What defines us as athiests is that we reject the concept of a Deity. We assume this posture by using logic and reason. A deity is logically extremely improbable. We then go on to rely on logic and reason to construct our cosmology based on observation, scientific inquirey, rational deduction and so on. We each have a belief system on which our sense of the world is constructed, our reality so to speak.
I've been reading a bit about quantum mechanics and multi universe theories. None of this fits neatly into my cosmology. Even so, the theories are reached by logic that I can follow and can't really dispute at my level of understanding.
To approach concepts like the nature of our consciousness reveals the limits of logic and reason. Logic and reason would ascribe them to chemical reactions in the brain that interperate stimuli. But we only have five senses with which to evaluate the world (if an external world actually does exist!). Is it not reasonable to assume that there are things imperceptable to these five senses? If consciousness is indeed a chemical function of the brain, then we rely on the eyes, the ears, the nose, the skin to give us all the interaction with the physical world and supply all the data that the mind asesses. Can we trust that these mechanism are supplying accurate interperatations of the physical world?
And what's going on in the next person's head? Are we sure it's similar to what's going on in our own? Is each person a unique universe? Do they really connect in a physical space? One of the theories is that all matter is a congealing of possibilities enacted by consciousness, that in fact the universe does not exist on it's own without consciousness to define it. This begs the question, do any of you exist outside my head?
What I'm getting at is that religion provides a rudimentary construct for us to understand and relate to the universe. I believe our logical, reasonable, scientific cosmology is no less an invention of our mind than religion and is dependent on your intelligence level, understanding of science and philosophy, life experience, indoctrination to other cosmologies, level of inquirey, and psychological makeup among many other factors.
Who are we to be so disdainful of religion when our concept of reality is no less an invention of our minds? Is it essential to the human condition to have a cosmology? If it is, doesn't religion provide an essential construct for some?
Humans have much more then "just" 5 senses, all sensory perception can be a "sense" (hunger, balance, heat just to name a few).
I believe our logical, reasonable, scientific cosmology is no less an invention of our mind than religion
That might be so, but it's the result that truly matters to me, science works which is why I can justify that it is a better product from human imagination then is religion.
Ok, after a few posts in the thread, I'm going for the topic it self. To answer your title 'Are We Being Arrogant?'. Well, I'd have to say 'Yes'. But, in defense of that, how many humble people do you know of in history that discovered anything, other then the heels of those that weren't humble? Well, out side of philosophy at least. A little arrogance is a good thing, as it helps us to think we have any chance of understanding what is out there. And because it allows us to think that, we try. May never manage it, but at least by trying it allows for the possibility that we will, where not trying brings only the certainly that we won't.
I think the better question is, are we being too arrogant? If our certainty drives us to try and block others from exploring what we feel to be folly, then we are being too arrogant. That goes for theist and atheistic alike. Both have members guilty of clinging to what they find comfortable and trying to stop others from exploring what they wish. But, if we restrict our arrogance to chuckles and head shaking, but recognize that even the most seemingly absurd ideas have the potential to uncover something valid, then our arrogance is not too much.
Everything is all in your head. That doesn't make it any less real.
We do make a few assumptions, for instance, we assume that it is possible to make sense out of the universe. But reality appears to be completely consistent with our assumptions, and with itself. I may exist only in your mind, but that doesn't really matter.
There is no difference between a perfect illusion and reality. I feel solid keys under my finger as I type, I believe them to be real, but would my life be any different if the keys were not solid, but my mind did such a thorough job of convincing me that they were that it was completely impossible for me to tell? You could conceivably be a brain in a vat, with stimulus put in to simulate what we experience. Or you could be a complete lunatic who has constructed a false reality to live in. It doesn't matter though, because our apparent reality is consistent and inescapable, at least for the moment.
Religion is quite different. We have an experience, and try to learn what we can from it and enjoy it. They have an experience, and believe explanation that does not at all fit the observations.
A relevant video on the topic: