mean by "atheism argues for an eternity without feeling."
    praxis

    the dog or in other words domesticated wolf is at the mercy of humans. Most wolves have been wiped out just as some say humans wiped out some of our precursors (not whether or not this is true). Dawkins claims wolves and dogs are essentially the same species because when they mate they produce offspring that is not infertile. There are 5 types of grizzly bears and one type of grizzly bear can mate with a polar bear and produce fertile offspring.

    Most animals that can naturally survive are usually animals that humans produce on farms or animals that humans domesticate. Some would say its not survival of the fittest but survival of the domesticated.
    I believe in aliens so perhaps we are all domesticated by aliens.

    Cock Roaches, bacteria and viruses break this mold however.
  • christian2017
    1.2k
    Considering atheism argues for an eternity without feeling, i'm not sure there would be negative repercussions to find out there was no god or afterlife.
    — christian2017

    The repercussion is commonly believed to be, in a word, nihilism.

    Not sure what you mean by "atheism argues for an eternity without feeling."
    praxis

    "without feeling". Many would say when you die you don't feel or feel pain or happiness.
  • praxis
    2k
    Many would say when you die you don't feel or feel pain or happiness.christian2017

    But not necessarily atheists, who hold that a god or gods don’t exist. An atheist may subscribe to a metaphysics that in some way allows for a continuation of being after death, for instance. Maybe something like simulation theory, or Buddhism minus the gods.
  • christian2017
    1.2k
    Many would say when you die you don't feel or feel pain or happiness.
    — christian2017

    But not necessarily atheists, who hold that a god or gods don’t exist. An atheist may subscribe to a metaphysics that in some way allows for a continuation of being after death, for instance. Maybe something like simulation theory, or Buddhism minus the gods.
    praxis

    Some forms of hinduism don't have gods. Buddhism being derived from hinduism may have certain sects like that too.

    I actually met a "neighbor" in college who was athiest but yet he said he had dreams alot of time that told him what would happen the next day or somewhat in the future.

    So basically what your telling me is some atheists are open to a punishment after life just like religionists are very often open to a punishment after life. I'm really not sure we can say that atheists don't subscribe to faith and not even in the sense that they are at all different from religionists. I used to say that if a person just believes a scientist without doing their own research that that person has faith. This brings a whole new level to the concept of a atheist having faith. I'm not sure any person is completely free from the concept of faith. If i walk outside and see a butt ugly man like the man in Isaiah 53 (Jesus Christ) and we have a conversation, who is to claim i'm an outright idiot for not just claiming its a hallucination?

    If a person's science can't be proven at this point in time or this point in history, that person has faith.
  • praxis
    2k
    I'm really not sure we can say that atheists don't subscribe to faith and not even in the sense that they are at all different from religionists.christian2017

    I agree that an atheist can be just as irrational as any theist, if that’s what you’re suggesting. And we do indeed all have shared fictions, some deeper and more influential than others. Religion tends to cut deep. I assume that’s because it offers structure, ultimate authority, and big promises.
  • I like sushi
    2k
    I highly recommend reading ‘The Sacred and The Profane’ by Mircea Eliade if you haven’t already.
  • christian2017
    1.2k
    I'm really not sure we can say that atheists don't subscribe to faith and not even in the sense that they are at all different from religionists.
    — christian2017

    I agree that an atheist can be just as irrational as any theist, if that’s what you’re suggesting. And we do indeed all have shared fictions, some deeper and more influential than others. Religion tends to cut deep. I assume that’s because it offers structure, ultimate authority, and big promises.
    praxis

    Big promises? Communist russia and communist china atleast at its inception made big promises. The book of Revelation says that socialism will eventually take hold so i'm not sure how hard we should fight it (also considering globalism and automation). Are you familiar with the propaganda regarding a futuristic society in the early 20th century in Russia?

    Structure will be in government whether you have religion or not. Money is a legal fiction and everyone either needs money, wants money, or wants money and needs money. Even gold is a fiction in the sense that when the spanish brought back american gold to the old world it cost massive inflation in europe. Gold is only useful to some extent in electronics and in fact even if we didn't have gold, it can be replaced with other things in the case of electronics. A motherboard doesn't have alot of gold anyway.

    Government is an ultimate authority and very often even more so when there is no religion. If you remove religion power doesn't also disapear.
  • christian2017
    1.2k
    I highly recommend reading ‘The Sacred and The Profane’ by Mircea Eliade if you haven’t already.I like sushi

    Alright, thank you. I'll add that to my journal and either get it at the local library when the library opens back up or if its cheap i'll get it at amazon.

    Considering walmart and amazon are both owned by essentially the same international bean counters (stock holders very often and to some extent all share the same common interest atleast in this modern age), i have no problem shopping at walmart/target/amazon. I don't view them as separate companies. Even Best Buy which is significantly different from Walmart probably has strong ties to Walmart/Target in the sense that they all share atleast some of the same stockholders to some extent. I do believe there are fiscally conservative law modifications that can be made that would also enable the poor to be self sufficient, but i'm not going to go into great detail right now because, this is off topic. I could have summarized all this with "and yes i do shop at amazon", but instead i gave you the long answer. My assumption is you are a liberal, so you might have appreciated this stab at modern (modern) capitalism.
  • 180 Proof
    900
    Institutional facts arise out of collective intentionality. How would you say something like religion develops with this understanding?praxis
    Um ... "out of collective intentionality"? :chin:
  • TheMadFool
    5.3k
    Perhaps if we come at this from a Q & A perspective, it'll leave us with a different impression.

    The Q, the question, is simply, "whence all this?" This question seeks, if nothing else, an explanation, for all there is - the whole of existence from the atom to the universe - and the evidence, that this was the burning issue for "primitive" people, is that early religions were simply personifications of nature (nature worship?)

    The A, the answer, depends on our place in the timeline of history. For "primitive" people, god(s) was/were the perfect answer(s) to the question posed above. Not so for the modern man who, on the whole, finds the divine explanation less than satisfactory and seeks answers elsewhere - perhaps in science.

    Ergo, in terms of the question, there's no difference between a shaman living 10,000 years ago and a modern, highly educated scientist but only in terms of the answer, does the distinction "primitive" vs "modern" make sense.
  • Txastopher
    189
    The Q, the question, is simply, "whence all this?"TheMadFool

    Indeed. Our ability to imagine and hypothesise demands causal explanation of observable phenomena.

    The gradual acceptation and formal transmission of the scientific method and its need for observable causes pushed unobservable, ineffable and supernatural causes into a sphere only accessible by faith.

    The godly personifications of natural phenomena were the first hypotheses of a hypothesising species. As better hypotheses come into play it is only sentimentality and power that can explain the resistance to paradigmatic shifts in understanding.

    This leaves religion and philosophy to fight over the explanations of the thus far unexplained.
  • christian2017
    1.2k
    Perhaps if we come at this from a Q & A perspective, it'll leave us with a different impression.

    The Q, the question, is simply, "whence all this?" This question seeks, if nothing else, an explanation, for all there is - the whole of existence from the atom to the universe - and the evidence, that this was the burning issue for "primitive" people, is that early religions were simply personifications of nature (nature worship?)

    The A, the answer, depends on our place in the timeline of history. For "primitive" people, god(s) was/were the perfect answer(s) to the question posed above. Not so for the modern man who, on the whole, finds the divine explanation less than satisfactory and seeks answers elsewhere - perhaps in science.

    Ergo, in terms of the question, there's no difference between a shaman living 10,000 years ago and a modern, highly educated scientist but only in terms of the answer, does the distinction "primitive" vs "modern" make sense.
    TheMadFool

    I actually almost completely agree with this. A regular engineer has 94.blah blah blah percent accuracy and a NASA engineer is above 99. blah blah blah percent accuracy. Minor details can destroy a system. The modern scientist while much less prone to error can still make huge mistakes by missing critical details. NASA isn't perfect its just much much much less prone to error.
  • TheMadFool
    5.3k
    I actually almost completely agree with this. A regular engineer has 94.blah blah blah percent accuracy and a NASA engineer is above 99. blah blah blah percent accuracy. Minor details can destroy a system. The modern scientist while much less prone to error can still make huge mistakes by missing critical details. NASA isn't perfect its just much much much less prone to error.christian2017

    Well, I was hoping you'd say the error in the answer was less important than the question itself.
  • christian2017
    1.2k
    I actually almost completely agree with this. A regular engineer has 94.blah blah blah percent accuracy and a NASA engineer is above 99. blah blah blah percent accuracy. Minor details can destroy a system. The modern scientist while much less prone to error can still make huge mistakes by missing critical details. NASA isn't perfect its just much much much less prone to error.
    — christian2017

    Well, I was hoping you'd say the error in the answer was less important than the question itself.
    TheMadFool

    I wasn't saying there was an error, my implication was the ancient shaman is severely flawed in comparison to the scientist but they have similar goals and each is somewhat right. My assumption is you agree with that to some extent.
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment