Religion: The Deuce

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morriswalters
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby morriswalters » Tue Oct 04, 2011 6:01 pm UTC

Thank you, At last something the that has some meat on it about critical thinking. In light of that I pretty much stand pat of my assessment. I hold all of these things important but I'm no less certain that most people could care less. From your link.

Self-aware, recognizing your own biases and influences;
Inquisitive and curious, wanting to learn more about issues before passing judgment;
Objective, basing your judgments on evidence and avoiding twisting evidence to fit your opinion;
Open-minded, having the ability to say, "I don't know" or "I was wrong";
Sensitive to language, avoiding slanted language, recognizing ambiguous, vague, emotionally laden language, defining key terms;
Imaginative, approaching topics and problems from various angles;
Fair and intellectually honest, avoiding misrepresenting the ideas of others or misinterpreting data and research to fit your own purposes.

Ask yourself why it's not taught as a required course in most colleges? I've already given you my opinion why it will never be taught before that. It would seem a natural development.

Have all the anger you wish, but it's a powerful emotion which interferes with your stated goal of using critical thinking and reason. You can't live without emotion, nor would I wish to, but you must bring it to heel or it blurs your clarity and increases the chances that you will let your decisions be colored by it. The best way of atheists changing Christians is to demonstrate that atheist's share many commonalities to them. You can argue with a Christian until your face turns blue. He doesn't trust you, he see's you as lacking character, as untrustworthy, as dangerous to him. He won't listen. I don't know how many times that I have stood nose to nose with Christians and argued the very things that you argue today, and not once did that dialog change anything. And my definition of stupid is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. I choose to force him to feel cognitive dissonance by confronting him with the reality of me versus his internal image. We live in a society controlled by polling , voting and money. We're outgunned and outnumbered. Give me a strategy that doesn't depend on incremental steps, teeny tiny incremental steps.
DSenette wrote:religion is a structure that is unique. it uses the specter of eternal damnation and the promise of eternal salvation to drive it's agenda, this is UNIQUE to religion. trying to excuse that by saying "well it's all part of human nature because religion is something humans made up" is disingenuous. especially when you're trying to state that religion did good things. by your stance those words should never come out of your mouth. you should have said "people did good things". you can't argue from both sides.

Why is Religion powerful? It reflects it's followers. They want what it teaches. Emphasis on WANT. You can't describe it without putting people in the description. Religion has done good things because people do good things, Religion has done evil, because people do evil. There are no sides, there is only us. Walt Kelly speaking through the comic book character Pogo summed it up pretty well.
We have met the enemy and he is us.

Damnation and Redemption are only powerful because humans want both. Ignore that at your peril.
DSenette wrote:If the items aren't inherent or exclusive to religion, then religion didn't "do them", religious privilege and funding assisted, but religion itself.....the bit about god, and some rules and shit, had no hand in the advancements you keep hoping will redeem religion.

I'm not trying to redeem Religion, I care because Christians are my neighbors, my employers, and my friends. Religion has benefited it's adherents quite well, and considering that the Religious make up a large majority of society overall then it's no stretch to say that Religion has benefited society. Religion in it's totality is not only about God. It's about looking to your left and saying, he's like me.

RoberII, the problem with using a word like deceit or the phrase con man is that it assumes data you don't have, you can't know with any certainty the motivations of the involved parties. The concept of God overall is not testable so you can't say with authority with evidence that God doesn't exist. There is no evidence to support his existence, but then again there is no evidence to deny it. Logic and reason lead you to conclude that lacking evidence that God exists, then Religion has a weak claim, but it can't rule out that evidence could exist which would confirm the existence. This is why science generally doesn't deal with the question, it's not falsifiable.

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Cheezwhiz Jenkins
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Cheezwhiz Jenkins » Tue Oct 04, 2011 6:14 pm UTC

DSenette wrote:"good" as in "it's not outright designed to fuck the shit out of everyone except for the guy at the top". avon is a pyramid scheme, it's not called a scheme because it's not a con. it's a "pyramid business" because it's not designed to trick people into fucking themselves over.

the people at the top make money off of the rung bellow them (directly), then that rung makes money off the next, lather rinse, repeat. that's what a pyramid scheme is.

the difference in people's opinion about the business is that avon wasn't designed as a "fuck the next guy right in the face and take his money" plan where as ponzi schemes, totally are designed from the ground up to fuck a bunch of people so you can make bank and disappear.

the POINT is that in ANY of these schemes/businesses, the guy in the middle isn't a conman unless he's in on the con. if he's not in on the con, then he's being conned.


Fine. But how does ANY of that advance your point that religion itself is not comparable to a ponzi scheme?
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby DSenette » Tue Oct 04, 2011 7:09 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:Thank you, At last something the that has some meat on it about critical thinking. In light of that I pretty much stand pat of my assessment. I hold all of these things important but I'm no less certain that most people could care less. From your link.

Self-aware, recognizing your own biases and influences;
Inquisitive and curious, wanting to learn more about issues before passing judgment;
Objective, basing your judgments on evidence and avoiding twisting evidence to fit your opinion;
Open-minded, having the ability to say, "I don't know" or "I was wrong";
Sensitive to language, avoiding slanted language, recognizing ambiguous, vague, emotionally laden language, defining key terms;
Imaginative, approaching topics and problems from various angles;
Fair and intellectually honest, avoiding misrepresenting the ideas of others or misinterpreting data and research to fit your own purposes.

Ask yourself why it's not taught as a required course in most colleges? I've already given you my opinion why it will never be taught before that. It would seem a natural development.
so your stance is that logic and reason are really awesome and you strive to live your life by those methods. but, you see no purpose on teaching someone else how to do that because CURRENTLY people don't apply the tools of logic and reason.

do you see that as being logically consistent? "people don't apply the tools they've never been adequately taught so we shouldn't teach people how to apply those tools"

your argument this whole time, as far as i can gather, has been that we shouldn't teach people the tools of logic and reason because they don't give a shit. am i missing something?

morriswalters wrote:Have all the anger you wish, but it's a powerful emotion which interferes with your stated goal of using critical thinking and reason. You can't live without emotion, nor would I wish to, but you must bring it to heel or it blurs your clarity and increases the chances that you will let your decisions be colored by it. The best way of atheists changing Christians is to demonstrate that atheist's share many commonalities to them. You can argue with a Christian until your face turns blue. He doesn't trust you, he see's you as lacking character, as untrustworthy, as dangerous to him. He won't listen. I don't know how many times that I have stood nose to nose with Christians and argued the very things that you argue today, and not once did that dialog change anything. And my definition of stupid is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. I choose to force him to feel cognitive dissonance by confronting him with the reality of me versus his internal image. We live in a society controlled by polling , voting and money. We're outgunned and outnumbered. Give me a strategy that doesn't depend on incremental steps, teeny tiny incremental steps.

your strategy doesn't seem to revolve around any steps. so far, the only things i've seen you put forth is "stay the course and shit might work out".

morriswalters wrote:
DSenette wrote:religion is a structure that is unique. it uses the specter of eternal damnation and the promise of eternal salvation to drive it's agenda, this is UNIQUE to religion. trying to excuse that by saying "well it's all part of human nature because religion is something humans made up" is disingenuous. especially when you're trying to state that religion did good things. by your stance those words should never come out of your mouth. you should have said "people did good things". you can't argue from both sides.

Why is Religion powerful? It reflects it's followers. They want what it teaches. Emphasis on WANT. You can't describe it without putting people in the description. Religion has done good things because people do good things, Religion has done evil, because people do evil. There are no sides, there is only us. Walt Kelly speaking through the comic book character Pogo summed it up pretty well.
We have met the enemy and he is us.

Damnation and Redemption are only powerful because humans want both. Ignore that at your peril.
this is the bit where your language goes to the extreme.

"Massey energy, a coal mining company who has been shown time and time again to have recorded policies and a work culture that were in the exact opposite of human safety, did bad things because people do bad things" is an accurate statement, but it says dick about the response to the problem.

the response to the problem is to fix what's wrong with the offending organization. that could mean anything from firing one or two people to shutting down the whole system. and then of course, since massey is just one company in the entire coal industry, you then go to the top of the chain and see if the problems are caused there. lather rinse repeat.

at the moment we're standing at the bottom of the chain, at the top of the chain is "people cause problems" because "people" means "humans". you have to start at the bottom of the chain, you can't jump to "the coal mining system as a whole is fucked" without isolating massey energy out of the loop.

morriswalters wrote:
DSenette wrote:If the items aren't inherent or exclusive to religion, then religion didn't "do them", religious privilege and funding assisted, but religion itself.....the bit about god, and some rules and shit, had no hand in the advancements you keep hoping will redeem religion.


I'm not trying to redeem Religion, I care because Christians are my neighbors, my employers, and my friends. Religion has benefited it's adherents quite well, and considering that the Religious make up a large majority of society overall then it's no stretch to say that Religion has benefited society. Religion in it's totality is not only about God. It's about looking to your left and saying, he's like me.
yes, but that community feeling is not unique to religion. that's inherent in being in a community. that any given system has benefits does not justify maintaining the status quo when the status quo results in negatives. especially when those negatives are removal or prevention of human rights. you can achieve the same community without the garbage.

so coming back with "but religion has totally done some great stuff! so don't be mean to religion" serves no purpose. if people did the good stuff, and people did the bad stuff, then why does religion have to be the smokescreen in the middle?


Cheezwhiz Jenkins wrote:
DSenette wrote:"good" as in "it's not outright designed to fuck the shit out of everyone except for the guy at the top". avon is a pyramid scheme, it's not called a scheme because it's not a con. it's a "pyramid business" because it's not designed to trick people into fucking themselves over.

the people at the top make money off of the rung bellow them (directly), then that rung makes money off the next, lather rinse, repeat. that's what a pyramid scheme is.

the difference in people's opinion about the business is that avon wasn't designed as a "fuck the next guy right in the face and take his money" plan where as ponzi schemes, totally are designed from the ground up to fuck a bunch of people so you can make bank and disappear.

the POINT is that in ANY of these schemes/businesses, the guy in the middle isn't a conman unless he's in on the con. if he's not in on the con, then he's being conned.


Fine. But how does ANY of that advance your point that religion itself is not comparable to a ponzi scheme?
personally, i don't recall saying that it couldn't be compared to a ponzi scheme. i did say calling religion a ponzi scheme is inflammatory and won't serve the purpose of moving the conversation along very well.

RoberII is specifically calling priests (all priests) conmen. this is simply stupid, and needlessly inflammatory. plain and simple
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morriswalters
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby morriswalters » Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:53 pm UTC

DSenette wrote:your argument this whole time, as far as i can gather, has been that we shouldn't teach people the tools of logic and reason because they don't give a shit. am i missing something?

Close, rather I would put it that you can't teach people what they don't want to learn. What do you want to do? Mandate it. Ok, I'll vote for it. But you have produced no evidence to suggest that it can be widely taught. You have produced no evidence that you can use it reliably, I know I can't. Lately I have taken to saying to my friends in discussions about life in general that my opinions as I state them, are just that. Not so much to remind them, rather to remind me.

The course ware that you want is in Universities today. Certainly the individual skills from your syllabus are part of the training in any number of University Colleges. The hard Sciences and Engineering are based off them. Rhetoric is taught in English and Philosophy covers anything the others have missed. There are certainly new approaches and perhaps one of them will catch fire. But passion and the belief that you have the right way forward is not enough.
DSenette wrote:your strategy doesn't seem to revolve around any steps. so far, the only things i've seen you put forth is "stay the course and shit might work out".

I actually stated one. Of course it's not bright and shiny and loud so you missed it, but it works, and has been proven to work. There are others however I suppose you would discount them.

Massey Energy was probably a bad example of the point you're trying to make. I suppose what you were trying to say is that you solve large problems by breaking them into smaller peices that you can fix. As a strategy it's a great idea, it's a principle of modern Engineering. And it's been used on Religion since well before either of us was born and will be until long after we are both dead. And again, as I have pointed out previously, the big changes don't come from the people, it comes from individuals who are in a position to make things happen. Levers and fulcrums. As to the rest, I really don't care what you do or don't do. So you can be as mean to Religion as you wish. However I see a possible dichotomy between your espousal of critical thinking and being mean. See the red highlight.

guenther
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby guenther » Wed Oct 05, 2011 12:17 am UTC

RoberII wrote:I didn't say that priests were being systematically deceitful or hurtful, I said that priests were taking part in a system to which was inherently deceitful, which is not the same thing.

You said that priests were con-men. Con-men engage in deceitful and hurtful practices. Also, you're still not providing any substance for these claims and the one that the system is inherently deceitful, just empty assertions. And you're just peddling in bigotry when you smear all priests because some are corrupt.

RoberII wrote:2: As for the 'important differences'... Yes, religion is responsible for a couple of good things, like orphanages.. Mostly, those good things come with severe strings attached, and I find that they are generally outweighed by small things like Ugandan anti-homosexuality laws and other rampant bigotries, courtesy the Religion of Love

I don't expect you to acknowledge the good that many religious leaders do. Not long ago you were claiming that nothing good came from religion, and one can only support that case from a position of profound ignorance. Your intolerance for priests is not very different than a lot of the intolerance that gets laid on gays. Or rather, the main difference is that your opinion is in the minority, so you don't have the power to effect much harm.


DSenette wrote:one of the primary functions of the scientific method, which include rational thought and logic, is to remove (at the very least reduce) the effects of bias. it is IN NO WAY 100% effective in doing so, and i would never claim as such. practicing logic and reason and the scientific method only increases your ability to at least recognize bias.

But science is weak when we can't make objective measurements. That's a key way it counters bias. And I'm specifically talking about areas where truth is poorly defined, like with fairness and public policy. There's no expectation that it will reduce this bias or even help you recognize it.

And my point isn't "Hey you won't get to 100%". My point is that these tools you're describing may not be very effective at all at dealing with these problems. In other words, these tools may not be our saving grace.

DSenette wrote:it's also something that should be pointed out that "your system" (religion) doesn't have a fix for this last issue either

My system is not in competition with what your promoting. I advocate all the same use of tools that you do. However, religion does have certain advantages here. The more people share in their values, the more they can support each other with group accountability (we don't just dialog with God). Fudging the moral corners is harder when you actually expose your arguments to other people. Churches actively organize their members to engage in these types of communities, and it's not just for people who have crippling problems like alcoholism. In fact, I was convinced that I didn't need any help here until I was involved with a group and went through that exposure process. It's painful and awkward, but it's also very helpful and liberating.

Non-religous people can do this too, and surely there are examples. Human secularists could arrange these weekly meetings (and not to simply discuss philosophy or the role of their organization in the community, but in dealing with the personal struggles and roadblocks of the members). And if they do, I find that awesome! So maybe this is where my ignorance is showing, but my impression is that religious groups are more engaged here. But I'm happy to be wrong, and I don't see this as a competition. It's just another tool that I promote.

DSenette wrote:there are items that are inherent to religion. both historically and currently. one of them is privilege, the other is the notion of universal punishment and universal reward. the privilege is not unique to religion, the universal punishment and reward are.

so when speaking about the things done by/for/in the name of religion, you have to decide which of these items had the most effect on the outcome.

First of all, you just created a false dichotomy. There are a lot of aspects that influence how a religion impacts its members and the world around it. Second, to really answer questions of what had the largest effect is really hard, and you're not providing any evidence. Maybe religion caused the crusades, but maybe people are creative enough to come up with some other motivations for grabbing land and resources. Alternatively, maybe religion is nearly universal in human history because it is very effective at uniting people together to accomplish really great (and bad) things. Maybe the great societies where we had important advancements of art, science, and technology only came about because religion helped bring people together. In the end, I don't really know my history well enough to make this case. But I'm also saying that you haven't provided the evidence to make your claims of causation.

A third point is that blaming the whole of religion for good or bad might really be as meaningless as blaming the whole of government for good or bad. Perhaps if we can pin enough bad things on government we can convince people that society needs to abandon this oppressive state entity. But alternatively, people might learn the lesson that bad government is bad and bad religion is bad. And that both good government and good religion effect most of their value by enabling people to do it themselves rather than enforcing it from on high.


Cheezwhiz Jenkins wrote:Fine. But how does ANY of that advance your point that religion itself is not comparable to a ponzi scheme?

I'd say the burden of proof is exactly backwards. If someone wants to compare religion to a fraudulent investment scheme or priests to con-men, I'd like to hear some good support. Otherwise, why should we give it any credence?
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Zcorp » Wed Oct 05, 2011 5:29 pm UTC

I know the thread has progressed a few pages past this, but thought it was important to respond to. Spoilered.
Spoiler:
morriswalters wrote:If you understand the concept so well write a short syllabus. Treat me as an incoming freshman. Tell me who should take the class, what the class intends to impart to it's students, and how you will test competency in the coursework. I believe a single paragraph is all that is required. If you can't do this, then I will assume your not sure what exactly it is that you are trying to tell me.


The Art of Reasoning Covers:
- The definition of Reason
- Logical classification and definition
- Grammar within logical statements
- Some of the common fallacies within logic
- Various tools and how to construct logical statements and arguments
- Inductive and Deductive logic

The book itself offers various assignments to the student at the end of each section to help you gain understanding in the concepts. Rather than take the time to provide you specific assignments I'll just refer you to those as they are quite good.

If you were to talk a class on the with this textbook the goal would be to build cognitive schemas and vernacular to help you recognize what Reason is and how Grammar and Logic play an important role when applying it. The goal of a course on this textbook is more to understand and recognize Reasonable arguments and actions more so than applying them. The subsequent course (much like the one you have linked at MIT) would be about applying these tools with the additional tool Rhetoric to construct arguments in public discussion. The class you mention assumes that you have the skills The Art of Reason covers "They are thoughtful people of good will who might be persuaded by clear and cogent arguments."


Technology certainly gives us a large set of tools. However we are burning through resources as if they are never ending sources of them. We have fished the oceans to near collapse and we generate more garbage than we can deal with. We breed like fleas and manage to find a lot of different reasons to kill each other which are unrelated to Religion. I could go on and on. The issue is that will my grandchildren and their grandchildren be able to have this lifestyle.
Technology is also working to solve those problems, and again the idea of education is to allow an individual to know more about the world, the problems we face and how to solve them. To be aware of our resource problem. Education has been found to be incredibly effective at making people aware of the macro influence of behavior and caring about that influence. It is also the largest factor we have found relating to the number of children an individual has. The most educated a woman is the less children they have. Contrast that to a message of having many children in many Christian groups...

While education has allowed us to create some problems in our world by making new tech or increasing life expectancy it is also allowing us to solve those problems and change our behavior.

Look at this syllabus it's well written. I think I might improve myself by studying it.
Wonderful, I think studying the subject is exactly what I've been talking about. I'll however politely suggest you start with Logic and Grammar in the context of Reason and the Classical Trivium rather than jumping right into rhetoric. But I'm sure this class will be very useful either way.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby morriswalters » Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:28 pm UTC

As I have pointed out to DSenette, all these things are taught in Universities in various Schools and Colleges, now, today. Some are done in AP classes in high school. College is a smorgasbord, that you pick and choose from, it's reasonable to assume that students who don't pick the courses, don't wish to. Prior to that I'm am still unconvinced that you can teach those skills broadly. They all require a person to be extremely literate with at least basic math skills, the ability to use manipulate symbols with complex meanings, and to develop a vocabulary to support them. We have a difficult time teaching basic literacy and basic math, do you think that these techniques can be broadly inserted in the curriculum?

Edit, I've just ordered a book called Logic And Rhetoric, it supposedly has a different tack on teaching the skills you want.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Zcorp » Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:02 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:As I have pointed out to DSenette, all these things are taught in Universities in various Schools and Colleges, now, today. Some are done in AP classes in high school.
I don't know what to tell you besides that this is completely untrue. I don't even know where to find a source for you to cite this. Yes, many colleges offer classes discussing this material, besides for some philosophy degrees almost none of them require taking any course on Reasoning at all to complete the degree. You are lucky to find a high school that has a teacher capable of teaching a course on Logic and even luckier to be in a position that you can fit it into your schedule as an elective.

Do you work with schools at all? I can't offer you much more than my an appeal to my credibility that these are skills are not specifically being taught. And point you to the requirements to graduate from such institutions and the focus of those institutions as evidence. And without specifically teaching these skills, expecting them to learn them while we are raising people in a social environment where being Reasonable is basically a pejorative it is unwise to expect them to develop them or want to develop them.
College is a smorgasbord, that you pick and choose from, it's reasonable to assume that students who don't pick the courses, don't wish to.


They all require a person to be extremely literate with at least basic math skills, the ability to use manipulate symbols with complex meanings, and to develop a vocabulary to support them. We have a difficult time teaching basic literacy and basic math, do you think that these techniques can be broadly inserted in the curriculum?
Logic has very little do with Math. Math however has a lot to do with logic. As it is a using logic understand and express concepts and generally real world phenomenon. It does not require any skill in math to use Reason. You don't need to understand addition to apply Reason. Although I suppose counting would be of some use.

I think that good teachers have little difficulty teaching anything, in fact I know it. I've worked with, supported and taught some individuals who have astounding ability to teach. The reason our system is broken is not human inability to teach. Our system is broken on a macro level, and our hiring and training practices are included in that macro level breakdown.

I guess I'm just at a loss of words how to continue to discuss this with you. Your rhetoric implies to me that Educating is just a waste of time in general and that trying to teach anything is a giant waste of time. Which is humorously naive when juxtaposed to an old idea that you can't teach the 'common (or black) people how to read.'

Your argument for Religion seems to be that it is the only thing we have cause nothing else works. Completely blinding yourself to all of the progress that has been made, showing how humans are ever capable of improving themselves and the systems we create to improve ourselves.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby RoberII » Thu Oct 06, 2011 12:59 am UTC

@Guenther
Perhaps con-men is not the best choice of words. Snake-oil peddlers, then, similar to homeopaths. Homeopathy is a similar inherently deceitful system built on nothing but air and greed, and just like the clergy, homeopaths don't actually deliver on their promises. And like priests, there are certainly homeopaths who think the product that they're selling works, but that doesn't change the fact that it doesn't and that the system relies on a large number of people lying and keeping the believers in check. Now, you say I should provide sources and substance, but the burden of proof is on you to prove that what priests are selling (god) is, in fact, real, just as it's completely legitimate to call homeopaths swindlers until they've proven that homeopathy works. And yes, priests are selling a service - after all, somebody's paying for their food, their houses, their cars, etc.

As for calling me an ignorant bigot... Dude, stop with the namecalling. I realize that I'm being very blunt (especially by US standards, where even the "good without God" ads are controversial), but you've not yet said anything to prove me wrong - I already conceded that religious people can do good things, but I also said that those things were not a product of their being religious. Ghandi, Tutu, Martin Luther King, Jesus - all were far outside the religious mainstream of their societies. 'great religious leaders' that were within the orthodoxy of their religions tend not to be that great leaders after all - Mother Teresa is a good example off the top of my head. And what I am saying is nothing new. Dogmatism and deceit is a natural, necessary part of religion, because priests have to get people to keep paying them, and those things sell a lot better than honesty (even if we assume that honest faith exists in the clergy, whose faith is compromised by the strong economic incentives they have).
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby morriswalters » Thu Oct 06, 2011 4:10 am UTC

I have no doubt that the textbook you pointed at teaches what you say it teaches.

Product Description

An inviting alternative to traditional texts in introductory logic, The Art of Reasoning is widely acclaimed for its conversational tone and accessible exposition of rigorous logical concepts.
The Third Edition has been meticulously updated and continues the successful pedagogical approach of the two previous editions, guiding students through the fundamental elements of formal deductive logic, classification and definition, fallacies, basic argument analysis, inductive generalization, statistical reasoning, and explanation.


This from Amazon. This book teaches introductory Logic. Which is taught in schools, and most certainly, every University, in one form or the other. It is a textbook. By implication it means that it is taught somewhere, and broadly enough that it was profitable to publish it. And if you don't need math to understand statistics, not use them mind you, but understand them, then you are a much better man than I am.

1. The more specialized the your definition of reasoning the less likely you are to to be able to teach it to a wide range of people. 2. And if people graduating from college don't have it, then it's safe to assume that you can't teach it, at least not widely. 3. And it's not that I believe that people are educated in them, at least the way you define them, it's more that they don't want to be.
This quote seem to set you off. I'll support it and then I'm done, because I'm not sure what else to say.

1. The more specialized any type of knowledge is, the less useful it is to people in general. I can specialize in Poetry done in French between 1500 and 1550. But most people won't find that knowledge useful enough to pursue. This a simple ROI calculation for most.

2. College requires at least 4 years of time and significant amounts of money. After that point they will never have as much time to spend on it as they will then. Students, particularly modern students, want income driven specialties. They, in a lot of cases, don't embrace studies which don't have market value. Once College is completed then they will have less time than ever as they start to work and raise families.

3. This statement is poorly phrased, but it is readable. I don't think that people are taught reasoning as you define it, but it's not because the opportunity is not there. They simply choose to expend their resources on something they find more useful.

RoberII
Surely you see a problem with your argument. Apply some of the reasoning that is so highly valued here. Down here in stupid land we'uns would call that a bait and switch. You accuse priests of deceit and then say they have a burden to prove there is a God to prove their honesty. But the claim is, Priests are deceitful, not is their a God. I'm sure that some are deceitful, I sure that some aren't, but deceit implies knowledge of the lie. For them to be more then poor misguided fools you have to show that they have knowledge that God doesn't exist, not that God exists. In addition homeopathy is testable and in point of fact has been tested and proven to be no better and possibly worse for treatment. But you can't test for God. Your comparing apples and oranges.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby guenther » Thu Oct 06, 2011 7:21 am UTC

@RoberII: I don't think I can improve on what morriswalters said regarding the quality of your argument. And as for burden of proof, it absolutely is in your court to defend charges of corruption, greed, deceit, or any other such thing. And since you don't seem to have any more substance on the matter, I'm going to leave it there.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby RoberII » Thu Oct 06, 2011 5:24 pm UTC

@Guenther and morriswalters
I'd argue that, even if God is untestable, religious claims certainly aren't. Prayer and faith healing? Totally testable. Claims of miracles? Totally testable.
And furthermore, we don't have to test all claims to measure how likely they are - Russell's teapot or the invisible pink unicorn are untestable claims, but they're also patently absurd ones. And I have already said that it is the system, not the individual priest, which is deceitful, though individual priests often are as well. As for substance, I could point you to any number of deceitful priests, hurtful religious practices and so on, and you'd just shrug and say "bad apples". But being a pastor is Big Business - the average salary of a pastor in the US is more than 80.000 dollars a year. The median wage of all US households is about $28,567, says Wikipedia. There are some 600.000 clergymembers in the US alone. In other words, several fucktonnes of money are being moved from the pockets of people who do actual work to the pockets of people who are trafficking in hot air and god is ineffables. So you'll excuse me if I want to see some clothes before I stop calling the emperor's tailors frauds.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu Oct 06, 2011 5:49 pm UTC

RoberII wrote:some 600.000 clergymembers in the US alone. In other words, several fucktonnes of money are being moved from the pockets of people who do actual work to the pockets of people who are trafficking in hot air and god is ineffables. So you'll excuse me if I want to see some clothes before I stop calling the emperor's tailors frauds.
What are pastors being paid for? Recreation, in a way--emotional and mental comfort, providing a sense of identity, a place for you in the universe, an anchor for a community to form around. Yeah, ultimately, it's all based on a ridiculous, unfalsifiable claim--but so are a lot of things. The relationship between priests and their followers can certainly be an exploitative one, but I've met enough people who acquire a strong, positive identity from both their faith and their church to know that the relationship can also be a healthy and productive one.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby guenther » Thu Oct 06, 2011 5:57 pm UTC

RoberII wrote:@Guenther and morriswalters
I'd argue that, even if God is untestable, religious claims certainly aren't. Prayer and faith healing? Totally testable. Claims of miracles? Totally testable.
And furthermore, we don't have to test all claims to measure how likely they are - Russell's teapot or the invisible pink unicorn are untestable claims, but they're also patently absurd ones. And I have already said that it is the system, not the individual priest, which is deceitful, though individual priests often are as well. As for substance, I could point you to any number of deceitful priests, hurtful religious practices and so on, and you'd just shrug and say "bad apples". But being a pastor is Big Business - the average salary of a pastor in the US is more than 80.000 dollars a year. The median wage of all US households is about $28,567, says Wikipedia. There are some 600.000 clergymembers in the US alone. In other words, several fucktonnes of money are being moved from the pockets of people who do actual work to the pockets of people who are trafficking in hot air and god is ineffables. So you'll excuse me if I want to see some clothes before I stop calling the emperor's tailors frauds.

While you've backed off a little bit in your charges because you're being called on your bullshit, you have charged that both priests and the system are deceitful. You most recently said that it's legitimate to call both priests and homeopaths swindlers (at least until someone decides to defend against your presumption of guilt). And saying "but a lot of priests are corrupt..." is a lot like saying "well a lot of blacks rob and kill people...". Pretending that that's relevant in how we judge priests or black people is bigoted smearing. If you want to make a case about how corruption is high amongst church officials, then post data (not examples) and show how that compares to other professions. Then you will actually have substance.

Also, you haven't defended why the system is deceitful or why deceit is required. More empty words. And since you stated the claim so boldly as to say it's necessary, one needs just a single example of a church without deceit to prove you wrong. If you want to make a case that deceit is high in churches (compared to other places), then again you need to provide substance.

And showing that there's potential for corruption doesn't mean anyone is corrupt. In fact, we could show that a lot of people have the potential to earn more money by lying and cheating. Should we begin from a position of presumed guilt for all those people, or are priests just a special sort of bad?

I agree that the potential for cheating is a serious problem that should be dealt with. And every church I've been a part of has had open books that they share regularly with the church goers. If you are making a case that we need to take precautions, then sure that's a valid point. But instead you just want to start from a position of presumed guilt. That's called intolerance.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Oct 06, 2011 6:54 pm UTC

RoberII wrote:@Guenther and morriswalters
I'd argue that, even if God is untestable, religious claims certainly aren't. Prayer and faith healing? Totally testable. Claims of miracles? Totally testable.
And furthermore, we don't have to test all claims to measure how likely they are - Russell's teapot or the invisible pink unicorn are untestable claims, but they're also patently absurd ones. And I have already said that it is the system, not the individual priest, which is deceitful, though individual priests often are as well. As for substance, I could point you to any number of deceitful priests, hurtful religious practices and so on, and you'd just shrug and say "bad apples". But being a pastor is Big Business - the average salary of a pastor in the US is more than 80.000 dollars a year. The median wage of all US households is about $28,567, says Wikipedia. There are some 600.000 clergymembers in the US alone. In other words, several fucktonnes of money are being moved from the pockets of people who do actual work to the pockets of people who are trafficking in hot air and god is ineffables. So you'll excuse me if I want to see some clothes before I stop calling the emperor's tailors frauds.


I don't think the level of corruption you're describing is remotely realistic. Most priests probably belief what they're selling is true. They are probably wrong (IMHO), but it isn't deceitful to be wrong. It's deceitful to know that you are wrong and pretend that you are right. Is it possible that there are some priests who believe they are selling a lie, but continue to do so anyway for the wealth and prestige associated with it? I suppose there probably are some. [url]=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanlon%27s_razor]Hanlon's Razor[/url] tends to suggest that there probably aren't that many. Deceit and harm aren't necessarily always correlated anyway. We often pay people to deceive us for our entertainment (magicians, actors, etc.) and this isn't inherently harmful, and people with honest intentions may nonetheless cause great harm.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby RoberII » Thu Oct 06, 2011 7:25 pm UTC

@Hippo
Sure, some priests do that, but usually such 'counseling' comes with the strings of dogmatism attached - if you just believe a little more, everything will be alright, come to church, we can help you. But like a lot of similar schemes, it's supposed to make you feel that the church helped you, and any help you actually get is incidential to that. The same is true for tarot-readers, psychics and astrologers - it's not really a service, its an attempt to get you to invest emotionally in the church/tarot-reader/psychic.

@guenther
I suppose I am a bigot, then, along with Thomas Jefferson. I am amazed that you can't tell the difference between racism and saying that religion is ultimately a scheme designed to get people to pay the clergy money . I really, really, really want to see you find a denomination with no examples of deceit or corruption, even if we assume that religious claims are not enough to call bullshit in and of themselves.

As for statistics, I did find this article:
http://www.uscatholic.org/church/2009/0 ... ion-racket

Oh, only 40 billion dollars in charity money disappeared due to corruption. I'm sure it's just a couple of guys, it could never be endemic.

@Laserguy
Magicians are probably a bad example, since it's not exactly deceit unless they trick people into believing that it's, you know, magic. If priests claimed that religion was make-believe, like magicians and actors, I might think they were analogous. We do have a few openly atheistic priests here in Denmark, which has always amazed me. Eh, but they recognize that it's a sweet deal, who can blame them. But again, those priests are relying on other to keep the faith strong so that they can bum on the believers produced.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu Oct 06, 2011 7:46 pm UTC

RoberII wrote:@Hippo
Sure, some priests do that, but usually such 'counseling' comes with the strings of dogmatism attached - if you just believe a little more, everything will be alright, come to church, we can help you. But like a lot of similar schemes, it's supposed to make you feel that the church helped you, and any help you actually get is incidential to that. The same is true for tarot-readers, psychics and astrologers - it's not really a service, its an attempt to get you to invest emotionally in the church/tarot-reader/psychic.
Do the tarot-readers, psychics, and astrologers all believe that? There are homoeopathic practitioners who sincerely believe that their vials of water can work miracles; doctors use them as (incredibly) low-risk treatments for afflictions that a placebo can handle. There may be therapists who swear by Freud; they might still manage to help patients merely by giving them someone to talk to.

You seem to be conflating being 'right' with being 'relevant'. As someone who values efficiency, I'd love to see priests abandon their frocks and become trained therapists and community leaders--but that's not going to happen. So why not make them better at what they do? Support the ones who serve their communities well and oppose the ones who are exploitative and harmful. At their worst, priests are charlatans who will steal every last penny and stab you in the back on their way out. At their best, priests are great community organizers who offer positive emotional and moral support. I think the latter could be very useful. Don't you?
RoberII wrote:I really, really really want to see you find a denomination with no examples of deceit, even if we assume that religious claims are not enough to call bullshit in and of themselves.
Is there such a thing as any institution with no examples of deceit? Even members of prestigious scientific institutions have, on occasion, tried to cheat.

'Religion' is not a scheme. It's just a word we use to represent a large body of people who believe and practice certain things. Some of those people are thieves, some of them are not. The latter group is not necessarily being duped by the former.
RoberII wrote:We do have a few openly atheistic priests here in Denmark, which has always amazed me. Eh, but they recognize that it's a sweet deal, who can blame them. But again, those priests are relying on other to keep the faith strong so that they can bum on the believers produced.
Actually, there's a long tradition of clergymen becoming atheists during their time spent studying biblical scholarship, but staying in the system anyway--because it's all they know.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Роберт » Thu Oct 06, 2011 7:59 pm UTC

RoberII wrote:the average salary of a pastor in the US is more than 80.000 dollars a year. The median wage of all US households is about $28,567, says Wikipedia.

I have a problems with those essentially meaningless numbers you pulled up.

According to wikipedia, the median income is not surprisingly considerably lower than the average.

You're citing average total compensation (including health benefits and continuing education) with median income.

Also, most senior pastors have had significant college education, and are male. Let's say that most senior pastors haven't gone to seminar (unlikely). You should probably be comparing this with $52,265, the median income for "Male, age 25+ w/ earnings" to get a better comparison. Hey, guess what? Compare:
Group A: 52k as the median of an individual’s total earnings (from wages, investment interest, etc)
Group B: 80k as a mean total compensation (including health benefits, life insurance, etc)...

Which group makes more? I don't know, probably group A.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Zcorp » Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:02 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:I have no doubt that the textbook you pointed at teaches what you say it teaches.


This from Amazon. This book teaches introductory Logic. Which is taught in schools, and most certainly, every University, in one form or the other. It is a textbook. By implication it means that it is taught somewhere, and broadly enough that it was profitable to publish it. And if you don't need math to understand statistics, not use them mind you, but understand them, then you are a much better man than I am.


But that is the thing, Introductory Logic is not 'taught' in schools. Implying that all schools give their students an introduction to logic. The vast majority of high schools don't even offer a class in Logic and those that do put it as an elective. Almost no high school students today graduate high school with having taken a introductory class in logic.

The same is true with Universities, unless a student is majoring in Philosophy (which everyone knows is a joke degree :roll:) , they are very very unlikely to encounter or consider taking a class in Logic.

1. The more specialized any type of knowledge is, the less useful it is to people in general. I can specialize in Poetry done in French between 1500 and 1550. But most people won't find that knowledge useful enough to pursue. This a simple ROI calculation for most.
The aspect of knowledge we are speaking is no where close to as specialized as Poetry in France in any 50 year period. In fact it is not even as specialized as the entire field of Poetry. I look at your example here and the only thing I can think of is that you are outright trolling. You are outright trying to get a furious reaction from me. As you can't possibly be so stupid to think that Reason is anywhere close to as specific a aspect of knowledge as 50 years of Poetry in France.

If you are going to actually engage in this discussion fine. If not please don't actively try to piss people off.

2. College requires at least 4 years of time and significant amounts of money. After that point they will never have as much time to spend on it as they will then. Students, particularly modern students, want income driven specialties. They, in a lot of cases, don't embrace studies which don't have market value. Once College is completed then they will have less time than ever as they start to work and raise families.
Isn't this exactly the problem that we are complaining about? That the Majority (the religious) don't find Reason to be a useful skill, and thus if I was to make a economic decision on the current field of play taking a class on Reason would be a poor choice in terms of Opportunity Cost. Despite that Reason itself the very skill that is actually incredibly valuable and has led Humanity to the much more glorious place that it is today? This is in a nut shell the entire problem we are discussing. You don't think Reason is valuable so you wouldn't look to hold a Reasonable discussion, and in fact have demonstrated you are not capable of doing so without further study, you also wouldn't look for that skill in anyone you are hiring (or voting for, like say a President...). I almost think you don't understand the sociological or Macro impact of what we are discussing. Which I suppose shouldn't surprise me as you don't understand the concept being discussed when we use the word Reason.
Last edited by Zcorp on Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:01 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby guenther » Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:09 pm UTC

RoberII wrote:I suppose I am a bigot, then, along with Thomas Jefferson. I am amazed that you can't tell the difference between saying that religion is ultimately a scheme designed to get people to pay the clergy money and racism.

Your whole case is based on you making a lot of unfounded, negative claims about a whole group of people. From their motivations, to their honesty, to their greed, to their integrity. And let's not forget that you started this whole thing by expressing blanket contempt. If your message was at blacks and black organizations, it would be exactly racism.

RoberII wrote:Oh, only 40 billion dollars in charity money disappeared due to corruption. I'm sure it's just a couple of guys, it could never be endemic.

That's 40 billion lost to charitable institutions, not just churches. Are all the officials at these charities swindlers by default or just priests? And I acknowledged that this is a problem. But this does zero to support your position that the system is inherently deceitful or deceitful by necessity. All it does is demonstrate that corruption happens, especially when money is involved. Also, you didn't include any statistics for how the church compares with other groups.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby RoberII » Thu Oct 06, 2011 11:20 pm UTC

Guenther, you still need to stop pretending that I haven't made a case for what I am saying. Putting you fingers in your ears and singing "lalala, I can't hear you, criticism of the clergy is bigotry" is not exactly making you look good, especially when I've stressed over and over again that the problem is systemic, and that not every priest realizes this. And yes, it would be incredibly racist if I said that about any race - but professions and race are not the same. There is a big difference between being, say, a thief and an Asian. I am surprised that you do not understand such a fundamental difference - I am not criticizing believers, I am saying that they are being taken advantage of - after all, they are paying for other people's homes, cars and clothes, and are getting really not much in return.

And let me just get this straight: You agree that Thomas Jefferson was a bigot in exactly the same way that you are accusing me of being a bigot? After all, this is the man who wrote: "In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own."
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby a_toddler » Thu Oct 06, 2011 11:52 pm UTC

@RoberII, I agree with you to an extent that the current religious system (from reading the thread, it seems most people are referring to Christianity) seems somewat broken - the advantages of being in clergy in the western world, especially with the money and houses and cars, etc. It is definitely not hard to see why it would seem that this is all just a massive money-making scam. But I'd like to raise two points:

Firstly, this was not always the case in church history. Up until the time Constantine made Christianity legal (and in fact the state religion), this system of supporting the religious heads (and indeed each other) already existed - but out of necessity. Christianity was always under various levels of persecution from its foundation, and believers would share what they owned with those in need, and often these were the leaders because they were targeted (ie. had stuff confiscated, got beaten, arrested, etc,etc) more heavily. However, the moment Constantine happened, the previously danger-ridden, poverty-stricken life of the church leader disappeared and was replaced by one with power and riches. Of course there would arise the opportunist who saw this as a safe, quick and easy way to gain money and status. This problem still plagues the Western church to this day.

Secondly,what about the church outside of the developed world? There are Christians in poor countries and in countries where Christians are heavily persecuted - there is no monetary or political incentive to be a church leader. Often, church leaders have to hold up a job to support themselves and their families, AND lead their congregations because the entire congregation has barely enough to survive themselves. Yet surprisingly it is these churches that are growing the fastest. The church in China has grown rapidly in the last 30 years, and more recently the church in Africa is also experiencing trumendous growth. In both these regions the same incentives to join the clergy present in the Western church don't exist. Still a money-making scam?

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby RoberII » Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:15 am UTC

Nope, a status-making scam - there are still lots of reasons to join the clergy, especially if you don't have to work (which would be the case in Africa, as far as I know.) And of course, the problem of incentive, as you call it, is inherent to all organized religion with a powerful clergy. And of course, when prosecuted, being known by everyone in your community can be a great asset, especially if you are living in poverty - it is a safety net, as you said, similar to the ones the Christians had. That is immensely valuable in and of itself. You might still be prosecuted, but your status in the group is higher - if you're going to be a prosecuted Christian, might as well be an important prosecuted Christian.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby a_toddler » Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:42 am UTC

Prosecuted != persecuted. Persecution is having your house, job and family taken from you, and then publicly denounced as an enemy of the state and that everyone who associates with you is on the same level of scumbagness. If you think I'm exaggerating, just google "persecution of modern christians".

From your response just now, I get the feeling you don't really understand how the church outside of a large organised one (like the Catholic and Anglican ones, or them mega-churches they have in the States) works. In most house-churches, the church heirarchy involes the congregation and the pastor...and that's it.

RoberII wrote:And of course, when prosecuted, being known by everyone in your community can be a great asset, especially if you are living in poverty - it is a safety net, as you said, similar to the ones the Christians had.


I dont actually remember saying that...and I didn't really have to look far to clarify if i ever mentioned being known by your community as a safety net for people in poverty :|

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby guenther » Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:47 am UTC

@RoberII: I don't really know how to deal with you anymore. You say you're making a case, but you've got nothing but insinuations and empty words. I explained how you could add substance, but you don't do it (probably because you can't). I'm pretty sure that debating you on this is just a waste of time, at least it has been so far. Plus you seem to think that bigotry doesn't apply to people in a profession.

RoberII wrote:And let me just get this straight: You agree that Thomas Jefferson was a bigot in exactly the same way that you are accusing me of being a bigot? After all, this is the man who wrote: "In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own."

I am not calling you a bigot. I am saying that you are expressing bigotry. And it would not surprise me if people from the past were guilty of expressing a bigotry that we find unacceptable today, even respected figures. In this specific case, I'd say that statement is overreaching, but he was amidst a very different time in regards to the church's control over liberty. But it's hard to make a judgment off of a couple of sentences. I have searched for the full text of that letter, but I couldn't find it.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby TheGrammarBolshevik » Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:07 am UTC

What, is this supposed to be like modus tollens? If this is bigotry then Thomas Jefferson was a bigot, Thomas Jefferson wasn't a bigot, therefore this isn't bigotry? Because I'm pretty sure the second premise there isn't sustainable.

@guenther Best I could find is a photocopy here. And a print citation, but good luck tracking that one down.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby RoberII » Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:34 am UTC

@Toddler
For early christians, where being a priest (and thus known by your community) meant people would help you out. And yes, difference in prosecution and persecution, was a mistake on my part - I meant persecution, of course.

Anyway, in a lot of cases where any minority is being persecuted, things are different, of course, and there will be less malevolent reasons for joining the clergy - often, religion is the line along which a community is organised (which is fine, except it didn't have to be, and is irrelevant to it being a religion), especially when the religion of the minority is radically different from the minority. And in many cases, ethnicity and religious affiliation are conflated (what a shame).

@Guenther
I, also, am not sure how to deal with you. I'm not sure why you think that selling God is fundamentally different from selling water with, not just vitamins but SUPERVITAMINS. The godsellers are just much better at it, and have appropriated large chunks of society (this is also why there is resistance among some religious people to welfare programs - because that would trespass on the church's 'territory' so to speak - we can't have the poor feeding themselves, they must be preached at while they do it). You seem to think that I need to prove that the emperor's tailors are conning us, when it's blindingly obvious to everyone with eyesthat the emperor is naked - hence, they MUST be conning him. Even if there is an entire industry of weavers weaving invisible clothes, some of whom are sincere in their, err, skill in weaving invisible thread, it's still obvious that someone at some point thought "hey, let's con the emperor".

@TheGrammarBolshevik
I was just curious to see what guenther would say to someone else making similar claims, and I couldn't think of any other anti-clerical historical figures, except for a couple of dictators, unfortunately, and screw those guys.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby a_toddler » Fri Oct 07, 2011 3:43 am UTC

RoberII wrote:@Toddler
For early christians, where being a priest (and thus known by your community) meant people would help you out.


Early Christians helped EVERYONE (read as: other Christians especially) out, not just solely or even chiefly the "priest". The pastor would often be poorer due to increase persecution (which btw, you seem to be skimming over as a major deterrent in becoming a leader to begin with) but so would the poor people. If anything, you would say that it was better off to join the Christians simply if you were poor, rather than joining them just to be part of the (highly persecuted) clergy.

I totally did not understand your next paragraph...sorry >.<

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby guenther » Fri Oct 07, 2011 3:11 pm UTC

TheGrammarBolshevik wrote:@guenther Best I could find is a photocopy here. And a print citation, but good luck tracking that one down.

Thanks for the link. The first one goes to a temporary file that no longer exists, but in my search I did find some scanned copies of hand-written letters.

RoberII wrote:I'm not sure why you think that selling God is fundamentally different from selling water with, not just vitamins but SUPERVITAMINS. The godsellers are just much better at it, and have appropriated large chunks of society (this is also why there is resistance among some religious people to welfare programs - because that would trespass on the church's 'territory' so to speak - we can't have the poor feeding themselves, they must be preached at while they do it).

Here's another unfounded charge. You're whole premise is based on you believing and preaching a story as if it's the truth.

And selling God is not unlike being an advocate for anything. If you don't buy into what they're selling, or if you think what they're promoting is completely wrong, you can say that without slandering a whole group of people. It's healthier for society.

RoberII wrote:You seem to think that I need to prove that the emperor's tailors are conning us, when it's blindingly obvious to everyone with eyesthat the emperor is naked - hence, they MUST be conning him.

The first problem is the fallacy that you keep perpetuating. Even if God isn't real, it doesn't require anyone to be committing a con. This is a logical leap that presumes guilt.

The second problem is that you presume what's obvious for you is obvious for everyone. But that's a close-minded perspective and is demonstrably false.

The third problem is that there are is a long list of examples we could parade through here demonstrating that just because people think something is obvious, evidence proves them wrong. That's why so many people value evidence. There are a lot of things that people can believe without evidence that doesn't really cause any harm. But when people start throwing around unfounded stories that reflect poorly on whole groups of people, then you get to the bad stuff.

You claimed that your case has substance, but twice you've tried to dodge the burden of proof. The latter statement is pretty telling in your lack of substance. Also the complete lack of substance is telling. And not only are you short evidence, your whole case is based on a harmful story that you defend weakly with logical fallacies and baseless insinuations.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby DSenette » Fri Oct 07, 2011 3:43 pm UTC

rober, this is the hole that i was warning you about earlier. calling an entire class of people intentionally malicious liars, cheats, and thieves requires evidence. and it requires evidence of all of the words you're using. so you have to prove that these people you're calling out are intentionally and maliciously doing anything before your story is going to stick.

you know, there are hardcore religious folk who hold the EXACT same opinion of "evolutionists" and atheists that you're attributing to priests and the religious as a whole. like, the exact same words. "it's OBVIOUS that god exists, so these atheists are just lying conmen sent by the devil to ruin the lives of the faithful for their own profit and benefit."
The Righteous Hand Of Retribution
"The evaporation of 4 million who believe this crap would leave the world an instantly better place." ~Andre Codresu (re: "the Rapture")

ibgdude
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby ibgdude » Sat Oct 08, 2011 8:59 am UTC

Isn't the security and sense of assuredness and continued functioning that believing in the supernatural conjures up in some equivalent to the feeling that a well running society+government gives to others? Is religion unique in this way, or is it just first and most popular?
Hawknc wrote:This is the easiest question ever asked on the forum, and you guys turn it into a two-page debate.

...Don't ever change.

Six pages and still going.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby morriswalters » Mon Oct 10, 2011 12:12 am UTC

Zcorp wrote:But that is the thing, Introductory Logic is not 'taught' in schools. Implying that all schools give their students an introduction to logic. The vast majority of high schools don't even offer a class in Logic and those that do put it as an elective. Almost no high school students today graduate high school with having taken a introductory class in logic.

The same is true with Universities, unless a student is majoring in Philosophy (which everyone knows is a joke degree :roll:) , they are very very unlikely to encounter or consider taking a class in Logic.

The aspect of knowledge we are speaking is no where close to as specialized as Poetry in France in any 50 year period. In fact it is not even as specialized as the entire field of Poetry. I look at your example here and the only thing I can think of is that you are outright trolling. You are outright trying to get a furious reaction from me. As you can't possibly be so stupid to think that Reason is anywhere close to as specific a aspect of knowledge as 50 years of Poetry in France.

If you are going to actually engage in this discussion fine. If not please don't actively try to piss people off.

I said what I said, if that pisses you off, I suggest you ask yourself why. Here's the point. Introductory Logic is taught in most Universities. And if there was demand for it, it's accessible. What's it's utility for making money? Outside of Philosophy, almost zero, although a lot of the topics are taught in the Sciences. And since you consider Philosophy a joke then perhaps you can see the point I'm making. The point of the comparison was to point out the narrowness of it's utility.

Zcorp wrote:Isn't this exactly the problem that we are complaining about? That the Majority (the religious) don't find Reason to be a useful skill, and thus if I was to make a economic decision on the current field of play taking a class on Reason would be a poor choice in terms of Opportunity Cost. Despite that Reason itself the very skill that is actually incredibly valuable and has led Humanity to the much more glorious place that it is today? This is in a nut shell the entire problem we are discussing. You don't think Reason is valuable so you wouldn't look to hold a Reasonable discussion, and in fact have demonstrated you are not capable of doing so without further study, you also wouldn't look for that skill in anyone you are hiring (or voting for, like say a President...). I almost think you don't understand the sociological or Macro impact of what we are discussing. Which I suppose shouldn't surprise me as you don't understand the concept being discussed when we use the word Reason.

I suggest you look at the link I posted. Discussing arguments. It's not that I don't place a high value on Reason. It's the fact that I don't expect it to produce results in situations where it's not likely to be used. You seem to believe that if we were just to try a little harder that we could spread Reason worldwide. I don't. And it's simplistic to think that all people who believe in God can't reason. As to the bolded statement above, here is the thing. If you point is so important, then you should seek to teach me or incite me to teach myself, this is what good teachers do. Rather you castigate my motives, demean my education, and do everything but teach. This by the way is a fairly common technique, if you can't attack the argument attack the man. So much for reason. The part in red is suspiciously like something I might run into from a Minister.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Zcorp » Mon Oct 10, 2011 1:47 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:I said what I said, if that pisses you off, I suggest you ask yourself why.
Again you miss the point. You continually and seemingly purposely misuse language to irritate and annoy people you are arguing with. You've done so with the definition of Faith and Reason and how you are juxtaposing the entire concept of Reason and the frequency in which you would use Reason to the frequency in which you would use knowledge about a specific 50 year period of art in France.

You aren't even trying to have a civil discussion. If you don't even try to have a civil discussion why are you here? Because it seems all youe trying to do is piss people off with refusing to have civil discussion.

Here's the point. Introductory Logic is taught in most Universities. And if there was demand for it, it's accessible. What's it's utility for making money? Outside of Philosophy, almost zero, although a lot of the topics are taught in the Sciences. And since you consider Philosophy a joke then perhaps you can see the point I'm making. The point of the comparison was to point out the narrowness of it's utility.
That you think Reason has a narrow utility is so far beyond absurd that you must either be entirely ignorant of the last 200 years of human history, or as previously mentioned you are trying to troll.

It's utility is entirely based around understanding out world and ourselves. Which you should know by now. It is entirely about our ability to improve human well-being. And your right that an individual alone doesn't need to use or learn Reason to be very successful, in fact unless other people are Reasonable and try to solve problems in a Reasonable manner it can be entirely frustrating and a giant waste of time to learn the skill. However, groups that act Reasonably and individuals who have significant resources and act Reasonably greatly effect the entire society in a very positive way.

I suggest you look at the link I posted. Discussing arguments. It's not that I don't place a high value on Reason. It's the fact that I don't expect it to produce results in situations where it's not likely to be used.
And bedamned with trying to increase the frequency in which it is used and understood? You are now just throwing out red-herrings. Do you think Reason can be taught? If so do you think that it will improve situations in which it is used? What we have NEVER been discussing is how poor of a tool it is when you don't use it. Because why would we do something so asinine

You seem to believe that if we were just to try a little harder that we could spread Reason worldwide. I don't.
I know and I have a heck of a lot of evidence about the history of education and how we have improved the knowledge and skill base of the average individual over the years by improving or offering educational systems. You, just don't think it is possible for reasons you can't argue.

And it's simplistic to think that all people who believe in God can't reason.
Which again no one has argued. So Yay more straw-man points for you.

If you point is so important, then you should seek to teach me or incite me to teach myself, this is what good teachers do. Rather you castigate my motives, demean my education, and do everything but teach. This by the way is a fairly common technique, if you can't attack the argument attack the man. So much for reason. The part in red is suspiciously like something I might run into from a Minister.
If my point is so important I should seek to teach reason to the most amount of people that I can by working in the educational system to try and maximize the exposer of those ideas and the understanding of them. Oh hey! I am. It is quite difficult to teach something to someone who thinks they know the lesson already. I've given you numerous resources and if you would like to hire me as a private tutor I'd welcome the income. And I'm not attacking you to defeat your argument, what I'm attacking you for is your apparent intent to ruin this discussion with fallacies and trolling. This post I'm replying to now does not address a single point or argument I've brought up, not a single one of them. That you don't read my posts but feel compelled to respond without even trying to understand what I'm saying suggests you don't care what I'm saying. You simply want to be right. I'm not attacking your argument because you don't have one. You have a belief. A belief that Reason is nigh-impossible to teach and teaching in mass is impossible. You also hold an absurd belief that Reason is very limited in its application. These are not arguments. If you would like to make and argument we might actually get somewhere.

Here is testimony of one parent teaching Classical Trivium. Because well you seem to like the idea of Testimony.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby morriswalters » Mon Oct 10, 2011 11:38 am UTC

Reason is a way of evaluating our world, of making choices on what we choose to believe. Logic is a tool to help us make those choices. That's an oversimplification, but it will do for me. According to the Wikipedia over 50 percent of the citizens of the US have some type of College degree. 86 percent at least a high school diploma. Access to information and the tools to use it is are at a level unknown in any prior era. This implies that the knowledge you wish to impart is available. It also implies that given the totality of the knowledge available it is impossible to know everything. Given that, it is reasonable to assume tentatively that people will choose to acquire knowledge that is useful to them, as they define useful. Given this I conclude that if people wanted to learn this skill that they could, and that if they don't, then they have reasoned(perhaps incorrectly) that they don't need it. By implication this might mean they might think that they are reasoning correctly already, no matter the truth value of that notion. Perhaps the comparison of the narrowness of the utility of logic to 50 years of French literature was ill chosen. From the Wikipedia
Reason is a type of thought, and the word "logic" involves the attempt to describe rules or norms by which reasoning operates, so that orderly reasoning can be taught.

This use of logic in this context is very narrow and it's utility is narrow as well. Certainly these skills are taught indirectly in many of the Sciences and Mathematics as they are required to do the things that you hold in such high regard. But their narrow focus is part of the teaching of Philosophy.
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language.[1][2] Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational argument.[3] The word "philosophy" comes from the Greek φιλοσοφία (philosophia), which literally means "love of wisdom"

To which you have already noted your disdain( :roll: ).

Given that this discussion came from your assertion that the use of Reason and logic to enlighten the general population would move them to move from Religiosity to the enlightened state of Atheism and the rejection of the jingoistic methods which you have attributed to them, such as indoctrination, I am confused that you think the Religious can reason.

Edit
@guenther
Would you have any interest is discussing Christianity in general as contrasted with Jehovah's Witnesses? I was raised in that world and have always thought that they were rational in their choices even though I rejected them.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby guenther » Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:25 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:Would you have any interest is discussing Christianity in general as contrasted with Jehovah's Witnesses? I was raised in that world and have always thought that they were rational in their choices even though I rejected them.

I grew up mostly not going to church, but when I did it was to a Lutheran church. To be honest, I don't know much about Jehovah's Witnesses. Growing up, they always seemed to stick out to me as different from the other Christianities, but I would confuse them with the Mormons.

Interestingly, while there has been some defense of Mormonism lately with people saying it it's a cult, some seem more reserved in defending Jehovah's Witnesses (and Christian Science) from similar claims. Here's the link that I read. I never thought of Jehovah's Witnesses as a cult. (I knew even less about the Christian Science Church, so I never formed any opinions there.)
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Zcorp » Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:41 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:Reason is a way of evaluating our world, of making choices on what we choose to believe. Logic is a tool to help us make those choices. That's an oversimplification, but it will do for me. According to the Wikipedia over 50 percent of the citizens of the US have some type of College degree. 86 percent at least a high school diploma. Access to information and the tools to use it is are at a level unknown in any prior era. This implies that the knowledge you wish to impart is available. It also implies that given the totality of the knowledge available it is impossible to know everything. Given that, it is reasonable to assume tentatively that people will choose to acquire knowledge that is useful to them, as they define useful. Given this I conclude that if people wanted to learn this skill that they could, and that if they don't, then they have reasoned(perhaps incorrectly) that they don't need it. By implication this might mean they might think that they are reasoning correctly already, no matter the truth value of that notion.
Which again, is the entire point we are making. American Culture (a largely religious culture, in fact it has one of the highest religiosity within developed countries) does not value Reason. Does not value the skill that allows us to separate belief from fact, understand causation and pull apart and analyze the world around us to improve it and ourselves.

Your argument seems to be that colleges often, or nearly always, offer classes on basic Reasoning. I'm happy to grant that premise. I'm not however going to join in the assumptions that most college students understand what a class in Reasoning entails nor that they have any are even aware that it might give them a useful tool. And you are correct they very well may view it as not worth the opportunity cost. As our culture does not value Reasonable people, Reasonable discussion, Reasonable politicians or Reasonable solutions to problems. This is again the entire problem that we have brought up, a problem I and others in this discussion are laying somewhat at the foot of Religion. We are not saying that secular institutions are good at offering solutions to this, just that they do offer solutions and are generally struggling against the tide or they themselves fail to apply Reason. We want to see the good institutions empowered and improved, and see institutions that actively fight against Reason and self-awareness lose power. As we believe that gaining a better understanding of our world and ourselves is a positive thing. However, religion often discourages or outright attacks the concept of Reason. The Faith perpetuated by Religions is also one that is unreasonable. If we were to make policy based on such belief we will be choosing to place the well-being of people that are alive today and know exist on a lower priority than the well-being of their immortal soul that we have no evidence for. Nor evidence on how to best prep a living individual for gaining the best possible after-life as each Religion has significant differences.

From the Wikipedia
Reason is a type of thought, and the word "logic" involves the attempt to describe rules or norms by which reasoning operates, so that orderly reasoning can be taught.

This use of logic in this context is very narrow and it's utility is narrow as well.

2 posts, 3 straw-man points, good job!
We are discussing the utility of Reason, not the utility of Logic. But regardless what you are saying by stating that Logic is narrow in utility is that Reason is narrow in utility as Logic is an aspect of of Reason. Which again, it is not narrow in areas of application. Reason can be applied in everything you are doing, how and why you should be doing and how you feel.

Certainly these skills are taught indirectly in many of the Sciences and Mathematics as they are required to do the things that you hold in such high regard. But their narrow focus is part of the teaching of Philosophy.
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language.[1][2] Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational argument.[3] The word "philosophy" comes from the Greek φιλοσοφία (philosophia), which literally means "love of wisdom"

To which you have already noted your disdain( :roll: ).
Noted my disdain? In what? Philosophy? My earlier quip about how 'everyone knows that is a joke degree' was related to the problem in cultural values that I discussed above. That what we do no value in people is their ability to Reason and think through problems and beliefs. Thus philosophy is often considered to be a joke of a degree as it does not directly give you a tool to go out and make money. It was sarcastic, thus the eye roll emoticon at the idea of it being a joke degree.

I very much value philosophy as I believe that our educational institutions should be working to create good global citizens as well as adept workers. Not just adept workers and certainly not 'good Christians.' As a good Christian offers nothing to society that a good Citizen does not and very potentially acts against the good of society by perpetuating their believes as knowledge or acting under entirely irrational ideological structures such as Creationism.

Given that this discussion came from your assertion that the use of Reason and logic to enlighten the general population would move them to move from Religiosity to the enlightened state of Atheism and the rejection of the jingoistic methods which you have attributed to them, such as indoctrination, I am confused that you think the Religious can reason.
Not very surprising, but you are welcome to actually read the last few years of this discussion and learn my position to remove that confusion.

This discussion came from my assertion that Reason is directly and indirectly attacked by the Religious. That while it can be helpful to an individual, there are other means of helping those individuals that do not cause as much harm on a macro level. That much of its utility comes from the culture of belief and culture of silence that are rampant in America. Not through the tools and means in which it actually offers directly. But instead through the ease of access of their institutions and the near thoughtless level of the reality of their belief and acceptance of them.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby morriswalters » Mon Oct 10, 2011 5:16 pm UTC

Zcorp I'm not sure exactly what to say to you. I don't disagree that Reason is a useful tool. What I suppose I disagree with is the idea that it will produce reasonable people, reasonable politics or reasonable discussion. It may produce reasonable solutions to some problems, but that is a largely random affair. I have no doubt that from time to time, and by different groups, that the Religious support causes that I find wrong headed and unappealing. I could say the same about the irreligious. What mechanism do you propose to make this occur? Should we mandate it from Kindergarten on? In any case, at least for me, continuing is pointless. Good luck with your crusade. And by the way, I have read every post that you have made since the creation of this topic.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Zcorp » Mon Oct 10, 2011 6:44 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:Zcorp I'm not sure exactly what to say to you. I don't disagree that Reason is a useful tool. What I suppose I disagree with is the idea that it will produce reasonable people, reasonable politics or reasonable discussion. It may produce reasonable solutions to some problems, but that is a largely random affair. I have no doubt that from time to time, and by different groups, that the Religious support causes that I find wrong headed and unappealing. I could say the same about the irreligious. What mechanism do you propose to make this occur? Should we mandate it from Kindergarten on? In any case, at least for me, continuing is pointless. Good luck with your crusade. And by the way, I have read every post that you have made since the creation of this topic.

I'm not asking you to say anything. I'm asking that you read what I am saying rather than just reading what you want me to say. I'm asking that you think about how to solve the problems in society today, look at those causes, look at how Religion is one of those causes and work to solve these problems. You've taken the lazy route and decided change is impossible, despite that all of human history is full of cultural change and the improvement of access to ideas.

What mechanism do I propose to make this occur? Still Reason, and more broadly Critical Thinking. But you don't think people can learn to think. So yeah, if people can't learn to think I suppose we might as well just control them right? Religion is great at that.

How did the people that did learn to think learn to think btw? Because I understand Reason; am I more than Human or is everyone else less than Human? Do I, and the other people who understand Reason, have a genetic advantage that most humans don't have that allow us to reach this lofty goal? If so, is it a genetic advantage we want and should be augment people to create this advantage?

Or maybe just maybe I'm not super human, not one of the rare few capable of learning reason. Maybe I learned it through having access to that area of knowledge and a mentor or two that was willing to take the time to challenge my beliefs.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby morriswalters » Tue Oct 11, 2011 12:08 am UTC

@guenther
I know enough about what the Witnesses are. What I'm interested in is contrasting some of their beliefs. I'll tell you what I know and you can contrast it with what you believe. Feel free to be rid of me whenever you wish. I suppose the cult accusations come because Witnesses believe that they are in the world, not of the world. This causes them to be inwardly centered. Oddly, I should think that atheists should adopt them as poster children of what they wish of the Religious. As an example to the best of my knowledge they don't partake of the political process, they sponsor no legislation, and could care less as to what is taught in the schools. They certainly don't encourage education past high school. They don't serve in the Military or in anything related to it. They don't celebrate Holidays which they believe to be of pagan origin. They don't salute the flag of any country nor sing any national anthems. I had a cousin who spent time in prison for refusing to serve after his CO status was denied.

Most interesting from my point of view, are their beliefs on death and salvation. The don't believe in Hell. They believe that when you die you are dead and that the punishment for disbelief is eternal death. If you where one of the Faithful you will be resurrected and live forever in the world as Adam and Eve were supposed to. Some 144,000 will go to Heaven to sit beside God. They believe that God would never cause a person to suffer punishment and that you have free will to choose to believe, but he allows you to choose eternal death. I don't believe their are any foxhole conversions allowed. These are the things I'm interested in.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby LaserGuy » Tue Oct 11, 2011 4:25 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:Reason is a way of evaluating our world, of making choices on what we choose to believe. Logic is a tool to help us make those choices. That's an oversimplification, but it will do for me. According to the Wikipedia over 50 percent of the citizens of the US have some type of College degree. 86 percent at least a high school diploma. Access to information and the tools to use it is are at a level unknown in any prior era. This implies that the knowledge you wish to impart is available. It also implies that given the totality of the knowledge available it is impossible to know everything. Given that, it is reasonable to assume tentatively that people will choose to acquire knowledge that is useful to them, as they define useful. Given this I conclude that if people wanted to learn this skill that they could, and that if they don't, then they have reasoned(perhaps incorrectly) that they don't need it. By implication this might mean they might think that they are reasoning correctly already, no matter the truth value of that notion. Perhaps the comparison of the narrowness of the utility of logic to 50 years of French literature was ill chosen.


You still seem to be under the impression that when Zcorp is talking about reason, he's talking about some symbolic logic classes or something that you'd do in an intro Philosophy course at university. This isn't really what he's discussing at all. A better way to think about it might be to consider mathematics. In university, you can study high-level abstract mathematics that will allow you to prove--very formally--such things at 1 + (-1) = 0. As an exercise for people wishing to pursue degrees, or careers, in higher mathematics, such things are important for them to know, but completely useless for the vast majority of people. But just because most people don't need to learn abstract mathematics does not mean that we don't teach mathematics at all, or that mathematics is a tool of such narrow utility that it isn't worth learning. On the contrary, we teach children mathematics of appropriate difficulty and usefulness for children to know, skills that are of such broad applicability that all adults ought to know them as well. Innumeracy is nearly as much a handicap as illiteracy in the modern world. Reasoning is much the same in this regard. We don't need to teach children symbolic logic, nor should we. But we can still teach them how to collect and evaluate data and evidence, how to look for hidden assumptions and biases, how to separate truth from falsehood, how to think critically. Many of such things can be taught from a very early age, and have similar broad levels of applicability.


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