From: TJ Olney (
Date: Mon Sep 24 2001 - 03:46:07 BST

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    From: TJ Olney <>
    Subject: beliefs 
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    On Sun, 23 Sep 2001, Richard Brodie wrote:

    Wade wrote:
    > But, really, semantics and definitions aside, religion _is_ a learned
    > behavior. Period. It is not innate. Acting as the agent of a religion is
    > a learned behavior. Period. It is not innate. Accepting rewards in an
    > afterlife is a belief, and beliefs are tenets held _without evidence_.
    > Learned tenets.

    Logical type police here... Religion is a complex set of learned beliefs
    AND behaviors associated with those beliefs.

    Not quite sure what Wade means by beliefs being tenets held _without_
    evidence_. Most people believe that the sun goes down in the west. We
    more enlightened folks all know that no such thing happens, in spite of
    the evidence that it does. Our "knowing" is merely a more carefully
    crafted belief. I have to take it on faith that people who have studied
    the stars and planets haven't made some huge error. I have no evidence
    except authoritative heresay to believe that the earth orbits the sun. My
    limited personal observations can be explained quite satisfactorily by
    other "theories" of celestial movement. Our "knowing" is still a belief,
    evidence or no evidence.

    As to beliefs without cultural learning, we have few instances of
    people being raised by wolves, but do the thought experiment. Would that
    wolf-raised person have beliefs? Do beliefs require language? If yes and
    no, then an infant could develop beliefs at a preverbal level very
    quickly and based on some pretty slim evidence.

    TJ Olney

    -- TJ Olney Western Washington University -
    -- What senses do we lack that we cannot perceive another universe all
    around us? Frank Herbert Dune

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