There are creatures similar to us who live among us, that have churned down a different evolutionary path and perception, that which we cannot see nor associate with but in glimpses.
This animation with its limited sensory awareness—unable to see, hear, or even comprehend much of the environmental spectrum, are not normal in the vastness of this cosmic game. We are the anomaly too—short lived, temporary forms who occasionally capture a peek into what is normal of the cosmos, yet beyond our divergent evolution.
It’s all around and yet we can’t see it. We have not evolved to see reality, but to not see reality. If evolution is true, throughout history selection pressure to achieve one thing has distracted our senses from the very beginning to achieve reproduction using shortcuts. The cheapest, most direct route that adaptive behavior could do to replicate our genes.
With biological evolution, from the time of the single cell to now, we have seen nothing outside of the most direct path to achieve this. Reality is far too much a distraction for evolution to allow us stop and notice.
Now that we know that nothing can be fully known… now what? Certainly there are many theories that are useful—even without our understanding it, but with our limited range of perception and reliance on this quirky, temperamental, three pound blob of fat, reality would overwhelm the senses like an acid trip, productivity and longevity would cease, and those that saw the fullness of the universe teeming with trillions of distractions would be virtually paralyzed.
Form, space, and time is an emergent property of consciousness
Do our senses give us truths about the structure of objective reality, whatever that structure may be? Quite frankly no, it doesn’t.
Long ago science set a theory to explain conscious agents and experience, yet have failed to provide one bit of proof that conscious emergence is actually the process. There have been some brilliant people working on it for quite some time, yet not one case or process has been identified as true—that this particular mechanism leads to that. Not very good progress considering how long they’ve been at it.
Using the evolutionary models and calculations, the probability is zero that any of our senses report any truths about the structure of reality—Donald Hoffman
Since space time is doomed as a theory (Nima Armani-Hamed, David Gross, Ed Witten) so are the standard models of conscious emergence as a fundamental property of evolved brains. It is appearing more and more the opposite is true—that brains are the result of consciousness, as well as everything else. And that reality as we see it, isn’t fundamental at all.
So space-time is no longer fundamental but seems to be an emergent property of consciousness. It has been a useful theory and created many beneficial gadgets and technologies, but it will soon be replaced to take us far beyond the present kind.
So what is reality constructed of and what would it look like if we could perceive it with our senses? Please watch this interview With Lex Fridman and Donald Hoffman.
Excerpts and photo from “God: A Human History” by Reza Aslan
Belief is a very ancient byproduct of evolution.
“Beyond the myths and rituals, the temples and cathedrals, the dos and don’ts that have, for millennia, separated humanity into different and often competing camps of belief, religion is little more than a “language” made up of symbols and metaphors that allows believers to communicate, to one another and to themselves, the unexplainable experience of faith.”
“If the propensity for religious belief is inherent in our species, then it must be a product of human evolution. There must be some adaptive advantage to it. Otherwise there would be no reason for religion to exist.”
“Even those contemporary Jews, Christians, and Muslims who strive so hard to profess theologically “correct” beliefs about a sole, singular God who is incorporeal or infallible, ever-present or all-knowing, seem compelled to envision God in human form and to speak of God in human terms. Studies performed by a range of psychologists and cognitive scientists have shown that the most devout believers, when forced to communicate their thoughts about God, overwhelmingly treat God as though they were talking about some person they might have met on the street.” — God: A Human History by Reza Aslan
Somewhere in time, sentient beings developed language to communicate feeling—and then ability to propagate the almighty question. “What do you believe?” is quite possibly the greatest hurdle. If we are ever to overcome evolution it will be on this point alone. Or belief is solely necessary because the illusion isn’t real. Why else would you have to believe it?
It is rather obvious man has created god in his own image, taking the best and worst traits of society and projecting himself on a path to transcend nature.
The ultimate oxymoron is life after death. That would contradict the meaning of both.
When I die there will be no experience—no regrets or joyous reunions, for there will be no apparatus to manage or attend such consciousness or effort. Even if “spirit” carried on in some idea or another, it is a mindless, blank stare at a static white board without sensory perception for eternity, as unaware as the universe is of itself. Biology fills the void for a time. Life is a symptom of our universe, but it is not intentional, nor has any ideas at all about how it happens. Funny, just like you and me.
Biology is a byproduct of the universe—a symptom. The cycles are endless. The earth is like a slow motion chia pet. Humans have been on this cosmic stage about 20 minutes. Imagine a time-lapse from beginning to end—it would be no mystery.
Taking a Hindu version at face value, if I am here to grow to perfection through repetition, over and over and to resolve the unsolved desires and issues of karma, why would I have ever been born in the first place, having had no karma to be born with?
I have possibly however, inherited such a thing from evolution, that monkeys rang up my karmic credit after they received it from their progenotes, and so on and so on, all the way back to the spawn of life. If it ever died out, nothing would ever know it ever was a thing at all.
That which truly exists must exist all the time, but the body does not exist all the time. Therefore, it cannot be real.
The ultimate oxymoron is life after death. That would contradict the meaning of both.
Out of the trees and into the flats—we are still monkeys
Not only do we share the same social structures and traits like empathy, grief, and altruism, and moral codes, but we share the same muscle configuration, brain structure, rows of teeth, hair, fingerprints, and DNA. A 98.8% match. We are closer to the chimpanzee and gibbon than they are to the gorilla.
Evangelicals will accept that a tiger and a lion are related. True they are both cats, but the tiger and lion DNA is farther separated than chimp and human. Where and why do they draw the line? We are their kinfolk no doubt about it.
If tigers and lions are linked by evolution, man is as much a monkey as a tiger is a lion. We have most of their traits and share the same social structures. That is one possible reason patriarchal religion is so powerful—it’s rooted in evolution.
DNA Paternity tests use a dumb-down version of the advanced version (and even that it is admissible in court) so at what point do evangelicals draw the line with evolution?
On another note, if evangélicas can accept a paternity test as accurate, by all accounts the more advanced methods of testing should be a shoe-in. Why all the resistance? Does it spoil your adoption into the tribe of god, or does it not? Remember, your adopted in through faith. You’re more related to a monkey than to a god.
We like to think we’re more advanced than that, somehow special. But reality dictates these are our people. We are their monkeys, as evidenced also by the patriarchal order of church and government. To survive we’re going to have to transcend those limitations.
Christian sin—living in an undocumented or unorthodox sexual relationship. This is the crux of Christian morality—that the churches are in fact sexual and family regulatory societies. There is no redeeming liturgy or spiritual achievement. You are forever in need of religion because religion never prepares to graduate it’s members.
Doctrinal issues—do you believe the correct supernatural things? Do you believe with the correct level of humility, knowing full well that the two contradict each other, as belief leads to arrogance? To believe the wrong doctrine is a sin worthy of battle. But who gets to decide what is the correct version of the imagined godhead?
Have you made Jesus your personal savior, and if so, is he the only incarnation of the god (or the ground of being) to use a less contaminated term? Are there other teachings that are perhaps more useful?
The failure of Christianity is this; love your neighbor as yourself, when you yourself have no source from which that well can spring. Loving yourself is the requisite. Without that there is nothing to give.
But in Christian circles you are the fallen sinner not worthy of love, granted only by the lords tolerance and mercy. It’s no wonder the church has never produced the desired results—the order of operations is backwards.
The Thirty Years war was over doctrinal disagreement and which belief was the correct belief—which literally means, which doctrine is more sufficient to keep people subservient to societies upper-crust. Millions died in that conflict alone because the premise is false. It will never produce the desired results because you are born insufficient for the kingdom of god.
HERE is a ten second video illustrating the source of morality.
When the signal dies out of the last human being, that narrow band of focus which is conscious attention, what will become of that consciousness? Which thoughts will leave an impact? Which beliefs will transcend annihilation?
For millennia we have followed a certain chain of thoughts, the origination of which is unknown. Certain innovators have some staying power, like Greek philosophers some religions, but when all is said and done will it matter one wit?
Thousands of cultures have been completely erased, each having their own chains of thought. But now we live a sophisticated life, above the ethnosphere of origination. But I think they had something we do not, or we are attempting things that may have already (or nearly) destroyed us more than once.
I wonder if primates would again evolve into humans, or something more? I wonder what we would call ourselves.
“If life on Earth offers any measure of life elsewhere in the universe, then intelligence must be rare. By some estimates, there have been more than ten billion species in the history of life on Earth. It follows that among all extraterrestrial life forms we might expect no better than about one in ten billion to be as intelligent as we are, not to mention the odds against the intelligent life having an advanced technology and a desire to communicate through the vast distances of interstellar space”—Niel DeGrasse Tyson
“The universe appears to be 13.8 billion years old. The earth about 4.5 billion years old. In another half billion years the sun will expand and make life impossible on earth, which means that if had taken consciousness 10% longer to evolve it would have never evolved at all”—Elon Musk
Then there is the timing thing. Our ability to send messages is about a hundred years now—an infinitesimal window of time compared to the age of anything out there.
Life is going in cycles. Are we smarter than ever before, or spiritually inept enough to outlast our progenitors?
If it is true (and it seems to be) that fitness outperforms advanced levels of perception (Hoffman Theory) it is quite possible the advanced, yet extinct higher civilizations of the past simply knew too much about reality. Humanity’s greatest, enduring structures built out of natural materials—still a mystery as to how it was done. Massive complex societies gone without a trace. Perhaps the present species of humans are inept enough to outlast them through belief.
Fitness does not mean smarter. “From a biological perspective, there is no such thing as devolution. All changes in the gene frequencies of populations–and quite often in the traits those genes influence–are by definition evolutionary changes. The notion that humans might regress or “devolve” presumes that there is a preferred hierarchy of structure and function” (1)
Anthropocentric thinking has us at the pinnacle of existence (in our own minds) and maybe that persistent, false sense of superiority is our best chance at survival? It certainly isn’t a true perception of reality, but is a belief that keeps us from knowing too much, which is good for longevity.
I don’t really think we’re as smart as we used to be. The world is now full of end users led by a handful of innovators. Giza, Machu Pichu, and others, were complete societies of craftsman, artisans, engineers, and genius know how, while we are a large lot of specialists.
Following the trend in common sense it appears we have evolved to luke-warm overall intelligence with a smattering of self righteous imagination, which is apparently good for fitness.
Do we experience the world as it actually is, or as we need it to be?
Does natural selection really favor seeing reality as it is? Fortunately, we don’t have to wave our hands and guess; evolution is a mathematically precise theory. We can use the equations of evolution to check this out. We can have various organisms in artificial worlds compete and see which survive and which thrive, which sensory systems are more fit.
So, in my lab, we have run hundreds of thousands of evolutionary game simulations with lots of different randomly chosen worlds and organisms that compete for resources in those worlds. Some of the organisms see all of the reality, others see just part of the reality, and some see none of the reality, only fitness. Who wins?
Well, I hate to break it to you, but perception of reality goes extinct. In almost every simulation, organisms that see none of reality but are just tuned to fitness drive to extinction all the organisms that perceive reality as it is. So the bottom line is, evolution does not favor veridical, or accurate perceptions. Those perceptions of reality go extinct.
We’re inclined to think that perception is like a window on reality as it is. The theory of evolution is telling us that this is an incorrect interpretation of our perceptions. Instead, reality is more like a 3D desktop that’s designed to hide the complexity of the real world and guide adaptive behavior. Space as you perceive it is your desktop. Physical objects are just the icons in that desktop.
Once we let go of our massively intuitive but massively false assumption about the nature of reality, it opens up new ways to think about life’s greatest mystery. I bet that reality will end up turning out to be more fascinating and unexpected than we’ve ever imagined.
The theory of evolution presents us with the ultimate dare: Dare to recognize that perception is not about seeing truth, it’s about having kids—Cognitive Scientist Donald Hoffman
Perhaps the brain was at one time a more useful appendix we’ve lost track of.
The brain as an appendix? Three pounds of useless fat…
Organisms come and go. Brains evolve into minor insignificant blobs—to bilateral synchronization, to the organic state of awareness. Being aware of being aware (the pinnacle of biological evolution) big brains have made humans the “chief mambas” of planet earth. But was this necessary? Is it even true?
In geologic timescale life is but an eye-blink. Upon death one constant remains—consciousness. It is in every thing. It is the background illuminating the foreground. “The entire universe is forever the same as the consciousness that dwells in every atom”—Yoga-Vasistha. When you are gone consciousness remains.
Does consciousness exists without the brain? In recent years that idea has regained traction from some unlikely sources—brain abnormalities and science.
#1. “A new research study contradicts the established view that so-called split-brain patients have a split consciousness. Instead, the researchers behind the study have found strong evidence showing that despite being characterized by little to no communication between the right and left brain hemispheres, split brain does not cause two independent conscious perceivers in one brain”
Split brain is a lay term to describe the result of a corpus callosotomy, a surgical procedure first performed in the 1940s to alleviate severe epilepsy among patients. During this procedure, the corpus callosum (a bundle of neural fibres connecting the left and right cerebral hemispheres) is severed to prevent the spread of epileptic activity between the two brain halves. While mostly successful in relieving epilepsy, the procedure also virtually eliminates all communication between the cerebral hemispheres, thereby resulting in a ‘split brain’. Ref Article
Yet the patients still have one mind. The idea that consciousness originates in the brain has been sideswiped by evidence—that it’s not so clear as that. There’s more…
#2. More than 20 years ago the campus doctor at Sheffield University was treating a student of mathematics for a minor ailment. The student was bright, having an IQ of 126. The doctor noticed that the student’s head seemed a little larger than normal and he referred him to Dr Lorber for further examination.
Dr Lorber examined the boy’s head by cat scan to discover that the student had virtually no brain. The normal brain consists of two hemispheres that fill the cranial cavity, some 4.5cm deep. This student had a layer of cerebral tissue less than 1mm deep covering the top of his spinal column. Ref Article
#3. When a 44-year-old man from France started experiencing weakness in his leg, he went to the hospital. That’s when doctors told him he was missing most of his brain. The man’s skull was full of liquid, with just a thin layer of brain tissue left. Ref Article
With speech and motor coordination intact, normal societal living, average as well as above average intelligence, the above cases are good cases for consciousness existing outside the brain. Even the split brain is a single consciousness.
Where are his memories stored?
Where does thinking occur?
Where is speech and visual acuity learned and stored?
Where is the moral compass and reasoning developed?
Where does this place evolutions larger brain hypothesis to support greater intelligence?
How do the 12 cranial nerves function without a source organ?
I imagine the big brain has something to do with esthetics. A population of pinheads wouldn’t be a real eye catcher— or would it?
Seeing what Christianity has done to indigenous cultures throughout the world as a token of love, spreading while being resisted is more in line with evolution than a loving god.
We had a similar event here this past month. Boasting about a fever and making her way around campus, an adult covid denier (superspreader) made her way around campus, became ill, tested positive, and put 80 students and 9 staff members in two weeks of quarantine.
Not that every staff member took it seriously either, as the self -quarantined can be seen at the grocery store and gas pumps chatting away face to face with whomever.
Who is in charge here, god, the people, or the virus? Spoiler alert! The virus is in charge. You can believe it is not, but evidence suggests otherwise. Resisting is futile.
As humans also continue to spread against all will and reason, it is obvious our agendas are not linked to the outcomes. We are not controlling anything at all, but do what we do thinking thoughts that make us think we’re somehow special, yet march to the beat of chaos on a competing ecosystem functioning to maintain its equilibrium.
The virus has found a foothold in the believers of religion and conspiracy. Operating on belief and others belief as usual, it doesn’t miss a beat. You can do everything to protect yourself—then here comes Cindy…
The only thing genuine is belief, which is in-genuine. The world as an illusion
Is belief necessary because the world is not real? Believing-in would not be necessary if it was.
Humanity has taken a necessary component of participating in the illusion and made it a dogma—rewarding the creature with promises for correct belief (there are none) Such belief is even considered more important than correct action.
So, why so much attitude when all beliefs have contradictory behaviors as bed-mates?
If you believe our ontology rests in biological evolution and the right mix of minerals creates intelligence, that natural selection leads to the fittest for survival, how can one simultaneously believe that humans are destructive viruses and the world should be changed—that the world would be a better place if humans never existed? We are simply results in a petri of selfish genes—
You are the result of billions of years of imperfect, immutable, unguided change with the best chance of survival. If you believe this, nothing that has ever happened is in error, so why fight it? Why fight anything? There are no mistakes in nature, yet one thinks he can outsmart his own organism. Thats funny!
If you believe that the universe is a self governing organism, that everything that happens happens to “itself” (god) then you must believe things are exactly as they can be, or should be (or you want it to be) so why the division if all this variety is simply an interesting drama?
If you believe there is a an all-wise, all-knowing creator that is in complete control (even ordains our elected officials since “before the world was”) that he will make you a heaven if you simply believe, why all the gun collecting, racism, and nationalism? Why postulate a god and then immediately make it a meaningless assertion? Is he is really in control? Why do you have no faith in your faith? Why choose to believe something that has no bearing on the outcome of anything?
I could go on, but why the fighting when every religion, philosophy, or science, ultimately shows that there is nothing that can be done that is a mistake, or perfectly natural?
If science really believes natural selection is true, religion is a perfectly natural progression of evolution. Science then would be right about their science but wrong to fight religion. If evolution is true, why fight it?
And finally, why is belief so prevalent around the world? Is it because it isn’t real? There is nothing to hold on to. Is it possible the ground of being is strictly illusory? If not, why the need to believe in everything? Why the world of beliefs if there is such a thing as reality?
Beliefs are so important that they are protected by law—is like protecting a spirit with proper documentation.
The world must be believed to be seen…”Belief makes one fight. Fighting makes one strong—the selfish gene is in control after all”
If evolution is true, Buddhism and Hinduism are much more likely to be true than Christianity. What is believed is a far cry from what is demonstrable. What we have here is a self governing organism—like your body containing your self, yet you don’t know how you do it.
If Hinduism were true, Buddhism and Christianity can be true. If Buddhism is true, Hinduism can be true, while the abrahamic model is not, and defies what is known.
Science is a way to validate predictions so we can navigate the universe we live in. Nothing in science bears the name proven—it bears the name useful and not yet invalidated. It uses two tools—observation and repetition, to come to usefulness.
Christian Religion may be useful, but until it’s claims are proven, its claims are meaningless. It uses one tool—belief. And whether useful or not deems its own baseless claims as true. That god governs the universe is a meaningless question that affords no aid of discovery, nor proves any hypothesis.
What we call knowledge is the translation of life into words. But life is not the words used to describe it, any more than quantum theory is a particle. However, scientists have learned to manipulate their findings into usefulness, yet still have no real conclusion about of what or how “stuff” is made.
While quantum theory provides much usefulness, religious theory raises problems that only it claims to solve—problems it has created. It is therefore, an end-product without the effort of validation.
A final note—
“In contrast to other nations the Chinese have no mythological cosmogony; the oldest sources already attempt to account for creation in a scientific way.” “It is rather striking that, aside from one myth (concerning Pangu) that China—perhaps alone among the major civilizations of antiquity—has no real story of creation. This situation is paralleled by what we find in Chinese philosophy, where, from the very start, there is a keen interest in the relationship of man to man and in the adjustment of man to the physical universe, but relatively little interest in cosmic origins.” “…the Chinese, amongst all peoples ancient and recent, primitive and modern, are apparently unique in having no creation myth; that is, they have regarded the world and man as uncreated, as constituting the central features of a spontaneously self-generating cosmos having no creator, god, ultimate cause, or will external to itself.” (1) Amen
If evolution is true, there have never been any mistakes in natural processes. Therefore, there are no mistakes in nature—only comfort, discomfort, or boredom. And, what gives one discomfort is someone else’s happy place.
We have been influenced heavily to accept evolution with a Hebrew-rooted twist, a sense of good and evil as a product of law—that there is a right and a wrong (even in nature) and choosing sides has become accentuated by the spreading of the good news. But there are really no laws in nature.
If the abrahamic religions are true, we have to make a faith statement—that what is true is superior to what is known—that what is believed is superior to reason or logical conclusion. Or, that contradictions are a natural process of heaven.
If we assume for a moment that the Big Bang is exactly how it happened, that we evolved into this or that, it would also conclude that we are many that stemmed from one, that we are all connected by a common event. We are a herd-bound species. Is that a result of survival in evolution, or because out of the one we became the many? That our primordial state was singular.
If we are the result of a cataclysmic event, eventually collecting enough space debris and luck to form planets and galaxies, isn’t our inertial state that of a single mind (needs defining) as well?
We can make a faith statement, that our individuality is a result of evolution—that what was, is not what is. Or we can make another, like Christianity’s stance that we are all separate individuals responsible for our decisions, that it is you, a single soul, a separate ego here on sufferance, while simultaneously providing a place to gather. Its a neat trick to use fear to isolate and use that same fear to couple.
If one prefers to be Christian and believe in evolution, you have to say god used evolution as a means of creation, that should, eventually produce the children of god, then it should be easy to accept all the differences a billion years of biologic variations would produce in the human mind.
Truth is reality laden with accurate misinterpretation and faulty perceptions.
“Why is this so hard to understand? Our perceptions are flawed, don’t impress that upon reality. Sheesh!”—Steve Ruiz
The illusion is simply that reality is not what it seems to be at first glance—even after inspection. That same flawed perception leads us to believe we can correct it by saying the world is divisible into feet and inches, seconds and degrees—dividing things by regular measurement and the dividing power of thought—The same nature of thought that implies we don’t understand, but somehow can trust the measuring devices we’ve thought up—while every thing requires continued re-examination after interfering by looking—weird
Think is a unit of thought, the same way an inch is a measurement of accepted distance, or a clock can track intervals. We categorize things into boxes so we can manage “the think” about them, pretending then that the world is a collection of bits and catagories, yet is as connected and inter-related as much as a human body. Every single bit is as unexplainable as any other—and to explain one fully we must explain everything fully.
Every perception is real (normal) from a particular point of view, though some truth is a little nastier at heart than others. Imagine how distasteful the world would really be, if believers still knew with a surety that the gospel of saving souls from hell should know no limits to persuasion.
For giggles we have to ask—if reality is so illusory (not what it appears to be) how could humans evolve with our perceptive reality apart from “real” reality? If our perceptions of reality are flawed, how could natural selection point evolution the way things seem to be, versus the true nature of nature? How could brains evolve to a non natural interpretation of things? It’s almost like it is some type of game…
Vibration is a reaction to an action, while sound is a relationship between a vibration and an eardrum. If a tree falls in the woods and there is nothing around with ears, it does not make a sound.
How then, prior to the relationship would ears evolve, when nothing in the primordial soup could comprehend vibration as sound, without already having ears?
Sight is the same problem. How could vision evolve without first being able to comprehend light? I have a friend that was born completely blind. Asking her what it’s like to just see darkness all the time, she has no idea what that means—no comprehension of dark or light at all—can’t even imagine it.
Maybe these questions have been already solved, but I am curious if someone smarter than me about evolution can answer this. It appears that the theory of evolution has the cart before the horse…why I sometimes depend on the reasoning prowess of others.
There is a Zen poem that says, “If you ask where the flowers come from, even the god of spring doesn’t know”. They also teach that these things arise mutually on their own, like backs and fronts, lefts and rights, and bees with flowers (you cant have one without the other) According to that philosophy, polarity is omnipotence—it is not knowing how it is done, but simply doing what is done, like growing your own hair—how do you do that?
How focusing on the problem enlarges the problem—the art of letting go
Humans have a very narrow range of conscious attention that we allow to define us. Based on our personalities and what values (rewards) catch our attention, it begins to define us as a person and collectively as a specie, while the rest of life passes by—often a very good life that is all around, yet unnoticed.
“Target fixation is an attentional phenomenon observed in humans in which an individual becomes so focused on a hazard, that they inadvertently increase their risk of colliding with the object. In such cases, the observer may fixate so intently on the target that they steer in the direction of their gaze, which is often the ultimate cause of a collision“.
The human neuron is already very much like radar, always scanning the horizon for trouble. When we stay focused on danger, a type of neurosis sets in and we miss the good, open waters through such myopia. When this evolutionary mechanism of protection is embraced as a value, another mechanism engages—tribalism. Then when evidence is gathered to dismiss such behavior, humans employ a final, last ditch defense against reason—the backfire effect, which describes how individuals, when confronted with evidence that conflicts with their beliefs, come to hold their original position even more strongly.
As our christian dominated culture continues to fixate on the apocalypse, that somehow they can win with this mindset, we may just be bound to bring it on. But really they may have to wait a while, because actual life is petty damn good. Not that anything really matters when its all just a part of evolution. Our only chance of survival is to stop fixing everything before we blow it up by taking sides—or is that natural natural selection too?
Turns out the way, the truth, and the life, is really the half way, the half truth, and a half a life—and it meddles with nature, a serious setback.
Holding to faith as the pinnacle of religious virtue, it has created a great famine of original thought and stunted the collective growth of the species. But we were told it was so much more than it is, which is fine if you never examine any other ways of thinking, or being.
Even atheism with its functional, unlimited connection and hope for humanity—to grant every inhabitant of the planet equal asylum, surpasses religious morality with ethical behavior—simply a more natural, organic development based on fairness.
Religions in general have failed to accept nature as boss. But in the end, after all the information-gathering research, decisions are made by hunches, snap judgments from somewhere in the consciousness, and often against your own judgment. Hunches that have billions of people raising families and living in homes and going on holiday. To the pious skeptic regarding the natural man, isn’t this a testament to the effectiveness of nature and the brain? The more we try to fix the world and shoehorn religious ideals into the public forum, the more we have to look around and say, wow! everyone seems to be getting along just fine, with or without my belief. Nature is best left alone to do its thing. Be happy with that and leave it be—it’s a lot smarter than you think.
“It brings in to play innate and spontaneous intelligence by using it without forcing it. It is fundamental to both the Taoist and Confucian thought, that the natural man is to be trusted, and from their standpoint it appears that the western mistrust of human nature is a kind of schizophrenia”—Alan Watts
This point of view is that the brain is a fundamental organism of nature and is to be trusted without coercion, which is evidenced by the success of humanity—in spite of the various commandments and synthetic religious dogmas. Even the Native American traditions exemplified this process.
Most people have no idea how young humans are. We are infants. “If January 1st 2019 were the beginning of earth, and December 31st the current day, each day would represent about 12million years (for a 4.3billion years-old earth)
—Bacterium would have formed February 1st and fish November 20th.
—Dinosaurs came into the field December 10th, then our first hominid ancestors on December 31st (in the afternoon), with Homo sapiens coming on the scene at about 11:45 PM. The past 1 minute being the period of known history“—New World Mind, Robert Ornstein and Paul Ehlich
—That’s the history of the world compressed into one year for perspective—But 70billion light years ago Yahweh was tinkering with a human genome to get his Adam, laying the groundwork to have lights in the heavens his man could never see.
The real trick is going to see if we can make it til 12:01… We have advanced for economics sake faster than our evolution, and faster that our rememberable history. What we need now are minds that can perceive and plan for long term, slow motion, earthtime processes, or we may just find the greatest threat to ever face the planet is the prolific homo-sapien, created in the image of god.
A look at morality as a learned behavior of social construct
If morality is imprinted by god into the hearts of man, why is it that feral children adapt the morality of the host species? (so much for god imprinted on the hearts of men) Not only is such social behavior learned, but it is rarely unlearned, with the vast majority of these kids becoming institutionalized after capture—even after being baptized by the well intended, they remain in their adolescence mindset, be it wolf, monkey, antelope, or bear.
Interesting side note; feral children also develop the acute senses of their host species. Nocturnal vision, acute hearing, and sense of smell are all superhuman compared to the tame man, showing adaptations develop much more rapidly than one would expect.
So, if I am skeptical by nature and don’t believe, but agree to believe by choice, would god then judge me for being a liar? If one simply does not believe the story, but agrees for the sake of community, family, income, for the children, isn’t that dismissal of personal integrity a sin?
Can one truly decide to believe, or in my current case, I only now can decide to pretend to believe? Deciding to believe is a choice, which makes it pretending mixed with hope—that lacks integrity.
It seems as though we are destined to believe, as distasteful and destructive as it is to the current form of humanity. Even those that leave Christianity generally adapt another belief of some kind. Everyone wants a belief. To me, at this point that just seems weird (maybe I’m weird) but I believe nothing. There is no progress in a modern, overpopulated world for these uberdeveloped thought convictions, backed by stubborn, tribal pride, which is ultimately just strong belief in faith.
The antithesis of what the scripture supposedly intends, but draws out the man in a course few can correct.
If I had to choose at this point, some primal form of worship would be my choice.
Our food is now served on a plate with very little caloric effort on our part (and we wonder how we got so fat) We love the gadgets and endless, idle entertainment while unavoidably hanging on to a genetic past that doesn’t mix well with this sedentary way of life.
Obesity and diabetes (among others) are epidemics. Our bodies have not changed over the last 300 years to keep pace with endless sugar and foreign foods filled to the brim with calories—while Americans sit. Sit for work, sit for play, sit for worship, and sit to travel—proudly sharing a Fitbit status for simply moving of what used to be normal behavior. The hardest part of a normal day may be opening packages.
Religion too, is now served on a plate and we just ingest it with no effort about it. We’re spiritually flat, out of tune with nature and gather our info from big-box, turn-key religious experts or their break-offs.
If any of it were reality and you believe your Bible, there is not one true believer on planet earth. For “greater signs than these follow them that believe“—Jesus. No matter how much you say you believe, you really don’t.
What of life used to be an adventure for each new child, an exploration of the world before us, is now doled-out cookie-cutter style epidemic spiritual and physical sedation from birth to death, with our own intuitive, individual attuning suppressed or hereticized by those same religions that offer nothing but hope. No results, no growth, no bliss, while pretending to be happy in this way of life until it kills us.
The promised enlightenment now tips scales on stagnation and stress from endlessly pretending to be happy. But really, pharmaceutical stats don’t lie. The most religious segments of the country are on the most prescription. Quite possibly the most unhealthy, longest living, over-medicated society in the history of the world. Happy, happy, happy. Have Xanax—and a soda.
How our grinding evolution is a lemming for religious purpose
Peering carefully, cautiously behind every corner…slowly, quietly, intently approaching every closet, while maginations hide under every bed—every time, chills of air send pilos erect, pupils dilate, blood pressures rise. Skin sensitivity doubles…with caution…ready to flee, or to fight, only to hide in worry another night. After arranging the room carefully—so no objects come alive in their darkened states, can a moment of peace descend dreary into sleep.
Why is this acute imagery laying in wait, alive beround every corner? Where did all this ritual come from? Survival. Who is it that survived the ages to become us? Where did we arrive to this overdeveloped sense, particularly at night?
It is this inherent caution, this fear, that is easily manipulated by religion. Playing on millions of years of survival instinct, the preacher paints a picture of a loving father figure to protect you from evil. If you can only imagine…just a bit more
Since the industrial revolution and the formation of modern survival, we have leaped beyond our multi-generational evolution. Changes that took 100’s of thousands of years are now shoehorned into a century. The preachers gold is our lumbering evolution. Fear is still a best seller…
How in our evolution did we become so trusting while raised in societies of liars.
Hard to dispute that belief is a common thread of war, contention, oppression, division, and hate, but I’d have to take two minutes to prove it. Seein’s I only get a minute here, godspeed is of the essence. To scrutinize and thoroughly plow-over any belief based faith is a noble and quite moral thing to do—and easy…
There are those that claim to have found god in their dreams, visions, NDEs, traumas, addictions, and so forth. He’s also been found in G-force testing, neurological studies, chemical enhancements, CO poisoning, anesthesia, seizures, end-zones, and outright lies. This spectral evidence (except for the lying, of course) is the root of all faith, and beliefs based on such evidence are totally unreliable and 100% subjective. To believe them has caused pain and suffering and outright murderous genicide throughout religions storied past. Putting all religion into past-tense would actually be wise—basedon its performance…its own demonstrable evidence.
Humanity’s beauty is our obligatory nature to our fellows in-kind, basically feeling compelled to believe when presented nearly anything—to be compliant, agreeable, simply because we are asked to merely believe and trust. Belief is about the stupidest trait mankind has somehow maximally developed in a society of liars.
To believe based on another’s belief statement, who also heard it from another, who never witnessed anything— is not only foolish, but irresponsible.
Where in our evolution and why, did we become so believing, so trusting, yet raised in a predominantly dishonest society of liars? Raised in deception like it’s a running joke of some kind, how this serves our survival—I just don’t know.
In a nutshell—“if the existence of God is up for debate, he doesn’t exist. Belief/faith in something is not necessary if that something actually exists”—Ben
Comparing human evolution to sandcastles—equal time comparison
Intelligent designers often use ridiculous metaphors to prove a need for god. This conversation happened on Steve Ruis (excellent blog) if you want to wade through it
JohnBranyan— “Do you believe sandcastles appear on the beach without an explanation”?
Jim—See my first answer. Don’t be ridiculous. Please.
Branyan— You didn’t answer the question, Jim.
If you believe brains come about by unguided, natural processes, why can’t sandcastles?
Jim—They do form naturally under the right circumstances given time (see pics)
Branyan—So your answer is, “Yes. Sandcastles appear on beaches without explanation.”
Branyan—This topic actually came up a couple of years ago when during a conversation with my 5-year old granddaughter. She was asked how sandcastles get on beaches. Her response was, “Somebody put it there.” We asked a clarifying question, “Can the waves build sandcastles?” She said, “No.” (this story is a lie)
I’ll tell her that you disagree and see if becomes an atheist. (She would already be one without your overt brainwashing)
Jim—You asked for naturally occurring sandcastles. They appear all the time in geologic time. You want to rush the process, but like the brain (apples to apples) it took a long, long time. You defining negligent parameters doesn’t fit anywhere and you know it. No species evolved in the time it takes to go to the beach. You want to guide the question to suit your answer. Doesn’t work in evolution or geology—only religion….Weird
Branyan—”Well done, Jim.
You have thoroughly debunked the sandcastle argument—”No species evolved in the time it takes to go to the beach.”
He then backpedaled to add some old and irrelevant switching of goalposts, moving from sandcastles to televisions on the beach.
Jim—Actually john, those sandstone mesas used to be in the very ocean, battling the very waves of which you speak. It actually fits perfectly—in evolutionary and geologic time. And as far as the tv on the beach, that too, is proof intelligent design only comes after evolution—of the human brain.
1. First understanding our true origin means a great deal as opposed to stories that focus on things like original sin. In Judeo Christian thought, the idea that we are all born sinners because of this creation story matters a great deal.
2. The idea that evolution is both non-divergent and is iterative over a long timescale has numerous benefits to us as a people:
a) Evolution wasn’t trying to create us. Intelligence is just one other way to adapt to an environment. We are not the most successful species or the pinnacle of evolution by any means. Human conceit is a big problem and this is largely built the idea that there is a divine reason for our being here that does not apply to the rest of the universe.
b) Because evolution is iterative, we know that as a species we are part of a continuum, not some large gap above every being. This relates to a) above, but the fact that evolution allows us to recognize that all creatures, plants, microbes, other animals have a right to life is extremely important. It also helps us understand how best to preserve conditions that are going to prevent creatures from going extinct before their time to allow for a more natural adjustment of ecosystems. But beyond a) knowing that we are a continuum allows us to study other organisms and their behaviors to help us understand ourselves. It also might allow us to forgive ourselves a little more for our imperfections.
c) The fact that evolution is a slow process is something that helps us understand the vast well of time that it takes to make life as complex as ourselves and gives a sense from where we fit into the history of the Earth and of the universe. It is humbling to say the least and that’s important. Humility. I find contemplating this span of time to also be more awesome than a magical wave of God’s hand and a 6000 year history. And if awe and wonder is important to you, than the ways in which evolution works are filled with much to contemplate and awe at. Understanding the longer story of evolution and human development gives us a better sense of what we can expect out of ourselves for the future.
3) Evolution has also had an enormous impact on our understanding of the brain, and helped bust through the paradigm that our mind is somehow separate from our body. This is something that was built on the human conceit. The brain is an organ like any other, and evolved along with the rest of our organs and thus we can understand much about how the brain works by understanding past environments that we spend much of our time in surviving. This has enormous impacts on understanding human behavior, helping people overcome thought patterns which may not be very helpful, and again by seeing ourselves on this spectrum with other life we can see that our brains aren’t vastly more special than some of our closest relatives. Without evolution we would not have bust through the notion of free will which has enormous implications on how we practice justice. More than that it can increase our empathy for those that are our worst actors in society to see them as sick and not intrinsically evil.
Understanding evolution has increased my empathy, made me more forgiving, gives me more hope for the future, and fills me with a sense of awe and wonder that the spiritual world could not even come close to. Perhaps that’s not your experience, but to suggest that it tries to be some sort of pillar against religion or that people who have studied evolution had some goal to take down religion seems ludicrous to me. Trying to understand the world is a fundamental curiosity and evolution is the truth. It serves us far better than the illusions. Global and social problems can be addressed through an acceptance of evolution. Not only by the contents of the theory, but the acceptance that there is a better way to acquire knowledge about the universe than just make guesses, and believing in things real hard to convince yourself that you’re right. Evolution isn’t obvious, as are a lot of things that science has discovered. They are nuanced, you have to look carefully, you have to be systematic in your observations and you have to check in with others to make sure those observations are sound. This is actually really really important to solving problems. To suggest that we ignore one of the most meaningful and important scientific theories because it doesn’t help us solve the problems of today is just simply untrue.
Stopping evolution may be the next “global warming” type crisis, as it is currently affecting about 7.6 billion people as of December 2017. The United Nations median estimates it will further increase to 11.8 billion by the year 2100. Each generation is changing, and right before our eyes each new crop presses into an unknown firestorm of change. Do you realize in 2100, that virtually every person 10 years or older with few exception, at this very moment will be dead and gone and the world of people will be an entirely new stock of homo sapient ascent? Or descent, depending on your flavor of mind. Think about that! A new 11.8 billion people will be replacing every contestant in the current population. Will we be smarter, stronger, or faster than the current population? A few, maybe, but not by much. Each new birth starts anew, and the old ways make their way into textbooks so thick a lifetime of learning is dumped in a pile to sift through and decipher. That is, if you want to. The growing and vast archives of world knowledge will be even trickier to navigate, and a subspecies of specialists will emerge, making room for more certification with less education. I hardly see more incentive for more really smart people reaching for the bar of excellence with one hand on their device, and muddled with so many mediocre choices. If our evolution is going to be an improvement on the past, something new in education needs to be done. Getting 80% of the population on board to substance learning instead of superstitious, religious folk lore is going to help. The problem with evolution is it’s unstoppable and unpredictable directions. Perhaps with a little unity, we could guide our direction to a better world, and not just more of it.
You want to see this absolutely brilliant crop dusting of the Christian argument for morality see this post and read the comments. They spent the next several hours trying to address only selected verbiage and imho without question lost, and resorted to cherry picking points with Branyanistic name calling and Mel moving the topic goal posts. It was masterful ! Here’s the first comment-
“I’ve always found the morality argument for a god to be the absolute weakest for the simple reason that we have hard evidence that this thing we call “morality,” which is really nothing but a formative sense of good (positive) and bad (negative) behaviour, is a product of neurological processing power. The more neurons, the more accute an organisms understanding of it. Countless studies, across numerous species, prove this beyond any rational doubt. It is not a human phenomena, and its anything but complicated- John Zande
Trust – reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.
Faith- “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 KJV
I do not have an iota of faith in science, but I do place some trust and confidence in science and scientists because of the prior and continued successes all around us. It has a track record of measurable performance. Religion still has none. The paradox of religious faith is also found in scripture. Let this next part soak in a second.
“If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?” John 3:12 KJV
Was Jesus a scientist, or better yet, astrophysicist? The Greek word for heavenly is Ouranos, pronounced (oo-ran-os) meaning – heaven, the visible heavens: the atmosphere, the sky, the starry heavens. I digress.
Monotheistic premise today does not believe the earthly obvious, but holds to faith to explain what is otherwise clearly known.
Fundamental knee jerk resistance to science is holding the religious hostage to faith. If they won’t even admit to proven basics, how will they understand more complex disciplines like physics and evolution?
“The greatest insult to humanism is that man needs a god in order to have a moral framework. The moral framework that comes from god is always tested against mans own morals and the idea that we don’t know right from wrong. But then we have to take it from words dictated from a rather hot-headed neurotic desert tribe is just insulting” -Stephen Fry. It’s so easy even a comedian gets it!
The humanist morals compared to the morals of the nomadic tribe? Hmm
Secular humanism. “The philosophy or life stance of secular humanism embraces human reason, ethics, social justice, and philosophical naturalism while specifically rejecting religious dogma, supernaturalism, pseudoscience, and superstition as the bases of morality and decision making”.
It is painstakingly ridiculous to sift through an archaic and divisive text dictated by a cruel nomadic desert tribe thousands of years ago to determine which is moral or immoral for our time. Theirs was an immoral and violent time that would not pass any litmus test of decency today.
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.” ~Albert Einstein
The transition from religion to atheism was incredibly easy for me. Roughly 80% of Mormons who leave the faith become atheist and never align with another belief system. Made me wonder why. I knew that as a Mormon from my own way of thinking, that if I wasn’t LDS, I wouldn’t be anything. After a few years of atheism now think I figured out why. It is probably the most materialistic world view of any other religion.
Mormon theology teaches three basic principles about where we came from, why we are here, where are we going, and also how to get there.
1. Where we came from– LDS doctrine teaches that we existed before the world was created. That we were intelligences of fine spirit matter. Energy. Spirit offspring of god, and that matter has always existed but some is more pure or fine. But matter nonetheless. That the gods organized existing matter to form the worlds. We are eternal beings living in a mortal existence capable of progressing, evolving, if you will, in a cosmos completely filled with matter. There is no empty space, but all is comprised of matter according to the doctrine.
2. Why are we here? Ultimately the goal is to become like god. Man is as god once was. He is part of the same matter that makes up man. Not separate from it. He is governed by the same natural laws that we experience, only he has perfected it. He was once a man, and though multiple progressions or cycles of learning he was able to achieve godhood. That when you die, you don’t go straight to the highest heaven, but you progress to become more through training and experiences and obedience. Essentially Mormonism was directing me on a concise , focused program to progress (evolve) to the highest life form. Just different wording.
3. Where are we going? Mormon doctrine teaches that when you die, you continue on in spirit form for a time, then after resurrection you have a body of flesh and bone in its perfect form. Then judgement comes and those that are most worthy progress to the highest level. Not as gods, but ready to become such. To continue on the path. To take your place in the expanding universe. (Hubble Deep Space) This is the LDS version of natural selection or, evolutionary exaltation of the fittest or most worthy. The best get to continue on. The other are not damned to hell, but damned as in a halt to their progress. Unknown if those get another chance.
The sole purpose of this creation and the universe is for all of gods creatures to have joy and find happiness and reach their full potential. It feels to me that Mormons transition to atheism easily or naturally because when no longer believing in god or religion, a evolutionary alignment with an atheist worldview is a switch flip. Making the world a better place and for everyone to find the most happiness and joy. Personal happiness and human potential. Also, Matter/Energy cannot be created or destroyed but can only change forms. It can evolve to a higher form given time. Very materialistic view incorporating different forms of matter and potential life cycles.
NASA has released some interesting data about Scott Kelly and his year-long stint at the ISS. Although more data will be forthcoming, early statements seem to chalk one up for the good guys. A drastic change of environment seems to accelerate some evolutionary processes. Here is a quote from NASA
“the chemical modifications that were seen in Scott’s DNA during the trip in space returned to normal once he came back to Earth. The same thing happened around the midpoint of the study for Mark’s end, which led scientists to believe that genes are actually sensitive to changing environments.
NASA found that there are hundreds of unique genetic mutations for both Scott and Mark”.
Also stated were changes in sizes and shapes of red and white blood cells.
Imagining the implications here I thought this was pretty big.