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Columbia Atheists Message Board › humansRanimals

humansRanimals

Tim P.
user 13502827
Columbia, MO
Post #: 3
It just easier to be religious isn't it. Free's you up from and personal responsibility. "it's not my fault the devil did it". Saves time "The Smiths are losing their house...lets pray for them." (now we don't really have to help it's in God's hands) Can be ruthless...."well hey I screwed him on that deal...but I'll be in Church on Sunday" can feel that you have a purpose.. "Lets see..I'm a loser at everything I do but a hero in my church" Get to be an authority on something you really don't know about. "I have sat in Church for years and you should listen to me & take that walk to Jesus Christ..blah blah blah...." & you get to put yourself above every other living creature because you are a human and god has gave us a soul thats why we aren't just like every other living creature on this planet......but if you go out in the world its hard not to believe in evolution...unfortunately i think we are going the other way these days....


just a rant....thanks for reading....i wanna see how many of you are on here & like to throw your dog in a fight :)
Ziggy B.
user 13557918
Columbia, MO
Post #: 1
One of my evolutionary psychology ideas is that we have these non-neutral (evolved with a bias) neural networks which govern our thought and the way in which we behave. When we see, hear, and smell people as we converse (when our sense organs are stimulated by people around us) these non-neutral neural networks produce molecules which are then transmitted to other neural networks. These latter networks eventually produce sensations which we have named. We have given those sensations names like emotion, anxiety, joy, anger, happiness, etc.

As a consequence of our advanced technology we now separate ourselves from those with who we interact. We influence them in ways which do not engage our full array of evolved non-neutral neural nets. For example, we drive vehicles in which we feel as we always felt in the long evolutionary time, but when the vehicle which contains another person darts in front of us we act without the full engagement of those non-neutral neural networks which would have been fully active were the other person to have approached more sedately on foot and not encased in a vehicle. Sidewalk rage seldom happens.

But when a car darts in front of our car the feelings our bodies generate are not modified as they would have been if that other person were fully visible and sensed by us as he would have been sensed in the long evolutionary time. We see a car, to our non-neutral evolved brain it doesn’t register as human. We never hear the other drives voice of greeting. We don’t hear the sound of feet walking or running. The non-neutral neural networks don’t identify the auto as a person. It is only as an intellectual (neutral plastic neural networks) matter that we know a person is maneuvering the vehicle which cuts us off.

In this new highly technological world in which we did not evolve but in which we must live, without the usual ancient physical context our non-neutral neural networks produce sensations which would not have been produced in the world which existed before these recent technological developments (notice that I didn’t call them technological advancements).

These effects cut both ways; the other driver is also deprived of the sensations which would have been produced as two people met in the long gone evolutionary period. So, neither of you received the full array of pretechnological era sensations and deprived of those sensations which might otherwise alter your behavior, you both pull off to the side of the road and jump out of your cars. Your emotions are already too high be controlled by any calming pretechnological sensation development mechanisms. You both produce your highly technological weapons and one of you serves time in the pen for road rage murder.

Other technological developments which separate our non-neutral neural nets from our perception of others include the phone (not so bad as at least the sound of a human voice is present) and the computer/internet.
So I wonder, would you actually way the things you wrote in your rant when you are face to face with a religious person. I would not. I would not wish to offend them gratuitously. Nor would I want to be open to their criticism which would run something like, “What are you ranting about! I don’t do those things!

So now to the details of your points.

You wrote: “It just easier to be religious isn't it.”

Actually I don’t think so. It is my view that each of us is moved through life by the emotions generated by evolved neural networks which generate acts and emotions within the environment we find ourselves. So, for any person it might or might not be harder to be religious depending upon the environment they find themselves in. On the whole, I think being tall, rich, smart, handsome trumps any attribute regarding religion or the lack thereof. So I'm thinking that if you had religion you would act pretty much as you act as an atheist; you would just be posting on a different site.

You wrote: “Free's you up from and personal responsibility. "it's not my fault the devil did it"”.

I disagree. I know many, many religious people and I have never met one that said anything like that which you wrote. Actually, the desire to see the effect of one’s actions in the world is a strongly selected evolved desire which is universal in all people. If you don’t want to see the effect of your own desire at work in the world you will help me (or someone else) raise my children not your own. In consequence of your lack of interest in your own will your genes (those which grew a neural net which caused you not to care about your own agency in the world) will not move forward in time in as great a number as mine and will eventualy dissappear.

You wrote: “Saves time "The Smiths are losing their house...lets pray for them." (now we don't really have to help it's in God's hands)

I disagree. I can recall a few occasions when my neighbor’s homes burned. The religious folks in our community (rural south central Missouri) gave generously of their time and money to help the unfortunate families. So in my personal experience the strong evidence is that you are wrong in this assessment.

You wrote: “Can be ruthless...."well hey I screwed him on that deal...but I'll be in Church on Sunday"

I agree christians can be ruthless but I see no reason to think they are special in that regard. It strikes me that to say a christian can be ruthless is a lot like saying a christian can breathe.

You wrote: “can feel that you have a purpose.. "Lets see..I'm a loser at everything I do but a hero in my church"

Yes in my experience church can be a warm an accepting place. The problem is that you wrote as if that is a bad thing. I disagree. I wish we atheist had such a place, a place where we could harvest fully the parts of religion which are universally good. (I love singing in groups and yes I miss folksinging and the '60s) I have often considered starting an assembly which might be called The Place of The Grateful Atheist. In that house everyone would be warmly accepted regardless of their religion. The focus would be on feeling gratitude; a fair bit of evidence (science) suggests that feeling gratitude (a very buddist thing) improves people. It would be a place where if you happen to be a loser, most of the congregants would not think badly of you.

You wrote: “Get to be an authority on something you really don't know about. "I have sat in Church for years and you should listen to me & take that walk to Jesus Christ..blah blah blah...." & you get to put yourself above every other living creature because you are a human and god has gave us a soul thats why we aren't just like every other living creature on this planet......but if you go out in the world its hard not to believe in evolution...unfortunately i think we are going the other way these days....

And you wrote: "i wanna see how many of you are on here & like to throw your dog in a fight"

And you wrote: "just a rant"

Often people use that world "just" to minimize the horrible thing they have just said or done. Oh it was just a hurtful comment. Oh it was just a slap in the face. Oh it was just a bullet to your heart. I don't care for such language. I would not want to be a part of a community where it had to be used often.

Also, I don't toss dogs into a fight. If a fight is necessary, I do my own fighting. But sometimes I do grow weary...

Ziggy - The Grateful Atheist


Tim P.
user 13502827
Columbia, MO
Post #: 5
Ziggy THANK YOU...atleast I know someone is on this site now. I'm not going to comment on everything you said but I did find it interesting . The one thing that really sticks out to me though is the "The Place of The Grateful Atheist" I also would like to see something like that. However, never really happen because most of us are to busy playing "who's more intelligent?" which you prove very well. Now I'm just a dumb redneck...I will admit that. I wouldn't win the game if I played it against you. But I will stick by everything I said... thanks again!
A former member
Post #: 1
Ziggy,

I find your road rage example puzzling. You posit that:

As a consequence of our advanced technology we now separate ourselves from those with who we interact. We influence them in ways which do not engage our full array of evolved non-neutral neural nets. For example, we drive vehicles in which we feel as we always felt in the long evolutionary time, but when the vehicle which contains another person darts in front of us we act without the full engagement of those non-neutral neural networks which would have been fully active were the other person to have approached more sedately on foot and not encased in a vehicle. Sidewalk rage seldom happens.

This is a terrible example of what you are trying to claim. Is it more likely that people get road rage because they're disconnected from the other individual --- strangely enough, something soon remedied by "pulling off to the side of the road and jumping out of your cars" -- or because driving is both expensive and dangerous? If walking on the sidewalk and bumping into, or even nearly bumping into, another person carried the risks of great personal injury, damage to personal property that nearly always amounts to a hundreds of dollars and increased insurance premiums -- not to mention the police and judiciary system that could be involved at some point -- then I guarantee you'd see a lot more "sidewalk rage". But walking doesn't generally carry any of those risks; unless of course, everyone is running down the sidewalk with a blindfold and forward pointing chainsaw. (Oh reality tv, you really don't know the great ideas you're ignoring when you spam-filter my emails).

Also, I think the entire non-neutral neural networks theory (say that ten times fast) is rather silly. Essentially you're saying that our brain is a neural network (I'm with you so far) and that it is bias (well yes, but we generally call that bias an individual's personality) and that it sometimes acts in different (or stupid) ways, by virtue of the preceding facts, in different ( and/or stupid, depending on your proximity to Texas) environments. Where does the surprise part come in? I realize not every idea is necessarily earth-shattering, but all I see is a fancy description to cover up the fact that we're redescribing common knowledge . . . especially the part about Texas, which you may or may not have implied because it certainly wasn't me. I will say, however, that I thoroughly adore the alliteration and I commend the author's use of said literary device.
Tim P.
user 13502827
Columbia, MO
Post #: 8
I've been giving this post deeper thought & I think that I want to apologize. I don't feel that attacking Christianity is the way I want to go. I see why I and other atheists do it because 1. We have been personally attacked for our beliefs by religious groups & 2. we feel like we are taking "crazy pills" when we talk to some of these people, when they put religion before real people & the real world. But I have always lived by "Don't be the problem, be the solution" & recently "Live to inspire not infect." I can be an atheists and a positive person. No need to rip one down to build one up. Thanks for reading.
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