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Comment count is 23
pastorofmuppets - 2009-12-25


still great though. if you missed it the first time around, watch it.

(He says something about empirical evidence in the beginning...they don't that. But it's still a really good look at how certain elements of our psychology might make gods a really natural idea.)

Hodge - 2009-12-25

5 stars since it still is a must watch.

pastorofmuppets - 2009-12-25

And you commented on the other one...weird. I smell a conspiracy.

The intros end around 2:35, btw.

Billie_Joe_Buttfuck - 2009-12-25

i actually commented on it last night aftr doing a more serious search of the site.

i love this lecture, but it's a dupe. blam away.

glendower - 2009-12-25

Thanks doc for taking humanity out of the picture altogether. "All human culture is predetermined through a collection cognitive functions. Kierkegaard, Acquinas, Milton - they were just responding to innate thought structures pre-programmed through evolution." I'll five star this for the evil of its piss poor philosophical foundation.

kingarthur - 2009-12-25

We're doing science, not philosophy.

Incidentally, had I known about this field of research when I did my thesis on memetics and child development, I think my job would have been much much easier.

futurebot - 2009-12-25


pressed peanut sweepings - 2009-12-25

It's depressing, but it makes sense.

pastorofmuppets - 2009-12-26

I guess you dislike the idea that everything, including consciousness, can be explained in terms of physical processes. I'll give you that it's a tough one. And it's beyond the scope of this lecture.

Even leaving that aside, religion must have arisen naturally, unless you believe that God gave/taught it to humans. But it's not crazy to think that maybe we a capacity for it, as we do for language. So why do we have that capacity?

You might say that it confers an advantage for survival. Or you might say it's an emergent side effect of other thought process which do that. Dr. Thompson is in the latter camp, but the neat thing is that he has put a lot of thought into which psychological processes support which aspects of religious experience.

If you are yourself religious then I could see where neither idea sounds very appealing, and maybe Thompson's stuff seems overly reductionist. Not to keep repeating myself but I don't really consider this stuff empirical science anyway. But there's something about it which stuck with me. I guess because I'd never heard the hyperactive agency detection thing before.

zerobackup - 2009-12-26

It seems Dr. Thompson's whole presentation boils down to this: we have certain tools in place that developed to serve a specific purpose, but together they can also serve other purposes. How does anything he said conflict with philosophy? It's not pre-determining anything, it just quite concisely explains why certain ideas and behaviors endure for thousands of years among different cultures scattered around the globe.

glendower - 2009-12-27

I just find this type of analysis reductive and dishonest. Whether or not you're religious, I think the phenomenon of religion is better explained on philosophical grounds. All people at all times face impossible metaphysical and existential problems and religion is one way to solve those problems.

Looking at it this way also provides a better explanation for why attitudes about religion have rapidly changed in the last two hundred years. It's not that our minds have evolved, it's that our culture and philosophical outlook has changed.

baleen - 2009-12-27

"can be explained in terms of physical processes. "

What exactly does this mean?

poorwill - 2009-12-28

Kierkegaard, Aquinas and Milton sucked shit at philosophy.

poorwill - 2009-12-28

Also, lol at the idea that science is a piss poor philosophical foundation. Compared to metaphysics? it is to lol. There are not enough lols on the internet for this charlatanism. lololololololololololololol

poorwill - 2009-12-28

Not saying I agree with this clown or his conclusions, but I am ... just sayin'

poorwill - 2009-12-28

P.S. :3 Hume :3

pastorofmuppets - 2009-12-28

baleen: I was referring to naturalism. Like it says in the WP article, there are a couple of implications...epistemological ("everything we can know exists in nature") and ontological angle ("everything that exists, exists in nature"). It's the latter view that most often gets called reductionist.

Thing is though, even ignoring that, you still have to acknowledge that our brains evolved along lines that made religious experience possible, because if they didn't, religious experience wouldn't be physically possible. If language didn't have some survival benefit, we wouldn't have the physical capacity for it. Or so I have always imagined.

pot kettle black - 2009-12-28

I think you're getting hung up on the title, when a more accurate one would've been "How We're Psychologically Vulnerable to Religious Belief." Just because our brains innately predispose us to go a certain way doesn't mean we don't consciously take advantage of other reasons to go in that direction. For instance, there are some highly sophisticated arguments for mind-body dualism in contemporary philosophical literature, but even without knowing them we're all predisposed to agree with their conclusions anyway for the reasons enumerated in this lecture.

Meerkat - 2009-12-25

But why do we believe in dogs?

dr_rock - 2009-12-25


pastorofmuppets - 2009-12-26

Who believes in dogs? That's a loaded question.

Caminante Nocturno - 2009-12-30

All glory to Science.

glasseye - 2010-01-03

It's a dupe, but an awesome one.

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