[ExI] Atheists and agnostics know more about religion thatbelievers, study shows

The Avantguardian avantguardian2020 at yahoo.com
Wed Sep 29 03:34:00 UTC 2010

----- Original Message ----
> From: Keith Henson <hkeithhenson at gmail.com>
> To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
> Sent: Tue, September 28, 2010 7:47:59 PM
> Subject: Re: [ExI] Atheists and agnostics know more about religion 
>thatbelievers, study shows
> 2010/9/28 spike <spike66 at att.net>:
> > Spike wrote:
> > *What is the best refutation of religion you have ever seen, heard or read?

Here is an oldie but a goodie credited to Epicurus the Greek Philosopher circa 
250 BCE:

1. if God is unable to prevent evil, he is not omnipotent
2. if God is not willing to prevent evil, he is not good
3. if God is willing and able to prevent evil, then why is there evil?

> Keith wrote:
> I don't know how one would refute religion.  It's a near universal
> feature of human cultures.

Yup. I tend to agree with the antropologists that say it is the totem pole by 
which you know your tribe.

> Rather than refute something that is a widespread feature of humans, I
> would think it more important to understand how the psychological
> mechanisms that result in religions (i.e., religious memes) evolved.
> At some point in the past, having these mechanisms must have improved
> the survival of genes for the mechanisms.
> I hope the logic here is not beyond the average person on this list.

Oddly enough morality and religion may both be evolved psychological mechanisms 
but there is evidence that they evolved separately for separate purposes.

Here are evopsych papers by Hauser at Harvard. He gave a test consisting of 
moral dilemmas to 1500 people of different cultures and religions from around 
the world in their native languages and his results were quite interesting. The 
moral sense seems to be highly correlated in all the subjects tested. That is 
that 95% of respondants gave identical answers to the question regardless of 
culture, religion, or lack theerof  The moral sense seems to be a low level 
brain function in that the respondants' answers were not *reasoned*, they were 
*intuited* and almost identically by all. When he would ask the subjects why 
they thought something was wrong or right, they would often say they didn't 
know. Moreover the moral sense seems completely uncorrelated with religion.  





Stuart LaForge
"Old men read the lesson in the setting sun.
Beat the cymbal and sing in this life, or wail away the hours fearing death.
Their choice is their fortune." - I Ching 


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