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Featured Children and Religion

Discussion in 'Science and Religion' started by Truly Enlightened, Jun 26, 2019.

  1. Truly Enlightened

    Truly Enlightened Well-Known Member

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    This topic is very near and dear to my heart. Our future as a species may depend on the cognitive development of our children. Our future generations will need to tackle the real problems in our future(climate change, food, water, energy, overpopulation, infrastructure, etc.). They can't simply say that "God will provide, if we believe hard enough".

    There is an evolutionary advantage in having all members of a tribe united and motivated for the common good of the tribe. For example, if it is shown that members with a propensity to follow a leader, will do better than members who do not, then that gene will be pass on to the next generation. Having more followers willing to be motivated/led would provide a united force to invade other lands and take their resources. Especially, if the force is convinced that their actions will give them everlasting life and a place in heaven. This highly motivated and united fighting force would also pass on their genetic trait. Thus individuality begins its decline. If we multiply these genetic behavioral traits over generations, we end up with more people more likely to follow leaders, and believe in the incredulous than not believe or follow. This is exactly the society we see today. Over 90% followers of religions, and a scattering of leaders, skeptics, and free thinkers. So, is religion just an evolutionary niche that produces more followers than individualists?

    Human babies require an enormous amount of time, resources and effort to carry to term. It takes even more time, effort, and resources, to raise babies to adulthood. One of the evolutionary instilled properties of children is their blind obedience and belief in whatever adults tell them. Children may imitate adults, but they are NOT little adults. This means that children are a blank canvass for religion to inculcate. The Jesuits knew what they were doing when they said “Give me the child till 8, they will give you the man.". "Get to your children while they are young, and you will trap them in religion for the rest of their life". But a child left alone with a good rational and questioning education will never become religious. Atheists, with a religious background, generally start to have their first doubts when they get to the sciences in their teens. They begin to realize that nature does not exist for the benefit of man, or that man is a necessary part of nature.

    In many parts of the religious world, children are the first to suffer. Religious fundamentalists commit many atrocities and maintain cruel practices against children(genital mutilations, child marriages, job discrimination, poor access to healthcare, employment and education, and the prohibition/restriction of many social freedoms/behavior). All in the name of religion. Women and girls suffer the most. The Islamic religion(25% of world population) teaches children that women are inferior to and equal to only half of a man. Also, that women belong to men, and that men have the right to punish their wives if they do not obey them. And, that women are the potential source of corruption in society. Even in more modern religions, women are restricted in how far they can advance in education or position. Free thoughts are forbidden and punishable. Superstition is instilled in school science curricula. This all creates a very dark and stagnated milieu for children. School pupils are also taught that if they do not obey the rules of God, that they will burned in hell. But God is Love?

    Religion emphasizes moral codes designed to instil values such as self-control and social competence. However, studies suggest that "parental religiosity" is a mixed blessing at best. It can produce positive psychological development, while potentially undermining later academic performances. Particularly in math and the physical sciences. Religion essentially tries to provide metaphysical explanations about existence to children(and adults). Hence the need to speak in allegories, parables, narratives, hyperboles, and tragedies. There is no excuse for deceiving our children into imagining that they'd be better off with religion, churches, priests, or the other trappings of religious faith. Unless of course, there is some verifiable evidence to suggest that you ARE justified. Nuff said.
     
  2. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    You have some interesting perspectives on things. Much of it does not ring true in my experience. How much have you studied about cognitive development? I haven't much myself, but even knowing what little I do, your presuppositions seem pretty shaky to me. I don't know where you're from, but I definitely do not see children demonstrating blind obedience to adults. :sweat:
     
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  3. Hockeycowboy

    Hockeycowboy Well-Known Member
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    You think genes affect a person's desire to lead or to follow?
    Genes have no bearing on that...as if some mechanism could choose it.

    It comes from the environment a person is raised in!

    You attribute too much power to evolution.
     
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  4. charlie sc

    charlie sc Well-Known Member

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    Not entirely true. Quite a large portion of personality, as measured by the five factor model, is hereditary.
     
  5. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    Modern 'freethinkers' always seem to think the same.
    Sceptics are generally sceptical about religion, but rarely about their own worldviews.
    Leaders may or may not be religious, doubt it really makes a great deal of difference.

    Human nature produces more followers than individualists, we are social animals.

    Simply not being religious doesn't mean much in my experience though, albeit plenty of irreligeous folk operate under the conceit that they are somehow startlingly independent thinkers who have transcended the need for comforting fictions and bravely see the world as it truly is.

    Holding such a belief requires a quite remarkable lack of scepticism and freethought though.
     
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  6. Hubert Farnsworth

    Hubert Farnsworth Well-Known Member

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    Be careful with the word "never." How can you be so sure?
     
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  7. Nimos

    Nimos Active Member

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    I think you got this slightly wrong, genes do play a part, but don't think its in a direct way, like some "leader"/"follower" genes. but is more a collection of attributes determined by them. For instance a person might be born with a charismatic appeal, which make people more attracted to them or they can be born more intelligent and therefore capable of making better decisions and able to convince others more easily either through talk or by the solution they come up with.

    But I think the majority comes down to behavior, if a person for whatever reason behaves bad towards those that they lead, it is less likely that people will follow them freely and therefore force is required.

    Also everyone is born into an already established society with decision makers etc. So if we want to improve leaders we have to train them through education, values etc. And then when they grow up, they have hopefully not been to corrupted and will improve things.

    I agree, there is a reason why people tend to be of the same religious views as their parents. Most probably didn't really decide this for themselves as they haven't spend the time needed to look at all the options. So whether its religion or how you behave in the society you are raised in are pretty much the same. Most people are taught how to follow rules where they live and in general people will follow them and in some cases bend the rules. But you don't see a person born and raised in the US, suddenly starting to follow the laws of Saudi Arabia if they have never been taught that.

    So if you teach children nonsense they will have to work to get rid of it later. For instance people that are taught as children that the Earth is 6000 years old and that they will burn in hell etc. That will take some effort for them to get to terms with it or they might stick to it and teach their children the same.

    To me the only way forward is to encourage free thinking individuals, that have been taught how to be skeptical, critical and think rational and with a good educational system to teach them fact from fiction.
     
  8. Darkforbid

    Darkforbid Active Member

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    There is no excuse for deceiving our children into imagining that they'd be better off with religion, churches, priests, or the other trappings of religious faith. Unless of course, there is some verifiable evidence to suggest that you ARE justified. Nuff said.

    Well as you asked:

    Humans 'predisposed' to believe in gods and the afterlife
     
  9. dybmh

    dybmh Terminal Optimist
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    May I point out that genetic behavioral traits do not get passed on with 100% efficiency. There is an evolutionary advantage for some amount of random of genetic mutation. As the human animal has advanced in its technological, medical, and societal capabilities, life span has increased. This encourages survival of outliers who do not fit into the model of survival of the fittest.

    Also

    One thing that has been shown in the history of civilization is that 1 person can have surprising and unpredictable impacts on the direction of human development. Sometimes this impact is positive, sometimes this impact is negative.

    Take these 2 factors together and the result is:

    It's not linear.

    Even if 98% of humans are most comfortable as conformists. That doesn't mean that the number of non-conformists are going away; they may in fact be increasing. And even if everything remains static, the 2% that are non-conformists are not limited to 2% potential impact. So, don't worry, my friend. Everything will be OK. :)
     
    #9 dybmh, Jun 26, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2019
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  10. Darkforbid

    Darkforbid Active Member

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    Catholic Child Recruitment
    DDvHg9oXoAELl_4.jpg
     
  11. Truly Enlightened

    Truly Enlightened Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for your comments. I think you have slightly misconstrued my comments regarding obedience and trust. Just because evolution have instilled in children a natural instinct to obey and trust adults, doesn't mean that all children will obey and trust adults. Those young animals that don't run when the adults say run, or not drink at a certain waterhole, when adults say don't drink, will not pass on this trust and obedience gene to the next generation. This may seem simplistic, because it is. Obviously, "don't take a slice of cake before dinner", doesn't have the same consequences as, "don't move because there is a snake near you". But the gene is there to give all children a chance to grow and learn cognitively, physically, and socially.

    Not sure of the relevancy of where I am from. Also, not sure of what presuppositions you are referring to as "shaky". The cognitive development in children relates to the development of their problem-solving skills, their ability to process and acquire language, and their ability to relate objects/things to cause and effect(carrots to rabbits, rain to plants). Theirs is a world of agencies, not helplessness.

    Finally, are you saying that children definitely do not obey, or believe what adults tell them, because of your experience alone? Are you suggesting that it is NOT an evolutionary advantage for children to obey, trust, and follow the actions of adults? In fact, studies have demonstrated that children will even obey and believe in make-believe human/non-human surrogates as well.
     
  12. Truly Enlightened

    Truly Enlightened Well-Known Member

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    I do think that our genetic make-up will determine our personality. 95% of all the brain's activity is beyond our conscious awareness. These activities are under genetic control. Our genes controls the body so that we don't have to, for obvious reasons(autonomic systems, skin and eye color, growth rate, reflex systems, endocrine systems, biochemical systems, reproductive systems, etc.). Only 5% of our mental activities is conscious and cognitive. Studies on fraternal and identical twins, have consistently suggested that in early personality development, genes matter. The next question, is which genes would be the biggest players in the gene-to-personality pathways?

    Firstly, let me say that there is NO gene that represents a specific personality trait. There is no gene for love, empathy, hate, happiness, etc. It is the combination of genes that indirectly influence, or predispose a person to certain personality/behavioral traits. The number of dopamine receptors in the brain will effect behavior. The number of endocrine receptors(adrenaline, noradrenaline, oxytocin, somatotropins, testosterone, oestrogen,, etc.) will effect behavior. The number of free nerve endings(pain receptors) will also effect the type of personality. Also the way the autonomic nervous system is genetically wired will definitely effect behavior(psychopaths, sociopaths).

    Evolution, through trial and error, and over many generations have given us our 23 pairs of chromosomes. The genes and alleles on these chromosomes are a mixture from our first generation. Our next and subsequent generations will also be a mixture of ours. We can actually see a mark difference in languages and personalities in todays society, when compared with the society 60 years ago. At least I can.

    It is also true the nature and experience also effects personality. More specifically, the expression of that personality trait. For example, if a child inherits a genetic predisposition to become a piano virtuoso, but can't afford a piano, that gene(or combination of genes) will not be expressed. I do attribute our genetic make-up to Evolution(specifically inherited traits), because there is no other Theory that describes the mechanism for speciation and the transfer of genetic materials.
     
  13. Truly Enlightened

    Truly Enlightened Well-Known Member

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    I doubt if it takes a lot of skepticism or independent thinking to "bravely see the world as it truly is". There is no need for skeptics and free thinkers, to transcend the comforts of fictional beliefs, because there is no comfort in anything that doesn't exist. We only see fiction, as fiction. Nor, do we consider "irreligious folk" to be conceited, because they require facts instead of faith.

    Many leaders may not be religious, but they use religion to manipulate others that are religious. Skeptics will always be sceptical about anything that offers zero evidence to support extraordinary claims. This should not be surprising, unless you still believe in Santa Clause.

    There is no such thing as "human nature". Nature is not human. There is however the "human condition", which is species-specific. We clearly see followers in primate cultures. There is a large number of followers under one dominant male leader. We can see this leader/follower behavior in Nazi Germany, Japan, and Italy during the lead up to war. The question is why the disproportionate number of followers to leaders? What make these leaders? Is it size, charisma, intelligence, fear, or something else? What makes these followers? Is it gullibility, ignorance, insecurity, fear, need for attention or a need to belong, or something else?

    What is the specific belief that requires quite a remarkable lack of scepticism and freethought?
     
  14. Truly Enlightened

    Truly Enlightened Well-Known Member

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    You are correct. Nothing is absolute. I should have said, "But a child left alone with a good rational and questioning education, Ideally, will never become religious.". Thank you for the correction.
     
  15. Truly Enlightened

    Truly Enlightened Well-Known Member

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    I agree I did ask. Is this the evidence for a child's predisposition to believe in God(s), or an afterlife?

    "Children were asked whether their mother would know the contents of a box in which she could not see. Children aged three believed that their mother and God would always know the contents, but by the age of four, children start to understand that their mothers are not all-seeing and all knowing. However, children may continue to believe in all-seeing, all-knowing supernatural agents, such as a god or gods.".

    Or, that the Chinese studies on adults,

    "believe that some part of their mind, soul or spirit lives on after-death. The studies demonstrate that people are natural 'dualists' finding it easy to conceive of the separation of the mind and the body.".

    Even if there were some religious predisposition to believe in God, or an afterlife, it doesn't mean that both actually exist. This seems to be just another statistical exercise in search of a consistent opinion. Not any verifiable evidence to justify an extraordinary claim.
     
  16. Truly Enlightened

    Truly Enlightened Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for your comments. I agree.
     
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  17. Darkforbid

    Darkforbid Active Member

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    This seems to be just another statistical exercise in search of a consistent opinion. Not any verifiable evidence to justify an extraordinary claim.

    Yes, I know it's only a 1.9 million pound multinational, 3 year resurch project, if it disagrees you how can it have any merits at all!!
     
  18. Truly Enlightened

    Truly Enlightened Well-Known Member

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    Firstly, the point I making, was that parents should not deceive children into believing that religious tenets are factual and real. They are only personal beliefs, until they can be justified or falsified. Does a God(s) exist? Have we all sinned, and need salvation? Does God or Jesus really love us? When we die, will we really go to heaven if we are obedient and good? Or, will we burn in Hell if we are disobedient? Should vulnerable impressionable developing minds, be subjected to this form of deception, without any rational justification? Other than that is what everybody else believes, so it must be so.

    Whether a child has an innate need to believe in God(s), the tooth fairy, or any other fantasy agent, it is totally irrelevant to whether the entities actually exist. I don't see any verifiable link between an innate desire to believe, and the agent of that belief. Finally, I think the amount of money says more about the studies incredulity than its merits. IMHO.
     
  19. Darkforbid

    Darkforbid Active Member

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    Firstly, the point I making, was that parents should not deceive children into believing that religious tenets are factual and real.

    So children should only be hear what you believe

    Should vulnerable impressionable developing minds, be subjected to this form of deception, without any rational justification?

    Playing the religion is child abuse card to justify your totalitarian view,.

    OK offer some hard evidence that your view is the truth
     
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  20. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    Simply removing god/religion from a worldview doesn't make it factually true. The conceit is not rejecting religion, but that in doing so you face 'reality'. 'Sceptics' are rarely sceptical about the fictions that underpin their worldview (which are often actually religious in origin anyway).

    We are predisposed to seeing the world via a collection of narratives that enable us to make sense of the disparate world we experience and to put things together in a comprehensible and communicable manner.

    There are also plenty of comforts in things that don't exist, comfort is an emotional state, and emotions are not limited to objective factual events. There are also truths in things which aren't true. A work of fiction or mythology may be better able to describe an aspect of the human condition better than a scientific textbook can as it is not limited by the conventions of scientific literature.

    When the Greeks talk about hubris as an incurable aspect of human nature, or the Biblical Fall notes that human nature is irredeemably flawed they convey the truth via myth. Many 'rational' people have believed and do believe that human nature can be perfected and/or that the bad parts are really some kind of 'inhuman' error, rather than things which are just as human as love and compassion.

    Self-described 'sceptics' tend to be sceptical about a small range of things, and conformist in many others. That's a common feature of human nature.

    As a teenager and young adult I used to consume lots of 'New Atheist' material, and most people say the same thing, using the same reasoning and making the same mistakes. It's the kind of conformity you expect to see in fundamentalist circles, try finding a 'New Atheist' who doesn't believe in the conflict thesis or that religion is the biggest (or close to the biggest) source of violence and division in history. Neither of these ideas has any significant degree of support among contemporary scholars, yet 'rationalists' accept them as fact (and usually dismiss any effort to point this out with some kind of ad hom about 'apologetics').

    Humans, including 'sceptics', didn't evolve to be highly rational across the board ('rational' in an objective, neutral discovery of truth sense)

    Human nature/human condition are pretty much synonymous the way I use them.

    Part of social dynamics, primate groups can't have too many leaders, so people choose to back down or are forced to backdown.

    With human primates in the modern world, the situation can be far more flexible, we can be leaders or followers in numerous different settings. Following is not necessarily a sign of weakness or failure either, it can be very rational.

    The belief that anyone lives their life without relying on comforting fictions and that the deficiencies of human nature can be overcome by reason.

    Have posted these a million times, but the express the ideas better than me, so I keep using them :grinning:

    Bertie [Bertrand Russell] held two ludicrously incompatible beliefs: on the one hand he believed that all the problems of the world stemmed from conducting human affairs in a most irrational way; on the other hand that the solution was simple, since all we had to do was to behave rationally. JM Keynes

    When contemporary humanists invoke the idea of progress they are mixing together two different myths: a Socratic myth of reason and a Christian myth of salvation. If the resulting body of ideas is incoherent, that is the source of its appeal. Humanists believe that humanity improves along with the growth of knowledge, but the belief that the increase of knowledge goes with advances in civilization is an act of faith. They see the realization of human potential as the goal of history, when rational inquiry shows history to have no goal. They exalt nature, while insisting that humankind – an accident of nature – can overcome the natural limits that shape the lives of other animals. Plainly absurd, this nonsense gives meaning to the lives of people who believe they have left all myths behind.

    To expect humanists to give up their myths would be unreasonable. Like cheap music, the myth of progress lifts the spirits as it numbs the brain. The fact that rational humanity shows no sign of ever arriving only makes humanists cling more fervently to the conviction that humankind will someday be redeemed from unreason. Like [the believers in a flying saucer cult whose beliefs only strengthened when the aliens didn't arrive], they interpret the non-event as confirming their faith.
    John Gray, The Silence of Animals: On Progress and Other Modern Myths
     
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