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Is atheism a religion?


Off-Topic Discussions

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Beckett wrote:

Yah, but your personal bias absolutely forbids you from allowing anything good from religion. The logic here being the desires of the few should obviously outway the needs of everyone else. Religion has value, just as myth and child stories hold value, and that is not even close to a minor or small value.

I'm not sure that empirical or scientific progress have really done anything good for mankind as a whole. They hold no moral values, no social values, nothing to good or worthy to pass on. It certainly doesn't have a method to pass on wisdom or caution.

Plus, inoculation just doesn't count.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Beckett wrote:
Yah, but your personal bias absolutely forbids you from allowing anything good from religion.

I can only analyze the religions that present themselves in reality. Everything possibly good in religion can withstand the heat of good rational scrutiny. The only things it shall destroy are falsehoods. We should be thrilled to be rid of those anyway.

Quote:


I'm not sure that empirical or scientific progress have really done anything good for mankind as a whole. They hold no moral values, no social values, nothing to good or worthy to pass on. It certainly doesn't have a method to pass on wisdom or caution.

Caution and wisdom are simple empirical phenomena. They will not only survive scientific scrutiny, but will thrive and more importantly the scrutiny will let us sort the false claims of wisdom and caution from the real deal.


You think we should remove all religion from the world instead of say... studying it to see if it can unlock a cure or treatment for neurodegenerative diseases?

Because that's my point. There are things science cannot yet explain. Religion does not hold all the answers. But right now, you are arrogantly claiming to know for a fact that it has none. That sounds rather hypocritical and unscientific.

I'd also like to point out, I am an atheist. If you go to the "christian unless your gay" thread, I also spend several pages laying out why I believe Christians are responsible for creating the environment that allowed for the Holocaust, so you don't need to convince me that religion is overall bad. You do need to convince me that there is nothing of value to be learned though, and you definitely didn't use either logic or science to do that.

Shadow Lodge

Except that usually the case is empirical thinking "debunks" conventional and cultural wisdom, makes people think it is safe after all and gets people in trouble or hurt. We see this all the time, and empirical evidence can't even learn from it's own mistakes, and doesn't broadcast what political groups are funding it's results. It also doesn't continue to pass that wisdom or caution along, so scrutinizing it is irrelivant.


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Beckett wrote:
Except that usually the case is empirical thinking "debunks" conventional and cultural wisdom, makes people think it is safe after all and gets people in trouble or hurt. We see this all the time, and empirical evidence can't even learn from it's own mistakes, and doesn't broadcast what political groups are funding it's results. It also doesn't continue to pass that wisdom or caution along, so scrutinizing it is irrelivant.

This is so horribly convoluted.

I'm with you that myth's are important and beneficial, but your knocking of science is horrible. It's completely backwards and you say things that are the opposite of the words that you're trying to use.

Empiricism does learn from it's own mistakes, otherwise it wouldn't be empiricism. Anything that doesn't learn from it's own mistakes is by definition not empiricism.

The scientific method does not play favorites with politics. To imply that it does is to not understand the scientific method.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber
Beckett wrote:
Except that usually the case is empirical thinking "debunks" conventional and cultural wisdom, makes people think it is safe after all and gets people in trouble or hurt. We see this all the time, and empirical evidence can't even learn from it's own mistakes, and doesn't broadcast what political groups are funding it's results. It also doesn't continue to pass that wisdom or caution along, so scrutinizing it is irrelivant.

Please elaborate.

Shadow Lodge

I'm not knocking science. I like science, and despite what people seem to automiticaly believe about me when I say things, I believe in science for the most part.

I am saying that people put too much faith (pardon the pun) into it or attribute to it to much that science itself doesn't actually have/belong to/create/etc. . .

Folklore, mythology, religion, and stories are there as warnings and to teach lessons of value that will grow with the person and the peoples. They are there for a better safe than sorry mentality. Often, when rational, scientific, or empirical evidence discredits these things, it eitehr A.) misses the entire point of the story/myth/etc. . . in favor of trying to prove how superior it and we in out more modern time are or B.) lures people into a false sense of security and the illusion that _______ is actually safe and needn't be feared/respected/avoided etc. . .

Besides that as a core base, science, and sort of philosophy or movement is paid for or patronized by someone with an agenda. Weither it be to proove the hard boiled eggs are actually good/bad for you to sell more eggs, that rapes/assalts/violence happens so often on campus to get more feminist friendly funding, that gang violence is on the rise/fall and we need more money for whatever programs, or whatever. There is always an agenda behind the "findings".


Samnell wrote:

So we're down to science in Bali, which as an accident of history is transmitted with a bunch of religious gunk that could be removed without doing any harm at all and would have the added benefit of getting rid of all the usual pathologies inherent in religion and Buddha finding a more effective way to wow the rubes? That's seriously it?

The first I've already treated, but I want to zero in on the Buddha one a bit more. There's literally not a single thing in that story that I care to see propagated to even a single human being that ever lived. Better it be forgotten, along with all history's other "enlightened" hucksters and their equally irrelevant gibberish. At least food actually matters.

Quote:
Simple relatable stories that both inspire and pass on cultural values are important. The most powerful and sustainable vehicles that we currently possess for those values is religion.

If the values are important, they're important enough to pass along the right way instead of breeding pathological thought habits into vulnerable children. Children are natural, if informal, empiricists and reasoners. You want to destroy that and then hope everything works out for the best even though it never has at any prior time in history and only by encouraging empiricism and rationality has any real progress been made.

I'll pass.

I’m the only that thinks it funny that the image of a small grinning blond child is delivering some of the most poignantly hard kicks between mythology’s legs I’ve ever seen? Samnell, I want to adopt you, you scamp!

Shadow Lodge

Before it's even tried, yes that includes religions, but typically religions, philosophies, and the like have the agenda to strengthen a community, to be more sacrificial for the sake of the mass, to save souls, to avoid sinful/harmful/destructive behaviors, and to not accept tenets that they hold to be wrong, destructive, or spiritually, morrally, ethichally, or socially harmful.

That being said, they are forced to also be a political group and are ran by and attended by individuals, who, as individuals may not hold these things to be true, and might actually have corrupted goals contrary to the regualr religion's or philosophy's goals.


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Irontruth wrote:
You think we should remove all religion from the world instead of say... studying it to see if it can unlock a cure or treatment for neurodegenerative diseases?

Brain states are brain states. There's no vital religious input here, except that if there is anything useful a religion hit on it by accident of history.

Irontruth wrote:


Because that's my point. There are things science cannot yet explain. Religion does not hold all the answers. But right now, you are arrogantly claiming to know for a fact that it has none. That sounds rather hypocritical and unscientific.

If religion holds any good answers, we'll find them by putting it through the science wringer just like everything else. If it has any, they become part of science and we toss the rest.

You're the person at least implying that religion's got some vital stuff we must keep, but when asked to present it you came up with 1) science and 2) snake oil marketing advice. Your claim; your burden. This is not an encouraging beginning.


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Dogbladewarrior wrote:


I’m the only that thinks it funny that the image of a small grinning blond child is delivering some of the most poignantly hard kicks between mythology’s legs I’ve ever seen? Samnell, I want to adopt you, you scamp!

I like irony.


A lot of things are accidents of history, including science (penicillin being a common example).

Your dismissing what I'm pointing out about human psychology as "snake oil medicine". You can't dismiss my point without actually proving that it isn't valid. If you're looking for me to have a doctoral thesis proving that it is, I think you're in the wrong format, this is an internet message board for a roleplaying game. I am not an expert in hucksterism, psychology, marketing, etc. I'm pointing out that religion is better at teaching it's methods than science. Here's some evidence that most people in the world believe in some sort of religion/spirituality.

The reason I think this is important is because of how many still don't believe in evolution.

Science is having a fundamental communication problem. If you are having a problem, I believe it is reasonable to look at someone else's success and attempt to determine if you can replicate their methods to increase your own success rate. If it can't be replicated for some reason, then we've come closer to asking what the problem actually is, which helps us solve it.

Religion is a data set. Not in assuming that the metaphors in religion are fact, but rather how people interact with religion and how it actually impacts their lives. Data sets are incredibly useful for study and there is no legitimate scientific reason to ignore them until you can prove that they are outliers.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Beckett wrote:
Before it's even tried, yes that includes religions, but typically religions, philosophies, and the like have the agenda to strengthen a community, to be more sacrificial for the sake of the mass, to save souls, to avoid sinful/harmful/destructive behaviors, and to not accept tenets that they hold to be wrong, destructive, or spiritually, morrally, ethichally, or socially harmful.

Cooperative behavior is indicated by game theory.

I shall skip souls for the same reason I would skip a malady invented by a conman to sell you snake oil.

Self-sacrifice for the benefit of the many? A rational behavior undertaken to encourage reciprocity on the part of others. That also comes back to game theory, by the way. I happen to have the text right here, so here's Richard Carrier on self-sacrifice from Sense and Goodness Without God:

Carrier wrote:

But suicide [here moral suicide, giving your life for X or Y principle, etc] does provide advantages, and we know many animals that commit suicide or engage in self-sacrifice. It is not hard to fathom why: preservation of the species is aided by it. Humans have more than a species to preserve: we have built a monumental cultural structure, of knowledge and ideals, of political and economic systems and artistic creations, that is in some ways even more valuable than the bodies that carry it around. it is not hard to understand why some people would be willing to die for it. This is, after all, what makes the human race so precious and valuable, perhaps unique in the cosmos.

But personal psychology must be looked at to really understand the value of moral suicide. A life of cowardice and failure is hardly worth living, and when we realize that a situation confronts us in which the only choices are death or perpetual misery, death is preferable. There are indeed things worse than death, such as endless torture, destroying those you love, or abandoning the very ideals that make your life meaningful. And there are things worth dying for, to preserve the life of someone or something you love more than life itself.

Ultimately, the moral suicide makes sense within naturalism, since death is the end of all fear and pain, of all sensation whatever, and there is nothing to fear from the end of fear itself. One must certainly dislike and oppose the prospect of death, because a happy life is so valuable and the prospect of attaining it almost always remains for the future. But our love of life and our fight against death need not entail chronic anxiety over dying, whether we choose death or not. When we have exhausted all options, and still conclude there is no longer any prospect of happiness, death becomes an acceptable alternative. And indeed, in cases like the grenade [which one leaps upon to save others], where you are going to die anyway but have the choice to either save lives or not to save lives in the process, the moral suicide results in no additional loss at all, but a net gain.

(I transcribed off my tablet, so typoes are mine.)

Avoiding harmful or destructive behaviors? Classic rational behavior entirely open to empirical investigation. Don't smoke if you want to improve your health outcomes. Eat a variety of foods in moderation. Don't stick your tender bits into a light socket.

Rejecting wrong, incorrect, immoral, unethical, or socially harmful tenets? I'm all for it! How are we going to find out if they're wrong, incorrect, immoral, unethical, or social harmful without good old empiricism and reason looking into the matter?


Irontruth wrote:

A lot of things are accidents of history, including science (penicillin being a common example).

Your dismissing what I'm pointing out about human psychology as "snake oil medicine". You can't dismiss my point without actually proving that it isn't valid. If you're looking for me to have a doctoral thesis proving that it is, I think you're in the wrong format, this is an internet message board for a roleplaying game. I am not an expert in hucksterism, psychology, marketing, etc. I'm pointing out that religion is better at teaching it's methods than science. Here's some evidence that most people in the world believe in some sort of religion/spirituality.

The reason I think this is important is because of how many still don't believe in evolution.

Science is having a fundamental communication problem. If you are having a problem, I believe it is reasonable to look at someone else's success and attempt to determine if you can replicate their methods to increase your own success rate. If it can't be replicated for some reason, then we've come closer to asking what the problem actually is, which helps us solve it.

Religion is a data set. Not in assuming that the metaphors in religion are fact, but rather how people interact with religion and how it actually impacts their lives. Data sets are incredibly useful for study and there is no legitimate scientific reason to ignore them until you can prove that they are outliers.

I suspect the "fundamental communication problem" is that science is simply informing us of what is happening, not selling us a fun narrative. Most of the people I've met in my life are far more interested in a narrative that serves them than they are in learning a fact that is confusing given its apparent lack of inherent meaning.


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Irontruth wrote:

A lot of things are accidents of history, including science (penicillin being a common example).

Your dismissing what I'm pointing out about human psychology as "snake oil medicine". You can't dismiss my point without actually proving that it isn't valid. If you're looking for me to have a doctoral thesis proving that it is, I think you're in the wrong format, this is an internet message board for a roleplaying game. I am not an expert in hucksterism, psychology, marketing, etc. I'm pointing out that religion is better at teaching it's methods than science. Here's some evidence that most people in the world believe in some sort of religion/spirituality.

Ignorance is always easier to spread. If it was harder, no one would be ignorant. Ignorance and error guarded by the whole edifice of thought-stopping, reason-deprecating theology is of course going to be much harder to crack and far more persistent.

Religions did not get to majority by playing fair or being nice. Replicating their methods of achieving social dominance has been tried, most famously in the USSR, but I think we can discard those methods as unacceptable.

Irontruth wrote:

The reason I think this is important is because of how many still don't believe in evolution.

Science is having a fundamental communication problem. If you are having a problem, I believe it is reasonable to look at someone else's success and attempt to determine if you can replicate their methods to increase your own success rate. If it can't be replicated for some reason, then we've come closer to asking what the problem actually is, which helps us solve it.

If increasing the acceptance of science requires it to adopt religion's methodologies, we have destroyed the whole of the value of science because religion is a cultural system designed to encourage behaviors that suppress reason and empiricism in favor of dogmas. Slaying dogmas is one of the two most important things that distinguishes science from religion and makes it more valuable to us all.

It turns out, of course, that we know pretty well why people who otherwise have perfectly good educational opportunities and live in developed nations with good infrastructures, literacy, etc, reject evolution. It turns out religion is in the way. We can tell by how strongly correlated rejection of evolution is with the religiosity of otherwise similar developed nations, like the US and various Western European countries. It's not a communication problem at all, at least not any more than communicating a complicated truth some people might not like is harder than communicating a reassuring lie.

Quote:


Religion is a data set. Not in assuming that the metaphors in religion are fact, but rather how people interact with religion and how it actually impacts their lives. Data sets are incredibly useful for study and there is no legitimate scientific reason to ignore them until you can prove that they are outliers.

I support the scientific study of errors in reasoning. All the better to fix them.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Dogbladewarrior wrote:


I suspect the "fundamental communication problem" is that science is simply informing us of what is happening, not selling us a fun narrative. Most of the people I've met in my life are far more interested in a narrative that serves them than they are in learning a fact that is confusing given its apparent lack of inherent meaning.

And I'll second that too. If one builds good rational and empirical values, this would not be so much of a problem. There are natural barriers to that in that we are not perfect and so forth, but better is better. There are also, of course, human-created barriers. The social acceptability of believing things on faith is a big one.


Samnell wrote:
If increasing the acceptance of science requires it to adopt religion's methodologies, we have destroyed the whole of the value of science because religion is a cultural system designed to encourage behaviors that suppress reason and empiricism in favor of dogmas. Slaying dogmas is one of the two most important things that distinguishes science from religion and makes it more valuable to us all.

You've sounded quite dogmatic yourself tonight.

Samnell wrote:
It turns out, of course, that we know pretty well why people who otherwise have perfectly good educational opportunities and live in developed nations with good infrastructures, literacy, etc, reject evolution. It turns out religion is in the way. We can tell by how strongly correlated rejection of evolution is with the religiosity of otherwise similar developed nations, like the US and various Western European countries. It's not a communication problem at all, at least not any more than communicating a complicated truth some people might not like is harder than communicating a reassuring lie.

I don't think it's that simple either. Religion also holds truth within it, that truth isn't necessarily exclusive to the religion (like it's good to be nice to people), but I think it's the way that religion teaches that is more important. It also doesn't explain how the US was a very large contributor to scientific advances over the past century, while also becoming more religious. Also, a number of scientists would disagree with you that science and religion are at odds with each other.

Again, I'm saying religion has all the answer, or even that it has most of the answers. I'm saying it does have some answers, and it's your casual dismissal of that possibility that I find to be dogmatic and arrogant.

Science has had difficulty capturing the imagination of the masses, particularly in this country. Building better methods of communication, particularly ones that teach children to think critically would be my optimal goal to learn from religion. Not in the things taught, but how they are taught, the techniques of passing information.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

I know Dr. Ecklund. She's extremely gifted, and even more extremely well-funded.

Shadow Lodge

Samnell wrote:

If increasing the acceptance of science requires it to adopt religion's methodologies, we have destroyed the whole of the value of science because religion is a cultural system designed to encourage behaviors that suppress reason and empiricism in favor of dogmas. Slaying dogmas is one of the two most important things that distinguishes science from religion and makes it more valuable to us all.

It turns out, of course, that we know pretty well why people who otherwise have perfectly good educational opportunities and live in developed nations with good infrastructures, literacy, etc, reject evolution. It turns out religion is in the way. We can tell by how strongly correlated rejection of evolution is with the religiosity of otherwise similar developed nations, like the US and various Western European countries. It's not a communication problem at all, at least not any more than communicating a complicated truth some people might not like is harder than communicating a reassuring lie.

Dogma is just as much a part of emperical and scientific progress as it is religion (though not all religions have dogma). In this day, I might even say that the scientific and um, um "elightened" society might be more dogmatic that religion is. You almost seem to imply they are mutually exclusive?

Shadow Lodge

Irontruth wrote:

Also, a number of scientists would disagree with you that science and religion are at odds with each other.

Again, I'm saying religion has all the answer, or even that it has most of the answers. I'm saying it does have some answers, and it's your casual dismissal of that possibility that I find to be dogmatic and arrogant.

I've never understood this idea either, really. Science, by it's very definition requires the exploration and attempt at understanding all things, including faith, religion, philosophy, supernatural, spirit, etc. . .

In my experience, science tends to open up many questions that lead to an understanding of faith, not deny them. Few religions have any issue with science, though they often do have issues with moral implications that a scientific direction might lead, (stem cells as a fast example).

Andoran

Samnell wrote:

So we're down to science in Bali, which as an accident of history is transmitted with a bunch of religious gunk that could be removed without doing any harm at all and would have the added benefit of getting rid of all the usual pathologies inherent in religion and Buddha finding a more effective way to wow the rubes? That's seriously it?

The first I've already treated, but I want to zero in on the Buddha one a bit more. There's literally not a single thing in that story that I care to see propagated to even a single human being that ever lived. Better it be forgotten, along with all history's other "enlightened" hucksters and their equally irrelevant gibberish. At least food actually matters.

The irony being that the religious foundations were basically evolutionary trial and error which became doctrinal.

A culture based in logic would come to the same processes more quickly and efficiently, and would be better able to adapt to climatic variance...or given our current situation, out right climate change.

Andoran

Irontruth wrote:

You think we should remove all religion from the world instead of say... studying it to see if it can unlock a cure or treatment for neurodegenerative diseases?

Strawman is made of straw.


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I self-sacrifice without religion.

Same equation without religion and I can still perform the same way meaning religion isn't needed.

Since we are talking religion anyway other quotes by fiction writers should be good too:

Heinlein wrote:


God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent — it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks, please. Cash and in small bills.

Men rarely (if ever) manage to dream up a god superior to themselves. Most gods have the manners and morals of a spoiled child.

History does not record anywhere at any time a religion that has any rational basis. Religion is a crutch for people not strong enough to stand up to the unknown without help. But, like dandruff, most people do have a religion and spend time and money on it and seem to derive considerable pleasure from fiddling with it.

If it can't be expressed in figures, it is not science; it is opinion. It has long been known that one horse can run faster than another — but which one? Differences are crucial.

Sin lies only in hurting others unnecessarily. All other "sins" are invented nonsense. (Hurting yourself is not sinful —just stupid.)

The most preposterous notion that H. sapiens has ever dreamed up is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of all the Universes, wants the saccharine adoration of His creatures, can be swayed by their prayers, and becomes petulant if He does not receive this flattery. Yet this absurd fantasy, without a shred of evidence to bolster it, pays all the expenses of the oldest, largest, and least productive industry in all history.

What are the facts? Again and again and again — what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what "the stars foretell," avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable "verdict of history" — what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!

My personal favorite for the issue of self sacrifice:

Quote:

In my home town sixty years ago when I was a child, my mother and father used to take me and my brothers and sisters out to Swope Park on Sunday afternoons. It was a wonderful place for kids, with picnic grounds and lakes and a zoo. But a railroad line cut straight through it.

One Sunday afternoon a young married couple were crossing these tracks. She apparently did not watch her step, for she managed to catch her foot in the frog of a switch to a siding and could not pull it free. Her husband stopped to help her.
But try as they might they could not get her foot loose. While they were working at it, a tramp showed up, walking the ties. He joined the husband in trying to pull the young woman's foot loose. No luck —
Out of sight around the curve a train whistled. Perhaps there would have been time to run and flag it down, perhaps not. In any case both men went right ahead trying to pull her free ... and the train hit them.
The wife was killed, the husband was mortally injured and died later, the tramp was killed — and testimony showed that neither man made the slightest effort to save himself.
The husband's behavior was heroic ... but what we expect of a husband toward his wife: his right, and his proud privilege, to die for his woman. But what of this nameless stranger? Up to the very last second he could have jumped clear. He did not. He was still trying to save this woman he had never seen before in his life, right up to the very instant the train killed him. And that's all we'll ever know about him.
This is how a man dies.
This is how a man ... lives!

Self sacrifice (and the all the virtues for that matter) have nothing to do with religion! Philosophy was distilling them out without the need for pageantry and the bunk of religion even when religion included multiple gods of multiple things.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

A fun little interlude.

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber

Dr. Tyson on the dangers of irrational mindsets.

Shadow Lodge

Abraham spalding wrote:

I self-sacrifice without religion.

Same equation without religion and I can still perform the same way meaning religion isn't needed.

Self sacrifice (and the all the virtues for that matter) have nothing to do with religion! Philosophy was distilling them out without the need for pageantry and the bunk of religion even when religion included multiple gods of multiple things.

Sure it does. The same is not true for atheism itself nor science, though. Nor is it true for all religions. But it is a basic concept in most religions, either to sacrifice for others or to be willing to hold back something for others. This is not to say that sacrifice is religion ONLY, nor is it to say that religion somehow invented it, but rather that religions hold these things as more important than the majority of non-religious groups/people/philosophies.

Obviously, there are exceptions, and as someone keeps trying to point out the Gates donations. But, these are exceptions the the norm.

Abraham spalding wrote:
Since we are talking religion anyway other quotes by fiction writers should be good too:

. . . right. . .


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Beckett wrote:
Abraham spalding wrote:

I self-sacrifice without religion.

Same equation without religion and I can still perform the same way meaning religion isn't needed.

Self sacrifice (and the all the virtues for that matter) have nothing to do with religion! Philosophy was distilling them out without the need for pageantry and the bunk of religion even when religion included multiple gods of multiple things.

Sure it does. The same is not true for atheism itself nor science, though. Nor is it true for all religions. But it is a basic concept in most religions, either to sacrifice for others or to be willing to hold back something for others. This is not to say that sacrifice is religion ONLY, nor is it to say that religion somehow invented it, but rather that religions hold these things as more important than the majority of non-religious groups/people/philosophies.

Obviously, there are exceptions, and as someone keeps trying to point out the Gates donations. But, these are exceptions the the norm.

Actually self sacrifice is only a major component of the Abrahamic faiths -- not the majority or even most faiths.

And again self sacrifice has nothing to do with religion. People might self sacrifice for religion but religion isn't required for it to happen.

Indeed animals with presumably no religion have been known to self sacrifice. The capacity for self sacrifice doesn't come from religion and is rarely pushed by religion (the fact that three religions out of all the religions out there push it doesn't make it a norm).

Andoran

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Tales Subscriber
Abraham spalding wrote:

Actually self sacrifice is only a major component of the Abrahamic faiths -- not the majority or even most faiths.

And again self sacrifice has nothing to do with religion. People might self sacrifice for religion but religion isn't required for it to happen.

Indeed animals with presumably no religion have been known to self sacrifice. The capacity for self sacrifice doesn't come from religion and is rarely pushed by religion (the fact that three religions out of all the religions out there push it doesn't make it a norm).

Hmmm. Not to derail, but a quick pitstop to water the slug. While no-one has used the word altruism, I'd guess it's what most of us think when we say self-sacrifice. Despite wikipedia articles to the contrary, there's no conclusive proof that any non-primate species is altruistic, and there's a lot of evidence that on balance suggests the great apes are reciprocal altruists. Unfortunately, that includes us.

It's very, very, very rare to encounter a human who is truly, intrinsically, fundamentally altruistic. If your self-sacrifice makes you feel good, then it's reciprocal altruism on a genetic level.

Philosophically (physicalism), altruism can only exist conceptually: if you get anything at all out of your altruistic act (including cool chemical balances in the old noodle that lead to sensations of Stephen Daedalus looking in the mirror after confession), it's not pure altruism.


More Heinlein (no digs this time however -- I'm kind of sorry for that):

Quote:


Beware of altruism. It is based on self-deception, the root of all evil.

If tempted by something that feels "altruistic," examine your motives and root out that self-deception. Then, if you still want to do it, wallow in it!

I kind of agree with him too -- I enjoy helping other people, but I do it for self-aggrandizing purposes: I can admit that.

However when I say self-scarifice I mean the actual thing, not just helping other people out (which isn't the same).

Andoran RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

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So, the fact that #1, #2, and #5 of the world's 5 most populous religions teach self-sacrifice doesn't mean that self-sacrifice is a religious teaching? But the fact that #1, #2, and #5 of the world's 5 most populous religions have a history of violence means that violence is the inevitable result of religion? That seems kind of double standard-y.


Charlie Bell wrote:
So, the fact that #1, #2, and #5 of the world's 5 most populous religions teach self-sacrifice doesn't mean that self-sacrifice is a religious teaching? But the fact that #1, #2, and #5 of the world's 5 most populous religions have a history of violence means that violence is the inevitable result of religion? That seems kind of double standard-y.

It would be if I made such a claim which I didn't. I'm merely pointing out that self sacrifice isn't a religious trait.

EDIT: Now I do believe religion is dangerous -- but only as much as any group of people collected in 'common cause' is. Governments are dangerous, corporations are dangerous, mobs are dangerous -- that doesn't mean they need to be removed from existence.

Quote:


History does not record anywhere at any time a religion that has any rational basis. Religion is a crutch for people not strong enough to stand up to the unknown without help. But, like dandruff, most people do have a religion and spend time and money on it and seem to derive considerable pleasure from fiddling with it.

There is no conclusive evidence of life after death. But there is no evidence of any sort against it. Soon enough you will know. So why fret about it?


Charlie Bell wrote:
So, the fact that #1, #2, and #5 of the world's 5 most populous religions teach self-sacrifice doesn't mean that self-sacrifice is a religious teaching? But the fact that #1, #2, and #5 of the world's 5 most populous religions have a history of violence means that violence is the inevitable result of religion? That seems kind of double standard-y.

CMIIW, but I don't think anyone has claimed that violence is the inevitable result of religion, just that religion uses violent means as often as not.

Andoran

Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Atheism is a belief system, but that does not make it a religion. It may, however, represent someone's spirituality.

Andoran RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

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I think that nobody really teaches pure altruism. Christianity doesn't. Christians are supposed to be altruistic because it pleases God. As I understand Buddhism, it doesn't, either, because building up good karma is good for you. The classical arguments for secular altruism found in Plato and Aristotle teach that it is in your own best interest to be altruistic. Even biological altruism is based on individual organisms' reproductive success; that's why animal parents will self-sacrifice for their children.

Andoran RPG Superstar 2013 Top 16

Hitdice wrote:
Charlie Bell wrote:
So, the fact that #1, #2, and #5 of the world's 5 most populous religions teach self-sacrifice doesn't mean that self-sacrifice is a religious teaching? But the fact that #1, #2, and #5 of the world's 5 most populous religions have a history of violence means that violence is the inevitable result of religion? That seems kind of double standard-y.
CMIIW, but I don't think anyone has claimed that violence is the inevitable result of religion, just that religion uses violent means as often as not.

I would strongly argue that religion uses nonviolent means overwhelmingly more often than violent means. If religion used violent means as often as not, then the law of averages would argue that every Sunday when I go to church, about half the time, we'd be beating somebody up. Actually, that has never happened. The fact that some people who profess religion have used religion to justify violence at some points throughout history does not make religion inherently violent.

Shadow Lodge

Abraham spalding wrote:

Actually self sacrifice is only a major component of the Abrahamic faiths -- not the majority or even most faiths.

And again self sacrifice has nothing to do with religion. People might self sacrifice for religion but religion isn't required for it to happen.

Indeed animals with presumably no religion have been known to self sacrifice. The capacity for self sacrifice doesn't come from religion and is rarely pushed by religion (the fact that three religions out of all the religions out there push it doesn't make it a norm).

Not really. I do not neccisarily mean sacrificing one's life when I say self sacrifice, so I'm going to say personal sacrifice instead. The White Lotus Society and bodhisattva's of eastern religions are very much into personal sacrifice. Almost every religion out there has a concept along the lines of do unto others and it comes abck to you, or stopping pain or harm. Many have concepts of (if they don't derive from) Karma. The idea of tithing to the community predates even taxation as far as we know, and again, many religions have a concept similar to either donating towards the community or giving to the needy. So sacrifice is very much a religious trait. It's not exclusive, but much more in the sphere of the faithful than the secular.

Shadow Lodge

Charlie Bell wrote:
So, the fact that #1, #2, and #5 of the world's 5 most populous religions teach . . .

Just curious, what are the top 5? I'm guessing Islam, Christianity, Hinduism (actually many religions), Buddhism, and some sort of mix between Atheism\Agnosticism\"check here if you don't know what these words mean", but different studies all claim different things.

Shadow Lodge

Beckett wrote:


Dogma is just as much a part of emperical and scientific progress as it is religion (though not all religions have dogma). In this day, I might even say that the scientific and um, um "elightened" society might be more dogmatic that religion is. You almost seem to imply they are mutually exclusive?

Is there any chance you could offer support for these insults?

Shadow Lodge

Are you serious?

Shadow Lodge

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If he's not, I am.

Shadow Lodge

Dogma is the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, or a particular group or organization. It is authoritative and not to be disputed, doubted, or diverged from, by the practitioners or believers. Although it generally refers to religious beliefs that are accepted without reason or evidence, they can refer to acceptable opinions of philosophers or philosophical schools, public decrees, or issued decisions of political authorities. . . .

Dogma came to signify laws or ordinances adjudged and imposed upon others by the First Century. . .

Today, It is sometimes used as a synonym for systematic theology.

I left out a few aspects to save room dealing with the etymology of the word.

The scientific method is dogma. Any number of laws, are dogma. And these are insulting?

Shadow Lodge

Beckett wrote:
Are you serious?

Short answer: Yes.

Longer answer: I think i know why you're saying this, I know what I want to say in response, but I don't think it would be fair to put an argument in your mouth and then refute it.

Shadow Lodge

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Beckett wrote:
Dogma is the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, or a particular group or organization.

So let me get this strait. F=M*A is scientific Dogma?

North Dakota is north of south Dakota is Geographic Dogma?

George Washington was the first president of the united states under the US constitution is Historical Dogma?

Shadow Lodge

I'm saying this as Samnell's arguement was "lets dump all dogma in favor of dogma" (or more true to the spirit of the thing, "dogma I approve of").

Shadow Lodge

If they fit the definition of dogma, why would they not be, and more importantly, why are you getting so bent out of shape about this,not to mention insulted? Even assuming you had assumed dogma means religious stuff only, I am failing to see insult or the definition of the word is putting you off here.

Shadow Lodge

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Beckett wrote:
If they fit the definition of dogma, why would they not be

That would be the crux of the matter. They don't. Here is a list of the parts of the definition that the above do not fit.

It is not a doctrine held by a religion
It is not a doctrine held by a particular group or organization.
It is not a religious belief accepted without evidence.

and most importantly it is not an opinion. They are facts. You are trying to equate ANY idea, at all, with dogma and thats simply not what the word means.

Quote:
and more importantly, why are you getting so bent out of shape about this

Support your claim= bent out of shape?

Quote:

not to mention insulted? Even assuming you had assumed dogma means religious stuff only, I am failing to see insult or the definition of the word is putting you off here.

Its part of the strategy I outlined above about trying to equate religious ideas and scientific facts so that they're equal, and ones just as silly as another. Its a disingenuous side step to rational discourse based on reason and evidence.


Beckett wrote:

If they fit the definition of dogma, why would they not be, and more importantly, why are you getting so bent out of shape about this,not to mention insulted? Even assuming you had assumed dogma means religious stuff only, I am failing to see insult or the definition of the word is putting you off here.

Because science is not Dogma.

Dogma is something that cannot be or should not be questioned. The results of scientific exploration CAN and MUST be questioned, continually, as being a part of the scientific method. Hence science CANNOT be dogmatic.

You can question the Geographic Dogma of North and South Dakota, but the results of your inquiry will invariably lead to the original assertion. That makes it a fact, not a dogma or doctrine.

Andoran

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The definition of Dogma from Dictionary.com:
A principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true: "the Christian dogma of the Trinity".

This is the exact opposite of Science, which lays down a hypothesis and attempts to prove it wrong.

The concern being voiced regarding religion is that it can not be tested or disproved.

The basis of science is to test theories for flaws.

Shadow Lodge

Also, there is a huge different between you ought not to question it (morally), and you have a very hard time questioning it because there's so much evidence behind it.


ciretose wrote:
Irontruth wrote:

You think we should remove all religion from the world instead of say... studying it to see if it can unlock a cure or treatment for neurodegenerative diseases?

Strawman is made of straw.

Please explain to me how this is a strawman.

I'm pointing out that religion represents part of the collective knowledge and understanding of humankind for the past 10,000 years. I'm getting a strong sense that Samnell thinks religion is bad and should be ignored completely and utterly. I'm pointing out instances where religious claims do have a real world effect, not necessarily a spiritual effect, but actual physical implications for our world. All I'm getting back is "it's nonsense or coincidence and doesn't matter".

That specific piece of evidence is one of several I have presented. All I've been given back is "that's coincidence that religion came across something scientific".

I'm not pro-religion in this argument. I'm pro-human knowledge and think we shouldn't be so casual or flippant before we throw large sections of it out.

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