Posts tagged human nature

Posted 1 year ago

The Rational Mind that Isn’t

I can only imagine that the dismissiveness some Atheists, Free Thinkers and others feel toward religious people is based on a simple point:

How can a rational mind believe such illusions? 

I also imagine that their answer is:

A rational mind cannot hold such an illusion.

Therefore

Religious people are irrational.

That’s all fine and good. It’s actually true. The problem: they assume rationality is something normal to humans. It isn’t.

Have you ever felt like you were being followed when you weren’t? Did you ever hear a sound that wasn’t there, or glimpse a shadow that wasn’t? 

Rhetorical questions. The answer is obviously yes. In fact, I can show you tons of illusions (visual, semantic, auditory, probability, etc) that everyone usually falls victim to. 

So I put the questions back at you: how can a rational mind believe such illusions? It can’t. You are irrational. Humans are irrational. By applying rationality to one domain (God), we have succeeded in only doing just that: applying rationality to ONE domain. The others… who knows. 

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Posted 2 years ago

Struggle on

I forgot where I remember this from, but I recall reading or hearing something about what makes life so beautiful is its transient nature; it doesn’t last. Ultimately, we struggle against death, in temporary defiance of the natural workings of the universe toward dispersed energy. 

And for humans, we strive dearly to avoid both deaths: our bodies and our spirits. Whether we think of spirits as supernatural or metaphorical (relating to our struggle with love, hate, belonging, etc) doesn’t really matter. The point is that we have an extra dimension of struggle. 

Maybe that’s what art is really about, capturing struggle in all its forms through the creation of knowledge or representation of conscious will, whether concrete or abstract. 

I have no idea where these thoughts are going. Hopefully, you’ll find them entertaining or figure out their destination for yourself. 

Posted 2 years ago
Man is timid and apologetic… He is ashamed before the blade of grass or the blowing rose. These roses under my window make no reference to former roses or to better ones; they are for what they are; they exist with God to-day. There is no time to them. There is simply the rose; it is perfect in every moment of its existence.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self Reliance
Posted 2 years ago

Open Minded Skeptic: Am I an Atheist?

openmindedskeptic:

I really don’t like to think of myself as an atheist. I’m not sure why. Perhaps the reasons are similar to the reasons I was always a bit embarrassed to be associated with Christians while I was one. I feel this way about being a part of any group for that matter. When you hook up with a group…

Hello! Nice post. I like discussing philosophical things, so here’s my reaction :)

Evolution has no direction. There is no such thing as most or least evolved. There are more and less complex life-forms, but that’s just a side-effect of biodiversity. Look at Jellyfish. Their population is exploding and they don’t even have brains. It’s just a numbers game: reproduction and survival to reproduce. In this case, the Jellyfish are probably our fault. 

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the traits we like to see are exactly the traits humans evolved to have (and non-coincidentally, hypothetical Gods seem to have these traits, too: love, jealousy, even consciousness itself). We only like human traits because we’re programmed to like them by culture and genetics.

Furthermore, the tools we have from evolution (like cognition and problem solving) aren’t necessarily complete. Our perception tells us that these tools are sufficient for understanding reality, but to the person living in a box, they can hardly tell that they need more tools to investigate the world outside the box. 

That’s why science exists. It’s meant to help us hone our tools toward the actual production of knowledge, and not our biased understanding of reality (what human could possibly come up with Quantum Physics based on their little box?).

The conclusion that the universe arrived here by non-sentient natural processes (what you really mean by chance) is just rational, nothing more or less. Like I was talking about with evolution and our tools, our emotional tools are not very accurate judges of reality (they’re excellent judges of social reality, which is why we have them, but not physical reality).

So just because one might feel grandeur at the Universe or possession by holy spirits, that doesn’t really mean anything. It tells us more about human nature than about the world.

Posted 2 years ago

15 Day Atheist Challenge: Day 7

Except for God, do you believe in anything supernatural or pseudoscientific? 

This is a silly question. 

Like I’ve said before, I’m a Psychology major. So I’ve learned about the way humans think. And from that information, it’s pretty clear that we all believe in things that are pseudo-scientific no matter what we try to do about it. Anyone who claims not to believe in a single pseudoscientific thing is mistaken (which is also something I learned from Psychology, people do not necessarily understand themselves). 

This is one of those things that annoy me sometimes about some other Atheists. They act like they are super-rational and that not being rational is unbecoming of a human. This completely ignores our evolution as a species.

We didn’t evolve to be truth-finding machines, we evolved because we survived and adapted. We are not logical beings, we are emotional and rule using ones (called Heuristics). Most of the times, these Heuristics are functional, but sometimes they cause us to systematically process information incorrectly. 

Religion didn’t happen by accident. It makes complete sense given humanity’s social nature, limited cognitive resources, systematic errors in processing and dislike of uncertainty (need for structure/closure).