Thursday, July 21, 2011

Religious Belief & Indoctrination

I recently watched a video of Dr. Andy Thomson (a professor of psychiatry at the University of Virginia) at the 2009 Atheist Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, and I caught something which is just one of those things that happens to bug me...

Unfortunately YouTube doesn't allow videos to be embedded anymore for some misplaced copyright horse crap. So I will just have to link the video by URL. Before I post the link, I'll give a brief summary of where I take issue with this piece of media.

In it, Dr. Thomson creates a 'comprehensive' breakdown for why people are presidposed to religious belief. Has anyone else been aware that groups which organize and endorse the Atheist Conventions (like the Rational Response Squad) have said time and time again that people are born atheists and are indoctrinated into their respective religion? I'll make that an important highlight later on.

So the video goes on to break down religion from a psychological perspective. It argues that people get sucked into religion because of cognitive "vulnerabilities" based on natural processes of thought. Religious belief finds its consumers on the basis of a set of interpretations of "ordinary events with extraordinary explanations." This all good science and everything, but anyone else see what seems to be the flat out contradiction here? I certainly do...

It may not appear to be a contradiction in technical terms. After all, you were probably not endowed with a theistic worldview at the time of birth. But if I'm not mistaken allot of the dressing and accusations of religious belief being just another form of "indoctrination" are emotional pleas for attempting to paint religion as an evil mallicious and unguided force. Yet, if in most cases religious beliefs thrive due to the consequences of natural human processes, this cannot be true.

After all, Prof. Dawkins is fond of stating that the naturalistic world is not immoral but amoral. So if religion primarily arises from naturalistic states, it is also an amoral phenomenon.

Also, it would seem that this is a direct slap in the face to all of the campaigns out there advocating the abolishing of religion or at the very least theism. If spirituality has led to religion and religion is ultimately derived from the cognition of the human mind, this would also render such efforts implausible and impossible, simultaneously.

If children's minds are, as Richard Dawkins apparently says in his books, geared to the manipulative mechanics of the culture they are reared in due to natural selection, there is little to nothing that can be done to stop this. Unless of course we wish to halt or alter the course of natural selection, thereby interfering with the occurence of evolution.

Of course we can and should strive for a better quality of life which is dependent on our capabilities to manipulate and dictate certain aspects of nature, but it is folly to suppose that we can pinpoint religion as something separate and uncessary to the human species if it relies significantly on what is typically necessary and vital to our survival.

Sorry guys, I'm going to need a better case for why religion should disappear. It looks like it's here to stay for good.

Oh...and here's the link:

Friday, June 10, 2011

Blog Sections

Here's some of the skimmy on what I plan on creating through this blog. I will divide it up into categories on the various topics of interest I will be discussing. Each category has its own set of unique rules and disclaimers in order to provide a filter for certain audiences and to warn people who are easily offended or who have certain sensitivity issues.

Let's begin:

Politics - The latest of what you'll find in the news and my personal commentary on it, as well as criticisms of current and past presidential administrations. I may just go on a long-ass rant about politicians I really abhor.

Religion - As you might expect, I'm going to be talking about the pros and cons of religion (the smart and stupid things that come from religion, basically), although just to be fair this will all be done with regards to a very objective stance. This does not go without saying that the other side of the fence will be dealt the same treatment, so don't pretend that you're oppressed or prosecuted here or anything like that if you happen to be a religious person.

Science - This will be my education department, where I hope to contribute to the efforts of the other scientific blogs out there in vanquishing ignorance. Many of these are admittely anti-religion, however, this is what will set my blog apart from others. In this section disccusions on science will be primarily educational and religiously neutral, except in issues concerning the culture wars over the Theory of Evolution and the public school teaching of Young Earth Creationism and Intelligent Design.

Music: Just a series of opinionated analyses on why I like certain music/bands/songs for technical and auditory reasons. Feel free to drop on in and share your favorite genre, band or song and the reasons for why your preferences are the way they are. This section should be the most welcoming.

Humor - I plan on going pretty full-fledged in this department, and what I mean is that it isn't intended for the family. I will be publishing content that many might find obscene (not pornographically obscene of course) and it is not recommended for the faint of heart. If you have a thick skin when it comes to being humorous and satrical, then there is an open invitation waiting for you.