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Religion when it had real power!


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No no no.....The argument was that without religion we still have the apeish instincts that account for the conflict and atrocity. My argument is NO. We've evolved secular, modern, liberal democracy, which is a sapient middle finger in the face of our primate, instinctive, tribal nature. Secular, liberal, democracy in its modern form was a product of the Enlightenment, a movement done ENTIRELY by humans which was predicated ENTIRELY on reason and not a single other thing. Get rid of religion, sure, we'll still have the apeish urges, but we'll also have the capacity to override it via reason, which we will most certainly do by this point. Our primate instincts are like a wild dog we are slowly domesticating. At this point, we've basically turned it into a house dog. By and large, if religion dies now, I think our species will carry on the trend of modernity instead of falling back into tribalism and war because we're apes. Even with religion we still keep making substantial progress. We've overcame our barbaric primate past by reasoning ourselves against if (for the most part), religion is the only think left that needs to die. Whoever is telling it that the party ended for it long ago just doesn't seem to have a loud enough voice.

Well, you do paint a coherent picture of things. But:

 

My main observation would be to note that Reason and humankind's ability to repress/modify primal/basic/aggressive urges did not just suddenly rear its beautiful head in the period of the Enlightenment. The Enlightenment was a bit of a watershed period, but repression is as old as human civilization. Moreover, as I noted before, religion and its attempts at reason often served to repress basic urges every bit as much as any secular movements did.

 

But I do not share your rosy picture of the present state of affairs. People still have the capacity to quickly regress to the state of being barbarians underneath polite social appearances. Indeed, one thing that shocked the world was to see how (after the great optimism provided by the Enlightenment + Victorian refinement of manners + Industrial revolution + Edwardian era of peace and progress) easily a relatively modern state such as Germany could so easily fall back into good old-fashioned barbarianism (in WWI and particularly in WWII).

 

Someone once said that any society is three meals away from anarchy. Even in the U.S. we have a Presidential candidate who is saying that it would be no holds barred on the use of torture were he to be elected, and, in terms of media response, no one seems to be batting an eyelash about such a prospect. Prejudice and racial violence is still rampant, domestic violence is full swing, bombings continue worldwide, nuclear proliferation has not abated significantly, etc.

 

So no. Don't agree: Religion is just the icing on the cake of aggression. I do agree that many of its beliefs are archaic and many continue (as religion is so conservative) to be espoused today, the most egregious example to my mind being the notion that one has the right to stone a young gal to death for extramarital sex, even if it was a matter of being raped. But again, as Stephen Pinker will tell you, such patriarchal notions did not come from religion; rather, patriarchal religions are the outcome of patriarchal attitudes and beliefs that arose from such things as the male sense of honor that is typically found in herding tribes/societies, an extension of male territoriality common to hominids, concern for family honor in keeping with the market value of brides, etc., etc.

 

Yes, Stephen Pinker also wrote a book in which he claims that civilization is progressing and that human aggression is gradually attenuating, but I don't see that the facts regarding intergroup warfare really support this. People are perhaps more aware of how they should behave, but, as always, biology has the last word: Dr Jekyll may have a new suit of clothes and his manner may be more refined, but Mr. Hyde still runs the show behind the scenes.

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Yes; they were. Because none of them did anything to stop the cruelty of those barbaric beliefs.   How could anyone be in a position to say "actually folks- let's stop persecuting people for no goo

Hard for me to agree with your last point. Christianity is often cultural more than theistic. Same with Judaism, and likely a number of others.   That's why there are cultural Christians and cultur

Not sure what you are referring to. Personally, I never disagreed that it would still be the case that there would still be conflict in the world if religion disappeared, but merely emphasized as my o

Chimpanzees lack the ability to reason on the level of humans.

On what evidence do you base this seemingly inaccurate conclusion?

Chimps don't have a smorgasbord of other options in their arsenal to draw influence from other than their instinctive impulses. Humans do. We have the capacity to think and act aginst most of our biological, natural tendencies. We can weigh them in terms of reason and logic, chimps largely can't.

On what evidence do you base this seemingly inaccurate conclusion?

I don't doubt we have similar instincts. I'm aware. What I'm saying is that the chimps don't have much beyond those instincts and humans do. (snip) Humans have a capacity to reason and to willfully negate their nature and biological urges in ways chimps cannot.

On what evidence do you base this seemingly inaccurate conclusion?

 

Argument still invalid.

Indeed it is, but not the one you seem to think. :rolleyes:

No no no.....The argument was that without religion we still have the apeish instincts that account for the conflict and atrocity. My argument is NO.

CORRECTION: Your assertion is no, but you've hardly put forth a convincing, valid, evidence based argument in support of it. You've repeated the assertion many times, but that doesn't magically render it true.

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iNow, your objection is so obviously hostile towards me I'm not even gonna bother responding to you. I provided my reasons in my posts. If you deny that humans reason more highly than chimps then I'd say perhaps its just some of us.

 

I'm more of an authoritarian than a debater/arguer, which I understand is more like the primate in me than the reasoning agent. I never claimed to be smart in the least. I normally don't go back and provide additional reasons/evidence once my positions have been brought in to question. I expect them to be conceded, or else I usually get frustrated and leave. I know this is ass-backwards, but its how I work.

Whatever the case, I AM officially done here. I know I've said at least three times now and come back every time, but I'm truly done with this forum now.

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iNow, your objection is so obviously hostile towards me I'm not even gonna bother responding to you. I provided my reasons in my posts. If you deny that humans reason more highly than chimps then I'd say perhaps its just some of us.

 

I'm more of an authoritarian than a debater/arguer, which I understand is more like the primate in me than the reasoning agent. I never claimed to be smart in the least. I normally don't go back and provide additional reasons/evidence once my positions have been brought in to question. I expect them to be conceded, or else I usually get frustrated and leave. I know this is ass-backwards, but its how I work.

Whatever the case, I AM officially done here. I know I've said at least three times now and come back every time, but I'm truly done with this forum now.

 

 

So if you don't get your own way you throw your toys out the pram, that seems quite chimpish.

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Humans are apes. To claim that we're in some way special or immune from the same primate drivers and tendencies is foolish and misguided.

 

I was not being hostile to you. I was being hostile to your (incorrect) assumptions and assertions about differences between humans and all other animals (chimps included) on which you were basing your entire argument and line of reasoning.

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I normally don't go back and provide additional reasons/evidence once my positions have been brought in to question. I expect them to be conceded, or else I usually get frustrated and leave. I know this is ass-backwards, but its how I work.

 

Very unscientific. Your position should be supported by evidence. If you're having trouble with science, look no further for the culprit. You're right to call this process ass-backwards.

 

iNow's position is supported. Have you ever seen some of the studies on chimps and visual memorization? Chimps can beat humans in certain games that require you to match numbers and placement, and they can do it with astonishing speed. In some aspects of intelligence, chimps are smarter, and so your conclusions were inaccurate. As iNow pointed out, in a non-hostile, attack-the-idea sort of way.

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Humans are apes. To claim that we're in some way special or immune from the same primate drivers and tendencies is foolish and misguided.

 

I was not being hostile to you. I was being hostile to your (incorrect) assumptions and assertions about differences between humans and all other animals (chimps included) on which you were basing your entire argument and line of reasoning.

I never said we were "immune". I AGREED with your statement that we have the same natural instincts as chimps. My argument was that we have all those instincts, PLUS sapience and reasoning beyond the ability of a chimp. The evidence is everywhere, modern society is evidence of this. We wouldn't have evolved it if we had been purley bound by our apeish urges to the exclusion of all else. That's also good evidence as to why chimps haven't evolved anything like it.

 

I got mad because you acted as though I provided no evidence or reasons to support my assertions, and I did. Every single one of them, I provided at least SOME reasons and examples for. Go back and read them.

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My argument was that we have all those instincts, PLUS sapience and reasoning beyond the ability of a chimp.

It's the latter part of this I'm challenging.

 

Telling me we have big societies and technology while chimps don't is NOT evidence that we have reasoning abilies beyond theirs.

 

I'm happy to be proven wrong. You just haven't done that.

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Telling me we have big societies and technology while chimps don't is NOT evidence that we have reasoning abili es beyond theirs. .

My my my..... I'm going to have to spend some time digesting that. I must be even more stupid than I thought.
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I AGREED with your statement that we have the same natural instincts as chimps. My argument was that we have all those instincts, PLUS sapience and reasoning beyond the ability of a chimp.

 

Well, yes. I don't understand how one can overlook the huge disparity between humans and other hominids with regard to repressing/controlling/modifying (aggressive) instincts. I also agree that religion (along with resource shortage, ethnocentrism, and racial/gender inequality) can reasonably be described as a main or major problem because it so ubiquitously affects so many issues. The extent to which conflict would be reduced were religion to vanish suddenly is a matter of speculation and opinion. (Another issue is the degree to which one would label religion as a cause of conflict rather than a catalyst, but again, this is largely a matter of opinion and semantics.)

 

Indeed, the superior intelligence, symbolic language capabilities, awareness of ones own instincts and drives, complexity of social structures that repress immediate gratification, etc. of humans is quite evident, though the difference is a matter of degree, as we are all hewn from the same tree, so to speak. As to the significance of the differences between humans and other hominids when it comes to modifying their drives/desires/instincts, that is also a matter of opinion. Therefore, the bottom line here is that it is rather pointless to argue about the difference as if it is a black and white, yes or no, matter.

 

In addition to just taking a cursory look at the behavior of a large group of chimps/bonobos in comparison with humans with regards to the ubiquitous level of overt sexual and aggressive activity, one could examine the function and structure of the human prefrontal cortex, which is far more advanced than that of other hominids and all other animals. I think that the following quote summarizes the general thrust of any further evidence that I might provide:

"Human morality, although sophisticated and complex relative to the moralities of other animals, is essentially a natural phenomenon that evolved to restrict excessive individualism that could undermine a group's cohesion and thereby reducing the individuals' fitness." Shermer, Michael. "Transcendent Morality". The Science of Good and Evil. ISBN 0-8050-7520-8.

 

I will just leave it at that for now for sake of brevity. But again, I don't see that this is directly related to the OP unless one is suggesting that, as I mentioned, humans have presently got their aggressive instincts so well under control that we need merely to excise religion from human culture or consciousness so that people will become relatively peaceful....Again, the degree to which cutting out religion would reduce aggression is a matter of opinion and speculation, though I personally think it would help quite a bit.

 

Religion, like race, color, and gender, are convenient markers to identify people with whom one is in (ethnocentric/economic/sexual/political) competition with. Hence, even if one looks at conflicts between people of relatively similar religions, (e.g., Cathololics/Protestants), one sees a great deal of conflict in European history owing to the fact that the people subscribing to these religions have different agendas and are by and large people from different socio-economic levels. (Bartholomew's Day Massacre being a good example.) Labeling oneself as a Protestant or Catholic in this case, just makes it easier for people to see whose team one is on; not surprising one of Hitler's earlier steps in his genocide project entailed insisting Jews wear an identifying Star.

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Unsurprisingly, using typical human assumptions, we are more intelligent than any other animal, mainly or entirely because of our advanced language skills.

Many harmful memes, mostly about defying instincts honed over millions of years reduce our survival chances; harmful habits among other animals usually die out within a few generations as they have no means of retaining those concepts for thousands of years.

Language has created in most humans a partial loss of awareness of 'unconscious' bodily functions and instincts; we are probably less able than many animals to control these in an intelligent way.

 

An example of clever animal/stupid human.

 

Each is caught out in cold weather with inadequate fur/clothing hours from food and shelter.

 

The animal increases its metabolic rate, knowing (in a nonverbal way) that it has enough fat reserves to stay warm until it reaches food and shelter.

Without foresight or conscious control, the human's metabolism adjusts to conserve energy to enable the human to survive for days; the possible loss of a few fingers or toes to frostbite is better than starving to death.

 

Various forms of yoga and meditation (specifically not Hatha yoga) can be used to improve awareness; for example to increase voluntary control of metabolic rate. A key part is chanting a repetitive phrase (eg 'om mane padme hum' or 'three one four one five nine') to disable verbal thinking in favour of the sort of thinking most animals do most/all the time. Humans frequently use drugs, whether medical or recreational or performance enhancing when those techniques would work just as well with few if any significant side effects.

One common side effect is enhanced endorphin production, which can produce euphoria, vivid dreams, hallucinations and apparently religious experiences.

I only got the first two. :(

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Continuing to call yourself stupid has zero impact on my position. Take all the time you need.

I have a feeling you agree with me, but are just waiting for me to complete my syllogism scientifically. I certainly hope so, because your case seems indefensible to me. But again, what do I know?

 

How does our technology and societies not demonstrate our superior reasoning skills over chimps and all other animals? Did chimps invent internal combustion engines, airplanes, telescopes, rocket ships, cell phones, televisions, or research universities to study science, philosophy, and mathematics? Do chimp societies have written constitutions and supreme courts? Do chimps sit around in groups and discuss which restaurant they're going to eat at tonight? Can chimps compose intricate pieces of music with 70 piece orchestras? Was it a chimp who sent a human into space as a test mission? Do chimps hold humans in captivity and study their behavior, biology, and anatomy?

 

Of course our societies and technology decisively and conclusively demonstrate humans to be profoundly more reasonable and rational than chimps to the point of no practical comparison. Sure, we have the same leftover instincts from our evolutionary past being ancestrally linked to chimps, but like I said, it once was a wild tiger, now our instincts are like the domesticated house cat. We can forego them with our superior reasoning abilities and you know it. Chimps and other apes have their instincts, and perhaps a little bit of rudimentary reasoning beyond that (but not much). Humans have a much less potent form of the same instinct, and profoundly more reasoning than chimps and all other animals. Hence, our societies have continued to shed off the barbarism of our primate past, and our reasoning has led us to things no other animal has even though about thinking about doing.

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We'll have to agree to disagree. You seem to be arguing that humans and chimps were in fact equal, but only until about 10,000 years ago when agriculture took hold, or 100 years ago when we invented internal combustion, or 50 years ago when we invented computers, or 25 years ago when we invented the Internet.

 

Yes, we've established large scale societies and have made technological strides. Neither of those tie to the metric you're discussing which is reason. Reason is a function of the prefrontal cortex. Our prefrontal cortex is remarkably similar to that of other apes.

 

I'm not arguing that chimps and humans are equal. I'm arguing that we're FAR more similar than dissimilar and your suggestion that we're somehow more reasonable than other apes in a way that is even remotely relevant or which matters is simply bunk. You are wrong, and we'd still be apes that fight and separate tribally even if religion vanished.

 

Your argument is that religion should go away. I agree, but not with your suggestion that religion is THE problem that ails the world. I shared that conflict among apes happens even if religion is absent and you missed the point by trying to highlight differences between humans and chimps. Those differences are irrelevant to my core point, and worse still are not as profound or noticeable as you seem to believe.

 

Let's advocate for doing away with religion. Let's support those who acknowledge the god concept as ludicrous and silly. Let's fight for reason, and rationality, and critical thinking, and secular humanism, and kindness to those around us, and evidence based policies, but let's not destroy our credibility and push away potential allies by making bullshit easily debunked claims while doing so.

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We'll have to agree to disagree. You seem to be arguing that humans and chimps were in fact equal, but only until about 100 years ago when we invented internal combustion or 50 years ago when we invented computers, or 25 years ago when we invented the Internet.

 

Yes, we've established large scale societies and have made technological strides. Neither of those tie to metric you're discussing which is reason. Reason is a function of the prefrontal cortex. Our prefrontal cortex is remarkably similar to that of other apes.

 

I'm not arguing that chimps and humans are equal. I'm arguing that we're FAR more similar than dissimilar and your suggestion that we're somehow more reasonable than other apes in a way that is relevant or even matters is simply bunk. You are wrong, and we'd still be apes that fight and separate trivially even if religion vanished.

 

Let's advocate for doing away with religion. Let's support those who acknowledge the god concept as ludicrous and silly. Let's fight for reason, and rationality, and critical thinking, and secular humanism, and evidence based policies, but let's not destroy our credibility by making bullshit claims while doing so.

Okay, well I'll just go ahead and concede you the win since I just checked and it would appear that I no longer give a shit. Hmm.....interesting fact..... There is, however, one question I'd like to ask you now that I've conceded you to be completely right on this question: If not reason, then what is it in human societies that has led to our technology, cities, universities, spoken and written languages, and all the other things no other animals have?

 

Btw, if you go by Sagan's words, humans didn't change intellectually 100 or so years ago. We weren't any dumber 4 or 5 thousand years ago. We were the same humans. Still smarter than chimps.

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Group behavior. Billions of people exploiting the discoveries of a tiny few

Why have chimps not matched our technology then? If its just that simple then surely all the other apes should be doing it?

 

Your answers almost seem religious to me. I give you overwhelming evidence that we have much more reason than the other apes and you just assert that I'm wrong. I'm truly interested. Educate me on how chimps have just as much reasoning capacity as humans. I really would like to know this. I would like to know where chimps have invented algebra, geometry, calculus, trigonometry, and ways of solving complex problems. Math is logic right? Reason is predicated on logic right? When have chimps done anything remotely like this? Your position is just absurd my friend. It is so absurd as to be complete insane to my mind.

I would like to poll the people of this thread. Who here agrees with iNow? Who here thinks that humans do not contain much more profound reasoning capabilities than chimpanzees or other apes? I'm truly interested in learning this. I would like to know how an animal species that hasn't even invented the wheel yet has just as much reasoning capabilities than a species who has launched explorer spacecraft to the far reaches of the galaxy and landed members on the moon.

Are there chimps in Africa right now that I don't know about conversing on an internet forum about humans?

 

I never disputed that we are more similar to chimps than not. I agree. I accept evolution, okay. But yes, there is demonstrably more to humans than chimps. The evidence is right outside your door (and inside your door for that matter). The next time you watch a giant 3D TV, tell yourself that humans have the same reasoning capabilities as chimpanzees. This almost reminds me of when marine biologists talk about dolphins having "near-human intelligence", or even intelligence that is equal to humans. BULLSHIT. When dolphins kidnap a human and run scans of their brains to study them, I will believe that. Yes, I guess that makes me a "science denier". These arguments don't require science to debunk. Just look at what humans have done versus what dolphins have done, case absolutely and utter CLOSED!

 

So with global warming, should we just leave the decision up to chimpanzees and dolphins to fix? Clearly they should be able to handle it just as adequately as humans since their reasoning is the same right? Let's just let chimps run society for a while. Give ourselves a vacation. If they reason just as well as we do, they can handle it right?

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Writing, not reason.

 

We developed the ability for others to borrow from our ideas long after our passing. This allowed us to build on knowledge that came before (to see farther by standing on the shoulders of giants) instead of starting from zero with each new generation or only being able to learn from those in our local pack or proximity.

 

None of these things bears relevance on the idea of reason you're pushing, nor on the concept of conflict or its origins.

 

Again. I'm not arguing we're equal with other apes or chimps. I'm arguing that your position requires far more differences between us and chimps than actually exist.

 

I'm no fan of religion, but I'm also no fan of shortsighted scapegoating, treating symptoms instead of root causes, and satisfying ourselves with one-dimensional, monochromatic, unnecessarily naive and simplistic "solutions."

 

I give you overwhelming evidence that we have much more reason than the other apes and...

Where, exactly?

[mp][/mp]

QIf you won't listen to me, at least listen to the notorious NDT:

 

https://youtu.be/PYDijuFVOGM

Or, perhaps more to the point:

 

https://youtu.be/zkiPCKlNjX0

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Let's see the chimpanzee algebra, geometry, calculus, and trigonometry then. Lets see chimps engaging in formal debates and founding research universities. Lets see chimps building cities, playing in rock and roll bands, and designing airplanes. Lets see chimps writing plays and novels. Lets see chimps doing all this stuff. Dude, it is so obvious that our reasoning is universes beyond the other apes. Group behavior and standing on the shoulders of giants does not adequately explain it. Put a chimp on the shoulder of a giant and he won't do jack diddly with it. He'll remain a chimp with no technology, no written language, and his own feces to throw.

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Science is so muddled in the technicalities of this stuff that it sees only in one dimension. "Well, the brain is technically shaped the same and contains the same this and that" SO WHAT? All you have to do is look at what humans have done, and compare it to what chimps have done, the case is utterly closed. There is demonstrably more reasoning going on there.


A bit like you're doing here?

Whatever man. You're position is insane. You know what, you keep demanding evidence from me, but your rebuttals are ones like this. You have yet to provide any good evidence or reasons for your case. You just keep telling me I'm wrong.


Let me ask you this iNow. Human and chimpanzee reasoning, equal or not equal? What do you really believe? Humans and chimps have identical reasoning capacities? Or do humans have slightly more? Do chimps have slightly more?

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Encourage you to read my posts once more. You're asking me questions I've clearly answered, and more than once. Also, those videos I posted weren't just for decoration.

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Also, those videos I posted weren't just for decoration.

Why don't you tell the chimpanzees to watch them so they can get the memo that they're just as smart as humans.

Can someone please ban me, or whatever it is you do to get rid of troublesome members on this forum? I'm done here, and don't want to be compelled to rebut further arguments. If a mod is reading this, please ban me, delete my account, whatever you have to do. Thanks.

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Whatever man. You're position is insane.

(...)

Let me ask you this iNow. Human and chimpanzee reasoning, equal or not equal? What do you really believe? Humans and chimps have identical reasoning capacities?

I'll make this as simple as possible for you:

 

What about chimpanzees and other apes who engage in these same behaviors you lament, often with greater frequency and intensity than humans?

Humans are apes. To claim that we're in some way special or immune from the same primate drivers and tendencies is foolish and misguided.

Telling me we have big societies and technology while chimps don't is NOT evidence that we have reasoning abilies beyond theirs.

Yes, we've established large scale societies and have made technological strides. Neither of those tie to the metric you're discussing which is reason.

(...)

I'm not arguing that chimps and humans are equal. I'm arguing that we're FAR more similar than dissimilar

(...)

I shared that conflict among apes happens even if religion is absent and you missed the point by trying to highlight differences between humans and chimps. Those differences are irrelevant to my core point, and worse still are not as profound or noticeable as you seem to believe.

Again. I'm not arguing we're equal with other apes or chimps. I'm arguing that your position requires far more differences between us and chimps than actually exist.

 

I'm no fan of religion, but I'm also no fan of shortsighted scapegoating, treating symptoms instead of root causes, and satisfying ourselves with one-dimensional, monochromatic, unnecessarily naive and simplistic "solutions."

[mp][/mp]

please ban me, delete my account, whatever

How about instead you take a bit of time to watch these videos and maybe we can reset?

 

http://www.scienceforums.net/topic/96153-religion-when-it-had-real-power/?p=938957

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