Zcorp wrote: Then maybe you don't understand what validity is. If the results are not consistent it shows that the correlation in America has nothing to do with religion but with something that religion provides based on the culture of America. Thus the study was not actually testing if religion makes people happy, it was testing to see if the culture in america makes people that are non-religious less happy due to cultural pressures.
Regarding the underlined section, either based on the culture of America or based on how religion is largely implemented in America. Or some combination. But if religion is providing something useful then that supports my premise. I'm not arguing that religion is good, I'm arguing that it has the potential to be good when done properly.
Also, using your rationale we could argue that government is bad because it leads to lots of bad stuff and the good stuff it does isn't consistent across cultures and countries. Or we could recognize that government comes in many different forms and has the potential to be very bad or very good. And even when it's very good, it still leads to bad stuff. So instead of arguing for or against a monolithic idea of government, I think we should instead push to have better government.
Zcorp wrote:I find it interesting that you still use this single invalid point to defend religion on a societal scale.
The point isn't invalid. I believe you're trying to say that my conclusions based on that point are invalid. And as I mentioned above, I'm not defending religion on a societal scale, rather I'm arguing against it being a villain (which I guess is sort of like defending it). I don't believe we'd have less bad stuff in the world if everyone abandoned religion; I think we'd just have people using other reasons to team up and hurt other people. Religious and non-religions people can find common ground on opposing the bad stuff, and I think that's better than mutual scoffing and finger pointing.
Zcorp wrote:Agreed that science has a large amount left to learn, but because there is not scientific explanation attributing it to God as the definitive cause is destructive to critical thinking, reason and knowledge, and thus society. Why can't you accept not knowing things rather then requiring everything to be miraculous? Not only does this give us reason to investigate more about how the universe functions but it does not create as many cognitive biases and irrational behavior.
I think our human cognition is destructive to critical thinking, reason, and knowledge. We love striving for rationality, but it's so much easier to create the illusion of it rather than actually improving. I don't believe that removing religion would make us better at dealing with cognitive biases or make us behave more rationally. Rather I think religion is just the product of our sub-rational biology. By the way, I don't hold rationality as an ideal. I think it's a great tool that we should be able to wield when needed, but our irrationality is very much linked with what we identify as our humanity. Star Trek deals with this a lot with Vulcans.
And let me point out that even though I'm pessimistic about people reaching new heights in rationality, I very much support efforts to prove me wrong. I'm happy to see people trained up in new a-religious schools of thought, and I'd be fascinated to hear how they do. But I would oppose them if they're built around an anti-religious core element (i.e. they're taught to scoff at the lesser minded people that use primitive tools like faith). It's the same way that I oppose churches being built around an anti-heretic sentiment. I think it's unhealthy for a group to form around these negative concepts of why others are bad people.
Coffee Stain wrote:Whether religion is good or bad in general is far less interesting and far less useful than why it is good or bad in particular.
I'm definitely fascinated to know why it's good or bad in particular. I want science to delve into the details and give us a better understanding. I don't feel religious miracles are any less miraculous when we understand the real-world mechanics of how it works.
yukizora wrote:Thanks for your answer, I think we fall pretty much in the domain in what's valuable and what's not. Actually nothing would be *absolutely* valuable in your opinion?
I do agree, but I really don't know what's your point after we've agreed on that.
Well, we can define "valuable" in any way we want. It's truth by definition. My point isn't to discuss semantics. But rather that instead of having our language reflect that value is a property of people, we attach it to objects. I suspect this is because believing that gold is valuable informs us on how to behave with respect to it. But if we chose to process it in the more accurate way of people valuing it, it's an extra layer of processing that doesn't serve any useful purpose. But we do process it in a more nuanced way if the value isn't regarded as universal (i.e. we might describe rare comic books as valuable to collectors). So with regards to economic value, I don't think this conflation actually causes trouble (and I'm not promoting a better way to describe value). Rather I'm trying to make the case that how we describe and relate to value is revealing of how our brain works, and this same mechanism causes conflation in other areas that do very much cause problems.
yukizora wrote:Then, concerning your definition of morals. I do enforce the universal human rights and only that. It's a great approximation on which rules are essential for all people to live happy together, taking into account our reaction to physiological events, like pain, fear, love, etc... If you've got something better, prove it's better. I don't tell it's absolute, just it's the best approximate yet we have to base our morals on.
I also disagree on your definition of rationality. There are clearly defined logic rules. If a claim can't follow these, then it's not proven rational. It's just that people like to appropriate this to their personal appreciation, which can be flawed.
My point isn't that I have something better. Rather I'm saying that the whole notion of goodness in this field is poorly defined. We'd have to agree on metrics before I could even begin to prove that I have something better. And even if we can agree on objective measurements, actually measuring them for morality is very hard because it operates on such a wide scale over such a long period of time with an immeasurable number of variables. So morality lives in a world where people are filled with notions of objective betterness without any way to back it up other than bold appeals to obviousness. (By the way, I often make such bold appeals.)
And defining rational in terms of logical rigorousness will yield poor results for morality. Basically we can define any starting axiom we want and craft any logical conclusion we want. We can have a moral system where rape is the pinnacle of pure goodness. There's really no limit to the stupidity of what we can create. But we inherently judge it by some metric other than logical consistency since we'd immediately throw out any system that glorified rape. I believe this metric is one based on what feels right and is inherently irrational.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.