Notices

View Poll Results: Is Futilitist's theory valid?

Voters
5. You may not vote on this poll
  • This is the best theory ever!

    1 20.00%
  • This theory is probably true.

    0 0%
  • This theory is at least possible.

    1 20.00%
  • This theory is very unlikely to be true.

    3 60.00%
  • This is the worst theory I have ever seen.

    0 0%
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 100 of 172
Like Tree21Likes

Thread: A SCIENTIFIC THEORY for the EVOLUTION of RELIGION

  1. #1  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Deception works in game theory. And thus in evolution.

    Layman,

    As to your original question:
    "What if there's a gene that promotes religion because of the psychological placebo affect of believing a divine being cares about you, and you'll live for all eternity in paradise, making it beneficial to initially believe?"
    I don't believe there is a gene that promotes religion.

    But you are definitely on to something important. There is a "psychological placebo affect" that most people are unaware of. Here is a theory I proposed for the origin and evolution of religion. It is a part of a larger construct in social theory I call the "Dark Thesis":

    1. Sin produces Guilt.
    2. Guilt produces Religion.
    3. Religion brings absolution from Sin.

    Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

    Religion is an expression of man, the tool maker. And religion has proven to be a highly effective tool, much more important to our species than the wheel. It functions to help us feel that we have dealt with something important, so that we can actually avoid dealing with it, and just carry on as before. It simply validates behaviors that are distasteful, yet unavoidable to all social animals. It helps us relieve the extreme cognitive dissonance necessarily produced by everyday life.

    The reason that we must work so hard to rationalize sin is that, in order for our species to develop complex socialization in the first place, we had to have an individual sense of basic fairness to drive reciprocal relationships. That individual sense of fairplay is what neuroscientists and social psychologists call the "moral instinct". Check out this cool article by Seven Pinker:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/13/magazine/13Psychology-t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    We are all born with a basic moral instinct. But what we call "morality" is a very different thing, separate and distinct from the "moral instinct". Morality grows out of the moral instinct, but it is really just another social tool, with a very specific function. Here is how I like to say it:

    Morality makes indignation righteous. Righteous indignation justifies violence. Thus morality simply creates a prophylactic pre-absolution from sin. And that brings us back to the Scapegoat Mechanism, and all of our inescapable participation in it, and collective guilt because of it. It is the "original" sin in my model.

    Steven Pinker wrote:Joshua Greene, a philosopher and cognitive neuroscientist, suggests that evolution equipped people with a revulsion to manhandling an innocent person. This instinct, he suggests, tends to overwhelm any utilitarian calculus that would tot up the lives saved and lost. The impulse against roughing up a fellow human would explain other examples in which people abjure killing one to save many, like euthanizing a hospital patient to harvest his organs and save five dying patients in need of transplants, or throwing someone out of a crowded lifeboat to keep it afloat.

    In order to be a good theory, the Dark Thesis has to explain the origin of the Moral Instinct as well. It does just that, with this key mimetic insight:

    If the moral instinct is the root of morality, what is the root of the moral instinct? The elegantly simple answer is fear. Properly speaking, mimetic fear. The roughing up of something that looks like me, produces the real and justifiable fear that it could be me next time around.

    The strength of our moral instinct determines what kind of society humans can structure. This is the "Goldy Locks and the porage" principle in evolution:

    1. Eewww. This moral instinct is too sweet (i.e. sees bad treatment of brothers and sisters as a bad thing). Another group will evolve a moral instinct that is less moral to take advantage. Though the overly sweet (more moral than Jesus) first group is my personal favorite of the three, they will, nonetheless, die out, along with their goody two shoes attitude.

    2. Yuck. This moral instinct is too sour (i.e. sees bad treatment of brothers and sisters as a personal benefit). This disgusting animal will not develop a civilization. The society would self destruct each time the complexity could not rise. If it could avoid self destruction and reach a high enough state of complexity, depending on resources, it could become fascistic enough to resemble a bee hive or an ant hill, with the individual completely subsumed by the group.

    3. Mmmmm. This moral instinct is just right (i.e. invents religion to white wash and justify violence). This is the perfect balance that has made the human species so successful that we have bled the planet of it's resources and set in motion our own near term extinction. Yipeee.

    The human species lost it's innocence with the invention of religion. But it bestowed the benefits of increased complexity that lead to the rise of civilization itself.

    The Scapegoat Mechanism is the chief means of social control of the individual by the group. It operates all around us all the time. But our brains are actually wired not to notice!

    Layman, you also said:
    We have consciousness so we can make that decision for ourselves once we learn about the truth, and be happier people...
    This is a variant on "the truth shall set you free". But I'm not sure that our consciousness is more than a rationalization. I don't believe we have the free will to decide anything important. And I seriously doubt the truth will make people very happy. We'll just have to wait and see.

    ---Futilitist



    webmaster likes this.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  2.  
     

  3. #2 A SCIENTIFIC THEORY for the EVOLUTION of RELIGION 
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,168
    I should like to proceed through your post, but I was stopped early on by what appears to be an unfounded step in your logic.
    Namely:
    1. Sin produces Guilt.

    You are going to have to a) define sin, then b) demonstrate that sin is (and this isn't original ) original.

    Sin as generally presented is a product of religion. Religions speak much of sin. Secular groups may speak of immorality and debate relatives and absolutes, but they rarely if ever speak of sin. So at present I am at a loss to see how something produced by religion, i.e. sin, can in turn create its own creator. Perhaps you will clarify your thinking in this area, so I can proceed with the rest of your post.


    Reply With Quote  
     

  4. #3  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    I should like to proceed through your post, but I was stopped early on by what appears to be an unfounded step in your logic.
    Namely:
    1. Sin produces Guilt.

    You are going to have to a) define sin, then b) demonstrate that sin is (and this isn't original ) original.

    Sin as generally presented is a product of religion. Religions speak much of sin. Secular groups may speak of immorality and debate relatives and absolutes, but they rarely if ever speak of sin. So at present I am at a loss to see how something produced by religion, i.e. sin, can in turn create its own creator. Perhaps you will clarify your thinking in this area, so I can proceed with the rest of your post.
    OK

    a) Sin---Deeds done unto others that produce harm to the receiver and personal benefit to the giver. My theory revolves around a particular type of sin, the Scapegoat Mechanism. It is how humans displace agression, a very important thing to do if you want social stability. Mimetic Desire leads to Mimetic Rivalry leads to the Scapegoat Mechanism. Involuntary particiption produces individual guilt, as well as social tension within the group.

    b) Sin is original because all animals must sin in order to live. Religion did not invent sin. It is the other way around.

    Humans posses what social psychologists call the Moral Instinct. It allows for greater complexity in socialization, due to it's fine tuning of the "norm of reciprocity". But the Moral Instinct could only take our species so far in terms of social complexity. Humans, as a species, had to somehow over-ride their individual basic sense of fairness, in order to maintain the high level of social control of the individual by the group that makes civilization possible. That is where religion comes in. I answer this in more detail in the rest of my post.


    So, please read on, since there is no unfounded step in my logic.


    ---Futilitist
    Last edited by Futilitist; October 19th, 2012 at 09:41 PM.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  5. #4  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,168
    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    a) Sin---Deeds done unto others that produce harm to the receiver and personal benefit to the giver.
    I am currently travelling and do not have access to any of my dictionaries, so I am forced to use online resources:

    Here, from the Free On-line Dictionary:
    1. transgression of a religious or moral law, especially when deliberate.
    2. Theology
    a. Deliberate disobedience to the known will of God.
    b. A condition of estrangement from God resulting from such disobedience.
    3. Something regarded as being shameful, deplorable, or utterly wrong

    The first two definitions clearly relate to religion and the third would only apply to entities capable of feeling shame, which might restrict the meaning to humans.

    Merriam-Webster is comparable in emphasising religious context.
    1
    a : an offense against religious or moral law
    b : an action that is or is felt to be highly reprehensible <it's a sin to waste food>
    c : an often serious shortcoming : fault
    2
    a : transgression of the law of God
    b : a vitiated state of human nature in which the self is estranged from God


    Now if a lion kills a gnu are you seriously maintaining that the lion has sinned? Certainly it has acted in a manner that benefits itself and harms the gnu, but sin - as indicated by the proffered definitions - implies a moral judgement. I cannot see that it is wrong for the lion to act as a lion has been conditioned to act by its instincts.

    This remains a sticking point for further progress.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  6. #5  
    Moderator Moderator
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    8,416
    Secular groups may speak of immorality and debate relatives and absolutes, but they rarely if ever speak of sin

    What do they call it. I mean I've been an atheist for decades, but still call evil acts sin, but they might well be a byproduct of my Catholic upbringing--though I disagree with them on some issues.

    I rather doubt there's a genetic component to tendency to believe certain things much beyond that which effects perhaps altruism, emotional control and base intelligence.
    Meteorologist/Naturalist & Retired Soldier
    “The Holy Land is everywhere” Black Elk
    Reply With Quote  
     

  7. #6  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    a) Sin---Deeds done unto others that produce harm to the receiver and personal benefit to the giver.
    I am currently travelling and do not have access to any of my dictionaries, so I am forced to use online resources:

    Here, from the Free On-line Dictionary:
    1. transgression of a religious or moral law, especially when deliberate.
    2. Theology
    a. Deliberate disobedience to the known will of God.
    b. A condition of estrangement from God resulting from such disobedience.
    3. Something regarded as being shameful, deplorable, or utterly wrong

    The first two definitions clearly relate to religion and the third would only apply to entities capable of feeling shame, which might restrict the meaning to humans.

    Merriam-Webster is comparable in emphasising religious context.
    1
    a : an offense against religious or moral law
    b : an action that is or is felt to be highly reprehensible <it's a sin to waste food>
    c : an often serious shortcoming : fault
    2
    a : transgression of the law of God
    b : a vitiated state of human nature in which the self is estranged from God


    Now if a lion kills a gnu are you seriously maintaining that the lion has sinned? Certainly it has acted in a manner that benefits itself and harms the gnu, but sin - as indicated by the proffered definitions - implies a moral judgement. I cannot see that it is wrong for the lion to act as a lion has been conditioned to act by its instincts.

    This remains a sticking point for further progress.
    I am attempting a scientific definition of Sin based on the latest neuroscience. Please take a look at the Steven Pinker article I referenced in my original post.

    There is no sticking point. If you would like, go ahead and substitute "that which tweaks or disturbs the intrinsic human moral instinct" for Sin in my model. Thank you.

    Of course I am not seriously maintaining that a lion sins when it kills a gnu. That is just silly. I am suggesting that people sin when they gossip about each other, though. That behavior feeds the scapegoat meachanism, helping to unfairly justify violence.

    I think you need to read my argument further before you reject it. You seem to have some objections that simply don't apply. It sounds like you are arguing with someone else, not me.


    ---Futilitist
    Last edited by Futilitist; October 19th, 2012 at 10:24 PM.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  8. #7  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Secular groups may speak of immorality and debate relatives and absolutes, but they rarely if ever speak of sin

    What do they call it. I mean I've been an atheist for decades, but still call evil acts sin, but they might well be a byproduct of my Catholic upbringing--though I disagree with them on some issues.

    I rather doubt there's a genetic component to tendency to believe certain things much beyond that which effects perhaps altruism, emotional control and base intelligence.
    I am also an atheist. We know evil acts from good acts because, as humans (primates actually), we posses a moral instinct. Please check out this Steven Pinker article:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/13/magazine/13Psychology-t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    I agree there is no "genetic component to tendency to believe certain things much beyond that which effects perhaps altruism, emotional control and base intelligence".

    ---Futilitist
    Reply With Quote  
     

  9. #8  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,168
    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    I am attempting a scientific definition of Sin based on the latest neuroscience. Please take a look at the Steven Pinker article I referenced in my original post.
    I find nothing in Pinker's article, which I have read before and now refamiliarised myself with, to support your effort to redefine Sin by removing its current religious associations. Can you point me to what you feel justifies this move.

    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    There is no sticking point. If you would like, go ahead and substitute "that which tweaks or disturbs the intrinsic human moral instinct" for Sin in my model. Thank you.
    Then I seriously suggest you find another word to address that concept - otherwise I suspect many readers will be put off in exactly the way I have been.

    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    I am suggesting that people sin when they gossip about each other, though. That behavior feeds the scapegoat meachanism, helping to unfairly justify violence.
    I was gossiping with a colleague this evening. We were talking about fellow employees. That idle gossip produced the following outcomes:
    1. I became aware of the wishes of a specific individual to move into a new role and received confirmation he is competent to perform in that role. I can influence the person who has the power to make this happen/
    2. I learned of a group of persons who share a view I have of a technical direction the company should take. This increases the probability I can lead to have this direction implemented.

    These points emerged not from a business discussion, but from pure free-form gossip about a whole range of individuals. Can you explain to me where I sinned?

    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    I think you need to read my argument further before you reject it.
    I haven't rejected your argument. I first questioned your meaning of the word Sin and now suggest you are using the wrong word if you wish to have people readily follow your argument. I haven't yet considered your argument, so I can hardly reject it.


    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    You seem to have some objections that simply don't apply.
    My single objection, you are misapplying a word, is a valid objection. If you were to pay heed to it you would improve the probability that readers accepted your hypothesis. I suppose you are free to ignore advice, it's just not always a good idea to do so.

    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    It sounds like you are arguing with someone else, not me.
    I'm not arguing with anyone. This is a discussion forum. I'm discussing the foundation of your idea.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  10. #9  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by John Gault
    I find nothing in Pinker's article, which I have read before and now refamiliarised myself with, to support your effort to redefine Sin by removing its current religious associations. Can you point me to what you feel justifies this move.
    The article is about the Moral Instinct. It is the source of both morality and religion.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Gault
    Then I seriously suggest you find another word to address that concept - otherwise I suspect many readers will be put off in exactly the way I have been.
    I like using the word Sin. People generally know what it means. It also forms a clear rhetorical loop where 1 leads to 2 leads to 3 which addresses 1. Your issue is purely a semantic one. What do you think of my basic theory?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Gault
    I was gossiping with a colleague this evening. We were talking about fellow employees. That idle gossip produced the following outcomes:
    1. I became aware of the wishes of a specific individual to move into a new role and received confirmation he is competent to perform in that role. I can influence the person who has the power to make this happen/
    2. I learned of a group of persons who share a view I have of a technical direction the company should take. This increases the probability I can lead to have this direction implemented.

    These points emerged not from a business discussion, but from pure free-form gossip about a whole range of individuals. Can you explain to me where I sinned?
    You are using the word gossip in an unusually neutral way. It is generally seen as a more negative term. I don't see any sin in your particular example. Even if you can find some good in a generally bad behavior, it is clearly the exception, not the rule, and, thus does not disprove the rule.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Gault
    I haven't rejected your argument. I first questioned your meaning of the word Sin and now suggest you are using the wrong word if you wish to have people readily follow your argument. I haven't yet considered your argument, so I can hardly reject it.
    Please consider my argument and suggest another word to use instead of sin.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Gault
    My single objection, you are misapplying a word, is a valid objection. If you were to pay heed to it you would improve the probability that readers accepted your hypothesis. I suppose you are free to ignore advice, it's just not always a good idea to do so.
    I am paying heed. I am not ignoring your advise.

    Another reason for the use of the word Sin is that much of my theory is based on the work of Rene Girard on mimetic desire and the scapegoat mechanism. I am using his vernacular. There is an interesting outcome if my theory proves to be true. The concept of true spiritual redemption becomes available to god believers and atheists alike. Maybe both groups need to consider a new definition of Sin, acceptable to both. But please don't get hung up on this offshoot philosophic idea without trying to understand the scientific theory first.


    ---Futilitist
    Reply With Quote  
     

  11. #10  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Here is another way to look at it:

    1. Mimetic desire drives all animal bahavior.
    2. Through Mimetics, a Moral Instinct begins to develop, as animals become more complex in their socialization.
    3. The Scapegoat Mechanism, which evolves to help maintain social stability, develops side by side with the Moral Instinct.
    4. The Moral Instinct produces a sense of Basic Unfairness, especially with respect to group on individual violence (Scapegoating).
    5. The sense of Basic Unfairness produces fear and outrage in animals that form complex social groups (primates).
    6. Outrage produces social instability.
    7. Religion evolves to enforce social stability and overide the moral instinct when necessary.

    A self justification rationalization loop that leads to:

    8. Humans are able, through religion, to evolve ever higher levels of complexity leading to the advent of civilization.


    ---Futilitist
    Last edited by Futilitist; October 20th, 2012 at 12:53 AM.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  12. #11 A SCIENTIFIC THEORY for the EVOLUTION of RELIGION 
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    I originally posted this in Biology - Could there be a gene for truth?
    But I think it fits better here.


    Layman,

    As to your original question:
    "What if there's a gene that promotes religion because of the psychological placebo affect of believing a divine being cares about you, and you'll live for all eternity in paradise, making it beneficial to initially believe?"
    I don't believe there is a gene that promotes religion.

    But you are definitely on to something important. There is a "psychological placebo affect" that most people are unaware of. Here is a theory I proposed for the origin and evolution of religion. It is a part of a larger construct in social theory I call the "Dark Thesis":

    1. Sin produces Guilt.
    2. Guilt produces Religion.
    3. Religion brings absolution from Sin.

    Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

    Religion is an expression of man, the tool maker. And religion has proven to be a highly effective tool, much more important to our species than the wheel. It functions to help us feel that we have dealt with something important, so that we can actually avoid dealing with it, and just carry on as before. It simply validates behaviors that are distasteful, yet unavoidable to all social animals. It helps us relieve the extreme cognitive dissonance necessarily produced by everyday life.

    The reason that we must work so hard to rationalize sin is that, in order for our species to develop complex socialization in the first place, we had to have an individual sense of basic fairness to drive reciprocal relationships. That individual sense of fairplay is what neuroscientists and social psychologists call the "moral instinct". Check out this cool article by Seven Pinker:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/13/magazine/13Psychology-t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

    We are all born with a basic moral instinct. But what we call "morality" is a very different thing, separate and distinct from the "moral instinct". Morality grows out of the moral instinct, but it is really just another social tool, with a very specific function. Here is how I like to say it:

    Morality makes indignation righteous. Righteous indignation justifies violence. Thus morality simply creates a prophylactic pre-absolution from sin. And that brings us back to the Scapegoat Mechanism, and all of our inescapable participation in it, and collective guilt because of it. It is the "original" sin in my model.

    Steven Pinker wrote:Joshua Greene, a philosopher and cognitive neuroscientist, suggests that evolution equipped people with a revulsion to manhandling an innocent person. This instinct, he suggests, tends to overwhelm any utilitarian calculus that would tot up the lives saved and lost. The impulse against roughing up a fellow human would explain other examples in which people abjure killing one to save many, like euthanizing a hospital patient to harvest his organs and save five dying patients in need of transplants, or throwing someone out of a crowded lifeboat to keep it afloat.

    In order to be a good theory, the Dark Thesis has to explain the origin of the Moral Instinct as well. It does just that, with this key mimetic insight:

    If the moral instinct is the root of morality, what is the root of the moral instinct? The elegantly simple answer is fear. Properly speaking, mimetic fear. The roughing up of something that looks like me, produces the real and justifiable fear that it could be me next time around.

    The strength of our moral instinct determines what kind of society humans can structure. This is the "Goldy Locks and the porage" principle in evolution:

    1. Eewww. This moral instinct is too sweet (i.e. sees bad treatment of brothers and sisters as a bad thing). Another group will evolve a moral instinct that is less moral to take advantage. Though the overly sweet (more moral than Jesus) first group is my personal favorite of the three, they will, nonetheless, die out, along with their goody two shoes attitude.

    2. Yuck. This moral instinct is too sour (i.e. sees bad treatment of brothers and sisters as a personal benefit). This disgusting animal will not develop a civilization. The society would self destruct each time the complexity could not rise. If it could avoid self destruction and reach a high enough state of complexity, depending on resources, it could become fascistic enough to resemble a bee hive or an ant hill, with the individual completely subsumed by the group.

    3. Mmmmm. This moral instinct is just right (i.e. invents religion to white wash and justify violence). This is the perfect balance that has made the human species so successful that we have bled the planet of it's resources and set in motion our own near term extinction. Yipeee.

    The human species lost it's innocence with the invention of religion. But it bestowed the benefits of increased complexity that lead to the rise of civilization itself.

    The Scapegoat Mechanism is the chief means of social control of the individual by the group. It operates all around us all the time. But our brains are actually wired not to notice!

    Layman, you also said:
    We have consciousness so we can make that decision for ourselves once we learn about the truth, and be happier people...
    This is a variant on "the truth shall set you free". But I'm not sure that our consciousness is more than a rationalization. I don't believe we have the free will to decide anything important. And I seriously doubt the truth will make people very happy. We'll just have to wait and see.

    ---Futilitist

    And also the following post.

    Here is another way to look at it:

    1. Mimetic desire drives all animal bahavior.
    2. Through Mimetics, a Moral Instinct begins to develop, as animals become more complex in their socialization.
    3. The Scapegoat Mechanism, which evolves to help maintain social stability, develops side by side with the Moral Instinct.
    4. The Moral Instinct produces a sense of Basic Unfairness, especially with respect to group on individual violence (Scapegoating).
    5. The sense of Basic Unfairness produces fear and outrage in animals that form complex social groups (primates).
    6. Outrage produces social instability.
    7. Religion evolves to enforce social stability and overide the moral instinct when necessary.

    A self justification rationalization loop that leads to:

    8. Humans are able, through religion, to evolve ever higher levels of complexity leading to the advent of civilization.


    ---Futilitist

    What do you guys think of my theory?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  13. #12  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Here is some background stuff from Wikipedea on Rene Girard. Many of my ideas begin with mimetics:


    René Girard (born December 25, 1923, Avignon, France) is a French historian, literary critic, and philosopher of social science. His work belongs to the tradition of anthropological philosophy. He is the author of nearly thirty books (see below), in which he developed the ideas of:
    1. mimetic desire: all of our desires are borrowed from other people;
    2. mimetic rivalry: all conflict originates in mimetic desire;
    3. the scapegoat mechanism is the origin of sacrifice and the foundation of human culture, and religion was necessary in human evolution to control the violence that can come from mimetic rivalry;
    4. the Bible reveals the three previous ideas and denounces the scapegoat mechanism.
    René Girard's writings cover many areas. Although the reception of his work is different in each of these areas, there is a growing body of secondary literature that uses his hypotheses and ideas in the areas of literary criticism, critical theory, anthropology, theology, psychology, mythology, sociology, economics, cultural studies, and philosophy.


    Violence and the sacred
    See also: Girard's mimetic double bind

    Since the mimetic rivalry that develops from the struggle for the possession of the objects is contagious, it leads to the threat of violence. René Girard himself says, "If there is a normal order in societies, it must be the fruit of an anterior crisis." [10] Turning his interest towards the anthropological domain, René Girard began to study anthropological literature and proposed his second great hypothesis: the victimization process, which is at the origin of archaic religion and which he sets forth in his second book Violence and the Sacred (1972).

    If two individuals desire the same thing, there will soon be a third, then a fourth. This process quickly snowballs. Since from the beginning the desire is aroused by the other (and not by the object) the object is soon forgotten and the mimetic conflict transforms into a general antagonism. At this stage of the crisis the antagonists will no longer imitate each other's desires for an object, but each other's antagonism. They wanted to share the same object, but now they want to destroy the same enemy. So, a paroxysm of violence would tend to focus on an arbitrary victim and a unanimous antipathy would, mimetically, grow against him. The brutal elimination of the victim would reduce the appetite for violence that possessed everyone a moment before, and leaves the group suddenly appeased and calm. The victim lies before the group, appearing simultaneously as the origin of the crisis and as the one responsible for this miracle of renewed peace. He becomes sacred, that is to say the bearer of the prodigious power of defusing the crisis and bringing peace back. René Girard believes this to be the genesis of archaic religion, of ritual sacrifice as the repetition of the original event, of myth as an account of this event, of the taboos that forbid access to all the objects at the origin of the rivalries that degenerated into this absolutely traumatizing crisis. This religious elaboration takes place gradually over the course of the repetition of the mimetic crises whose resolution brings only a temporary peace. The elaboration of the rites and of the taboos constitutes a kind of empirical knowledge about violence.

    Although explorers and anthropologists have not been able to witness events similar to these, which go back to the earliest times, indirect evidence for them abounds, such as the universality of ritual sacrifice and the innumerable myths that have been collected from the most varied peoples. If Girard's theory is true, then we will find in myths the culpability of the victim-god, depictions of the selection of the victim, and his power to beget the order that governs the group. And René Girard found these elements in numerous myths, beginning with that of Oedipus, which he analyzed in this and later books. On this question he opposes Claude Lévi-Strauss.

    The phrase "scapegoat mechanism" was not coined by Girard himself; it had been used earlier by Kenneth Burke in Permanence and Change (1935) and A Grammar of Motives (1940). However, Girard took this concept from Burke and developed it much more extensively as an interpretation of human culture.

    In Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World (1978), Girard develops the implications of this discovery. The victimary process is the missing link between the animal world and the human world, the principle that explains the humanization of primates. It allows us to understand the need for sacrificial victims, which in turn explains the hunt which is primitively ritual, and the domestication of animals as a fortuitous result of the acclimatization of a reserve of victims, or agriculture. It shows that at the beginning of all culture is archaic religion, which Durkheim had sensed. The elaboration of the rites and taboos by proto-human or human groups would take infinitely varied forms while obeying a rigorous practical sense that we can detect: the prevention of the return of the mimetic crisis. So we can find in archaic religion the origin of all political or cultural institutions.

    According to Girard, just as the theory of Natural selection of species is the rational principle that explains the immense diversity of forms of life, the victimization process is the rational principle that explains the origin of the infinite diversity of cultural forms. The analogy with Darwin also extends to the scientific status of the theory, as each of these presents itself as a hypothesis that is not capable of being proven experimentally, given the extreme amounts of time necessary to the production of the phenomena in question, but which imposes itself by its great explanatory power.


    Psychology and neuroscience

    René Girard's work is also attracting increasing interest from empirical researchers investigating human imitation (among them Andrew Meltzoff and Vittorio Gallese). Recently, empirical studies into the mechanism of desire have suggested some intriguing correlations with Girard's theory on the subject. For instance, clinical psychologist Scott R. Garrels wrote:
    What makes Girard's insights so remarkable is that he not only discovered and developed the primordial role of psychological mimesis (...) during a time when imitation was quite out of fashion, but he did so through investigation in literature, cultural anthropology, history, and ultimately returning to religious texts for further evidence of mimetic phenomena. The parallels between Girard's insights and the only recent conclusions made by empirical researchers concerning imitation (in both development and the evolution of species) are extraordinary (...).[16]
    ---Futilitist
    Last edited by Futilitist; October 20th, 2012 at 02:39 AM.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  14. #13  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    And this:

    Girard's mimetic double bind
    René Girard, in his literary theory of mimetic desire,[9] proposes what he calls a “model-obstacle”, a role model who demonstrates an object of desire and yet, in possessing that object, becomes a rival who obstructs fulfillment of the desire.[10] According to Girard, the “internal mediation” of this mimetic dynamic “operates along the same lines as what Gregory Bateson called the ‘double bind’.”[11] Girard found in Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theory, a precursor to mimetic desire.[12] “The individual who 'adjusts' has managed to relegate the two contradictory injunctions of the double bind—to imitate and not to imitate—to two different domains of application. This is, he divides reality in such a way as to neutralize the double bind.”[13] While critical of Freud's doctrine of the unconscious mind, Girard sees the ancient Greek tragedy, Oedipus the King, and key elements of Freud's Oedipus complex, patricidal and incestuous desire, to serve as prototypes for his own analysis of the mimetic double bind.[13]


    ---Futilitist
    Reply With Quote  
     

  15. #14  
    Moderator Moderator
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    city of wine and roses
    Posts
    6,222
    You are using the word gossip in an unusually neutral way. It is generally seen as a more negative term.
    Only when the motives of the gossipers are negative or the outcomes are. Gossip is an essential social function.

    It is really, really important for people to know that .....

    a) someone's grandchild is seriously ill or has died. Saves distress and embarrassment when that person would normally have cheerfully enquired how the little one is getting on at kindy.

    b) engagements have been broken, husbands and wives are separated, pregnancies have miscarried, people have gone bankrupt, lifelong friends are now sworn enemies. Same kind of benefit as before - multitudes of faux pas avoided by listening to what people tell you about other people.

    c) someone has won a prize, been selected as captain of a sports team, scholarships and all such things.

    d) everyone else has missed out on the good things in c).

    There's nothing wrong with gossip (or marriage or employment or business or education or entertainment or politics) - except for the motives or behaviours of people who use it for wrong purposes.
    John Galt and Write4U like this.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
    Reply With Quote  
     

  16. #15  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    adelady,

    You are responding to an answer that I gave to John Gault. My answer was in response to his construction of a "good" form of gossip. He built that construction on my use of the word gossip in this quote:
    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist
    I am suggesting that people sin when they gossip about each other, though. That behavior feeds the scapegoat meachanism, helping to unfairly justify violence.
    I think it is clear from the context that I mean the bad kind of gossip.

    I guess I should have said: I am suggesting that people sin when they maliciously gossip about each other, though. That behavior feeds the scapegoat meachanism, helping to unfairly justify violence.

    And all of this started because John Gault took exception to the word Sin from my original model, so I suggested, just to clarify, that gossip that leads to scapegoating is a form of sin! And it most certainly is, in this case, since it causes the Moral Instinct to be stimulated.

    I even presented a more detailed model without the use of the word Sin. No one has even acknowledged it. And we are still talking about gossip.

    I think we are way off track here. This fine tuning of the notion of gossip is completely irrelevant to my original theory on the evolutionary origin of religion. I would much rather talk about that. Aside from the fine points of presentation, what does anyone out there think of the IDEA?

    ---Futilitist
    Reply With Quote  
     

  17. #16  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    8,245
    I moved your posts and responses to them from the "Truth" thread to here. The timeline is a bit staggered now, but I think it still works.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
    Reply With Quote  
     

  18. #17  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    KALSTER,

    That's cool. One thing though. I started the new thread to bring back some clarity as well as put this in the right place. These last two posts (#s 14 and 15) are discussing an irrelevancy, the definition of gossip. They should happen before my restatement of my theory.

    Thus, I think the correct order should be:
    1-10, 14, 15, 11, 12, 13

    No big deal but can you possibly fix it? Thanks.

    ---Futilitist
    Reply With Quote  
     

  19. #18  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    8,245
    Would have if I could, sorry. Since I think it is dealt with now, it shouldn't cause a problem though.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
    Reply With Quote  
     

  20. #19  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    If the discussion continues to be about irrelevant stuff, may I restate my theory again for clarity? The thread really does read as a jumble now. Adelady's last comment seems pretty non-sequiter.

    ---Futilitist
    Reply With Quote  
     

  21. #20  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    8,245
    Well, you can just refer to the post number you stated your theory or specific part of it in. Restating it every so often seems redundant. Whether Adelady's last statement is non-sequiter or not, that's the nature of debate. When a reader goes through the thread, your response to her can be useful. She can't be the only one with those concerns.

    I understand that you want to make your case fully before being questioned on what you might consider minor details, but the questions pertain to your initial post. Hashing out these small points as you make them is a good thing imo. You say your idea in it's entirety is complicated, so imo making sure everyone is still on board as you go along is much more productive than stating the whole thing and then filling in the blanks, in terms of how your concept takes shape in the mind of your readers. It might be good to have small splinter threads dedicated to specific concepts in your theory, like your use of the word "sin" (which I am also not comfortable with), the meaning of instinctual morals, mimetic desire and such.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
    Reply With Quote  
     

  22. #21  
    Moderator Moderator
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    city of wine and roses
    Posts
    6,222
    my original theory on the evolutionary origin of religion. I would much rather talk about that. Aside from the fine points of presentation, what does anyone out there think of the IDEA?
    I'm really interested in morality, shame, approval and other social processes or mechanisms.

    Not much interested in religion, let alone an evolutionary origin for it. The only "evolutionary" aspect that interests me is in how socially accepted beliefs, religions and superstitions develop, change, fade, persist or are abandoned in different groups under various internal and external pressures. Which amounts to a sociology/anthropology topic, really.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
    Reply With Quote  
     

  23. #22  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,168
    Futilitist, if you want me to continue engaging in this discussion it would be beneficial if you do the following:

    Do not dismiss my concerns as semantic issues. You are passionate about your idea. I am passionate about the fact that if there is lack of agreement over the meaning of vocabulary then there will necessarily be lack of understanding about what is being discussed. From my perspective - and a writer should surely always be interested in their reader's perspective - Sin evokes a very strong religious context from the outset. It relates to the breaking of rules set by God. As such it is wholly (and not holy) inappropriate to use it in your sense, because that will be misleading to others.

    You say "People generally know what it means." True and I am reasonably confident that to most people it is not the meaning you assign. It doesn't matter how much you like the term and thinks it fits, it's what your readers think.

    I shall probably copy and paste your posts to Word and replace Sin with a more suitable word. Currently I am considering Offence. From my viewpoint no further discussion is necessary, but I do urge you to reconsider this usage.

    Do not assert that the problem of communication lies with others when it is yours

    You take a very unusual use of the word gossip. You state very clearly that "people sin when they gossip about each other". There are no qualifiers here.

    Then you suggest that I have used gossip in an unusually neutral way. Adelady repsonds by pointing out several of the beneficial social aspects of gossip.

    Your suprising response? "I think it is clear from the context that I mean the bad kind of gossip." No, Futilitist, it was not clear from context, and yes, you should have inserted the word maliciously, then this part of the discussion wouldn't have needed to take place.

    Do not claim we are off track when we are discussing points that are important to the reader

    It is mildly offensive to have issues that are of concern to me dismissed as being off-track when I am raising these issues so I can better understand what underpins your arguments. I acknowledge that you have responded to each of these points, but your impatience in certain remarks is not helpful.



    I am not raising any of these points to be nitpicking, but because they stand in the way of this reader approaching your hypothesis in an objective manner. If you wish me to disregard the hypothesis entirely, or approach it negatively, just say so. I presume you are posting here because you want to share your idea with others and persuade at least some readers of its value. Alternatively you may be wishing to have the hypothesis subject to an informal kind of peer review. Either way I believe my search for clarity in your writing is essential, so I'm working on your side. Please don't dismiss this.




    Now, as to your idea - I've followed your urging (against my judgement) and read the entire concept as you have presented it. So far I am not at all impressed. Here are four intial thoughts.

    Girard's hypothesis sounds like Frazer's Golden Bough without any of the evidence.

    The notion of mimetics, in the sense used by Girard, is disproved by abundant scientific evidence. With that foundation gone your entire structure surely collapses.

    Anyone whose work is even partially referrent to Freud needs their head examined.

    Your eight point steps offered as a summary of your hypothesis each appear to me to be wrong and without supporting evidence. I dare say you will plan to introduce that evidence, but I warn you that at this point I shall be hard to convince.


    Edit: I just saw a post where you say to Kalster "If the discussion continues to be about irrelevant stuff....." Please consider my remark about being mildly offended by your dismissive remarks to be upgraded to offended.
    KALSTER likes this.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  24. #23  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by adelady
    I'm really interested in morality, shame, approval and other social processes or mechanisms.
    So am I. These are central themes in my theory. I think you will be very interested in the full implications.

    Quote Originally Posted by adelady
    Not much interested in religion, let alone an evolutionary origin for it. The only "evolutionary" aspect that interests me is in how socially accepted beliefs, religions and superstitions develop, change, fade, persist or are abandoned in different groups under various internal and external pressures. Which amounts to a sociology/anthropology topic, really.
    You are interested in how, I want to know why. Philosophically speaking, I think there are two types of people. This results in two distinct approaches to understanding in science. I believe that this is evident in the tension between social scientists and social psychologists over their much different understandings of GROUPTHINK.

    One of the first objections I received to my experimental methodology was that I did not take into account the particular social norms or gestalt of each test group. My response was that I was conducting cross-gestalt comparisons, to look for similar functional behaviors, irrespective of social norm. Knowing the details of the individual gestalt simply obscures the basic funtional mechanisms from being seen.


    ---Futilitist
    Reply With Quote  
     

  25. #24  
    Moderator Moderator
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    city of wine and roses
    Posts
    6,222
    You are interested in how, I want to know why.
    Oh, I know the why of the things I had at the back of my mind when I was writing that. The basis for the 'cargo cults' of New Guinea is one case where we know exactly when and how the belief/superstition arose. What's interesting to me is how those beliefs persisted for so many years and the various ways they're fading or being absorbed into other beliefs of those groups.

    As I said, sociology and anthropology.

    Picking out the social, historical, resource constraints, power taking and power maintenance threads from the fabric of other religious and superstitious beliefs I also see as largely anthropological and sociological.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
    Reply With Quote  
     

  26. #25  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Futilitist, if you want me to continue engaging in this discussion it would be beneficial if you do the following:

    Do not dismiss my concerns as semantic issues. You are passionate about your idea. I am passionate about the fact that if there is lack of agreement over the meaning of vocabulary then there will necessarily be lack of understanding about what is being discussed. From my perspective - and a writer should surely always be interested in their reader's perspective - Sin evokes a very strong religious context from the outset. It relates to the breaking of rules set by God. As such it is wholly (and not holy) inappropriate to use it in your sense, because that will be misleading to others.

    You say "People generally know what it means." True and I am reasonably confident that to most people it is not the meaning you assign. It doesn't matter how much you like the term and thinks it fits, it's what your readers think.

    I shall probably copy and paste your posts to Word and replace Sin with a more suitable word. Currently I am considering Offence. From my viewpoint no further discussion is necessary, but I do urge you to reconsider this usage.

    Do not assert that the problem of communication lies with others when it is yours

    You take a very unusual use of the word gossip. You state very clearly that "people sin when they gossip about each other". There are no qualifiers here.

    Then you suggest that I have used gossip in an unusually neutral way. Adelady repsonds by pointing out several of the beneficial social aspects of gossip.

    Your suprising response? "I think it is clear from the context that I mean the bad kind of gossip." No, Futilitist, it was not clear from context, and yes, you should have inserted the word maliciously, then this part of the discussion wouldn't have needed to take place.

    Do not claim we are off track when we are discussing points that are important to the reader

    It is mildly offensive to have issues that are of concern to me dismissed as being off-track when I am raising these issues so I can better understand what underpins your arguments. I acknowledge that you have responded to each of these points, but your impatience in certain remarks is not helpful.



    I am not raising any of these points to be nitpicking, but because they stand in the way of this reader approaching your hypothesis in an objective manner. If you wish me to disregard the hypothesis entirely, or approach it negatively, just say so. I presume you are posting here because you want to share your idea with others and persuade at least some readers of its value. Alternatively you may be wishing to have the hypothesis subject to an informal kind of peer review. Either way I believe my search for clarity in your writing is essential, so I'm working on your side. Please don't dismiss this.




    Now, as to your idea - I've followed your urging (against my judgement) and read the entire concept as you have presented it. So far I am not at all impressed. Here are four intial thoughts.

    Girard's hypothesis sounds like Frazer's Golden Bough without any of the evidence.

    The notion of mimetics, in the sense used by Girard, is disproved by abundant scientific evidence. With that foundation gone your entire structure surely collapses.

    Anyone whose work is even partially referrent to Freud needs their head examined.

    Your eight point steps offered as a summary of your hypothesis each appear to me to be wrong and without supporting evidence. I dare say you will plan to introduce that evidence, but I warn you that at this point I shall be hard to convince.


    Edit: I just saw a post where you say to Kalster "If the discussion continues to be about irrelevant stuff....." Please consider my remark about being mildly offended by your dismissive remarks to be upgraded to offended.
    I appologise sincerely for any offense taken. I meant none.


    As to the meaning of Sin, I suppose you are right that it is a highly charged word.


    Quote Originally Posted by John Gault
    Girard's hypothesis sounds like Frazer's Golden Bough without any of the evidence.
    I am not as familiar with Frazer. But I wouldn't dismiss Rene Girard so off handedly. He is a pretty influential thinker.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Gault
    The notion of mimetics, in the sense used by Girard, is disproved by abundant scientific evidence. With that foundation gone your entire structure surely collapses.
    The notion of mimetics was invented by Girard. To what "abundant scientific evidence" do you refer? The latest neuroscience seems to support my theory. Mirror neurons, for example, help confirm mimetics.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Gault
    Anyone whose work is even partially referrent to Freud needs their head examined.
    I realize that much of Freudian theory is discredited. I'm sure Girard does, too. That quote is the first time I've ever seen Girard refer to Freud. Girard's ideas are not based on Freud. I also plan to make reference to the bible, and that is scientifically discredited, as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Gault
    Your eight point steps offered as a summary of your hypothesis each appear to me to be wrong and without supporting evidence. I dare say you will plan to introduce that evidence, but I warn you that at this point I shall be hard to convince.
    Please be more specific as to your objections to each of the eight points listed below:

    1. Mimetic desire drives all animal bahavior.
    2. Through Mimetics, a Moral Instinct begins to develop, as animals become more complex in their socialization.
    3. The Scapegoat Mechanism, which evolves to help maintain social stability, develops side by side with the Moral Instinct.
    4. The Moral Instinct produces a sense of Basic Unfairness, especially with respect to group on individual violence (Scapegoating).
    5. The sense of Basic Unfairness produces fear and outrage in animals that form complex social groups (primates).
    6. Outrage produces social instability.
    7. Religion evolves to enforce social stability and overide the moral instinct when necessary.

    A self justification rationalization loop that leads to:

    8. Humans are able, through religion, to evolve ever higher levels of complexity leading to the advent of civilization.


    ---Futilitist
    Reply With Quote  
     

  27. #26  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,168
    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    I appologise sincerely for any offense taken. I meant none.
    Apology fully accepted; matter closed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    As to the meaning of Sin, I suppose you are right that it is a highly charged word.
    Exactly so, and because of the connotations that some readers will attatch to it that will distract from your intended use and consequent argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    I am not as familiar with Frazer. But I wouldn't dismiss Rene Girard so off handedly. He is a pretty influential thinker.
    Well, it's two or three decades since I read Frazer, so my comparison may not bear close scrutiny. However, like Girard Frazer's writing had a large impact on contemporary novelists.

    But here is my problem: when I say novelist in this context I wish to convey a smidgeon of contempt. Don't get me wrong, I think novelists are an excellent source of entertainment and the literary ones can shine light into unexpected corners of the human condition. But they do this throught the medium of art. Again, I have nothing against art - I consider a sense of the artistic to be a cornerstone of what it means to be human. But at the same time it is not science. Thus far what I have read of Girard - and it is little more than the wikipedia article - leaves me unimpressed that he arrived at anything other than a metaphorical interpretation of reality.

    You say he was influential, but did he influence the kind of people who can produce meaningful, validated, scientific theories? That is what I currently not convinced of. I shall see how your exposition unfolds.


    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    The notion of mimetics was invented by Girard. To what "abundant scientific evidence" do you refer? The latest neuroscience seems to support my theory. Mirror neurons, for example, help confirm mimetics.
    Invented by Girard? He seems to have borrowed heavily from Plato and subsequent philosophers.

    I anticipated you might bring up mirror neurons. These seem to me to run counter to your thesis.

    Your argument, as I understand it, is that we wish to mimic others. There is a strong implication I read in your writing that this mimicry involves 'stealing' from others. This is certainly an aspect of the concept in literature - and that theme runs through from Plato to Girard. Mirror neurons, on the other hand, demonstrate that through empathy we can give support to others because we understand their condition.



    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    I realize that much of Freudian theory is discredited. I'm sure Girard does, too. That quote is the first time I've ever seen Girard refer to Freud. Girard's ideas are not based on Freud. I also plan to make reference to the bible, and that is scientifically discredited, as well.
    Ok, we'll forget about Freud (always, I think, a good plan). The Bible is discredited as a literal truth. As evidence of how a religion evolves and doubtless in other ways, it has value. I'll wait to see how you use it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by John Gault
    Your eight point steps offered as a summary of your hypothesis each appear to me to be wrong and without supporting evidence. I dare say you will plan to introduce that evidence, but I warn you that at this point I shall be hard to convince.
    Please be more specific as to your objections to each of the eight points listed below:

    1. Mimetic desire drives all animal bahavior.
    I'll start with number one. I'll start just by saying Maslow and Hertzberg. They provide, for humans and to some extent for animals, a better description of motivation than the notion that mimicry underpins behavioural drives. Maslow and Hertzberg, are I think, still well regarded in the social sciences, though I stand ready to be corrected on that.
    Last edited by John Galt; October 20th, 2012 at 07:20 AM. Reason: Added links for Maslow and Hertzberg. Corrected two typos.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  28. #27  
    Forum Bachelors Degree dmwyant's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    456
    I find the Moral Instinct argument flawed. My reasoning is simple, Morals are a learned behavior , not instinctual. We are not born with a clearly defined set of morals from birth but programmed with them as we develop. If we had "instinctual morals" then the world would be a much nicer and safer place. As for deities being created to alleviate guilt over actions taken that harm another. I believe this is flawed as well. Not every religion shares these principles.
    Not all who wander are lost... Some of us just misplaced our destination.

    I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of a man is to live, not to exist.
    -Jack London
    Reply With Quote  
     

  29. #28  
    Moderator Moderator
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    8,416
    Quote Originally Posted by dmwyant View Post
    I find the Moral Instinct argument flawed. My reasoning is simple, Morals are a learned behavior , not instinctual. We are not born with a clearly defined set of morals from birth but programmed with them as we develop. If we had "instinctual morals" then the world would be a much nicer and safer place. As for deities being created to alleviate guilt over actions taken that harm another. I believe this is flawed as well. Not every religion shares these principles.
    I wouldn't be so sure of that. Altruism, which as at the core of Morals, seems to have at least moderate influence from genetics.
    Is altruism a genetic trait?: Scientific American

    "Findings from twin studies yield heritability estimates of 0.50 for prosocial behaviours like empathy, cooperativeness and altruism. "
    Investigating the genetic basis of altruism: the role of the COMT Val158Met polymorphism
    Meteorologist/Naturalist & Retired Soldier
    “The Holy Land is everywhere” Black Elk
    Reply With Quote  
     

  30. #29  
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    8,035
    Quote Originally Posted by dmwyant View Post
    I find the Moral Instinct argument flawed. My reasoning is simple, Morals are a learned behavior , not instinctual. We are not born with a clearly defined set of morals from birth but programmed with them as we develop. If we had "instinctual morals" then the world would be a much nicer and safer place. As for deities being created to alleviate guilt over actions taken that harm another. I believe this is flawed as well. Not every religion shares these principles.
    I keep seeing this problem pop up on this thread. We keep wanting to define "sin" against some system of morality, instead of simply defining it against all systems of morality.

    Every simple ideology has the problem that on application to real life its simplicity makes it inadequate to accommodate every situation the adherent will face. Inevitably, the adherent eventually does something that fails to conform to their system of ideals (no matter what that system is), and then feels badly about it.

    This creates what you might call "cognitive dissonance". They want to be a paragon of their idealistic system, but they've already failed. Non-religious systems have this just as bad as religious ones. Many communists in the USSR had the problem that they liked enjoying the good things in life.... but they were supposed to be communists, so they ought to share equally with everyone, right?. That lead to no end of silly justifications.

    The Judaic Monotheistic system provided an answer for this. Initially the "sins" of the society could be dispensed by sacrificing a goat. The goat was innocent. They were guilty. The two wrongs kind-of-somehow added up to a right. Then Christianity came along and simply switched that for an innocent man getting hung on a cross. I don't whether Islam has a feature like this or not.
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  31. #30  
    Ascended Member Ascended's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Norfolk
    Posts
    3,455
    Right to the heart of the matter your basic premise is that morality ultimately creates religion, everything else just looks like fluff and padding.

    Well I think that premise is wrong and that, whilst no doubt religion certainly makes use of the social conformity mechanism associated with morality, it is by no means it's product.
    Morality in one form or another has existed since man fisrt lived together in groups, however there is no evidence this is the case for religion.

    Basic morality is highly resistant to religious influence, most people easily reject religious rules that violate their basic moral intuitions. Rather, religions all tend to confirm and support human morality, because that essential morality sustains our schemes of social cooperation.

    Furthermore my conclusions are also supported by a paper written by Marc Hauser, professor of evolutionary biology at Harvard University:
    ( ScienceDirect.com - Trends in Cognitive Sciences - The origins of religion : evolved adaptation or by-product? ), unfortunately it's behind a pay wall, but here's an extract:

    "Cooperation is made possible by a suite of mental mechanisms that are not specific to religion. Moral judgments depend on these mechanisms and appear to operate independently of one's religious background. However, although religion did not originally emerge as a biological adaptation, it can play a role in both facilitating and stabilizing cooperation within groups, and as such, could be the target of cultural selection."

    So whilst it may be that religions do offer so some of the illusion of being so heavy influenced by morality I think it's pretty clear in fact the religion is only ever using morality and clearly never a direct cause or result of morality.
    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

    Bertrand Russell
    Reply With Quote  
     

  32. #31  
    Moderator Moderator
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    8,416
    Right to the heart of the matter your basic premise is that morality ultimately creates religion, everything else just looks like fluff and padding.
    I agree.

    Wolfs, eagles, baboons, orca, and elephant all have moral systems--yet I don't think they could be considered very religious. Though I could see a subtle argument that as our intellect developed, we might have invented religion to codify some of our natural behavior that were benificial and supress other natural behaviors that didn't work so well in larger groups.
    Meteorologist/Naturalist & Retired Soldier
    “The Holy Land is everywhere” Black Elk
    Reply With Quote  
     

  33. #32  
    Moderator Moderator
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    city of wine and roses
    Posts
    6,222
    Whoops! I must have been half asleep last night when I looked at this.

    The biggest problem with the idea of linking religions and ethics is the existence of religions that make no ethical statements or demands at all - they are entirely mystical or explanatory systems. There are pagan and animist and ancestor religious systems that simply attribute or associate mystical significance to events or objects without requiring or implying any moral or ethical standards for ordinary behaviour at all.
    John Galt and dmwyant like this.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
    Reply With Quote  
     

  34. #33  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by John Gault
    But here is my problem: when I say novelist in this context I wish to convey a smidgeon of contempt. Don't get me wrong, I think novelists are an excellent source of entertainment and the literary ones can shine light into unexpected corners of the human condition. But they do this throught the medium of art. Again, I have nothing against art - I consider a sense of the artistic to be a cornerstone of what it means to be human. But at the same time it is not science. Thus far what I have read of Girard - and it is little more than the wikipedia article - leaves me unimpressed that he arrived at anything other than a metaphorical interpretation of reality.
    As a literary critic, Rene Girard uncovered the clues about mimetic desire and the scapegoat mechanism in novels. He went on later to develop these ideas from the perspective of anthropology. Social psychologists, social theorists, evolutionary biologists, neuroscientists, and religious thinkers have all been increasingly influenced by Girards theories.

    Girard is also a Catholic appologist, and influential religious scholar. I don't think that disqualifies him from having a breakthrough insight on human nature. You are making a kind of argument from authority (hard sciences) to say that anything that Rene Girard comes up with can not be taken seriously. You are also attempting to avoid doing the neccessary reading to understand what I am talking about. If you look more deeply, I promise you will find a lot of very interesting ideas that may change the way you think about everything human. That is what I found.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Gault
    You say he was influential, but did he influence the kind of people who can produce meaningful, validated, scientific theories? That is what I currently not convinced of. I shall see how your exposition unfolds.

    I anticipated you might bring up mirror neurons. These seem to me to run counter to your thesis.
    I found a fantastic paper that explains how developments in mirror neuron research help to confirm mimetic theory. I really do recommend reading the whole thing. It explains this much better than I can.

    Here is the link https://www.msu.edu/course/eng/483/johnsen/garrells.pdf

    Quote Originally Posted by John Gault
    Your argument, as I understand it, is that we wish to mimic others.
    I think you are misunderstanding mimetic theory. Mimetic Desire is not a "wish to mimic others". It is much more basic and profound. Mimetic Desire means that we immitate the desires of others.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Gault
    There is a strong implication I read in your writing that this mimicry involves 'stealing' from others.
    I have no idea what you are refering to here. Mimicry in no way involves 'stealing' from others. I suppose one could use mimicry as a way to fool someone and thus steal from them, but this is not relevant. We are not talking about mimicry, we are talking about mimetics. Mimetics is not some casual trick of immitation. It is fundamental to our biology. It is the basis of all human social interaction.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Gault
    This is certainly an aspect of the concept in literature - and that theme runs through from Plato to Girard. Mirror neurons, on the other hand, demonstrate that through empathy we can give support to others because we understand their condition.
    Mirror neurons do a whole lot more than that.

    From the Garrells paper:
    "Within the last several decades, empirical investigations on human imitation have producedd a dramatic surge of interest and research, the results of which provide unprecedented support for and clarification of the foundational role of psychological mimesis. Convergent evidence across the modern disciplines of developmental psychology and cognitive neuroscience demonstrates that imitation based on mirrored neural activity and reciprocal interpersonal behavior is what guides and scaffolds human development from the beginning of life, significantly effecting the emergence and functioning of mental representation, communication and language, empathy, self-other differentiation, and a theory of mind. Imitation not only functions powerfully in the mother-infant dyad to bring about experience-dependent neurocognitive development, but it is thought to thrive in adulthood as one of the most organizing characteristics of human social relations. Furthermore, researchers from neuroscience and evolutionary psychology argue for the essential role of mimetic reciprocity in contributing to a wide-scale cerebral reorganization of the brain, allowing for the evolution of more complex social, cultural, and representational abilities from earlier primates to humans."

    Quote Originally Posted by John Gault
    Ok, we'll forget about Freud (always, I think, a good plan).
    I know we've agreed to dispense with Freud, but I found this and I thought it might be helpful:

    Eugene Webb, who collaborated with Rene Girard and Jean-Michel Oughourlian on mimetic theory had this to say on Freud in relation to Girard.

    "It has often been remarked that Freudianism has an ambiguous status as a science because it does not connect signifcantly with the results of any other branch of scientific inquiry. Daniel N. Robinson stated the problem clearly in his Systems of Modern Psychology:

    ""There is no psychoanalytic theory: there are formulations of personality based upon psychoanalytic hypothesis. The theory continues to evolve. But it does not evolve in the way that, for example, evolutionary theory did. In the latter case, advances in genetics and molecular biology made it possible to fill gaps unavoidably present in Darwin's original formulations. The accomplishments of science made it possible to replace Lamarckian with Mendelian modes of hereditary transmission...One test of the scientific status of a theory...is the extent to which it is accessible to enriching and modifying effects of discoveries in science at large. Evolutionary theory passes this test; Freudian theory fails it.""

    It is too soon to tell exactly how successfully interdividual psychology will pass the same test, but it seems a good sign, at least, that experimentalists working in complete independence of its concepts have been turning up exactly the sort of findings that the hypothesis of universal subjective mimemisis would be expected to predict. Such results certainly suggest that Girard, Oughourlian, and their colleagues are on solid ground in claiming that mimemisis is fundamental to human psychology both within the individual and in social relations, and that it contributes to all psychological processes on every level of development."

    Quote Originally Posted by John Gault
    1. Mimetic desire drives all animal bahavior.
    I'll start with number one. I'll start just by saying Maslow and Hertzberg. They provide, for humans and to some extent for animals, a better description of motivation than the notion that mimicry underpins behavioural drives. Maslow and Hertzberg, are I think, still well regarded in the social sciences, though I stand ready to be corrected on that.
    I don't know how Maslow and Hertzberg are regarded these days. Hertzberg was more empirical and makes more sense to me. Maslow's theory seems arbitrary and not well supported, rather like Freudian theory. I think both ideas are quite trivial compared to mimetic theory. Both ideas may need to be updated, in any case, to allow for the latest neuroscience. If these ideas are even valid, they will fit within the much larger and more important foundational science that grows out of mimetics.

    Here are my three favorite examples of how mimetic desire drives all animal behavior.

    1. The first example is from human behavior. Picture a toddler sitting in a room full of shiny toys. He is playing with one. Introduce a second toddler into the room. Which toy do you think the second child wants to play with?

    2. This example is cross-species. A dog picks up a ball. He brings it close to you. When you reach for the ball, the dog pulls it away, his tail wagging. He wants you to want the ball as much as he does. He assumes you will imitate his desire. Once you do, a drama triange is formed. You and the dog are now mimetic rivals in a game where the ball is the object of desire.

    3. This is the simple animal model example. A stupid, simple critter is eating something. Another stupid, simple critter notices. He observes the other animal eating something and not dying. He begins eating the same thing. This example, and #2 above show that mimetic desire is a driving behavioral force in the evolution of all animals, not just humans.


    ---Futilitist
    Reply With Quote  
     

  35. #34  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox
    Wolfs, eagles, baboons, orca, and elephant all have moral systems--yet I don't think they could be considered very religious. Though I could see a subtle argument that as our intellect developed, we might have invented religion to codify some of our natural behavior that were benificial and supress other natural behaviors that didn't work so well in larger groups.
    All social animals posses a moral instinct. Only humans have religion. Why? You say "we might have invented religion to codify some of our natural behavior that were benificial and supress other natural behaviors that didn't work so well in larger groups." I would say that humans invented religion to short circuit or override our moral instinct. This allowed for more complex socialization leading eventually to civilization. One of the first (and worst) things religion gave us was the perverse rationalization of dominion over the rest of the Earth's species. But religion's primary role was to codify group on individual violence within society. The human ability to displace aggression in complex socialization is arguably what make us human.

    ---Futilitist
    Last edited by Futilitist; October 21st, 2012 at 12:19 AM.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  36. #35  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by Chrisgorlitz
    Right to the heart of the matter your basic premise is that morality ultimately creates religion, everything else just looks like fluff and padding.

    Well I think that premise is wrong and that, whilst no doubt religion certainly makes use of the social conformity mechanism associated with morality, it is by no means it's product.
    Religion is not an outgrowth of the moral instinct. I am not saying that. Religion is a social tool invented to override the moral instinct.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chrisgorlitz
    Morality in one form or another has existed since man fisrt lived together in groups, however there is no evidence this is the case for religion.
    That's correct. First there was a moral instinct. Then there was religion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chrisgorlitz
    Basic morality is highly resistant to religious influence, most people easily reject religious rules that violate their basic moral intuitions. Rather, religions all tend to confirm and support human morality, because that essential morality sustains our schemes of social cooperation.
    But if "that essential morality sustains our schemes of social cooperation", why invent religion? It must serve some purpose, and, for primitive humans it was all encompassing, i.e. not as casual as it is today. People cannot easily reject what the group tells them to believe. That is what they call GROUPTHINK. If you lived in a small village 10,000 years ago, and the village high priest picked your best friend for the human sacrifice, what would you do? How would you easily reject this religious rule that goes against your basic sense of morality? What's the old expression, "Go along to get along"? Tell your friend you are sorry, and grab your knife and fork. Diner is served!

    Quote Originally Posted by Chrisgorlitz
    Furthermore my conclusions are also supported by a paper written by Marc Hauser, professor of evolutionary biology at Harvard University:
    ( ScienceDirect.com - Trends in Cognitive Sciences - The origins of religion : evolved adaptation or by-product? ), unfortunately it's behind a pay wall, but here's an extract:

    "Cooperation is made possible by a suite of mental mechanisms that are not specific to religion. Moral judgments depend on these mechanisms and appear to operate independently of one's religious background. However, although religion did not originally emerge as a biological adaptation, it can play a role in both facilitating and stabilizing cooperation within groups, and as such, could be the target of cultural selection."

    So whilst it may be that religions do offer so some of the illusion of being so heavy influenced by morality I think it's pretty clear in fact the religion is only ever using morality and clearly never a direct cause or result of morality.
    Can you please explain more about your objection. In the Marc Hauser quote above, he pretty much begs the question of religion as a biological adaptation. I'm sure he must go into more depth elsewhere in the paper. I'm not even sure that is the right argument, since I am not saying religion is a biological adaptation. Religion is a tool designed for social control. It's earliest and main function was to rationalize the scapegoat mechanism, leading to greater group stability and complexity.


    ---Futilitist
    Last edited by Futilitist; December 2nd, 2012 at 10:21 PM.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  37. #36  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Quote Originally Posted by dmwyant
    I find the Moral Instinct argument flawed. My reasoning is simple, Morals are a learned behavior , not instinctual. We are not born with a clearly defined set of morals from birth but programmed with them as we develop. If we had "instinctual morals" then the world would be a much nicer and safer place. As for deities being created to alleviate guilt over actions taken that harm another. I believe this is flawed as well. Not every religion shares these principles.
    I keep seeing this problem pop up on this thread. We keep wanting to define "sin" against some system of morality, instead of simply defining it against all systems of morality.
    Here is a definition I just came up with:

    Sin --- An act of aggression commited against a fellow human that results in feelings of guilt arising from the aggressor's moral instinct.

    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Every simple ideology has the problem that on application to real life its simplicity makes it inadequate to accommodate every situation the adherent will face. Inevitably, the adherent eventually does something that fails to conform to their system of ideals (no matter what that system is), and then feels badly about it.

    This creates what you might call "cognitive dissonance". They want to be a paragon of their idealistic system, but they've already failed. Non-religious systems have this just as bad as religious ones. Many communists in the USSR had the problem that they liked enjoying the good things in life.... but they were supposed to be communists, so they ought to share equally with everyone, right?. That lead to no end of silly justifications.

    The Judaic Monotheistic system provided an answer for this. Initially the "sins" of the society could be dispensed by sacrificing a goat. The goat was innocent. They were guilty. The two wrongs kind-of-somehow added up to a right. Then Christianity came along and simply switched that for an innocent man getting hung on a cross. I don't whether Islam has a feature like this or not.
    The "cognitive dissonance" that the Judiac Monotheistic system provided an answer to was human sacrifice! But it did not throw off the scapegoat mechanism that lead to human sacrifice. It simply created ritual to assuage the guilt created by the ever present scapegoat mechanism in everyday life. And that answer worked for about 4 thousand years. But it wasn't very satisfying and the essential problem of guilt remained unsolved. That lead to the whole jesus myth, which may have originally been an honest attempt to teach that our sin really can't be a placed on another. But after Nicaea, the story was about swearing allegence to the purported son of god as your only gateway to heavenly reward. So christianity is just another means of social control.



    ---Futilitist
    Last edited by Futilitist; October 21st, 2012 at 12:49 AM.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  38. #37  
    Moderator Moderator
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    8,416
    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox
    Wolfs, eagles, baboons, orca, and elephant all have moral systems--yet I don't think they could be considered very religious. Though I could see a subtle argument that as our intellect developed, we might have invented religion to codify some of our natural behavior that were benificial and supress other natural behaviors that didn't work so well in larger groups.
    All social animals posses a moral instinct. Only humans have religion. Why? You say "we might have invented religion to codify some of our natural behavior that were benificial and supress other natural behaviors that didn't work so well in larger groups." I would say that humans invented religion to short circuit or override our moral instinct. This allowed for more complex socialization leading eventually to civilization. One of the first (and worst) things religion gave us was the perverse rationalization of dominion over the rest of the Earth's species. But religion's primary role was to codify group on individual violence within society. The human ability to displace agression in complex socialization is arguably what make us human.

    ---Futilitist

    Obviously and I should have added we are the only species we know of which can do complex abstract communications.

    And I think your view on religion as being primarily to short circuit or override our moal instincts is too narrow a view. Some religions hardly regulate morality at all--such as the Native American mythologies, most play directly into strongly supporting an innate behavior--the Greeks and Romans have divinity to celebrate sexuality, drug addiction, gluttony and war. Scandinavian mythologies have celebrated the excitement of the hunt. The Abrahamic religions still retain some of these characteristics.
    Meteorologist/Naturalist & Retired Soldier
    “The Holy Land is everywhere” Black Elk
    Reply With Quote  
     

  39. #38  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by dmwyant View Post
    I find the Moral Instinct argument flawed. My reasoning is simple, Morals are a learned behavior , not instinctual. We are not born with a clearly defined set of morals from birth but programmed with them as we develop. If we had "instinctual morals" then the world would be a much nicer and safer place. As for deities being created to alleviate guilt over actions taken that harm another. I believe this is flawed as well. Not every religion shares these principles.
    Neuroscientists say we posses a moral instinct. We are all born with it. Morality is a separate thing. Morality is the way that humans apply the moral instinct toward others.

    As far as not every religion sharing the scapegoat guilt complex, you are refering to every modern day religion. At one time, all religions had to deal with the scapegoat and human sacrifice.


    ---Futilitist
    Reply With Quote  
     

  40. #39  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox
    Wolfs, eagles, baboons, orca, and elephant all have moral systems--yet I don't think they could be considered very religious. Though I could see a subtle argument that as our intellect developed, we might have invented religion to codify some of our natural behavior that were benificial and supress other natural behaviors that didn't work so well in larger groups.
    All social animals posses a moral instinct. Only humans have religion. Why? You say "we might have invented religion to codify some of our natural behavior that were benificial and supress other natural behaviors that didn't work so well in larger groups." I would say that humans invented religion to short circuit or override our moral instinct. This allowed for more complex socialization leading eventually to civilization. One of the first (and worst) things religion gave us was the perverse rationalization of dominion over the rest of the Earth's species. But religion's primary role was to codify group on individual violence within society. The human ability to displace agression in complex socialization is arguably what make us human.

    ---Futilitist

    Obviously and I should have added we are the only species we know of which can do complex abstract communications.

    And I think your view on religion as being primarily to short circuit or override our moal instincts is too narrow a view. Some religions hardly regulate morality at all--such as the Native American mythologies, most play directly into strongly supporting an innate behavior--the Greeks and Romans have divinity to celebrate sexuality, drug addiction, gluttony and war. Scandinavian mythologies have celebrated the excitement of the hunt. The Abrahamic religions still retain some of these characteristics.
    Just to be clear on my view on religion as being primarily to short circuit or override our moal instincts, I know that is not a very scientific way to put things. It's just a way to describe something. It is a personal meaning that I try to give to underlying scientific facts. It is meant to be a bit ironic and intentionally provocative. Sort of an atheist, absurdist, ascerbic angle. If I am wrong to ascribe this meaning, it does not disprove the basic concepts I talk about. I will try to be more scientific in my language.



    ---Futilitist
    Reply With Quote  
     

  41. #40  
    Ascended Member Ascended's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Norfolk
    Posts
    3,455
    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    1. Sin produces Guilt.
    2. Guilt produces Religion.
    3. Religion brings absolution from Sin.
    Lather, Rinse, Repeat.
    Ok we have somewhat of a problem here, your theory seems to suggest the sin that leads to the evolution of of religion is not actually a religious sin, as the said religion does not exist prior to the sin. Now that pretty much only leaves for the possible interpretation of the sin being referred as a sin of morality, otherwise if this is not what actually mean then John's point about clarification of language is 100% correct. Without being able to actually understand your theory it is nearly impossible to evaluate it properly, so it is very important you use the correct terminology to ensure the reader fully understands what you actually mean.

    We also have another problem here, your following quote seems to make no sense in the context of your opening statement:

    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    Religion is not an outgrouth of the moral instinct. I am not saying that. Religion is a social tool invented to override the moral instinct.

    ---Futilitist
    If not from sin how is this guilt of which you speak of created? The problem again here is we don't really know what you mean by 'sin'.

    Also you speak of guilt producing religion, now guilt can be produced through 3 ways.
    No.1) Breaking a law, you may feel guilty, but I would say it is leaning more towards the moral imperative that actually produces the guilt. - If this was your actual meaning though I can't understand why you used the word sin and not law.

    2.) Through breaking or violating a religious command, law or doctrine. - This again can't be the case as we've established by your statement you are suggesting religion is a product of guilt so the guilt exists prior to the religion thus the religion cannot be the guilt's cause.

    3.) A breach of morality, guilt could be produced through an action the person commiting it views as wrong. - This seems the only logical source of guilt to fit your theory the way you have stated it.

    So given your own statements, logical interpretation and your unclarity of language it seems perfectly reasonable to conclude your theory centres around a belief that religion is a product of morality.

    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    Can you please explain more about your objection. In the Marc Hauser quote above, he pretty much begs the question of religion as a biological adaptation. I'm sure he must go into more depth elsewhere in the paper. I'm not even sure that is the right argument, since I am not saying religion is a biological adaptation. Religion is a tool designed for social control. It's earliest and main function was to rationalize the scapegoat mechanism, leading to greater group stability and complexity.


    ---Futilitist
    See again here I tend to disagree about the function that religion plays and what it is designed to do, where you attribute that "Religion is a tool designed for social control", I would suggest that it is not at all a designed tool for social control, but instead merely makes use of such control to achieve it's true objectives of providing a set of answers to the big questions so as people don't or don't have to come up with their own and self propagation. To these ends religions make use of the power they are afforded as do, historically, the people within these religions.
    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

    Bertrand Russell
    Reply With Quote  
     

  42. #41  
    Forum Bachelors Degree dmwyant's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    456
    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    As far as not every religion sharing the scapegoat guilt complex, you are refering to every modern day religion. At one time, all religions had to deal with the scapegoat and human sacrifice. ---Futilitist
    By modern religions I assume that you are reffering to any that existed between 1000BC and present. However I argue that there have existed religions predating these "modern" religions that had no human sacrifice or "scapegoat guilt complexes". Now I know the next response will most likely be "Ok... Where is your proof?" Give me sometime to research it and I will find it. I do not have the references here at work with me.
    Not all who wander are lost... Some of us just misplaced our destination.

    I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of a man is to live, not to exist.
    -Jack London
    Reply With Quote  
     

  43. #42  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by Chrisgorlitz
    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist
    1. Sin produces Guilt.
    2. Guilt produces Religion.
    3. Religion brings absolution from Sin.
    Lather, Rinse, Repeat.
    Ok we have somewhat of a problem here, your theory seems to suggest the sin that leads to the evolution of of religion is not actually a religious sin, as the said religion does not exist prior to the sin. Now that pretty much only leaves for the possible interpretation of the sin being referred as a sin of morality, otherwise if this is not what actually mean then John's point about clarification of language is 100% correct. Without being able to actually understand your theory it is nearly impossible to evaluate it properly, so it is very important you use the correct terminology to ensure the reader fully understands what you actually mean.

    We also have another problem here, your following quote seems to make no sense in the context of your opening statement:

    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    Religion is not an outgrouth of the moral instinct. I am not saying that. Religion is a social tool invented to override the moral instinct.

    ---Futilitist
    If not from sin how is this guilt of which you speak of created? The problem again here is we don't really know what you mean by 'sin'.

    Also you speak of guilt producing religion, now guilt can be produced through 3 ways.
    No.1) Breaking a law, you may feel guilty, but I would say it is leaning more towards the moral imperative that actually produces the guilt. - If this was your actual meaning though I can't understand why you used the word sin and not law.

    2.) Through breaking or violating a religious command, law or doctrine. - This again can't be the case as we've established by your statement you are suggesting religion is a product of guilt so the guilt exists prior to the religion thus the religion cannot be the guilt's cause.

    3.) A breach of morality, guilt could be produced through an action the person commiting it views as wrong. - This seems the only logical source of guilt to fit your theory the way you have stated it.

    So given your own statements, logical interpretation and your unclarity of language it seems perfectly reasonable to conclude your theory centres around a belief that religion is a product of morality.

    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    Can you please explain more about your objection. In the Marc Hauser quote above, he pretty much begs the question of religion as a biological adaptation. I'm sure he must go into more depth elsewhere in the paper. I'm not even sure that is the right argument, since I am not saying religion is a biological adaptation. Religion is a tool designed for social control. It's earliest and main function was to rationalize the scapegoat mechanism, leading to greater group stability and complexity.


    ---Futilitist
    See again here I tend to disagree about the function that religion plays and what it is designed to do, where you attribute that "Religion is a tool designed for social control", I would suggest that it is not at all a designed tool for social control, but instead merely makes use of such control to achieve it's true objectives of providing a set of answers to the big questions so as people don't or don't have to come up with their own and self propagation. To these ends religions make use of the power they are afforded as do, historically, the people within these religions.
    Here is my improved definition of sin from 4 posts ago:

    Sin --- An act of aggression commited against a fellow human that results in feelings of guilt arising from the aggressor's moral instinct.

    The guilt thus produced leads humans to invent religion to absolve sin, and, thus, to alleviate guilt. That seems pretty straightforward to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chrisgorlitz
    3.) A breach of morality, guilt could be produced through an action the person commiting it views as wrong.
    I think this is about right. Except a "breach of morality" connotes some sort of pre-existing societal moral code. I would say a "violation of the innate moral instinct" would be more accurate.

    Hopefully this should clear up any confusion.


    ---Futilitist
    Last edited by Futilitist; October 21st, 2012 at 07:14 PM.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  44. #43  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by dmwyant View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    As far as not every religion sharing the scapegoat guilt complex, you are refering to every modern day religion. At one time, all religions had to deal with the scapegoat and human sacrifice. ---Futilitist
    By modern religions I assume that you are reffering to any that existed between 1000BC and present. However I argue that there have existed religions predating these "modern" religions that had no human sacrifice or "scapegoat guilt complexes". Now I know the next response will most likely be "Ok... Where is your proof?" Give me sometime to research it and I will find it. I do not have the references here at work with me.
    When you are doing your research, be sure to look at the concept of redemption or absolution from sin. That is the important aspect for my theory. I believe even Buddhism contains at least a diffuse redemptive element. I would bet the religions that had no human sacrifice arose in response to the revulsion of human sacrifice and cannibalism in their ancestors. And I can guarantee that the scapegoat mechanism was and still is operating at full speed in every religion and every society on earth. It is simply inescapeable.


    ---Futilitist
    Reply With Quote  
     

  45. #44  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Hey Folks,

    A slight fine tuning.

    I now realize that the language I have been using is a serious impediment to having a serious discussion. Mea culpa. My last post to KALSTER, on the other thread, helped me realize my mistake. There are two words that have been causing the problems.

    1. Sin
    2. Guilt

    #1 is just not scientifically acceptable. I am throwing it out (for this group, at least).
    #2 is just inexact. Guilt operates at the level of the individual. The link to the group and group behavior must be specified.

    We also need to introduce a new term. It should not be controversial. We should be talking about injustice. The sense of injustice, like guilt, is triggered by the moral instinct. This causes social tension that must be resolved. Humans invented religion to resolve the social tension.

    Here is a completely revised version of my theory of the evolution of religion with a more exact use of the word guilt, and without sin at all (yipee):

    1. Group on individual acts of aggression (scapegoating) trigger two possible responses from the moral instinct in individuals (if it is triggered at all). For participants, it is guilt. For witnesses, it is a sense of injustice.

    2. The individual sense of injustice tends to spread socially within the group, and this leads to potential social breakdown. The individual sense of guilt may tend to slow down "necessary" scapegoating within the group.

    3. The group invents religion to help rationalize the injustice of scapegoating and also to direct it's implimentation for the larger goals of the group. Religion assuages guilt through absolution, and controls the sense of injustice by justifying the scapegoating as being accurate and necessary.


    The scapegoat mechanism needs active participants. A group or tribe that finds the right balance wins the Darwinian competition and passes it's culture into the future. The exact formulation to maintain this balance must be constantly updated to accout for the rise in human reasoning ability. Clever monkeys.



    ---Futilitist
    Last edited by Futilitist; October 30th, 2012 at 02:35 AM.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  46. #45  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    52
    You presume instinctual morality based on what evidence?

    I put it to you that when you're born you're as morally aware as you are religious.. ie, not at all.

    Aside from awareness of self and extension of that awareness into others - whereby you would employ empathy to determine whether your actions would be experienced as harmful to them - moral conditioning is cultural.

    Religion has always been about tribalism. Distinguishing US from THEM and creating a tribal bond which would go some way to ensuring the survival of the tribe's gene-pool. As arguments for religion's longevity, it's a great one because it also points to modern frictions between competing meme-pools. Much like vestigial organs, a social construct that has outlived its usefulness yet just not enough of a hindrance to be disposed of completely.

    "Sin" and "guilt" are complicit, emotional, facets of religion. "Sin" is an arbitrary, unstable, yardstick. "Guilt" is about personal consequences, self-preservation and mitigation. Are we sure we want to bed these down as definitive components of your theory?
    KALSTER likes this.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  47. #46  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by rustypup
    You presume instinctual morality based on what evidence?

    I put it to you that when you're born you're as morally aware as you are religious.. ie, not at all.

    Aside from awareness of self and extension of that awareness into others - whereby you would employ empathy to determine whether your actions would be experienced as harmful to them - moral conditioning is cultural.
    And I put it to you that there may be evidence you are unaware of. There is a ton of evidence for what neuroscientists and social psychologists call the moral instinct. The concept is gaining wide acceptance.

    Here is a link to an article by Steven Pinker you should check out:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/13/ma...anted=all&_r=0

    And here is a paper on mimetic theory. It is kind of long, but it explains the basic concepts and gives lots of support for the idea from multiple disciplines. The relatively recent discovery of mirror neurons essentially confirms mimetic theory. My idea draws heavily on the work of Rene Girard and others on mimetic theory and the scapegoat mechanism.

    "Imitation, Mirror Neurons and Mimetic Desire: Convergence between the Mimetic Theory of René Girard and Empirical Research on Imitation”,

    Quote Originally Posted by rustypup
    Religion has always been about tribalism. Distinguishing US from THEM and creating a tribal bond which would go some way to ensuring the survival of the tribe's gene-pool. As arguments for religion's longevity, it's a great one because it also points to modern frictions between competing meme-pools. Much like vestigial organs, a social construct that has outlived its usefulness yet just not enough of a hindrance to be disposed of completely.
    I agree with most of this. Arguments for religions longevity are the same under my theory. The diference is just a fine tuning as to how religion arose so that it takes into account mimetic theory. Your vestigial organ analogy is a good one. Religion is not nearly as essential for mankind as it once was. We are looking at echos when we try to understand it's former central place for our species. When religion first arose, humans were illiterate and incapable of what we would call rational thought. The idea of sin was very real and important to them.

    Quote Originally Posted by rustypup
    "Sin" and "guilt" are complicit, emotional, facets of religion. "Sin" is an arbitrary, unstable, yardstick. "Guilt" is about personal consequences, self-preservation and mitigation. Are we sure we want to bed these down as definitive components of your theory?
    Please reread my post above carefully.

    Sin does not grow out of arbitrary religious concepts. Religion is born of sin. And my theory no longer even uses the word sin! But in any case, sin is not an "arbitrary, unstable, yardstick", and the word is very useful in explaining the theory to theists, just not atheist science buffs. I also explain, in the post above, the link between guilt and group behavior, whilst adding in the effect of another moral instinct: the "sense of injustice". This is expained in the Pinker article and can also be explained mimetically.


    ---Futilitist
    Reply With Quote  
     

  48. #47  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Cardiff, Wales
    Posts
    5,810
    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    Religion is born of sin.
    i could posit as an alternative that religion is born out of the need for a father figure to protect you against the vagaries of nature
    father figures need to be placated so that they keep on giving their protection, and those who fail to placate the father figure have sinned
    those who have tried to placate the father figure but still get to feel his ire feel guilty because they feel that somehow they must have sinned even though they don't know how, where or why

    how's that for an alternative concept that starts with religion and ends up in guilt through sin ?
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
    Reply With Quote  
     

  49. #48  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    52
    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    There is a ton of evidence for what neuroscientists and social psychologists call the moral instinct.
    See, I would buy that self-awareness and the recognition of awareness in others would likely lead to empathy which may, in certain conditions, be mistaken for "morality" but this would be in error. This type of "morality" is unique to each individual and is overridden with little or no conscious effort. Bumping the frontal lobe hard enough is sufficient to de-humanise us all.

    Consider that, up until a certain age, the majority of children engage in the sort of casual investigative violence that makes adults squirm. Burning ants, mutilating flies, shooting doves... Are they making conscious "moral" judgements when doing so? No. Once awareness+empathy kicks in almost all of them cease this behaviour, (watch the sods who carry on...)

    Empathy is a great survival trick because it enables large groups to engage in cooperation but it's also fertile breeding ground for deception. An arms race between the two would be a great story explaining the emergence of our species, our marvellous intellects and our capacity for self delusion but it's still just a story.

    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    When religion first arose, humans were illiterate and incapable of what we would call rational thought. The idea of sin was very real and important to them.
    Sin is an incredibly complex idea infested with contributions from every facet of our social, cultural and familial world views. This sort of idea requires intricate communication and repetition in order to sustain it. How exactly would an illiterate/irrational mind achieve this?

    Religions are rudimentary forms of governance that have managed to pull off the trick of symbiosis with all the other forms of social experiment we've played with.

    To be fair, I am no authority on this but I treat with suspicion any supposition looking to put the cart before the horse. "Sin" and "Evil" are not fixed constants, with variations across cultural barriers that have often resulted in the very sort of regrettable actions religions profess to counteract.

    "Guilt" is pure self-interest in action. Nothing more.
    John Galt likes this.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  50. #49  
    Moderator Moderator
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    8,416
    2. Guilt
    Think you might be misreading the feedback here.
    Guilt isn't so much a problem, something akin to the emotion of guilt and/or shame is supported as a basic emotion in psychology. The problem isn't so much you using guilt, but what you are saying creates guilt. Distinquishing between what people actually feel versus what society thinks they should feel guilty for is a problem. The idea that it comes from some innate moralty is a huge problem in your model.
    Meteorologist/Naturalist & Retired Soldier
    “The Holy Land is everywhere” Black Elk
    Reply With Quote  
     

  51. #50  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    Religion is born of sin.
    i could posit as an alternative that religion is born out of the need for a father figure to protect you against the vagaries of nature
    father figures need to be placated so that they keep on giving their protection, and those who fail to placate the father figure have sinned
    those who have tried to placate the father figure but still get to feel his ire feel guilty because they feel that somehow they must have sinned even though they don't know how, where or why

    how's that for an alternative concept that starts with religion and ends up in guilt through sin ?
    It's OK. But it has some serious weaknesses when compared to mine.

    1. Your theory seems to be based on Freudian concepts like father figures. You need to explain functionally and evolutionarily how the father figure concept works. Is there a father figure neural center in the brain or do we learn it developmentally? Do any other animals have at least some aspect of a funtional father figure system?

    2. You don't suggest any underlying mechanism that drives the system.

    3. Your theory doesn't account for mimetic theory or mirror neurons, and that is very important these days.

    4. You don't suggest that there is existing experimental evidence supporting your theory. Is there a way to test aspects of your theory experimentally?

    5. Your theory also follows in the philosophic tradition of "the blank slate", and that whole concept has been largely replaced in neuroscience, though most non-neuroscientists are not aware of this sea change.

    6. The concept of the "father figure" as used in your theory is a very chauvanistic one. It places the father in the central role, with no scientific justification.

    7. Why does the father figure eventually have a son that he allows to be killed by a mob? My theory explains why and how this came about. Yours does not.

    8. My theory posits an adaptive, evolutionary path. Yours does not.

    9. Your theory doesn't mention the scapegoat mechanism, ritual sacrifice, and human sacrifice. In mine, these have a central role. Does your theory attempt to account for these things?

    10. Your theory doesn't account for the many mimetic clues contained in linguistics. Mine does.

    That's a quick list, off the top of my head.


    ---Futilitist
    Reply With Quote  
     

  52. #51  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Cardiff, Wales
    Posts
    5,810
    the father figure may sound freudian, but it has a base in reality, which is the fact that we all have parents who look after us when we're young - the heavenly father figure is merely an extension of the desire to continue to be protected by one or more parents
    maybe that does sound male chauvinistic but it remains a fact that all the principal gods are portrayed as being male (zeus, thor, ra etc.)

    also, in what way does this theory represent the philosophy of the blank slate ? everyone in one community or tribe learns from the stories told to them by their elders, and adopts the same narrative and assumptions - that doesn't require a blank slate, merely a fertile breeding ground for the surrounding memes
    don't know if this matches your "mimetic desire" but it's a known fact that most human beings adopt the memes of their surroundings, since cohesiveness has an adaptive benefit in tribal societies

    as for not presenting a mechanism, i thought it was rather clear that most people don't like uncertainty, and prefer even a fictitious idea that someone looks after you - for many people this makes for a more secure life, and again, being assertive and decisive has an adaptive advantage

    if you look closer at my back-of-a-fag-packet theory you'll notice that it addresses most of the problems you raise - i just couldn't be bothered to write a whole encyclopedia about it
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
    Reply With Quote  
     

  53. #52  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    I could not completely delete this post. It was a repeat.
    Last edited by Futilitist; October 23rd, 2012 at 05:39 PM.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  54. #53  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by rustypup
    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist
    There is a ton of evidence for what neuroscientists and social psychologists call the moral instinct.
    See, I would buy that self-awareness and the recognition of awareness in others would likely lead to empathy which may, in certain conditions, be mistaken for "morality" but this would be in error. This type of "morality" is unique to each individual and is overridden with little or no conscious effort. Bumping the frontal lobe hard enough is sufficient to de-humanise us all.
    You almost got it. The mirror neuron system leads directly to "empathy" for all social animals. What you call "morality" is not the same thing as the "moral instinct". Morality is a human group social tool that grows from the individual moral instinct. The moral instinct is very consistant across individuals as is seen experimentally. Morality is largely arbitrary, and relatively easy to override. Did you read the Garrells paper? And the frontal lobe is where mirror neurons reside. Damage the mirror neurons, and you have real problems.

    Quote Originally Posted by rustypup
    Consider that, up until a certain age, the majority of children engage in the sort of casual investigative violence that makes adults squirm. Burning ants, mutilating flies, shooting doves... Are they making conscious "moral" judgements when doing so? No. Once awareness+empathy kicks in almost all of them cease this behaviour, (watch the sods who carry on...)
    This is a great example. Humans have no natural empathy for ants because ants are not us!(mimetics) There is no evolutionary benefit to having empathy for ants. Thus, no moral instinct inhibition is triggered. Since there is no innate moral instinct for this kind of cross species empathy, adults must teach kids to arbitrarily extend the empathy concept to include animals other than human beings. That is the difference between the "moral instinct" and "morality". The vast majority of kids will develop a moral system similar to their parents, and peers, and larger social group. However, it is very rare for the child to turn his magnifying glass on his little sister. The child who repeatedly burns his baby sister likely has a congenital disturbance that cannot be remedied by teaching morals. How do you explain the existence of ASPD?

    Quote Originally Posted by rustypup
    Empathy is a great survival trick because it enables large groups to engage in cooperation but it's also fertile breeding ground for deception. An arms race between the two would be a great story explaining the emergence of our species, our marvellous intellects and our capacity for self delusion but it's still just a story.
    Yes, humans are story telling monkeys. The moral instinct is real. But morality is a deception designed to override the individual moral instinct and direct it for the benefit of the group. I like your description of this as an "arms race". The human species adaptively walks a fine line as it feels it's way blindly through it's evolutionary envelope. As a species, we are very fine tuned and highly imperfect at the same time. The imperfections contain the clues as to how we got here.

    Quote Originally Posted by rustypup
    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist
    When religion first arose, humans were illiterate and incapable of what we would call rational thought. The idea of sin was very real and important to them.
    Sin is an incredibly complex idea infested with contributions from every facet of our social, cultural and familial world views. This sort of idea requires intricate communication and repetition in order to sustain it. How exactly would an illiterate/irrational mind achieve this?
    The moral concept of sin is complex, like you say. But the mimetically driven moral instinct on which it is based needs no intellectual contribution. The fact that humans have so many highly developed systems to deal with the concept of sin, shows how primary and important it is to our species. In order to attain the level of complexity our species has reached, we had to override many of our pre-existing moral instincts. Morality and religion are the tools we had to develop to accomplish this.

    Quote Originally Posted by rustypup
    Religions are rudimentary forms of governance that have managed to pull off the trick of symbiosis with all the other forms of social experiment we've played with.
    This is true.

    Quote Originally Posted by rustypup
    To be fair, I am no authority on this but I treat with suspicion any supposition looking to put the cart before the horse. "Sin" and "Evil" are not fixed constants, with variations across cultural barriers that have often resulted in the very sort of regrettable actions religions profess to counteract.
    Each local religion arrives at it's own unique moral structure based on it's own needs and environment. A variation in the defintion of sin between two villages could precipitate a conflict that could lead to one moral system winning the Darwinan competition. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    Quote Originally Posted by rustypup
    "Guilt" is pure self-interest in action. Nothing more.
    No. I explained how individual guilt leads to group behaviors designed to releave guilt. Religion grows out of guilt. Religon offers relief from guilt through the absolution of sin, thus allowing more sin (and more organized sin) than would be possible without it. This rationalization leads to greater social complexity. I think that is a pretty elegant explanation, don't you?

    The key to understanding all if this is mimetic theory. Please do read the Garrells paper. I think I will do a separate thread on mimetic theory that should fit nicely under Biology in this forum. It, is one of the fastest growing and most exciting areas of research in all of science. I am very surprised that no one here seems to have even heard of it. People here are also largely stuck on the "blank slate" concept, an old, obsolete philosophic idea with no scientific support. It has been rejected by recent (the last 30 years or so) developments in neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy. Steven Pinker wrote a book about the invalidity of the concept called "The Blank Slate". I recommend it. I would also highly recommend "Straw Dogs" by the philosopher John Grey.


    ---Futilitist
    Last edited by Futilitist; October 23rd, 2012 at 03:04 PM.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  55. #54  
    Moderator Moderator
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    8,416
    Religion grows out of guilt. Religon offers relief from guilt through the absolution of sin,
    It seems to be that the concept of "sin" came well after religion was established and to be mostly restricted to the Abrahamic religions at that. What sort of sin exist in Hindu? Or Greek mythology? Or Egyptian? etc.
    Meteorologist/Naturalist & Retired Soldier
    “The Holy Land is everywhere” Black Elk
    Reply With Quote  
     

  56. #55  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    the father figure may sound freudian, but it has a base in reality, which is the fact that we all have parents who look after us when we're young - the heavenly father figure is merely an extension of the desire to continue to be protected by one or more parents
    maybe that does sound male chauvinistic but it remains a fact that all the principal gods are portrayed as being male (zeus, thor, ra etc.)

    also, in what way does this theory represent the philosophy of the blank slate ? everyone in one community or tribe learns from the stories told to them by their elders, and adopts the same narrative and assumptions - that doesn't require a blank slate, merely a fertile breeding ground for the surrounding memes
    don't know if this matches your "mimetic desire" but it's a known fact that most human beings adopt the memes of their surroundings, since cohesiveness has an adaptive benefit in tribal societies

    as for not presenting a mechanism, i thought it was rather clear that most people don't like uncertainty, and prefer even a fictitious idea that someone looks after you - for many people this makes for a more secure life, and again, being assertive and decisive has an adaptive advantage

    if you look closer at my back-of-a-fag-packet theory you'll notice that it addresses most of the problems you raise - i just couldn't be bothered to write a whole encyclopedia about it
    I don't think your theory comes anywhere close to addressing the problems I raise or the theory that I proposed. I don't think you understand my theory.

    My theory on the origin of religion is a dalliance. It is derived from my much larger grand unified social theory I call "The Dark Thesis". I pretty much made this religion theory up on the fly based on mimetic concepts. And it seems to be intuitively pretty close to right. You'll notice I have modified it substantially in this discussion. And I need to keep fine tuning it. This morning I had a mimetic insight about the relationship between guilt and outrage. Guilt is rage directed inward, at the self. Outrage is rage directed outward, at others. But both are stimulated by simple rage. Rage is difficult for the individual to deal with. It needs to be. Evolutionarily speaking, it needs to cause neccessary behavioral responses in animals. Rage cannot be shrugged off. Rage is a hot potato. Pass it on.


    A brief intro to the dark thesis:

    I am an animal. I live in a social group. I am shouldered out of a bitchin' mating opportunity by the alpha male. I am *WAY* pissed. What should I do with my rage? It depends on the situation. It is generally better physiologically to offload that rage somehow. Are there any young ones nearby to abuse? No. Shit, I am even more enraged now! I go and confront the alpha male directly. The whole pack gathers to see how this all shakes out. This is my big Darwinian moment. Did I make the right choice? It depends. Did I choose? What do I mean by I?



    ---Futilitist
    Last edited by Futilitist; October 23rd, 2012 at 08:52 PM.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  57. #56  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    2. Guilt
    Think you might be misreading the feedback here.
    Guilt isn't so much a problem, something akin to the emotion of guilt and/or shame is supported as a basic emotion in psychology. The problem isn't so much you using guilt, but what you are saying creates guilt. Distinquishing between what people actually feel versus what society thinks they should feel guilty for is a problem. The idea that it comes from some innate moralty is a huge problem in your model.
    No, it isn't. Please read the following Steven Pinker article. The concept of a moral instinct is widely supported these days. Your objection above does not shake my model at all.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/13/ma...anted=all&_r=1&

    Distinquishing between what people actually feel versus what society thinks they should feel guilty for is a problem.
    Evolutionarily speaking, it is not a problem. It is an opportunity.



    ---Futilitist
    Reply With Quote  
     

  58. #57  
    Moderator Moderator
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    8,416
    You continue to ignore my point (sigh). Your entire arugment seems focussed on the individual, and even the pop psychology article you posted doesn't suggest we all feel guilt, nor the same morals...or even that we have the same predispositions. While I tend to think there might well be some predisopositions that lie at the heart of our morality, we know those are easily short circuited by environmental factors to the point that it is completely impossible to make assumptions about moral instinct as it applies to individuals. It seems like assuming that all people are of the same intelligence, when in fact we don't fully understand the genitic components and know there's huge environmental factors which effect that genitic potential. Perhaps guilt is much the same? Some people may not have that genetic component, or that component has been completely overridden by environmental factors so they don't have any guilt when they hurt others? And what evidence do we have that any religion had a notion of this innate morality--heck if anything much of Christianity assumes the exact opposite--that we are born with evil instincts that can only be rid of by accepting god/Jesus and his teachings.
    Meteorologist/Naturalist & Retired Soldier
    “The Holy Land is everywhere” Black Elk
    Reply With Quote  
     

  59. #58  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Religion grows out of guilt. Religon offers relief from guilt through the absolution of sin,
    It seems to be that the concept of "sin" came well after religion was established and to be mostly restricted to the Abrahamic religions at that. What sort of sin exist in Hindu? Or Greek mythology? Or Egyptian? etc.
    Here is some stuff I dug up:

    Hinduism
    Quote Originally Posted by Wikipedia on sin
    In Hinduism, the term sin (pāpa in Sanskrit) is often used to describe actions that create negative karma by violating moral and ethical codes, which automatically brings negative consequences. This is different from Abrahamic sin in the sense that pāpa is not a crime against the will of God, but against (1) Dharma, or moral order, and (2) one's own self.
    Ancient Greeks (note the sacrifice stuff)
    Quote Originally Posted by Wikipedia Acient Greek Religion
    Morality
    One of the most important moral concepts to the Greeks was a fear of committing hubris, which constituted many things, from rape to desecration of a corpse.[2][3] It was a crime in the city-state of Athens. Although pride and vanity were not considered sins themselves, the Greeks emphasized moderation. Pride only became hubris when it went to extremes, like any other vice. The same was thought of eating and drinking. Anything done to excess was not considered proper. Ancient Greeks placed, for example, importance on athletics and intellect equally. In fact many of their competitions included both. Pride was not evil until it became all-consuming or hurtful to others.

    The ruins of a temple devoted to Zeus. Whilst these have not been used for ancient Greek polytheism worship for many centuries, in recent years Greek neo-Polytheists have begun to use them again. They are also popular sites for tourists.


    Ceremonies
    Greek ceremonies and rituals were mainly performed at altars. These typically were devoted to one, or a few, gods, and contained a statue of the particular deity upon it. Votive deposits would be left at the altar, such as food, drinks, as well as precious objects. Sometimes animal sacrificeswould be performed here, with most of the flesh eaten, and the offal burnt as an offering to the gods. Libations, often of wine, would be offered to the gods as well, not only at shrines, but also in everyday life, such as during a symposium.
    One ceremony was pharmakos, a ritual involving expelling a symbolic scapegoat such as a slave or an animal, from a city or village in a time of hardship. It was hoped that by casting out the ritual scapegoat, the hardship would go with it.

    Sacrifice
    Worship in Greece typically consisted of sacrificing domestic animals at the altar with hymn and prayer. Parts of the animal were then burned for the gods; the worshippers would eat the rest. The evidence of the existence of such practices is clear in some ancient Greek literature, especially in Homer’s epics. Throughout the poems, the use of the ritual is apparent at banquets where meat is served, in times of danger or before some important endeavor to gain the favor of the gods. For example, in Homer’s The Odyssey (circa 725 B.C.) Eumaeus sacrifices a pig with prayer for his unrecognizable master Odysseus. In Homer’s The Iliad (circa 750 B.C.), which may describe Greek civilization centuries earlier, every banquet of the princes begins with a sacrifice and prayer. These sacrificial practices, described in these pre-Homeric eras, share commonalities to the 8th century forms of sacrificial rituals. Furthermore, throughout the poem, special banquets are held whenever gods indicated their presence by some sign or success in war. Before setting out for Troy, this type of animal sacrifice is offered. Odysseus offers Zeus a sacrificial ram in vain. The occasions of sacrifice in Homer’s epic poems may shed some light onto the view of the gods as members of society, rather than as external entities, indicating social ties. Sacrificial rituals played a major role in forming the relationship between humans and the divine.[5]
    Ancient Egyptians

    The Ethics and Morality of the Ancient Egyptians

    Chapter 125 of the Book of the Dead deals with the judgment before the god of the underworld, Osiris. It is very useful to our understanding of what was and what was not acceptable behavior. The text includes two declarations of innocence in which the deceased denies having committed various crimes. These include some very generalized statements, such as "I have done no injustice to people, nor have I maltreated an animal" or "I have done no wrong (isfet)", but it also records some very specific faults:
    • Crimes of a cultic nature: blasphemy, stealing from temple offerings or offerings to the dead, defiling the purity of a sacred place
    • Crimes of an economic nature: tampering with the grain measure, the boundaries of fields, or the plummet of the balance
    • Criminal acts: theft and murder
    • Exploitation of the weak and causing injury: depriving orphans of their property, causing pain or grief, doing injury, causing hunger
    • Moral and social failings: lying, committing adultery, ignoring the truth, slandering servants before their master, being aggressive, eavesdropping, losing one's temper, speaking without thinking.
    It has been said that the modern Christian Bible can be summed up in two sentences. Love God. Love your neighbor. Clearly these standards are not new to that text, as most Egyptians loved their gods, and the ancient Egyptian obviously believed that looking out for his neighbors was a high point in his life. Other early texts, contemporary to that of Nefer-seshem-re include denials of misconduct. We find lines such as "Never did I take the property of any person"; "Never did I say a bad thing about anyone to the king (or) to a potentate because I desired that I might be honored before the god"; and "Never did I do anything evil against any person", all of which are recognizable ethical standards to most of the modern world. The ideals expressed in such biographies, including justice, honesty, fairness, mercy, kindness and generosity, reflect the central concept of ma'at, the cosmic and social order of the universe as established by the creator god.

    ---Futilitist
    Reply With Quote  
     

  60. #59  
    Moderator Moderator
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    8,416
    Good links.....you got me thinking :-)
    Meteorologist/Naturalist & Retired Soldier
    “The Holy Land is everywhere” Black Elk
    Reply With Quote  
     

  61. #60  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    You continue to ignore my point (sigh). Your entire arugment seems focussed on the individual, and even the pop psychology article you posted doesn't suggest we all feel guilt, nor the same morals...or even that we have the same predispositions. While I tend to think there might well be some predisopositions that lie at the heart of our morality, we know those are easily short circuited by environmental factors to the point that it is completely impossible to make assumptions about moral instinct as it applies to individuals. It seems like assuming that all people are of the same intelligence, when in fact we don't fully understand the genitic components and know there's huge environmental factors which effect that genitic potential. Perhaps guilt is much the same? Some people may not have that genetic component, or that component has been completely overridden by environmental factors so they don't have any guilt when they hurt others? And what evidence do we have that any religion had a notion of this innate morality--heck if anything much of Christianity assumes the exact opposite--that we are born with evil instincts that can only be rid of by accepting god/Jesus and his teachings.
    All human behaviors, including coordinated group behaviors, originate with the individual. The interplay between the group and the individual determines our evolution. If the article by Steven Pinker is just pop science, then you will have to look a little deeper to refute my theory. At the heart of my theory is mimetics. Mimetic theory is revolutionary, perhaps on a par with Darwin's insight. Please don't (sigh) at me again until you read the Garrells paper. This is not trivial stuff.

    "Imitation, Mirror Neurons and Mimetic Desire: Convergence between the Mimetic Theory of René Girard and Empirical Research on Imitation”


    ---Futilitist

    --EDIT--

    Just saw this:
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Good links.....you got me thinking :-)
    Awesome. You are the first!
    Last edited by Futilitist; October 23rd, 2012 at 08:16 PM. Reason: posted while I was posting.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  62. #61  
    Moderator Moderator
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    8,416
    All human behaviors, including coordinated group behaviors, originate with the individual.
    And that's the problem with how you link the two. Guilt is an individual characteristic, perhaps common among us but for widely varying things. You seem to want to link it some sort of innate morality concept which we're pretty certain even if it's rather common doesn't apply to everyone nor is a controlling factor. You seem to treat guilt like it's suckling--it's not. It might be more like listening to Adele...we might have some common instinctive link to enjoying music...and obviously many people enjoy Adele, but some people find her voice like fingers on a chalkboard--now should be develop social institutions based on the presumption that everyone likes Adele's music? And as the paper you link to suggest, it doesn't deal with adult behaviors where your model for religion squarely resides. It's also a long long ways between mirror neurons and broader societal morality which very greatly through time. Individual guilt is based on ther individual morality--if they don't have those moral they don't feel guilt...in either case it's not strongly connected to what ever innate altruism they might possess. Individuals do not evolve.
    Last edited by Lynx_Fox; October 23rd, 2012 at 08:44 PM.
    Meteorologist/Naturalist & Retired Soldier
    “The Holy Land is everywhere” Black Elk
    Reply With Quote  
     

  63. #62  
    ***** Participant Write4U's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    1,245
    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    You are using the word gossip in an unusually neutral way. It is generally seen as a more negative term.
    Only when the motives of the gossipers are negative or the outcomes are. Gossip is an essential social function.

    It is really, really important for people to know that .....

    a) someone's grandchild is seriously ill or has died. Saves distress and embarrassment when that person would normally have cheerfully enquired how the little one is getting on at kindy.

    b) engagements have been broken, husbands and wives are separated, pregnancies have miscarried, people have gone bankrupt, lifelong friends are now sworn enemies. Same kind of benefit as before - multitudes of faux pas avoided by listening to what people tell you about other people.

    c) someone has won a prize, been selected as captain of a sports team, scholarships and all such things.

    d) everyone else has missed out on the good things in c).

    There's nothing wrong with gossip (or marriage or employment or business or education or entertainment or politics) - except for the motives or behaviours of people who use it for wrong purposes.
    First we had "word of mouth", then came the "towncrier", now we have "twitter and facebook". Even whales "gossip".
    Reply With Quote  
     

  64. #63  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox
    All human behaviors, including coordinated group behaviors, originate with the individual.
    And that's the problem with how you link the two. Guilt is an individual characteristic, perhaps common among us but for widely varying things. You seem to want to link it some sort of innate morality concept which we're pretty certain even if it's rather common doesn't apply to everyone nor is a controlling factor.
    We're not pretty certain the innate moral instinct, even if it's rather common, doesn't apply to everyone nor is a controlling factor. You are. In fact, it does apply to almost everyone and is a controlling and a controlled factor. Can you give more support for your negation of my supporting evidence? How do we get past this? Do you have time to read Girard's book? And John Grey's? And mimetic theory takes a little time to get your head around. I read both books decades ago. I've read a ton of other sources. I've done about 7 years of intensive research. I've consulted with specialists in various fields. I've performed live experiments. And all this time I've been fooling myself! What a dumb ass I am. I should have come here years ago and saved myself all that trouble. LOL.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox
    You seem to treat guilt like it's suckling--it's not. It might be more like listening to Adele...we might have some common instinctive link to enjoying music...and obviously many people enjoy Adele, but some people find her voice like fingers on a chalkboard--now should be develop social institutions based on the presumption that everyone likes Adele's music?
    I don't even want to know who Adele is, so I don't understand this part. It sounds like she sucks. I'll take your word for it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox
    And as the paper you link to suggest, it doesn't deal with adult behaviors where your model for religion squarely resides. It's also a long long ways between mirror neurons and broader societal morality which very greatly through time. Individual guilt is based on ther individual morality--if they don't have those moral they don't feel guilt...in either case it's not strongly connected to what ever innate altruism they might possess. Individuals do not evolve.
    I'll try to find you another online source to help you understand that mimetics deals with all behaviors, adult as well as child. Even simple animal behavior is mimetic. Nature simply can't design an animal brain any other way. I have already designed an experiment that may indicate it even extends to insects! Garrells has a recent book about mimetic theory that I am going to get ahold of so that I can really not be understood by anyone!

    This theory on the evolution of religion can't be understood without a firm grounding in mimetic theory. I am planning to start a separate thread on mimetic theory, since it seems so little understood and appreciated here. I will post it in Psychology. Once some people begin to understand the individual psychology, we can move on to the effect on group behavior and evolution. This really is the Darwinian revolution of our age, a paradigm shift in the life sciences, and thescienceforum.com is .com-pletely missing the boat!

    Here is the latest version of my theory on the evolution of religion:

    1. Group on individual acts of aggression (scapegoating) trigger two possible responses from the moral instinct in individuals (if it is triggered at all). For participants, it is guilt. For witnesses, it is a sense of injustice.

    2. The individual sense of injustice tends to spread socially within the group, and this leads to potential social breakdown. The individual sense of guilt may tend to slow down "neccessary" scapegoating within the group.

    3. The group invents religion to help rationalize the injustice of scapegoating and also to direct it's implimentation for the larger goals of the group. Religion assuages guilt through absolution, and controls the sense of injustice by justifying the scapegoating as being accurate and neccessary.


    I don't think I have everything exactly right yet, but you think I don't have anything right. Please tell me your objections again. And be as specific as you can be. Let's work through this, and figure out what the truth really is. This is not a contest. Science is not just an adversarial process. It doesn't just negate. That is too easy to do. Science needs creative stuff to negate in the first place. Let's collaborate.



    ---Futilitist
    Last edited by Futilitist; October 23rd, 2012 at 11:34 PM.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  65. #64  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    You are using the word gossip in an unusually neutral way. It is generally seen as a more negative term.
    Only when the motives of the gossipers are negative or the outcomes are. Gossip is an essential social function.

    It is really, really important for people to know that .....

    a) someone's grandchild is seriously ill or has died. Saves distress and embarrassment when that person would normally have cheerfully enquired how the little one is getting on at kindy.

    b) engagements have been broken, husbands and wives are separated, pregnancies have miscarried, people have gone bankrupt, lifelong friends are now sworn enemies. Same kind of benefit as before - multitudes of faux pas avoided by listening to what people tell you about other people.

    c) someone has won a prize, been selected as captain of a sports team, scholarships and all such things.

    d) everyone else has missed out on the good things in c).

    There's nothing wrong with gossip (or marriage or employment or business or education or entertainment or politics) - except for the motives or behaviours of people who use it for wrong purposes.
    First we had "word of mouth", then came the "towncrier", now we have "twitter and facebook". Even whales "gossip".
    Will you write for me what you think of my theory? Thank you.


    ---Futilitist
    Reply With Quote  
     

  66. #65  
    ***** Participant Write4U's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    1,245
    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    You are using the word gossip in an unusually neutral way. It is generally seen as a more negative term.
    Only when the motives of the gossipers are negative or the outcomes are. Gossip is an essential social function.

    It is really, really important for people to know that .....

    a) someone's grandchild is seriously ill or has died. Saves distress and embarrassment when that person would normally have cheerfully enquired how the little one is getting on at kindy.

    b) engagements have been broken, husbands and wives are separated, pregnancies have miscarried, people have gone bankrupt, lifelong friends are now sworn enemies. Same kind of benefit as before - multitudes of faux pas avoided by listening to what people tell you about other people.

    c) someone has won a prize, been selected as captain of a sports team, scholarships and all such things.

    d) everyone else has missed out on the good things in c).

    There's nothing wrong with gossip (or marriage or employment or business or education or entertainment or politics) - except for the motives or behaviours of people who use it for wrong purposes.
    First we had "word of mouth", then came the "towncrier", now we have "twitter and facebook". Even whales "gossip".
    Will you write for me what you think of my theory? Thank you.

    ---Futilitist
    Sorry Futilist, I must admit the proposition is too esoteric for me to posit any response.

    To me, ethics are derived at as a direct result of evolution of self-aware intelligence species, possibly of all living organisms Hominid brains and several other species share a common DNA which forms "mirror neurons" in brains. These mirror neural networks allow us to "experience" and event without being physically subjected to it. It is a sympathetic response. But this network is programmed by experience. Burn your fingers once and you will cringe everytime you see someone burn their fingers @ 15 ft distance.
    The cuttlefish has an extraordinary ability for camouflage (imitation from observation).

    Observing and processing (witnessing) an event is distributed in the brains two fold.
    a) It increases knowledge in memory of conditions surrounding certain events.
    b) It records the physical and emotional response associated with certain events.

    From these qualities alone it would be possible to make logical ethical base-lines and judgements. It does not require divine knowledge of good and bad. Ethics is an emergent human excellence. It just requires mirror neurons being programmed by their physical and social environment.

    Ethics themselves are evolving along with human experience.
    Last edited by Write4U; October 24th, 2012 at 12:18 AM.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  67. #66  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Write4U View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    You are using the word gossip in an unusually neutral way. It is generally seen as a more negative term.
    Only when the motives of the gossipers are negative or the outcomes are. Gossip is an essential social function.

    It is really, really important for people to know that .....

    a) someone's grandchild is seriously ill or has died. Saves distress and embarrassment when that person would normally have cheerfully enquired how the little one is getting on at kindy.

    b) engagements have been broken, husbands and wives are separated, pregnancies have miscarried, people have gone bankrupt, lifelong friends are now sworn enemies. Same kind of benefit as before - multitudes of faux pas avoided by listening to what people tell you about other people.

    c) someone has won a prize, been selected as captain of a sports team, scholarships and all such things.

    d) everyone else has missed out on the good things in c).

    There's nothing wrong with gossip (or marriage or employment or business or education or entertainment or politics) - except for the motives or behaviours of people who use it for wrong purposes.
    First we had "word of mouth", then came the "towncrier", now we have "twitter and facebook". Even whales "gossip".
    Will you write for me what you think of my theory? Thank you.

    ---Futilitist
    Sorry Futilist, I must admit the proposition is too esoteric for me to posit any response.
    To me, ethics are derived at as a direct result of evolution of self-aware intelligence species. Hominid brains share a common DNA which forms "mirror neurons" in brains. These mirror neural networks allow us to "experience" and event without being physically subjected to it. It is a sympathetic response. But this network is programmed by experience. Burn your fingers once and you will cringe everytime you see someone burn their fingers @ 15 ft distance.
    Observing and processing (witnessing) an event is stored two fold.
    a) It increases knowledge in memory.
    b) It records the physical and emotional response.

    From these qualities alone it would be possible to make logical ethical judgements. It does not require divine knowledge of good and bad. It just requires mirror neurons being programmed by their physical and social environment.
    Sorry Futilist, I must admit the proposition is too esoteric for me to posit any response.
    Are you kidding?! You totally and completely get exactly what I am saying! Everything for all animals begins with mirror neurons and also mimetics. I'm just messing with the little details of how humans have come to make use of mirror neurons to make logical ethical judgements. But you just wrote the basics above. Perfect. You can write for me anytime! Thank you.

    Please check out mimetic theory. Rene Girard wrote his book in 1961. It presupposed that something like mirror neurons must underlie the mimetic process. In the 1980's mirror neurons were discovered in macaque monkeys. These are two ideas, mirror neurons and mimetic theory, that fit together like puzzle pieces. Mirror neurons are the functional neurological basis of much of animal behavior. Mimetic theory explains how they generate individual and group behaviors. This synthesis (sin thesis?) makes the whole picture of evolution come together like never before.

    ---Futilitist
    Last edited by Futilitist; October 24th, 2012 at 12:36 AM.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  68. #67  
    ***** Participant Write4U's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    1,245
    Reply With Quote  
     

  69. #68  
    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Cardiff, Wales
    Posts
    5,810
    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    A brief intro to the dark thesis:

    I am an animal. I live in a social group. I am shouldered out of a bitchin' mating opportunity by the alpha male. I am *WAY* pissed. What should I do with my rage? It depends on the situation. It is generally better physiologically to offload that rage somehow. Are there any young ones nearby to abuse? No. Shit, I am even more enraged now! I go and confront the alpha male directly. The whole pack gathers to see how this all shakes out. This is my big Darwinian moment. Did I make the right choice? It depends. Did I choose? What do I mean by I?
    a truly grand name for what amounts to no more than a just-so story which, while plausible, does not explain what you claim it to explain
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
    Reply With Quote  
     

  70. #69  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    喫茶店
    Posts
    17,036
    My main problem with this idea (I have no idea whether what Futilist claims is reasonable or not) is that it claims to be the single cause of religion. This seems too simplistic (which seems to be a common problem in the "soft sciences").

    People have a natural desire to seek explanations: why did our crops fail this year, why do the seasons change, why did my mother die, and so on. It seems to be natural to assume some hidden agents (with more or less human qualities) making these things happen.

    Humans also have an overwhelming propensity to recognise patterns. Even when they are not there. This often leads people to think that unrelated things are related and are either cause-and-effect or have a common cause.

    People like to tell stories. This is both culturally and practically important.

    People enjoy intoxicating drugs, and singing and chanting together.

    Some people like to have power over others. Some are more imaginative than others. Some people have hallucinations, hear voices and believe in things that don't exist.

    Just these would lead to the creation of religion. No doubt, emotions such as guilt, hope, love, hate and others would strengthen it.

    It doesn't seem reasonable to claim that one single emotion would be responsible.
    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
    Reply With Quote  
     

  71. #70  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by marnixR View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    A brief intro to the dark thesis:

    I am an animal. I live in a social group. I am shouldered out of a bitchin' mating opportunity by the alpha male. I am *WAY* pissed. What should I do with my rage? It depends on the situation. It is generally better physiologically to offload that rage somehow. Are there any young ones nearby to abuse? No. Shit, I am even more enraged now! I go and confront the alpha male directly. The whole pack gathers to see how this all shakes out. This is my big Darwinian moment. Did I make the right choice? It depends. Did I choose? What do I mean by I?
    a truly grand name for what amounts to no more than a just-so story which, while plausible, does not explain what you claim it to explain
    What? I guess we at least agree that the "Dark Thesis" is a cool name. Thanks. Beyond that, I don't know what you are talking about. Yesterday my no more than a just-so story wasn't even plausible. Today it is plausible, but it doesn't explain what I claim it to explain? What did I claim the story explains? How can I better explain what took the people who inspired me several books to explain? No one will read a long dissertation and it can't be explained in a soundbite. Catch 22. All we end up with is kneejerk negating for the sake of egos.

    Sorry, mimetically speaking, I'm a bit of a freak. I really do know a lot about this stuff. I am 50 years old. I am a polymath genius. I made recognized, major contributions to two technical/artistic fields (motion picture special effects and computer animation). I have been a professional mechanical designer in special effects (over 15 major motion picture credits), and, more recently, in robotics. I helped develop and design software for animation production at Dreamworks and helped develop interactive social robot personality software for university research in social robotics at Hanson Robotics. I worked at ILM and Digital Domain. I designed the worlds first real time computer animation telemetry rig for Pacific Data Images. I founded Propellerhead Design (PhD) with JJ Abrams in the early 90's and was one the 5 original producers who started the "Shrek" project at Dreamworks. I am also a professional screenwriter. I wrote the first treatment of the Shrek story. I have an optioned script currently in development that is about my "Dark Thesis". It is called "The Procelladol Effect". When I was in high school, I was a physics prodigy. I wrote my own calculus. All I did then was study and all I do now is study. I don't sleep as much as most people. My parents are both psychologists. I have a masters degree in Biomedical Visualization (I hope to get a PhD. in social theory) and I went to med school for two years (and hated it). I am a spacial reasoning wizard and a pattern freak. I am also a life long (musician's union at 10 years old) professional drummer, with several major recording credits, as well as a professional drum jam facilitator for over 15 years. And I play a pretty mean game of chess. I study the hyper modern approach. I am semi-retired and I do social theory research practically full time (for the last 7 years) because it is just a passion of mine. I hope this doesn't sound like I'm bragging or, worse, making a claim of authority in the argument. For me it is just fun to toss around big ideas like toys. Maybe I'm just lonely.


    ---Futilitist
    Reply With Quote  
     

  72. #71  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    喫茶店
    Posts
    17,036
    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    I really do know a lot about this stuff. I am 50 years old. I am a polymath genius.
    I don't know about anyone else, but when people say things like this I take it as a clear indication that anything they say should be taken with a large pinch of salt, if not ignored completely (based on past experience). Your use of large, coloured, bold typefaces also does little to add to the credibility of the argument. So I will bow out of the discussion now.
    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
    Reply With Quote  
     

  73. #72  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by Strange
    My main problem with this idea (I have no idea whether what Futilist claims is reasonable or not) is that it claims to be the single cause of religion. This seems too simplistic (which seems to be a common problem in the "soft sciences").
    It's Futilitist. My model is pretty cool, but nowhere near complete. I'm shooting for a dynamic evolutionary model explaining the interaction of the individual with the group from simple animals all the way to us. This dynamic model should explain how changes in selective pressure can lead to evolutionary changes. You are correct that religion does not have a single cause. There had to be some unusually strong selective pressure to trigger the evolution of early modern religion (abolition of human sacrifice and it's substitution with ritualized animal sacrifice) all around the world at roughly the same time. That selective pressure was over population/meets resource constraints. Agriculture and proto-modern religion developed side by side, as humans were forced to make the transition from hunter gatherers to a more civilized lifestyle.

    Quote Originally Posted by Strange
    People have a natural desire to seek explanations: why did our crops fail this year, why do the seasons change, why did my mother die, and so on. It seems to be natural to assume some hidden agents (with more or less human qualities) making these things happen.
    So your alternate model is:

    1. People have a natural desire to explain things.
    2. It seems natural to assume human agents with human qualities.
    3. Man invents god to explain stuff.

    Questions:
    1. Why does it seem natural to assume human agents?
    2. Are we fond of wrong explanations?
    3. Do we just favor simpler ones?
    4. Why does religion stubbornly persist despite the development of much better explanations?
    5. Why all the sacrifice stuff?
    6. Why the constant reinvention of the redeemer son of god?

    Quote Originally Posted by Strange
    Humans also have an overwhelming propensity to recognise patterns. Even when they are not there. This often leads people to think that unrelated things are related and are either cause-and-effect or have a common cause.
    True, but sometimes a person sees patterns that are there, and it takes people a while to see the patterns for themselves. Maybe some people can't handle some patterns. Darwin and evolution come to mind. Maybe most people can't handle certain particular ones. That's why I call my larger theory the "Dark Thesis".

    Quote Originally Posted by Strange
    People like to tell stories. This is both culturally and practically important.
    I agree. Humans are story telling monkeys.

    Quote Originally Posted by Strange
    People enjoy intoxicating drugs, and singing and chanting together.
    I like all three of the above. (and dancing)

    Quote Originally Posted by Strange
    Some people like to have power over others. Some are more imaginative than others. Some people have hallucinations, hear voices and believe in things that don't exist.
    All true.

    Quote Originally Posted by Strange
    Just these would lead to the creation of religion. No doubt, emotions such as guilt, hope, love, hate and others would strengthen it.
    Today, what you say is true. But we were not as diverse as a species at the dawn of civilization. And we ate each other.

    Quote Originally Posted by Strange
    It doesn't seem reasonable to claim that one single emotion would be responsible.
    That is true. But it makes sense to try to understand how emotions have shaped us in terms of evolutionary psychology.


    ---Futilitist

    --EDIT--

    Just saw your last post. So long for now, Strange.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  74. #73  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    喫茶店
    Posts
    17,036
    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    It's Futilitist.
    Apologies.

    Just saw your last post. So long for now, Strange
    I should clarify that I did not mean that as a comment on your ideas or personality, specifically. Just that statements like that may not always make the positive impression on people that you hope. I'm sure you are a lovely chap, and every bit as smart, well-educated and experienced as you say.

    So your alternate model is ...
    I don't really have an alternative model. I just wonder if the whole thing is more complex.

    Now I really will try and keep out of it ...
    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
    Reply With Quote  
     

  75. #74  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    It's Futilitist.
    Apologies.

    Just saw your last post. So long for now, Strange
    I should clarify that I did not mean that as a comment on your ideas or personality, specifically. Just that statements like that may not always make the positive impression on people that you hope. I'm sure you are a lovely chap, and every bit as smart, well-educated and experienced as you say.

    So your alternate model is ...
    I don't really have an alternative model. I just wonder if the whole thing is more complex.

    Now I really will try and keep out of it ...
    Thanks Strange. I didn't take what you said personally. (well, maybe the graphic design critique felt a little harsh) I meant the personal part of my post mostly for marnixR, in reference to the level of science discussion possible on a forum such as this. We have some history. And I appreciate your input as to delivery.

    And yes, the whole thing is *WAY* more complex, like you say. Please feel free to jump back in at any time.


    ---Futilitist
    Reply With Quote  
     

  76. #75  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    8,245
    Since this is an attempt at a New Hypothesis, I am going to move it to the New Hypothesis section. Finally.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
    Reply With Quote  
     

  77. #76  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    Since this is an attempt at a New Hypothesis, I am going to move it to the New Hypothesis section. Finally.
    Why finally and why now? Who was it hurting to leave the thread where it was? Who is helped by moving it? I don't understand. I thought I made a pretty good presentation. It's actually a lot of work for very little appreciation. But when I start a proper mimetic theory thread in psychology, that will be where it belongs, to stay. Mimetic theory is real science, whether anyone here accepts it or not. This thread seems pretty well played out for now, since it is in the non serious section. Tell me how you wouldn't feel just a little discouraged if you were me. Feels like I wasted a week.


    ---Futilitist
    Reply With Quote  
     

  78. #77  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,168
    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    I really do know a lot about this stuff. I am 50 years old. I am a polymath genius. I made recognized, major contributions to two technical/artistic fields (motion picture special effects and computer animation). I have been a professional mechanical designer in special effects (over 15 major motion picture credits), and, more recently, in robotics. I helped develop and design software for animation production at Dreamworks and helped develop interactive social robot personality software for university research in social robotics at Hanson Robotics. I worked at ILM and Digital Domain. I designed the worlds first real time computer animation telemetry rig for Pacific Data Images. I founded Propellerhead Design (PhD) with JJ Abrams in the early 90's and was one the 5 original producers who started the "Shrek" project at Dreamworks. I am also a professional screenwriter. I wrote the first treatment of the Shrek story. I have an optioned script currently in development that is about my "Dark Thesis". It is called "The Procelladol Effect". When I was in high school, I was a physics prodigy. I wrote my own calculus. All I did then was study and all I do now is study. I don't sleep as much as most people. My parents are both psychologists. I have a masters degree in Biomedical Visualization (I hope to get a PhD. in social theory) and I went to med school for two years (and hated it). I am a spacial reasoning wizard and a pattern freak. I am also a life long (musician's union at 10 years old) professional drummer, with several major recording credits, as well as a professional drum jam facilitator for over 15 years. And I play a pretty mean game of chess. I study the hyper modern approach. I am semi-retired and I do social theory research practically full time (for the last 7 years) because it is just a passion of mine.
    Then it is a damn shame that given all of that talent you can't see how fundamentally flawed your idea is.


    No one will read a long dissertation and it can't be explained in a soundbite.
    If you can't explain it succinctly then you don't really understand it.

    All we end up with is kneejerk negating for the sake of egos.
    I'm negating for the following reasons:
    1. Your passive aggressive posting style.
    2. Your lack of evidence to support your contentions.
    3. Your apparent belief that repeating an assertion makes it true.
    4. Observations that contradict your assertions.

    You will note that none of these have to do with ego. Telling you and the rest of the membership about these may well have to do with ego, but it doesn't detract from the validity of my points.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  79. #78  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    8,245
    Futilitist:

    I didn't lock your thread, nor move it to trash or Pseudo. I merely moved it to the section where new Hypothesis and Ideas belong. It is not a demotion, nor a direct reflection on the quality of your idea. Quite simply, your ideas are not established science, so it does not belong in the main sections. That's it, nothing more is implied by the move. Discussion can continue here freely and all the regular participants will be here as well.

    I said finally, because I should have done so much earlier.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
    Reply With Quote  
     

  80. #79  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    Futilitist:

    I didn't lock your thread, nor move it to trash or Pseudo. I merely moved it to the section where new Hypothesis and Ideas belong. It is not a demotion, nor a direct reflection on the quality of your idea. Quite simply, your ideas are not established science, so it does not belong in the main sections. That's it, nothing more is implied by the move. Discussion can continue here freely and all the regular participants will be here as well.

    I said finally, because I should have done so much earlier.
    I noticed that only a couple of people on this website had some grasp of mirror neurons. Only one expressed what I would call a real understanding. That was Write4U. I also noticed that absolutely no one seemed to have the slightest idea what mimetic theory was.

    Do you think mimetic theory is important? Please answer this.


    ---Futilitist
    Reply With Quote  
     

  81. #80  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    8,245
    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    Futilitist:

    I didn't lock your thread, nor move it to trash or Pseudo. I merely moved it to the section where new Hypothesis and Ideas belong. It is not a demotion, nor a direct reflection on the quality of your idea. Quite simply, your ideas are not established science, so it does not belong in the main sections. That's it, nothing more is implied by the move. Discussion can continue here freely and all the regular participants will be here as well.

    I said finally, because I should have done so much earlier.
    I noticed that only a couple of people on this website had some grasp of mirror neurons. Only one expressed what I would call a real understanding. That was Write4U. I also noticed that absolutely no one seemed to have the slightest idea what mimetic theory was.

    Do you think mimetic theory is important? Please answer this.


    ---Futilitist
    Yes, but I have my doubts as to whether it is as important in humans as it is with other primates, for example.

    Is it not possible that you are conflating Write4U's expression of ideas that you deem similar to yours with understanding of the subject matter, and in turn conflate disagreement with ignorance? Think about that please. You might be an intelligent guy, but the other respondents to this thread are very far from being dolts.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
    Reply With Quote  
     

  82. #81  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,168
    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    I also noticed that absolutely no one seemed to have the slightest idea what mimetic theory was.
    I am familiar enough with it to suspect you are taking a peculiar and specific interpretation of it, then seeking to generalise from that interpretation. Resolution of this point will not be encouraged by you making indirect remarks about the understanding of other members.

    In regard to an appreciation of mirror neurons it appears that your assessment of other's understanding of it is based on whether or not they agree with you.

    Is mimetic theory important? At this point I do not consider it to be so, since at this point I believe it is flawed - at least in terms of what you are trying to do with it.

    Do we learn through imitation? Certainly. Is this an important part of our learning process? Certainly. Is it the only means by which we learn? Certainly not. Trial and error experimentation plays a role that is at least as important.

    Can we conflate the habit of imitation with the desire to have what is possessed by another? Of course we can, but only if we wish to be mistaken. That is the root of why I currently dismiss your idea.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  83. #82  
    Ascended Member Ascended's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Norfolk
    Posts
    3,455
    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    I also noticed that absolutely no one seemed to have the slightest idea what mimetic theory was.

    ---Futilitist
    Perhaps you could start a thread on memes and memetics I'm sure it would make for an interesting discussion topic.
    Last edited by Ascended; October 24th, 2012 at 05:25 PM.
    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

    Bertrand Russell
    Reply With Quote  
     

  84. #83  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    Futilitist:

    I didn't lock your thread, nor move it to trash or Pseudo. I merely moved it to the section where new Hypothesis and Ideas belong. It is not a demotion, nor a direct reflection on the quality of your idea. Quite simply, your ideas are not established science, so it does not belong in the main sections. That's it, nothing more is implied by the move. Discussion can continue here freely and all the regular participants will be here as well.

    I said finally, because I should have done so much earlier.
    I noticed that only a couple of people on this website had some grasp of mirror neurons. Only one expressed what I would call a real understanding. That was Write4U. I also noticed that absolutely no one seemed to have the slightest idea what mimetic theory was.

    Do you think mimetic theory is important? Please answer this.


    ---Futilitist
    Yes, but I have my doubts as to whether it is as important in humans as it is with other primates, for example.

    Is it not possible that you are conflating Write4U's expression of ideas that you deem similar to yours with understanding of the subject matter, and in turn conflate disagreement with ignorance? Think about that please. You might be an intelligent guy, but the other respondents to this thread are very far from being dolts.
    Humans are primates. Why would mimetics be less important in humans?

    Write4U expressed a profound knowledge of how a mirror neuron system could produce an ethical system by itself. Even without the mimetic details, this is spot on. That is what is known as a functional understanding. It is very easy to spot contextually and linguistically.

    The following definition applies to my use of the word ignorance:
    Ignorance of mimetics means little or no knowledge about a the subject matter of mimetics. It is not a direct reflection of a lack of general intelligence.

    I am not conflating disagreement with ignorance. Reasoned disagreement has a structural integrity, a mutual understanding of the other persons position. Nuance. Almost all of the posts concerning mimetic concepts showed considerable misunderstanding of the basic concept, not reasoned disagreement. You could only make that argument from a position of ignorance. Your answer above concerning the importance of mimetics in humans shows no actual understanding of the concept. Are your doubts just your own, or are they based on an important disagreement amongst scientists studying mimetics? I know of no such rift. You don't list your doubts in any specific way that I can even understand. And for example of what? Doubts? Why not just list them all? Do you see how disjointed and meaningless your answer seems to me? It just feels like you are bluffing. And here is something fundamental: I asked if mimetic theory was important. Mimetics are important in both humans and other primates. Mimetic theory is important to science. I was really asking if mimetic theory was a major breakthrough in science. Does it change anything we believe we already know? Is it fundamental to evolution itself? Many scientists think so. You don't. Why?

    When you answer again, please make an extra effort to give the answer some contextual understanding. Your answer should engage me with clues that you understand my position and the underlying science. Show specifically how you believe we differ. Hit me with a real intellectual challenge to my idea. I'll make the question more exact.

    Do you think that mimetic theory is a major breakthrough in evolutionary science? And if not, why not?


    ---Futilitist
    Reply With Quote  
     

  85. #84  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    I really do know a lot about this stuff. I am 50 years old. I am a polymath genius. I made recognized, major contributions to two technical/artistic fields (motion picture special effects and computer animation). I have been a professional mechanical designer in special effects (over 15 major motion picture credits), and, more recently, in robotics. I helped develop and design software for animation production at Dreamworks and helped develop interactive social robot personality software for university research in social robotics at Hanson Robotics. I worked at ILM and Digital Domain. I designed the worlds first real time computer animation telemetry rig for Pacific Data Images. I founded Propellerhead Design (PhD) with JJ Abrams in the early 90's and was one the 5 original producers who started the "Shrek" project at Dreamworks. I am also a professional screenwriter. I wrote the first treatment of the Shrek story. I have an optioned script currently in development that is about my "Dark Thesis". It is called "The Procelladol Effect". When I was in high school, I was a physics prodigy. I wrote my own calculus. All I did then was study and all I do now is study. I don't sleep as much as most people. My parents are both psychologists. I have a masters degree in Biomedical Visualization (I hope to get a PhD. in social theory) and I went to med school for two years (and hated it). I am a spacial reasoning wizard and a pattern freak. I am also a life long (musician's union at 10 years old) professional drummer, with several major recording credits, as well as a professional drum jam facilitator for over 15 years. And I play a pretty mean game of chess. I study the hyper modern approach. I am semi-retired and I do social theory research practically full time (for the last 7 years) because it is just a passion of mine.
    Then it is a damn shame that given all of that talent you can't see how fundamentally flawed your idea is.


    No one will read a long dissertation and it can't be explained in a soundbite.
    If you can't explain it succinctly then you don't really understand it.

    All we end up with is kneejerk negating for the sake of egos.
    I'm negating for the following reasons:
    1. Your passive aggressive posting style.
    2. Your lack of evidence to support your contentions.
    3. Your apparent belief that repeating an assertion makes it true.
    4. Observations that contradict your assertions.

    You will note that none of these have to do with ego. Telling you and the rest of the membership about these may well have to do with ego, but it doesn't detract from the validity of my points.
    John,

    Here is the time stamp from your last post on this thread: October 20th, 2012, 07:15 AM. That was 4 days ago. Until that point, you and I were the main posters on the thread. It was mostly a conversation between the two of us. I asked you a question and you never answered. You showed up on the other thread and I invited you back to take a look at the revised theory. You never came. Now, all of a sudden, after 4 days of absence, you show, up less than one hour (44 minutes) after the thread gets moved, to say mean things. What's up with that?


    ---Futilitist
    Reply With Quote  
     

  86. #85  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    8,245
    I'll respond properly once I have a bit of free time.

    In the mean time: Yes, we are also primates, but we are also mammals, etc. Yet, we are not all the same and obviously so, which makes your confusion about that slightly bizarre. Humans have a much better developed theory of mind for one and are much better at imagination for another.
    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

    "Gullibility kills" - Carl Sagan
    "All people know the same truth. Our lives consist of how we chose to distort it." - Harry Block
    "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle
    Reply With Quote  
     

  87. #86  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    I also noticed that absolutely no one seemed to have the slightest idea what mimetic theory was.
    I am familiar enough with it to suspect you are taking a peculiar and specific interpretation of it, then seeking to generalise from that interpretation. Resolution of this point will not be encouraged by you making indirect remarks about the understanding of other members.

    In regard to an appreciation of mirror neurons it appears that your assessment of other's understanding of it is based on whether or not they agree with you.

    Is mimetic theory important? At this point I do not consider it to be so, since at this point I believe it is flawed - at least in terms of what you are trying to do with it.

    Do we learn through imitation? Certainly. Is this an important part of our learning process? Certainly. Is it the only means by which we learn? Certainly not. Trial and error experimentation plays a role that is at least as important.

    Can we conflate the habit of imitation with the desire to have what is possessed by another? Of course we can, but only if we wish to be mistaken. That is the root of why I currently dismiss your idea.
    In the first line you say that you are familiar enough with mimetic theory to suspect I am taking a peculiar and specific interpretation of it and seeking to generalize from that interpretation. You don't volunteer what that peculiar and specific interpretation is. You just suspect. OK.

    You then end by saying that mimetic desire, the basis of mimetic theory, is just a wrong idea. Do you see the problem here?

    It is you who have a very peculiar and specific interpretation of mimetic theory. It sounds more like anti-mimetic theory! My interpretation is essentially straight from the theory.

    Based on this post, I would say that you are not familiar enough with mimetic theory to suspect anything! And I think that is a fair and accurate statement to make based on the evidence here. But perhaps your understanding is deeper than mine and I just don't get it. Maybe you need to clear this up.


    ---Futilitist
    Reply With Quote  
     

  88. #87  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    I'll respond properly once I have a bit of free time.

    In the mean time: Yes, we are also primates, but we are also mammals, etc. Yet, we are not all the same and obviously so, which makes your confusion about that slightly bizarre. Humans have a much better developed theory of mind for one and are much better at imagination for another.
    Dude. Key mimetic insight here. In my last post I kept trying to come up with a way to describe how I can just sense whether the poster understands the concepts they claim to know (provided, of course, I know the concepts well). I must be really tired, because the answer is super obvious.


    The Idea
    ^

    You<_____
    >Me


    Yep, it's our old mutual friend the drama triangle.

    We are mimetic rivals over an idea! If both parties understand the concepts and the point of view of the other, the rivalry has a balance that can be sensed. If neither party can gain an advantage in the idea rivalry, in polite company it can begin to resemble a game. There has been some experimental work on the concept of engagement, so I'll try and look it up, but basically there is an important point where two animals each sense that the other is paying attention to them. That is when the mirror neuron dance begins. If we were well matched in the rivalry, you and I would be doing an elegant dance, playing with the concepts to test the other's weakness. It has a rhythm that can be sensed. You and I are not dancing and playing with an idea. I can sense it mimetically when we are not symmetrically engaged. So can the audience. Anyway, just an idea I had.


    ---Futilitist
    Reply With Quote  
     

  89. #88  
    ***** Participant Write4U's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    1,245
    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    I also noticed that absolutely no one seemed to have the slightest idea what mimetic theory was.
    I am familiar enough with it to suspect you are taking a peculiar and specific interpretation of it, then seeking to generalise from that interpretation. Resolution of this point will not be encouraged by you making indirect remarks about the understanding of other members.

    In regard to an appreciation of mirror neurons it appears that your assessment of other's understanding of it is based on whether or not they agree with you.

    Is mimetic theory important? At this point I do not consider it to be so, since at this point I believe it is flawed - at least in terms of what you are trying to do with it.

    Do we learn through imitation? Certainly. Is this an important part of our learning process? Certainly. Is it the only means by which we learn? Certainly not. Trial and error experimentation plays a role that is at least as important.
    Natura Artis Magistra, I agree this is very important. But the possession of a mirror neural network in each individual allows him/her to experience the emotional experience by mere observation not physical experience. Thus someone discovering something by trial and error, will have been observed by others and thus is being discovered at several levels, both individually and collectively. IMO, this is a major aspect of the apparent intuitive knowledge of good and bad. The ability to understand and experience at a very personal emotional level, what another is experiencing is very foundation of morality, a commonly felt emotional experience . Happy = Good, Sad = Bad. The "golden rule" is derived at from these two mirrored emotions.

    Can we conflate the habit of imitation with the desire to have what is possessed by another? Of course we can, but only if we wish to be mistaken. That is the root of why I currently dismiss your idea.
    Perhaps not wishing to be mistaken, but rather knowing the consequences when caught stealing another's possessions. Sad = Bad.

    Interesting observation,
    John Galt
    Again, I have nothing against art - I consider a sense of the artistic to be a cornerstone of what it means to be human. But at the same time it is not science.
    But then the mind is not a physical scientifically measurable tool. IMO, thought itself, the product of the mind, is a meme, a symbolic representation of an act or an event which is associated with certain emotional responses. And through Art these memes are expressed and felt by the observers.
    The Art of Ritual is the reinforcement of these memes.

    "Art is the creation of that which evokes an emotional response, leading to thoughts of the noblest kind."
    Last edited by Write4U; October 24th, 2012 at 06:49 PM.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  90. #89  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Quotes from Frans de Waal
    "The possibility that empathy resides in parts of the brain so ancient that we share them with rats should give pause to anyone comparing politicians with those poor, underestimated creatures."

    "To endow animals with human emotions has long been a scientific taboo. But if we do not, we risk missing something fundamental, about both animals and us."

    "I've argued that many of what philosophers call moral sentiments can be seen in other species. In chimpanzees and other animals, you see examples of sympathy, empathy, reciprocity, a willingness to follow social rules. Dogs are a good example of a species that have and obey social rules; that's why we like them so much, even though they're large carnivores."
    ---Futilitist
    Reply With Quote  
     

  91. #90  
    ***** Participant Write4U's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    1,245
    Recognition is a mirror response, but not necessarily from personal experience. We need but read an account of atrocity, to experience feelings of fear and disgust and the accompanying emotional expressions such as "shuddering" or "throwing up". Other memes of an erotic nature may produce an "adrenalin rush"!
    To me, the understanding of the power of meme (symbolic messages), will allow us to identify memes which are conducive (if not causal) to "good outcomes" and memes which are causal to "bad outcomes".

    Religion is an Art form in that it uses many "allegories" and "parables' (variations on a theme) to attemp to shape our cultural memes, and in some areas it has succeeded, in other areas it has failed miserably.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  92. #91  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,168
    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    [Here is the time stamp from your last post on this thread: October 20th, 2012, 07:15 AM. That was 4 days ago. < Snip > Now, all of a sudden, after 4 days of absence, you show, up less than one hour (44 minutes) after the thread gets moved, to say mean things. What's up with that?
    I suggest you disregard the four days. I work for a living. I grab opportunities to post when and where I can.

    You seem to attach importance to the thread being moved. I don't. Nor do I attach importance to who is saying something. I attach importance to what is being said. I respond to what is being said regardless of who is saying it or when they are saying it. I also respond to how it is being said, in honour of Marshall McLuhan. Feel free to read something into a four day gap in posting and the coincidence of a post shortly after the thread was moved. Just don't expect me to take your conclusions in that regard seriously.


    You say I say mean things. Would you prefer I lie to you? I wouldn't be comfortable with that.

    I suggested your posting style was passive aggressive. That wasn't a complaint, but an observation. My posting style is, when confronted with speculative hypotheses, deliberately aggressive. I hope you are not complaining about that. I hope you welcome an interrogation of your hypothesis. I hope you value observations that may help you present it in a more convincing manner. If you don't, just let me know now. I can sit on the sidelines and heckle.


    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    I asked you a question and you never answered.
    The post wherein you replied to me (#33) does not seem to contain a question. Perhaps you can direct me to it, or repeat it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    You showed up on the other thread and I invited you back to take a look at the revised theory. You never came. Now, all of a sudden, after 4 days of absence, you show, up less than one hour (44 minutes) after the thread gets moved, to say mean things. What's up with that?
    I know I speak ill of Freud, but what's with this time obsession?

    More to the point. Several posts had been made by you by the time I had a chance to respond to anything you had said. A detailed point by point rebuttal would have taken many hours to produce. I gave you the executive summary. Based on your cv I thought you should appreciate executive summaries. (That's not snide sarcasm; that's a sincere point.)

    Since you are raising similar points in more than one thread I have little notion of where I have posted a particular point. I shall return to the issue of mimetics, which I think you have a singularily narrow view of, in another post - either here or the other thread.

    added comment: or the thread that Chris has started on mimetics.
    Last edited by John Galt; October 25th, 2012 at 11:40 AM.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  93. #92  
    Your Mama! GiantEvil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Vancouver, Wa
    Posts
    2,318
    There is a difference between Mimesis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and Memetics - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
    Futilitist is talking about Mimesis and not Memetics, particularly in the context of René Girard - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
    Basically the primary thesis of Rene Girard, and hence Futilitist, is that all behavior has it's genesis in Imitation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Wiki on Rene Girard
    1. Mimetic desire: all of our desires are borrowed from other people;
    2. Mimetic rivalry: all conflict originates in mimetic desire;
    3. The scapegoat mechanism is the origin of sacrifice and the foundation of human culture, and religion was necessary in human evolution to control the violence that can come from mimetic rivalry;
    4. The Bible reveals the three previous ideas and denounces the scapegoat mechanism.
    I hope this clears up and simplifies things.
    I was some of the mud that got to sit up and look around.
    Lucky me. Lucky mud.
    -Kurt Vonnegut Jr.-
    Cat's Cradle.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  94. #93  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by GiantEvil View Post
    There is a difference between Mimesis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia and Memetics - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
    Futilitist is talking about Mimesis and not Memetics, particularly in the context of René Girard - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
    Basically the primary thesis of Rene Girard, and hence Futilitist, is that all behavior has it's genesis in Imitation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Wiki on Rene Girard
    1. Mimetic desire: all of our desires are borrowed from other people;
    2. Mimetic rivalry: all conflict originates in mimetic desire;
    3. The scapegoat mechanism is the origin of sacrifice and the foundation of human culture, and religion was necessary in human evolution to control the violence that can come from mimetic rivalry;
    4. The Bible reveals the three previous ideas and denounces the scapegoat mechanism.
    I hope this clears up and simplifies things.
    Hey thanks, GiantEvil. I did not realize there was this confusion.

    This confusion here stems from people being familiar with Richard Dawkins and memes, and unfamiliar with Rene Girard and mimetic theory.

    Futilitist is talking about Mimesis and not Memetics...
    To be perfectly clear, your statement above should say:

    Futilitist is talking about Mimetics and not Memetics...


    The confusion stems from the conflation of the letters i and e, along with the lack of knowledge of the existence of mimetic theory. This fine tuned statement directly addresses that confusion. The concept of mimesis goes back to Plato. Girard's mimetic theory is unique in that it contends that all desire is imitated. We need to be careful not to introduce another confusion.


    Stuff related to imitation and behavior
    :
    mimetics
    mimetic theory
    mimetic desire
    mimetic rivalry
    mimesis
    Rene Girard
    Stuff related to the meme concept:
    memes
    memetics
    memetic theory
    Richard Dawkins
    I hope this clears up and simplifies things even more.

    ---Futilitist
    Last edited by Futilitist; October 25th, 2012 at 08:49 PM. Reason: spelling
    Reply With Quote  
     

  95. #94  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    [Here is the time stamp from your last post on this thread: October 20th, 2012, 07:15 AM. That was 4 days ago. < Snip > Now, all of a sudden, after 4 days of absence, you show, up less than one hour (44 minutes) after the thread gets moved, to say mean things. What's up with that?
    I suggest you disregard the four days. I work for a living. I grab opportunities to post when and where I can.

    You seem to attach importance to the thread being moved. I don't. Nor do I attach importance to who is saying something. I attach importance to what is being said. I respond to what is being said regardless of who is saying it or when they are saying it. I also respond to how it is being said, in honour of Marshall McLuhan. Feel free to read something into a four day gap in posting and the coincidence of a post shortly after the thread was moved. Just don't expect me to take your conclusions in that regard seriously.


    You say I say mean things. Would you prefer I lie to you? I wouldn't be comfortable with that.

    I suggested your posting style was passive aggressive. That wasn't a complaint, but an observation. My posting style is, when confronted with speculative hypotheses, deliberately aggressive. I hope you are not complaining about that. I hope you welcome an interrogation of your hypothesis. I hope you value observations that may help you present it in a more convincing manner. If you don't, just let me know now. I can sit on the sidelines and heckle.


    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    I asked you a question and you never answered.
    The post wherein you replied to me (#33) does not seem to contain a question. Perhaps you can direct me to it, or repeat it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Futilitist View Post
    You showed up on the other thread and I invited you back to take a look at the revised theory. You never came. Now, all of a sudden, after 4 days of absence, you show, up less than one hour (44 minutes) after the thread gets moved, to say mean things. What's up with that?
    I know I speak ill of Freud, but what's with this time obsession?

    More to the point. Several posts had been made by you by the time I had a chance to respond to anything you had said. A detailed point by point rebuttal would have taken many hours to produce. I gave you the executive summary. Based on your cv I thought you should appreciate executive summaries. (That's not snide sarcasm; that's a sincere point.)

    Since you are raising similar points in more than one thread I have little notion of where I have posted a particular point. I shall return to the issue of mimetics, which I think you have a singularily narrow view of, in another post - either here or the other thread.

    added comment: or the thread that Chris has started on mimetics.
    Sorry. The timing thing comes out of social theory and social psychology aspects of my "Dark Thesis". Your intents and motivations are unknown, not only to me, but to you as well.

    And I hope you have noticed the refinements in my presentation. Thank you for your help in that regard.

    As to posting styles, deliberate aggressiveness is cool by me. That is how I characterize my posting style as well.


    ---Futilitist

    --EDIT--

    Just saw this:
    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt
    I shall return to the issue of mimetics, which I think you have a singularily narrow view of, in another post.
    Please post it here. Thanks.

    And this:
    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt
    Nor do I attach importance to who is saying something. I attach importance to what is being said. I respond to what is being said regardless of who is saying it or when they are saying it.
    I do attach importance to who is saying something and how and why. I am not responding to any individual poster so much as I am appealing to the reader. I am a social theorist.
    Last edited by Futilitist; October 25th, 2012 at 09:45 PM.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  96. #95  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    I decided to take a look at what others have said about the evolutionary origin of religion.

    Quote Originally Posted by wiki Evolutionary Origins of Religion
    Tool use
    Lewis Wolpert argues that causal beliefs that emerged from tool use played a major role in the evolution of belief. The manufacture of complex tools requires creating a mental image of an object that does not exist naturally before actually making the artifact. Furthermore, one must understand how the tool would be used, which requires an understanding of causality.
    This is an example of circular reasoning. Causality can not grow out of tool use since tool use requires an understanding of causality. Evidence of improving tool use over time may document the improvement of the understanding of causality in humans, but it says nothing about origin of causality. Causal beliefs that emerged with but not from tool use may or may not have played a major role in the evolution of religious belief. And clearly many animals make use of an understanding of causality.

    Quote Originally Posted by wiki Evolutionary Origins of Religion
    Development of language
    See also: Origin of language and Myth and religion
    Religion requires a system of symbolic communication, such as language, to be transmitted from one individual to another. Philip Lieberman states "human religious thought and moral sense clearly rest on a cognitive-linguistic base".[11] From this premise science writer Nicholas Wade states:
    "Like most behaviors that are found in societies throughout the world, religion must have been present in the ancestral human population before the dispersal from Africa 50,000 years ago. Although religious rituals usually involve dance and music, they are also very verbal, since the sacred truths have to be stated. If so, religion, at least in its modern form, cannot pre-date the emergence of language. It has been argued earlier that language attained its modern state shortly before the exodus from Africa. If religion had to await the evolution of modern, articulate language, then it too would have emerged shortly before 50,000 years ago."[12]Another view distinguishes individual religious belief from collective religious belief. While the former does not require prior development of language, the latter does. The individual human brain has to explain a phenomenon in order to comprehend and relate to it. This activity predates by far the emergence of language and may have caused it. The theory is, belief in the supernatural emerges from hypotheses arbitrarily assumed by individuals to explain natural phenomena that cannot be explained otherwise. The resulting need to share individual hypotheses with others leads eventually to collective religious belief. A socially accepted hypothesis becomes dogmatic backed by social sanction.
    I agree with all of the above. That's why linguistics provides so many mimetic clues. The bolded part above reminds me of the sin and religion thing discussed here. Activities related to sin predate by far the emergence of religion and may have caused it!

    Quote Originally Posted by wiki Evolutionary Origins of Religion
    Morality and group living
    Main articles: Evolution of morality and Morality#Evolutionary_perspectives
    Dr. Frans de Waal and Barbara King both view human morality as having grown out of primate sociality. Though morality awareness may be a unique human trait, many social animals, such as primates, dolphins and whales, have been known to exhibit pre-moral sentiments. According to Michael Shermer, the following characteristics are shared by humans and other social animals, particularly the great apes:
    "attachment and bonding, cooperation and mutual aid, sympathy and empathy, direct and indirect reciprocity, altruism and reciprocal altruism, conflict resolution and peacemaking, deception and deception detection, community concern and caring about what others think about you, and awareness of and response to the social rules of the group".[13]De Waal contends that all social animals have had to restrain or alter their behavior for group living to be worthwhile. Pre-moral sentiments evolved in primate societies as a method of restraining individual selfishness and building more cooperative groups. For any social species, the benefits of being part of an altruistic group should outweigh the benefits of individualism. For example, lack of group cohesion could make individuals more vulnerable to attack from outsiders. Being part of a group may also improve the chances of finding food. This is evident among animals that hunt in packs to take down large or dangerous prey.
    All social animals have hierarchical societies in which each member knows its own place. Social order is maintained by certain rules of expected behavior and dominant group members enforce order through punishment. However, higher order primates also have a sense of reciprocity and fairness. Chimpanzees remember who did them favors and who did them wrong. For example, chimpanzees are more likely to share food with individuals who have previously groomed them.[14]
    Chimpanzees live in fission-fusion groups that average 50 individuals. It is likely that early ancestors of humans lived in groups of similar size. Based on the size of extant hunter-gatherer societies, recent Paleolithic hominids lived in bands of a few hundred individuals. As community size increased over the course of human evolution, greater enforcement to achieve group cohesion would have been required. Morality may have evolved in these bands of 100 to 200 people as a means of social control, conflict resolution and group solidarity. According to Dr. de Waal, human morality has two extra levels of sophistication that are not found in primate societies. Humans enforce their society’s moral codes much more rigorously with rewards, punishments and reputation building. Humans also apply a degree of judgment and reason not otherwise seen in the animal kingdom.
    Psychologist Matt J. Rossano argues that religion emerged after morality and built upon morality by expanding the social scrutiny of individual behavior to include supernatural agents. By including ever-watchful ancestors, spirits and gods in the social realm, humans discovered an effective strategy for restraining selfishness and building more cooperative groups.[15] The adaptive value of religion would have enhanced group survival.[16] [17] Rossano is referring here to collective religious belief and the social sanction that institutionalized morality. Individual religious belief is initially epistemological, not ethical, in nature.
    I very much agree with all of the above. Add in some mimetic theory and you not only have a good evolutionary explanation of the origin of religion, but also it's further adaptation into modern religion. My theory attempts to do all that.

    Mimetics is the key to understanding all of evolution better!

    Quote Originally Posted by wiki Evolutionary Origins of Religion
    Evolutionary psychology of religion
    Main article: Evolutionary psychology of religion

    There is general agreement among cognitive scientists that religion is an outgrowth of brain architecture that evolved early in human history. However, there is disagreement on the exact mechanisms that drove the evolution of the religious mind. The two main schools of thought hold that either religion evolved due to natural selection and has selective advantage, or that religion is an evolutionary byproduct of other mental adaptations.
    I think this last bit sums up one important aspect quite well.

    1. Religion evolved due to natural selection and conveys selective advantage.
    --OR--
    2. Religion is an evolutionary byproduct of other mental adaptations.

    Clearly I am a big fan of #1 above.

    And my theory isn't radical at all.


    ---Futilitist
    Last edited by Futilitist; October 25th, 2012 at 09:38 PM.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  97. #96  
    Your Mama! GiantEvil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Vancouver, Wa
    Posts
    2,318
    I derived from context that "mimetic" referenced mimicry and not "memes" and then did a little research on the Wiki. That's as far as I'm interested in going with it. My effort to clarify should not be confused with advocacy for the subject at hand.
    I got a new string theory book, I'll be busy for awhile.
    I was some of the mud that got to sit up and look around.
    Lucky me. Lucky mud.
    -Kurt Vonnegut Jr.-
    Cat's Cradle.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  98. #97  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by GiantEvil View Post
    I derived from context that "mimetic" referenced mimicry and not "memes" and then did a little research on the Wiki. That's as far as I'm interested in going with it. My effort to clarify should not be confused with advocacy for the subject at hand.
    I got a new string theory book, I'll be busy for awhile.
    I never implied your advocacy of mimetics. I just added some further clarification and thanked you for helping to bring clarity to a concept, whether we agree or not. Enjoy the string theory. Maybe someday it can be folded into a grand unified theory of it's own.

    ---Futilitist
    Reply With Quote  
     

  99. #98  
    Forum Sophomore
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    146
    Futilitist,
    When somebody was born 5,000 years ago; did that person have a moral instinct? What kind of moral instinct?
    How does that compare to the self-preservation and the reproductive instincts?
    It seems the words moral and instinct don't go well together.
    There is another word for 'moral instinct' - conscience. If you replace 'moral instinct' with conscience in your writings then it's going to be more readable.
    Jano
    Reply With Quote  
     

  100. #99  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by Jaaanosik
    Futilitist,
    When somebody was born 5,000 years ago; did that person have a moral instinct?
    Yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaaanosik
    What kind of moral instinct?
    Basically the same one we have.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaaanosik
    How does that compare to the self-preservation and the reproductive instincts?
    These are individual instincts for individual behavior. The moral instinct is involved with how the individual interfaces with the group.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaaanosik
    It seems the words moral and instinct don't go well together.
    It just seems that way. A lot of people have some trouble with the concept. It seems quite reasonable to me. I would love to hear why it troubles you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaaanosik
    There is another word for 'moral instinct' - conscience. If you replace 'moral instinct' with conscience in your writings then it's going to be more readable.
    Jano
    I like the word conscience too. But the word conscience contains no indication of it's source. Scientists use moral instinct and moral sense to suggest it's evolutionary origins. We could experiment with "instinctive conscience", perhaps, but I would rather stick to the scientific jargon. Words matter.

    To endow animals with human emotions has long been a scientific taboo. But if we do not, we risk missing something fundamental, about both animals and us.
    ---Frans de Waal

    ---Futilitist
    Reply With Quote  
     

  101. #100  
    ***** Participant Write4U's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    1,245
    Quote Originally Posted by Jaaanosik View Post
    Futilitist,
    When somebody was born 5,000 years ago; did that person have a moral instinct? What kind of moral instinct?
    How does that compare to the self-preservation and the reproductive instincts?
    It seems the words moral and instinct don't go well together.
    There is another word for 'moral instinct' - conscience. If you replace 'moral instinct' with conscience in your writings then it's going to be more readable.
    Jano
    Moral instincts (conscience) is a direct effect of observation. Cognition (by any of the senses) is apparent in almost all form of life. Why does a sheepherder "tend" to his flock? A healthy, safe, well behaved flock insures survival for the sheepherder. Herder Ants tend to their flock of aphids by protecting them from predation, guiding them to new "pastures" (leaves), and even carrying the aphids to the ant's nest (warmth) during winter.
    Is this moral behavior? IMO, a resounding "yes"!
    Last edited by Write4U; October 27th, 2012 at 01:19 AM.
    Futilitist likes this.
    Reply With Quote  
     

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Religion (A Scientific Study of)
    By DaBOB in forum Site Feedback
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: November 24th, 2011, 04:40 AM
  2. The Religion of Scientific Study
    By OldSage in forum Scientific Study of Religion
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: August 16th, 2011, 02:02 PM
  3. The Scientific Study of Religion
    By SkinWalker in forum Scientific Study of Religion
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: August 8th, 2009, 11:15 PM
  4. The Scientific Study of Religion
    By SkinWalker in forum Scientific Study of Religion
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: March 26th, 2006, 01:40 PM
Bookmarks
Bookmarks
Posting Permissions
  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •