Atheism a neutral perspective?

Many atheists say (I myself am a free thinking theist) that atheism is the natural state of thought. They say that when a kid is born, believing in God is not a part of their natural consciousness maturity, and is forced onto them by society (parents, friends, community, etc). This is an interesting concept.

However, not only has been neurologically proven wrong (books like 'The Brain That Changed Itself’ which came out this September and 'Why God Won’t go Away’)

It is silly to even consider, philosophically! Right?

So why do atheists still tend to think that atheism is the default setting? because I’m sure if it was, believing in God wouldn’t be a universal archetype around the world. (along with music)

Posted: October 18th 2010

SmartLX www

Atheism is neutral. It’s human brains that are demonstrably biased.

We live in a world full of other people and their creations, so we’re hard-wired to look for intelligent purposes in everything. The extent of this is such that little kids prefer to believe that some rocks are sharp so animals can scratch themselves rather than because they’ve been broken that way.

We tend to extend this thinking outwards to encompass the whole universe, and inward to encompass the tiniest and most complex objects we know. These worlds, unlike the in-between world we live in and seldom think outside, are not full of people, so our extension of people-based thinking isn’t really justified.

Nevertheless, we’ve imagined all sorts of godlike “people”, or intelligent agents, who are at once larger and smaller than us and can have caused all the things real people didn’t. Despite this, our gods are still very much like us. Think about the god you believe in: is there anything at all about which you and he disagree? If you disagree with a particular bit of scripture, do you think the actual god is also ambivalent about it?

Atheism is about overcoming our own partiality to intelligence-based explanations and acknowledging the lack of supporting evidence for such explanations outside areas of human influence. That requires conscious rejection not only of externally imposed doctrine and dogma but of the natural urge to stick “who” on the front of every question.

Nobody said neutrality was easy. Ask Switzerland.

Posted: October 19th 2010

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I think you are confused about what those books show. Our brains are certainly weird in a lot of ways, but a propensity towards belief in god doesn’t mean anything really about whether god exists.

To get back to your question, I can think of two reasons why you are wrong.

First, kids only end up believing in God because their parents teach them about God. Kids of atheists (such as mine) don’t believe – it’s not like you have to actively teach them that there is no god. It would be very simple for theists to run the same experiment by not telling their kids about God and seeing what beliefs the kids ended up with, but of course that’s not something that theists are going to do.

Second – and more convincing – is the decline of religious belief in Europe. Around 1900, almost everybody in Europe was religious. Today, 60% of French never or almost never attend church. Only about 10% of Swedes go to church.

If religion belief is innate, you need to have some way to account for those numbers. I think it will be difficult to do so.

Posted: October 18th 2010

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Mike the Infidel www

We have brains programmed to believe whatever we’re told in our infancy. This is part of why religion is so prevalent. It does not mean we are born believing in God. We are born blank slates; a lack of belief is the default.

Posted: October 18th 2010

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bitbutter www

Atheism is the default in the sense that in a person’s life, it’s always chronologically prior to theism.

Believing in gods comes later. Children are generally told, and being gullible by nature—believe, that a god exists, by an adult who also adopted this belief as a child.

God belief is certainly widespread, but it’s not universal. I know this because I don’t believe in gods.

At one time, most people in the world believed that evil spirits were responsible for illness. Like god belief though, this is an idea that has to be learned, we’re not born with it. That’s why atheism is the default position.

Posted: October 18th 2010

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