Why was https://cogsci.stackexchange.com/questions/13611/why-are-religious-people-seemly-unable-to-hypothesise-about-a-universe-without-g migrated? It seems like a clearly philosophical question.


At the simplest level, the OP requested migration -- or at least that's how I took the interaction via comments to go.

On a more complex level, I'll explain why I asked the OP in the first place. I take it that the relationship between philosophy, the OP's observation, and motives/limitations surrounding logical thought are manifold, and clearly not all questions about the relationships between these things are philosophical.

Here's what I think anyway about some of these relationships:

  1. Philosophy can look at the idea of motivation within the domain of practical philosophy (which in this case may or may not mean ethics).
  2. Philosophy can provide answers on the generic question of blind spots in our reasoning or on the idea that emotions can cloud judgment (or the opposite).
  3. Philosophy can also look at ideas of how religious belief impacts epistemology.

There's definitely more that could be added to the above list.

But at least on reading the OP's questions and assumptions, I didn't take the question to be about the above list per se. (I'm not infallible as anyone who has been around for more than a week will attest ).

Instead, I took it to be built around a personal experience in search of a different sort of explanation along the following lines:

  1. In the OPs experience, religious people are incapable of considering even in a thought experiment the non-existence of God.
  2. The OP believes the cause has something to do with them being religious.
  3. The OP describes this as an emotional barrier: "it seems as though atheism is so uncomfortable to them" "Why is it so difficult for them to discuss atheist principles when I have no trouble discussing their religion with them?" (I take the following also to be in that category: "they seem unable to do so, because to them it doesn't make sense that God doesn't exist, or whatever else is said in their religious texts.")

From the above, I took it to be have a strong potential for being a question about psychological barriers rather than a request for a philosophical explanation of any specific problem in philosophy. As such, I asked the OP whether that might be closer to what they were looking for (at least that's my intention in the comment where I asked).

The OP then asked about migration though I'm not sure if that's just because I prompted it or not. So I migrated it.

  • It's true the question could have gone both ways, but I would have instead guided the querant towards clarifying the philosophical aspect of the question, since he chose initially to post it here. It's also worth noting that no-one has addressed it over there... – Chris Sunami supports Monica Mar 29 '16 at 20:20
  • Regarding the question being able to go both ways, I think we need some pretty clear guidelines for questions like that one or else it most definitely turns into something that's not philosophy -- as has happened time and again here. – virmaior Mar 29 '16 at 23:02

For what it's worth, I would disagree with the premise of the question. There are lots of examples of religious people considering a universe without God. It doesn't seem really a "cognitive science" question, it's a question about theology that is written in a condescending or ill-informed manner.

  • I wasn't offended by the question, but I would have liked a chance to respond to it --I feel I have legitimate philosophical reasons for not giving serious consideration to a universe without God. I didn't feel the OP's real question was if religious people have different brains. – Chris Sunami supports Monica Mar 29 '16 at 20:17
  • But in some cases there are Religious people who "cannot" conceive of a universe without a deity, so it was addressed to that situation. Even if condescending and ill-informed, an answer can still be given. What the asker does with the answer is up to them. I can only choose to answer, or keep silent. Silence does not advance the state of knowledge, although answering often does not either. – user16869 Apr 23 '16 at 18:28

I just now followed the link because the question was familiar, and I see that I wrote a comment explaining why it is a Psychological question. Perhaps it also has Philosophical aspects, but my take on it was as I said, ego requiring support for its ideas. For some ideas, there is nothing like a deity to validate them. (That's right, there is nothing like a deity) (always a comedian...)

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