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Re: [evol-psych] Is there anyone on this list who is religous and believes in God? Help us out.

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  • Robert Karl Stonjek
    ... RKS: In the social sciences, particularly those lucid in the nature of the brain processors, are aware that religious experience can be stimulated in the
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 1 4:16 PM
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      > Is there anyone on this list who is religious and believes in God?  Please
      > help us out and reply back
      channel.  Tell us how you square religion and
      > science and let us
      know your science background.
      In the social sciences, particularly those lucid in the nature of the brain processors, are aware that ‘religious experience’ can be stimulated in the absence of any ponderable cause and so tend to conclude that all such experiences are illusory.
      But all senses can be stimulated in the absence of any real source, so that one may feel phantom pain, see things that don’t exist, erroneously hear things and so on.  Such perceptual error does not lead to the conclusion that such sensory experience is generally illusory.
      Being able to trace religious experience, particularly religious ‘highs’ to social stimulation eg intense participation in emotive religious ritual or practice; to pleasure centers in the brain and other brain mechanisms, demonstrates the mechanism for such experiences does exist and is probably ancient, but does not demonstrate that it is only stimulated in the absence of a physically or ‘spiritually’ real source.
      Most psychologists and others in related fields take the negative view - that the experiences are illusory.
      Among the hard sciences, where the self and personal experience is purposefully removed from theory, only the possible stimuli and response remain.  Thus cosmologists, who build their ideas upon the foundation of physics, advanced geometry, astronomy and mathematics, experience such profound feelings when dealing with the infinite or near-infinite that they are far more liable to hold religious feelings (not questioning the feelings per se).
      Among cosmologists, possibly the most popular acquired (in adulthood) religious model is Zen or an open interpretation of it.  In this they do not think about God or creation as such, but are more taken with meditation, the mental gymnastics that may leave one in awe of the depth and complexity of reality and of the tiny place that each individual has in it.
      Strict and literal Christian religion, which is what I think you may have been looking for, is rare among scientists outside of the USA (approx 40% believers in US scientific community, around 15% outside - though I don’t recall for source these figures).
      In evolutionary psychology in particular we may encounter issues such as evolution vs creation.  It is noteworthy that creation was in trouble long before Darwin with several prominent attempts to account for the progression of species from those found in ancient fossils to humans. 
      Catastrophe theory may have straddled both religion and science best.  The idea was that there were several complete or nearly complete extinctions followed by new periods of creation, and that the bible was in line with the last one, though the bible time scale was still far too short.
      Non-denominational deism is probably the most popular actual belief of many scientists.  This may be guided by some bible teachings where those teachings are seen as instructive moral stories rather than literal truths.  ‘God’ is more of the personal connection one has to life and the universe rather than a man who created the entire universe out of boredom and the desire for endless praise.
      I assume that many more scientists and people in general harbour these feelings than is admitted to - in the USA one might prefer to blend in by simply agreeing to be Christian, in other countries they may choose to blend in by being ‘non-religious’ (eg in Australia, Britain, Russia etc)  or whatever the prevailing religion is.  This may lead one to conclude that the most common religion actually believed in, at least among scientists and the intelligentsia,  is an undeclared deism, a generic religion to which almost no-one ‘belongs’, yet from which almost no-one is totally excluded.
      Kind Regards,
      Robert Karl Stonjek.
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