Bad Reasons to Believe in God: Survival Instinct

This was a new one on me, I’d never heard it before. The answer seems so utterly obvious to me that I don’t know why anyone would bring it up, still, it’s started to come up from more than one source, so here’s the simple answer.

‘If there’s no god, how do you account for our inherent survival instinct?’

The survival instinct is an evolved trait. The survival benefit of… wanting to survive, should be blatantly obvious. Those creatures that want to survive pass on the tendency to want to survive, and they survive more often because they want to survive.

Creatures with a lesser survival instinct or no survival instinct at all, are – obviously – less likely to survive and so don’t pass on their suicidal tendencies.

D’uh.

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11 responses to “Bad Reasons to Believe in God: Survival Instinct

  1. The survival instinct is not hard-wired, but *soft-wired* by evolution. It is possible to lose the survival instinct. This is what depression is; total and utter disrepair(1). (I am an *atheist BUT) There are two interpretations of God(s). One is external, the other is internal. One is an imaginary guy in the sky, the other is a faculty of the mind. The first interpretation is the one that drives myself to say I’m an individualist theist rather than an atheist (actually I say I’m an atheist out of laziness). Let me explain: I am also an Anarchist. The definition of Anarchism is simply “no government”. The external interpretation is: “Get rid of the government, ” the internal, “how do I avoid becoming the government.” This is why I’m forced to call myself an “Individualist Anarchist” — to separate myself from the external interpretation (bombs, assassination, cloaks and daggers, etc). Now we get back to the individualist theist, and the crux lies in the definition of the now internal interpretation of god — that God is the survival instinct. The survival instinct is NOT a hard-wired mechanism, rather soft-wired by evolution, and hence must be tended to in those of us that are vulnerable to despair.

    1. Suicide runs in my family… The sad thing is that this internal interpretation of religion has always been there. Just as with Anarchism, in all the literature there are two parallel interpretations which are up to the reader. One is to take things literally (go down the external, self infliction upon others route, or go down the rational: “I’ll take from this what works for me and apply it to my life” route. The problem with atheism is it’s demands for rigidity in interpretation. Get over it atheists. When some people enter a creepy house they say it’s haunted. When others enter they say it has a creepy aesthetic, and realise aesthetics are not external facts, they are internal “abstract facts” — emotions — not factual at all. But from the internal interpretation the emotional response is as “real” as daylight. Just not from a factual standpoint.

    • This, as with other redefinitions of god, suffers from being a redefinition fallacy. If ‘god’ is the survival instinct… then it’s the survival instinct. Not god.

  2. god is abstract… it means many different things to different people. It is abstract — in an aesthetic sense. Like art. The survival instinct is the factual bit. It’s like god is a simulacra… not even a simulation of reality. God is an abstract painting of experience. “redefinition fallacy”?? How dare I, sir… How dare I!!!! *hands out wrist to be slapped*. God has many alternative definitions, each as individual as the person experiencing them. That is art and aesthetic in a nutshell. Each individual has a unique experience. To define one experience is like reading a film review and putting it in an encyclopaedia.

    • When I say “God is the survival instinct” I mean… It is an artistic abstraction of my intuitive FEELINGS (not vocal inner logical dialog) as to what “the survival instinct” is. To maintain my survival instinct it is not enough to know what it is… to maintain it without the use of medication requires an instinct and an abstract realisation of it,

      • It is a constructive delusion, and one I refuse to feel guilty about. When my belief is suspended when I’m reading a book — that is constructive delusion. As long as I know it’s nothing more than a life-aid/enjoyment, then I have maintained my rational thoughts in the long term. The suspension of belief, for some people, is really f*cking addictive, and I guess could have opiate like effects, but I’m for the legalisation of drugs. What’s the big deal? Of course the church, and religeouse gangs are f*cked, but they will always come and go. And I commend you on you’re resistance to them!!!

      • I make my living out of fantasy (games and fiction) but there’s a fundamental difference here. Immersion is finite, controlled. Fiction is understood to be fiction however much we value it. Religious belief is of a different character.

    • Unlike ‘spiritual’ which is, essentially, a meaningless noise, the term ‘god’ comes with a great deal more baggage and a more firm definition, even for deists.

      • You will find that the majority of church goers each have their own ideas as to what god is. My old man doesn’t believe in god, but he’s gone to church every Sunday/Holy day of his life. It is upon this hitch that Dawkins cops most of his flack (http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/dec/26/peter-higgs-richard-dawkins-fundamentalism). Same goes with Anarchism. Because the root definition consists of only two words, if you ask any Anarchist to elaborate on their political belief you will get a different answer from each you ask. I respect Dawkins and yourself on most of your gripes, but what you can’t get through your stubborn skulls is that the definition of god is not the one you think it is. If you want the most ambiguous word mankind has come up with, look up “God”. And not just the Germanic etymology. You will have a long effing trace on your hands. When I asked a priest (he was Anglican) what god was, he said “everything”. That pretty much sums it up. He also turned out to be a paedophile (I shit you not), but the local police botched up the legal procedure, and I believe the guy is still out there with a clean criminal record. I will end this pointless monologue by saying that I don’t expect you to agree with me, but to take in on board, and maybe let your juices flow over it a little. Either that or I’ve cemented your views with my ramblings… heh. Worst has happened at sea. I will hassle you no more.

      • I’m sure they do, but when we’re actually talking about a ‘god’ there is a commonality that runs through the lot from deist prime mover to the imam’s Allah. That is a supreme being, a creator, an active intelligence, a ‘grand designer’. One for which there’s no evidence.

        If someone says ‘everything’ they’re engaging in a redefinition fallacy. ‘Everything’ is the universe, or multiverse if you’re feeling pedantic and depending which way the evidence is favouring at the time. If someone says ‘love’ then they’re also engaging in a redefinition fallacy. Love doesn’t need redefining as ‘god’ and it is disingenuous to do so.

        I am also an anarchist but this is why we have sub-definitions and qualifiers. An anarcho-capitalist is a very different animal to an anarcho-syndicalist even though both share a core belief that defines them both as ‘anarchist’.

  3. Sorry about the grammatical errors. My earnest monologue has strayed into ranting, but I don’t know how to edit comments once posted 😦 Once again… I commend you on your resistance to religious gangs in general.

  4. Also: by redefinition fallacy I hope you don’t mean I’m trying to re-define the survival instinct as god? Again: god is an aesthetic attribution. It does not interfere with the definition at all. Only the emotional response to it. If you mean it as my definition of god is a suppressed correlative, then I’d say it is irrelevant, because I’m not trying to prove his existence! I don’t believe feelings or aesthetic attributions are deities.

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