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marnixR
Post  Post subject: trying to understand the mind of a creationist  |  Posted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:15 am
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most people would prefer to avoid changes in their life, especially the ones that have been imposed rather than being a personal choice
it's also true that the greater or more fundamental the change, the more resistance it will generate amongst the people it will affect - hence the opposition to e.g. claims of man's role in climate change
so in a way creationists are like other people in that they'd rather avoid change - but why is it so fundamental to them for evolutionary theory to be wrong ? would it make any difference to them if evolution could be explained as a guided process, which could then be seen as the hand of god ?

unfortunately, John Herschel was right to call natural selection the law of higgledy piggledy, in that there is no guiding principle behind the whole edifice - does that make it so scary that it must be denied at all cost ? presumably for some people it is and it must, even if it means denying large chunks of biology, chemistry and physics in the process

not that denying reality because of some precious belief is the sole preserve of creationists, but it appears to be a very prominent one
so if there's any creationists out there who want to discuss this, i'd like to ask the question : what is it that you find frightening about evolution ?

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tridimity
Post  Post subject: Re: trying to understand the mind of a creationist  |  Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:25 pm

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would it make any difference to them if evolution could be explained as a guided process, which could then be seen as the hand of god ?


I agree that it is certainly possible for creationists to interpret the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection as the method by which God imposed His will in creating the Universe. We will never, as scientists, be able to categorically refute the possibility that natural events are guided by a higher being: such a proposition is not really amenable to invetigation to the scientific method. To clarify: I am agnostic and do not believe that Evolution by Natural Selection is in any way a guided process. As for proponents of the literal variations of the Genesis creation story: their position is frankly untenable.

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what is it that you find frightening about evolution ?


I suspect that what creationsists find frightening about Evolution, is not so much this one instance of explaining the origins of species, but the inherent loss of intellectual ground that that would spell, for religion in general. If creationsists are seen to be receptive to the scientific viewpoint, then suddenly all of their pre-conceived comforting notions come under the scrutiny of Science: they surely would not last long. Away then go the comforting childhood stories and the rigid black/white morality learned from Mummy and Daddy. Suddenly they are left with a vacuum and the sobering and difficult reality that agnostics and atheists face: how to create your own morality and find your own meaning in life.

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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: trying to understand the mind of a creationist  |  Posted: Fri Sep 14, 2012 3:23 pm
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it's true that creationists have a very black-and-white opinion on a variety of subjects : evolution is completely proven or totally disproven, the bible is wholly correct to the last letter or should be thrown in the fire

presumably any source of information which indicates that real life isn't like that is anathema to them

most of all, in their reasoning, the fact that evolution is unguided must mean that anything goes, and that you may as well throw all morality out - as if morality needs to be sourced from a scientific theory, hence this is a massive non-sequitur

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Falconer360
Post  Post subject: Re: trying to understand the mind of a creationist  |  Posted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:30 pm
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marnixR wrote:
most of all, in their reasoning, the fact that evolution is unguided must mean that anything goes, and that you may as well throw all morality out - as if morality needs to be sourced from a scientific theory, hence this is a massive non-sequitur


This part about morality is one that is particularly interesting to me. They seem to think that morality cannot exist without God. Which seems to imply that they only have the "morals" that they do because they fear punishment from God and seek reward from him. This has always struck me as sociopathic. I once heard someone mocking the creationist view of atheists "creationist: "How can you be good without your cage?"

Another thing that I will never understand about them is the blatant use of made up terms (not all but most of them seem to do this). Its like they cannot bring themselves to use the right terms. They create ones like Darwinism and neo-Darwinism. Or they use macro-evolution and micro-evolution. My favorite is when they refer to atheism as being a religion. Because all atheists obviously believe the same thing, and are united in their hatred for Christianity.

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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: trying to understand the mind of a creationist  |  Posted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 7:15 am
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Falconer360 wrote:
They seem to think that morality cannot exist without God. Which seems to imply that they only have the "morals" that they do because they fear punishment from God and seek reward from him. This has always struck me as sociopathic.


mind you, if you replace "god" with "society", and you got a perfectly good reason why most people tend to behave, unless they feel they can get away with it

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Falconer360
Post  Post subject: Re: trying to understand the mind of a creationist  |  Posted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 8:06 pm
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marnixR wrote:
mind you, if you replace "god" with "society", and you got a perfectly good reason why most people tend to behave, unless they feel they can get away with it


I know lol. It's amazing how simple it is to figure that out. Which really says something about the mids of typical creationists.

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: trying to understand the mind of a creationist  |  Posted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 8:30 pm
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KALSTER
Post  Post subject: Re: trying to understand the mind of a creationist  |  Posted: Fri Oct 05, 2012 8:36 pm
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I reckon if he started making movies and Ben Stiller started on the anti-creationist talk circuit, nobody would ever know the difference. :)


Very true words those.

What illogical and unscientific ways of thinking are we non-theists prone to? Can we tap into that in order to help inform our understanding?

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Ascended
Post  Post subject: Re: trying to understand the mind of a creationist  |  Posted: Sat Oct 06, 2012 11:36 pm
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tridimity wrote:
then suddenly all of their pre-conceived comforting notions come under the scrutiny of Science: they surely would not last long. Away then go the comforting childhood stories and the rigid black/white morality learned from Mummy and Daddy.


I think you've hit the nail on the head there, for many I believe they find the idea of not having a God frightening because then they are forced to accept they just don't why we're here and people have always been frightened of unknown, take God out of the equation and your left with a chain of seemingly harder and harder to answer questions that lead ultimately to the notion that they simply don't know.

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Prometheus
Post  Post subject: Re: trying to understand the mind of a creationist  |  Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 2:39 pm
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Belief has a significant emotional component, and its hard to change how you feel even if you want to - impossible if you don't want to.


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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: trying to understand the mind of a creationist  |  Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 7:47 pm
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isn't that always the case when people have to make a decision ? they will only do so willingly if it FEELS right

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Ascended
Post  Post subject: Re: trying to understand the mind of a creationist  |  Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2012 11:40 pm
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marnixR wrote:
they will only do so willingly if it FEELS right


Well that's certainly informative, but perhaps the relevance is a little lost on me.

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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: trying to understand the mind of a creationist  |  Posted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 7:16 am
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i was merely emphasizing that when people make decisions they're not always rational about it - the fact that it has to feel right emphasizes the importance of the emotional part of decision making

after all, how often don't you see people follow their gut feel rather than go through the arduous process of actually analysing the facts ?

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Ophiolite
Post  Post subject: Re: trying to understand the mind of a creationist  |  Posted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 8:59 am
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marnixR wrote:
after all, how often don't you see people follow their gut feel rather than go through the arduous process of actually analysing the facts ?

I think this view may be faulty. When I am exploring work related decisions I will take time to think about the context of the decision, explore possible actions, consider the consequences, etc. I may do this formally, or may employ a variety of informal techniques.

Then, time permitting, I leave it for a few days. The next time I think about it the answer is there, as a gut feeling that feels right. I've let my subconscious do the hard work and am quite happy to accept its recommendation.

I suspect many people arrive at their 'gut feel' decisions in a similar way, it's just that a lot of them do not know how they are doing it. Once you are aware of the process you can 'stock up' your subconscious with data to allow its decision to be better informed.

This process also has the advantage of providing an explanation to bosses as to why you appear to be sleeping at your desk.


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tridimity
Post  Post subject: Re: trying to understand the mind of a creationist  |  Posted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:48 am

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Ophi, your approach to decision making is very sensible. I agree with Marnix though, in that, when time is pressing or if a person has a tendency to follow their emotions in a reactionary way - basically, under circumstances when contemplation of potential consequences is constrained - people are more likely to consult their 'gut feeling'/instinct. This is perhaps especially true when strong emotions are involved in the balance, e.g. love - people make some incredibly irrational decisions when in love.


Ophi wrote:
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This process also has the advantage of providing an explanation to bosses as to why you appear to be sleeping at your desk.


:lol:

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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: trying to understand the mind of a creationist  |  Posted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:23 pm
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that does not detract from the fact that a gut feel can be trained to use stored past experience rather than untraceable decision pathways

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: trying to understand the mind of a creationist  |  Posted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:51 pm
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I think we're also touching on a slightly different topic. This doesn't sound so much like forming beliefs based on "gut feeling versus rational analysis." Instead I think perhaps we're exploring the idea of over-riding these initial gut feelings as a result of the rational analysis performed later in the process.

We will quite frequently come to believe things initially "based on instinct." In my mind, though, the question really pertains to "what comes next" and what steps we ultimately take to help ensure the accuracy and veracity of that belief.

I suggest this because most folks will almost always believe in something like creationism first... We sort of start out that way, most of us anyway. That belief will be bolstered by gut feeling and social cues. From what I've seen it is only much later in life when more information becomes available and is considered rationally that one might start to seriously question (and potentially abandon) these previously held beliefs.

I think this is closer to the point we're discussing above... Not how the belief gets formed, but instead how willing we are to challenge it and abandon it if it fails to reasonably address that challenge and scrutiny.

I suspect the key question is more about response to existing beliefs as opposed to how the belief is initially formed. It's about how willing we are to seek out flaws in our beliefs and let them go or adjust them when flaws are found (how willing we are to prioritize and accept the cold hard difficult truths that so often come with rational reasonable thought instead of clinging tightly to the warm comfortable soft security blanket of gut feeling and intuition).

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