Religion: The Deuce

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Metaphysician
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Metaphysician » Sun Oct 02, 2011 9:08 pm UTC

RoberII wrote:Religion has never given anything to the world. It has never produced anything at all, except for fiction.


Fiction in the form of epic poems and literature is a rather large contribution to society.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby RoberII » Sun Oct 02, 2011 9:23 pm UTC

Metaphysician wrote:
RoberII wrote:Religion has never given anything to the world. It has never produced anything at all, except for fiction.


Fiction in the form of epic poems and literature is a rather large contribution to society.


True. Again, unfortunately, most of that literature takes the form of propaganda for Christianity - would you consider Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will or Eisenstein's The Battleship Potemkin contributions to society by nazism or communism? I would argue that, no, the artistic merits of those works, and of the bible, are products of the individual artists, not the ideologies those artists espouse.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby morriswalters » Sun Oct 02, 2011 11:09 pm UTC

Exactly what do you think Religion is? Churches are static monuments and the Bible is dry paper. Religion is a product of the people who believe in it. First it's argued that Religious people don't reason, when you show that it's not true, then it's not Religion, it's science. Science is nothing without people who practice it. And the same is true about Religion. The two concepts have never been mutually exclusive. Change the words and keep the ideas and you could be a preacher.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby RoberII » Mon Oct 03, 2011 12:36 am UTC

Yeah, pretending that just because both scientific discourse and religion are sociocultural activities they are equivalent is a really really dumb game. Science is about finding out how the world works - religion is about affirming a social order based on a piece of fiction. You can do both. But the true things you find out aren't a product of the fictions you believe in.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby morriswalters » Mon Oct 03, 2011 12:59 am UTC

RoberII wrote:Religion has never given anything to the world.

RoberII wrote:Yeah, pretending that just because both scientific discourse and religion are sociocultural activities they are equivalent is a really really dumb game. Science is about finding out how the world works - religion is about affirming a social order based on a piece of fiction. You can do both. But the true things you find out aren't a product of the fictions you believe in.

I hate to be a douchbag about this, you made a statement, I disagreed. Gregor Mendel was part of a Religious Community while he did his work he was supported by said community. I have no doubt about what science does, and Gregor Mendel was one, and he also represented his Religious community. Let me ask you a question. When a scientist does science who is responsible for allowing him to do said science. You made an overly broad statement. I could just as easily talked about the architectural advances that were developed by building Cathedrals, or the painting of the Sistine Chapel. They neither could have happened without the church. What Religion teaches and what they do are not required to be congruent. They may well be demons but they have given us any number of things both positive and negative.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby guenther » Mon Oct 03, 2011 4:08 am UTC

RoberII wrote:(Edited for overly inflammatory language)

I appreciate that you took the time to reduce inflammatory language. Otherwise, I don't have much to say. I'll let other people take you seriously if they want.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Oct 03, 2011 7:17 am UTC

morriswalters wrote: I could just as easily talked about the architectural advances that were developed by building Cathedrals, or the painting of the Sistine Chapel. They neither could have happened without the church.


Sure they could have. There are plenty of other reasons besides religion for someone to build a gaudy, monstrously expensive, and mostly useless building. See, for example, the palace at Versailles, the Pyramids, the Forbidden City in China, etc. They might have not been exactly the same buildings, but that does not mean that such things would never have existed. It's just that absolutely ridiculous amounts of resources spent building elaborate houses for bishops of the church would instead have been used building elaborate houses for barons or merchants or whoever. Or maybe we'd have got lucky and some of that money would have been diverted into figuring out how the plague was spread or feeding the poor or something. If only there had been a religion whose leader condemned material wealth among their followers and preached love and generosity instead... Unfortunately, Buddhism never took off in Europe.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby morriswalters » Mon Oct 03, 2011 12:00 pm UTC

The morality of doing any of those things is not under debate. The statement was that Religion has never given anything to the world. That statement is demonstrably incorrect. To abhor Religion for the way it retards change is one thing, to lay at it's feet all the evil of the world is, well, foolish. The church could have spent the current GDP of the US and not been able to do a damn thing about plague. Critical thinking and reasoning applied to this particular issue might be of some use. Cumulative knowledge was required to beat the plague. Gutenberg wouldn't invent a method of accumulating that knowledge for a hundred years after the event. Even as late as 1917 we were not prepared for a similar event, influenza.

LaserGuy wrote:If only there had been a religion whose leader condemned material wealth among their followers and preached love and generosity instead... Unfortunately, Buddhism never took off in Europe.

I'm not sure what you are saying here.??

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby DSenette » Mon Oct 03, 2011 1:06 pm UTC

guenther wrote:
Zcorp wrote:Right, that is something that we need to change. Not caring about Reason is essentially saying that you don't care about how to improve things or simply believing that it can't be done. Because it is this very skill that has allowed us to progress so far.

First of all, this displays a narrow perspective. Just because an individual doesn't place a high priority on bettering themselves in that skill doesn't mean they don't care about improving the world around them. In fact, they might spend a lot of time and energy helping out by listening to God's word or simply following their heart. If you want to make a statement about how to be effective at improving things, then do so. Otherwise it's just a baseless claim about people's feelings.

Second, I suspect most people do care about reason. And further, I bet they have an overinflated sense of how well they apply it. A major problem is that our mind constantly filters and alters our perspective of the world to help us make sense of it. It creates a distortion that often exists below our awareness. We certainly can create an environment where well-trained people can excel at applying these skills at specific tasks (e.g. the sciences). But outside that environment, and in particular where important questions are harder to answer, people are lousy at gauging how much of their arguments are fueled by reason and how much are not. Our lives are full of biases like how we preference short-term stimulation over long-term health, stability, and well-being. And then if you compound that with something like politics which actually thrives on the irrationality of the team game mentality, you get opposing teams where both sides are convinced that they are being perfectly reasonable while the other side is propelled by a long list of corrupting influences (greed, bigotry, stupidity, lust for power, etc.).

So, I am with you and others who want to make it a priority to train people how to think better. Regardless of what I said above, I do think this helps people make better choices. But I am also with morriswalters who expresses skepticism in whether it will be our ultimate savior. People will naturally stop improving their own abilities because they might think it's too much work and life it too busy just getting a paycheck. But they also might convince themselves that they are doing a fine job compared to the multitude of sheeple out there.

i think this is where the problem in the discussion about rationality is coming through.

your assessment is that people have an "over inflated sense" of their application of reason, and morris's assertion is that people lack the ability to learn/apply reason completely. both of these stances require the assumption that the CURRENT population of humans have actually adequately been taught (or at least, someone has adequately attempted to teach) the tools of logic and reason to the current population of humans on the planet.

my contention (and zcorp) is that this second portion of the above statement is whole heartedly NOT the case. it's not a lack of ability, or the over inflated sense of application, it's that the tools aren't being taught, and in the few places they are, they're not being taught well enough or universally enough.

the current state of the U.S. education system is to teach for aptitude, not to teach for actual knowledge or applicable skill. you are taught to meet a quota on a standardized test. these tests only assess aptitude, not skill or knowledge. you don't need reason to score high on a test (especially a multiple choice test), so why teach it?

so given the current educational environment, it's quite naive to assume that anything close to the majority of the population has been adequately given the tools that we're talking about.

one of the advantages of the tools of logic and reason is that they help (read: do not eliminate but lessen) with overcoming bias. will some people still choose the biased option? sure, but they'll probably be more likely to know it's the biased option. 99% of the time i know when i'm being influenced by bias, i just accept that i prefer that bias in those decisions.

morriswalters wrote:The morality of doing any of those things is not under debate. The statement was that Religion has never given anything to the world. That statement is demonstrably incorrect. To abhor Religion for the way it retards change is one thing, to lay at it's feet all the evil of the world is, well, foolish. The church could have spent the current GDP of the US and not been able to do a damn thing about plague. Critical thinking and reasoning applied to this particular issue might be of some use. Cumulative knowledge was required to beat the plague. Gutenberg wouldn't invent a method of accumulating that knowledge for a hundred years after the event. Even as late as 1917 we were not prepared for a similar event, influenza.
i think a lot of times you conflate "religion" with "people that had a FUCK TON of money and power" when you're defending the social goods that religion has done.

have people who are religious done great things? shiiiiiiiit yes. was it their religion that actually caused them to do those great things? or was it the combination of their own innate desire to create and improve a given scenario coupled with the wealth and privilege that their status in any given religious construct afforded them?

for eons religion came with privilege. in fact, for eons, religion was the only way to get privilege. you COULD NOT rise to a place where anything you did made a difference without doing so through "the church". while this afforded a good many person the funds and leverage to do a good many good things, it also caused a great number of ideas to get watered down or completely crushed along the way.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Cheezwhiz Jenkins » Mon Oct 03, 2011 1:15 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:
morriswalters wrote: I could just as easily talked about the architectural advances that were developed by building Cathedrals, or the painting of the Sistine Chapel. They neither could have happened without the church.


Sure they could have. There are plenty of other reasons besides religion for someone to build a gaudy, monstrously expensive, and mostly useless building. See, for example, the palace at Versailles, the Pyramids, the Forbidden City in China, etc. They might have not been exactly the same buildings, but that does not mean that such things would never have existed. It's just that absolutely ridiculous amounts of resources spent building elaborate houses for bishops of the church would instead have been used building elaborate houses for barons or merchants or whoever. Or maybe we'd have got lucky and some of that money would have been diverted into figuring out how the plague was spread or feeding the poor or something. If only there had been a religion whose leader condemned material wealth among their followers and preached love and generosity instead... Unfortunately, Buddhism never took off in Europe.


Um, the Pyramids were built for solely religious purposes. And how do you propose we fund scientific research into bubonic plague centuries before the scientific method?
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby DSenette » Mon Oct 03, 2011 1:20 pm UTC

Cheezwhiz Jenkins wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:
morriswalters wrote: I could just as easily talked about the architectural advances that were developed by building Cathedrals, or the painting of the Sistine Chapel. They neither could have happened without the church.


Sure they could have. There are plenty of other reasons besides religion for someone to build a gaudy, monstrously expensive, and mostly useless building. See, for example, the palace at Versailles, the Pyramids, the Forbidden City in China, etc. They might have not been exactly the same buildings, but that does not mean that such things would never have existed. It's just that absolutely ridiculous amounts of resources spent building elaborate houses for bishops of the church would instead have been used building elaborate houses for barons or merchants or whoever. Or maybe we'd have got lucky and some of that money would have been diverted into figuring out how the plague was spread or feeding the poor or something. If only there had been a religion whose leader condemned material wealth among their followers and preached love and generosity instead... Unfortunately, Buddhism never took off in Europe.


Um, the Pyramids were built for solely religious purposes. And how do you propose we fund scientific research into bubonic plague centuries before the scientific method?

right, they were built for solely religious purposes....and the building of the pyramids has TOTALLY advanced the art of architecture. what with all those pyramid shaped buildings you see people trying to build these days.

know what's absolutely useless? a pyramid, they SUCK as structures. they have virtually ZERO usable space.

hell a ziggurat has slightly more utility, but not really. if you're going to come up with something that's supposed to be a citation of some great thing religion did for the world...you might want to pick something that's not useless
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby RoberII » Mon Oct 03, 2011 1:28 pm UTC

morriswalters, how is it demonstrably incorrect? As LaserGuy pointed out, the things that the church has done has been things that societies with a wealthy nobility has always done, from Greece to the 18th century gentlemen - a lot of free time (by having people do your work for you) will occasionally lead to someone spending their time figuring out how the world works. And of course, I'm not opposed to culture at all - I rather like the look of cathedrals, and I'd agree that the sistine chapel is a milestone of both art and architecture. But the artistic genius of Michelangelo has nothing at all to do with religion - unless you'd like to argue that trade gave us the Mona Lisa, as opposed to Leonardo Da Vinci? Again, the point is that, yes, Bach's symphonies are beautiful, but as Dawkins said, if it hadn't been for the church we might have heard his Ode To Evolution instead.

And even conceding that the church has been useful in the past, I see no reason why we shouldn't abolish it now, the way we did monarchy. The various monarchs of europe also gave us many pretty things, but few of us here would argue that this is an adequate defense of monarchy, especially when those things were commissioned with ulterior motives.

WAY ninja'd: Also, what DSenette said on the subject (DSenette uses Eloquence! It's super effective!)
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Oct 03, 2011 2:20 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:The morality of doing any of those things is not under debate. The statement was that Religion has never given anything to the world. That statement is demonstrably incorrect. To abhor Religion for the way it retards change is one thing, to lay at it's feet all the evil of the world is, well, foolish. The church could have spent the current GDP of the US and not been able to do a damn thing about plague. Critical thinking and reasoning applied to this particular issue might be of some use. Cumulative knowledge was required to beat the plague. Gutenberg wouldn't invent a method of accumulating that knowledge for a hundred years after the event. Even as late as 1917 we were not prepared for a similar event, influenza.


There were many books written long before Gutenberg. Gutenberg was able to mass produce books to an extremely significant degree, which is undoubtedly important, but it's not as though people were utterly incapable of making discoveries or distributing knowledge before this point. I'm somewhat unconvinced that if the church had invested the billions of dollars (equivalent) and hundreds of thousands of man hours required to build a single cathedral and put all of those resources toward figuring out how to mass produce books, that they wouldn't have been able to come up with something centuries before Gutenberg--in fact, under the Church's mandate, there was a very good reason for them to want to do such a thing, anyway. Ditto for the figuring out how the plague was transmitted. If the resources from one cathedral weren't enough, well, it's not like there's a shortage of cathedrals whose resources they could have drawn on.

morriswalters wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:If only there had been a religion whose leader condemned material wealth among their followers and preached love and generosity instead... Unfortunately, Buddhism never took off in Europe.


I'm not sure what you are saying here.??


I was just taking a jab at Christianity's (Catholicism in particular...) supposed concern with the welfare of the poor and following the teachings of Jesus, while accumulating unbelievable amounts of wealth.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby mmmcannibalism » Mon Oct 03, 2011 2:29 pm UTC

I was just taking a jab at Christianity's (Catholicism in particular...) supposed concern with the welfare of the poor and following the teachings of Jesus, while accumulating unbelievable amounts of wealth.


You can't help the poor if you make everyone equally wealthy.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby morriswalters » Mon Oct 03, 2011 2:54 pm UTC

DSenette wrote:right, they were built for solely religious purposes....and the building of the pyramids has TOTALLY advanced the art of architecture. what with all those pyramid shaped buildings you see people trying to build these days.

know what's absolutely useless? a pyramid, they SUCK as structures. they have virtually ZERO usable space.

hell a ziggurat has slightly more utility, but not really. if you're going to come up with something that's supposed to be a citation of some great thing religion did for the world...you might want to pick something that's not useless


I find any number of things to be useless. Both in Architecture and Art as well as great literature and comic books. It doesn't keep me from acknowledging their worth. Knowledge is driven by funding. Funding contributes to knowledge. Today funding comes from Universities, business or Government. Then it came from Religion. I neither rejoice in that nor am I offended. It is what it is. In your blind drive to kick Religion to the curb you exaggerate it's sins. You can make the case you want without demonizing it. I really am not finding it useful to continue this back an forth about reason and critical thinking. If you think it can do what it is that you want to accomplish, then have at it. I simply disagree as to the utility of it in the way you present it. If an argument is to change the opinion of one of the antagonists then you have failed to do so in respect to me.

RoberII wrote:And even conceding that the church has been useful in the past, I see no reason why we shouldn't abolish it now, the way we did monarchy. The various monarchs of Europe also gave us many pretty things, but few of us here would argue that this is an adequate defense of monarchy, especially when those things were commissioned with ulterior motives.
That's an awfully big apple your trying to eat but have at it. The Monarchies, have waned, I wouldn't say they have been abolished.

RoberII, there are no absolutes in human history. Debating what might have happened if this or that had occurred is pointless. Blanket statements of the type "this entity never did anything" are unsupportable. I assume that what you meant was that Religious Philosophy contributed nothing to any segment of Society. It's certainly demonstrable that Religion as represented by the Church did any number of things for it's adherents. Including but not limited to providing defense against other groups and providing a focus for a common community. These things have certainly been done by other entities, but that fact doesn't mean that the Church didn't do the same. Therefore the idea that Religion has never given anything to the world is demonstrably false.

@LaserGuy
Did printing exist before Gutenberg. Certainly. Were their books, again certainly. The utility of the Gutenberg press is not in it's ability to print, rather in the ability to print cheaply. Innovation can't be forced. It happens when it happens. Generally certain preexisting conditions must exist before it does. I offer as an example Da Vinci. A large portion of his genius was wasted because there was no way to for his ideas to happen in his era. Too many supporting ideas hadn't happened. Libraries have been around for quite awhile but they were always haphazard affairs which depended upon the viability of the civilizations which developed them. The Gutenberg press made books cheap enough that Libraries could be held by individuals, and as such less at hazard to events such as the burning the Library at Alexandria. It also encouraged literacy. Up to that point books were so prohibitively expensive that literacy would have been useless. It was this event which put knowledge in the hands of people who had thereto not had it available to them. Until that point in time you could have devoted all the wealth that was available to the problem and you probably wouldn't have found the answer. Now quantify Religions role in this. The best you'll be able to do is assign it a small supporting role. The biggest impediment was simply the age of civilization overall.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Oct 03, 2011 3:49 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:@LaserGuy
Did printing exist before Gutenberg. Certainly. Were their books, again certainly. The utility of the Gutenberg press is not in it's ability to print, rather in the ability to print cheaply. Innovation can't be forced. It happens when it happens. Generally certain preexisting conditions must exist before it does. I offer as an example Da Vinci. A large portion of his genius was wasted because there was no way to for his ideas to happen in his era. Too many supporting ideas hadn't happened. Libraries have been around for quite awhile but they were always haphazard affairs which depended upon the viability of the civilizations which developed them. The Gutenberg press made books cheap enough that Libraries could be held by individuals, and as such less at hazard to events such as the burning the Library at Alexandria. It also encouraged literacy. Up to that point books were so prohibitively expensive that literacy would have been useless. It was this event which put knowledge in the hands of people who had thereto not had it available to them. Until that point in time you could have devoted all the wealth that was available to the problem and you probably wouldn't have found the answer. Now quantify Religions role in this. The best you'll be able to do is assign it a small supporting role. The biggest impediment was simply the age of civilization overall.


Innovation is driven by incentives. For the most part, it doesn't just happen out of nowhere, nor happen spontaneously. The Church had (has) vast resources at its disposal (regardless of whether or not it should have had them...) and had an enthusiastic base of followers willing to work for a pittance in order to further the goals of the Church. The science of cathedral building was undoubtedly advanced much more rapidly because the Church wanted a lot of cathedrals built, and wanted them to be bigger and better than those in other cities. If the Church had an interest in mass-producing Bibles, you probably would have seen much more rapid advances in book production technology. It's a zero-sum game--resources directed toward building cathedrals were resources that could not be invested in other programs. This is particularly true when not only did the Church have the capacity to promote things that it liked (cathedrals, solid gold crosses, paintings of the Virgin Mary), but also to greatly suppress those things it didn't (science, free thought) by persecuting people who engaged in those practices. As you say, knowledge is driven by funding. The Church had the resources to fund a great many things; it chose to fund things that enhanced the stature of the Church. It's hard to imagine what the opportunity cost of this choice ultimately was.

For what it is worth, I agree with you that religion has certainly provided things of value. It has also caused great harm elsewhere. Like any human endeavour, it gets some things right and some things very wrong. The better question, I think, is where does God fit into this? If the Church behaves just like how you would expect a human institution to behave, why would attribute its existence to anything supernatural?

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby RoberII » Mon Oct 03, 2011 3:54 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
RoberII wrote:And even conceding that the church has been useful in the past, I see no reason why we shouldn't abolish it now, the way we did monarchy. The various monarchs of Europe also gave us many pretty things, but few of us here would argue that this is an adequate defense of monarchy, especially when those things were commissioned with ulterior motives.
That's an awfully big apple your trying to eat but have at it. The Monarchies, have waned, I wouldn't say they have been abolished.

RoberII, there are no absolutes in human history. Debating what might have happened if this or that had occurred is pointless. Blanket statements of the type "this entity never did anything" are unsupportable. I assume that what you meant was that Religious Philosophy contributed nothing to any segment of Society. It's certainly demonstrable that Religion as represented by the Church did any number of things for it's adherents. Including but not limited to providing defense against other groups and providing a focus for a common community. These things have certainly been done by other entities, but that fact doesn't mean that the Church didn't do the same. Therefore the idea that Religion has never given anything to the world is demonstrably false.


I'm not sure what you mean by it being a big apple? Agreed on monarchies, unfortunately, although the point still stands - no one argues that monarchies are 'natural' anymore, most arguments I hear have to do with tradition, or tourism, or national pride (Here in DK, not sure about UK or other monarchies - I'd guess that similarly more or less reasonable arguments are being made there). As a society, we've moved on.

It might be an exaggeration at best. By your own admission, religion hasn't given anything to the world that wasn't there before - community. But by that argument, any united group is 'giving something to the world' - it's kind of a low bar to set. I still stand by the fact that religious belief as such has given the world nothing at all.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby DSenette » Mon Oct 03, 2011 4:39 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
DSenette wrote:right, they were built for solely religious purposes....and the building of the pyramids has TOTALLY advanced the art of architecture. what with all those pyramid shaped buildings you see people trying to build these days.

know what's absolutely useless? a pyramid, they SUCK as structures. they have virtually ZERO usable space.

hell a ziggurat has slightly more utility, but not really. if you're going to come up with something that's supposed to be a citation of some great thing religion did for the world...you might want to pick something that's not useless


I find any number of things to be useless. Both in Architecture and Art as well as great literature and comic books. It doesn't keep me from acknowledging their worth. Knowledge is driven by funding. Funding contributes to knowledge. Today funding comes from Universities, business or Government. Then it came from Religion. I neither rejoice in that nor am I offended. It is what it is. In your blind drive to kick Religion to the curb you exaggerate it's sins. You can make the case you want without demonizing it. I really am not finding it useful to continue this back an forth about reason and critical thinking. If you think it can do what it is that you want to accomplish, then have at it. I simply disagree as to the utility of it in the way you present it. If an argument is to change the opinion of one of the antagonists then you have failed to do so in respect to me.
i regularly hit intervals where i have no idea what the shit you're arguing for/against. for some time i thought i was misreading you somewhere along the chain. i am 100% sure that it's not my fault.

you seem to have this weird drive to defend religion but at the same time, you seem to not personally like religion. where do you want to go?

yes, religion has had a hand in good things and advancements. but, exaggerating it's sins? not even close. if anything, we're not listing all of them. and i don't have to demonize the religion that we're talking about, it's done a very nice job of doing that on it's own.

all of the things you list as historical benefits are neither inherent or exclusive to religion, the only "leg up" that religion was able to give to those items was lending it's considerable wealth and considerable political/social pull to those people who happened to have some ideas that were in line with some of the things religion thought it could use. you can't simply ignore all of the absolutely miserable shit that religion had to do in order to obtain the wealth and privilege that it historically maintained. just because something good comes out of a corrupt and miserable system doesn't negate the corruption and misery ([godwin-esque]the third Reich was fucking awesome at inventing shit. a LOT of stuff we use now came out of someone's desire to find a quicker way to kill a fuck ton of jewish people. the fact that something good came out of these endeavors does not excuse the sins that were the catalyst for them[/godwin-esque])

even ignoring that, even assuming that you just handwave the bad away and keep the historical good. that shit doesn't apply anymore. religions don't hold the same influence and wealth as they did in t he middle ages. religion isn't the only way to get shit done these days, hell, in most places on the planet it's the least efficient choice. so why is it still treated as if it is?

morriswalters wrote:
RoberII wrote:And even conceding that the church has been useful in the past, I see no reason why we shouldn't abolish it now, the way we did monarchy. The various monarchs of Europe also gave us many pretty things, but few of us here would argue that this is an adequate defense of monarchy, especially when those things were commissioned with ulterior motives.
That's an awfully big apple your trying to eat but have at it. The Monarchies, have waned, I wouldn't say they have been abolished.

RoberII, there are no absolutes in human history. Debating what might have happened if this or that had occurred is pointless. Blanket statements of the type "this entity never did anything" are unsupportable. I assume that what you meant was that Religious Philosophy contributed nothing to any segment of Society. It's certainly demonstrable that Religion as represented by the Church did any number of things for it's adherents. Including but not limited to providing defense against other groups and providing a focus for a common community. These things have certainly been done by other entities, but that fact doesn't mean that the Church didn't do the same. Therefore the idea that Religion has never given anything to the world is demonstrably false.
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.

morriswalters wrote:@LaserGuy
Did printing exist before Gutenberg. Certainly. Were their books, again certainly. The utility of the Gutenberg press is not in it's ability to print, rather in the ability to print cheaply. Innovation can't be forced. It happens when it happens. Generally certain preexisting conditions must exist before it does. I offer as an example Da Vinci. A large portion of his genius was wasted because there was no way to for his ideas to happen in his era. Too many supporting ideas hadn't happened. Libraries have been around for quite awhile but they were always haphazard affairs which depended upon the viability of the civilizations which developed them. The Gutenberg press made books cheap enough that Libraries could be held by individuals, and as such less at hazard to events such as the burning the Library at Alexandria. It also encouraged literacy. Up to that point books were so prohibitively expensive that literacy would have been useless. It was this event which put knowledge in the hands of people who had thereto not had it available to them. Until that point in time you could have devoted all the wealth that was available to the problem and you probably wouldn't have found the answer. Now quantify Religions role in this. The best you'll be able to do is assign it a small supporting role. The biggest impediment was simply the age of civilization overall.

i have no idea how you justify the minimization of religious censorship over the course of history (they're STILL trying to do it now btw).
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby morriswalters » Mon Oct 03, 2011 6:02 pm UTC

Many organizations waste a vast amount of resources chasing their tails. The Church was no better or worse than any other of their contemporaries in the various eras. Which is to say that they were at times murderous, repressive, and not forward thinking. I point out to you that the Gutenberg press was invented in Europe in 1440 or so. Europe was by no means the center of the world, if it was to be invented sooner, why not elsewhere? To appreciate the importance of printing you had to have it and the tools to use it. I'm fairly certain that Gutenberg had no idea of the importance of his invention. You know that the Church didn't or Gutenberg might well have ended his days burning at the stake. The Church had no idea of what to incentives to provide for what, since they were as ignorant as their flocks. The whole world was relatively ignorant. Techniques and ideas were lost over and over again because there was no way to preserve them. The problem is at times we look through these events through prisms of hindsight.

RoberII
The Church is the apple and at roughly two billion Christians, a very big apple. Monarchies die because, as you say, we have moved on, as will Religion, in time. I don't really disagree with your idea in general, I disagree with the technique of overstatement since it obscures the fact and is a method often used by the Church.

DSenette wrote:you seem to have this weird drive to defend religion but at the same time, you seem to not personally like religion. where do you want to go?

I can certainly see where you might be confused. I suppose the easiest way to put it would be that I want to be controlled by fact and reason and not emotion. If we can't learn to live with Religion, if they are truly inimical to us than we might sooner or later end up at a point where the choice becomes us or them. An outcome I don't want to see. I define reason as a raison d'être, what this means to me is that I attempt to see the world as it is not as I wish it would be. Religion is here, when you demonize it shouldn't be surprised that they are resentful of it, I am sure you would be, or are, since it is a common technique of Christians with atheists. If you wish to be better than Christians than attack them with facts where there are facts. We don't have to win. We already have.

DSenette wrote:all of the things you list as historical benefits are neither inherent or exclusive to religion, the only "leg up" that religion was able to give to those items was lending it's considerable wealth and considerable political/social pull to those people who happened to have some ideas that were in line with some of the things religion thought it could use. you can't simply ignore all of the absolutely miserable shit that religion had to do in order to obtain the wealth and privilege that it historically maintained. just because something good comes out of a corrupt and miserable system doesn't negate the corruption and misery ([godwin-esque]the third Reich was fucking awesome at inventing shit. a LOT of stuff we use now came out of someone's desire to find a quicker way to kill a fuck ton of jewish people. the fact that something good came out of these endeavors does not excuse the sins that were the catalyst for them[/godwin-esque])


This whole paragraph is point on for me. All these things are not inherent to Religion. They are inherent to people. There are only two places for you to go. You either accept that the things that you hate about Religion are a product of men, or you accept that there is a deity, if you think this isn't true than cite another possibility. So I have to deal with the men. This applies to the rest of your comments.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby DSenette » Mon Oct 03, 2011 6:32 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
DSenette wrote:you seem to have this weird drive to defend religion but at the same time, you seem to not personally like religion. where do you want to go?

I can certainly see where you might be confused. I suppose the easiest way to put it would be that I want to be controlled by fact and reason and not emotion. If we can't learn to live with Religion, if they are truly inimical to us than we might sooner or later end up at a point where the choice becomes us or them. An outcome I don't want to see. I define reason as a raison d'être, what this means to me is that I attempt to see the world as it is not as I wish it would be. Religion is here, when you demonize it shouldn't be surprised that they are resentful of it, I am sure you would be, or are, since it is a common technique of Christians with atheists. If you wish to be better than Christians than attack them with facts where there are facts. We don't have to win. We already have.


do you know the definition of raison d'etre? because it is:

rai·son d'ê·tre noun /rāˈzôN ˈdetr(ə)/
raisons d'être, plural

1.The most important reason or purpose for someone or something's existence
which is reason as in purpose.

so if this whole time that you've been arguing against reason and logic based on THIS definition of reason, then.....no wonder you've been wrong for so many pages.



morriswalters wrote:
DSenette wrote:all of the things you list as historical benefits are neither inherent or exclusive to religion, the only "leg up" that religion was able to give to those items was lending it's considerable wealth and considerable political/social pull to those people who happened to have some ideas that were in line with some of the things religion thought it could use. you can't simply ignore all of the absolutely miserable shit that religion had to do in order to obtain the wealth and privilege that it historically maintained. just because something good comes out of a corrupt and miserable system doesn't negate the corruption and misery ([godwin-esque]the third Reich was fucking awesome at inventing shit. a LOT of stuff we use now came out of someone's desire to find a quicker way to kill a fuck ton of jewish people. the fact that something good came out of these endeavors does not excuse the sins that were the catalyst for them[/godwin-esque])


This whole paragraph is point on for me. All these things are not inherent to Religion. They are inherent to people. There are only two places for you to go. You either accept that the things that you hate about Religion are a product of men, or you accept that there is a deity, if you think this isn't true than cite another possibility. So I have to deal with the men. This applies to the rest of your comments.
[/quote]
this boils down to disingenuous usage of words.

in so far as religion is a product of man, then sure, the negatives of religion are inherent to people. however, religion, compared to say, megalomaniacal corporation Z has the "advantage" of being a product of man that has been able to attach a supernatural spector of eternal damnation or eternal salvation to it's cause. there is NO OTHER product of man that fits that bill. only religion tells you that you're going to burn in the fires of all hell if you do not believe and follow it's rules. i personally don't have to accept that there is a deity for this to be the case.

the negatives of religion are INHERENT to religion because of these supernatural addendums. you would not end up in a system where "do this that and the other thing or you're going to burn in hell for all eternity" in any other system. you can get "do unto others as you would have done unto you" under other systems. you can get "hey, i've got a fuck ton of money and a bunch of influence in X society, so here's some privilege for you to share" in other systems.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Oct 03, 2011 7:24 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:Many organizations waste a vast amount of resources chasing their tails. The Church was no better or worse than any other of their contemporaries in the various eras. Which is to say that they were at times murderous, repressive, and not forward thinking. I point out to you that the Gutenberg press was invented in Europe in 1440 or so. Europe was by no means the center of the world, if it was to be invented sooner, why not elsewhere? To appreciate the importance of printing you had to have it and the tools to use it. I'm fairly certain that Gutenberg had no idea of the importance of his invention. You know that the Church didn't or Gutenberg might well have ended his days burning at the stake. The Church had no idea of what to incentives to provide for what, since they were as ignorant as their flocks. The whole world was relatively ignorant. Techniques and ideas were lost over and over again because there was no way to preserve them. The problem is at times we look through these events through prisms of hindsight.


It was invented elsewhere before Gutenberg. Woodblock printing had been used since 200 AD or so in various parts of the world, and in China, printing on paper began in earnest in the 9th and 10th Centuries. Movable type was invented in China around 1040. The Chinese (and the Koreans, who also invented movable type before Gutenberg) perhaps were not able to capitalize on the advantage of printing as well as Europeans were, because in order for a printing press to be of use, the printers first had to make thousands, if not tens of thousands, of characters to represent the Chinese language properly. European languages, being structured as they are, were much easier to mass produce in this respect.

While it is certainly true that the Church might have not necessarily been able to figure out how to properly incentivise, say, medicine (for treating the plague or whatever), it's a little harder to reason out why they weren't interested in incentivising the production of books, considering that the Church holds at least a few books in rather high regard, and might have had an interest in making sure that people spend time understanding said books. That's basically how Gutenberg got funded, IIRC: he had this great idea for a method to make lots of Bibles, and somebody gave him some money to try to figure it out.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby guenther » Mon Oct 03, 2011 9:12 pm UTC

DSenette wrote:one of the advantages of the tools of logic and reason is that they help (read: do not eliminate but lessen) with overcoming bias. will some people still choose the biased option? sure, but they'll probably be more likely to know it's the biased option. 99% of the time i know when i'm being influenced by bias, i just accept that i prefer that bias in those decisions.

How do you know this is true? How do you know when you are and aren't biased? Is it based on your own assessment that you make with your own mind? But my claim is that the mind is suspect; it's an unreliable source. We lack an objective test for how much our decisions and beliefs are biased.

Let me give an example. People tend to assume that if they can rationally defend their position, then they have rational reasons for holding that position. But that's not necessarily true, particularly if we consider cases where there's multiple reasonable positions and no clear way to objectively measure the right answer. Consider the healthcare debate, taxes, or government bail-outs. All lot of these issues deal with what's fair, but fairness is not objectively well-defined. Nonetheless, people will be filled with a sense of what's right and what's wrong and they will use that to help them pick their position. But did they really "pick" that position, or was it the product of being biased to share the team's values? Again, how do we know?

Also, this assumes that people will actually apply the tools of logic and reason well. But another problem is when people have incentive to not use it well. For example, we might be in a situation where we stand to gain if we cut some moral corners. Our moral values (and in particular they're relative weights) are extremely mutable. So we might find it easier to simply find, say, certain types of theft (i.e. the one we want to do) as less morally significant than other types of thefts or wrongdoings. So instead of doing the hard work of rationally applying our moral values and living by the consequences, it's easier to just alter our moral landscape to something more beneficial. All we need is a good story for why that's OK. And how well do people vet that story when it's to our disadvantage to prove it wrong?

Both of these problems exist even when people are well-trained in logic and reasoning.

DSenette wrote:the negatives of religion are INHERENT to religion because of these supernatural addendums. you would not end up in a system where "do this that and the other thing or you're going to burn in hell for all eternity" in any other system. you can get "do unto others as you would have done unto you" under other systems. you can get "hey, i've got a fuck ton of money and a bunch of influence in X society, so here's some privilege for you to share" in other systems.

You can also get, "Hey I've got a fuck-ton of power that I can use to go abuse those people that I don't like", as well as "God has done so much good in my life that I really ought to be his instrument for helping out others". The problem is that you are just making unfounded claims of what can and can't happen without really linking it to any evidence. And in the process you wound up presenting the situation in a way that is stacked against religion. You are watering down causation for the good stuff of religion (it just affords people the opportunity) while playing up the link to the bad things (it causes that stuff to happen).

RoberII wrote:And even conceding that the church has been useful in the past, I see no reason why we shouldn't abolish it now, the way we did monarchy.

I don't think I've encountered anyone who's quite so blunt with their complete lack of regard for religious freedom.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby RoberII » Mon Oct 03, 2011 9:56 pm UTC

I didn't say by force, I meant by growing up. People are free to believe what they want, even if that is "the man in the dress and the funny collar has a link to God, I should totally trust him with my money and children"... But as a society, I think it's high time we stopped believing in magic.

Also, you seem to think that religion somehow protects us from moral relativism, which, of course, it doesn't - if anything, belief in the bible makes it easier to justify horrible things, since it's such a diverse piece of fiction. If we have to base our arguments on reason rather than dogmatism, I think that the moral foundations of humanity would be strengthened. More importantly, I'm not sure how you'd use religion to answer questions of healthcare, taxes or government bailouts - Christians have answered those questions with anything between libertarianism and communism.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby guenther » Mon Oct 03, 2011 10:15 pm UTC

RoberII wrote:I didn't say by force, I meant by growing up. People are free to believe what they want, even if that is "the man in the dress and the funny collar has a link to God, I should totally trust him with my money and children"... But as a society, I think it's high time we stopped believing in magic.

Well, you said you wanted it abolished like we did with the monarchy. That was abolished through our laws. And when slavery was abolished, it wasn't about convincing people that they should grow up, it was about making slavery illegal. Not to mention that earlier you lamented that the government didn't target the "stupidity of the religious" with greater scrutiny. If you do want to respect people's rights, I'd recommend that you stop saying stuff like that. And I get that you have nothing but contempt for religion, you've made that very clear.

RoberII wrote:Also, you seem to think that religion somehow protects us from moral relativism, which, of course, it doesn't - if anything, belief in the bible makes it easier to justify horrible things, since it's such a diverse piece of fiction. If we have to base our arguments on reason rather than dogmatism, I think that the moral foundations of humanity would be strengthened. More importantly, I'm not sure how you'd use religion to answer questions of healthcare, taxes or government bailouts - Christians have answered those questions with anything between libertarianism and communism.

I probably should have pointed out to DSenette that my response on the tools of logic and reason are independent of any of the arguments I'm making about religion. I'm not saying that the Bible tells us how we should run healthcare.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby RoberII » Mon Oct 03, 2011 10:55 pm UTC

Uh, that was me paraphrasing what you said the post just before that, and what I meant was that a responsible government wouldn't hire, for instance, a creationist virologist because he'd be incompetent. Which, unless I'm mistaken, is also what you said - that it was the responsibility of managers to hire people whose beliefs did not make them incompetent at their job. I'm not sure how that translates into me lamenting a lack of government persecution.
Abolish might be the wrong word to use - I consider it something societies stop doing in one way or another, not necessarily something that is done through force of law, but I might be wrong in my definition.

Oh, and I don't have contempt for religious believers, only the priests, who, whether they know it or not, are nothing less than glorified con-men. (This, of course, is also why the methods of the religious are so similar to the methods of cold-readers, psychics, etc. - defer questions, be vague, tell them what they want to hear. focus on some vaguely defined 'spirituality')

I am also curious to what exactly you think the bible IS good for, since it apparently can't answer any questions of modern relevance.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby guenther » Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:17 pm UTC

RoberII wrote:Oh, and I don't have contempt for religious believers, only the priests, who, whether they know it or not, are nothing less than glorified con-men.

This is why I'm not too fond of responding to your posts. They're lined with a combination of both ignorance and intolerance, an ugly combination. It makes for a poor argument, not one that I feel is worth the time to challenge.

RoberII wrote:I am also curious to what exactly you think the bible IS good for, since it apparently can't answer any questions of modern relevance.

I think it has great wisdom. For example, like how it puts the message of love as a central pillar. Also, I like reading and studying the story of God and Jesus.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby RoberII » Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:34 pm UTC

guenther wrote:
RoberII wrote:Oh, and I don't have contempt for religious believers, only the priests, who, whether they know it or not, are nothing less than glorified con-men.

This is why I'm not too fond of responding to your posts. They're lined with a combination of both ignorance and intolerance, an ugly combination. It makes for a poor argument, not one that I feel is worth the time to challenge.

RoberII wrote:I am also curious to what exactly you think the bible IS good for, since it apparently can't answer any questions of modern relevance.

I think it has great wisdom. For example, like how it puts the message of love as a central pillar. Also, I like reading and studying the story of God and Jesus.


How is that intolerance, or ignorance? Priests ultimately live off their flocks, and are paid by them. Ultimately, what they sell is a lie. And I think a lot of priests are aware of that relationship, although some are probably true believers. But the same is true for the people that are selling homeopathic remedies or healing crystals - yes, some of the people in the system believe in it, but the overall system is still a scam.

As for the bible having great wisdom... To the extent that that is true, you are only able to recognise it because you have that wisdom from the society around you - Christianity has been dragged kicking and screaming into the light. Or to put it another way: The bible doesn't give you meaning, you give the bible meaning. As for reading and studying the story of God and Jesus, I can respect that - religious people are nerds, after all ;)
(Incidentially, vaguely talking about feel-good buzzwords like wisdom? Totally what I was just talking about. Feel free to elaborate, though!)
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby guenther » Mon Oct 03, 2011 11:59 pm UTC

RoberII wrote:How is that intolerance, or ignorance? Priests ultimately live off their flocks, and are paid by them. Ultimately, what they sell is a lie.

It's not a lie unless people are lying. And they're nothing like con-artists unless they're being manipulative. You are making big claims about a large body of people and you are armed with no evidence to support your case --> ignorance. And you're using this to express contempt for them --> intolerance.

RoberII wrote:As for the bible having great wisdom... To the extent that that is true, you are only able to recognise it because you have that wisdom from the society around you - Christianity has been dragged kicking and screaming into the light. Or to put it another way: The bible doesn't give you meaning, you give the bible meaning.

The Bible does give me meaning, but I do interpret that meaning through the perspective of a modern Christian community. And Christianity has been dragged into the light, often by other Christians. When you get big organizations with lots of power, they tend to do the things that let them keep their power, even if it's to the detriment of the ideals they're supposed to uphold.

I don't know what you mean by feel-good buzzwords. But I am intentionally describing this from a very personal subjective perspective. I have defended religion a lot here, but I am not out to make a case that Christianity or the Bible are the best.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby morriswalters » Tue Oct 04, 2011 12:36 am UTC

DSenette, I should have wrote that living by reason is my reason for living, not a definition for reason. I apologize for being unclear. I desist from carrying the anger that I carried when I was younger. It's pointless and serves no purpose. Religion is no more different then any other framework that people use, it's simply older and more ingrained. You apparently see what you wish to see and hear what you wish to here. No matter what I write you will assume I don't understand your definition of reason, so as I said this back and forth is pointless. I'll tell you as I told Zcorp, write a syllabus for the course you would teach on reason, a paragraph should be sufficient, else wise we are wasting each others time. DSenette, again, there is only one person in the room, a human. He either wrote it or he was divinely inspired, if you think that is disingenuous then offer something better. for clarity there is a modern analog.

LaserGuy, as I said it is the confluence of events which lead to innovation. I have no interest in what might have happened only in what did. I don't think the Church had any reason that I can see to want more Bibles. They had a money making machine. As I said, had they been able to foresee what was going to happen they might have burned Gutenberg at the stake.

RoberII wrote:Christians have answered those questions with anything between libertarianism and communism.
That might be because they are people.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby RoberII » Tue Oct 04, 2011 1:11 am UTC

@guenther
Would you then also say that scientology isn't a scam? The people bringing in the recruits are not the people making the money off scientology. The system is set up as a scam, though, and whether the people on the floor believe it or not doesn't matter when it comes to determining whether or not scientology is a scam - only the way it functions as a whole does. I'd argue the same is true for all religions. We can all take part in systemically deceitful or hurtful social activities without being aware of it, and I think that it's only by becoming aware of those systems that we can really make true progress for humanity. Of course, condemning all priests is a little harsh, but it's certainly true that they are taking part in a system which is fundamentally immoral, in exactly the same way that we can both condemn and pity members of scientology.

As for the bible giving you meaning... Well, it's a long text, and I'd wager that any meaning that you find in it is one you put there yourself, since it's, well, just letters. Actually, my reason for thinking like this is a bit on the technical side, I have a BA in English, and I have focused a lot of it on the relationship between people and texts.

By feel-good buzzwords, I mean words like "spirituality" and "wisdom", "mystery", "soul", etc... Words which, essentially, mean "we don't know, and don't ask any more about this."

@morriswalters
On the other hand, it also illustrates that the bible is largely useless in a modern context, since it deals with a world vastly different from our own, although there are a good few bits in it - I read one analysis of Revelations which took it to be a condemnation of economic colonization, which is certainly applicable today. But again, only a lesson that you can take from the bible if you A, know the history of it, which most Christians don't, and B, are already inclined to be on the side of the downtrodden rather than the downtreaders.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby guenther » Tue Oct 04, 2011 5:37 am UTC

RoberII wrote:Would you then also say that scientology isn't a scam? The people bringing in the recruits are not the people making the money off scientology. The system is set up as a scam, though, and whether the people on the floor believe it or not doesn't matter when it comes to determining whether or not scientology is a scam - only the way it functions as a whole does. I'd argue the same is true for all religions. We can all take part in systemically deceitful or hurtful social activities without being aware of it, and I think that it's only by becoming aware of those systems that we can really make true progress for humanity. Of course, condemning all priests is a little harsh, but it's certainly true that they are taking part in a system which is fundamentally immoral, in exactly the same way that we can both condemn and pity members of scientology.

The problem is that you're still arguing from a position of ignorance. You haven't provided any substance to the claims that priests are being systemically deceitful or hurtful. Just empty words based on the weird logic that if Scientologists do it, then all priests must do it. And in the meantime, you are being dismissive of a large number of good individuals who are making important differences in the lives of people and their community.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby RoberII » Tue Oct 04, 2011 9:41 am UTC

guenther wrote:
RoberII wrote:Would you then also say that scientology isn't a scam? The people bringing in the recruits are not the people making the money off scientology. The system is set up as a scam, though, and whether the people on the floor believe it or not doesn't matter when it comes to determining whether or not scientology is a scam - only the way it functions as a whole does. I'd argue the same is true for all religions. We can all take part in systemically deceitful or hurtful social activities without being aware of it, and I think that it's only by becoming aware of those systems that we can really make true progress for humanity. Of course, condemning all priests is a little harsh, but it's certainly true that they are taking part in a system which is fundamentally immoral, in exactly the same way that we can both condemn and pity members of scientology.

The problem is that you're still arguing from a position of ignorance. You haven't provided any substance to the claims that priests are being systemically deceitful or hurtful. Just empty words based on the weird logic that if Scientologists do it, then all priests must do it. And in the meantime, you are being dismissive of a large number of good individuals who are making important differences in the lives of people and their community.


1: I'm not sure ignorance means what you think it means. Being wrong isn't the same thing as being ignorant. 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. But I also said that a lot of priests definitely knew that, because a lot of priests are charlatans, especially the ones that traffic in stuff like spirit healing or speaking in tongues. And their livelihoods depend on it - the clergy, whatever form it takes, has an economic interest in keeping the faithful faithful, which is why dogmatism and peer pressure is always rampant in these communities - free thought is the enemy of all charlatans, whatever the age of their scam, regardless of whether the scammers actually believe in the scam.

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
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby morriswalters » Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:47 am UTC

RoberII wrote:@morriswalters
On the other hand, it also illustrates that the bible is largely useless in a modern context, since it deals with a world vastly different from our own, although there are a good few bits in it - I read one analysis of Revelations which took it to be a condemnation of economic colonization, which is certainly applicable today. But again, only a lesson that you can take from the bible if you A, know the history of it, which most Christians don't, and B, are already inclined to be on the side of the downtrodden rather than the downtreaders.

The Bible is vague to a fault. Had people not been able to interpret it in various ways it would have died a long time ago. Good documents are written that way. And I define good as being able to stand the test of time. Secular Humanists need better writers, the Bible is pretty good at doing what it was written to do, it's managed to inspire, terrorize, sooth, or whatever was needed, humanists something to rival it. I always find it amusing that people don't give it more credit for what it is.

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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby DSenette » Tue Oct 04, 2011 1:21 pm UTC

going to break this up as i'm sure you knew i would.

guenther wrote:
DSenette wrote:one of the advantages of the tools of logic and reason is that they help (read: do not eliminate but lessen) with overcoming bias. will some people still choose the biased option? sure, but they'll probably be more likely to know it's the biased option. 99% of the time i know when i'm being influenced by bias, i just accept that i prefer that bias in those decisions.

How do you know this is true? How do you know when you are and aren't biased? Is it based on your own assessment that you make with your own mind? But my claim is that the mind is suspect; it's an unreliable source. We lack an objective test for how much our decisions and beliefs are biased.
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.

[aside]look at the language that i'm using, i'm saying increase, probably, more likely, etc... don't respond as though i'm using concrete terminology. even my 99% should have thrown the "well that's just a number to express a random percentage" flags. at this point we're both pretty well certain of how to read each other's posts in this thread. let's continue that[/aside]

guenther wrote:Let me give an example. People tend to assume that if they can rationally defend their position, then they have rational reasons for holding that position. But that's not necessarily true, particularly if we consider cases where there's multiple reasonable positions and no clear way to objectively measure the right answer. Consider the healthcare debate, taxes, or government bail-outs. All lot of these issues deal with what's fair, but fairness is not objectively well-defined. Nonetheless, people will be filled with a sense of what's right and what's wrong and they will use that to help them pick their position. But did they really "pick" that position, or was it the product of being biased to share the team's values? Again, how do we know?
you don't? not completely, but again, if you're able to step back and use reason and logic to evaluate how you got to where you are in your decision, then you're MORE likely to be able to spot the bias than someone who neither inspects their decision path OR uses logic and reason to make their decisions anyway. you can usually very quickly pick out the bandwagoneers in a given debate by the depth of their argument.

guenther wrote:Also, this assumes that people will actually apply the tools of logic and reason well.
this one's one of my favorites. it's current implementation requires you to assume that people actually understand how to have logic and reason integrated into their normal processes.

i know how to use quite a few tools (thank you grandpa). i don't actually have to think about how/when to use each one of them before i do. if i'm going to make a cabinet or something, i don't really have to consciously remember how to use my table saw, i just use my table saw because it's part of the natural process of making a big piece of wood (hehehehe) smaller.

when someone is properly trained in logic and reason, it's the same thing, they don't have to consciously remember how to use those tools, they're just a natural part of the thinking process.

again, just like with the table saw (with which i have several times almost cut off appendages), you don't always get it right, the key is in the training. if you're properly trained in the application of ANY tool, then you're less likely to cut off your hands.

guenther wrote:But another problem is when people have incentive to not use it well. For example, we might be in a situation where we stand to gain if we cut some moral corners. Our moral values (and in particular they're relative weights) are extremely mutable. So we might find it easier to simply find, say, certain types of theft (i.e. the one we want to do) as less morally significant than other types of thefts or wrongdoings. So instead of doing the hard work of rationally applying our moral values and living by the consequences, it's easier to just alter our moral landscape to something more beneficial. All we need is a good story for why that's OK. And how well do people vet that story when it's to our disadvantage to prove it wrong?
again, we're talking about current state as applied to a future ideal. i still state that the key to reducing these events is to increase the actual education in the application of the tools.

the primary issue with this example of a failing is that we're in the realm of "i've already decided to do this thing, but to make myself feel better i'm going to initiate an internal dialog, of which i already know the outcome". we've gotten pretty good at these one sided internal dialogs. we treat them internally as if we're actually vetting our ideas against someone else. but we forget that we're just talking to ourselves, so it's EXACTLY the same as having a discussion about the merits of stealing a pack of gum with someone else who also really wants a pack of gum.

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

i wonder if this has anything to do with the eons of training ourselves to talk to god. the only way to talk to god is to talk to ourselves. then we're trained to listen for answers. those answers can only come from ourselves (even if they are actually coming from god. history would dictate that if he answers prayers then he does so directly in the requesters mind)

guenther wrote:Both of these problems exist even when people are well-trained in logic and reasoning.
maybe?

guenther wrote:
DSenette wrote:the negatives of religion are INHERENT to religion because of these supernatural addendums. you would not end up in a system where "do this that and the other thing or you're going to burn in hell for all eternity" in any other system. you can get "do unto others as you would have done unto you" under other systems. you can get "hey, i've got a fuck ton of money and a bunch of influence in X society, so here's some privilege for you to share" in other systems.

You can also get, "Hey I've got a fuck-ton of power that I can use to go abuse those people that I don't like", as well as "God has done so much good in my life that I really ought to be his instrument for helping out others". The problem is that you are just making unfounded claims of what can and can't happen without really linking it to any evidence. And in the process you wound up presenting the situation in a way that is stacked against religion. You are watering down causation for the good stuff of religion (it just affords people the opportunity) while playing up the link to the bad things (it causes that stuff to happen).
i don't think so.

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.

with the concept of the invention of a printing method and the dissemination of that item's use, it's pretty simple to actually make that decision. it was neither promise of eternal reward, or eternal damnation that drove the invention of the printing press. it was the privilege of the church that drove the success of the invention (note, the invention itself is useless....if no one had adopted it's use we wouldn't be talking about the guy....the milestone, the thing that changed the world was the rapid adoption of the methods. just like henry ford didn't invent the car, or even invent a better car, he invented a method of producing them faster, and if that method hadn't been widely adopted, we wouldn't give a shit). the church had the muscle and the resources to make a shit ton of these presses and buy a shit ton of ink, and a shit ton of paper, and make a shit ton of books. the only thing printed on these presses were bibles and other religions manuscripts. FOR YEARS that's the only thing they printed. but eventually other people were able to adopt the methods and print whatever they wanted.

there was no application of the spiritual carrot and stick in that process. that's pure investment banking right there. so, the benefit of this invention is not inherent to religion. it's inherent to privilege. if there had been another group of people, at exactly that point in time, that had an ass ton of money, and a want for lots of books, someone else would have made the investment. so while you can attribute the SPECIFIC events of THIS EXACT historical item to religion because they happened the way they did, you can't claim the goods that did occur as specific to religion. you can claim that the specific church that did the funding and used their privilege as being responsible, but that church is not religion, that church is an investment firm.

when you apply the same metrics to "the bad"....things get fuzzier. not to be cliché, but let's be cliché. the crusades were made possible by the privilege and the funding of the church. the crusades COULD NOT have happened on the scale that they did without the full power of the church behind them. however, the PURPOSE of the crusades were spiritual reward (for the crusaders) and eternal damnation (for the crusadees). the driving force behind the people actually doing the crusading was their belief that they were doing the work of god and by doing so would go to heaven for killing a bunch of infidels.

there's an application of privilege here, and it's big. it's not inherent to religion. however, the application of the spiritual carrot and stick are specific and unique to religion. the events of the crusade WOULD NOT have happened without religion. period. so here you can attribute the evils of the crusade on religion. because an item UNIQUE to religion was at the root of the event.


morriswalters wrote:DSenette, I should have wrote that living by reason is my reason for living, not a definition for reason. I apologize for being unclear. I desist from carrying the anger that I carried when I was younger. It's pointless and serves no purpose.
and this is where our points will always be at odds. anger and indignation serve a VERY valid purpose when you're actually fighting against something. i just think you're mistaken on what i personally am fighting against.

am i fighting against guenther's application of his religion? you can go back through this whole thread and hopefully you'll see that both of us have agreed that i'm not. would i rather that there not be religion in the world? absolutely, but i'm not as hardcore about that as zcorp. there are applications of religion that exist that i'm willing to live with.

but there are applications of religion that i am in no way willing to live along side. those are the applications that are using their doctrine to subjugate women, uphold the oppression and vilification of homosexuals, transgenders, etc..., and the other applications that are actively harming people across the planet as we speak. the stupid backwater bullshit that causes someone to take a system that can have a pretty good message (love your neighbor) and use it to fuck people over. so yeah, in the current environment, where people are using religion to actively restrict people's rights, using religion in such a way that people ARE DYING because of it, then fuck yes i'm fucking angry. it does no one any good for me to not express that anger.

as a note, when you make statements like the above quoted, you SOUND like what you're saying is "there's no point in arguing any of this, just roll over and let everyone do what everyone is going to do. shit will work out in the wash". if that is your actual stance, which i'm certain it isn't, then there's no purpose for you to be in this or any other discussion on the matter of religion.

morriswalters wrote:Religion is no more different then any other framework that people use, it's simply older and more ingrained.

this is entirely too simplistic of a view to hold for anything that you would wish to change.

morriswalters wrote:You apparently see what you wish to see and hear what you wish to here. No matter what I write you will assume I don't understand your definition of reason, so as I said this back and forth is pointless.
the only time i questioned your understanding of the definition directly was when you used one that was incorrect, which you have since corrected.

the argument that me and you have on reason and logic is about their utility, and who we think is capable of using the tools.

morriswalters wrote:I'll tell you as I told Zcorp, write a syllabus for the course you would teach on reason, a paragraph should be sufficient, else wise we are wasting each others time.

here are some i'm not proposing anything new here. critical thinking is totally a thing. you can take college level courses in it. the problem is, it's not required learning in elementary or highschool, and in the few places that there are classes for such (i.e. college) they're also not required. they're either electives (with the cost of higher education as it is right now in the U.S. how many people do you think are taking electives in college right now?) or only part of SPECIFIC majors. these are universal tools....they can and should be used by everyone on the planet, why are we making them so hard to attain? what i want to see is this stuff being taught at every stage of education. in the home, in preschool, in middle school, highschool, college, in the work place, fucking everywhere.

morriswalters wrote:DSenette, again, there is only one person in the room, a human. He either wrote it or he was divinely inspired, if you think that is disingenuous then offer something better. for clarity there is a modern analog.
this has nothing to do with whether god is real or not. it has nothing to do with divine inspiration. 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.


RoberII wrote:Uh, that was me paraphrasing what you said the post just before that, and what I meant was that a responsible government wouldn't hire, for instance, a creationist virologist because he'd be incompetent. Which, unless I'm mistaken, is also what you said - that it was the responsibility of managers to hire people whose beliefs did not make them incompetent at their job. I'm not sure how that translates into me lamenting a lack of government persecution.
Abolish might be the wrong word to use - I consider it something societies stop doing in one way or another, not necessarily something that is done through force of law, but I might be wrong in my definition.

Oh, and I don't have contempt for religious believers, only the priests, who, whether they know it or not, are nothing less than glorified con-men. (This, of course, is also why the methods of the religious are so similar to the methods of cold-readers, psychics, etc. - defer questions, be vague, tell them what they want to hear. focus on some vaguely defined 'spirituality')

I am also curious to what exactly you think the bible IS good for, since it apparently can't answer any questions of modern relevance.
you're digging a hole that will very soon be difficult for you to extricate yourself from.

for someone to be a conman, they have to know they're participating in a con.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby RoberII » Tue Oct 04, 2011 3:18 pm UTC

@morriswalters
Agreed on secular humanists needing better writers, although, personally I think we have some great ones, it just takes time for these things to take hold.

@DSenette
Yes, but not everyone involved in the con has to know about it, and if the original conman leaves, it doesn't change that fact that a con is a con is a con. A pyramid scheme is a form of con, and not everyone involved knows about it. Still a con, though, even if the "top" disappears.
IcedT wrote:Also, this raises the important question of whether or not dinosaurs were delicious.


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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby DSenette » Tue Oct 04, 2011 3:29 pm UTC

RoberII wrote:@morriswalters
Agreed on secular humanists needing better writers, although, personally I think we have some great ones, it just takes time for these things to take hold.

@DSenette
Yes, but not everyone involved in the con has to know about it, and if the original conman leaves, it doesn't change that fact that a con is a con is a con. A pyramid scheme is a form of con, and not everyone involved knows about it. Still a con, though, even if the "top" disappears.

but you cannot accuse someone of running a ponzi scheme if they're legitimately not aware that it's a ponzi scheme. if someone's gotten caught up in a con, and they have no idea it's a con, then they're not con men.

you'll note that when pyramid schemes are actually broken up and prosecuted, they don't prosecute the people that justifiably didn't know they were in one.

no matter how much disdain i have for organized religion, comparing it to a ponzi schem is simply just inflammatory and will never serve the purpose that you hope it will.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Cheezwhiz Jenkins » Tue Oct 04, 2011 3:36 pm UTC

DSenette wrote:
RoberII wrote:@morriswalters
Agreed on secular humanists needing better writers, although, personally I think we have some great ones, it just takes time for these things to take hold.

@DSenette
Yes, but not everyone involved in the con has to know about it, and if the original conman leaves, it doesn't change that fact that a con is a con is a con. A pyramid scheme is a form of con, and not everyone involved knows about it. Still a con, though, even if the "top" disappears.

but you cannot accuse someone of running a ponzi scheme if they're legitimately not aware that it's a ponzi scheme. if someone's gotten caught up in a con, and they have no idea it's a con, then they're not con men.

you'll note that when pyramid schemes are actually broken up and prosecuted, they don't prosecute the people that justifiably didn't know they were in one.

no matter how much disdain i have for organized religion, comparing it to a ponzi schem is simply just inflammatory and will never serve the purpose that you hope it will.


That's not the point. It can still be a ponzi scheme even if the people caught up in it aren't aware it is (actually, it's kind of definitionally REQUIRED that they aren't aware that it is!). You can't accuse them of RUNNING it, but can certainly say that they are IN one or even inadvertently perpetuating one. Knowledge/intent is irrelevant to the nature of the scheme.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby DSenette » Tue Oct 04, 2011 4:13 pm UTC

Cheezwhiz Jenkins wrote:
DSenette wrote:
RoberII wrote:@morriswalters
Agreed on secular humanists needing better writers, although, personally I think we have some great ones, it just takes time for these things to take hold.

@DSenette
Yes, but not everyone involved in the con has to know about it, and if the original conman leaves, it doesn't change that fact that a con is a con is a con. A pyramid scheme is a form of con, and not everyone involved knows about it. Still a con, though, even if the "top" disappears.

but you cannot accuse someone of running a ponzi scheme if they're legitimately not aware that it's a ponzi scheme. if someone's gotten caught up in a con, and they have no idea it's a con, then they're not con men.

you'll note that when pyramid schemes are actually broken up and prosecuted, they don't prosecute the people that justifiably didn't know they were in one.

no matter how much disdain i have for organized religion, comparing it to a ponzi schem is simply just inflammatory and will never serve the purpose that you hope it will.


That's not the point. It can still be a ponzi scheme even if the people caught up in it aren't aware it is (actually, it's kind of definitionally REQUIRED that they aren't aware that it is!). You can't accuse them of RUNNING it, but can certainly say that they are IN one or even inadvertently perpetuating one. Knowledge/intent is irrelevant to the nature of the scheme.

right, but you can't call them conmen. if they're not actively intentionally conning someone then you can't call them conmen.

also, with regards to pyramid schemes. you do know there are such a thing as GOOD pyramid schemes right? that are actually successful for most everyone involved. ever heard of avon?
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby Cheezwhiz Jenkins » Tue Oct 04, 2011 4:53 pm UTC

DSenette wrote:
Cheezwhiz Jenkins wrote:
DSenette wrote:
RoberII wrote:@morriswalters
Agreed on secular humanists needing better writers, although, personally I think we have some great ones, it just takes time for these things to take hold.

@DSenette
Yes, but not everyone involved in the con has to know about it, and if the original conman leaves, it doesn't change that fact that a con is a con is a con. A pyramid scheme is a form of con, and not everyone involved knows about it. Still a con, though, even if the "top" disappears.

but you cannot accuse someone of running a ponzi scheme if they're legitimately not aware that it's a ponzi scheme. if someone's gotten caught up in a con, and they have no idea it's a con, then they're not con men.

you'll note that when pyramid schemes are actually broken up and prosecuted, they don't prosecute the people that justifiably didn't know they were in one.

no matter how much disdain i have for organized religion, comparing it to a ponzi schem is simply just inflammatory and will never serve the purpose that you hope it will.


That's not the point. It can still be a ponzi scheme even if the people caught up in it aren't aware it is (actually, it's kind of definitionally REQUIRED that they aren't aware that it is!). You can't accuse them of RUNNING it, but can certainly say that they are IN one or even inadvertently perpetuating one. Knowledge/intent is irrelevant to the nature of the scheme.

right, but you can't call them conmen. if they're not actively intentionally conning someone then you can't call them conmen.

also, with regards to pyramid schemes. you do know there are such a thing as GOOD pyramid schemes right? that are actually successful for most everyone involved. ever heard of avon?


OK, so how is it that your argument supports your assertion that religion is not analogous to a ponzi scheme? I am not trying to argue that it IS, but your arguments are utterly unpersuasive to me in their attempt to answer that larger question.

Um...how do you figure Avon is a "good pyramid scheme" (hint: There's no such thing)? Granting that it is in fact a pyramid scheme for argument's sake (in reality, it's not really a pyramid scheme, but it does kinda look like one), most people who sign up make no (or next to no) money, while a few do make money. That scenario is a textbook pyramid scheme; nothing "good" about it. It's just not as life-damaging as the ones run by financial con men get.
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Re: Religion: The Deuce

Postby DSenette » Tue Oct 04, 2011 5:04 pm UTC

Cheezwhiz Jenkins wrote:
DSenette wrote:
Cheezwhiz Jenkins wrote:
DSenette wrote:
RoberII wrote:@morriswalters
Agreed on secular humanists needing better writers, although, personally I think we have some great ones, it just takes time for these things to take hold.

@DSenette
Yes, but not everyone involved in the con has to know about it, and if the original conman leaves, it doesn't change that fact that a con is a con is a con. A pyramid scheme is a form of con, and not everyone involved knows about it. Still a con, though, even if the "top" disappears.

but you cannot accuse someone of running a ponzi scheme if they're legitimately not aware that it's a ponzi scheme. if someone's gotten caught up in a con, and they have no idea it's a con, then they're not con men.

you'll note that when pyramid schemes are actually broken up and prosecuted, they don't prosecute the people that justifiably didn't know they were in one.

no matter how much disdain i have for organized religion, comparing it to a ponzi schem is simply just inflammatory and will never serve the purpose that you hope it will.


That's not the point. It can still be a ponzi scheme even if the people caught up in it aren't aware it is (actually, it's kind of definitionally REQUIRED that they aren't aware that it is!). You can't accuse them of RUNNING it, but can certainly say that they are IN one or even inadvertently perpetuating one. Knowledge/intent is irrelevant to the nature of the scheme.

right, but you can't call them conmen. if they're not actively intentionally conning someone then you can't call them conmen.

also, with regards to pyramid schemes. you do know there are such a thing as GOOD pyramid schemes right? that are actually successful for most everyone involved. ever heard of avon?


OK, so how is it that your argument supports your assertion that religion is not analogous to a ponzi scheme? I am not trying to argue that it IS, but your arguments are utterly unpersuasive to me in their attempt to answer that larger question.

Um...how do you figure Avon is a "good pyramid scheme" (hint: There's no such thing)? Granting that it is in fact a pyramid scheme for argument's sake (in reality, it's not really a pyramid scheme, but it does kinda look like one), most people who sign up make no (or next to no) money, while a few do make money. That scenario is a textbook pyramid scheme; nothing "good" about it. It's just not as life-damaging as the ones run by financial con men get.

"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.
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