Sunday, August 22, 2010

Major discussion with Brap Gronk part 2

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Blogger Brap Gronk said..

Let's try this again. Part 2 of 3: Brap: 6.   
Brap: Humans have wondered about the origins of the earth, the sun, the stars, and themselves for a long time. Many creation myths were developed in ancient times in an attempt to explain these origins, and these creation myths are easily proven to be untrue given the current state of scientific knowledge. The account of creation in the book of Genesis appears to be another easily disproven creation myth.  


my previous answer: 

  Meta: “This is interesting because he takes at face value the creation myth as the point of departure for justification. . . . (1) it assumes that the reason for belief in modern world is the same as the reason for the existence of religion in the ancient world.” Brap: A major factor in both is the carryover of the beliefs of the prior generation. Any original religious beliefs typically lead to schism. “(2) it assumes that religion exists in order to explain where we came from,as though that's the only major question that really concenred ancinet man.”  
 His most recent answer:
 Brap: I think religions came about to explain not only origins but also what happens after death, and what causes weather, natural disasters, disease, etc. But I think the true origin of religion has to do with two things: A) Worship of imaginary gods who controlled the weather and the few other things early humans cared about (such as fertility, or bountiful crops once people started farming.)
 That's demonstrably disproved. The sense of the numinous is real and it can be seen at work in all religion without exception. Since mystics are found in all religions going back as far s we have writings form them, and since the facts about their experiences being totally universal despite their doctrines being different, and the studies that have demonstrates that they habitually relate in the same way to their experiences, the world over; it's pretty obvious that mystical experience and the sense of the numinous has more to do with the reason for religion than does this other stuff, which is really just atheist reading their own interests in scinece into religious history. I've quoted that material before at length. In fact I think I quoted in relation to this discussion with you.


Mystical experince at the root of all religions Transpersonal Childhood Experiences of Higher States of Consciousness: Literature Review and Theoretical Integrationm (unpublished paper 1992 by Jayne Gackenback http://www.sawka.com/spiritwatch/cehsc/ipure.htm
Quotes:

"The experience of pure consciousness is typically called "mystical". The essence of the mystical experience has been debated for years (Horne, 1982). It is often held that "mysticism is a manifestation of something which is at the root of all religions (p. 16; Happold, 1963)." The empirical assessment of the mystical experience in psychology has occurred to a limited extent."






a). Core of Organized Religion


The Mystical Core of Organized Religion

David Steindl-Rast

http://www.csp.org/experience/docs/steindl-mystical.html


 
Brother David Steindl-Rast, O.S.B., is a monk of Mount Savior Monastery in the Finger Lake Region of New York State and a member of the board of the Council on Spiritual Practices. He holds a Ph.D. from the Psychological Institute at the University of Vienna and has practiced Zen with Buddhist masters. His most recent book is Gratefulness, The Heart of Prayer (Ramsey, N.J.: Paulist Press, 1984).

"If the religious pursuit is essentially the human quest for meaning, then these most meaningful moments of human existence must certainly be called "religious." They are, in fact, quickly recognized as the very heart of religion, especially by people who have the good fortune of feeling at home in a religious tradition."

b)What all Religions hold in Common. Cross currents Thomas A Indianopolus prof of Religion at of Miami U. of Ohio http://www.crosscurrents.org/whatisreligion.htm
Quote:

"It is the experience of the transcendent, including the human response to that experience, that creates faith, or more precisely the life of faith. [Huston] Smith seems to regard human beings as having a propensity for faith, so that one speaks of their faith as "innate." In his analysis, faith and transcendence are more accurate descriptions of the lives of religious human beings than conventional uses of the word, religion. The reason for this has to do with the distinction between participant and observer. This is a fundamental distinction for Smith, separating religious people (the participants) from the detached, so-called objective students of religious people (the observers). Smith's argument is that religious persons do not ordinarily have "a religion." The word, religion, comes into usage not as the participant's word but as the observer's word, one that focuses on observable doctrines, institutions, ceremonies, and other practices. By contrast, faith is about the nonobservable, life-shaping vision of transcendence held by a participant..."

Smith considers transcendence to be the one dimension common to all peoples of religious faith: "what they have in common lies not in the tradition that introduces them to transcendence, [not in their faith by which they personally respond, but] in that to which they respond, the transcendent itself..."(11)




 Brap:
Any young tribesman who told the elders it was a waste of time to do a rain dance because the rain is a result of natural processes would have been quite the outcast. As the saying goes, in an insane society, the sane person appears insane. So belief in the false gods persisted and other false gods were added over time.
 I said this before you didn't answer it. That is a fictional account! you have no historical examples at all whatsoever. you made that up because it's the romanticized crap of the enlightenment that philosophies used to flatter themselves as brae and daring and so forth. You  have no evdience that it ever happened. You are also attributing forms of thought to people that they were not capable of. You are assuming there were all these budding young Einsteins out in the boonies herding sheep and discovering the valid reasoning of cause and effect, there's no evidence it ever went down that way.

Then to extrapolate form the fictional romantic reading of history to assume that this is the origin of religion is just silly. This is not social science it's bull shit. Surely an alien from an advanced race light years away who could construct a way to get to earth, must be sociologist, I can't see any other reason why intelligent life would want to come here! So I can't believe advanced alien sociology is so backward!
Then someone had the bright idea of worshipping an omnipotent god who controlled everything, but even that omnipotent God couldn't keep all of his followers on the same page. And B) Religion did help bring people together for common activities during and after the transition from a mostly nomadic species of hunter-gatherers to a more settlement-based society. 
 That's really a Lamarkian account. But myth of worshiping gods is not the origin of religion. Religion is not about gods, it existed a long time before they had gods. This is the Freudian motivations reading themselves into history to do battle with the father. In other words atheists are so hung up on hating their own fathers (which psychologists have predicted) that they become focused on fighting the father figure in religion. Even if a particular atheist had a good relationship with a good father (I did, I was an atheist I had a great Dad), those Freudian motivations are still there so even people with healthy relations can get hung up on opposing the father figure. Before they had gods religions had spirits, and they used mazes and the hunt as focal points of sense of the numinous. They weren't trying to explain anything except why they had this sense of something behind it all. Everything they did was at an organic level, the mysteries of birth, life, and death, the need for wholeness and complication and integration with nature and the cosmos this what lies behind it all. They experienced it as an organic whole in daily life, not some question they could set aside and debate. There are labyrinths in Scandinavia that go back to late megalithic times. The labyrinth was an ancient symbol of the journey of life and used in religious devotion and markings as far back as we find any evidence of humanity. That's the origin of those Celtic lines we see decorating megalithic tombs in the British Isles. It wasn't about "why does it rain?" It was about life, read the Ideonopolis quote from above."By contrast, faith is about the nonobservable, life-shaping vision of transcendence held by a participant..."

article on labyrinths
 (this article is a bunch of new age blather but it demonstrates the spiritual connection to labyrinths and some of their presence in ancient times). In researching my book, The Trace of God (soon to be released) I found evidence of stone age mazes and labyrinths that indicate the spiritual connection going back into pre history.


 Meta:
“(3) since they assume science is the only form of knowledge they assume that scinece must be the origin of all human thought.” Brap: Quite the contrary, I know the human brain is quite capable of thinking up non-sciencey stuff. “(4) it assumes creation myths are the actual accretion of ancient religious wisdom” 
Brap: It doesn’t really matter to me whether a creation myth is the accretion of ancient religious wisdom, the foundation of a religion, or just a side story. The fact that the creation story in Genesis was generally accepted as fact only until the evidence against it became overwhelming, and is still accepted as fact by some people, is troublesome.
It is only so due to the fundie baggage that says everything in the Bible must be literal history and must be true in a literalistic way. Why should the fact of mythological symbols that speak to the psche wrapped in an ancient myth spell any sort of problem with belief in God? That's especially so when we consider that no one really believes BECAUSE of such myths? I don't know anyone who says "I was an atheist until I read about Adam and Eve boy that really conveniences me." It's just a simple matter these myths clinging to a tradition becuase people forgot what they are for and began to push them literal history in response to historical happenstance (Darwin). The whole point of being liberal in the theological sense is to analyze accurately the historical nature of faith, separate the historical baggage from the acute bits, and move toward some sort of progressive understanding. You can't do that if you are not prepared to find that there actually is some baggage to move beyond!
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7 comments:

Brap Gronk said...

Brap: I think the true origin of religion has to do with two things: A) Worship of imaginary gods who controlled the weather and the few other things early humans cared about (such as fertility, or bountiful crops once people started farming.)

Meta: "That's demonstrably disproved. The sense of the numinous is real and it can be seen at work in all religion without exception."

Ok, so the earliest humans had mystical experiences and a sense of the numinous, and people still do, and the effects of these experiences are verifiable and universal. The human mind is very powerful and can have verifiable physiological effects on the body, but nothing outside of the mind is required for that to happen, just the brain functioning at a conscious or subconscious level. Thinking it so does not make it so outside of the brain. The placebo effect has no impact on the chemical makeup of the placebo. It may be viewed as mind over matter, but no supernatural connection is required. The mind (brain) is physically connected to the matter (body).

But even though religion originated due to a sense of the numinous, the most that can do is make the deist position rational. Once this deity or being started getting credit for all sorts of natural events that are easily explained today without the supernatural, and humans started expressing what they believed to be the desires of this deity, which then let them claim to have a valid reason for enforcing those alleged desires, that's where religion veers into nonsense land.

Brap: Any young tribesman who told the elders it was a waste of time to do a rain dance because the rain is a result of natural processes would have been quite the outcast. As the saying goes, in an insane society, the sane person appears insane. So belief in the false gods persisted and other false gods were added over time.

Meta: "I said this before you didn't answer it. That is a fictional account! you have no historical examples at all whatsoever. you made that up because it's the romanticized crap of the enlightenment that philosophies used to flatter themselves as brae and daring and so forth. You have no evdience that it ever happened."

I don't understand why a documented account is necessary to present my point about the unlikelihood of a lone dissenting opinion gaining a foothold in an ancient society with generations of belief in the supernatural in its past. I bring this up to counter any notion that the persistence of religion through the ages was due to the people in successive generations experiencing a sense of the numinous or having mystical experiences independent of cultural influences. Could it not be true that the rituals that developed as a result of early mystical experiences had an enabling effect on future generations who experienced such rituals starting at birth?

I'm not saying that nobody has a mystical experience independent of their upbringing, I'm just saying you can't ignore the effect of a person's prior experiences and current sensory input on the likelihood of their having a mystical experience. In other words, the confounding factors might be hard to control in a controlled study. But I haven't read the details of your 200+ studies, so maybe they did.

Meta: "The whole point of being liberal in the theological sense is to analyze accurately the historical nature of faith, separate the historical baggage from the acute bits, and move toward some sort of progressive understanding. You can't do that if you are not prepared to find that there actually is some baggage to move beyond!"

Ok, you win, now I'm a deist. But I still think every religion is baggage created by humans. That's why atheists tend to focus on the stuff that differentiates one religion from another. They aren't usually debating a deist, they're debating a person who follows a specific religion.

Metacrock said...

Brap: I think the true origin of religion has to do with two things: A) Worship of imaginary gods who controlled the weather and the few other things early humans cared about (such as fertility, or bountiful crops once people started farming.)

sense of the numinous is the origin of religion. that's proved by empirical study. The idea that it's all about explaining nature was disproved way back in the mid 20th century by people like Joseph Campbell and Eliade.

Metacrock said...

Ok, so the earliest humans had mystical experiences and a sense of the numinous, and people still do, and the effects of these experiences are verifiable and universal. The human mind is very powerful and can have verifiable physiological effects on the body, but nothing outside of the mind is required for that to happen, just the brain functioning at a conscious or subconscious level.


Your clutching at straws.your ideology tells you religion has to be a trick of the mind so you are not willing to consider the empirical evidence and you are ignoring the facts that proved by research.

(1) no research has yielded a link demonstrating how a trick of the mind or brain chemistry can produce long term transformation effects.

a) nothing else does it in other venue, why would it be naturalistic in that one alone?

b) not mental illness because mental illness is degerative not transformative

c) you can't just chalk it up to some unproved humanistic wish about "the power of the mind" because there is no research to support it. Moreover,if that were the case why doesn't work with other things, it doesn't, not to the extent that it does with religious experience. Other things are transformational but they are not a seamless harmony of universal experience timed to work in conjunction with a regular standardized experience.
if that was the case people would solve their own problems all the time apart form any beliefs.

(2)you cannot attribute the universality to the human mind, if were the case there would be no differing languages or cultural differences.

(3) when anthropologists encounter things that are universal they attribute them to genes. There is gene that anyone has discovered for having mystical experiences, let alone for having informativeness effects.

(4) if there was such a gene it would make a dandy design argument.




Thinking it so does not make it so outside of the brain. The placebo effect has no impact on the chemical makeup of the placebo.


My book disproves the Placebo effect. I spent several pages on it and lot of research. One major point I will share here (for the others buy my book) Placebo requires expectation and about half mystical experiences are not expected.


It may be viewed as mind over matter, but no supernatural connection is required. The mind (brain) is physically connected to the matter (body).


that's your ideology talking, there is a supernatural link because that's what the supernatural IS. that's the actual thing itself that the term was invented for. that's it that's what supernatural is it's these experiences.

you are making the mistake I dispelled earlier about thinking that expediences have to be miracles. This is where God working through the natural comes in.

the actual expedience is related to brain chemistry it's the effects that can't be explained. The long term effects of having had the experience, that is not explained by any research.

Metacrock said...

But even though religion originated due to a sense of the numinous, the most that can do is make the deist position rational. Once this deity or being started getting credit for all sorts of natural events that are easily explained today without the supernatural, and humans started expressing what they believed to be the desires of this deity, which then let them claim to have a valid reason for enforcing those alleged desires, that's where religion veers into nonsense land.


that's a straw man argument. You set up the false idea of what you (atheist) think god is about then when that doesn't pan out you claim it's disrupted.

the only thing that disproves is the unfounded atheist assertions and straw man arguments about the nature of religion.

Metacrock said...

I don't understand why a documented account is necessary to present my point about the unlikelihood of a lone dissenting opinion gaining a foothold in an ancient society with generations of belief in the supernatural in its past.

becasue you are ignoring the facts about the way religion really developed, and why, to bolster a romanticized account that places the atheist in the role of liberation hero.

Brap Gronk said...

Brap (previously): "But even though religion originated due to a sense of the numinous, the most that can do is make the deist position rational. Once this deity or being started getting credit for all sorts of natural events that are easily explained today without the supernatural, and humans started expressing what they believed to be the desires of this deity, which then let them claim to have a valid reason for enforcing those alleged desires, that's where religion veers into nonsense land."

Meta: "that's a straw man argument. You set up the false idea of what you (atheist) think god is about then when that doesn't pan out you claim it's disrupted. the only thing that disproves is the unfounded atheist assertions and straw man arguments about the nature of religion."

So what have non-straw men done to make a rational person move beyond a deist position (based on mystical and/or religious experiences) and believe in any particular religion?

Metacrock said...

Brap (previously): "But even though religion originated due to a sense of the numinous, the most that can do is make the deist position rational.

I don't see how that follows; its' really contradiction to deism because deism doesn't allow for personal contact with God.


Once this deity or being started getting credit for all sorts of natural events that are easily explained today without the supernatural, and humans started expressing what they believed to be the desires of this deity, which then let them claim to have a valid reason for enforcing those alleged desires, that's where religion veers into nonsense land."

Jumping across a grand canon of logic. There's nothing that initially appears to be naturalistic about it, that's not what I said. I said if some aspect is associated with naturalistic phenomena that doesn't prove god is not involved.

I also said there have to be aspects to it that make it stand apart form the natural, and that's exactly what the outcomes do.



Meta: "that's a straw man argument. You set up the false idea of what you (atheist) think god is about then when that doesn't pan out you claim it's disrupted. the only thing that disproves is the unfounded atheist assertions and straw man arguments about the nature of religion."

So what have non-straw men done to make a rational person move beyond a deist position (based on mystical and/or religious experiences) and believe in any particular religion?


that's silly. That's a loaded circular question. You are assuming your premises are true because one part of potion was redefined, and that didn't change basic position.

you haven't proved it has anything to do with deism and in fact it contradicts it.


the assertion of your question what have non straw men done" implies that a straw man argument is becomes valid if alternatives to it cant' be validated (which You have not proved they can't) but a straw man is still a fallacy.