Religions 1: Musings

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Re: Religions 1: Musings

Postby barfle » Tue Mar 28, 2006 4:29 pm

My take on the "prolonged youth" thingy is that the cranium must be small to pass through the birth canal (not that I have a clue, but you moms might disagree as to the meaning of "small"), and it takes a while for it to grow to adult size.

But I'm just making this up as I go, so anyone who has actually done research on the topic might disagree with me and be right.
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Re: Religions 1: Musings

Postby piqaboo » Tue Mar 28, 2006 4:50 pm

You said a portion of what I said.
In addition to sheer size, the brain actually matures in a sequential and age-dependent fashion.
Example = impulse control.
There is a stage in an infants life where it has none.Even tho it sees the obstacle between it and what it wants, it cant help but reach straight for the desired object. Then a bit more brain-development occurs (actual, physical measurable change) and the kid becomes able to resist reaching for that thing right in front of it but behind the sheet of glass, and instead can reach around the glass instead of trying to reach right thru it.

<small>[ 03-28-2006, 04:54 PM: Message edited by: piqaboo ]</small>
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Re: Religions 1: Musings

Postby Schmeelkie » Thu Mar 30, 2006 1:14 pm

It's not always that an animal will have an appendage or trait for some evolutionary 'advantage', but that it isn't a disadvantage. The elephant doesn't need a tail, but it doesn't hurt to have one either. So there's no selective pressure to get rid of it. Evolution is a testing of developed traits - the good ones are kept the bad ones - that cause problems - tend to disappear. So it can be counter productive to discuss evolution as 'producing' a trait, rather, evolution maintains good traits.

I like the long-term planning related to wondering... makes sense to me. And I think a reason religion in general is evolutionarily successful is that it provides a good basis for a community - what the rules are, how we treat one another, and the idea that protecting everyone helps you protect yourself and your children. This increases your chances of producing and raising to adulthood more children than in a more chaotic community.
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Re: Religions 1: Musings

Postby shostakovich » Sat Apr 08, 2006 9:42 am

I'm still doing some research, but I came across the following mix of religions.


ZEN JUDAISM

If there is no self,
whose arthritis is this?

Be here now.
Be someplace else later.
Is that so complicated?

Drink tea and nourish life.
With the first sip... joy.
With the second... satisfaction.
With the third, peace.
With the fourth, a danish.

Wherever you go, there you are.
Your luggage is another story.

Accept misfortune as a blessing.
Do not wish for perfect health
or a life without problems.
What would you talk about?

The journey of a thousand miles
begins with a single "oy."

There is no escaping karma.
In a previous life, you never called,
you never wrote, you never visited.
And whose fault was that?

Zen is not easy.
It takes effort to attain nothingness.
And then what do you have?
Bupkes.

The Tao does not speak.
The Tao does not blame.
The Tao does not take sides.
The Tao has no expectations.
The Tao demands nothing of others.
The Tao is not Jewish.

Breathe in. Breathe out.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Forget this and attaining Enlightenment
will be the least of your problems.

Let your mind be as a floating cloud.
Let your stillness be as the wooded glen.
And sit up straight. You'll never meet the
Buddha with such rounded shoulders.

Be patient and achieve all things.
Be impatient and achieve all things faster.

To Find the Buddha, look within.
Deep inside you are ten thousand flowers.
Each flower blossoms ten thousand times.
Each blossom has ten thousand petals.
You might want to see a specialist.

To practice Zen and the art of Jewish
motorcycle maintenance, do the following:
get rid of the motorcycle.
What were you thinking?

Be aware of your body.
Be aware of your perceptions.
Keep in mind that not every physical
sensation is a symptom of a terminal illness.

The Tora h says,"Love thy neighbor as thyself."
The Buddha says there is no "self."
So, maybe you are off the hook.

The Buddha taught that one should practice loving
kindness to all sentient beings. Still, would it kill you
to find a nice sentient being who happens to be Jewish?

Though only your skin, sinews, and bones remain,
though your blood and flesh dry up and wither away,
yet shall you meditate and not stir
until you have attained full Enlightenment.
But, first, a little nosh
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Re: Religions 1: Musings

Postby analog » Sat Apr 08, 2006 1:14 pm

Originally posted by Schmeelkie:


...I like the long-term planning related to wondering... makes sense to me. And I think a reason religion in general is evolutionarily successful is that it provides a good basis for a community - what the rules are, how we treat one another, and the idea that protecting everyone helps you protect yourself and your children. This increases your chances of producing and raising to adulthood more children than in a more chaotic community.
There's an interesting book named "The Brain" by Richard Restrak, wherein he claims that the cerebrum evolved and became large in mammals to process smell. The sense of smell he says is the only one wired directly into the cerebrum. The others come in through the limbic system, an older more primitive part of the brain. This direct connection is why for example the smell of fresh bread can instantly evoke such strong memories of grandma's kitchen. To process a scent and think out a plan of pursuit may well have been the beginning of abstract thought and a rudimentary awareness of time. When the language lobes came along they allowed adaptation through accrued experience at the pace of individual lifetimes, certainly faster than natural selection.


Was it Burns observed of a mammal with a small cerebrum?
"Still, thou art blest, compar'd wi' me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But Och! I backward cast my e'e,
On prospects drear!
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear!"

:) :) :)
Cogito ergo doleo.
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Postby Andy Warton » Sat Jul 29, 2006 10:55 am

I was reading theories on the origin of morality, and I came across the social contract theory, as put forward by Hobbes. This theory asserts that, because there are no intrinsic "right or wrong" deeds, we act selfishly. That is, we only perform acts which will (either in the long or short term) benefit us - this criterion is especially applicable when some sacrifice is made on our part. We help each other out (as Schmeelkie noted) because this is the only was to live in a co-operative community - the best way to rear offspring and survive. I protect you, you protect me; I don't steal your things, you don't steal mine. I believe this is also why we punish wrongdoers - because they destroy the society we've worked hard to create.

Depressing, I know. But I think it makes sense.

Also, one of the problems of religion's assertion that humans are morally accountable to some higher power, is evolution itself. If we are culpable, when did we become so? Evolution is a vicious process that requires a considerable degree of selfishness - even cut-throat behaviour. At what point, many ask, in the evolutionary line, did we become morally culpable?
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Postby Shapley » Sun Jul 30, 2006 1:06 pm

]quote]At what point, many ask, in the evolutionary line, did we become morally culpable?[/quote]

The point at which God shaved our ape-like ancestors and gave them an immortal soul and dominion over the earth, also known as the 'Creation of Man'.
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Postby Andy Warton » Sun Jul 30, 2006 1:37 pm

Touche!
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Postby barfle » Mon Jul 31, 2006 7:39 am

Andy Warton wrote:Also, one of the problems of religion's assertion that humans are morally accountable to some higher power, is evolution itself. If we are culpable, when did we become so? Evolution is a vicious process that requires a considerable degree of selfishness - even cut-throat behaviour. At what point, many ask, in the evolutionary line, did we become morally culpable?

I've done a bit of reading on the topic myself. Human beings are very much pack animals, like wolves. The members of the wolf pack understand that it is better to be a member of the pack than it is to be on one's own. They have a code of mutual respect, too, although it's certainly more brutal than what humans have come up with. So even wolves are morally "culpable."

If you look at some of the discoveries that have been made regarding human ancestors, you will see that many of them buried their dead with artifacts that seem to have meaning for the deceased. These beings had enough sense of the group to feel the loss of one of its members. There have been animals with moral codes much longer than there have been humans.
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Postby Andy Warton » Mon Jul 31, 2006 10:48 am

barfle wrote:If you look at some of the discoveries that have been made regarding human ancestors, you will see that many of them buried their dead with artifacts that seem to have meaning for the deceased. These beings had enough sense of the group to feel the loss of one of its members. There have been animals with moral codes much longer than there have been humans.


But then doesn't that raise questions about the teachings of at least every (classical Western) theological system? With the exception of animistic religions, and Buddhim (which doesn't hold the creation of the world to be important anyway), most religions have an anthropocentric view of life, if not of the initial creation. That is, they teach that humans are the pinnacle of creation: God made man in his image, and that's what makes us special.

Now, theologians have interpreted this imago dei thing to mean things like creative ability, and the moral impulse. But if we theorise about these things (especially the latter, which the God of classical theology is all about) preceding humanity, what does that mean for religion?
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Postby Shapley » Mon Jul 31, 2006 11:23 am

Andy,

Note that, in the Biblican version of Creation, God created the heavens and the earth and all the natural things before he created Man. I do not believe that my definition of the creation of Man, i.e. he was 'created' in the Biblical sense by giving him an imortal soul, is inconsistent with either the Bible or with evolutional theory.

There are those who take the Bible literally, the people who refuse to believe the Earth is more than 6,000 years old, and insist that it was created in six physical days (Although the period of a solar day and night could not have existed until the fourth day of creation when the Sun and Moon were created), and there are also those who refuse to accept any theory that includes a deity, immortality, a supernatural spirit, or any form of order that exists outside the laws that can be defined by physics.
I belong to neither group. Somewhere on this forum I outlined, in a humourous way, my view of a Creation compatible with evolutionary theory.

I believe that there is simply too much order in the Universe for it to be a random event, and that life cannot evolve from non-life, so there has to be a 'creation' of life at some point. I also believe that, in order for there to be a creation, there has to be Creator. I believe that Creator has a plan and purpose for his creations, and that we are a major part of that purpose (there I go again, being human-centric! :D). Call it 'intelligent design' if you will, I do believe our evolutionary march through time has been exhibited too much order to be the result of random generation.

But then, I think I've covered all this before.

V/R
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Postby barfle » Mon Jul 31, 2006 11:51 am

Andy Warton wrote:But then doesn't that raise questions about the teachings of at least every (classical Western) theological system?

Yep.

Andy Warton wrote:God made man in his image, and that's what makes us special.

We're clearly special. Show me another species that invents, or has literature. We don't need to be beneath a creator the be the pinnacle of evolution.

Andy Warton wrote:what does that mean for religion?

I'm not yet ready to prophesy the end of religion, but many religions have ended in the past, and no doubt many more will in the future.
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Postby shostakovich » Mon Jul 31, 2006 10:28 pm

"God made man in His image." That would explain Adam. But what about Eve? In whose image was she made? And why WOULD God make man in His image? Lack of imagination? When man gets old the body gets "achin' and wracked with pain", organs fail, etc. Can God be so frail?

From some ancient mythologies gods (who didn't age) appeared to mankind in human form. This may have influenced Bible writers. They are the ones suffering from lack of imagination.

No one can KNOW God or anything about Him/Her/It. BELIEF is another thing.
Shos

PS: I don't mean to be preachy, as most people reading this will already have figured out the above.
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Postby Andy Warton » Tue Aug 01, 2006 11:04 am

Incidentally, I do actually believe in a God (although not in organised religion). It's really odd, how I always end up on the other side of the argument without realising it; it's mostly habit. :roll:

I suppose it's just because sometimes, when I see religious people tyring to argue their point, it just comes through that they haven't actually thought their beliefs through - they're just speaking by rote, and what they say doesn't stand up. Not that I think that's what you were doing, Shapley; but my reaction was just instinctive, because I think that religion is just too important for people to hold it for no better reason than because someone told them what to think. You have to be able to argue your point.

We looked at the problem (if it is that) of evolution in school: some people have actually tried to suggest that evolution was God's plan all along - this seems reasonable enough. What I think is a bit dodgy is the idea that Christ is merely the pinnacle of that evolutionary trajectory (F R Tennant, I think). Some people ask the question, "Why would a loving God allow such a brutal process?" But, surely, if such a God created a world wherein suffering was necessary for redemption (such as the long and painful death of Christ), it is equally possible that God would intend evolution?
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Postby piqaboo » Tue Aug 01, 2006 1:59 pm

Andy Warton wrote: if such a God created a world wherein suffering was necessary for redemption..


Positing such a god exists leads to the question why worship such a god?
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