[LMB] Religion question

Matija Grabnar lmb at matija.com
Mon Jul 12 12:31:47 BST 2021

On 12/07/2021 10:36, tidsel via Lois-Bujold wrote:
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> ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ Original Message ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐
> On Monday, July 12th, 2021 at 00:48, Matthew George <matt.msg at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Sat, Jul 10, 2021 at 6:36 AM tidsel via Lois-Bujold <
>> lois-bujold at lists.herald.co.uk> wrote:
>>> Not sure about that. If we go back in time, it would be more like trying
>>> to understand the world and what happens,> > and stay on the good side on the powers you believe is there (in the
>>> absence of other explanations)
> M> Oh? Name one example of classical religion that makes it easier to
>> understand the world. One.
> T:I think we are talking completely past each other here. My thoughts are with the first humans
> trying to survive and make sense of what happens. Storms, lightning, drought, floods, moon, stars and all other
> natural phenomena influencing their lives.
So his point was that none of the classical religions equip people with 
the ability to better survive storms, lightning, drought, floods, moon, 
starts or any other phenomena influencing their lives (not that stars 
influence their lives in any way). Knowing what makes storms, lightning, 
drought and floods equips people much better with the means to survive 
them then do the just-so stories about Gods and their conflicts.
> M: Nope. One of the other things religion does is provide people with the
>> illusion of being able to affect things.
> T: The first superstition/spirituality/religion was very likely because you knew you could NOT
> affect things - just attempts to understand, and make it as safe as you could by not insulting
> whatever powers were seen to run things.

Basically, superstition is pattern recognition over-fitting. Do you know 
how to make a pigeon superstitious? You make a lever that will deliver a 
food pellet at random intervals. Pigeon will try to do various things to 
make it deliver the pellet. Sooner or later, the pellet will be 
delivered after a same action that seemed to "work" before - and now the 
pigeon will try that action every time they press the lever.

So superstition is a characteristic of even quite limited intelligence. 
And a cult is a superstition with someone who has found a way to 
monetize it.

 > Even atheists sometimes pray if someone is seriously ill or no one 
can help them.

"No atheists in the foxholes" and other stories religious people tell 
each other in order to feel better.

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