Is belief toxic for your brain?

Homepage Forums Small Talk Is belief toxic for your brain?

This topic contains 24 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of ProgrammingGodJordan programminggodjordan 2 months ago.

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  • #3445

    Hello atheists, I am ‘atheisting‘ daily here.
    Belief in nonsense/religion is toxic, but also, it appears that the very concept of belief is unavoidably toxic:

    (1) Belief can include non science, while science cannot.

    (2) “..that flat earthers exist, (i.e. beliefs in supposedly flat earth) does not disregard gravitational theory, and that scientists believe, does not suddenly change the behaviours of equations in scientific descriptions.”

    The second quote comes directly from my shameless plug below:

    Amazon: “Stop believing in Everything” (free for unlimited users)

     
    End-note:
    Scientific data that shows that strong belief may be toxic:

    The relationship between religiosity and intelligence

     

     

    Share your thought cycles.

    #3472
    Profile photo of Tom Sarbeck
    Tom Sarbeck
    Participant

    IQ and high school math and science (in Catholic schools).
    In 8th grade I learned of my high IQ and went to a college prep hs. In 9th grade I didn’t understand algebra. In 10th I loved plane geometry. In 11th I survived trig. In 12th I loved physics.
    Korean War naval combat gave me the GI Bill and I started college. I quit religion, earned a BA in math and economics, and during a year in graduate school studied math and physics. While there I realized I’d studied math and science because, after 12 years in Catholic schools, being required to prove conclusions and get evidence restored my mind’s health.
    My part-time goal now is to persuade people that the Big Bang is a religion.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by Profile photo of Tom Sarbeck Tom Sarbeck. Reason: To add a current related activity
    #3474

    Ok Tom, I will bite 🙂 I know you dislike the Bangers but why?

    #3479
    Profile photo of Tom Sarbeck
    Tom Sarbeck
    Participant

    Reg, the Bangers are ok; the Bang is not.
    Like religion, there are millions of words in its favor but no evidence.

    #3480

    A bit pressed for time at the moment Tom but as a quick starter can I assume you accept the Universe is expanding and is not in a “steady state” as Fred Hoyle would have suggested?

    #3481
    Profile photo of Tom Sarbeck
    Tom Sarbeck
    Participant

    Reg, Hoyle and LeMaitre made the same mistake; they accepted that red shift measured distance.
    LeMaitre’s math persuaded xians that Genesis was true. They rejoiced and Hubble’s doubt wasn’t heard. The astronomers who doubted LeMaitre didn’t want to do battle with xianity and ex nihilo became the default view.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by Profile photo of Tom Sarbeck Tom Sarbeck.
    #3483
    Profile photo of Strega
    Strega
    Moderator

    I have to say I do enjoy reading @tom Sarbeck’s posts – if you’ve got the time, Tom, I’d love to hear more about your assertion that the universe didn’t start with a ‘big bang’.

    #3484
    Profile photo of Belle Rose
    Belle Rose
    Participant

    No…belief is actually good for your brain….Multiple studies show this. And anything you can to whether it’s prayer or meditation to calm your brain down has been shown to reduce anxiety, stress, etc….

     

    In my experience, non-belief is much more stressful and not good – especially for people with mental illness.

    #3485

    Some lunch break thoughts on the matter…..

    LeMaitre once said something along the lines that he had 2 methods of discovering the truth, religion and science. I think that Xians were already persuaded that Genesis was true. He, like Einstein was very adept at thought experiments. While it may not seem too profound at first glance, LeMaitre concluded that there must have been “a day without a yesterday”. (I only heard that term recently at a Brian Cox lecture).

    Einstein disagreed with LeMaitre because of “the Cosmological Constant” which turned out to be an unnecessary addition to the theory of Relativity. Einstein (like Hoyle) was convinced that the Universe was eternal and unchanging. Personally I have often wondered why Einstein was so caught up with this idea, given his understanding of Newtonian Gravity, which he was “improving” upon and his understanding of Maxwell’s (and Faraday’s) ideas. Especially Maxwell’s idea that color is just the electromagnetic wave of light. Einstein would have understood the importance of this. Similar to the Doppler effect of sound, as a light wave travels towards us it oscillates at a higher frequency that light that travels away from us. That coming towards us appears blue and that light which travels away from us glows red.

    In 1929, the year Edington proved that light bends around massive objects in space, to prove the Theory of Relativity to be correct, Edwin Hubble, who had already discovered that there was much more to the Universe than just our Milky Way galaxy, when on to observe that these galaxy clusters were actually travelling apart from each other. The universe was shown to be expanding. Not only expanding but the speed of this expansion was actually increasing. This became known as Hubble Law.

    This caused Einstein to recant his “biggest mistake” and accept that the Universe is expanding. If we were to travel to any other of the billions of galaxies in the Universe, we would observe the same thing: the Universe is expanding.

    Therefore, logically, if it is expanding and the rate of expansion is increasing, it must at some earlier point have had a beginning.  I know there are theories about redshift at certain frequencies in dark energy fields that can show expansion may have slowed at some point but overall these are fringe ideas.  Our current understanding of the Universe only leads to one conclusion. The Universe started at some point and expanded into what it is today.

    #3486

    Please cite the studies. They may show that ritualistic habits like repetitive prayers or mantras have a calming effect on the brain. I accept that mediation certainly does and is probably more effective than prayer. Neither prayer nor meditation is “belief”.  I do not agree that belief is good for your brain. Belief without evidence or based upon confirmation bias is bad for your brain because it is based upon a lack of critical thinking which is a survival tool when used properly.

    Many people with mental illness need proper science based treatments. Many are already delusional so how can convincing them that a supernatural Creator of the Universe is watching their every move help? Surely it is only adding in another type of delusion?

    #3487
    Profile photo of _Robert_
    _Robert_
    Participant

    Please cite the studies. They may show that ritualistic habits like repetitive prayers or mantras have a calming effect on the brain. I accept that mediation certainly does and is probably more effective than prayer. Neither prayer nor meditation is “belief”. I do not agree that belief is good for your brain. Belief without evidence or based upon confirmation bias is bad for your brain because it is based upon a lack of critical thinking which is a survival tool when used properly. Many people with mental illness need proper science based treatments. Many are already delusional so how can convincing them that a supernatural Creator of the Universe is watching their every move help? Surely it is only adding in another type of delusion?

    The mentally ill need to be prayed over to cast away the demons Reg….

    #3488
    Profile photo of tom sarbeck
    tom sarbeck
    Participant

    Reg, some late evening thoughts….

    First, in reply:
    “I think that Xians were already persuaded that Genesis was true.”
    To whatever had persuaded them, they added LeMaitre’s math.
    “…a day without a yesterday.”
    Is there evidence for a moment of time without a preceding moment of time?
    “Our current understanding of the Universe….”
    Many previous current understandings have been abandoned.

    Second, add these:
    Homepage/Forums/Small Talk is not the place for a book about cosmology.
    When you’ve read as much about plasma cosmology as I’ve read about the Bang, you will either be persuaded or you won’t bite on my words about a part-time goal.
    For some starter reading, go to www dot newtoeu dot com and download the free PDF file. You will also see leads to other reading and links to other websites.

    #3489
    Profile photo of tom sarbeck
    tom sarbeck
    Participant

    Thank you, Strega.
    I studied math, economics and physics, with more math and physics in grad school, and doubted the ex nihilo story the moment I saw it. The entire universe occupying a space smaller than a particle was fantasy. The Bangers eventually saw the foolishness of that hypothesis and it “evolved”.
    Go to www dot newtoeu dot com and download the free Beginner’s Guide PDF.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by Profile photo of tom sarbeck tom sarbeck.
    #3491

    While you have not directly answered if you accept that the expansion of the Universe is increasing, I assume you don’t as you have introduced plasma cosmology. I often ask theists what their religion has added to the world of scientific discovery in the last 500 years because they insist that religion and science are compatible and “equal” avenues to discovering more about our Universe.

    Modern cosmology has led to many discoveries that have reached consensus because they are proven correct when tested. One example is using Cepheid stars (pulsars) to measure the distances between galaxies.  By knowing the luminosity of these “standard candles” we know beyond any doubt, i.e. with complete certainty, that we live in an expanding Universe.

    I ask a similar question here – What does plasma cosmology or EU offer or explain that modern Big Bang Cosmology does not? As far as I can tell it is a debunked idea that never really took off.

    #3493
    Profile photo of Tom Sarbeck
    Tom Sarbeck
    Participant

    Again, Reg, Homepage/Forums/Small Talk is not the place for a book about cosmology.

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