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Re: writhing worms SLS

Posted by joe schmoe on March 10, 2013, at 10:06:11

In reply to Re: Lou' request-mrngsptr Meatwood_Flack, posted by SLS on March 10, 2013, at 8:02:36

> When I was an atheist, the universe was a cold, dark place with no direction or purpose. Man was a writhing worm on the surface of a small planet, whose every thought, feeling, and behavior were instilled by evolution only as a means of survival and propagation. The years I spent in atheism were the worst of my life.

LOL. Nice imagery.

Personally I think the common phenomena of belief in gods, as well as hearing voices, must have some biological basis, and I think it is the two-hemisphered construction of the brain. One half occasionally "talks" to the other half, or just makes its presence known, which feels to the conscious half like there is some constant presence there, hidden and watching and occasionally commanding. This idea is explored more fully in Julian Jaynes' "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind."

Now, belief in an invisible friend who is immortal, omniscient and has superpowers, might be a great comfort, but usually we do not judge ideas on the basis of how comforting they are. For example, if you played the Lottery each day, and went to bed convinced that you were going to win tomorrow and thus in a very happy state of mind, always looking forward to the next day and certain riches, when in fact you were not going to win, we might say this belief is a great comfort and helps the Lottery player to get through difficult times. Most people could probably afford to play the Lottery every day too, it would only cost about $30 a month, cheaper than many meds. Does that mean this idea should be encouraged as a therapy? It is an interesting notion.

I tend to prefer facts to comforting beliefs, however useful such beliefs might be, but maybe that is simply because I have an awfully hard time believing things which would be comforting, but that I see no evidence for.

As for whether the universe is cold, whether we are worms, etc. those are value judgments, not facts. I don't think an atheist like Carl Sagan saw the universe as cold and humans as worms. Rather, he saw the universe as an amazing place, and humans as the most amazing things in it.




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