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Thread: A God without compelling evidence?

  1. Top | #271
    Contributor skepticalbip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ideologyhunter View Post
    I was paging through the old anthology The Great Thoughts (compiled by George Seldes) this morning and this one jumped out:

    God is not man's ancestor, but his descendant.
    -Nikos Kazantzakis
    A similar notable quotation is:
    “Man came first through evolution. God came second through man's imagination.”
    ~ Joey Lawsin, In the beginning, Man Created God

  2. Top | #272
    Stephen T-B
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    In his book A Brief History of Humankind, Yuval Noah Harari has a suggestion which I think plausible.

    He suggests that in hunter-gathering times, humans recognised a spiritual element in everything around them - animals, plants/trees, rocks, mountains, lakes, ponds, streams/rivers and springs - and there was no hierarchy in this spiritual landscape. Everything was connected; everything was interdependent on everything else. (We see traces of this in some surviving societies).

    Harari goes on to suggest that with the development of agriculture and the domestication and exploitation of certain animals, people saw themselves as set apart. They now "owned" the land, and they "owned" the livestock they kept on it. Yet being owners gave them limited mastery: there was so much they were not in control of. The weather, pestilence, infertility, disease, rival clans, and in this new hierarchical landscape in which they found themselves, there developed the notion of superior beings which were masters of absolutely everything, and which might be cajoled and appeased with gifts and flattery, to perform favours

    (The Priestley casts which were able to commune with these superior beings thus acquired immense influence and power within their communities).

  3. Top | #273
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen T-B View Post
    In his book A Brief History of Humankind, Yuval Noah Harari has a suggestion which I think plausible.

    He suggests that in hunter-gathering times, humans recognised a spiritual element in everything around them - animals, plants/trees, rocks, mountains, lakes, ponds, streams/rivers and springs - and there was no hierarchy in this spiritual landscape. Everything was connected; everything was interdependent on everything else. (We see traces of this in some surviving societies).

    Harari goes on to suggest that with the development of agriculture and the domestication and exploitation of certain animals, people saw themselves as set apart. They now "owned" the land, and they "owned" the livestock they kept on it. Yet being owners gave them limited mastery: there was so much they were not in control of. The weather, pestilence, infertility, disease, rival clans, and in this new hierarchical landscape in which they found themselves, there developed the notion of superior beings which were masters of absolutely everything, and which might be cajoled and appeased with gifts and flattery, to perform favours

    (The Priestley casts which were able to commune with these superior beings thus acquired immense influence and power within their communities).
    The common thread is that we humans like to make things up. We make up egalitarian spirits and we make up authoritarian spirits, and doing such serves our superstitious needs quite well. The title of this thread is "A God without compelling evidence." It could just as well have been "Compelling Evidence without a God." And that of course has been the hit that these alleged magic creatures continue to take, namely that there just not there.

    On the other hand, there's some pretty damn compelling evidence that humans like to make things up, gods included.

  4. Top | #274
    Contributor skepticalbip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen T-B View Post
    In his book A Brief History of Humankind, Yuval Noah Harari has a suggestion which I think plausible.

    He suggests that in hunter-gathering times, humans recognised a spiritual element in everything around them - animals, plants/trees, rocks, mountains, lakes, ponds, streams/rivers and springs - and there was no hierarchy in this spiritual landscape. Everything was connected; everything was interdependent on everything else. (We see traces of this in some surviving societies).
    This bit sounds like part of the Victorian idea of the "noble savage" where hunter-gatherer peoples lived being careful to only take what they needed, concerned with not harming the environment. While it is true that early hunter-gatherers had little impact on the environment, there is no evidence that this was because of conscious intent. There is evidence that there were too few to have had a major impact and those few did not have a reason or technology to make a major impact on the environment. OTOH, these hunter-gatherers are known to have driven herds of bison over cliffs (buffalo jumps) to kill hundreds only to take choice bits (like tongues) from a few of the bison and leaving the remainder to rot. Another hunting method used was starting forest fires to drive game out toward a waiting ambush.

  5. Top | #275
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    Quote Originally Posted by skepticalbip View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen T-B View Post
    In his book A Brief History of Humankind, Yuval Noah Harari has a suggestion which I think plausible.

    He suggests that in hunter-gathering times, humans recognised a spiritual element in everything around them - animals, plants/trees, rocks, mountains, lakes, ponds, streams/rivers and springs - and there was no hierarchy in this spiritual landscape. Everything was connected; everything was interdependent on everything else. (We see traces of this in some surviving societies).
    This bit sounds like part of the Victorian idea of the "noble savage" where hunter-gatherer peoples lived being careful to only take what they needed, concerned with not harming the environment. While it is true that early hunter-gatherers had little impact on the environment, there is no evidence that this was because of conscious intent. There is evidence that there were too few to have had a major impact and those few did not have a reason or technology to make a major impact on the environment. OTOH, these hunter-gatherers are known to have driven herds of bison over cliffs (buffalo jumps) to kill hundreds only to take choice bits (like tongues) from a few of the bison and leaving the remainder to rot. Another hunting method used was starting forest fires to drive game out toward a waiting ambush.
    Pretty much every ancient way of living, if scaled to modern humans, would end the world that same day.

  6. Top | #276
    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skepticalbip View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen T-B View Post
    In his book A Brief History of Humankind, Yuval Noah Harari has a suggestion which I think plausible.

    He suggests that in hunter-gathering times, humans recognised a spiritual element in everything around them - animals, plants/trees, rocks, mountains, lakes, ponds, streams/rivers and springs - and there was no hierarchy in this spiritual landscape. Everything was connected; everything was interdependent on everything else. (We see traces of this in some surviving societies).
    This bit sounds like part of the Victorian idea of the "noble savage" where hunter-gatherer peoples lived being careful to only take what they needed, concerned with not harming the environment. While it is true that early hunter-gatherers had little impact on the environment, there is no evidence that this was because of conscious intent. There is evidence that there were too few to have had a major impact and those few did not have a reason or technology to make a major impact on the environment. OTOH, these hunter-gatherers are known to have driven herds of bison over cliffs (buffalo jumps) to kill hundreds only to take choice bits (like tongues) from a few of the bison and leaving the remainder to rot. Another hunting method used was starting forest fires to drive game out toward a waiting ambush.
    It's not a coincidence that the arrival of Homo Sapiens in Australia occurred at the same time as the extinction of a huge range of megafauna that had inhabited the island continent for millions of years.

    The indigenous people of Australia aren't so much in tune with the Australian environment, as the environment has adapted to the indigenous people, over the 40,000 or so years that they have been manipulating it.

  7. Top | #277
    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarhyn View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by skepticalbip View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen T-B View Post
    In his book A Brief History of Humankind, Yuval Noah Harari has a suggestion which I think plausible.

    He suggests that in hunter-gathering times, humans recognised a spiritual element in everything around them - animals, plants/trees, rocks, mountains, lakes, ponds, streams/rivers and springs - and there was no hierarchy in this spiritual landscape. Everything was connected; everything was interdependent on everything else. (We see traces of this in some surviving societies).
    This bit sounds like part of the Victorian idea of the "noble savage" where hunter-gatherer peoples lived being careful to only take what they needed, concerned with not harming the environment. While it is true that early hunter-gatherers had little impact on the environment, there is no evidence that this was because of conscious intent. There is evidence that there were too few to have had a major impact and those few did not have a reason or technology to make a major impact on the environment. OTOH, these hunter-gatherers are known to have driven herds of bison over cliffs (buffalo jumps) to kill hundreds only to take choice bits (like tongues) from a few of the bison and leaving the remainder to rot. Another hunting method used was starting forest fires to drive game out toward a waiting ambush.
    Pretty much every ancient way of living, if scaled to modern humans, would end the world that same day.
    Or to put it another way, modern technologies and systems have allowed modern humans to be hugely more successful than they could possibly have been without them.

  8. Top | #278
    Veteran Member excreationist's Avatar
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    On the topic of those in power who claim to have access to gods...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=328s&v=pA5PlJiqOnk (jumps to 5:28)
    the strong took power first and their
    reign was bloody then came the clever
    with their notions of God - eventually that
    too became a bloody affair the elders of
    the early tribes seized power by
    appealing to the all-powerful who dwelt
    in a cave they claimed the god cave
    it was off-limits forbidden to everyone
    except the elders who only entered to
    receive commands from God and to give
    God gifts of people of course only the
    elders knew the truth that the cave was
    empty
    it was the elders who were truly giving
    the divine commands and enjoying the
    fruits of the tribes offerings in return
    they offered absolutely nothing except
    the promise of reward and Punishment and
    an afterlife that would never be as a
    result the elders were the wealthiest
    most powerful people of their time power
    led to corruption and corruption to
    greed which made the people's suspicion
    strong enough to explore the forbidden
    cave finding it devoid of God or any
    supernatural power whatsoever this was a
    crisis for the powers that be who
    quickly found that without their God
    construct they had no power hiding God
    in forbidden places eventually gave way
    to hiding God in progressively
    inaccessible places a mountaintop the
    sky the Stars beyond space and time
    allowing people to make whatever claims
    they wanted which usually coincided with
    using the manufactured authority of God
    to spread their influence they acted as
    God's mouthpiece when in actuality it
    was the other way around

    That lecture is set in the future and it goes on to explain that a simulation would be used where the person becomes God to see if they will be corrupted by absolute power....

  9. Top | #279
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    Quote Originally Posted by excreationist View Post
    On the topic of those in power who claim to have access to gods...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=328s&v=pA5PlJiqOnk (jumps to 5:28)
    the strong took power first and their
    reign was bloody then came the clever
    with their notions of God - eventually that
    too became a bloody affair the elders of
    the early tribes seized power by
    appealing to the all-powerful who dwelt
    in a cave they claimed the god cave
    it was off-limits forbidden to everyone
    except the elders who only entered to
    receive commands from God and to give
    God gifts of people of course only the
    elders knew the truth that the cave was
    empty
    it was the elders who were truly giving
    the divine commands and enjoying the
    fruits of the tribes offerings in return
    they offered absolutely nothing except
    the promise of reward and Punishment and
    an afterlife that would never be as a
    result the elders were the wealthiest
    most powerful people of their time power
    led to corruption and corruption to
    greed which made the people's suspicion
    strong enough to explore the forbidden
    cave finding it devoid of God or any
    supernatural power whatsoever this was a
    crisis for the powers that be who
    quickly found that without their God
    construct they had no power hiding God
    in forbidden places eventually gave way
    to hiding God in progressively
    inaccessible places a mountaintop the
    sky the Stars beyond space and time
    allowing people to make whatever claims
    they wanted which usually coincided with
    using the manufactured authority of God
    to spread their influence they acted as
    God's mouthpiece when in actuality it
    was the other way around

    That lecture is set in the future and it goes on to explain that a simulation would be used where the person becomes God to see if they will be corrupted by absolute power....
    The issue comes in that at some point, those tribes with gods seemed to outpace those without them.

    The fact is, gods were born of those caves, in the lies of those who talked of them, and in the rules that were attached to their edicts. Because while the elders were greedily devouring the offerings, the tribe was doing other things the elders said to do, that later were attributed to the gods of the empty cave.

    This belief in something greater than the elder meant that the idea continued to have strength even outside the context of the single elder's life.

    Their lies and devouring of an offering thusly happened to produce a net benefit for the tribe in exchange for the inefficiency.

    Now, these gods, these immortal ideas, aren't exactly what most people would call a "god", but that's all they ever were.

  10. Top | #280
    Veteran Member excreationist's Avatar
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    I thought I'd put stories of my mentally ill past here rather than the more rational "Argument from possible simulation" thread....

    Some random thoughts:

    I was looking at the FRDB archive from 2005/2006....

    I wrote this:
    All supernatural phenomena has a materialistic explanation
    Post by excreationist » Mon Jan 30, 2006 9:20 pm

    I'm a believer in the supernatural realm now (Kabbalah style)

    But I think that any supernatural phenomenon (include good and bad luck due to karma) ALWAYS has a materialistic explanation. It's as if there is an equation that has to be solved so that things are consistent from both the materialistic and supernatural points of view.
    ....
    People who try to convince scientific-minded people about their supernatural experiences become frustrated since I think the supernatural world wants to stay hidden from the material world. They coexist in people's minds, which are another realm (I think - according to the Kabbalah).

    (BTW, I'm still taking all of my medication and my life is going really well. I've found "The Kabbalah Experience" by Naomi Ozaniec to be very helpful - though it is a long way up their "tree of knowledge" to get to the "wisdom" sephiroth [plane of consciousness])
    Though now I no longer believe in spiritual traditions like Kabbalah and numerology... I came up with my own pseudo esoteric system (LineNum) https://linenum.com/ and concluded that the Sefirot is nonsense. I also gave up on coming up with personality systems (often based on "King-Warrior-Magician-Lover").

    This is from 2007
    Hi, I’m Satan at this point in time and I know the secrets of life.

    THE LAW OF REALITY EVERYTHING happens for a Good logical reason.

    The secret of eternal life on earth is to not break any commandments in the Bible, tempt others, be selfish, don’t pay for things with money, don’t manipulate people, be imperfect and believe and preach the LIE of materialism.

    Anyone want to be my servant or be another Satan?
    Looking at my old threads I found advice about what to do if things don't seem real:
    - walk on gravel or wet grass with bare feet
    - move an ice cube over sensitive parts of your body
    - use a brush on the back (not front) of knee
    In the Is Life Real? thread I was concerned to read me saying:
    Lately I'm not sure I believe in the supernatural anymore though a couple days ago I went to a healing centre twice to try and strengthen my Christian faith... they also did a bit of deliverance to rid me of curses and evil spirits
    .....
    Well I tried killing myself last Sunday afternoon/night (see earlier posts) and on Wednesday I told my doctor about it and he told me I had to go to the mental hospital to keep me safe.
    What I need to do is to believe that life is inherently valuable or sacred or something... i.e. by being a Christian (all my relatives are but after looking through some books I find it very hard to believe again and even harder to be "on fire" for the lord)
    One of my psychiatrists says that humanism also says that life is inherently valuable. Maybe I'll be a humanist rather than the suicidal pessimist I have been lately.
    see also: (involves apparent evidence of an intelligent force)
    https://talkfreethought.org/showthre...t-force-exists

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