Something just popped into my mind at work today, after listening to a bunch of people ramble on about religion and what'll happen when we die. Theists believe that we'll go to a heaven or a hell when we die, and Atheists think that after this life, that's it, we cease to exist. Now, myself, I believe that reincarnation is a possibility, because of all the documentations we have on the subject, but that is not my question. for this topic.
My question is this: How did we become us?
I understand the scientific stand point of it all, and can blab about that, but what I am asking is more for the Atheist communities. How did we become us?Some Theists believe that "god" created us, and sent us to earth, whereas other, like the Mormon cult, believe that we were birthed from spiritual parents, then sent here to live, die, and continue the endless sex cycle in their version of "heaven".
So to all Atheists, Agnostics, Ignostics, etc, I ask you this: How did we become us? How did we get this body, and move as we do now? Don't go into the science of it all, I already got that. About how babies are made and such. What I want to know is your opinion of this whole mess. Did we just appear out of no where? Is it instinct that drive us to do what we do now? How does "Free Will" fit into that? If we die and that's all that happens, then how can you explain the miracle of birth? If there is no such thing as "souls", no heaven, no hell, then how did we become us?
I agree with a lot of your post EW. NOW is all we have that we can count on. I'm no longer going to waste my time or resources on maybes.
But sometimes it's fun to contemplate extraterrestrials, like 2001: A space Odyssey.
That movie is far more likely to be the true story than any religion I know of.
I like Jnellis' answer.
Natural Selection explains it quite logically to me, although I'm not proficient enough with language to always explain it well to others.
Be that as it may, I think we became "us", the extremely intelligent creatures we are, because each random small increase in intelligence means a greater chance of survival and a greater chance of passing that intelligence on to offspring.
No mysticism is needed.
-sigh- Hows this sound?
Theists believe we come from heaven, get a mortal body, live, die, go back to heaven.
What do Atheists believe?
I've now a headache from the stupidity of my own questioning, right now. Hope this simplified it.
Bar, I very much like your explanation of what Atheists believe. Being a hair-splitter though, I would like to say that if God could be proven to exist through scientific means, I still would not be a believer. I would be an acceptor.
Where did we come from? I don't know, but the evidence points to molecules by chance getting together in a self-replicating configuration billions of years ago. They evolved into bacteria, which evolved into all the plants and animals on earth today. There is still a lot of debate about the way it all got started, but there is enough evidence of evolution to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that a creator was not needed.
Why are we here? No reason. We just are.
Where are we going? I see no good evidence to support any kind of life after death. We just cease to exist. A scary thought to many. However, we have started to take evolution into our own hands, and it appears to me almost certain that we will continue to prolong our life-span until in the near future we will be able to live forever.
Atheists assume that our existence begins and ends with this life. So we are born because of natural processes and when we die our body decomposes and that's that. They assume this because that is what our observations of the natural world have told us, and they have no compelling reason/proof to think there is anything else involved.
Others have already explained on a larger scale why humans are the way we are - because we have slowly adapted little by little over a very long time to become this way...living, producing more life, dying on and on with little changes here and there passed on genetically.
Does that answer your question? :)
I have had this conversation with my husband before, and I thought that his argument was logical and worth sharing. I will turn the keyboard over to him.
"OK, let's try a mental exercise. Side A believes that there is no evidence that god exists. Side B does.
Side A believes in science therefore they also agree with Occam's Razor and the Law of Large Numbers.
An example if you will. Side A would have us believe that since there is no evidence of intelligent life anywhere else in the universe to date, therefore it must not exist. However the Law of Large Numbers tells us that if any occurence has happened once it must needs have occured an infinite number of times given an infinite timeline. It is clear that we exist and so it naturally follows that out of the billions of suns with planets orbiting them that intelligent life has succeeded elsewhere. Ever heard of the Omega Point theory?This is where Occam's razor comes in, or the law of succinctness, it is a principle that generally recommends, when faced with competing hypotheses that are equal in other respects, selecting the one that makes the fewest new assumptions is the most likely to be correct.
Side A would have us believe due to the absence of proof that we are alone in the universe and at the same time would have us believe in Dark Matter, Dark Energy, The Big Bang, etc. etc. etc. Is this starting to sound like the flat earthers in Columbus's day to you yet? Of course they use the same arguments to say that there may or may not be a God, we just don't think it's logical to believe in the absence of proof.
Side B believes that after thousands of years of recorded history and hundreds of cultures there must be some reason that they all believe(d) in some form of a supreme divine being. There have been hundreds of eye witness reports of God and/or angels. There are historical records from all over the planet regarding similar attributes of godhood even when many of these cultures never interacted with each other. There are many animals and plants alive today that defy all attempts to describe how evolution could have produced their particular attributes. http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=incredible+creatures+th... And who among us hasn't been frustrated by scientists telling us one thing is good for us and later telling us that new evidence suggests it's bad after all or vice versa. Science fails us almost every day.
In conclusion, side A gives us nothing -but skepticism and cynicism. Side B looks at the world around them and sees evidence of god everywhere they look. The rational man when choosing between A and B, will always choose B. Because A leaves them with no hope and no answers after death and side B gives you the possibility for eternal life and happiness. In addition, side B allows for a more moral social fabric during life -because there are consequences for your choices rather you get caught making bad choices or not.
Did you read the Omega Point theory? Let me explain, if we use the logical Law of Large Numbers explanation to describe the likelihood of there being many other sentient beings populating other planets, It must naturally follow that some of those planets will have evolved and or developed slower than ours and some will have progressed far beyond our technology. If any technology becomes sufficiently advanced beyond our understanding it becomes indistinguishable from magic or "miracles".
Ask yourself this question. If we were able to go back in time to 1800 BC with our current technology and present ourselves to the natives of that time, how hard would it be to convince them that we were Gods? If you find this answer to be logical can't we then assume that we would fall into the same predicament if we were visited by "Supreme Divine Beings" from another universe, "heaven", whatever. I mean if you can break the space time barrier, what other tricks might you be capable of?
My point is that the fact that we exist and are evolving implies that it is also happening elsewhere in the universe. If we progress to the point where we can solve problems like ageing, cold fusion, and how to use 100% of our brain power we would be well on our way to becoming "Gods". Most religions believe that God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omni-present. If you wanted to create a God, what technologies would you need? Take Wikipedia/the internet to it's logical conclusion. 3D telepresence? Nano technology? If we learn how to manipulate all matter and energy on the atomic scale can you imagine the implications?
See what I mean? God is in the details. It's easy for us to understand the logic of multiple dimensions mathematically but somehow the idea of Heaven smacks of naivete. It's easy for us to believe in other inhabited sentient lifeforms but not "God". If you traveled to a stone age culture and felt empathy for their plight, wouldn't you want to teach them a thing or two about morals, self governance, technology? And if you helped them improve their lifestyle by leaps and bounds isn't it likely that they would worship you for it? sound far fetched? Check this out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cargo_cult
Hey Bar Kockhba, sorry I didn't realize that you were on before I signed out. I was out cleaning the garage. By the way the last response was from husband again, and he's been excited to see your response. So, I'm turning over the reigns again.
I will grant you the fact that not even Theists can agree on the exact nature of God. But I want to take the argument a step further. It's really a circular argument in a way.
Science argues that all things began with the Big Bang. Initially it was thought that the universe as we know it began from an infinitely dense point to expand into all the matter in the universe that we can observe. One of the original arguments for the theory was that everywhere that we looked matter was expanding away from us in all directions. The theory also required the matter moving away from us must needs slow down due to the effects of gravity counteracting the explosion of the big bang. In fact the opposite was found to be true. The universe is accelerating it's expansion. Since the math no longer made any sense, and since the effects of gravity couldn't be explained by the mass we can observe, a new theory was introduced, i.e. dark matter. Now you might ask what does this have to do with anything?
Let me explain, science cannot forecast anything prior to the Big Bang mathematically or in the lab and can't prove that the universe will contract and start the process all over again either. This leads us to the idea of infinite time. In other words, no beginning and no end to time or space. Every time we get better tools we find that the universe is even bigger than we thought.
The conclusion of the Omega Point Theory is that given enough time, one of the sentient races will progress and/or evolve to the point where they, it, he, she became "Gods". And if one god exists, due to the law of large numbers and an infinite timeline, God(s) would also be infinite. And if time is infinite then that process really couldn't have had a beginning. There would then have to have always been Gods and always will be Gods.
If the definition of God is an omniscient, all powerful being who demands obedience, then I don't believe in God either. I think it is far more likely that once you have omniscience that you realize that all things (matter, energy, physics, government) must follow a set of rules in order for them to work correctly. People who learn and apply correct principles are "blessed" if you will because the knowledge and discipline allows them to progress and thrive. People who stubbornly refuse to be ruled by facts could be said to be "damned" because their choices will not allow them to get to the next level of intellect and/or progress. As anyone can see, the vast majority of the pain on planet earth is self inflicted by the populace and their poor decisions.
I for one cannot worship anyone who isn't smarter, more compassionate, more loving, more rational, and more self disciplined than myself. God as he is portrayed by many religions is no God at all to me. He/she sounds closer to the petty Greek pantheon. If you want to call God a scientist I am totally OK with that. Omniscience requires a perfect knowledge of the operating principles of the universe as well as of human interaction. I just believe that the universe and everything in it was designed with a plan in mind and that all of humanity still has an enormous amount of learning to do before we can hope to rule it on our own. I do not believe in a beginning or an end to time and space. I hold that the fact that intelligent life exists and that it evolves to be the proof that God exists. So until science can prove that the Law of Large Numbers doesn't exist then I will continue to believe that God does. My definition of God may be way different from conventional religion but a vengeful god makes absolutely no sense to me.
we became us through mutations, natural selrction from a gene pool , our culture and pure luck
(im leaving out the science of it cause you ask for that)