Mahzarin Banaji, the Cabot Professor of Social Ethics, Dept. of Psychology at Harvard University forwarded his candidate for "the most deeply satisfying explanation" of human nature, the idea of bounded rationality. As he explains it :"The idea that human beings are smart compared to other species but not smart enough by their own standards, including behaving in line with basic axioms of rationality, is now a well-honed observation with a deep empirical foundation".... (sic)The reason we are boundedly rational is because the information space in which we must do our work is large compared to the capacities we have, including severe limits on our conscious awareness and our ability to control our behavior and act in line with our own intentions."
My conversation with atheists on Hub Pages, have been mostly colored by the fact that they put all their argumentative "eggs" (so to speak), in just one basket i.e. their "rational" interpretation of the physical world unhinged from and untinged by God's existence. Now that the supremacy of that rationality has been questioned by empirical evidence, would atheists still use rationality as their main weapon for arguing that God does not exist?
I think they will. Every argument that shows atheism, (their) logic, or assertions they hold to, will get a response that (tries to) refute it.
In other words, they will do whatever it takes, to prove they are right.
In my years on these forums, I have yet to see one atheist concede on any points presented!
That's just the nature of the beast, so to speak.
1) Can you define what you mean by a "rational interpretation of the physical world"?
2) No atheist with a grain of sense will claim there is no god, just as no theist with the same grain will claim there IS a god. We don't know, and cannot know.
The atheist thus does not need a weapon at all to make the claim there is no god as they don't make it. And no weapon is needed to claim we don't know; the lack of knowledge itself makes the claim FOR them.
"Rational interpretation of the physical world" relates to the atheist's conception/perception that anything not informed via their 5 physical senses do not exist. As most humans know, our 5 physical senses, are not on their own lonesone selves, sufficient to interpret the reality of existence. The reality of existence is, if I must quote the good professor again, "large compared to the capacities we have, including severe limits on our conscious awareness..."
Your second paragraph belies the fact that atheists including you, have stated bluntly in various forums on HubPages, that there is NO God, an entity that your cohorts have so derisively labeled, "your Big Magical Daddy in the sky". For you to now say that no atheist worth his salt can ever claim that there is NO GOD, is discombobulation of the highest order.
Again, only a major fool thinks everything is detectably by our 5 senses. UV light, for instance, or IR light is not. Microwaves are not, radio waves are not. The huge majority of planets are not and bacteria is not. Atoms are not.
Only a fool thinks they can see and feel everything.
Atheism vs agnosticism: I used to consider myself an agnostic - I don't know if there is a god. Lately, I have been informed that the correct term is "atheist" for that stance, as well as for there being no god. In an effort to conform to accepted use of the word, I use "atheism" to include what I used to call "agnostic". Hope that clears it up; a matter of semantics where I try to fit in to what other people understand.
A smart atheist will understand that "the five senses" are just that, five senses. They know that other senses are possible (like a bat has senses we don't have, that some animals might be able to detect things like magnetic forces, that humans can't)
I fail to see how this theory speaks to religion at all. Most people I know deal with physical reality in a largely rational rather than irrational way. What is the alternative?
You fail to get the gist of what the professor is saying. He is not at all implying that just because we could not rely at all times for our rationality to be our "crutch" when it comes to helping us decide what is and what is not the best choice given multiple options/scenarios i.e. belief and non-belief in God, that we should then act or approach those decisions irrationally.
In those situations when rational/logical percolation falls short, then perhaps instinct/intuition/introspection/imagination/humiliation (ego-less) thrown into the mix could make the water less muddy and more transparent, so to speak.
Well we also know that a vast amount of our behavior is determined by processes not subject to conscious rational thought. Implicit learning, Pavlovian conditioning, intuition is rampant.
But again, what has this to do whether whether one's intuition is that God exists, or that He does not? Theists are not more intuitive than atheist. They just intuit different things.
I intuit based on what I see, for example that evolution produced the various forms of life on earth. Others are not willing to draw that conclusion but prefer to stick to a literal reading of a specific book to explain this outcome. Are they innately flawed human beings as a result?
The choices you make is what defines you... and we have agreed those choices could not be made via rationality alone.
You asked "what has this to do whether one's intuition is that God exist, or that He does not exist". A lot..... for if one intuited that God(Creator) exist then one is more predisposed to approaching one's existence (and the choices one makes in that existence) via the prism not merely of the physical but most importantly of the spiritual.
Evolutionary life (natural selection and all that entails) is a fact. The Bible (parts of it anyway) , as I have always argued, could not and should not be interpreted literally but metaphorically. So does it really matter if God created humans in one quick swoop or in various stages of development that accrued well enough to the laws of nature that he so mandated be operative on earth? I don't think so. But atheism totally eliminates God from that equation... something that I could not countenance doing..... instinctively, intuitively, introspectively, imaginatively.
Methinks you have misunderstood the article completely. And the professor is a She.
In the absence of fact checking one can only intuit the gender...
Does it interest me much whether the professor is a he or a she? Not really.
Try sticking to the point you're making and define for me why I misunderstood the article completely...if you have read his/her essay at all.
It should interest you as to who it is you are quoting as an authority on something. But - I am not surprised that you don't care who wrote the article you are using to argue your irrational belief in a Majikal Invisible Super Being in the Sky.
Still - I suggest you actually read it instead of cherry picking something that appears to have zero bearing on whether there is a god or not. Nor does it suggest that believing in majick is a suitable replacement for rationality.
The Havard educated academic is certainly not saying beliefs ever replace rationality. Only that much of what we do is under the control of grey reasoning rather than objective logic. Which is undeniably the case and not a statement about the virtues of what our specific assumptions and intuitions should be.
@RA: The professor's essay was included in a book of essays written by empiricists in various fields of scientific endeavor. The book is titled: "This Explains Everything" edited by John Brockman. You might want to google these two characters. You might fin them infinitely interesting.
If the scientists gender is irrelevant, what makes these "interesting" things relevant.
The essay itself says nothing pertinent to religion or religiosity and is neutral on which is better or more natural. Nor does it have any obvious corollaries in that realm.
@Psych: I did not in any way manner, shape or form imply that the professor's article was "pertinent to religion or religiosity". Her only point was we could never rely on rationality alone in making decisions/choices. And my point was we do all kinds of choices in our daily lives, one of which is whether to believe or not to believe that God exist. I am connecting the two points by arguing that rationality alone could not be used as the only basis for making the decision to be a believer or unbeliever. Certainly, connecting those two dots are within the purview of making choices.... one that I chose to make when I posted the OP.
From the point of view of this discussion, does it matter much if the professor was male or female? I don't think so, thus your statement "if the scientist's gender is irrelevant, what makes these "interesting" things relevant" is just an exercise in word play.
Well, what are these interesting things and how can they be relevant--you are the one being vague. The essay is the essay. What does something undisclosed about some people associated with the book have to do with the price of milk?
And you are trying to link the blatantly obvious fact that most of what we do (from buying stocks to farting in out sleep) is not objective and rational choice to something to do with religiosity. Right?
If you are not trying to do that--what are you trying to do?
Choosing to believe or not to believe in God's existence is a decision far more life changing than buying stocks or farting while asleep. Any life changing decisions needs to be weighed carefully and with great clarity... clarity that does not necessarily comes from rationality ALONE. Rationality, in this particular case, should be informed by one's intuition, instincts, imagination and humility.
Humility should be used to find truth and reality? How do you come to that conclusion? Or instinct, for that matter?
The topic of the discussion is how humans make decisions in their daily lives. By humility I meant absence of ego. You know of course that humans have been waylaid and wantonly disrupted by his EGO more than any other decisive factors involving his decision making process.
Instinct is pure unadulterated gut feeling... I'm you've had those feelings when finding yourself at a bifurcation or a crossroad and then trying to decide which one to take.
Now truth and reality. How do you find them? Ultimately, one could never be 100% certain that one's truth and reality were absolute, until one is facing his Creator and giving Him a full accounting of ones life devoid of EGO.
This I can partially agree with. Certainly ego should be left out of the decision making process, unless some form of ego is a determining factor (I like lima beans but not pinto beans, so will choose lima beans for supper).
But your concept of instinct..."gut feelings" have no place in rational decision making, either. That comes from the emotional ego and should be ignored as much as possible.
We can never be 100% sure of anything at all. Nevertheless we have to make decisions and calls that assume we CAN know and that means we do the best we can. We look at evidence, we consider facts, we use our historical experience applied to similar circumstances. We do NOT say "Gee, I'd like a father figure in the sky, so there must be a God up there". We do NOT say "Well, I don't see any other way we could have got here, so there is a great father figure in the sky". We do NOT say "My feelings, dependent on the time of day and what I had for breakfast, indicate there is a God, so there is one". All of those things are known factors in producing a good feeling, but not truth, and if it is truth and reality we want we'll have to look elsewhere than our own desires and ego.
*edit* and as far as knowing when we finally meet God face to face - you will only know IF it happens and IF He chooses to tell you the truth. There is no guarantee that will happen at all despite millions of people assuming that God will not lie.
I was already in Pre-med and Medical school when those religious tenets and scientific concepts were being taught, discussed, and critically examined....a long way from my innocent childhood. So for you to infer that I was being indoctrinated because I was just a child under the sway of adults is total nonsense.
Somehow...I really doubt that you were taught to critically examine the tenets of religions belief. The foundations of Christianity or any other "true" religion.
But it was not me said you were being taught to simply accept; you said that when you clearly indicated that you were not taught the opposite but remained quiet about being taught to actively question. Still, I do not doubt that you were taught to question, proper techniques for testing, etc. in the medical field That you were also taught to apply the same standards to religious questions I do not believe.
You obviously have not been taught under the aegis of Jesuits, for if you have, you would know that Jesuits are the probing/questioning kind. Just ask Pope Francis.
Now can you apply the same standards i.e." proper techniques for testing/probing/questioning" to religious questions that were used in my medical education? Even the Jesuits would have to answer that with loads and loads of caveats....not the least of which is the fact that the empirical-medical model relies heavily on H&P (History and Physical Exam) and close observational techniques.... techniques that are neither suited nor practical in the philosophical-religious model.
Given the chance , I would make the same choice as the creators of StarTrek to have James Kirk and not Mr. Spock to captain the USS Enterprise. Experience/Emotions/Knowledge vs. Pure Rationality.
When you choose not to believe in Allah, Zeus and Thor, how much actual thought went into that? I mean, those are certainly life changing decisions to reject them.
I have rejected them too.
Accepting Jesus as Lord, now THAT's lifechanging.
Choosing to not believe is nothing, because it expresses no change at all. You are the same after, as before.
Seems your view is opposite to that of A.Villarasa.
Of course, both of your views are based on the fact you reject all the other gods, not because you actually gave them any thought, but because you were indoctrinated into Christianity.
In fact, we could probably sit down and start going through the very long and lengthy list of gods and there would be gods we both never heard of before, and you both would outright reject them without knowing anything about them.
And you know that information from . . ?
In your mind, all gods are non-existent, therefore deserving of equal time (be it zero, or lengthy).
However, if there is (A) God, all the rest are either false, or, non-existent.
Therein lies my position.
"However, if there is (A) God, all the rest are either false, or, non-existent."
How do you twist logic/reason to come to that conclusions? It would seem, based on everything we know about reality, that nothing comes in singulars, presumably including gods. If there is one, then, there are probably many, many more.
You, of course.
But, we are talking about you, not me. In your mind, you have been indoctrinated to believe only in Christianity and know nothing about other religions, yet you berate those who have not taken the time to carefully make a decision about their religious choices.
Exactly, and YOUR god could very well one of the false, non-existent gods, or all of them are false and non-existent, which is the more likely conclusion.
Yes, a position of hypocrisy.
Just where did I say "I have been indoctrinated, into Christianity?
As I recall, I have denied that accusation, every time it was made.
I guess you missed all those occasions!
When it comes to acquiring our religious beliefs, indoctrination is never in play, and for you to constantly hammer that misperception and misrepresentation in this and other forums is indeed a sign of your total desperation at making whatever silly statements you can come up with just to prop up a rapidly losing argument.
May I suggest...a more apt term---education.
Indoctrination is a major factor in acquiring religious belief. Of course it is.
It's not the only way, but it is a MAJOR factor.
"Indoctrination is the process of inculcating ideas, attitudes, cognitive strategies or a professional methodology. It is often distinguished from education by the fact that the indoctrinated person is expected not to question or critically examine the doctrine they have learned."
Based on your definition of Education and Indoctrination, then I would say that I was educated, not indoctrinated about religious beliefs that I now hold as my own. Certainly at school, when going through the rigors of elementary school, high school and college, I did not in any way feel constrained NOT to "question or critically examine the doctrine" that I was being taught. Neither was I obligated to accept willy-nilly those precepts. Certainly the freedom existed whether to reject or accept those doctrines... and upon critical thought, I decided that I could live happily with those doctrines.
Now if you still insist that religion indoctrinates, then you might want to also say that science indoctrinates, because in my experience both religious precepts and scientific concepts were both taught to me at school, hand in hand and in tandem for me to examine critically. Being both a Christian and a scientist is not an oxymoron in my book.
Yet, your posts, and especially the threads you start here would show well beyond a shadow of a doubt you're not familiar with critical thought, at all.
That would prove my point.
You can be indoctrinated into scientific belief, too. You can be indoctrinated into just about anything.
"I did not in any way feel constrained NOT to "question or critically examine the doctrine" that I was being taught."
Well put. Unfortunately, one of the tenets of a well taught education is a thorough grounding in the concept that we SHOULD "question or critically examine the doctrine" that I was being taught." and it appears you didn't get that, either. With such an important omission the mind of a child being "taught" will accept very nearly anything it is told by an adult; it is called "indoctrination".
What makes you say that? Clearly you did not bother reading them - just saw quote that sounded like it might be something to start another attack on people who use their minds to come to reasonable and rational decisions.
Why do you hate atheists so much?
I don't hate atheists. Wherever did you get that impression from? And whoever gave you that impression, I can only say, must be self-delusional.
I have always thought that atheism and its close cousin secularism are ideological systems that are counterintuitive in their formulation and predisposition. Additionally, the aggressiveness with which the "neo-atheists" (as some have labeled them i.e. Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens ,God Bless his soul) have pushed their agenda into the general body politic made a lot of folks conclude that these prophets are also pushing(unwittingly) their ideology into the umbrella of "The Law of Unintended Consequences".
One of the unintended consequences of this aggressive push is the perception/conclusion of most reasonable and rational people that instead of degrading and devolving religious beliefs, these nihilistic prophets have made faith stronger in people who has it, and more attractive to those who don't have it but are searching for a spiritual undergirding in their lives.
Religious belief will continue to enrich people's lives, as it has enriched people's lives in the past...because this belief in God, is the basic underpinning of the purpose/meaning of our existence.
Which purpose and meaning are those you might ask. Simply stated, we are here to be witnesses to God's creation, and as such we are allowed, because He has given us the cerebral capacity to do so, to unravel the perplexities and complexities of that creation.
Does it interest you to have your sentence about the scientist be accurate? Our attitudes to the small things often echoes our attitude to the large.
You have to choose either/or.
There is no in between. It's either rational or intuitive. Believe me, I've tried the route of both at the same time. Doesn't work.
There is no sense in intuition (in it's purest sense). It is la la land thinking. If you want reality, you have to face reality on it's own terms. Which is a rational view. Those who don't, aren't going to be able to face reality. It really is that simple.
Anything goes in la la land. It's not always a great place to be.
I choose rationality, although it is foreign to me. But it can be learned.
It is never intuition against rationality... it is always rationality supplemented by intuition, instinct(gut feelings), imagination, introspection and modified by humility (absence of EGO), that we make our decisions on the bigger issues. Now I have always thought that one should never sweat the smaller issues/decisions.
Maybe it's ok for normal people. Not for me.
Attacking rational thought? That's desperate.
It would show that believers can no longer argue in favor of their gods existence when they are forced to attacking how are brains work. Of course, it would be hypocritical to attack rational thought if the person attacking it ever used it in their lives, and we can assume they probably do. If not, and their entire lives are based on irrational thought, what does that say about their arguments here?
Again you are totally missing the point of the entire conversation. Rationality obviously is the most important tool in helping us make decisions in our daily lives, but we should never rely on it solely. As I have said it here and other forums....rationality should be complemented/supplemented by other meaningful tools in our disposal...i.e. intuition, instinct, imagination, introspection and non-egoism.
There might not be any real thing called gut instinct, when it comes to decision-making. Studies have been shown that it is more of a matter of having easy access to certain memories of skill you already have. A chess champion doesn't have a good instinct for the game, their brain takes up more space than usual (and in unexpected places, such as the visual cortex) than a non-champion. The non champion will have to actually think and reason, while the champion only has to access already-learned patterns of moves.
It's called "chunking" and anyone can do it. You just learn patterns of common things in your field or skill set.
Sharing firstly I have not read the essay. I see he is a professor of ethics. Ethics is philosophical and it is social - ethics regards persons and not a person with the conflicts of right and wrong. Moral is of the person.
Help me to understand if you might. Is not behavior a product of learned - social and experienced? Empirical is of experience and rational is of reasoning. "Deep empirical foundation," in my humble view is it seems to say on the surface empirical with 'behaving' occurs before rational, thus "a deep empirical foundation"? It is.
Or,we experience first then reason regarding in this case ethics representing a product of behavior and presenting subsequent behavior(s), more so socially. The obvious for me of least is there cannot be 'smart' without reasoning. I cannot make a connection to God with a discussion as there is not a connection with the information provided by the professor or I missed seeing it.
Respecting the atheist view, again a personal perspective, is the position honors both empirical and rational. After all any 'science' demands both, while philosophy does not. That leads to 'acceptance' for any argument of a belief followed with a trust of and a faith in or of.
A belief is formed with acceptance alongside trust and faith. An atheist does not have a belief of God as there is not acceptance, although they do have belief - science and philosophy. They do accept and trust with faith, therefore belief is more or less tossed out of the debate regarding God as existing.
Statement: God 'may' in fact exist? An agnositc with argument acknowledges not God, but 'may'. An atheist denies 'may' and substitutes 'does not'. Simply, no matter a why, there is 'not' acceptance. Again, in my humble view that is conducive of behavior while not of behavior alone. Acceptance is a rational process being a choice and that is personal, although at times influenced and/or a result of persuasion.
Again, a humble view, is an atheist does not believe of (there is) a God or there is not 'acceptance' first for God as a known. God cannot be Knower with an atheist since it simply is not a known. Therefore, biblical (or Holy scriptures) debates are useless as it is faith based evidence and trust with it as a source. It is a one sided argument of the believer accepting God seeking convincing them self, not the atheist or agnostic. Unless empirical and rational is discovered with those sources (Holy scriptures).
An argument for God with an atheist or an agnositic with either of those - faith or trust, can only take place as a 'hypothetical' with or without God as a known by being a given with seeking a 'truth'. More than likely a convincing argument is by both - with and without God, and a truth is revealed or discovered as one verifies while offering validity.
It's primary is acceptance. Atheist accept science - empirical (experience and experiencing) and/or rational (Logic and mathematics) for explaining life and its nuances (from my understanding, which is open to correction with regard of acceptance). Both empirical and rational may be used to explain behavior after all there is the science of psychology and social psychology verifying that and presenting it as valid. Therefore, I see what the statement provided as shared is of regard with behavior and not a connection for convincing God as existing.
So sorry that my typically linear mind could not follow the many twists and turns in your post, that I just got lost in the maze and haze.
I seem to perceive that you are trying to make a point, but that point was also lost in the maze and haze.
I don't see that rationality is itself in question.
Just our human ability to use it properly.
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