[ExI] de Waal

Brent Allsop brent.allsop at gmail.com
Thu Feb 22 19:19:47 UTC 2018

I think about religion being evolutionary useful in getting larger 
groups of people to co-operate.  If you have 10,000 or more people, all 
unified, following the same survival goals,  including taking resources 
and life? from "heathens", you will easily dominate any other smaller 
group of not us (i.e. heathens).  And the idea of a guy at the top of 
the hierarchy, directly linking to "God", and everyone else getting 
access to god, through him - you get some big hierarchies.  Hierarchies 
can never survive, when unforced from above, as most non religious 
people seem to think about religious leaders.  The only reason the tops 
of religious have powers, is because their followers give it to them.  
The leader may be very tolerant to outside views and such, but the rank 
and file will hate, excommunicate, and destroy anyone questioning the 
top authority.  I'm sure this is because of our breading.  People that 
do that, naturally, able to form larger hierarchies, and better well 
defining who they are, and who the heathens are, the more survivable the 
large co-orating group.

As far as beliefs in "immortal souls", spirits, ghosts and such, that is 
fairly easy to understand, given the way our brain represents knowledge 
of what we are, in our environment.  We have knowledge of the room 
around us, represented in our head.  At the center of the knowledge of 
the room, is knowledge of our body. When we stub out toe, the pain isn't 
in the toe, it is in our knowledge of the toe, in our brain.  When your 
foot is amputated, you still have knowledge of that foot, phantom limb 
pain and so on - hence people's beliefs in "spiritual body parts" that 
do not get amputated when your foot is.

At the top of that knowledge of your body, is the knowledge of our 
head.  And inside your knowledge of your head, is your knowledge of you, 
as if you were a "spirit", "ghost" or whatever you want to think of that 
knowledge of you as being.  This knowledge is usually represented as a 
separate entity, reside within the head, and peering out the eyes, as if 
they were holes in the head, containing your spirit.  Your knowledge of 
your head, represents something in reality (your real head).  But your 
knowledge of your spirit/ghost, has no referent in reality.  And when 
you have an out of body experience, this is knowledge of your spirit, 
leaving your knowledge of your body, all in your head.

Scientifically, we can observe/discover this knowledge of our spirit, 
with no referent in reality.

Brent Allsop

On 2/22/2018 10:34 AM, William Flynn Wallace wrote:
> On Thu, Feb 22, 2018 at 10:16 AM, Adrian Tymes <atymes at gmail.com 
> <mailto:atymes at gmail.com>> wrote:
>     On Feb 22, 2018 7:51 AM, "William Flynn Wallace"
>     <foozler83 at gmail.com <mailto:foozler83 at gmail.com>> wrote:
>         A far more difficult thing, in my opinion, is the origin of
>         the concept of the immortal soul.  I am working on that one.
>     "But I can't actually just stop existing.  What happens to my
>     memories, my identity, after I die?  I have not experienced
>     anything like them just going poof, so even if you say that's what
>     happens, that doesn't make intuitive sense."
>     In other words, a common cognitive dissonance when thinking about
>     one's own death.
>     ----
> ​Yes. Death, the great mystery.  It's just impossible to think of 
> going to sleep and not waking up.  And primitive people extended this 
> to plants - trees had souls, cattle had souls - others thought trees 
> were gods and should be prayed to to excuse the act of cutting them down.
> In Pinker's book the more science/education a population knows/has, 
> the more people leave religion.  ​
> ​Science is a threat - the religious people are right.  Natural causes 
> trump metaphysical causes.
> bill w​
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