Debating Theists, A Bit Of Fun, Though I Would Appreciate Input, Brainstorming???!?

I have started an interesting debate on concerning The place of Theism in human Cultural Evolution>

I'm having a lot of fun with this one, though I would like a little support and ideas from the great resource of Intelligent people we are assembling here at A/N

Yes, I got a bite, One of those Transitional Forms in our evolution called Theists.

I think I've snagged a Fundy.  LOL!

Thanks for any ideas, M8z!   :-D~

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Comment by Dyslexic's DOG on December 23, 2013 at 7:58am

Well, Matt, I lost that debate anyway, my opponent stayed off topic long enough to win.

LOL, like all debates, it's nearly always popularity that wins or loses, not rational consideration of the content of the debate.

Though I have another debate where I did present greater researched evidence.

This is the debate topic: 

NDEs and OBEs are Not Experiences, They are Hallucinations So Should Correctly Be NDHs and OBHs.

Though I think I overwhelmed my opponent with evidence in my last round, when the opponent quit and did not post a reply.

My evidence was too strong, but, that doesn't mean the votes will go my way.

He is more popular on than I and has more friends, so likely he will win on those alone.  

Though it doesn't matter if I win or lose, the Title is enough to get some people thinking.

Whether I provide a lot of sound evidence is neither here nor there, I won't convince many, even with bullet proof arguments, many won't understand the evidence, but, if the title is striking enough, it may get them thinking critically, which is often enough.

Prodding and poking their prejudices promotes thought/reaction.

Providing sound data that is over their heads, sometimes makes them feel insecure or that we are calling them dumb, and they may retreat back into their shells.

In earlier debates, I posted the Debate titles and left so all of my replies were forfeited, leaving the opponent to argue alone and win.

Though, I have often gotten more reaction from these than those where I have argued for the entire debate.

Same goes for Blog Titles, often they are tongue-in-cheek, with the emphasis on cheek.

I often don't have good evidence to back the title up with.

But, I have managed to get some stimulating convos and arguments going from this.

Even though I often lose the debate.

Comment by Matt VDB on December 23, 2013 at 2:54am

Hey Dyslexic,

Well sure, a discussion is always good, and often testing an idea in debate is a good way to figure out its flaws. I simply pointed out the flaws in the theory as I saw them.

After all, stimulating thought is good, but stimulating it with good and sincere arguments and theories is even better. There's no sense in trying to argue for anything else than the truth; taking a Devil's Advocate position for an easily discredited theory has value in some cases, but if you're arguing to convince other people, you might as well bring your best arguments.

Comment by Dyslexic's DOG on December 21, 2013 at 12:58am

BTW: Monotheism will eventually be seen as it truly is and as Sam Harris described it, Extremely Narcissistic Egotism at it's Highest Point.

We can only become less Narcissistic.

We have come a long way to reducing our social Narcissism/Egotism.

The final stage of becoming (returning to) being as one with our natural environment is to shed off the Highly Narcissistic mindset that has been destroying the planet.

That is to Eliminate Monotheism as it exists.

Comment by Dyslexic's DOG on December 21, 2013 at 12:44am

True Matt, though it is not so much about giving a debate on verifiable truth, it's only a Hypothesis and the reason for spouting such a hypothesis on an open Debate site, is simply to Stimulate Thinking, for those who are not yet fully fledged Cognitive Misers.

Opening up their thinking to such ideas that Theism may be a transitional Cognitive state, is likely to generate some lateral thinking among Theists and those questioning their own beliefs, with the possibility that it may actually get them making rational considerations of this possibility.

Yes, I have always been an educator, since I was 7, as the primary school teachers often used me as a source if information, as it was at 6 I started reading encyclopedias.

I can never get enough Knowledge/Information, it is what my life has been all about, researching everything I can, a process started by my Mother who did exactly what I am trying to do on my Debates, she would make statements that lit the flame of curiosity within and then provide me with sources of information, by purchasing a massive "Chambers Encyclopedia" set and a set of Science Encyclopedias, plus the complete set of "How & Why, Wonder Books" which I had devoured by the age of 8.

I'm simply trying to engender a flame of curiosity within those reading my debate titles, so they may at first go: WTF.  Then maybe get angry at me, like one has already, and others have supported my hypothesis, but those I anger have been trying to find evidence against my hypothesis, which is GR8, because that is all I'm hoping for.

They have been forced out of their Cognitive Misery by anger or curiosity!

It's all good and worthwhile.

It doesn't matter how I get them to think for themselves and seek knowledge, so long as they do!

I'm still in the Education game, LOL!   :-D~

Comment by Matt VDB on December 20, 2013 at 8:19am

I don't understand why you feel the need to make this central argument about theism being a transitional step.

First of all, we have very little data on what the evolution of religion as a concept has actually been. Written language has only existed for a few thousand years at best, and when it comes to estimating the religious beliefs of our ancestors before that, we're essentially guessing. We simply do not know what their beliefs revolved around: animism or fertility goddesses or ancestor worship? This is knowledge forever lost in the fog of history, so making an argument on the basis of it is necessarily spurious.

Second, it's simplistic to present monotheism as a chronological step after polytheism. The Jews were monotheistic long before the Greek and Roman pantheons that we all know, and the Norse were polytheistic long after the birth of Christianity and Islam. Hinduism is even one of the world's largest religions to this day. So the idea that there's an evolution going on here is also suspect.

Third, the idea of cultural evolution is foggy and imprecise. The fact is that human beings have not evolved much for the last tens of thousands of years (evolution moves slow) so to think that 4000 years of changes in religious doctrine represents a different "stages" in our evolution is absurd on its face. We're still the same human beings we were a few thousand years ago.

And finally, it doesn't matter. There would be no way to move from "Monotheism is the last evolution in a line of religious thinking that stretches back 100.00 year" to "Monotheism will once be seen as outdated". Our thinking about how the solar system looks like also goes back thousands of years and we're at the last iteration now. Does that mean it will once be seen as outdated? No, because our picture now happens to be very accurate.

So sorry, but I don't see what the debate had to center about this theory :)

Comment by Matt--Lukin on December 19, 2013 at 1:13am

Your comment about Buddhism, I think, doesn't necessarily apply to atheism. This state of no thought or no consciousness isn't equated to atheism, and although it is said to be our natural state, Buddhists call it nirvana. Hindus call it samadhi. It is a union with their notion of the divine which is not an all-powerful, omniscient entity as in western religious conceptions, but instead Brahman is conceptualized as an underlying source or principle which is infinite, non-changing, and timeless.

Sam Harris comments on these altered states and also keeps in mind Strassman's work with DMT and his speculation that what these mystic altered states may be is a natural induction of N,N-DMT which our own body makes which cause this colossal transformation of consciousness.

So, perhaps it may come down to ignosticism. That the whole theist/atheist debate is actually one of semantics. If you ever read "The Tao of Physics," there is similarities made between Brahman of Hinduism and the 11 dimensional hyperspace described in M-Theory. So, what the mystic might describe as "Brahman" as he undergoes in this experience, the scientist conceptually understands it through mathematical symbols and extrapolations as "11 dimensional hyperspace." So, it's as though the mystic and the scientist have arrived at the same conclusion, only the mystic undergoes it experientially and understands through deep intuition while the scientist understands it intellectually through abstraction, conceptual models, and mathematical symbolism.

To better understand the eastern concept of the divine, I'd recommend this video:

Listen out for "final Self."

Comment by Dyslexic's DOG on December 17, 2013 at 12:53pm

Though Matt, My debate is a more scientific statistical topic, more so than a theistic topic.
This was deliberate, so I could attack theism without actually going too far off topic, which itself remains statistical, theism declining, atheism rising, which I used in my concluding argument in the form of the New Zealand Census statistics, that shows a rapid decline in Christianity and an equally rapid rise in non-belief (Atheism). Something I don't think my opponent can counter.
Though I upset my opponent by exposing the fact that the Bible account of the ministry of Jesus is flawed and there is no Roman account of any guards being offered to guard any tomb of any dead bloke, nor any person like Jesus being considered as enough of a threat to Roman authority to require such guards.
Thus the greater likelihood that Jesus was thrown into an unmarked or mass grave and not actually placed in any such tomb, so the reason the tomb was never found is that it never existed in the first place, otherwise Christians would have kept it sacred, revered and it would still be there today.
So my opponent's had his religion severely derided by it's own lack of evidence.
Which he has concentrated on almost entirely and thus has gone severely off topic.
If he wins the debate, it would only be people voting because of their support for his deeply hurt Christian pride and not because they thought he won the Argument.
Though I did throw in some more subtle attacks on Christianity, just to keep him angry and off topic. So likely he will stay completely off topic. LOL! :-D~

Comment by Dyslexic's DOG on December 17, 2013 at 12:28pm

True Loran, Francis Bacon had his own delusional world view that contaminated his mindware. Many philosophers forget that philosophy itself is essentially make-believe. It's an unnatural contrived human take on reality, it is essentially an illusion, just as our own consciousness is an illusion. Even Buddhism, came across this notion, though probably through happenstance.
When considering what is natural is the most likely final product, theism requires belief, belief is a product of thinking and is a subjective form of reality.
The natural objective state is no consciousness or no thought, which is essentially non-belief, which we define as atheism or in a political context, secular/neutral.
Human consciousness started belief, a couple of hundred thousand years ago, it was human naivety or lack of knowledge that allowed the concept that natural forces were a divine force, that kept the belief pendulum swinging.
We have arrived at a period when knowledge has replaced most of the naivety and the pendulum no longer has any divine forces available to keep the belief pendulum moving, so eventually it will come to rest and the natural state of non-belief will resume.

Comment by Loren Miller on December 17, 2013 at 5:35am

I think it's what Francis Bacon DIDN'T know that is the problem with him.  He hadn't seen anywhere near the potential of science in the 16th and 17th century that we have in the 21st.  He had no idea of the vast extent of the discoveries or the deductions the scientific method would make possible, nor was it possible for him to know about the far more content-full discussions about atheism vs belief made possible by those discoveries.

As Sam Harris himself has said, we see religion on a hundred fronts, losing the argument ... because now we know far more, we're more capable of connecting the dots.  And thinking of those dots, they have been assembled and connected far better than at any time in history, from the Inquisition to the current child abuse scandal of the RC church.  Atheism isn't the underground, surreptitious concept that it was not even a century ago.  More of us are OUT, more of us are calling bullshit on statements which would have gotten a pass even 20 years ago.  Had this happened in Bacon's time, the church would have quashed it without so much as a second thought.  Were they to try to do so now ... I think the consequences and fallout would be considerably different, especially in the era of the 24-hour news cycle.

Certainly, there are a lot more dynamics to this equation, not the least of which is the laziness which is characteristic of too many human beings in this day and age.  That by itself is one of the biggest barriers we have to deal with in unseating religion from its throne.  Still, the very growth of atheism in the United States right here and right now is ample testimony of the changing times and of how both religion and atheism are being seen currently.

Bacon was a child of his time.  We are children of ours ... and there have been some changes made in the interim.

Comment by Matt--Lukin on December 17, 2013 at 4:46am

It's an interesting way to think about it, theism being nothing more than a passing phase in human cultural evolution, but the same could be said of atheism. Alan Watts once called atheism an intellectual fad. Sir Francis Bacon once said, "A little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds back to God."

What's interesting is that usually when we discuss "evidence" in a theistic debate, we cannot exclude the notion of "The Scientific Method," and despite Bacon being the father of the modern scientific method, it didn't stop him from making that comment. What did Sir Francis Bacon know that we're overlooking? If Bacon's insight is correct, then cultural evolution will eventually come right round back to religion.

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