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Series of studies show that death anxiety influences belief in intelligent design

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posted on Aug, 14 2013 @ 11:31 AM
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This thread is uncannily related to my previous thread:
www.abovetopsecret.com - New research about consciousness in the dying brain...

I came across this (circa 2011) research in my favorites while searching for something else.

Here it's:
phys.org - Death anxiety prompts people to believe in intelligent design, reject evolution: research...

.........
British evolutionary biologist Prof. Dawkins, like the majority of scientists, argues that life's origins are best explained by Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection. However, intelligent design advocates such as Prof. Behe, a U.S. author and biochemist, assert that complex biochemical and cellular structures are too complex to be explained by evolutionary mechanisms and should be attributed to a supernatural creator.

"Our results suggest that when confronted with existential concerns, people respond by searching for a sense of meaning and purpose in life," says Tracy. "For many, it appears that evolutionary theory doesn't offer enough of a compelling answer to deal with these big questions."

The researchers carried out five studies with 1,674 U.S. and Canadian participants of different ages and a broad range of educational, socioeconomic and religious backgrounds.

In each study, participants were asked to imagine their own death and write about their subsequent thoughts and feelings, or they were assigned to a control condition: imagining dental pain and writing about that.
........

So what they found was that people seem to have existential concerns when prompted by death anxiety; they're looking for meaning and purpose. The majority of people lean towards intelligent design. However, the research indicated natural science students found meaning in naturalism. Naturalism, of course, supports the theory of evolution, but it seems to instill more meaning into the process. This suggests people might be educated or moved to find meaning without intelligent design.

Wordweb has this definition for naturalism:

(philosophy) the doctrine that the world can be understood in scientific terms without recourse to spiritual or supernatural explanations

All of this reminds me of a scene in Star Trek: TNG:

Is it crude to bring that up? Idk. It seems appropriate. So do we find some meaning by having children or making an impact on the world around us? Does it connect us with immortality? It's more substantial than wasting your life or holding onto things that will die with you.

We will die. You, I and everybody. When we die, we take our mind and our body with us. All that we invested in will be lost if it's tied only to our body or our mind. But if we invested in something else, like children or society or art or something external, then we grab onto something more lasting.

I'm not implying all of our existential fears can be cleared away by a philosophy that's naturalist or not supernatural. To suggest that all people can become like those natural science students is dependent on assumption. Mayhap some things must rely on faith alone.
edit on 14-8-2013 by jonnywhite because: (no reason given)




posted on Aug, 14 2013 @ 11:51 AM
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Personally, I would have much more anxiety concerning myself with an afterlife than with the notion of simply ceasing to exist.



posted on Aug, 14 2013 @ 11:56 AM
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Originally posted by jonnywhite
So what they found was that people seem to have existential concerns when prompted by death anxiety; they're looking for meaning and purpose.



I dont think many people would find that surprising.
Its rather well known that in times of crisis, people turn to religion. Its the way human brains are wired. They're hardly likely to turn to evolutionary biology, because that is HARD to think about. So hard in fact, that most people who argue the point in discussion forums dont actually understand what its all about.

So I see this study as a waste of time and money. Its one of those rather obvious outcomes. One might as well have quoted the old saying There are no atheists in foxholes.

Doesnt mean it is TRUE though. What humans think, and what is true, are often two different things.



posted on Aug, 14 2013 @ 12:02 PM
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Originally posted by alfa1

Originally posted by jonnywhite
So what they found was that people seem to have existential concerns when prompted by death anxiety; they're looking for meaning and purpose.



I dont think many people would find that surprising.
Its rather well known that in times of crisis, people turn to religion. Its the way human brains are wired. They're hardly likely to turn to evolutionary biology, because that is HARD to think about. So hard in fact, that most people who argue the point in discussion forums dont actually understand what its all about.

So I see this study as a waste of time and money. Its one of those rather obvious outcomes. One might as well have quoted the old saying There are no atheists in foxholes.

Doesnt mean it is TRUE though. What humans think, and what is true, are often two different things.


Am I the exception to the rule in that I see no reason to fear death if there is no afterlife but a multitude of reasons for fear if there is an afterlife?



posted on Aug, 14 2013 @ 12:06 PM
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reply to post by jonnywhite
 


Don't take life too seriously, you'll never get out alive.

That's my moto.



posted on Aug, 14 2013 @ 12:11 PM
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reply to post by jonnywhite


Is it crude to bring that up? Idk. It seems appropriate. So do we find some meaning by having children or making an impact on the world around us? Does it connect us with immortality? It's more substantial than wasting your life or holding onto things that will die with you.

 


It can make someone go mad, or at least send the coldest shiver down their spine. The thought is not pleasant. And because of that, sometimes I wonder if believe in the everlasting is simply a result of those fears.

When I consider having children, I think the same thing. Do I try to pass a legacy on to my namesake and continue that throughout the ages to find some sort of immortality, or... do I just say no, end it here, and choose not to forsake some poor soul into a miserable life with a finite end into nothingness.

I'm sure we all have a burning light inside whispering that it all means something, that our sense of self must somehow be carried on, which is why it's so hard to cope with living in the first place.



posted on Aug, 14 2013 @ 12:13 PM
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reply to post by micmerci


Am I the exception to the rule in that I see no reason to fear death if there is no afterlife but a multitude of reasons for fear if there is an afterlife?

 




You and about 90% of the population that lies, cheats, steals and does general baddassery at some point in their life. Whether or not they ever admit it, or try and veil it in a sheet of holy indignation blankets.



posted on Aug, 14 2013 @ 04:45 PM
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reply to post by jonnywhite
 


My desire is obviously that we get to continue in some form or another. My faith and belief that we do live on does dictate my behaviour for sure.

If I leaned towards the "this is it" and nothing when we die notion then my behaviour would have been much more selfish.

My anxiety that there is some kind of reckoning on one's performance makes me more altruistic and not so concerned with earthly wealth. I am not looking to try and have it all now.

I am just one of those people who could not accept this being all that there is. It is too unjust and I find it a depressing realm to be in. The idea that this is all there is strikes horror into my brain, frankly! I could not live with the nihilism it would make me feel. Hence, I chase the hope of consciousness beyond the worms and the grave!!!



posted on Aug, 14 2013 @ 04:48 PM
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reply to post by jonnywhite
 


ps. I don't necessarily see a conflict between a belief in intelligent design and evolution as such.

The Creator has obviously laid a blueprint and allowed for natural selection. Why does there have to be a conflict between evolution and a belief in an Intelligent Creator of the original source code?



posted on Aug, 14 2013 @ 05:50 PM
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The theory of evolution, explains life, and how it changes and evolves over time, creating other species of animals after a long time.

We don't know what mad life living. It could just as well be by the touch of God. We do not have an answer, to this question.

The idea that life ends completely after death isn't scary to me at all. The idea that some religious zealots told me, about what will be a possible ending.... That freaks the living crap out of me.

Anyway...

I'm sure we will find out soon enough haha.



posted on Aug, 14 2013 @ 05:54 PM
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Good stuff. It's nice to see some studies to finally back up what most of us have known for years. Fear of death is the primary selling point of their religion. Believe us or burn in hell for eternity! Um, yeah that sounds legit.
And what's even funnier is that the majority of people who turn to religion late in life, do it out of desperation. They are subconsciously afraid that if they die and the religion is right, they might miss out on heaven, and going through rough times brings out people's true nature.



posted on Aug, 15 2013 @ 12:14 PM
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reply to post by jonnywhite
 


This doesn't surprise me. I was raised as a fundamentalist and taught to believe in creation. Eventually I left Christianity behind but I was still reluctant to accept evolution or even consider it a likely option. Why? Because I had erroneously linked the idea of being "just an animal" with that of atheism and being doomed to just be dead forever.

I was terrified of the idea of living forever but also couldn't wrap my head around the idea of just being non-existent and so for a while there my preferred belief was in reincarnation.

The idea that we will be non-existent is frightening, for we cannot imagine anything other than consciousness. Eventually though I realized that, as comforting as thoughts of an afterlife were they were no reason to reject the scientific evidence or invest myself in emotionally comforting delusions.

It makes you think of a TNG episode, but it makes me think of an episode of Red Dwarf, wherein the android Kryten, struggling with his impending demise, claims that there is a "Silicon Heaven" for all electronics that die. He scoffs at the idea of human heaven and when confronted by the idea that it might be a lie replies "No silicon heaven'? Where would all of the calculators go?"

This episode made the idea of an afterlife seem utterly ridiculous. It's such a self-centered idea, not only anthropocentric but narcissistic as well. Who am I? From the cosmic perspective I am insignificant, hell even from a global stand-point the average joe isn't all that significant. But that's okay because I don't need to be important to some God's divine plan or even to the world as a whole, I just need to be important to those I love and care about here and now and in the future. The after-life isn't just a comforting lie, in some sense it is the height of human hubris and self-importance, that we of all the animals, on this planet of all the planets, MUST for some reason live on beyond the obvious end of death.






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