Re: Religion and evidence

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Thu 19 Jan 2006 - 02:34:26 GMT

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    At 06:25 PM 1/17/2006 +0000, Ben wrote:


    >Kate - thanks for sharing so unreservedly an issue so close to your


    >My parents, despite having religious convictions, were pretty relaxed
    >about their faith and never forced their beliefs down my throat. We'd
    >go to church occasionally, say the Lord's prayer before a meal and I
    >was told a few Bible stories, but that's about as far as it went. I
    >grew up believing in God, until I reached my late teenage years when
    >I became more interested in science and evolution and began to
    >question my beliefs a bit more. From then on, I knew I was an atheist.
    >What is interesting, is that my sister, who had exactly the same
    >upbringing, took entirely the opposite path, and about the same time
    >that I realised my own atheistic views, she became insanely religious.
    >I've never really enquired about the reason for the strength of her
    >beliefs (kind of a difficult subject to raise), but I think you're
    >right when you say it's all down to interpretation. Maybe our
    >interpretations of our own experiences were just different.
    >Personally, I think that any subjective experience of my own would
    >have to be a pretty damn *major* thing to cause a rethink like yours,
    >and I think too that it must have been a pretty *major* thing in your
    >case to overturn so radically, what would seem to me to be such a
    >sensible outlook.
    >Do you think there's ever a chance you might switch back to atheism?
    >Say for example, if your prayers went unanswered or something occurred
    >that made you doubt God's power? Or do you think you'll be Christian
    >for life?
    >(I realise this is straying away from memetics now,

    Not at all. Religions *are* memes. And how people accept or reject them is certainly of great interest to anyone looking into memetics. The psychological word that applies is "snapping" for both into and out of an intense belief. Both feedback and catastrophe theory might help understand the nature of such conversions. EP might help understand why it is important to survival to have the same beliefs as those around you.

    Keith henson

    >so apologies to
    >the list, but to be honest I'd always be punching above my weight
    >there anyway, so I may as well try to contribute something whilst I

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