Santa, Barrett, George W Bush discussed on Stuff To Blow Your Mind


A website or domain squarespace. Just go check it out. And we're back now. In in discussing all of this Barrett also provides a humorous chart that it compiles his thoughts his interpretations of these five categories not only on Santa as a possible God but also mickey mouse the tooth fairy in engorge Bush. I think this would have been the George W Bush right yeah. Beliefs but for instance went through Santa Claus. But I'm Mickey Mouse. He gave Mickey. Yes for counterintuitive yelling mouse. Yeah Yes for intentional agent. Sure but then I know on having strategic information right. no-one no-one acting in the real world and a no on motivating reinforcing behavior. Oh Yeah I'm with all that on the two to three gets yeses across the board except for possessing vesting strategic information. which is the tooth fairy? Really know anything you don't I mean maybe knows a little bit more about your dental hygiene than and other entities doesn't really seem actionable. Yeah and then. Finally George Bush. George Bush gets yeses across the board except for counter intuitive. So he's an intentional agent agent he at least at the time possessed strategic information. He acted in the real world. Motivated reinforcing behaviours. But he was not counterintuitive. Does he motivate reinforcing behaviours. I guess so. Yeah I think so but you know he was just a human right. I mean yeah. It's true any actually existing human walking around on the earth motivates reinforcing behaviours. Because if you act as if these people don't exist it will cause problems for you. I should also point out that if you if you want to actually look up this paper the full title which we did not share earlier for reasons though become obvious is why Santa Claus is not a God again journal Cognition Culture Two thousand an eight if you look it up. He also has a wonderful ven diagram of how all five of these concepts interact and the the one safe zone where you have candidates for successful gods according to these these ideas now I would say to be critical of these criteria. We've been discussing I. I think you could argue that. Santa meets all five criteria at least in some cases of belief and not in other cases of belief and yet still there is no active cult of Santa whatsoever among adults and this suggests to me that while I think these five criteria are all very good starting places for evaluating God odd type agents in people's beliefs. They've got to be some other criteria here. That are not really accounted for. I think one major factor playing against belief in Santa in a clause as a god is that there is first of all a right of passage in which children become aware of the underlying Christmas gift mechanism and there are not any significant numbers of adults insisting to other adults that Santa Claus is real and is a God. You've gotTa have a foothold of people starting off insisting insisting that it's real in all cases and not just say in the presence of children but like two other adults and they would have to be you know trying to make a case you know and once. Let's you had that. Actually I could see it being surprising how easy something like God. Belief would pick up because there's nothing as convincing as other other people's confidence it's like embarrassing how susceptible we are to just sensing confidence and other people and thinking. Oh maybe there's something to that. So do you think there air could come a day where we would say. Oh yeah when we when we were Kids and when we were younger adults Santa was just an idea that we We told kids about the only kids believed in it but now we have all these adults all over the news media. And they're just fiercely defending belief in Santa Claus. And I'm afraid to say anything. I don't think you would get that because I don't see that there's a major motivation to start a movement like that and I think that the people who tried to start a movement like that they would not not have a major motivation and they would look foolish at least initially right until they got people believing them so i. I just don't see that as likely to happen now. I think you could probably proposed things that are equally ridiculous but you can imagine more of a motivation for them to come about that. Maybe you could. I mean they sound crazy to us now but if enough people or confidently proclaiming them say take a major political figure and start saying that they're a God. That sounds ridiculous to us right now but if you just get a number of people loudly proudly proclaiming that I. I think you could get some buying. Oh Yeah I mean you if you listened to the the right people you you hear that about contemporary political figures to a certain extent. I don't think I've heard anyone say that. The individual in question is a deity. But I have heard people say well. If you look at you know the way the Such and such as written in the Old Testament. Yeah then clearly that makes room for me to you know to look over this particular individual shortcomings Etcetera and yeah I mean it's it's not too much of an extrapolation to get to the point where you can imagine someone saying no this. This politician is God. We'll end the division between a figure gear of major religious significance and a God. Themself is not always as clear as we might want it to be or think. There's another thing that I think is getting in the way of of Santa in a clause becoming a legitimate God belief among adults and this may be a weirdly specific nitpick But I think it hurts to suggest that there is a physical location on earth where he resides and combining that with like modern Gio imaging and maps like it would be really hard to contend that Santa Claus is a literal physical being being who lives in a toy workshop at the North Pole most God beliefs that have survived into the modern technological era have either always been or have had to retreat into Intangibility for instance it would. It would be hard to insist today that there are Greek gods that literally inhabit a palace of the top. Mount Olympus like you can see pictures what it looks like up there but They would have to become invisible or start to occupy some non physical dimension or something like that right now as always when you're talking about you know real phenomenon and culture. They're exceptions an exception. I can think of as Mount Kailash for instance in in Hinduism some believe this to be the the physical mountain. It's a real mountain. You Go. There people make pilgrimages there and they walk around it. Some people believe it to be the home of Lord Shiva and the Goddess Parvathi. But but you're not allowed to climb up on the mountain to see for yourself and I think this belief would probably also tolerate some non-physical interpretations and yet as I think you could a potentially imagine imagine a world if you will in which Saint Nicholas is never fully invested from his religious origins and and and and instead of it being instead of Santa Claus being this thing that is sometimes brought up about the secular war on Christmas. You know in taking Christ out of Christmas. What of Saint Ain't Nicholas on the whole across the Western civilization remains this? This religious figure who also comes at Christmas brings toys and lives at the North Pole. And then you have all Santa believing nations agree to not explore the the Arctic because because that is where Santa lives and forging treaties with non Santa believing nations. That were they agree yes. We won't explore the Arctic because we realized that sacred to you then perhaps you could keep you could keep the the the residents of Santa an article of faith or not. It might not actually work possible. I think you'd still still have the major problem of like that. The generational transfer of the knowledge of the Christmas gift mechanism. Yeah like the fact that at some point you meet the man behind the curtain and it's mom and Dad I think that has an incredibly powerful demotivating effect on belief. You're going for the throat without one. Joe I didn't go that far in talking about the Magic Santa Santa. It's weird though because I feel I feel sorry. Did I do bad well. I too weird for me. I feel more. I feel less pressure about Discussing a religious concepts have been saying that. Okay you know we have this concept of God but there's no actual deity resides in heaven like I feel better about saying saying that then to come out and say that Santa Claus is your parents. Well we already said Oh. Come on I'm not saying makes sense. I'm just saying that's how it feels those. I'm like. Oh that's that's a step too far to say not. Only there is no Santa and he is me. That's exactly in fact you're exactly exactly making my point is. It's not just that at some point the other kids on the playground start saying oh you still will even say in US sane isn't real. I mean that would be one thing if that was happening. You could still maintain tain belief even in a hostile atmosphere. People maintain religious beliefs in a hostile atmosphere among nonbelievers who challenged their beliefs. But the fact that they're the mechanism is revealed by the by the people pulling the levers that the it is me. Statement is the most powerful moment there. That's where like it. It can't really survive that moment. Yeah but sometimes you don't completely have that moment. I Dunno like some some parents. They don't have a sit down and say like all right. Here's the here's the truth so I think another important. I'm sorry I didn't mean to do something you didn't. I'm just saying that that kind of I felt that it says more about me as is an apparent this currently maintaining the the magic of Santa and trying to figure out where it goes from here. You know But I do want to come back to again into Santa and God hood. I think it's worth mentioning first of all the Santa has encompassed aspects of old Gods. Already you have such characters as the GERMANIC. Thank God vote in the God like entity of Russia's dead demoralize or old man frost who of course factors into another MSG through K.. Rift film Jack Frost and now I think he's more. There's certainly a clear cut case for Jack Frost being a deity Since he is a you know he's please calm. You know he's a natural force in that is personified. Sure but then also we have to get into discussing just like how the how concepts of God. What in God's are GonNa vary from culture to culture because a lot of this has revolved around very I think Western concepts of an all powerful? God you know or or even like ancient Greek concepts of like really highly powerful anthropomorphic entities. Right yeah I mean it's something that Barrett mentions in the paper is that they're these criteria terrier supposed to apply to all kinds of God's I mean so they would apply to you know Spirit gods that live in the trees and stuff like that or household gods and like they should apply to all of these categories. But it's clear that at least I think you and I by our cultural context are very condition when we talk about. God's do think about like the monotheistic religions right but I do wonder if despite what Barrett says I wonder if some of the household God concept do kind of fall through the cracks of this a little bit and I was thinking particularly about about about China here because in China Santa has really only gained traction there during Really gain traction there in the nineteen nineties ninety s so you won't find Santa Wearing Confucian robes or anything but apparently you will see him on doors in places often relegated for the guts. Let's Chinese households with double doors sometimes boast twin images of Santa..

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