Psychology 20 Questionnaire

Question from :
I’m currently taking Psychology 20 in school and would like to ask you a few questions about atheism for a project on spirituality if you have the time. The questions are:

1. How does your faith or understanding of the world shape your worldview?
2. How do you justify your actions (good and bad) for your belief system?
3.What gives you meaning and purpose?
4.What are ways you express yourself and why?
5. How do you view the idea of the soul and/or the afterlife?

Hoping for a quick response and thank you for taking the time to answer.

Answer by SmartLX:
Not my quickest response ever, but not bad. Here we go.

1. My view of the world is that it’s shaped and influenced by natural forces, which are powerful but undirected and certainly not worth pleading with. I’m acutely aware that many do not feel this way, so I see what appears to be a great deal of effort wasted because it’s spent trying to please gods that I don’t think are there.

2. I care for myself, and as a social animal I care for the people around me. My awareness of the world beyond my immediate surroundings extends that expression of care to all the people of the world, generally speaking. I justify my actions in terms of the benefit and harm they do to myself and other people, not necessarily in that order, with a view to maximising benefit and minimising harm. The exact meanings of those two quantities I often re-evaluate based on the situation, so that I’m not thinking in a way that doesn’t apply to the circumstances at hand.

3. I choose what my purposes are. From personal achievements to the welfare of selected others (that is, not all purposes are selfish), I devote myself to realising those things I want to bring to fruition. This gives my life meaning to me, and to many others, though not to everyone. This is enough, because whether my life matters to all strangers is not something I worry about.

4. I speak, I write, I sing, I draw, I work, I dance, I play, I struggle, I love. I do these things because I can.

5. The soul does not appear to exist, because identity and consciousness are products of the brain and are damaged or destroyed when the brain is. After the death of the brain there is nothing left of a person to experience any kind of afterlife.

12 thoughts on “Psychology 20 Questionnaire”

  1. You love! How? Why?
    For what reason is the brain able to conceive love? For that matter why the sense of morality? They are abstract concepts that should not be able to be thought of. How could our minds have evolved to be able to grasp the concept of love if is an intangible force?

  2. Features evolve and are reinforced because they are beneficial. Love is an expression variously of sexual attraction, familial attachment and loyalty to one’s community, all of which are essential to the survival of a population of social animals. It’s how we think of the very simple (though occasionally conflicted) instincts we feel towards other people that are important in our lives. Love is represented as abstract because the brain has the capacity to make thoughts more complex, but it represents and causes tangible effects in the world. Put simply, we do good things because of love, so love becomes and remains a part of our psyche. Morality is very similar.

    And you’re still asking “how” questions as arguments from ignorance, so it hardly mattered whether I had an answer to this or not.

    1. “This represents a type of false dichotomy in that it excludes a third option, which is that there may have been an insufficient investigation, and therefore there is insufficient information to prove the proposition be either true or false.” So sure there is no God, but even though evolution explains nothing other than what has been speculated, and yet no proof provided. But there being God, explains it all completely. Yet, God is ruled out just because ignorance wins out.

      1. And for the first time ever you actually acknowledge this point. Well done you.

        But rather than deny that you’re using arguments from ignorance, you accuse me of the same, and poorly. As I wrote below, I allow for the possibility of a god, but it’s a long way from that to actively believing that there is one. Evolution offers explanations for the diversity of life where there might otherwise be none but gods, but even the absence of a known alternative is not a valid argument by elimination. That requires the absence of a possible alternative. In the presence of a viable alternative, there’s really no argument for a god at all, not even a fallacious one.

        1. Ok. Once again give me the proof the evolution’s views of how the diversified life all came from one “almost” life, or from an almost organism. Show me the duplicated tests that brought this first non-life to being and then how it morphed over millions of years into all the organisms today. Evolution, makes speculations that are not born out through anyone witnessing or observing them ever happening in the way the evolutionists claim. As I and many others, Creationists and Intelligent Designers and Atheists, and even some evolutionist and former evolutionists, are making it known today, The theory of evolution has left the realms of science and has become in and of itself a theory of religion. All of what you are saying,”saying” mind you, it that it happened a certain way and you can’t pull out anything, dust off anything, provide a picture, or laboratory results of anything that proves what you claim has even remotely happened. And you have even tried to resurrect an old disproven theory, the theory of Spontaneous generation to try to shore up the falling apart theory of evolution. Claiming that “it only had to happen just once”. And once again, failing to provide the evidence that it could even happen just once. And along with that you still insist to ignore the fact, FACT, that history does not support the claim of the evolutionists. We have seen that each kind produces it own kind. Even after taking fruit flies and bacteria to the extreme, forcing thousands of generations to come and go, the results have only been, more fruit flies and more bacteria. And this shows that you are not actually acknowledging that God could be. Because if you were you would not be so adamant about evolution. Continually saying that Evolution shows the reason of diversity. Where? You blindly, ignorantly point to, what is today, and don’t want anyone to remember about what evolution was supposed to have done to get to what we have today. That somehow on organism of unknown origin morphed into all that we have today. Where is that organism? Why is it still not popping out new organism today as it has supposedly been doing for billions of years in the past. You, the atheist claims that your form of life only had to happen once, and yet you are claiming that what some organism was doing for billions of years, now all of a sudden, when you need it most to prove your “micro” evolution theory, has take a holiday. Or has gone on a vacation. Or has conveniently gotten too tired to spit out anymore organisms. And has slowed down so much so that it only produces one new organism every billion of years or so. You see that is another thing you the evolutionists don’t want to have to address. Why aren’t we seeing new organisms today. You point to the adaptation that is happening withing species, and call it evolution, when all that is happening is that same species is adapting to environmental and biosphere changes. You don’t want people to think about, how could this adaptations be occurring, if it isn’t taking millions of years. And why are the adaptations happening so easily and when necessary even reverting back to what had been before the adapting took place. This does not show anything but an already preprogrammed response to stimuli. That is why adaptation occurs. God to go. Give me your evidence or at least admit that the evolutionary theory is riddled with flaws.

  3. That would hold up in court were it not for the many who mistreat and abuse. Those who rape and dominate. What about the love of the mother for her child? Is that sexual also? Many mothers going over and beyond the call of the wild. And yes the brain has the ability to think in abstract, but where is the abstract thought of love and God coming from. Show me anything that man has ever thought of or invented that has not come from that which man has observed. Love is not love unless it is in action. Man had to have observed love in action, he has had to see God in the beginning inorder for the idea of God to have been placed. And yes we do good things because of or out of love. But where is the call of the wild fitting in all of this? Why is it we are willing to put ourselves last, thinking of others to the apparent detriment of ourselves? That is not a survival trait. It goes way beyond that. And that concept must have been placed within our understanding for it to be able to be accessed and accepted.
    And questions of ignorance are simply questions that contradict that which you want to be true but fall completely short of truth.
    And isn’t the reason of science supposed to be used to provide proof that a assumption is not sound unless it does not run into anything that does not contradict the assumption? Well the assumption of evolution, runs into one thing after another that chip away at the unsound foundation that theory is built upon. Over and over again, a new subtheory has had to be built around it, in order to make it seem that what shows it is not a sure theory, is not really a problem.
    You do realize that what you just tried to use to dis my theory of love and God applies to you. When you are unwilling to accept the possibility of God, because as you assume, “there is no evidence for God”?

    1. Rape occurs when sexual desire overcomes care for others. A mother’s love for her children springs from the instinct to protect her offspring and therefore her genes, because in evolutionary terms that’s what it’s all about. There are multiple instincts and urges fighting for supremacy every moment, and we do our best to rationalise it all afterwards. The call of the wild has been domesticated, in a sense, but it can get out of control very quickly.

      The idea of gods likely came from an over-generalisation of agency. Ancient peoples observed themselves creating things and triggering events, and then when they couldn’t explain something (like a thunderstorm, or the sun coming up, or the existence of the world) they imagined a bigger, more powerful version of themselves causing it. Gods are humans writ large.

      Altruism is a quality of social animals. We help others to our own detriment because we still mostly have the brain of an animal that lived in the wild with a few dozen of its own family and no one else. Sacrifice yourself for the group, and your children (and others carrying practically the same DNA as you) will carry on. Only we tend to generalise this to apply to all humans everywhere, because in today’s world they’re all right in our faces.

      Science does discard a hypothesis or theory that is contradicted by evidence. It also discards parts of one if fault is found without contradicting the whole. No evidence has been found that contradicts evolution in the eyes of anyone but religiously motivated creationists, but evolutionary biologists are always examining the minutiae of the theory to see if some aspect could better reflect reality. Thus anything chipped away is replaced with an improvement, and the whole gets stronger over time, not weaker.

      You will never tire of misrepresenting me to my proverbial face. I accept the possibility of God, I just think God is very unlikely because there is no evidence for God.

  4. “Rape occurs when sexual desire overcomes care for others. A mother’s love for her children springs from the instinct to protect her offspring and therefore her genes, because in evolutionary terms that’s what it’s all about.”For one why would someone force themselves because of their base passions. But a better question is why would we, if we were but animals. driven by primal instincts, even begin to think about caring. Evolutionists have failed to prove that micro evolution has ever taken place, let alone that evolution could so work the mind as to make it, want to love and be loved. And all the other parts of love like caring and respect being something that all humans feel a need to have and sense that they should give, but which some fight from doing so. It is not what we were created to do. God made us loving and with a desire to be loved. To miss that love when we don’t experience it. Other organisms seem to miss a child, which is enough of a reason to realize that it is a God programmed response. But for that of the human race, it is much more pronounced. And that is because we were created to want love. And due to that experience we want to share love. Organisms that are weaned don’t miss anyone. There is the sense to carry on their lineage. But as far as wanting to be in someones arms, and being with that person for all eternity, That is a special trait of man. God’s crowning work of creation.

  5. Why would someone force themselves on others because of their base passions? That’s practically the only reason most people do it. And why do we care and love when we can? Because it is beneficial, to us and to our kin, and evolution favours that which is beneficial to survival and procreation. Most of it developed in our ancestors’ brains long before our ancestors were human (watch an orangutan with her baby, for instance – it has descended down many paths) and we added the abstract aspects of it more recently.

    The rest of your response is just an assertion that God is responsible for all love, a common presupposition among presuppositionalists despite a clear evolutionary benefit in developing it. And incidentally I suggest that you remind yourself of the difference between the arbitrary creationist sub-concepts of micro- and macro- evolution, and which one even Answers in Genesis and the ICR accept does happen.

  6. Watch it. You are close to endowing evolution with an intelligence. How would an “unable to think and reason” cell like or first life, organism, going to know about love and caring? How is it supposed to reason that something as immaterial and abstract as a “feeling” going to be useful to it? That makes no sense. What makes sense is that a Being with those attributes provided those feelings so that it could benefit from being able to share and receive them.
    And please do not insult our intelligence by pretending that an orangutan descended. You have less proof that anything evolved form an inferior organism than the miracles that you just tried to blow off. At least we have written evidence of people who spoke about those miracles and those today who testify that miracles are happening. All evolution has done is make claims of pure speculation, in spite of the “evidence” that calls those claims as not what history bares out. Evolution claims that all known organism were results of some kind of first organism, on steroids, that over billions of years gave birth to what is around today. But when you look at the fossil record, you see no signs of a trail that leads from one species to another. No, mother as one organism producing a baby looking like something different. No, the fossil record shows us, just exactly as what is going on around us today. Just as what the Bible tells us would be happening. That every organism would produce its own kind. That is following the scientific method out. Not ignoring it and the results that have been shown by observation as the evolutionists are doing when the speculate that instead of each kind of organism producing its own kind, bananas, bananas. Apples, apples. Mold, mold. Bacteria, bacteria. Horses, horses. And whales, whales. And so on and so forth. The evolutionists claim that they were all formed by one organism. Which is not born out in the research of the fossil record, nor by what we are observing with our own eyes today. But they and we were formed and fashioned by our Creator God. He made the blueprints and fabricated all around us. Animate and inanimate. Inorganic and organic. Right down to the smallest particles we know of and then some that only He knows of. And if we ask Him, He will show us things that we can’t even begin to imagine. We only need to accept that He is possible and He will take if from there.

  7. I so want to answer these but I so want to be brief as well …
    I think these questions are interesting – one can write and write and write to explain one’s perspective.
    But I’ll try to stick to being brief.

    1. How does your faith or understanding of the world shape your worldview?
    My understanding is naturalistic. Things work according to natural law. The laws are reductionist but when they work on complex systems surprising properties and processes tend to emerge (mainly due to non-linearity but also often when the laws are linear) which probably could not have been envisioned by just looking at the reductionist law.
    Its often difficult to reconcile this emergence with the laws themselves, thus a lot of “magical thinking” abounds in the world of us human beings. I try to stay away from magical thinking and keep myself supplanted in the RWOT (Real world out there) and try to understand the various emergent phenomena as best as I can with my biased and semi-rational brain so that I eke out a reasonably comfortable, reasonably informed existence.

    2. How do you justify your actions (good and bad) for your belief system?
    I tend to try to work towards maximum benefit for maximum people who are likely to be impacted by my actions … while trying to make sure that nobody gets impacted negatively.
    That’s the idea … but it does not unfortunately always pan out that way in action. Also, the definition of “maximum benefit” according to which I operate is my own whimsical one and I stick to it – but its not too far from what would commonly be considered to be maximum benefit.
    I would not do to others what I would not have them do to me.
    At the same time, I realize that progress can be painful and we must sometimes be hard on ourselves. But what progress means can be different for different folk. Also, whether we have the authority (or responsibility) to be hard on others is a question I often debate in my mind. Its very situational I guess – but by and large, one should let others be while not shying away from airing one’s opinion (and being willing/ open to reform it) is what I’ve come to believe … either convince through reasoned, dispassionate debate or go your separate ways.

    3.What gives you meaning and purpose?
    There is no universal, overarching meaning.
    I derive my meaning from trying to understand natural law and associated myriad emergent phenomena so that I may eke out reasonably comfortable, reasonably informed existence (repeated from Q1 🙂 ).
    Its not as dry as it sounds … it involves a lot of work, dialogue, thinking & reflecting, working towards stuff etc.

    4.What are ways you express yourself and why?
    Learning as much as I can (in my own manner).
    Talking to people and trying to help where I can (in my own manner).

    5. How do you view the idea of the soul and/or the afterlife
    Ludicrous and laughable. Does not exist. When we die, that’s it.

  8. The idea of the soul, is ludicrous? That is only because you have accepted what some religions tell you what the soul is. And you haven’t gone to the source of truth to verify what you have heard. The Bible says the when Adam was created, after God formed him from the earth, God breathed into Adam the breath of life, and that is when the first soul was created. Or if you will, the first being. Adam did not have a soul, he was a soul. He was a being. You do not have a soul. You are a soul. And you say you are a naturalist.

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