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Thread: why phobias?

  1. #1 why phobias? 
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    i was wondering, if all emotions and instincts are from evelution, and are there to help us survive, why do some people have phobias.
    i can understand phobias of certain things such as dogs, spiders snakes ect. because when we were hunter gatherers avoiding these could save lives, but im talking about people with phobias of rediculous things like sponges (yes there is a phobia of them) and fears of open/encolsed spaces. why on earth would a fear of them help us survive?


    'if one man beleaves in fairies its called madness
    if one million men beleave in faries its called religion'- Richard Dawkings
    (but i think he was quoting someone when he said it...but who cares)
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  3. #2  
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    The basis of emotions and instincts evolved and are based on genes, but how they are expressed in any given individual is a complex combination of genes and lifetime experiences - what you learned to react to. General phobias, like a general dislike for snakes, is common among humans, because (1) they can be poisonous and (2) primates have long been afraid of snakes as predators. More specific extreme phobias, that are much less common in the general population (I've also seen a girl who was deathly afraid of pickles), are probably the result of a certain experience during life and/or a malfunction in certain genes.


    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
    ~Jean-Paul Sartre
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  4. #3  
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    But, sponges?
    yeah maybe they had a dream were a sponge sucked them up and they woke up with a sponge on their head.
    it just doesn't make sense. and a gene malfunction? come on
    thats about as ridiculous as saying homosexuality is gene related.
    Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils ... - Louis Hector Berlioz
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    Quote Originally Posted by Behr_25
    But, sponges?
    yeah maybe they had a dream were a sponge sucked them up and they woke up with a sponge on their head.
    it just doesn't make sense. and a gene malfunction? come on
    thats about as ridiculous as saying homosexuality is gene related.
    Which isn't ridiculous at all. Homosexuality is a complex behavioral trait, and especially considering how people who are homosexual do not have a choice in the matter, it is highly likely that it is in part genetically determined.
    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
    ~Jean-Paul Sartre
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Behr_25
    But, sponges?
    Easily, if the phobia originates from very early experience (which they generally do).

    Say a baby gets dragged away from mummy every day, screaming and so forth 'cause the baby can't understand people go and come back. And mummy always sets everything ready for baby's bath before she goes - nasty babysitter of course gives the bath, wailing trauma all the way. With The Sponge. Baby learns just what The Sponge forebodes.

    As people mature they deliberately prune away at irrational fears, so the older child is no longer afraid of soap, or drowning, etc. See, the person quite rationally chooses not to be afraid of normal bathing equipment, necessities of everyday life... but if the root of dread goes unresolved, is it gone? No. Just gets packed into a corner, consolidates to one small & manageable object. Something one can avoid even as an adult. The Sponge.

    It is in the nature of phobias, that the objects be things we can go through life avoiding.
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