Religion

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proof_man
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Re: Religion

Postby proof_man » Fri Feb 01, 2008 2:30 pm UTC

Ruins wrote:Since you made such a long post, I will just answer each section individually. I apologize in advance for the long post, but my ISP has capped my downloads, so instead of watching some pr0n, I am writing this...

lots of stuff



okay, that makes a little more sense. i didn't understand your wording on what you meant by decision making. but i think you misinterpreted a few of my points (or i wasn't very clear) and they are important enough for me to respond.

2) -i wasn't putting them in a binary, only reacting to the frame you seemed to be working within with your post. sorry, i wasn't clear about that. but i do mean that there are different ways of thinking about things and that they cannot be strictly compared. this is the argument that i am making later with the thing about ethics.
-not all religions have not been as reluctant as you suggest. the catholic church believes that evolution could be true and they HAVE admitted they were wrong in the way they treated galileo. they are more conservative than science, though, but since i think they deal with other types of knowledge when they are doing their job, this is justified. science, you could argue, is behind the curve with addressing the developments in aesthetic theory. yes, it's less important, but the same sort of situation...it's not science's thing to be on the cutting edge of art. nor is it the place of religion to send up new telescopes into orbit. and yes, i realize that religion dominated the domain that science now holds for centuries (in europe, at least). that was because the main thinkers of previous centuries were philosophers within the church. the church was the center of knowledge for many centuries because of its political role, so religion informed 'science' for a while. but the fact that it no longer does this today shows that the essence of the majority of people's religions is not to compete or oppress free scientific investigation, but to address other matters.
you cannot paint all religion as being the same as evangelists. those are a loud minority. very loud. but there are billions of religious people who do not act in that way towards science. i would argue that they represent religion more so than the fundies who are pushing creationism in schools.
-i don't care about how much we use science. that it not the point. it does work. i get that. i saw the t-shirt. what i mean is that it is not necessarily the absolutely best tool for generating knowledge in all situations and one of those exceptions is the domain that concerns religion.

and if one argues that technological advancement is more beneficial than religion, i would refer them to the role tech played in making the two world wars such lovely experiences. and to that you might point out the inquisition versus smallpox vaccines. my point is that you could argue either way about the value of religion v. science..

3) just because your ethics aren't consistent in regards to a specific type of action doesn't mean that you don't work according to them. i also never argued for ethical absolutes. ethics are a hierarchy of values applied to various contexts, IMO. sometimes they conflict and we have to kill in self-defense (or let ourselves die), for instance. ethics isn't a set of ways to respond to actions. it is a set of decision making processes that puts things in categories of right and wrong.

i also didn't mean that religion should inform ethics. they are often separate. but even if ethics depend on culture, that is still a non-scientific epistemological process for making decisions. and it is valid in many (not all) instances.

but that wasn't my point...was using ethics as an example, not as an argument in itself.

you were talking about practical knowledge, that is, knowledge used to make decisions. ethics informs this, but an ethical 'fact' or value is not just another type of datum. there are different types of information. the information you receive from your eyes is different from the information from your ears. linking these in your head to form an idea about what's causing them is another type. now you could classify these all types of sensory information. but what of those that work on different levels?

think of historical knowledge. it must be assembled from a variety of highly subjective sources. there is no such thing as scientifically objective history, although certain events are extremely certain and number can be applied, like dates and quantities of people, etc. history, however, is not a set of dates and it cannot be treated as the same kind of information as weight or distance.

now, i would classify historical/ethical knowledge as separate from that of scientific knowledge. you cannot recreate the conditions of some types of knowledge. you cannot observe others. you cannot objectively observe historical knowledge.

some types of knowledge are uncertain. some only exist in culture. some reflect the physical world. some are pretty subjective (love, hatred, quality of art). some are just creations of the language we use (our grammar often forces the subject/object relationship upon situations where none exists in such a strict manner, for instance). other types of knowledge introduces categories like 'right/wrong' or 'happiness/sadness'. others deal with units of mass, volume, rate of acceleration, etc. what about a priori and a posteriori knowledge? if you are not familiar with john locke, his writings on such things is very interesting, even if no one follows it anymore. look at how he classifies different kinds of information...it's outdated scientifically but the questions that it calls forth about knowledge are valuable.

so, yes, i must insist there are different types of knowledge. they could all ultimately be classified as 'things you know', but that would ignore the critical things that actually make knowledge more than fleeting thoughts. and such differences in knowledge become especially important in decision making. you kinda need to understand the lesson of a wise fable from childhood in a different way than how many calories are suppose to be in a package of food, although the two might concern the same object.

4) people do not consult science in day to day life in this way. they instead tend to respond to social pressures, the growling in their stomachs, their fears, and their personal narratives. they do not fear airplanes crashes because of gravity. they fear them because they do not want to die, which involves a critical idea (that life is good) that cannot be informed by science. science as an epistemological tool is often neglected in day to day decision making. they are conscious of it, but other types of knowledge inform their actual concerns.

why, for instance, should the preacher you mentioned be thinking about electromagnetism? what does that have to do with anything? when i eat, i don't it matters whether i am privy to the exact way that i digest food. this may inform my nutrition, yes, but i don't think the way the acids digest things on a molecular level is more relevant beyond that. knowledge for its own sake is rad, but i thought we were talking about stuff that informs our decisions.

no, i am not saying that science is useless. just its wide application doesn't make it universally relevant and some situations require different kinds of knowledge.

in the same way that science can inform our decisions, so can other types of epistemological processes. these are just as important.

5) okay, that makes more sense of what you meant in your original post. but still, science only informs a fraction of the way that people operate. yes, i realize we are saturated by technology. but the use of science as a medium in our actions isn't the same as it giving us the type of knowledge that defines who we are and how to live. this is the type of knowledge that i think religion is concerned with for the most part. this is not an argument that religion is superior or that it is the only source of information about such things. but i am asserting that you can't compare the two, as they concern different things.

finally, the behavior of some religious people is not an argument against the truth of religion in general. people aren't consistent with their beliefs, although they will act like they are. just because lots of people have trouble following christian ideals does not mean that they are false. they are supposed to be difficult to follow.
also, i don't see how it is wrong for religion to disagree with you. of course it will assert its own veracity.
and there are some quite smart people who are very informed about science and who still willing to believe in 'the flying spaghetti monster'. belief is based on more than visibility and i think the acceptance of things beyond sensory perception is neither a marker of ignorance nor intelligence.
i would also argue that most of the violence committed in the name of religion is not informed by religion but other factors. since religion is extremely wrapped up with culture, actions committed by people because of social pressures take the garb of religion. think about the crusades. religion did not tell them to pillage. it was the justification for one culture trying to dominate the other. thus, terrorists are generated not simply because of extremist religions, but because they are responding to some kind of cultural conflict/injustice that leads them to kill others. understand that i'm not trying to justify them. but merely stamping out extremist sects will not make people stop wanting to kill each other.
and yes, i realize that religion does cause some people to kill each other, even after social/economic factors are taken into account. but this does not disprove all types of religion or mean that its disappearance would be the end of our problems.
none of this is meant to be an argument in favor of religion. i doubt that an online forum can lead to a change in faith either way and i have no interest in proselytizing.
edit: sorry for the typos. i don't have time to correct them all.

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Re: Religion

Postby recurve boy » Mon Feb 04, 2008 11:29 am UTC

proof_man wrote:and if one argues that technological advancement is more beneficial than religion, i would refer them to the role tech played in making the two world wars such lovely experiences. and to that you might point out the inquisition versus smallpox vaccines. my point is that you could argue either way about the value of religion v. science..


That's not a very good argument. Are you saying that without technology war will be a better experience? No science means no medicine, less intelligence, no artificial limbs for the unfortunate. Science even saves lives in wars. Now we have unmanned aircraft, we can strike target from a distance. We can pick out targets to inflict minimum human loss.

Science has also has made contributions outside of wars. We know religion would not have given us these things because religion is not in the habit of systematically studying the natural world without assuming that a deity was not involved. Science has definitely made the world a better place. There is simply no question about that.

I am biased, but seriously, I can't think of much in the way of pros for religion. Atheist live their lives just fine without it. I can only think of a couple reasons it's been good. Culturally we may be worse off. As an artist myself, I think it is quite possible that many artist that were inspired, may never have been inspired ever. IIRC, Christianity may have helped literacy levels as one of the things some English king did was to print the get the Bible translated from Latin to English and printed or something. And what better way to become more Christian than to learn to read, so you can read the bible. Something like that.

But we can't say that in a religionless world, we would be worse off. It may have been good. But it's outlived it's usefulness I think.

I will not address the rest of your comment. I didn't really read it properly. :P

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Re: Religion

Postby cypherspace » Mon Feb 04, 2008 2:21 pm UTC

My two cents on one part:

-i don't care about how much we use science. that it not the point. it does work. i get that. i saw the t-shirt. what i mean is that it is not necessarily the absolutely best tool for generating knowledge in all situations and one of those exceptions is the domain that concerns religion.
While I'm prepared to admit that science doesn't exactly have much to say on the nature of beauty, for example, religion often makes claims that are entirely within science's realm. We know that the world wasn't created the way the Bible says it was. We know the Sun doesn't revolve round the earth. Religion can be a good thing for creating support networks among people, providing comfort and guidance on moral behaviour (not that I agree with half of it, but let's assume it can do it well), but when it starts making claims on the nature of the world that can be tested by science, we cannot and should not give it a free ride on the basis of science not knowing everything.
"It was like five in the morning and he said he'd show me his hamster"

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Re: Religion

Postby proof_man » Mon Feb 04, 2008 7:21 pm UTC

cypherspace wrote:My two cents on one part:

-i don't care about how much we use science. that it not the point. it does work. i get that. i saw the t-shirt. what i mean is that it is not necessarily the absolutely best tool for generating knowledge in all situations and one of those exceptions is the domain that concerns religion.
While I'm prepared to admit that science doesn't exactly have much to say on the nature of beauty, for example, religion often makes claims that are entirely within science's realm. We know that the world wasn't created the way the Bible says it was. We know the Sun doesn't revolve round the earth. Religion can be a good thing for creating support networks among people, providing comfort and guidance on moral behaviour (not that I agree with half of it, but let's assume it can do it well), but when it starts making claims on the nature of the world that can be tested by science, we cannot and should not give it a free ride on the basis of science not knowing everything.


i didn't mean to assert religion's claims on things that are be testable by science. i should have been more clear. i was not asking for a free ride in matters such as the biological origin of life. i meant that they do not overlap entirely and just because science is able to do a few things better doesn't mean that science is the best way to approach all aspects of life/reality/the world/what have you. thus, science developing theories about evolution that prove to be a much more likely model than the garden eden does not mean that science has grounds for undermining all religious beliefs, especially those that can not be tested according to the scientific method, but may be understood through other processes.

also understand that the object of inquiry may overlap, but the aspects that are studied may differ. let's say that an animistic religion were to claim that a mountain is a god. a geologist studying the mountain scientifically would not preclude the metaphysical claims made about the mountain by religion. for although they are regarding the same thing, they are looking at different aspects.

thus, i think that it is plausible for religions to argue that there is a ghost in the machine on non-scientific grounds.

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Re: Religion

Postby Number 6 » Mon Feb 04, 2008 10:00 pm UTC

Problem is, you're still using a truth-sentence.* It might not be testable by experiment, but it is certainly either true or false. (as long as you actually care to define all the terms (such as god, ghost and soul)) We can then analyse what led you to believe it is true and if this is a valid way of arriving at a (possible) true statement. It is still possible to anylise all the assumptions needed for this to be true and decide whether or not the assumptions are valid ones.

If thinking that something is true will make you live a happier life, then more power to you, but don't say it is actually and definitely true if the only reason you hold it as true is because you (1) want it to be true and (2) there is not sufficient evidence to the contrary.

*sorry, I don't know the correct English term, but I think you understand what I mean

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Re: Religion

Postby proof_man » Tue Feb 05, 2008 12:45 am UTC

Number 6 wrote:Problem is, you're still using a truth-sentence.* It might not be testable by experiment, but it is certainly either true or false. (as long as you actually care to define all the terms (such as god, ghost and soul)) We can then analyse what led you to believe it is true and if this is a valid way of arriving at a (possible) true statement. It is still possible to anylise all the assumptions needed for this to be true and decide whether or not the assumptions are valid ones.

If thinking that something is true will make you live a happier life, then more power to you, but don't say it is actually and definitely true if the only reason you hold it as true is because you (1) want it to be true and (2) there is not sufficient evidence to the contrary.

*sorry, I don't know the correct English term, but I think you understand what I mean


1) i never argued on those grounds. don't put words in my mouth. i never made that argument and i doubt you really read my the post that i was defending. it's really long, so that is okay, but don't attack me with the generic atheist arguments that don't really apply to what i wrote. i never definitely said that religion is true. i just said that it is a legitimate way to think about things.

2) logic is not the same as science. they operate according to lots of the same principles, but other things come into play that separate the two. although this is pretty far back, if you look at the original reason i was posting, i was arguing against the claim that religion is necessarily inferior to science because it cannot test its beliefs and you cannot make repeated observations to support them. logical arguments, unless you do thought experiments, do not test or observe things. you can use logic to critically analyze evidence and any good logician should pay close attention to the premises. it is with the premises that religion departs and it uses different kinds of evidence to support them.

3) however, i did intentionally hint that you could use it. that is why i said other processes. if you care, read aquinas. he's obsessed with using logic to make religious arguments. accepting his premises, he's kinda airtight in some areas. if you don't, then it all collapses. but religion has the capacity to intensely scrutinize itself. the fact that some religions don't does not mean that they all ignore logic.

4) evidence can be defined as things beyond strict sensory perception.

5) the true/false dichotomy already assumes a certain positivistic epistemological approach. try approaching zen buddhism with that attitude and you won't really get far. no, this is not the same as everything is true...it just rejects the framework of those categories.

6) the ghost in the shell thing was not meant to be an argument about my own beliefs, beyond the fact that i think you can talk about it. i meant that it is possible to discuss and analyze this belief and seriously engage it. but you cannot do it on positivistic grounds. i don't care to argue with you about it right now in this thread. i didn't realize that writing that as an example for the type of religious beliefs that are open to discussion would be read as a challenge about the nature of the soul.

also, in response to the guy a few posts above about science: modernity has been extremely mixed in its blessings. people were starving a millennium ago and people are still starving today. maybe the same proportion, but in greater quantities. i don't think that you can say that life has gotten better in every way. for instance, i don't think that aids would have spread as much if people were not as mobile and still rarely traveled beyond a few miles of their homes for their entire lives. if you accept the argument for human-induced global warming, it would not be happening if we had not gotten into fossil fuels. the damage done to the planet by this will be a testament to the value of the human mind. unless we invent a way out of it. it could go either way. and no, i'm not trying to claim that things were better thousands of years ago. they were shiity for most people.

science has also introduced the possibility for all life on earth to be wiped out immediately right now because of petty human conflicts. this is where moral luck comes into play, i guess. i realize that you could reply to me that my argument would make driving a car look bad, as i could have hit somebody...i respond by saying that the car was not designed to kill people. the argument for science could stand or fall based on the whim of whether the president calls a large nuclear strike. it's all about moral luck and science has raised the stakes considerably. that is why i say that you can argue either way. there is nothing essentially good about science. it gives people more options. sometimes they feed themselves. sometimes they kill other people. the benefits, you could say, have been because of the ideology that drives the way people act.
speaking of which...
religion is also too bound up historically with the western ideology to 'remove' it from the world and examine what we would have left. even if society goes completely secular, it will still inherit many values from religion. the very way we look at images has been influenced historically by religious art, even if look at things a bit differently after the introduction of photography and film.

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Re: Religion

Postby Aluminus » Tue Feb 05, 2008 2:05 am UTC

proof_man wrote:people were starving a millennium ago and people are still starving today. maybe the same proportion, but in greater quantities. i don't think that you can say that life has gotten better in every way. for instance, i don't think that aids would have spread as much if people were not as mobile and still rarely traveled beyond a few miles of their homes for their entire lives. if you accept the argument for human-induced global warming, it would not be happening if we had not gotten into fossil fuels.
Most of what you cite are actually caused by faulty economics/ill-informed government action. Science does not cause people to starve, or get AIDS, or get blown to smithereens, or get run over by cars.

You could argue that science has enabled some pretty terrible things to happen. If that's what you're after.

there is nothing essentially good about science. it gives people more options. sometimes they feed themselves. sometimes they kill other people. the benefits, you could say, have been because of the ideology that drives the way people act.
speaking of which...
To be honest, the first part of that statement stings me a little. The rest of course, is correct. Science does not (and indeed cannot nor should it) try to influence people's behavior directly. Science is a venue through which we attempt to learn more about the world we live in. People inevitably use that knowledge for terror and destruction.

spiked club>bow and arrow>shotgun>nuke>space laser Even if we never got past the spiked club stage, we'd still be beating each other over the head.

Here's a question: would we still be (metaphorically) beating each other over the head if god himself said not to? I think we would.
fyrenwater wrote:Oh dear God, I just imagined this horrible scenario of a psychotic non-people-person running around, trying to steal the people-person section of people-peoples' brains to implant into their own brain.

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Re: Religion

Postby proof_man » Tue Feb 05, 2008 2:36 am UTC

the second part you quoted was supposed to be my explanation of the first part. i didn't mean to say that aids was caused by science. but it would not have spread without the technology that moves people or causes them to move. maybe science will find a way to cure it someday. maybe not.

in regard to your question, i think people will always be in conflict, regardless of religion or science. this is immutable. what has led to worse wars is not changes in the human psyche but the tools they use. thus, i don't think you can say that mismanagement is to blame for corrupting good tech. mismanagement is part of the human experience and anything that presupposes that people are different than they are should be scrutinized before being called beneficial to humans.

thus, part of my argument was that science allows people to be extra vicious to one another and that the scale at which it now operates actually changes things in the human experience. spiked clubs can only do so much. firebombing and nuclear fallout are a little nastier. it is now a fact of life that the world may be destroyed at any instant. even meteors take some time to approach and various funky quantum things are much less likely.

technology has also led to the destruction of many ecosystems, making humanity stick out as a problematic species. even if our ancestors did wipe out a few ice age species with spears, it is nothing like the depletion of the oceans, clear cut logging, the melting of the icecaps (if you accept global warming having a human cause), or the destruction of the rainforests so there is more land to raise cattle (even if they use fire, there would be no need to burn it without globalization). technology in the last couple centuries has pretty much allowed us to alter the environment in ways that aren't just a continuation of the same slope of progress. in any case, things have gone wrong in these areas.

i don't think that this is so much a result of poor management as much as people just getting their needs met in the most efficient manner. people need to eat, so they fish. people need timber, so they cut trees. science allows them to do it on a scale that is destructive. maybe governments were really slow in enacting environmental protection measures, but they had to go against the grain to do so and interfere with ways that people had found to satisfy their needs.

but then again, we can grow more food, share information across the world instantly, leave the planet altogether, and develop vaccines on a mass scale. in developed nations, a premature baby can survive if it is allowed basic and widespread medical care. sex has been separated from lots of its physical consequences, turning it into a different sort of human interaction (doing it in contexts where getting a baby out of it would be disastrous) that perhaps has led to new types of relationships. the introduction of cameras and film have changed the way that we handle our perceptions. read Walter Benjamin's 'Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction' for more stuff. thus, tech has changed the basic human experience in ways that can be considered good. so it goes either way. and we hopefully will find ways to reverse the damage we have caused to the environment.

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Re: Religion

Postby chaosspawn » Wed Feb 06, 2008 3:00 pm UTC

You do bring up the fact that science allows the negative things in the world to be magnified. Yet you ignore how science has allowed useful things to be magnified as well. Just some brief examples: infant mortality rates, protection from natural disasters, sustainable agriculture, etc.

I think a confounding factor in your argument is the fact that there are many many more people in the world today than even a thousand years ago. This means that by simple virtue of there being more people things will tend to be magnified even without advances in science. Of course it was science that allowed this many people to exist in the first place, since without farming the world would not be possible to support the number of people alive today.

Also a point I'd like to make is that over population is not a uniquely human dilemma. Many animal species undergo boom and bust cycles, where they grow rapidly while food is plentiful, but eventually overeat their food supply and die off rapidly. So far we have avoided that by continually growing our available food supply (through science even), but eventually we'll reach an upper limit. It is then we'll have to see if we're any different than the reindeer in St. Matthew Island.
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Re: Religion

Postby recurve boy » Wed Feb 06, 2008 9:07 pm UTC

proof_man wrote:also, in response to the guy a few posts above about science: modernity has been extremely mixed in its blessings. people were starving a millennium ago and people are still starving today. maybe the same proportion, but in greater quantities. i don't think that you can say that life has gotten better in every way. for instance, i don't think that aids would have spread as much if people were not as mobile and still rarely traveled beyond a few miles of their homes for their entire lives. if you accept the argument for human-induced global warming, it would not be happening if we had not gotten into fossil fuels. the damage done to the planet by this will be a testament to the value of the human mind. unless we invent a way out of it. it could go either way. and no, i'm not trying to claim that things were better thousands of years ago. they were shiity for most people.

science has also introduced the possibility for all life on earth to be wiped out immediately right now because of petty human conflicts. this is where moral luck comes into play, i guess. i realize that you could reply to me that my argument would make driving a car look bad, as i could have hit somebody...i respond by saying that the car was not designed to kill people. the argument for science could stand or fall based on the whim of whether the president calls a large nuclear strike. it's all about moral luck and science has raised the stakes considerably. that is why i say that you can argue either way. there is nothing essentially good about science. it gives people more options. sometimes they feed themselves. sometimes they kill other people. the benefits, you could say, have been because of the ideology that drives the way people act.
speaking of which...
religion is also too bound up historically with the western ideology to 'remove' it from the world and examine what we would have left. even if society goes completely secular, it will still inherit many values from religion. the very way we look at images has been influenced historically by religious art, even if look at things a bit differently after the introduction of photography and film.


I wasn't trying to deny that science can be used or bad things. Everything can be used for bad things. Perhaps science has a unique affect of being able to magnify bad things as already said.

My point was, science has provided things that have inarguably made the world a better place. And that I don't see any other process, especially not religious ones, duplicating these efforts. And it's possible to argue that these benefits can out weight the bad.

The benefits of religion as a whole however, are not clearly the sole domain of religion. And we know this because there are some very non-religious people who live perfectly good lives. So it's not so easy to argue that we need religion. Without it culture may have simply gone off in a different direction. So what?

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Re: Religion

Postby Izzhov » Fri Feb 08, 2008 4:23 am UTC

Meh, the current discussion (Religion's compatibility with Science) is essentially a reiteration of a discussion which took place in the first few pages of the thread. Read Robin S's and Gelsamel's posts there if you want to get an idea of my viewpoint on it. I pretty much agree with them completely.

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Re: Religion

Postby AvalonXQ » Wed Feb 20, 2008 7:41 pm UTC

recurve boy wrote:Science has also has made contributions outside of wars. We know religion would not have given us these things because religion is not in the habit of systematically studying the natural world without assuming that a deity was not involved. Science has definitely made the world a better place. There is simply no question about that.


science != atheism
science != naturalism
science !=technology

science == using observation and reason to understand the world

The fathers of modern science used assumptions that were steeped in the reality of a Creator. The notion of an organized universe with reproducible laws that can be understood through reason and observation has undeniably religious roots.
True science can accept the idea of the supernatural, because true science deals with reality irrespective of the form it takes. Naturalistic explanations are only scientific if they fit observation. Explanations can involve the supernatural if they are consistent with repeated observation. That's the nature of science.
There is no reason to believe that science, in its modern academic form, is at all necessary for modern technology. Often the advanced scientists are NOT making the inventions and advances; often technological advances aren't really understood scientifically, and even more often the engineering behind our technology involves only the most elementary of our science. Certainly, science informs innovation and invention. But could it have happened another way?
There was technological innovation before modern science; engineering as a discipline is hundreds if not thousands of years older than Newton.
Finally, I'm not concerned with whether religion is "good" or "useful" -- I'm only concerned with whether it is correct. If a religion is accurate, then it is consistent with science, which requires only observable reality. If a religion is not, then its secondary characteristics are of no consequence; a lie is a lie.

recurve boy wrote:My point was, science has provided things that have inarguably made the world a better place. And that I don't see any other process, especially not religious ones, duplicating these efforts. And it's possible to argue that these benefits can out weight the bad.
The benefits of religion as a whole however, are not clearly the sole domain of religion. And we know this because there are some very non-religious people who live perfectly good lives. So it's not so easy to argue that we need religion. Without it culture may have simply gone off in a different direction. So what?


Your evaluation is inconsistent. If atheists following moral principles show that we don't need religion, then don't priests driving cars show that we don't need science?
You haven't shown that science was necessary for technology, or that religion was NOT necessary for morality.

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Re: Religion

Postby Number 6 » Wed Feb 20, 2008 8:04 pm UTC

In this video Dawkins gives a rather neat argument for there being no relation between religion and morality. Seeing that countries that still have many religious people do not have less crime than countries that don't, I tend to agree.

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Re: Religion

Postby recurve boy » Thu Feb 21, 2008 12:23 pm UTC

I have not been keeping up.

AvalonXQ wrote:science != atheism



I would agree with this, but this is not what happens in real life. In real life, people use religion to explain how the real world works. I don't believe it's a tenable position in practise.

The fathers of modern science used assumptions that were steeped in the reality of a Creator. The notion of an organized universe with reproducible laws that can be understood through reason and observation has undeniably religious roots.


I know little of the history. But I am not convinced http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_philosophy
There is no reason to believe that science, in its modern academic form, is at all necessary for modern technology. Often the advanced scientists are NOT making the inventions and advances; often technological advances aren't really understood scientifically, and even more often the engineering behind our technology involves only the most elementary of our science. Certainly, science informs innovation and invention. But could it have happened another way?


I would wager this is because we did not have sufficient understanding to manipulate new discoveries to do something useful. As our understanding increases, these discoveries trickle down into new technology. E.g lasers and transistors (some quantum), GPS (special relativity), GM crops. In my experience studying physics, I am not sure there could be any other way to achieve these technologies without the scientific process. It's just not intuitive.

Finally, I'm not concerned with whether religion is "good" or "useful" -- I'm only concerned with whether it is correct. If a religion is accurate, then it is consistent with science, which requires only observable reality. If a religion is not, then its secondary characteristics are of no consequence; a lie is a lie.


I was not concerned about the "usefulness" of religion either. I was only trying to address proof man's argument that the benefits of science are equally dubious as the benefits of religion. I believe science has a very clear benefit, religion does not.

Your evaluation is inconsistent. If atheists following moral principles show that we don't need religion, then don't priests driving cars show that we don't need science?
You haven't shown that science was necessary for technology, or that religion was NOT necessary for morality.


Morality is very clearly not a result of religion. But I would agree we could construct a car without a rigourous scientific method (but not a computer).

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Re: Religion

Postby AvalonXQ » Thu Feb 21, 2008 2:16 pm UTC

Morality developed through religion. To say that morality is historically independent of religion is factually inaccurate.
But, unlike morality and religion, technology has not been linked to science THROUGHOUT HUMAN HISTORY. Even today, most inventors aren't scientists. But whereas the connection between morality and religion (as well as between religion and a variety of other cultural advances) is clear from prehistory onward, the connection between science and technology up until about 100 years ago is tenuous at best.
So, to say technology would exist without science, all I have to claim is that we would have continued on the course of invention and advancement that pre-dated science. To argue that morality would exist without religion, you're going to have to re-work all of known human history. There's no evidence that this is feasible -- and, for those like me who actually ACCEPT THE TRUTH of religion, there's also no evidence that removing religion from history is even POSSIBLE.
I honestly believe that modern science is necessary for the current pace of advancement, but I don't honestly believe it's necessary for continued advancement at all.

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Re: Religion

Postby schmiggen » Thu Feb 21, 2008 2:31 pm UTC

AvalonXQ wrote:Morality developed through religion. To say that morality is historically independent of religion is factually inaccurate.

What if morality developed in spite of religion? Then to say that morality is historically dependent on religion is factually inaccurate. But I suppose you understand everything that has happened so far in human history, right? So I guess we should all defer to you.

AvalonXQ wrote:I honestly believe that modern science is necessary for the current pace of advancement, but I don't honestly believe it's necessary for continued advancement at all.

It's nice to be able to just... have a belief, isn't it? You should apply the same logic to your analysis of the development of technology with respect to science as you apply to your analysis of the development of morality with respect to religion (especially since you're trying to compare the two situations).
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Re: Religion

Postby Torvaun » Thu Feb 21, 2008 2:38 pm UTC

AvalonXQ wrote:So, to say technology would exist without science, all I have to claim is that we would have continued on the course of invention and advancement that pre-dated science. To argue that morality would exist without religion, you're going to have to re-work all of known human history. There's no evidence that this is feasible -- and, for those like me who actually ACCEPT THE TRUTH of religion, there's also no evidence that removing religion from history is even POSSIBLE.
I honestly believe that modern science is necessary for the current pace of advancement, but I don't honestly believe it's necessary for continued advancement at all.

Really, this depends on what you mean by technology, and what you mean by science. Every system of communications more complicated than the Pony Express is the result of grueling work by scientists. Any modern electronics require PNP transistor junctions, which could not have been accidentally discovered, even if scientists hadn't gotten there first. Internal combustion engines could work, but it would take science to refine gasoline. Say good bye to plastics. Say good bye to just about every vaccine except smallpox, as the cowpox connection was quite accidental. I suppose you can keep penicillin, even though that was an accident made by a scientist, and the situation likely would not have arisen without science.

You can keep ink, parchment, domestication of animals, and ancient Egyptian beer. Pretty much everything else goes to science.
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Re: Religion

Postby chaosspawn » Thu Feb 21, 2008 3:05 pm UTC

AvalonXQ wrote:Morality developed through religion. To say that morality is historically independent of religion is factually inaccurate.
I think you are wrong in this regard. I wouldn't go so far as to say morality is religion independent, but morality is not derived from religion. Here's my counter-argument: Holy texts are static, they are written once and then are not changed (barring translation differences). However, our moral values have changed since their creation, we no longer think stoning people or cutting off their hand are acceptable punishments, it is not acceptable to treat women or people of a different color worse, nor do we believe that our rulers have a divine right to lead. None of these shifts in moral attitude can be attributable to religion. There have been no similar fundamental shifts in the Bible or Quran or other holy text that parallel these developments.
Additionally many religious institutions can be thought of as conservative, resisting the changes that occur. For a moral shift to occur someone has to start the cause and lead it. These ideas are radical and strange when they first come out. Religion has a distinct history of opposing radical shifts in belief. They are neither instigators nor supporters of change in morality. So I fail to see how morality developed through religion.
If anything religion adapts to shifts in morality, rather than fostering it's development. And the adaptation does not come easily or quickly. The Catholic Church is a very good example of religion being slow to adapt and incorporate new ideas. It usually does not incorporate an idea until long after it has become acceptable. With such slow change I don't see the argument for it 'developing' morality.
Maybe you mean to argue that the lens of religion affected people, even the more radical thinkers. However, that's a very weak claim that 'religion' helped them develop their morality. By that argument I could claim that anyone who ever thought 'how does this work?' and tried to find out is using science. Maybe not the modern scientific method, but a form of science nonetheless.
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Re: Religion

Postby AvalonXQ » Thu Feb 21, 2008 4:30 pm UTC

chaosspawn wrote:Here's my counter-argument: Holy texts are static, they are written once and then are not changed (barring translation differences). However, our moral values have changed since their creation, we no longer think stoning people or cutting off their hand are acceptable punishments, it is not acceptable to treat women or people of a different color worse, nor do we believe that our rulers have a divine right to lead. None of these shifts in moral attitude can be attributable to religion. There have been no similar fundamental shifts in the Bible or Quran or other holy text that parallel these developments.


But these developments DO, by and large, have their origin in religion. Abolition, especially, was deeply rooted in Christian ideals -- looking at the rhetoric at the time, the most common epithet used against abolitionists were that they were religious zealots.
The fact that the basic texts of a religion do not change has no connection to whether religion is the source of, or at least a motivating factor in, moral change. Many moral advancements have come about from people disagreeing over what the Bible says, or arguing about what it means to be a Christian, or believing that the principles that the religion teaches are no longer consistent with their practices. And to argue that "religion is opposing these changes" is to fail to realize that religion is on BOTH sides of these debates -- that religion is a crucial element for BOTH points of view.
The same could be said of scientific inquiry. The established scientific order is sharply critical of new developments, and peer review makes fundamentally questioning the nature of any field very difficult. Still, when new ideas DO come up, their proponents are informed by science, and science is used on both sides of the debate to determine what change if any should occur.
Both science and religion are fundamentally about understanding the nature of the universe and getting to the truth. They have different mechanisms and rules as to how this search be conducted, and the nature of the byproducts of the search are different. But to deaggregate morality from religion while aggregating technology with science is inconsistent with reasoning inquiry and historical fact.

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Re: Religion

Postby schmiggen » Thu Feb 21, 2008 6:59 pm UTC

AvalonXQ wrote:But to deaggregate morality from religion while aggregating technology with science is inconsistent with reasoning inquiry and historical fact.

On the same note: unless you will say that there can be NO technology without science because of the observed connection between the two, you cannot say that there can be NO morality without religion. And it only takes one counterexample to eliminate that causal connection, so without perfect knowledge of the universe, that's a pretty silly kind of position to take.

If the point is to say that religion has helped the development of morality up to this point, while you still need to demonstrate this, it isn't something so immediately refutable -- but if so, it would make for less argument and misunderstanding if you said it in that way.
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Re: Religion

Postby chaosspawn » Thu Feb 21, 2008 7:59 pm UTC

AvalonXQ wrote:But these developments DO, by and large, have their origin in religion. Abolition, especially, was deeply rooted in Christian ideals -- looking at the rhetoric at the time, the most common epithet used against abolitionists were that they were religious zealots.
Here's my question then, if the Abolition was deeply rooted in Christian ideals, why then did it take some near two millennium of Christianity existing before this became an issue? If the religion stayed the same then the change must not have come from religion but something else which changed. I see your example as having roots in religious people, but not their religion.

I see that the fact that there is controversy over religious texts as supporting my position. This means that religion is not shaping morality, but morality shaping religion.

Additionally, I believe people who argue for a specific interpretation of the Bible are doing so to support their opinions separate from their religion. It is just that if they can convince others of their interpretation then they can use the Bible as an authority source and make case as an argument from authority. The abolitionists focused on passages like love your neighbor, while ignoring god commanding the taking of slaves. The Bible then isn't fueling their beliefs, but they are using the Bible as a way to convince others to believe their position. I think if religion did not exist, then similar arguments would happen over whatever happened to be something which people ascribed importance to.

Case in point: The US Constitution. There is much argument over how to interpret it, the will of the founding fathers, and such. People argue that is supports some viewpoint because it is something which people believe in and respect. I see such arguments on the same level as what it means to be Christian. People want to interpret it to back their position because it is a respected authority source. The Consitution then is just as important a writing as the Bible is for helping to shape morals (just one's been around longer). Since the Constitution is non-religious I don't see religion as inherently responsible for morality.

Basically I see religion being on both sides of the issue meaning nothing. Since it basically is being used as a platform to convince others of a message. This does not mean it is actually connected to the message being conveyed. I think that interpretation the Bible to support your position and not another is basically a way of saying "No true/good Christian would ever do X". The belief comes from elsewhere and then existing institutions are re-interpreted to supportive of the new belief to gain support from the masses.

Ultimately though, yes I do believe religion has an influence on morals. But I also believe the justice system has a strong influence on morals. The same for economic status, comfort, and life expectancy. Religion influences morality, but I don't see it as the only or even main factor.
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Re: Religion

Postby TheStranger » Thu Feb 21, 2008 11:10 pm UTC

chaosspawn wrote:Here's my question then, if the Abolition was deeply rooted in Christian ideals, why then did it take some near two millennium of Christianity existing before this became an issue? If the religion stayed the same then the change must not have come from religion but something else which changed. I see your example as having roots in religious people, but not their religion.


The Abolition movement grew from the Temperance movement, which has it's foundation in the Protestant Reform Movement. It was always an issue, pushed forward by "radical" elements of Protestantism... but was also unpopular with the general population.
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Re: Religion

Postby The General Inquirer » Fri Feb 22, 2008 4:08 am UTC

The single greatest threat to Atheism today are "born again" Christian. They are so very sure that what they believe is right that most of them come into an argument close minded, not willing to accept the possibility Science could entirely refute God.

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Re: Religion

Postby e946 » Fri Feb 22, 2008 8:03 am UTC

The General Inquirer wrote:The single greatest threat to Atheism today are "born again" Christian. They are so very sure that what they believe is right that most of them come into an argument close minded, not willing to accept the possibility Science could entirely refute God.


Would you care to explain how it can? what experiment can you perform that could show that God does not exist?

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Re: Religion

Postby Teshi » Fri Feb 22, 2008 3:53 pm UTC

This is seventeen pages late but I still think it's worth fixing. This is the Angels and Demons quote and the refutation to it, but I think it somewhat misses the point of the quote.

The rift between us grows deeper and deeper, and as religion is left behind, people find themselves in a spiritual void. We cry out for meaning. And believe me, we do cry out. We see UFOs, engage in channeling, spirit contact, out-of-body experiences, mindquests-all these eccentric ideas have a scientific veneer, but they are unashamedly irrational. They are the desperate cry of the modern soul, lonely and tormented, crippled by its own enlightenment and its inability to accept meaning in anything removed from technology."


Even though science rejects such pseudoscience and actually uses its skepticism against it, we choose to lump them with science because it is convenient. And even though such "pagan" spiritualism has always existed, it's only now when we can't burn them at the stake that we call them a modern side effect of science. And of course, our practices are so much more reasonable than those eccentric ideas.


The quote is, yes, about pseudoscience as a modern side-effect of science, but the speaker isn't calling them science or even lumping them in with science "unashamedly irrational". He says that they are replacements for a world that he perceives has been removed of spiritual meaning in a different sense.

In a way, this passage makes a decent amount of sense. What he's saying is that, if humans are stripped of one kind of magic, many will search for extra-real magic elsewhere. He's suggesting that in order to make these new wave extra-real experiences acceptable, we give them a "scientific veneer" and they become what we call pseudosciences.

Some like faith healers, are inherited from so-called Pagan traditions. Others, like "cereology" (study of crop circles), "ufology" and "Scientology" are new. To be absolutely fair, many are far more irrational than long-established religions. Not to say that long-established myths are more likely to have occurred but that distance and real history mixed in breeds reality. Most of these experiences, because of the explosion of science and recording, are forced to limit themselves to the absurd- we can no longer look at a spiritual leader and call him God because we are too skeptical.

What this passage suggests to me is something very true about humans. We can't stop the magic. How many of us believe something tiny and magical openly or secretly to ourselves? For example so-called Karma, some aspect of Zodiac signs, in something that guards our luck, that Eclipses bring some measure of metaphorical darkness, that prayer can work, that lighting a candle somehow embodies life, that people can hear/see what we are thinking, that trees are wise, that gods live on mountains. Our metaphors and delusions smudge into magic all the time. The refuter is right that they have always existed.

Absent a big structural magic, we search for it elsewhere, is what this character argues. Whether this is an inherent need for God or spirituality or meaning or just a quirk of the human psyche- that is up to you to decide.

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Re: Religion

Postby Izzhov » Fri Feb 22, 2008 6:57 pm UTC

Teshi wrote:In a way, this passage makes a decent amount of sense. What he's saying is that, if humans are stripped of one kind of magic, many will search for extra-real magic elsewhere. He's suggesting that in order to make these new wave extra-real experiences acceptable, we give them a "scientific veneer" and they become what we call pseudosciences.

Some like faith healers, are inherited from so-called Pagan traditions. Others, like "cereology" (study of crop circles), "ufology" and "Scientology" are new. To be absolutely fair, many are far more irrational than long-established religions. Not to say that long-established myths are more likely to have occurred but that distance and real history mixed in breeds reality. Most of these experiences, because of the explosion of science and recording, are forced to limit themselves to the absurd- we can no longer look at a spiritual leader and call him God because we are too skeptical.

What this passage suggests to me is something very true about humans. We can't stop the magic. How many of us believe something tiny and magical openly or secretly to ourselves? For example so-called Karma, some aspect of Zodiac signs, in something that guards our luck, that Eclipses bring some measure of metaphorical darkness, that prayer can work, that lighting a candle somehow embodies life, that people can hear/see what we are thinking, that trees are wise, that gods live on mountains. Our metaphors and delusions smudge into magic all the time. The refuter is right that they have always existed.

Absent a big structural magic, we search for it elsewhere, is what this character argues. Whether this is an inherent need for God or spirituality or meaning or just a quirk of the human psyche- that is up to you to decide.

That's an interesting theory. It reminds me of a chapter in The God Delusion (Richard Dawkins) where Dawkins talks about the possible evolutionary origins of religion, and subscribes to the theory that religion is a byproduct of some other evolutionary advance in humans. You're probably right that we won't ever be able to "stop the magic," which is actually kind of depressing.

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Re: Religion

Postby daydalus » Fri Feb 22, 2008 8:32 pm UTC

This thread has 666 posts. Whoops, now 667.

You're probably right that we won't ever be able to "stop the magic," which is actually kind of depressing


Why is this depressing? It's something that makes us human.

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Re: Religion

Postby Teshi » Fri Feb 22, 2008 10:40 pm UTC

You're probably right that we won't ever be able to "stop the magic," which is actually kind of depressing.


I doubt we would be so inventive it we weren't so imaginative and good at believing in things that are totally fictional/irrational.

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Re: Religion

Postby 4=5 » Sat Feb 23, 2008 2:43 am UTC

I realised that arguments about god are very similar to those about planes on treadmills so I wanted to see all of the thought together in one place

I created this for arguments about the existence or non existence of god
http://isgod.wikidot.com/

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Re: Religion

Postby Kaiyas » Sat Feb 23, 2008 3:03 am UTC

Teshi wrote:
You're probably right that we won't ever be able to "stop the magic," which is actually kind of depressing.


I doubt we would be so inventive it we weren't so imaginative and good at believing in things that are totally fictional/irrational.


I'm gonna rip a quote from House and say, "If the wonder goes away when you have the truth, then there wasn't any wonder in the first place"

Not exact, but you get the point.
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Re: Religion

Postby Teshi » Sat Feb 23, 2008 6:23 am UTC

I'm gonna rip a quote from House and say, "If the wonder goes away when you have the truth, then there wasn't any wonder in the first place"


Magic != wonder. At least not directly and in the way I mean them here. At least- I'm not equating them. The statement with magic replaced seems obvious at all: "If the magic goes away when you have the truth, then there wasn't any magic in the first place." Duh.

In addition, to me the quote is tricky: what House clearly means is that if the wonder is gone then the wonder you felt (wonder being a human emotion, rather than a quantitative attribute of things, magic or real) was a false kind of wonder. But can you have incorrect emotions? If someone lies to you and tells you your dog died and you cried and felt sad, is that false sadness or real sadness "in the first place"?

The problem might be in that last bit of your transcription ("in the first..."). There was clearly wonder/sadness, but the wonder applied to the same thing, in knowing what you know now, is now gone. Perhaps the original quote is less tricky.

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Re: Religion

Postby schmiggen » Sat Feb 23, 2008 8:14 pm UTC

Teshi wrote:But can you have incorrect emotions? If someone lies to you and tells you your dog died and you cried and felt sad, is that false sadness or real sadness "in the first place"?

The conflict in that episode of House was between people who wanted explanations for things and people who didn't. Accepting the claim that "X happens because of magic," to House, was the same as telling him "I don't know why X happens and I don't want to know." When there was the 'wonder' emotion in this case, it seemed false -- it was blind and stupid awe, rather than wonder (awe often connected with the idea of curiosity, which makes sense given the other forms of the word 'wonder') as House understood it. In the same sense, the sadness you felt when you cried about your dog (I assume you meant that your dog didn't actually die, but someone told you it did anyway) is false; it's not your fault, if that means anything anyway, but it arose in you under false pretenses. The idea behind the House quote is that you shouldn't want to feel emotions like that -- do you really want to be sad about your dead dog if it isn't dead? Likewise, why should you want to feel a sense of wonder about something if you don't want to know what that something is?
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Re: Religion

Postby recurve boy » Sun Feb 24, 2008 10:21 am UTC

AvalonXQ wrote:So, to say technology would exist without science, all I have to claim is that we would have continued on the course of invention and advancement that pre-dated science.


Of course. But even without getting into definitions, it wouldn't be OUR modern technology. Which we were arguing about. i.e modern technology as we know it increasing at the pace that it is. It'd be the modern technology of some scientific method-less society. To do what we're doing, how we're doing it. We need science.

To argue that morality would exist without religion, you're going to have to re-work all of known human history. There's no evidence that this is feasible -- and, for those like me who actually ACCEPT THE TRUTH of religion, there's also no evidence that removing religion from history is even POSSIBLE.


No, all I have to do is show that populations who do not have religion and have never had it are still moral. Which I do not think is unreasonable. Look at chimpanzees, gorillas, lions, dolphins. It's not unreasonable to argue that they all have some sort of "code of conduct" (which is a definition of morals BTW) within their local social groups. Maybe if they had our brains they would start to think about why they behaved that way.

I don't claim that religion has not had an affect on our current standard of morality. I claim that we don't need religion for morality. I also suspect that the main reason that we cannot change human history to remove religion has more to do with the complexities of time travel rather than some fundamental "TRUTH of religion".

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Re: Religion

Postby Izzhov » Sun Feb 24, 2008 6:50 pm UTC

schmiggen wrote:
Teshi wrote:But can you have incorrect emotions? If someone lies to you and tells you your dog died and you cried and felt sad, is that false sadness or real sadness "in the first place"?

The conflict in that episode of House was between people who wanted explanations for things and people who didn't. Accepting the claim that "X happens because of magic," to House, was the same as telling him "I don't know why X happens and I don't want to know." When there was the 'wonder' emotion in this case, it seemed false -- it was blind and stupid awe, rather than wonder (awe often connected with the idea of curiosity, which makes sense given the other forms of the word 'wonder') as House understood it. In the same sense, the sadness you felt when you cried about your dog (I assume you meant that your dog didn't actually die, but someone told you it did anyway) is false; it's not your fault, if that means anything anyway, but it arose in you under false pretenses. The idea behind the House quote is that you shouldn't want to feel emotions like that -- do you really want to be sad about your dead dog if it isn't dead? Likewise, why should you want to feel a sense of wonder about something if you don't want to know what that something is?

Time for me to play Devil's Advocate. :twisted:
First, answer me this: why shouldn't you want to feel emotions like that (particularly "good" emotions like wonder and happiness)? How is the truth in any way "greater" or "more important" than your feelings?

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Re: Religion

Postby schmiggen » Tue Feb 26, 2008 4:23 am UTC

Izzhov wrote:First, answer me this: why shouldn't you want to feel emotions like that (particularly "good" emotions like wonder and happiness)? How is the truth in any way "greater" or "more important" than your feelings?

I was mostly trying to say what I thought House's point was. If I was right, I agree with him, but I recognize that it's because I've placed value in consistency and truth (and meaningfulness), whether or not I'll ever achieve or experience those as ideals. I'm in no position to say you shouldn't want to experience emotions purely for their own sake, for the way they feel, divorced from the situations that define what those emotions mean in the first place. But I wouldn't want to. Maybe it's mostly 'cause I don't need to? *shrug*
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Re: Religion

Postby Koriina » Wed Feb 27, 2008 3:01 pm UTC

I'm fairly certain that religion was created to prevent a depressed Neanderthal from jumping off a cliff.

N1:"Dude, don't do it!"

N2:"Why shouldn't I?! There is no reason for my existence! I don't even know how I GOT here!"

N1:"Umm . . . it was God?"

N2:"God? Wtf?"

N1:"Uh, yeah . . . he's an all-knowing guy. Made the earth and stuff out of boredom."

N2:"But why am //I// here?"

N1:". . . To help spread word of his love and catch fish for us?"

N2:"Hm . . . sounds good."


. . . Now, as far as a SERIOUS post goes . . . I have no religion, nor do I plan on subscribing to any one thing. I was raised Christian, and, as most people around these parts seem to do, I stopped when I read the Bible. To believe in a higher power, though, is a very admirable thing to me. That sort of devotion to an idea, as improbable as it may or may not be, grants me some slight glimmer of hope for humanity . . . and it's always nice to play the optimist every so often.

Also, I really don't think people who work on Sundays should be stoned to death. ._. That's just mean.
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Re: Religion

Postby Robin S » Wed Feb 27, 2008 3:19 pm UTC

A minor point, but back in the day when they actually stoned you to death for it, it was Saturdays (though they weren't called Saturdays). No-one I'm aware of currently thinks you should be stoned to death for breaking the Sabbath.
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Re: Religion

Postby Koriina » Wed Feb 27, 2008 3:32 pm UTC

Ah, but the bible itself states that it is the law, and none of its laws are to be broken. It is supposedly a perfect text, so what was true then, in accordance with itself, must be true now.

And yes, Saturday is when the sabbath was observed way back when, but for the sake of making a point in the now times, I tend to say Sunday, because that's generally when it is observed . . . now.
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Robin S
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Re: Religion

Postby Robin S » Wed Feb 27, 2008 3:46 pm UTC

that's generally when it is observed . . . now.
Only by Christians, who have never had a law about stoning (due to supercessionism, based on an incident recounted in the Gospel of John).

The Jewish belief is that Moses received both written and oral laws, the latter later being compiled into the Mishnah. The latter states that certain laws can only apply when there is a Sanhedrin and/or Temple in Jerusalem, and furthermore the specific conditions for a person to be stoned to death were very restrictive by the time the Talmud was compiled:

Wikipedia wrote:In the Torah, stoning is specifically prescribed as the method of execution for crimes such as blasphemy, apostasy and some cases of adultery.

However, the Talmud limits the use of the death penalty to Jewish criminals who: (a) while about to do the crime were warned not to commit the crime while in the presence of two witnesses (and only individuals who meet a strict list of standards are considered acceptable witnesses); and (b) having been warned, committed the crime in front of the same two witnesses.
Since the Jewish belief is that these restrictions were in place since the time of Moses, a common claim is that no-one was ever actually killed.
This is a placeholder until I think of something more creative to put here.

daydalus
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Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2007 4:05 pm UTC

Re: Religion

Postby daydalus » Wed Feb 27, 2008 3:51 pm UTC

Koriina wrote:Ah, but the bible itself states that it is the law, and none of its laws are to be broken. It is supposedly a perfect text, so what was true then, in accordance with itself, must be true now.

And yes, Saturday is when the sabbath was observed way back when, but for the sake of making a point in the now times, I tend to say Sunday, because that's generally when it is observed . . . now.


It's a bit more involved: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_l ... ristianity


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