Religion: The Deuce

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guenther
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby guenther » Thu Jun 24, 2010 9:08 pm UTC

Zcorp wrote:Including the objective truth that we have no way to prove that God exists and that any subjective relationship to job is likely to be a fabrication of the mind more so then anything that is true?

People don't have to believe the truths taught in religion are fabrications of the mind, but they shouldn't expect those truths to be backed up by scientific observation. For example, science tells us that we're the result of a long chain of random events. Religious people might believe that the hand of God shaped those events to produce us exactly in his image. There's really no conflict as long as there's no expectation that this is a valid scientific interpretation. And outside of religous contexts people do this all the time, adding in their own unscientific intuitive explanation for how things work.

Zcorp wrote:This is going back to mmmcannibalism's comment. Religion changes to science and science does not change to religion, and science and reason is what has allowed more people to know more and live happier.

The internet can help us know more and be happier. But that doesn't tell us anything about the impact of religion. And why should science change as a result of religion? Do we use religious principals in the design of our cars? Science and engineering are tools that serve a purpose. That purpose is independent of religous beliefs.

And can you back up the claim that science and reason make people happier? Do you have any data on that?

Zcorp wrote:I'm not entirely sure how what you mean by arrange your emotions; unless you mean it tells who the priority in which you should care about things - with God at the top.

It definitely gives a sense of priorities, but I also mean that it shapes our irrational emotional attitude. I think there's a limit to how rational we can be, but we can shape our irrationality to be less harmful and perhaps beneficial.
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Zcorp
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Zcorp » Thu Jun 24, 2010 9:34 pm UTC

guenther wrote:Religious people might believe that the hand of God shaped those events to produce us exactly in his image. There's really no conflict as long as there's no expectation that this is a valid scientific interpretation. And outside of religous contexts people do this all the time, adding in their own unscientific intuitive explanation for how things work.
The conflict is not between science and religion in this case. It is between the belief that God shaped those events instead of understanding that we don't know what shaped those events. Staking a non-falsifiable claim that it is God and even specifically my God and not your God(s) creates all the conflict you were talking about earlier between two distinct parties, conformity, obedience, group think and irrational belief in authority to create confirmation bias.

And can you back up the claim that science and reason make people happier? Do you have any data on that?
besides agriculture, abundance of food, steel, western medicine, cars, planes, phones and the internet? Yes lots.

It definitely gives a sense of priorities, but I also mean that it shapes our irrational emotional attitude. I think there's a limit to how rational we can be, but we can shape our irrationality to be less harmful and perhaps beneficial.
Except that it barely does that at all. In fact most of the point of religion is glorifying irrationality and creating obedience. All of the aforementioned religions do very little to teach people about cognitive bias or understand the functions of a human.

guenther
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby guenther » Thu Jun 24, 2010 9:56 pm UTC

Zcorp wrote:The conflict is not between science and religion in this case. It is between the belief that God shaped those events instead of understanding that we don't know what shaped those events. Staking a non-falsifiable claim that it is God and even specifically my God and not your God(s) creates all the conflict you were talking about earlier between two distinct parties, conformity, obedience, group think and irrational belief in authority to create confirmation bias.

First, It can create all those things. But it doesn't have to. I don't have to hate people that don't stake a claim on the same truths as me. In fact, I can choose to treat them as decently as people that share my beliefs.

Second, while religion is certainly filled with confirmation bias, I'm not convinced that it creates it. Do non-religious people suffer from that bias less?

Zcorp wrote:besides agriculture, abundance of food, steel, western medicine, cars, planes, phones and the internet? Yes lots.

Is this an assumption that people are happier now than they were in a time before those technologies? Besides, none of those benefits require valuing science and reason. Rather they require that enough other people value them to create the appropriate technologies. And on top of that, it doesn't relate to science and reason used in place of religion as opposed to independent of religiosity.

Zcorp wrote:Except that it barely does that at all. In fact most of the point of religion is glorifying irrationality and creating obedience. All of the aforementioned religions do very little to teach people about cognitive bias or understand the functions of a human.

It's not about rationally overcoming our biases, which is what I think teaching people about biases would hopefully do. Rather it's about having us arrange our biases differently. When people fall in love, they succumb to a bias change tha makes them irrationally work harder to please the other person. This effect doesn't require understanding how the mind works. I believe we can intentionally change our emotions as well, but it's hard. But when we do it, our biases change as well and thus our behavior.
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SnakesNDMartyrs
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby SnakesNDMartyrs » Fri Jun 25, 2010 4:17 am UTC

guenther wrote:And can you back up the claim that science and reason make people happier? Do you have any data on that?


Through science and empirical reasoning we have established that pumping dopamine in to a human's brain will make said human happier...

Increased living comforts and lifestyle, medical treatment, pain relief, ease of communication between loved ones, ease of transportation to a loved one.. ad nausea.
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guenther
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby guenther » Fri Jun 25, 2010 5:17 am UTC

SnakesNDMartyrs wrote:Through science and empirical reasoning we have established that pumping dopamine in to a human's brain will make said human happier...

Increased living comforts and lifestyle, medical treatment, pain relief, ease of communication between loved ones, ease of transportation to a loved one.. ad nausea.

So this should be a measurable effect then, right? Where's the data? I agree that it sounds like those things should make people happier, but then I also have read that what we think makes people happy is often quite different than what really makes people happy. Our intuition is astoundingly bad here. (This is a tangential point, so I don't want to belabor it too long. Really I'm just suggesting caution when making claims of X makes people happier unless you have data showing that it's true.)

Also, this argument has the same problem as Zcorp's. If we assume that increasing living comforts or Skyping with mom will make one happier, that's independent of a person's religiosity and independent of whether that person was trained to use science and reasoning. But the issue at hand is whether when science and reason is used as a replacement for religion, i.e. as a personal way of life, will it measurably make people happier. Or will it improve things by some other metric of goodness? Does teaching people to apply uncertainty to questions about God help more than teaching people to apply faith?
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Zcorp
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Zcorp » Fri Jun 25, 2010 7:57 pm UTC

guenther wrote:Also, this argument has the same problem as Zcorp's. If we assume that increasing living comforts or Skyping with mom will make one happier, that's independent of a person's religiosity and independent of whether that person was trained to use science and reasoning. But the issue at hand is whether when science and reason is used as a replacement for religion, i.e. as a personal way of life, will it measurably make people happier. Or will it improve things by some other metric of goodness? Does teaching people to apply uncertainty to questions about God help more than teaching people to apply faith?

No the issue at hand is wether religion is useful to society.
We can see historically through this argument that it has had significantly greater positive impact on society then religion.
Then through the other arguments we can notice how religion has strong negative influences that science does not have on our current society.
Why would you ignore the history of science on society if we are discussing the impact of it on society?

It is not about science being a replacement. It is about cultivating a society of reason and scientific thinking. Which is mutually exclusive from many of the ideas created by religion, magical thinking etc. The goal is not to remove religion so much as remove the tools religion uses as they harm human capability.

guenther
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby guenther » Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:06 pm UTC

Zcorp wrote:Why would you ignore the history of science on society if we are discussing the impact of it on society?

I'm not ignoring it, I'm saying it doesn't inform us much. Science in the hands of a group of specially trained experts tackling problems with well defined truths provides those benefits. We don't know how well science and reason perform as a personal guide to making good decisions in life.

Zcorp wrote:It is not about science being a replacement. It is about cultivating a society of reason and scientific thinking. Which is mutually exclusive from many of the ideas created by religion, magical thinking etc. The goal is not to remove religion so much as remove the tools religion uses as they harm human capability.

You keep making these claims. Religious tools can be harmful, but extending that to say they are harmful is unsupported. As far as I can tell, it just goes against your ideology. If you want to maintain that it's based on evidence, please provide it.

And it's easy to pick on religion for all these problems, but you don't know that you can train up a society on reason and scientific thinking to produce better results. I'm far from convinced, but you seem to be based on very little evidence.

EDIT: And by the way, there's plenty of common ground for religious and areligious alike when seeking to promote more scientific and reasoned thinking. For example on issues of dieting. I'm not convinced that how people evaluate evolution significantly impacts how they make choices on which food to eat. And the latter is much more significant.
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Zcorp
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Zcorp » Sat Jun 26, 2010 6:36 pm UTC

guenther wrote:You keep making these claims. Religious tools can be harmful, but extending that to say they are harmful is unsupported. As far as I can tell, it just goes against your ideology. If you want to maintain that it's based on evidence, please provide it.
Unless you consider none of the things I mentioned harmful, I'm not entirely sure what else you would like me to provide. I've cited various studies, documentaries and articles throughout this thread.

Do you find pro-lifers to be a valuable part of society?
Anti-homosexual individuals, or even just people who don't think they should get married?
Abstinence only programs?
Removing Thomas Jefferson from history?
A darwinistic system for treating others?
Because those are the things associated with religious thinking.

Do you value critical thinking?
Understanding human functionality?
Valuing learning?
Troubleshooting?
Exploration of the universe?
Because those are the things associated with scientific thinking.

And it's easy to pick on religion for all these problems, but you don't know that you can train up a society on reason and scientific thinking to produce better results. I'm far from convinced, but you seem to be based on very little evidence.
At its base it is a problem with the human. One that only those with significant resources and security for retaining those resources seem to be able to overcome. Religion does not create the problem it just doesn't teach people about it nor does it try to help people overcome it, and in reality it sustains itself by feeding upon those aspects of humans.

I just don't respect or value the effect that religion has had or has on our society, nor do I respect or value most of what it teaches its laity
If you do...well I at least hope you take the time to teach your children the things that science and reason try to proliferate and do not indoctrinate your children. I also hope you engage in proper discourse rather then pure debate with people about philosophy of life in a real life context.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby duckshirt » Sun Jun 27, 2010 12:07 am UTC

Zcorp wrote:Because those are the things associated with religious thinking.

I used to think correlation implied causation, but then I took a statistics class, and now I don't.
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Zcorp
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Zcorp » Sun Jun 27, 2010 2:27 am UTC

duckshirt wrote:
Zcorp wrote:Because those are the things associated with religious thinking.

I used to think correlation implied causation, but then I took a statistics class, and now I don't.

...Yup...this is true. Cool that you took that class in an institution just like one that I'm talking about. In fact it even kind of makes my point for me.
Thanks.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby duckshirt » Sun Jun 27, 2010 3:19 am UTC

How does that prove your point? Because I learned that at an institution and not a church ("Well, maybe."), I shouldn't go to church? Anyways, my point was your criticisms of religion based on a list of 'associated' ideas at least seems like a guilt-by-association fallacy.

As for your criticism of religion seems hypocritical given the groups your criticizing - They think that the sexually immoral and anti-religious are ruining society, and that the tools of secularism should be removed because they harm human capability, based on the experiences of a few atheists. Replace the 'non-religious' sides with 'religious,' and that's your overall attitude of religion.
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Coffee Stain
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Coffee Stain » Sun Jun 27, 2010 4:54 am UTC

Zcorp wrote:Anti-homosexual individuals, or even just people who don't think they should get married? [associated with religious thinking]

Certainly, but it's hardly limited to religious thinking. Here's a podcast about the history of scientific understanding about homosexuality, in which religion is a mere sidenote. It's difficult to attempt to rethink back to the 70's, especially since neither of us were alive then, but anti-homosexual sentiment was common then as well, but simply with scientific, rather than religious underpinnings. It appears that the same people are now using different reasons to support the same stance, which means that the current "religious" debate is nothing more than a culture war, and you're taking part.

You will protest that the science behind the marginalization of homosexuality as a pathology was simply poor science. What I hope occurs to you is that the marginalization of homosexuality for religious reasons can, by the same token, be considered poor religion.

(The podcast is an hour long, but is well-produced and well-worth listening to.)
Because those are the things associated with religious thinking.
...
Because those are the things associated with scientific thinking.

First of all, in cased you missed the joke.

Second, do you mean "assocated with," or "associable?" I suppose the advantage of being the one doing the associating is that those two become conflated rather quickly. A person with the opposite bias can quite easily make associations with nearly opposite presumed consequences. The key is to make associations that are useful, or ones that have explanatory power, which is the general case to showing it to be a correlation, which is the topic of duckshirt's pointed and correct criticism.

I hope you'll realize why I'm about to say that your associations are thus devoid of usefulness, and for the reasons that guenther originally proposed. Upon him stating that religious tools can be harmful, but that this doesn't imply they are harmful, you have a list the length of your arm that agrees with him by giving examples of how religious tool can be harmful. The "tool" analogy was supposed to scream at you that the usefulness of the tool is dependent both on the tool and the user. While the discussion is meant to be a discussion of the former, you've resigned yourself to the latter, I guess so that you can score more points.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Bright Shadows » Sun Jun 27, 2010 5:22 am UTC

mmmcannibalism wrote:You realize the universe doesn't necessarily have to have a beginning? This big bang could have been caused by a big crunch before it and so on ad infinitum.

If the universe were in some sort of stable cycle, that cycle would still need an initiating mechanism, wouldn't it? Is it possible to get a stable cycle of events with no beginning? The idea strikes me as absurd because I live in a place where things happen based on a cause - effect relationship, I guess. Could be different somewhere else. I've just never seen a good reason to think so.

Also, wouldn't the loop decay due to the increase in entropy over time that systemically appears to happen? I don't know why it wouldn't, so ad infinitum happenings are immediately suspicious to me.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby mmmcannibalism » Sun Jun 27, 2010 3:48 pm UTC

Bright Shadows wrote:
mmmcannibalism wrote:You realize the universe doesn't necessarily have to have a beginning? This big bang could have been caused by a big crunch before it and so on ad infinitum.

If the universe were in some sort of stable cycle, that cycle would still need an initiating mechanism, wouldn't it? Is it possible to get a stable cycle of events with no beginning? The idea strikes me as absurd because I live in a place where things happen based on a cause - effect relationship, I guess. Could be different somewhere else. I've just never seen a good reason to think so.

Also, wouldn't the loop decay due to the increase in entropy over time that systemically appears to happen? I don't know why it wouldn't, so ad infinitum happenings are immediately suspicious to me.


First let me clearly say that I have no higher end physics background, so my thoughts on this are largely speculation.

As you know it is understood this universe will end either through a big rip(expanding forever) or a big crunch(gravity takes back over). What I speculate is that it is possible* that a big crunch would lead to another big bang which would form a new(presumably different in some ways) universe.

The reason this can go on forever is that every event would have a cause as far back as you could "look". The only problem then is figuring out how the universe(as in the matter and energy) started this cycle in the first place. I think that becomes are you willing to accept the idea that things have either existed forever or can we simply not find the beginning.

*meaning an explanation involving multiverses could blow this clean out of the water.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby guenther » Sun Jun 27, 2010 4:45 pm UTC

Zcorp wrote:Unless you consider none of the things I mentioned harmful, I'm not entirely sure what else you would like me to provide. I've cited various studies, documentaries and articles throughout this thread.

Enough other people have talked about causation that I won't spend too much time there. Basically I think you're quick to dismiss the good stuff as being indicative of religion's potential, but you blame the bad stuff* on the fundamental tools of religion. It's not an even treatment. Personally I believe the bad stuff can be fixed with the tools of religion. And I think promoting good religion has a much greater capacity to motivate better behavior from religious people than a stance that religion is fundamentally the problem.

* I don't agree with your list of grievances against religion, but I don't want to debate that since I think we can find common ground on bad stuff mainly associated with religious groups.

Zcorp wrote:At its base it is a problem with the human. One that only those with significant resources and security for retaining those resources seem to be able to overcome. Religion does not create the problem it just doesn't teach people about it nor does it try to help people overcome it, and in reality it sustains itself by feeding upon those aspects of humans.

On the contrary, I don't believe a philosophy based on scientific reasoning and critical thinking has the tools to help people overcome it. Fundamentally I believe one of the major problems is that we are quick to divide into groups and have a natural tendency to withhold respect and share in bad beliefs about the other teams. This can be made a lot worse with religion, but I think most religions have at their core the tool needed to fix this: The need to care about the other team. Caring about someone makes it harder to treat them badly. This means, for example, that homosexuals should extend compassion to those that cast their lifestyle as a harmful sin, just like religious people should do the same for those that cast their lifestyle as a harmful delusion.

Outside of religion I can't find a way to convince people that this is a key value we should promote. Either people already share my intuition, or people are convinced that various political issues are more important. The most common opinion that I've found is that we are merely responsible for not violating people's rights, and any niceness above that is just icing on the cake. Which means withholding the icing for people we dislike isn't such a bad thing.

Let me point out that while I believe we need love, I don't believe that all we need is love. I see our ability to care is about helping us come together to better tackle problems. It can increase our rationality if it can diminish the team game mentality. But once we're together, we still need the ability to make good decisions. So good wisdom is just as important as love. And I believe science and reason are essential tools. But I also believe that we have a wisdom encoded in the way things have been done that can't be well supported with our current body of scientific evidence. (As an example of this in the realm of dieting, it took science a while to show that older cultural habits of eating are much healthier than what many people do today.)

Zcorp wrote:If you do...well I at least hope you take the time to teach your children the things that science and reason try to proliferate and do not indoctrinate your children. I also hope you engage in proper discourse rather then pure debate with people about philosophy of life in a real life context.

First, I don't believe we can raise our children without indoctrinating them. They're sponges and will take as truth anything you say. But as they get older, I believe my role as a parent is to help them transition from believing whatever mom and dad say to evaluating truth for themselves. Hopefully from our discussion you've come to understand that I have a great value for science and reason.

And in a real life context I almost never debate, particularly in areas of religion and politics. From time to time I have come across people that are open to friendly discussion on these topics, and I enjoy joining in.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Zcorp » Mon Jun 28, 2010 5:36 pm UTC

guenther wrote:Enough other people have talked about causation that I won't spend too much time there.

You don't need to...I've rather clearly spelled out the cause is the human, heck even did it in one of your quotes that you responded too. Yet we can become aware of those aspects of ourselves due to reason and education. For example people that are aware of the foot in the door and door in the face sales techniques are much less likely to fall for them. Just like being educated and made aware of the scientific thinking that correlation is not causation allows people to understand the flaw in their thinking then they state to view a correlation as a causation. These are not things that religion teaches, and these are things that the subjects I have mentioned focus on. They try to make people more aware of themselves, others around them, their systemic effect and about why and how the systems they take part in are designed they way they are.

Personally I believe the bad stuff can be fixed with the tools of religion. And I think promoting good religion has a much greater capacity to motivate better behavior from religious people than a stance that religion is fundamentally the problem.
Assuming the bad stuff is everything I've mentioned, and how often religion abuses human functioning to perpetuate those ideas and itself. How do you suppose religion is going to change to remove the 'bad stuff' and start creating a better society? Or do you think we just need a strong representation of religion on our society and it will fix all the bad stuff?

On the contrary, I don't believe a philosophy based on scientific reasoning and critical thinking has the tools to help people overcome it.

Besides all the correlations I've already mentioned, as well most of people in history that are valued for thinking and looking at the world today. There isn't much else I have to back up my argument that they do.

Fundamentally I believe one of the major problems is that we are quick to divide into groups and have a natural tendency to withhold respect and share in bad beliefs about the other teams. This can be made a lot worse with religion, but I think most religions have at their core the tool needed to fix this: The need to care about the other team. Caring about someone makes it harder to treat them badly. This means, for example, that homosexuals should extend compassion to those that cast their lifestyle as a harmful sin, just like religious people should do the same for those that cast their lifestyle as a harmful delusion.
And again...historically there is pretty much nothing that creates that divide like religion does. You seem to be refusing to look at the current and historical effect of the institution you are speaking of. Yes they talk about treating others as part of their own team as you put it, but that is most certainly not the effect the western religion has on society. Sticking with something that is obviously not having the effect it intended and is in fact having the opposite effect it intended due to a belief that that will magically change is basically the text book definition of delusion.

Outside of religion I can't find a way to convince people that this is a key value we should promote. Either people already share my intuition, or people are convinced that various political issues are more important. The most common opinion that I've found is that we are merely responsible for not violating people's rights, and any niceness above that is just icing on the cake. Which means withholding the icing for people we dislike isn't such a bad thing.

I take this to mean, you think they don't prioritize it over everything else; not that it isn't a key value. As pretty much everyone I know who is not religious holds this a key value, and there are non-religious institutions built with this as a key value (see secular humanism). So I'm not sure where you are getting your experience but it does not seem to line up with reality.

And a large part of this is perception. One author who I can't remember atm called out the golden rule on this concept. It is not important to 'treat others as you want to be treated' so much as it is to 'treat others as they want to be treated.' What you may perceive as a nice way to treat someone can very easily frustrated or piss off others, or they may just not have adept enough thinking skills to deal with the topic at hand. Like this one for instance, I'm not attacking religious people, I'm attacking the institue and the effect that it has. But there are a lot of people who put a lot of their self-worth within the categorization of Christian. Those people may feel personally attacked by some of the things I'm saying, but that due to their inability to separate themselves from a concept and view it objectively not me actually attacking those people.

First, I don't believe we can raise our children without indoctrinating them. They're sponges and will take as truth anything you say. But as they get older, I believe my role as a parent is to help them transition from believing whatever mom and dad say to evaluating truth for themselves. Hopefully from our discussion you've come to understand that I have a great value for science and reason.
I don't really know what to say to that, maybe you just don't understand what is meant by indoctrination. Yes children are very likely to believe things said by their parents, so much so that people still think absurd things despite being knowledgeable enough to re-evaluate them. One person I know still had a lingering thought in her mind that the sun dies each evening and the blood of the sun creates the sunset, the moon is the egg for the new sun which again rises in the morning. She knew how things actually work but this idea stuck with her into her early twenties when she said it out-loud at a gathering and realized half-way through that this idea that her parents told her years earlier was so wrong.

Indoctrination by definition prevents evaluating truth, so expecting your role as a parent to create that line of thought in your child is by definition not indoctrination.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby guenther » Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:17 pm UTC

Zcorp wrote:Assuming the bad stuff is everything I've mentioned, and how often religion abuses human functioning to perpetuate those ideas and itself. How do you suppose religion is going to change to remove the 'bad stuff' and start creating a better society? Or do you think we just need a strong representation of religion on our society and it will fix all the bad stuff?

Well, I don't promote religion as a whole. Rather I've cast my lot with Christianity and it's system for life. I believe at a personal level the tools in the Bible can help individuals and groups of individuals achieve results that they find better.

At the macro level, I don't know how to fix these problems. But I do believe that it will require moving in a different direction that most of us are naturally inclined to go. And I think the direction has more to do with how we emotionally, not rationally, regard each other. So the solution will be able to bring together religious and non-religous alike.

Zcorp wrote:Besides all the correlations I've already mentioned, as well most of people in history that are valued for thinking and looking at the world today. There isn't much else I have to back up my argument that they do.

But that's not evidence of teaching people science and reason to better tackle problems in life. Show me a group of people trained in the way you're suggesting, and show me how they outperform others on some metric of betterness. I'm guessing you can't, or even if you can it won't show that the training method will suffer if it includes some unsupported core beliefs about God.

Zcorp wrote:And again...historically there is pretty much nothing that creates that divide like religion does.

You're assuming causation again. Perhaps religion has been strongly associated with these divides, but without religion that doesn't mean these divides wouldn't happen for other reasons. We hold a different view because I don't share your belief.

Zcorp wrote:So I'm not sure where you are getting your experience but it does not seem to line up with reality.

My experience with this mainly comes from interacting with people on these forums*. For example you seem to be OK with scoffing at people for sticking with religion rather than using what you believe are superior tools. I believe that scoffing is a poor way to send messages like that.

And these forums are filled with people treating other people like shit, and I've found that calling them on it is very ineffective. Particularly I'm thinking in relation to issues of homosexuality. I bet there's a wide group of people on here that strongly believe that people who oppose homosexuality or oppose gay marriage don't deserve to be treated with respect. In fact, I've seen a few people openly admit to it. But there are other areas (e.g. racism, politics in general) where I've observed similar behavior. And I've seen this from Christians too, but they don't seem to come to these forums as much, at least as far as I can tell.

* My experience mainly comes from these forums because that's where I've spent most of my time promoting my beliefs outside of a Christian setting. I don't often preach the importance of love to my friends, neighbors, or coworkers.

Zcorp wrote:Like this one for instance, I'm not attacking religious people, I'm attacking the institue and the effect that it has. But there are a lot of people who put a lot of their self-worth within the categorization of Christian. Those people may feel personally attacked by some of the things I'm saying, but that due to their inability to separate themselves from a concept and view it objectively not me actually attacking those people.

As far as I can tell, people as a whole seem to have a hard time making this distinction. It's hard to criticize black culture without being labeled racist. It's hard to criticize Israel without being labeled anti-Semitic. It's hard to criticize homosexuality without being labeled homophobic. It's hard to criticize liberals without being labeled a conservative. Sometimes nothing can be done to avoid getting people pissed at you. But sometimes there are things we can do to help. If the only time we interact with people from a certain group is when we're attacking that group for doing bad stuff, it's going to leave the impression that we have no love for them. However, for example if I engage in earnest with Israel and pro-Israeli supporters to show them I care about their concerns, then my criticism for the government's behavior may be less likely to be seen as an attack.

I believe the easiest way to achieve this sort of interaction is to simply care about the people we're criticizing, and to have that compassion voiced by our actions. We can come to this answer through reason and scientific study, but I think simply by leading with the emotions we will have a solid chance of being more effective.

Zcorp wrote:Indoctrination by definition prevents evaluating truth, so expecting your role as a parent to create that line of thought in your child is by definition not indoctrination.

My oldest child is three years old, and she has a limited capacity for evaluating truth. So for now my wife and I indoctrinate her with values that we find important. I don't ask her to evaluate for herself whether pushing her baby brother is good or bad; I give her the answer*. When she gets older and has the capability to see a bigger picture, then I want to help her understand why we have the rules we do, not simply to believe they're right because mom and dad say so.

* I might actually ask her to evaluate it as part of discovering why what she did was wrong. But I clearly have a belief in rightness that I'm promoting to her.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Zcorp » Mon Jun 28, 2010 9:29 pm UTC

guenther wrote:Well, I don't promote religion as a whole. Rather I've cast my lot with Christianity and it's system for life. I believe at a personal level the tools in the Bible can help individuals and groups of individuals achieve results that they find better.

And in most of what I'm speaking of is talking about Christianity, and specifically christianity within the United States or historical effect of christianity on the world.

At the macro level, I don't know how to fix these problems. But I do believe that it will require moving in a different direction that most of us are naturally inclined to go. And I think the direction has more to do with how we emotionally, not rationally, regard each other. So the solution will be able to bring together religious and non-religous alike.
I agree, moving in a different direction then people are inclined to go. Funny enough that means moving toward exactly what I'm talking about. People are not inclined to value reasonability, logic or scientific thinking. We have to teach it and cultivate that value. There is still far more people in the world that value the concepts created by Christianity then those created by thinking. I think that needs to change.
And again, science is not anti-religious. Religion is anti-science, which creates a environment where scientific thinkers have to defend themselves from religion. It is rarely the other way around, generally only found in groups of atheists who feel they have been scorned by religion and the use poor science as a way to emotionally debate religion.

But that's not evidence of teaching people science and reason to better tackle problems in life. Show me a group of people trained in the way you're suggesting, and show me how they outperform others on some metric of betterness. I'm guessing you can't, or even if you can it won't show that the training method will suffer if it includes some unsupported core beliefs about God.
I can show you lots of individuals, but as of now, to my knowledge at least, there is not prevalent philosophical institution that has a strong following.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_humanists
Most of these people are within the International Academy of Humanism, which is a secular institution. Others are in different secular groups, although some are within non-secular humanist groups.

You're assuming causation again. Perhaps religion has been strongly associated with these divides, but without religion that doesn't mean these divides wouldn't happen for other reasons. We hold a different view because I don't share your belief.
No religion creates divides. It takes a definitive stance on philosophical issues based on no evidence at all. Anyone that does not agree with that framework is on the other team. It makes it rules and forces people to follow them, if they dont share those viewpoints they are not of ones own team. It creates the divide.

My experience with this mainly comes from interacting with people on these forums*. For example you seem to be OK with scoffing at people for sticking with religion rather than using what you believe are superior tools. I believe that scoffing is a poor way to send messages like that.
I don't perceive my self to be scoffing. But yes I think the religions tools are inferior to the ones I'm speaking of. Due to history, due to current problems in society, due to the human condition, and due to a value set that Christianity values very little, that of educating their laity. And if you don't value education nor do you feel it educating the masses is a valuable thing to do...well...

And these forums are filled with people treating other people like shit, and I've found that calling them on it is very ineffective. Particularly I'm thinking in relation to issues of homosexuality. I bet there's a wide group of people on here that strongly believe that people who oppose homosexuality or oppose gay marriage don't deserve to be treated with respect. In fact, I've seen a few people openly admit to it. But there are other areas (e.g. racism, politics in general) where I've observed similar behavior. And I've seen this from Christians too, but they don't seem to come to these forums as much, at least as far as I can tell.
Yup, but religion isn't better at that. So stop pretending it is. The Christians in America are the ones implying gay people are sinful, not human and not worthy of rights.

I'm not advocating that you deserve no respect for being religious. I am however advocating that the institution you seem to belong to is not something to be respected due to the negative effect it has on other people and the thinking capabilities of its laity.

As far as I can tell, people as a whole seem to have a hard time making this distinction.
Yes and everything I'm speaking of works to teach people about that failure within our on cognitive abilities. Churches does not.

My oldest child is three years old, and she has a limited capacity for evaluating truth. So for now my wife and I indoctrinate her with values that we find important. I don't ask her to evaluate for herself whether pushing her baby brother is good or bad; I give her the answer*. When she gets older and has the capability to see a bigger picture, then I want to help her understand why we have the rules we do, not simply to believe they're right because mom and dad say so.
You don't seem to understand what indoctrination is, probably why you argued for its value in the past.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indoctrination
http://www.reference.com/browse/indoctrination
If you expect her to challenge the views in which you have taught her and create her own. You are by definition not indoctrinating her.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby guenther » Mon Jun 28, 2010 11:21 pm UTC

Zcorp wrote:Religion is anti-science, which creates a environment where scientific thinkers have to defend themselves from religion.

I think we'll have less conflict between science and religion when people stop making claims that religion and science conflict. They can get along just fine. The conflicts between religion and science get a lot of press, but it's actually the exception to a wide history of science and religion working quite well together.

And unsurprisingly you've personified religion as the aggressor, but I think that shows a lack of understanding about most religous people. And maybe science isn't anti-religion, but some outspoken scientists are. Sam Harris is a good example.

Zcorp wrote:I can show you lots of individuals, but as of now, to my knowledge at least, there is not prevalent philosophical institution that has a strong following.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_humanists
Most of these people are within the International Academy of Humanism, which is a secular institution. Others are in different secular groups, although some are within non-secular humanist groups.

But you don't know how they perform at making life decisions. And even if we could measure it, we don't know how much is a result of following humanism. My point is that it's easy to poke problems with religion, but you don't know how to do better.

Zcorp wrote:No religion creates divides. It takes a definitive stance on philosophical issues based on no evidence at all. Anyone that does not agree with that framework is on the other team. It makes it rules and forces people to follow them, if they dont share those viewpoints they are not of ones own team. It creates the divide.

First, what you describe is too common a way religion gets practiced, but it doesn't have to be that way. Second, you haven't shown that without religion we would have less destructive divisions. I believe that we naturally divide, and since religion is such a strong cultural force, it happens along those boundaries. But without religion we would just have different divisions.

Zcorp wrote:I don't perceive my self to be scoffing. But yes I think the religions tools are inferior to the ones I'm speaking of. Due to history, due to current problems in society, due to the human condition, and due to a value set that Christianity values very little, that of educating their laity. And if you don't value education nor do you feel it educating the masses is a valuable thing to do...well...

First, I only mentioned your scoffing because you admitted to it. Second, our difference isn't that you support science and education while I support religion. Rather it's that you see a conflict and I don't. Or if I do see a conflict, I want to see it resolved just as much as you do, I just believe in a different solution than you.

Zcorp wrote:Yup, but religion isn't better at that. So stop pretending it is. The Christians in America are the ones implying gay people are sinful, not human and not worthy of rights.

I'm not advocating that you deserve no respect for being religious. I am however advocating that the institution you seem to belong to is not something to be respected due to the negative effect it has on other people and the thinking capabilities of its laity.

I find this amusing. In one paragraph you are defending yourself from people that might misinterpret your arguments as an attack on them. And in the other paragraph you are misinterpreting the conservative Christian stance as an attack on gay people. You are correct that these sorts of fine distinctions are a hard thing to separate.

And, I'm not saying religion is better at helping this, I'm saying it has the tools to help us be better at it.

Zcorp wrote:If you expect her to challenge the views in which you have taught her and create her own. You are by definition not indoctrinating her.

I expect her to do it one day. I don't expect it today. When kids are young, I believe they need indoctrinated into some basic beliefs, and as they get older hopfully they are given the space to critically examine them. If you don't want to call that indoctrination, that's fine. But then I think that makes the link between religion and indoctrination weaker.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Zcorp » Tue Jun 29, 2010 12:35 am UTC

guenther wrote:
Zcorp wrote:Religion is anti-science, which creates a environment where scientific thinkers have to defend themselves from religion.

I think we'll have less conflict between science and religion when people stop making claims that religion and science conflict. They can get along just fine. The conflicts between religion and science get a lot of press, but it's actually the exception to a wide history of science and religion working quite well together.

I think we will have less conflict between science and religion when laity are taught how to think critically from the clergy and when the clergy do not fight scientific findings because they threaten the well being of their faith.

And unsurprisingly you've personified religion as the aggressor, but I think that shows a lack of understanding about most religous people. And maybe science isn't anti-religion, but some outspoken scientists are. Sam Harris is a good example.
Because historically religion is the agressor. Science makes discoveries the sometimes conflict with the stories created by the faith. The faith fights against the discoveries because it threatens the faith. Earth orbiting the sun, abstinence only programs, evolution, even now history. When history doesn't align with the way the Church wants it they seem to create pressure to change text books so children don't learn the actual past if it conflicts with their ideals.

But you don't know how they perform at making life decisions. And even if we could measure it, we don't know how much is a result of following humanism. My point is that it's easy to poke problems with religion, but you don't know how to do better.
I don't know how each religious individual performs in making life decisions either. I do know how groups of these people perform, and we can measure that. It is the whole purpose of sociology and it reaches all of the conclusions that I have previously mentioned.

A strong correlation between religion and lockroom mentality
A strong correlation between religion and homophobia
A strong correlation between religion and valuing the self or local community over the marco system they take part in
A strong correlation for magical thinking
A weak correlation to higher levels education and proficient literacy

First, what you describe is too common a way religion gets practiced, but it doesn't have to be that way. Second, you haven't shown that without religion we would have less destructive divisions. I believe that we naturally divide, and since religion is such a strong cultural force, it happens along those boundaries. But without religion we would just have different divisions.
Thats because it not just religion that does this. I'm not arguing that other things don't do that. I'm arguing that religion as we know it today and throughout all of history thrives on it. You say religion doesn't have to do this, but it has always done this, how do you expect to change it so it can't

We do know that a high level of education relating to the aforementioned field increases awareness about this effect and can work to decrease the frequency and force used in conflict.

First, I only mentioned your scoffing because you admitted to it. Second, our difference isn't that you support science and education while I support religion. Rather it's that you see a conflict and I don't. Or if I do see a conflict, I want to see it resolved just as much as you do, I just believe in a different solution than you.
You have not proposed one, besides that religion can some how magically do it. If you can somehow invalidate everything I've presented and show me that you can make religion create the effect I'm speaking of I'm all for it. But with all of my searching there has yet to be a strong study supporting any of the values I've mentioned with religion.

I find this amusing. In one paragraph you are defending yourself from people that might misinterpret your arguments as an attack on them. And in the other paragraph you are misinterpreting the conservative Christian stance as an attack on gay people. You are correct that these sorts of fine distinctions are a hard thing to separate.

And, I'm not saying religion is better at helping this, I'm saying it has the tools to help us be better at it.
What tools and show me they can have a positive effect on a sociological level, not just your anecdotal experience.

I expect her to do it one day. I don't expect it today. When kids are young, I believe they need indoctrinated into some basic beliefs, and as they get older hopfully they are given the space to critically examine them. If you don't want to call that indoctrination, that's fine. But then I think that makes the link between religion and indoctrination weaker.
No one aware of how to properly use the terms calls education indoctrination. The link I provided explains the difference.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby WaterToFire » Tue Jun 29, 2010 2:18 am UTC

Zcorp wrote:A strong correlation between religion and lockroom mentality
A strong correlation between religion and homophobia
A strong correlation between religion and valuing the self or local community over the marco system they take part in
A strong correlation for magical thinking
A weak correlation to higher levels education and proficient literacy
I'm not disputing this, because I suspect much of it is true, but could you back this up with citations please?

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby guenther » Tue Jun 29, 2010 2:11 pm UTC

Zcorp wrote:Thats because it not just religion that does this. I'm not arguing that other things don't do that. I'm arguing that religion as we know it today and throughout all of history thrives on it. You say religion doesn't have to do this, but it has always done this, how do you expect to change it so it can't

You are again asserting causation without evidence. I'm saying that religion might simply shape the divides, not cause them. So when we peer back at history, it's easy to assume that religion is the cause when it's not.

And I believe religious forces are doing good all over the world and have been for a long time. We just don't hear about them on the news or read about them in history as much because giving to the needy and doing community work is not as exciting as killing people.

Zcorp wrote:You have not proposed one, besides that religion can some how magically do it. If you can somehow invalidate everything I've presented and show me that you can make religion create the effect I'm speaking of I'm all for it. But with all of my searching there has yet to be a strong study supporting any of the values I've mentioned with religion.

The problem is that macro stuff is really hard to study. My goal isn't to convince you I'm right, but rather to convince you that what you advocate actually has less support. There's no reason to believe that the problems with religion can't be fixed by encouraging healthier religion. And while science and reason are great tools, using them as the primary guides for making choices in life has no track record at all. The best you could come up with was a list of people that self identify as humanists.

Zcorp wrote:What tools and show me they can have a positive effect on a sociological level, not just your anecdotal experience.

I'll cite the evidence I cited in the Utility of Religion thread. Religiosity is linked with happiness [1][2]*, better health and reduced stress[3], and giving [4]**.

I don't know which tools are responsible for those effects. I can make guesses, but I can't support them. I suspect part of it is because religion gives people access to a strong community of people that they can rely on. Also, there have been studies showing the power of belief in sports and with things like the placebo effect. I also really believe the values taught in the Bible are solid pieces of wisdom to build one's life around.

I also found this book [5] on Wikipedia. I haven't read it, but it sounds like it's trying to make the same case I am. In particular the author makes the same argument about religion and the cause of violence.

* As has been mentioned, the happiness link has been mainly noticed in the US. In Denmark and the Netherlands, religion doesn't seem to help in this regard, but it doesn't hurt. I also just read that there's reason to believe that in the countries of Mexico, El Salvador, the Dominican republic, Indonesia, Venezuela and Nigeria, that religion is having an impact, but it hasn't been directly measured. [6]
** The charity link points to an older version of the wikipedia page because the newer one doesn't have the section on research anymore.

WaterToFire wrote:
Zcorp wrote:A strong correlation between religion and lockroom mentality
A strong correlation between religion and homophobia
A strong correlation between religion and valuing the self or local community over the marco system they take part in
A strong correlation for magical thinking
A weak correlation to higher levels education and proficient literacy
I'm not disputing this, because I suspect much of it is true, but could you back this up with citations please?

I'd be interested in seeing the citations as well.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby bettaeddy » Sat Jul 24, 2010 7:42 pm UTC

So maybe I'm completely off here, but everyone on this post is talking religion, religion, religion and trying to associate religion with Christ. There's no such association. There is also no association between man's perceptive reality and God's perceptive reality. Religion is nothing more than a man made system. Christianity, in it's first institution was known as "The Way". The Way was a form of following God's direction as to how he wanted His Law laid out. Even in the beginning of the Bible, direction was based on one thing and one thing only, Relationship with the Father. Religion is and always will be full of fault and ignorance because it removes a relationship with God and supplants it with man's rules.
In order to discuss religion, God cannot be involved in the discussion. His desire is a one-to-one relationship with individuals. That's why you can't be judged or can judge someone else with doing something "you" think is right or that makes "you" feel better. My perception of reality and your perception of reality may be completely different. What is loud to you may not be loud to me. What is ugly to you may be ugly to me. What is religion to you may be hatred to me. Let the focus not be on religion, but relationship.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby podbaydoor » Sun Jul 25, 2010 3:43 pm UTC

That's...a really Christian-centric way of looking at things.
tenet |ˈtenit|
noun
a principle or belief, esp. one of the main principles of a religion or philosophy : the tenets of classical liberalism.
tenant |ˈtenənt|
noun
a person who occupies land or property rented from a landlord.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Phill » Mon Jul 26, 2010 12:31 pm UTC

bettaeddy wrote:everyone on this post is talking religion, religion, religion and trying to associate religion with Christ. There's no such association. There is also no association between man's perceptive reality and God's perceptive reality. Religion is nothing more than a man made system. Christianity, in it's first institution was known as "The Way". The Way was a form of following God's direction as to how he wanted His Law laid out.


So, you mean, like a religion?

If you look up religion in a dictionary, you will find this:

a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.


I know that Christianity is about a relationship, and to reduce it to a set of beliefs would be doing it a disservice, but nonetheless it does have a set of beliefs, ritual observances (baptism, communion etc), a moral code...

I'm not a fan of the word "religion" but I disagree with your post :)

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby nitePhyyre » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:13 pm UTC

guenther wrote:Fundamentally I believe one of the major problems is that we are quick to divide into groups and have a natural tendency to withhold respect and share in bad beliefs about the other teams. This can be made a lot worse with religion, but I think most religions have at their core the tool needed to fix this: The need to care about the other team. Caring about someone makes it harder to treat them badly. This means, for example, that homosexuals should extend compassion to those that cast their lifestyle as a harmful sin, just like religious people should do the same for those that cast their lifestyle as a harmful delusion.

I don't know where you get this notion from, the Judeo-Christian-Islam religions all have convert-or-kill doctrines or passages. To say anything else is a lie, ignorance, or blasphemy. Ever heard of the Crusades? If religion had the best tools for bridging the divides between peoples, and religion has been the dominant force in the world for the last 2000 years, why do we still have the problem??? In the last 75 years or so, we have made huge strides in science and technology. How long ago was the last major global conflict? UN, EU, NAFTA, WTO, and all sorts of other globalization efforts are all thanks to technology.

tl;dr Religion has had thousands of years to unite humanity, technology has made more progress in 100.

guenther wrote:
Zcorp wrote:Besides all the correlations I've already mentioned, as well most of people in history that are valued for thinking and looking at the world today. There isn't much else I have to back up my argument that they do.
But that's not evidence of teaching people science and reason to better tackle problems in life. Show me a group of people trained in the way you're suggesting, and show me how they outperform others on some metric of betterness. I'm guessing you can't, or even if you can it won't show that the training method will suffer if it includes some unsupported core beliefs about God.
While we may not currently be able to empirically demonstrate this, (yet) we can make inferences. We can extrapolate. Do you go to your local Medical Doctor or your local Witch Doctor when you are sick? When there is a drought and your crops are dying, you can dance and pray for rain, or get engineers to build a pump and irrigation system, what works better? I could go on, but let's not. If science and reason seem to tackle individual problems so well, it seems reasonable to believe it would do equally well in a general setting.

guenther wrote:Our difference isn't that you support science and education while I support religion. Rather it's that you see a conflict and I don't. Or if I do see a conflict, I want to see it resolved just as much as you do, I just believe in a different solution than you.

Science and religion are two methods of getting to the same place. They are both trying to figure out the world and universe around them. They both ask the same questions, why does the universe exist, how does it work, how should we live, how can we be good people, etc. If walking and driving are two methods of transportation, science and religion are two methods of revelation.
Science is based on the scientific method. It values evidence absolutely.
Religion is based on faith. Faith values ignoring evidence absolutely.
If you don't see a conflict, is it because you disagree with the above, or you don't see it as a conflict? Another reason why this isn't conflicting?

guenther wrote:Enough other people have talked about causation that I won't spend too much time there. Basically I think you're quick to dismiss the good stuff as being indicative of religion's potential, but you blame the bad stuff* on the fundamental tools of religion. It's not an even treatment. Personally I believe the bad stuff can be fixed with the tools of religion. And I think promoting good religion has a much greater capacity to motivate better behavior from religious people than a stance that religion is fundamentally the problem.

Faith being a virtue is the main problem with religion. Teaching that belief without evidence is a good thing is damaging to reason. I don't know how you can teach religion without faith.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby quantumcat42 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:37 pm UTC

nitePhyyre wrote:They both ask the same questions, why does the universe exist, how does it work, how should we live, how can we be good people, etc.

Of these questions, only the second is actually scientific. "Why does the universe exist" is a different question than "How did the universe come to exist". "How should we live" and "How can we be good people" require some pretty heavy philosophical legwork before any sort of scientific answer can be suggested. Don't confuse naturalistic philosophy with science.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Dark567 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:09 pm UTC

quantumcat42 wrote:"How should we live" and "How can we be good people" require some pretty heavy philosophical legwork before any sort of scientific answer can be suggested. Don't confuse naturalistic philosophy with science.


I think any philosophical legwork will tell you that science can't answer "How should we live" or "How can we be good people". This is essentially the is-ought problem.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby quantumcat42 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:19 pm UTC

Dark567 wrote:I think any philosophical legwork will tell you that science can't answer "How should we live" or "How can we be good people". This is essentially the is-ought problem.

Precisely. The philosophical legwork I was referring to is establishing goals or values (which can then be pursued scientifically) -- the essence of the is-ought problem is that science can't really help with the process of establishing these values. It's inherently philosophical.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby guenther » Tue Jul 27, 2010 5:48 pm UTC

nitePhyyre wrote:tl;dr Religion has had thousands of years to unite humanity, technology has made more progress in 100.

I think what we observe is an abundance of wealth. When things are good, it's easier to be good. In fact, it's this abundance of wealth that's given us the freedom and security to expand science and technology and to move away from religion. But when this prosperity runs out (changing climates, peak oil, overcrowding, global war), we'll see that people use the tools of science and technology to do all the same evil that people have used religion for over the ages.

nitePhyyre wrote:While we may not currently be able to empirically demonstrate this, (yet) we can make inferences. We can extrapolate. Do you go to your local Medical Doctor or your local Witch Doctor when you are sick? When there is a drought and your crops are dying, you can dance and pray for rain, or get engineers to build a pump and irrigation system, what works better? I could go on, but let's not. If science and reason seem to tackle individual problems so well, it seems reasonable to believe it would do equally well in a general setting.

I think science and reason do a good job of tackling well-defined, objective problems. But in the world of subjectivity where there's no clear right answer, I'm not covinced it will have such unparalleled success.

nitePhyyre wrote:Science and religion are two methods of getting to the same place. They are both trying to figure out the world and universe around them. They both ask the same questions, why does the universe exist, how does it work, how should we live, how can we be good people, etc. If walking and driving are two methods of transportation, science and religion are two methods of revelation.
Science is based on the scientific method. It values evidence absolutely.
Religion is based on faith. Faith values ignoring evidence absolutely.
If you don't see a conflict, is it because you disagree with the above, or you don't see it as a conflict? Another reason why this isn't conflicting?

I disagree with the above. Science serves a specific purpose of describing the world in an objective way. But people measurably have a need to ask questions with no well-defined answer. In the realm of science, these questions are unimportant (asking if there's a God is meaningless unless someone puts forth a notion of God that's testable). But to us they matter a great deal (people want to know if God exists even it's objectively poorly defined what type of being God is).

I believe the difference is that some questions are asked really to seek out wisdom on how to live life, while others are asked out of a pure interest in knowledge. But since we often conflate wisdom and knowledge, the questions end up sounding similar. So I believe religion's main purpose is to provide a guide to our life, and science's purpose is to provide objective answers. People can elevate science as a guide to life, but it hasn't been well tested in that role.

nitePhyyre wrote:Faith being a virtue is the main problem with religion. Teaching that belief without evidence is a good thing is damaging to reason. I don't know how you can teach religion without faith.

I see faith as a method of getting people to adhere to difficult roads. It's really more about being faithful to a way of life than about having faith in a certain statement of truth. However, because our mind readily conflates the two, people often promote the former by advocating the latter.

Can you back up your claim that faith damages our ability to reason? I don't believe it's true. Rather our problem with reason comes from our own biology. Sometimes I think faith can improve our capacity to maintain rationality. In Christianity, faith is used as a way to calm the spirits and to quell our fear. Strong emotions are the primary corruption of our ability to reason, and if these can be brought into check we'll better be able to analyze the situation.


quantumcat42 wrote:
Dark567 wrote:I think any philosophical legwork will tell you that science can't answer "How should we live" or "How can we be good people". This is essentially the is-ought problem.

Precisely. The philosophical legwork I was referring to is establishing goals or values (which can then be pursued scientifically) -- the essence of the is-ought problem is that science can't really help with the process of establishing these values. It's inherently philosophical.

I agree with both of you. Science has trouble tackling questions that measurably play a profound role in how people live their lives. This is why science is merely a tool and not a panacea.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby duckshirt » Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:42 pm UTC

nitePhyyre wrote:I don't know where you get this notion from, the Judeo-Christian-Islam religions all have convert-or-kill doctrines or passages. To say anything else is a lie, ignorance, or blasphemy. Ever heard of the Crusades?
Your logic is flawed: Just because crusades happened doesn't mean it was based on an actual doctrine or a scripture passage. In the Middle Ages the Catholic church had a lot of "beliefs" that were not based on the Bible or actual doctrine because >99% of people couldn't read the Bible (until Martin Luther et al changed that), so the few who "could" could easily make up stuff to take advantage.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby morriswalters » Wed Jul 28, 2010 4:23 pm UTC

Just want to point out a few things. I hope no one here is seriously arguing the science and technology and the reasoning that produced it has been a totally positive thing. Most advancement has come through conflict. Look at the Nobel Peace Prize. Guilt founded that prize. People, not their Gods, have been responsible for most of the misery in this world. They may wear the cloak of religion but it's only a cloak.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby mmmcannibalism » Wed Jul 28, 2010 6:12 pm UTC

duckshirt wrote:
nitePhyyre wrote:I don't know where you get this notion from, the Judeo-Christian-Islam religions all have convert-or-kill doctrines or passages. To say anything else is a lie, ignorance, or blasphemy. Ever heard of the Crusades?
Your logic is flawed: Just because crusades happened doesn't mean it was based on an actual doctrine or a scripture passage. In the Middle Ages the Catholic church had a lot of "beliefs" that were not based on the Bible or actual doctrine because >99% of people couldn't read the Bible (until Martin Luther et al changed that), so the few who "could" could easily make up stuff to take advantage.


No true Scotsman

Crusades were based in the same logic used by Moses/Joshua in wiping out other tribes in the name of god.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby thc » Wed Jul 28, 2010 8:45 pm UTC

mmmcannibalism wrote:
duckshirt wrote:
nitePhyyre wrote:I don't know where you get this notion from, the Judeo-Christian-Islam religions all have convert-or-kill doctrines or passages. To say anything else is a lie, ignorance, or blasphemy. Ever heard of the Crusades?
Your logic is flawed: Just because crusades happened doesn't mean it was based on an actual doctrine or a scripture passage. In the Middle Ages the Catholic church had a lot of "beliefs" that were not based on the Bible or actual doctrine because >99% of people couldn't read the Bible (until Martin Luther et al changed that), so the few who "could" could easily make up stuff to take advantage.


No true Scotsman

Crusades were based in the same logic used by Moses/Joshua in wiping out other tribes in the name of god.

Furthermore, it's pretty disingenuous to differentiate between Christianity, and what is done in the name of Christianity.

No true scotsman, indeed.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby duckshirt » Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:09 pm UTC

mmmcannibalism wrote:Crusades were based in the same logic used by Moses/Joshua in wiping out other tribes in the name of god.

Also not true. The crusades fought to attempt to convert people among other things, whereas before Jesus completed the old covenant and started the new, the people of God were limited to the Hebrew tribes thus their wars had to be for different motives. The crusades also went against doctrines of the New Covenant they supposedly subscribed to, which didn't exist yet in Old Testament times.
thc wrote:Furthermore, it's pretty disingenuous to differentiate between Christianity, and what is done in the name of Christianity.
Why? When people do things "in the name of Christianity" but also contradict what actually exists in Christian doctrine, the distinction needs to be made.

Also, this is not a no-true-scotsman fallacy. A no-true-scotsman fallacy would be if people said that Crusaders weren't Christians. They are, (as the usual definition of Christian is basically anyone who claims to be Christian) but that doesn't mean their actions are justified by Christian doctrine, and there is a huge difference, and nitePhyyre claimed the latter.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby HermanBlount » Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:23 pm UTC

thc wrote:Furthermore, it's pretty disingenuous to differentiate between Christianity, and what is done in the name of Christianity.


Does it follow then, that it is disingenuous to differentiate between Muslim terrorist organizations and the Islamic religion? I really don't think this is a case of "no true Scotsman". Oh, and the crusades were definitely NOT about converting people, in the same way that the American invasion of Iraq was not about liberating the people from an oppressive dictator. These are justifications, not motivations.

mmmcannibalism wrote:Crusades were based in the same logic used by Moses/Joshua in wiping out other tribes in the name of god.


What logic was that exactly? My understanding is that the actions of Moses/Joshua had no logical argument. Rather, they received orders from God and then carried them out. The Israelites kept rebelling against Moses/Joshua because their actions were so illogical/nonsensical.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby mmmcannibalism » Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:47 pm UTC

Does it follow then, that it is disingenuous to differentiate between Muslim terrorist organizations and the Islamic religion? I really don't think this is a case of "no true Scotsman". Oh, and the crusades were definitely NOT about converting people, in the same way that the American invasion of Iraq was not about liberating the people from an oppressive dictator. These are justifications, not motivations.


Its disingenuous to say that terrorist organizations aren't using Islam in the justification of their actions. Obviously there is some subjectivity here, but the difference between a small cult and a significant branch of a religion doing something is enough to call the latter actions of that religion.

What logic was that exactly? My understanding is that the actions of Moses/Joshua had no logical argument. Rather, they received orders from God and then carried them out. The Israelites kept rebelling against Moses/Joshua because their actions were so illogical/nonsensical.


I'm sure the various popes involved in crusades said it was a mission from god.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby duckshirt » Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:28 pm UTC

mmmcannibalism wrote:I'm sure the various popes involved in crusades said it was a mission from god.

Yeah, and the pope is not infallible. It can't be assumed that what the Pope says is what Christianity or God says (another difference between the Pope and the Old Testament prophets). Even the Catholics don't believe he is infallible (a common misconception), and pretty much all other denominations pay no attention to him.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby mmmcannibalism » Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:49 am UTC

duckshirt wrote:
mmmcannibalism wrote:I'm sure the various popes involved in crusades said it was a mission from god.

Yeah, and the pope is not infallible. It can't be assumed that what the Pope says is what Christianity or God says (another difference between the Pope and the Old Testament prophets). Even the Catholics don't believe he is infallible (a common misconception), and pretty much all other denominations pay no attention to him.


Saying that Christianity isn't an example of Christianity is a no true scotsman fallacy. I understand what you are saying(and of course there is intentional misinterpretation by some people in religion) but you can't cover any flaw in religion by saying that flaw isn't a real part of the religion.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:24 am UTC

I don't think anyone is saying that the Crusades, etc. aren't real parts of Christianity, which would be a ridiculous thing to try to define. The fact is that there are as many Christianities as there are Christians, and quite a few understandings of Christianity held by non-Christians. With that in mind, it doesn't make sense to charge "Christianity" in general with something like the Crusades, any more than it would make sense to say that Christians believe in the Real Presence or that Jews follow the teachings of the Baal Shem Tov. Unless you see Christians here condoning the Crusades, I don't see the point in bringing them up.
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