Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke

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Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke

Post by eddie on Tue Sep 20, 2016 8:39 pm

Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke

Metaphysical thought processes are more deeply wired than hitherto suspected


WHILE MILITANT ATHEISTS like Richard Dawkins may be convinced God doesn’t exist, God, if he is around, may be amused to find that atheists might not exist.

   Cognitive scientists are becoming increasingly aware that a metaphysical outlook may be so deeply ingrained in human thought processes that it cannot be expunged.

   While this idea may seem outlandish—after all, it seems easy to decide not to believe in God—evidence from several disciplines indicates that what you actually believe is not a decision you make for yourself. Your fundamental beliefs are decided by much deeper levels of consciousness, and some may well be more or less set in stone.

   This line of thought has led to some scientists claiming that “atheism is psychologically impossible because of the way humans think,” says Graham Lawton, an avowed atheist himself, writing in the New Scientist. “They point to studies showing, for example, that even people who claim to be committed atheists tacitly hold religious beliefs, such as the existence of an immortal soul.”

   This shouldn’t come as a surprise, since we are born believers, not atheists, scientists say. Humans are pattern-seekers from birth, with a belief in karma, or cosmic justice, as our default setting. “A slew of cognitive traits predisposes us to faith,” writes Pascal Boyer in Nature, the science journal, adding that people “are only aware of some of their religious ideas”.


INTERNAL MONOLOGUES


Scientists have discovered that “invisible friends” are not something reserved for children. We all have them, and encounter them often in the form of interior monologues. As we experience events, we mentally tell a non-present listener about it.

   The imagined listener may be a spouse, it may be Jesus or Buddha or it may be no one in particular. It’s just how the way the human mind processes facts. The identity, tangibility or existence of the listener is irrelevant.

   “From childhood, people form enduring, stable and important relationships with fictional characters, imaginary friends, deceased relatives, unseen heroes and fantasized mates,” says Boyer of Washington University, himself an atheist. This feeling of having an awareness of another consciousness might simply be the way our natural operating system works.


PUZZLING RESPONSES


These findings may go a long way to explaining a series of puzzles in recent social science studies. In the United States, 38% of people who identified themselves as atheist or agnostic went on to claim to believe in a God or a Higher Power (Pew Forum, “Religion and the Unaffiliated”, 2012).

   While the UK is often defined as an irreligious place, a recent survey by Theos, a think tank, found that very few people—only 13 per cent of adults—agreed with the statement “humans are purely material beings with no spiritual element”. For the vast majority of us, unseen realities are very present.

   When researchers asked people whether they had taken part in esoteric spiritual practices such as having a Reiki session or having their aura read, the results were almost identical (between 38 and 40%) for people who defined themselves as religious, non-religious or atheist.

   The implication is that we all believe in a not dissimilar range of tangible and intangible realities. Whether a particular brand of higher consciousness is included in that list (“I believe in God”, “I believe in some sort of higher force”, “I believe in no higher consciousness”) is little more than a detail.

EVOLUTIONARY PURPOSES


If a tendency to believe in the reality of an intangible network is so deeply wired into humanity, the implication is that it must have an evolutionary purpose. Social scientists have long believed that the emotional depth and complexity of the human mind means that mindful, self-aware people necessarily suffer from deep existential dread. Spiritual beliefs evolved over thousands of years as nature’s way to help us balance this out and go on functioning.

   If a loved one dies, even many anti-religious people usually feel a need for a farewell ritual, complete with readings from old books and intoned declarations that are not unlike prayers. In war situations, commanders frequently comment that atheist soldiers pray far more than they think they do.

   Statistics show that the majority of people who stop being part of organized religious groups don’t become committed atheists, but retain a mental model in which “The Universe” somehow has a purpose for humanity.

   In the US, only 20 per cent of people have no religious affiliation, but of these, only one in ten say they are atheists. The majority are “nothing in particular” according to figures published in New Scientist.


FEELING OF CONNECTEDNESS


There are other, more socially-oriented evolutionary purposes, too. Religious communities grow faster, since people behave better (referring to the general majority over the millennia, as opposed to minority extremists highlighted by the media on any given day).

   Why is this so? Religious folk attend weekly lectures on morality, read portions of respected books about the subject on a daily basis and regularly discuss the subject in groups, so it would be inevitable that some of this guidance sinks in.

   There is also the notion that the presence of an invisible moralistic presence makes misdemeanors harder to commit. “People who think they are being watched tend to behave themselves and cooperate more,” says the New Scientist’s Lawton. “Societies that chanced on the idea of supernatural surveillance were likely to have been more successful than those that didn't, further spreading religious ideas.”

   This is not simply a matter of religious folk having a metaphorical angel on their shoulder, dispensing advice. It is far deeper than that—a sense of interconnectivity between all things. If I commit a sin, it is not an isolated event but will have appropriate repercussions. This idea is common to all large scale faith groups, whether it is called karma or simply God ensuring that you “reap what you sow”.  


NARRATIVE PRESENCE


These theories find confirmation from a very different academic discipline—the literature department. The present writer, based at the Creativity Lab at Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s School of Design, has been looking at the manifestation of cosmic justice in fictional narratives—books, movies and games. It is clear that in almost all fictional worlds, God exists, whether the stories are written by people of a religious, atheist or indeterminate beliefs.

   It’s not that a deity appears directly in tales. It is that the fundamental basis of stories appears to be the link between the moral decisions made by the protagonists and the same characters’ ultimate destiny. The payback is always appropriate to the choices made. An unnamed, unidentified mechanism ensures that this is so, and is a fundamental element of stories—perhaps the fundamental element of narratives.

   In children’s stories, this can be very simple: the good guys win, the bad guys lose. In narratives for older readers, the ending is more complex, with some lose ends left dangling, and others ambiguous. Yet the ultimate appropriateness of the ending is rarely in doubt. If a tale ended with Harry Potter being tortured to death and the Dursley family dancing on his grave, the audience would be horrified, of course, but also puzzled: that’s not what happens in stories. Similarly, in a tragedy, we would be surprised if King Lear’s cruelty to Cordelia did not lead to his demise.

   Indeed, it appears that stories exist to establish that there exists a mechanism or a person—cosmic destiny, karma, God, fate, Mother Nature—to make sure the right thing happens to the right person. Without this overarching moral mechanism, narratives become records of unrelated arbitrary events, and lose much of their entertainment value. In contrast, the stories which become universally popular appear to be carefully composed records of cosmic justice at work.


There is MUCH more here (needs to be read as a whole) http://www.science20.com/writer_on_the_edge/blog/scientists_discover_that_atheists_might_not_exist_and_thats_not_a_joke-139982



Well now...... Interesting. Huh? Cool

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Re: Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke

Post by Ben Reilly on Tue Sep 20, 2016 9:28 pm

Hogwash ... when I have an internal dialogue, I'm fully aware I'm just talking to myself. When I attend a funeral, it's out of love and respect. And though I may say "Please miss me" over and over if a truck is driving at me on the freeway, I'm not asking some supernatural being to intervene -- I'm just hoping, really hard.

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Re: Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke

Post by eddie on Tue Sep 20, 2016 9:37 pm

If that truck didn't hit you, it's God's will.
Your internal dialogue? It's Jesus. He's always with you.
And in the house of The Lord...you will always show love and respect.

God will blow you out of the water just as you were baptised in it.

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Re: Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke

Post by Lord Foul on Tue Sep 20, 2016 10:00 pm

Nah eddie that just "your god"

MY God....being far superior, doesnt give a monkeys what we do or dont do....in fact we amuse him/her/it
with our efforts to suss it all out....


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Re: Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke

Post by eddie on Tue Sep 20, 2016 11:48 pm

God provides.

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Re: Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke

Post by veya_victaous on Wed Sep 21, 2016 1:28 am

Ben Reilly wrote:Hogwash ... when I have an internal dialogue, I'm fully aware I'm just talking to myself. When I attend a funeral, it's out of love and respect. And though I may say "Please miss me" over and over if a truck is driving at me on the freeway, I'm not asking some supernatural being to intervene -- I'm just hoping, really hard.

you're still praying for luck even if you are just asking 'the universe'
As i have said before in it's simplest form this metaphysical faith
can be as basic as 'knock on wood' for luck.
The Institution of religion and it's dogma is seperate from this 'base metaphysical god'
simply beleiving in a soul, afterlife or reincarnation is beleif in a metaphysical existance.

I agree with the OP, in the most basic sense everyone has some metaphysical 'belief'.
in a more theoretical sense everyone does, because even a postion 'in the negative' is still a postion. Wink

I disagree VERY strongly with the notion that a base metaphysical beleif is the same as beleif the bible or any religous text.
faith in the existance of an unknown, is not the same as persisting in beleiving in something proven wrong.

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Re: Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke

Post by WhoseYourWolfie on Wed Sep 21, 2016 3:40 am

eddie wrote:
If that truck didn't hit you, it's God's will.
Your internal dialogue? It's Jesus. He's always with you.
And in the house of The Lord...you will always show love and respect.

God will blow you out of the water just as you were baptised in it.

cyclops

Where did you just find that load of evangelical claptrap, eddie...

Had a JW leaflet sitting in front of you ?

grin angel


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Re: Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke

Post by WhoseYourWolfie on Wed Sep 21, 2016 3:44 am

veya_victaous wrote:
Ben Reilly wrote:Hogwash ... when I have an internal dialogue, I'm fully aware I'm just talking to myself. When I attend a funeral, it's out of love and respect. And though I may say "Please miss me" over and over if a truck is driving at me on the freeway, I'm not asking some supernatural being to intervene -- I'm just hoping, really hard.

you're still praying for luck even if you are just asking 'the universe'
As i have said before in it's simplest form this metaphysical faith
can be as basic as 'knock on wood' for luck.
The Institution of religion and it's dogma is seperate from this 'base metaphysical god'
simply beleiving in a soul, afterlife or reincarnation is beleif in a metaphysical existance.

I agree with the OP, in the most basic sense everyone has some metaphysical 'belief'.
in a more theoretical sense everyone does, because even a postion 'in the negative' is still a postion.  Wink

I disagree VERY strongly with the notion that a base metaphysical beleif is the same as beleif the bible or any religous text.
faith in the existance of an unknown, is not the same as persisting in beleiving in something proven wrong.

cyclops

The Rainbow Serpent "owns" the universe, and everything that dwells within it...

And all of the 'Gods' of those puny mortals bow down before their one great creator..     Arrow

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Re: Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke

Post by veya_victaous on Wed Sep 21, 2016 5:22 am

nah i reckon there is bunch of Chaos reigning serpents.

South Ameirca had it's own and so does China
Even Europe did to under the Vikings
before the evil christians perveted the divine with their lies

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Re: Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke

Post by eddie on Wed Sep 21, 2016 10:49 am

WhoseYourWolfie wrote:
eddie wrote:
If that truck didn't hit you, it's God's will.
Your internal dialogue? It's Jesus. He's always with you.
And in the house of The Lord...you will always show love and respect.

God will blow you out of the water just as you were baptised in it.

cyclops

Where did you just find that load of evangelical claptrap,  eddie...

Had a JW leaflet sitting in front of you ?

grin angel


I'm simply spreading the word and proving that atheists have hearts of stone. Razz

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Re: Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke

Post by nicko on Wed Sep 21, 2016 10:51 am

If you had seen what I have seen you would know for certain there is no god.
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Re: Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke

Post by Ben Reilly on Wed Sep 21, 2016 5:36 pm

I don't ask the universe for anything, though -- well, unless you mean asking my company, which is part of the universe, for money in exchange for my work. Really, if I'm repeating some kind of mantra or "prayer," I really am just hoping really hard for a particular outcome, not addressing Casper the Friendly Ghost Smile

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Re: Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke

Post by eddie on Wed Sep 21, 2016 5:39 pm

I keep repeating mantras on here like "please stop arguing" or "please post a link"

Never works.

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Re: Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke

Post by Ben Reilly on Wed Sep 21, 2016 5:43 pm

eddie wrote:I keep repeating mantras on here like "please stop arguing" or "please post a link"

Never works.

See??!!!

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Re: Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke

Post by eddie on Wed Sep 21, 2016 5:48 pm

Yes I do see. I say things like "Forum site owner d'ya think you could sort out my iPad problems?"
And nothing.

I might stop talking altogether soon.

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Re: Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke

Post by Ben Reilly on Wed Sep 21, 2016 5:53 pm

eddie wrote:Yes I do see. I say things like "Forum site owner d'ya think you could sort out my iPad problems?"
And nothing.

I might stop talking altogether soon.

I just went on there and told FM that y'all are still mewling about it, what do you want? Blood? You want blood?!

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Re: Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke

Post by eddie on Wed Sep 21, 2016 6:00 pm

Perhaps. It might be a good start.

Anyway, you're derailing my thread. Don't disrespect the Lord.

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Re: Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke

Post by Ben Reilly on Wed Sep 21, 2016 6:01 pm

eddie wrote:Perhaps. It might be a good start.

Anyway, you're derailing my thread. Don't disrespect the Lord.

What's he gonna do, Force-Choke me? Smile

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Re: Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke

Post by eddie on Wed Sep 21, 2016 6:04 pm

Ben Reilly wrote:
eddie wrote:Perhaps. It might be a good start.

Anyway, you're derailing my thread. Don't disrespect the Lord.

What's he gonna do, Force-Choke me? Smile

Do you want to go to the basement and watch Blackie and HA do things that make you go blind?
Don't say I didn't warn you.

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Re: Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke

Post by veya_victaous on Wed Sep 21, 2016 10:54 pm

Ben Reilly wrote:I don't ask the universe for anything, though -- well, unless you mean asking my company, which is part of the universe, for money in exchange for my work. Really, if I'm repeating some kind of mantra or "prayer," I really am just hoping really hard for a particular outcome, not addressing Casper the Friendly Ghost Smile

i mean more basic and not addressing it is why it is to the universe.

what i am suggesting is not nesecarily verbalised but the internal thought,
Like in a real close game of football and the ball is in the air with a chance
that 'thing' you are 'praying' to for it to go in..
or like you say a close call in traffic when you are like 'please miss me'


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Re: Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke

Post by stardesk on Sun Oct 02, 2016 3:39 pm

I'm sorry Eddie if this offends you but it has to be said: Christianity's roots are in the Bible, and like a building with weak foundations, it falls apart at the very beginning in Genesis. The beliefs and what are considered factual are all, basically, lies and misleading acounts, due to early Mankind not understanding the vagaries of Planet Earth and nature. Take the story of the Flood, it may well be a racial memory and stories handed down of the time the Ice Age melted, flooding huge tracks of land. The Flood as written in Genesis just could not have happened. We also find huge discrepencies in Noah and the collection of animals to take on the Ark. Did he have a fleet of ships to travel the world, saving 30 million species of life? Of course not.

There are other stories and discrepencies but briefly Christianity and all its many offshoots are based on fantasy and what various individuals believed and taught.

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Re: Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke

Post by eddie on Sun Oct 02, 2016 5:53 pm

Stardesk, I'm neither religious nor Christian.
I started the thread to wind up Ben.

Sarcasm really goes over people's heads on here.

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Re: Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke

Post by stardesk on Sun Oct 02, 2016 8:43 pm

Eddie my dear, I think good sarcasm shows a ready wit and a clever mind, not something that is base and rude.

BTW, why do you want to wind-up Ben?

As for Atheists having hearts of stone you are totally wrong. Many a good person is an atheist.

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Re: Scientists discover that atheists might not exist, and that’s not a joke

Post by eddie on Sun Oct 02, 2016 9:04 pm

stardesk wrote:Eddie my dear, I think good sarcasm shows a ready wit and a clever mind, not something that is base and rude.

BTW, why do you want to wind-up Ben?

As for Atheists having hearts of stone you are totally wrong. Many a good person is an atheist.

Yes I know.
And
Because.
And
Yes I know.

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