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Bernard White


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What theological implications does the "Psychology" and "Neuroscience" (and possibly biology) of religion (or "God(s)") have?

I'm very interested in people's opinions on this matter.
I would just like to say, as I have said in the past, this debate is not to make mockery of "God". It is just honesty enquiry.
Yet as I have explored with my other debates in the past, it seems we must first define (or describe to the best of our limits) what we mean by "God(s)" and "Existence". Otherwise the debate "Does God exist?" becomes slightly meaningless.
Now that's done.
I was reading much about the psychology of religion, and found that due to articles like :
“Thinking Style and Belief In God” - Art Markman
Link : http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ulterior-motives/201208/thinking-style-and-belief-in-god
"We are programmed to believe in a god" by Jesse Bering.
"Is God an Accident" by Paul Bloom :
that had many theological implications!
And made me think :
- There is a strong correlation with a "Theory of mind" and belief in God. Animals don't really have a "theory of mind", does this mean other animals can't experience "God(s)"?
- Psychologists can now artificially create a "God experience", Doesn't this make the "Religious experience" argument rather dubious?. Link : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y02UlkYjSi0
And there are probably many more Tedsters could think of!
However I do think it is worth mentioning that :
As Justin L. Barret said, that the psychology and neuroscience of religion (God) doesn't (dis)prove that God isn't real. For it wouldn't make much sense if a God who wanted to be in a relationship with us, didn't give us the ability to conceive such a God.
Another great quote by him :
"Having a scientific explanation for mental phenomena does not mean we should stop believing in them. “Suppose science produces a convincing account for why I think my wife loves me — should I then stop believing that sh

Topics: Church of God

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    May 11 2013: Bernard,
    et al

    I've been rather busy, but I see you have quite a sticky wicket here. With the hope to not offend any sensitivities nor to be considered an emissary of Satan ( which I have been referred to in the topological manifold, yet all cleansed after the 3rd ale by my spiritual friends!), I must say that the scientific method(SM) is the best decoder of reality (not perfect, just the best), common sense and its senses need SM in order to obtain a more coherent, complete, simple (and quite elegant too) understanding of reality. And given what we presently know about the universe it is fair to say that God is not required as part of the explanation or description of present standard models.
    I dare say that the Sm -faith issue is a false inherently incompatible binary relationship. Religion, whether part of an evolutionary-psychological process required for our survival is being replaced(evolved away from) by Sm (slowly, but surely)
    The path is rather clear, no God required.

    "The church says the earth is flat, but I know that it is round, for I have seen the shadow on the moon, and I have more faith in a shadow than in the church."
    --Ferdinand Magellan, (1480–1521), Portuguese navigator: discoverer of the Straits of Magellan 1520 and the Philippines 1521.

    Cheers then!
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      May 11 2013: Hey Carlos Margues!
      Great point! :D
      However :
      Would it be fair to say that even if God was not required as part of the explanation, this does not have an impact on the truth of the claim "God exists"?
      Or have I misunderstood?
      Kind regards,
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        May 12 2013: Dear Bernard,

        Yes it has a crushing impact, if A exists in our universe then A is natural and measurable phenomena , like you and me or the spring rain. The concept of God, the supernatural, beyond space & time, not bound by any physical laws, not temporal, not spatial virgin births, water to wine ...etc..I mean Bernard is like taking away any measurable qualities then assigning existence by default (special pleading, why?), that dear friend is delusional. At the end you en up wit a tautology: God is not detectable because we define him to be undetectable. How is defining God in those terms(space less,timeless,undetectable etc) any different from negating its existence? Actually I think that from that frame of reference the God hypothesis defines itself out of contention. Its an intellectual dead end; for as you posted before in another TED debate that: any talk about God(s) will by necessity require a succinct definition, and there is none to date. Nothing but thousands of interpretations, variations, subjectives, all very metaphysical all as good as to prove the green dragon in my garage.
        There is no postmodernist view at play that sates that ALL views are equal and valid for we Know that moon rocks are Not made out of cheese.
        The explanatory power of religion is inversely proportional to the square of the distance (given by time as a linear axis in this case) to their origins , In other words mankind Knows more now than in the iron or bronze age, superstition is not a necessity any longer. I do agree that some moral concepts are universal but from that to the Transubstantiation (Catholicism) well Bernard that is when I get of the train.

        "God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh"

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          May 12 2013: "superstition is not a necessity any longer"
          Do you mean this in terms to explain certain things?
          However here is a nice tautology (from definitions) :
          - Existence = All that has mass or energy.
          - God(s)= Immaterial being(s).
          - Immaterial being(s) do not have mass, nor energy.
          - Therefore God(s) do (and can) not exist.
          However it is important to note, that not everybody defines existence and God this way.
          Or another things you can deduce, how can a "space less,timeless" "Being" actually exist? Considering a "being" is usually a form of living organism.
          Many would also argue an "all powerful" being was logically impossible, for an "all powerful" being should be able to do anything. It could not "make a boulder it could not lift", therefore it couldn't do "everything". And many argue that the "problem of evil" discredits the perception of a "God(s)" being "all-loving".
          Unless this God is outside the realm of comprehension or logic, and that to know anything about you must experience it first.
          Or with that quote do you mean, that we don't need the deterrent of "God(s)" any-more to promote empathetic behaviour?

          However I do agree with you, that if you define God (ironically) as being either : "Indefinable" or "undetectable", then you can't really comment on it very well.
          And you "have" to be an agnostic.
          Sorry to have gone for a while.
          Kind regards,
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          May 14 2013: Hi Carlos....We will never understand God as there is no empirical way to detect God. There never will be. What do you have to say about spirit ?
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        May 12 2013: Bernard,

        In this cosmic theater we all play a role in what it may be the biggest joke ever, as we search for a non-existent meaning with a non-existent being juxtaposed against the innards of our collective psyche , and to top it mankind is afraid to look at that frame of reference and chuckle, after all God made hyenas and crows.(Did he?) ( that's why I added Voltaire)

        "Once miracles are admitted, every scientific explanation is out of the question."
        -- Johannes Kepler

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        May 13 2013: Bernard,

        I would like with your permission to nominate for my personal use "The Bernard Test" which postulates that in any philosophical or scientific attempt to speak about God(s) in a coherent manner will require a definition of the of the definiendum (God(s)) 1.simple easy to understand, 2. specific, that is:by reading the definition only, it should ideally not be possible to refer to any other entity than the definiendum , 3.measurable, 4 Reflecting current scientific knowledge.
        After the definition is agreed upon the conversation will have a leverage point to gain traction upon.

        Please feel free to edit this version

        Thank you for keeping the forum open Bernard!

        "Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities, truth isn't"
        --M Twain

        Cheers then!
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          May 13 2013: Yeah that's fine.
          I'm not altogether sure on 3, and 4. Yet I can see where you are coming from!
          Because what happens if God(s) are genially "undetectable"?
          Kind regards,
          Your friend : Bernard.
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          May 13 2013: I feel I should encourage you to join my other debate as well :
          "Does creationism indicate bad education? (If so how can we fix this, and should it be taught?) Does Creationism have any credibility to it?"
          Link : http://www.ted.com/conversations/18317/does_creationism_indicate_bad.html
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        May 12 2013: Don,

        Are you saying that via praying (for which there is at least more than 1 method depending what version of Christianities is applied) , I will attain the most cherished "unseen" needs, which are intuitive in nature excluding math induction.?

        I do respect the right of all to believe as they so desire, and will defend such a right.

        That said I propose that holding the notion of the supernatural as real is delusional. I gather that religion has used through the ages imagination & belief two diametrically opposed mental tools to paint in the mind's canvas an internally justified self delusion, Imagination involves creativity and invention, whereas belief involves unadulterated conviction. To believe in something which one has imagined is to intentionally put one’s faith in falsehood. However, since falsehood of it comes from within the mind of the believer, the believer cannot help but accept the false belief with conviction. In this way imagination and belief are consistent with each other.

        I've also seen (like you have) firsthand the horrors of warfare, which has plagued mankind since its inception to the world stage.I've also have seen the evils perpetrated by organized religions throughout the world in the name of a God... More the reason to cherish love , compassion and good will to one another and also knowledge , reason without all these indefinables . I just don't need God to do it good to my fellow man. And some people need God to do evil ...

        Thanks Don,

        Over 33,000 Christianities and one or three God(s)
        With a vast array of Holy Books
        and over 2,000 years old and still going strong,
        and served daily...


        Cheers then!

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