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Can God Create...? More Fun with Paradoxes or BLOW YOUR MIND Part 2

Posted 7/29/12 , edited 7/30/12

Tekrelious wrote:

I don't understand at all how I'm twising your words. You explicitly stated that once man understands the universe then God doesn't fit in it in some attempt at asserting your atheism.

Also you've brought up one of my biggest gripes against atheism "Reality is that either God exists or he doesn't. We don't know for sure *if* he doesn't, ..."

Of course we can know God exists. People have been seeing him personally or his angels for thousands of years. Now certainly every Tom, Dick, and Harry that claims to have seen God isn't telling the truth but you can't discount them ALL. Just because YOU haven't seen miracles is no reason you can claim that nobody has. How do you know I haven't seen miracles myself? It's utter hubris to believe that you know better than anyone else.
This "seeing is believing" assumption isn't gonna help you at all, when science can prove that just how often we humans ended up seeing patterns that's not really there. Yet we just believed that they were real, because our brain has the tendency to deceive even itself.

Michael Shermer: The pattern behind self-deception
Michael Shermer says the human tendency to believe strange things -- from alien abductions to dowsing rods -- boils down to two of the brain's most basic, hard-wired survival skills. He explains what they are, and how they get us into trouble.

This is an experiment done by Jennifer Whitson at U.T. Austin on corporate environments and whether feelings of uncertainty and out of control makes people see illusory patterns. That is, almost everybody sees the planet Saturn. People that are put in a condition of feeling out of control are more likely to see something in this, which is allegedly patternless. In other words, the propensity to find these patterns goes up when there's a lack of control. For example, baseball players are notoriously superstitious when they're batting, but not so much when they're fielding. Because fielders are successful 90 to 95 percent of the time. The best batters fail seven out of 10 times. So their superstitions, their patternicities, are all associated with feelings of lack of control and so forth.

What do you see in this particular one here, in this field? Anybody see an object there? There actually is something here, but it's degraded. While you're thinking about that, this was an experiment done by Susan Blackmore, a psychologist in England, who showed subjects this degraded image and then ran a correlation between their scores on an ESP test: How much did they believe in the paranormal, supernatural, angels and so forth. And those who scored high on the ESP scale, tended to not only see more patterns in the degraded images but incorrect patterns. Here is what you show subjects. The fish is degraded 20 percent, 50 percent and then the one I showed you, 70 percent.

A similar experiment was done by another [Swiss] psychologist named Peter Brugger, who found significantly more meaningful patterns were perceived on the right hemisphere, via the left visual field, than the left hemisphere. So if you present subjects the images such that it's going to end up on the right hemisphere instead of the left, then they're more likely to see patterns than if you put it on the left hemisphere. Our right hemisphere appears to be where a lot of this patternicity occurs. So what we're trying to do is bore into the brain to see where all this happens.

Brugger and his colleague, Christine Mohr, gave subjects L-DOPA. L-DOPA's a drug, as you know, given for treating Parkinson's disease, which is related to a decrease in dopamine. L-DOPA increases dopamine. An increase of dopamine caused subjects to see more patterns than those that did not receive the dopamine. So dopamine appears to be the drug associated with patternicity. In fact, neuroleptic drugs that are used to eliminate psychotic behavior, things like paranoia, delusions and hallucinations, these are patternicities. They're incorrect patterns. They're false positives. They're Type I errors. And if you give them drugs that are dopamine antagonists, they go away. That is, you decrease the amount of dopamine, and their tendency to see patterns like that decreases. On the other hand, amphetamines like cocaine are dopamine agonists. They increase the amount of dopamine. So you're more likely to feel in a euphoric state, creativity, find more patterns.

In fact, I saw Robin Williams recently talk about how he thought he was much funnier when he was doing cocaine, when he had that issue, than now. So perhaps more dopamine is related to more creativity. Dopamine, I think, changes our signal-to-noise ratio. That is, how accurate we are in finding patterns. If it's too low, you're more likely to make too many Type II errors. You miss the real patterns. You don't want to be too skeptical. If you're too skeptical, you'll miss the really interesting good ideas. Just right, you're creative, and yet you don't fall for too much baloney. Too high and maybe you see patterns everywhere. Every time somebody looks at you, you think people are staring at you. You think people are talking about you. And if you go too far on that, that's just simply labeled as madness. It's a distinction perhaps we might make between two Nobel laureates, Richard Feynman and John Nash. One sees maybe just the right number of patterns to win a Nobel Prize. The other one also, but maybe too many patterns. And we then call that schizophrenia.
Furthermore, once our brain detected a particular pattern in the form of an "if I do this, then maybe I'll get rewarded" social situation, that's when we can get locked into a behavior addiction for as long as the rest of our lives.

Dopamine Jackpot! Sapolsky on the Science of Pleasure
Robert Sapolsky, professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University, compares dopamine levels in monkeys and humans. Sapolsky argues that in both, "Dopamine is not about pleasure, it's about the anticipation of pleasure. It's about the pursuit of happiness." Unlike monkeys however, humans "keep those dopamine levels up for decades and decades waiting for the reward."
So, are you ready to face your own self-deceiving schizophrenia, with the latest scientific understanding on how your own brain works? Or are you going to keep making prejudgement on something that you don't even understand, simply because that's how you've always made yourself to feel good during moments of uncertainty?
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