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Posted by tenacious/">tenacious on November 30, 1999 21:48:08 UTC
As always, opinions are always welcomed and appreciated. My reply is basically a rehash of my old posts, because I've used these same examples in the past. However, you base your argument on the fact that humans are ignorant in many areas, and then use this as apparent evidence for God. Essentially, you say: "Look, there are lots of things humans will never know/understand. I'll never know, and you'll never know. Therefore, we both know that God exists." Ignorance can never produce knowledge of anything. That's not a good approach. The mere fact that we don't understand a lot of things is not a good reason to believe in God.
Furthermore, our ancient ancestors didn't have many of the advantages that we enjoy today. Consider this example:
An old Egyptian farmer falls ill and dies about a week later. The family mourns over their misfortune, and the corpse is buried underground. About a month later, the family returns to the grave site and are astonished to find that vegetation has increased dramatically. The family (without the benifit of scientific understanding), concludes that the farmer's spirit has returned to improve plant life on the grave site. In reality, when the farmer's corpse decomposed, it released valuable nutrients into the soil, thus acting as a fertilizer. Now, it's only logical that given to alternative explanations, the one that can be quantitatively tested and measured would be the explanation we accept as true. It's not hard to see how early religions and superstition could have developed (ie. sacrificing virgins/babies, by burning their bodies to appease the gods for a good harvest).
Another example is the possibility that early humans had difficulty distinguishing between dreams and reality. Thus, one might dream about dead relatives, and would postulate that they had travelled to some "other world" in their dream to meet with old loved ones and received advice. Thus spawned priests and witch doctors who claimed that they could speak to the dead. They may have sincerely believed this, but today (thanks to scientific research) we find that dreams are simply a chaotic firing of synapses, to refresh and rest the body.
I think we should take advantage of the things our ancients didn't have. Certainly, they achieved wonderous things, but though we marvel at their technology, should we accept their supersitions? The staggering increase in technology today has really increased only in the past 100 years or so, while humans have been around for a good 10 000 years. It's then not surprising that a high degree of technology has been developed in the past. I'm not saying we are better than our early ancestors, but we have the advantage of more improved technology and science. Let's us it to our advantage, and not dwell on failures of the past.
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