I don't understand the faith people put in religious texts

For the serious discussion of weighty matters and worldly issues. No off-topic posts allowed.

Moderators: Azrael, Prelates, Moderators General

Re: I don't understand the faith people put in religious tex

Postby DSenette » Thu Feb 02, 2012 2:34 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
DSenette wrote:not for the same individual. if you're the person who is treating it like a ponzi scheme, then i find it hard to think that you'd also be following the dogma whole heartedly as an actual adherant would. especially since for you to KNOW it's a ponzi scheme, you'd have to also know that the entire thing is a lie for the purpose of making you filthy fucking rich (for various definitions of rich).

so yes, it can be a ponzi scheme and a religion, but no one person could actually treat it as both.

Seriously, why not? Empirically, people are excellent at collecting wealth and power while also honestly believing in their cause. The Catholic church is the prime example of a religious organization that collects dues from around the world. The Vatican is still filled with die-hard believers who dedicated their lives to religion, and who are not exactly living a life of blow and hookers.

At other points in history the Vatican was filled with blow and hookers, and quite some of the cardinals of those days must have been in it for the money only. Then again, it's also possible to be in it for the gold, the hookers, and the religion, and all of them serious.

but they're not collecting the money as a ponzi scheme and they're not actively and knowingly participating in a ponzi scheme.

if you legitimately don't know that what you're doing is a ponzi scheme you can't be actually accused of leading a ponzi scheme.

besides that, collection of wealth and running a scam are two completely different things. the catholic church (as in, the church) isn't collecting wealth specifically to collect wealth, they do have a purpose for collecting the money and it's typically either for improving "the church" or improving the congregations of the church or for actually improving the lives of members of society as a whole (that one doesn't always happen they way they claim it will).

all of which is ENTIRELY different from tricking people into giving you money under false pretenses.
The Righteous Hand Of Retribution
"The evaporation of 4 million who believe this crap would leave the world an instantly better place." ~Andre Codresu (re: "the Rapture")
DSenette
 
Posts: 2256
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2009 8:08 pm UTC

Re: I don't understand the faith people put in religious tex

Postby Zamfir » Thu Feb 02, 2012 2:45 pm UTC

You need the power money to expand the church, and a bit of lying is justified compared to the greater good of a larger church.

It's hardly restricted to religion either. The charity world has quite some people who knowingly lie and deceive to collect money for the greater good. Many of them even feel bad about it.
User avatar
Zamfir
 
Posts: 6120
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:43 pm UTC
Location: Nederland

Re: I don't understand the faith people put in religious tex

Postby DSenette » Thu Feb 02, 2012 2:54 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:You need the power money to expand the church, and a bit of lying is justified compared to the greater good of a larger church.

It's hardly restricted to religion either. The charity world has quite some people who knowingly lie and deceive to collect money for the greater good. Many of them even feel bad about it.

would you compare that to a ponzi scheme with the sole purpose of fucking people out of their money so that you can end up with more money? which is the thing that's being argued about.

there are worlds of difference between "bending the truth to convince people who are reluctant to part with their money, to go ahead and part with their money for something that is of benefit to 'society*' " and "lying to convince people to give you their money because you want a Ferrari"

* society doesn't have to mean everyone one the earth. it can be the entire organization (all of cahtolocism), the regional organization (all Catholics in the south east), or the local organization (just one church) or anything in between or inclusive of all of those things
The Righteous Hand Of Retribution
"The evaporation of 4 million who believe this crap would leave the world an instantly better place." ~Andre Codresu (re: "the Rapture")
DSenette
 
Posts: 2256
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2009 8:08 pm UTC

Re: I don't understand the faith people put in religious tex

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:06 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
DSenette wrote:not for the same individual. if you're the person who is treating it like a ponzi scheme, then i find it hard to think that you'd also be following the dogma whole heartedly as an actual adherant would. especially since for you to KNOW it's a ponzi scheme, you'd have to also know that the entire thing is a lie for the purpose of making you filthy fucking rich (for various definitions of rich).

so yes, it can be a ponzi scheme and a religion, but no one person could actually treat it as both.


Seriously, why not? Empirically, people are excellent at collecting wealth and power while also honestly believing in their cause. The Catholic church is the prime example of a religious organization that collects dues from around the world. The Vatican is still filled with die-hard believers who dedicated their lives to religion, and who are not exactly living a life of blow and hookers.


A hierarchical structure is a necessary, but not sufficient criteria to qualify as a Ponzi scheme. A Ponzi scheme works like this. I ask you to contribute $10 to a fund, and tell you that you'll get $12 back next year. Over the next year, I recruit 5 more people, and tell them that if they give me $10 now, they'll get $12 back the following year. I then use the funds from the newcomers to pay you back, and recruit further newcomers to pay the next set of people back. The system only persists as long as more people coming in, but because the fund isn't ever actually making any money, only moving it around, it will ultimately, always collapse, and only persists at all because most, or possibly all of the people except the scam artist, are oblivious to the fact that it is a Ponzi scheme in the first place.
LaserGuy
 
Posts: 3353
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2009 5:33 pm UTC

Re: I don't understand the faith people put in religious tex

Postby Zamfir » Thu Feb 02, 2012 6:00 pm UTC

If we're going to bd technical about our schemes: the original reference was to Scientology, which is more a pyramid scheme than a Ponzi scheme. Members pay the organization, and get rewarded for bringing in new members, paid from the dues of the new members.

So unlike a ponzi scheme, the leadership doesn't have to lie about the nature of scheme. They only have to convince people that the organization will keep growing for a while (for example because it is the major religion of the future), or that they individually will be able to bring in an above-average number of new members.

A lot of religions are more karma-ponzi schemes, they promise material benefits for joining, but from good luck or divine interventions. I was once in a big temple that had an explicit payment structure on the wall: give us 1000Hk$, and you will be rewarded with 2000 over the next 5 years, 10,000 gives you 25,000, all the way up to millions.
User avatar
Zamfir
 
Posts: 6120
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:43 pm UTC
Location: Nederland

Re: I don't understand the faith people put in religious tex

Postby Lucrece » Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:09 am UTC

Zamfir wrote:This thread (and similar ones) seems fair evidence that science can arouse the same desire.


You mean, "I can't understand you, so I'm going to criminalize you, beat up, or kill you?" Because the advantage of scientific language is that you can get out a message that might get to someone enough to build a coalition to start change, whereas your pleas fall on deaf ears if you're trying to level with someone of a religion different to that of yours.

It took the Catholic Church centuries to apologize for suppressing Galileo. The scientific language has allowed for injustice to be far more promptly corrected. How malleable has scientific thought been? Compare that to religions that still posit that women are not worthy of participation with the divine in this day and age. Generally, it's the "reform" religions -- which happen to be the least dogmatic-- who show to be more adaptive. These in turn are marked with more fusion of scientific thought into a worldview.
Belial wrote:That's charming, Nancy, but all I hear when you talk is a bunch of yippy dog sounds.
User avatar
Lucrece
 
Posts: 3212
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2008 12:01 am UTC

Re: I don't understand the faith people put in religious tex

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:20 am UTC

Lucrece wrote:You mean, "I can't understand you, so I'm going to criminalize you, beat up, or kill you?"
Yes. See eugenics. And before someone pipes up with 'that's not real science', remember--it was sold to us as science, by scientists.

I think science is less prone to the mistakes that religion makes, because a perspective of critical thinking provides more room for us to undermine taboos and harmful beliefs--but don't make the mistake of believing that just because someone's wearing a labcoat, they aren't just as capable of criminalizing, beating, and killing you as someone wearing a priest's frock.
User avatar
The Great Hippo
 
Posts: 5964
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 4:43 am UTC
Location: behind you

Re: I don't understand the faith people put in religious tex

Postby morriswalters » Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:33 am UTC

As to the original question, people want to believe. They need to believe. Life is full of questions for which their are no answers. The Religious texts give some type of meaning to life, and some kind of answers to those questions. We are built to ask questions that begin with why. There isn't really any answer to some of those questions but people seem to need one. So they create one. Science can't provide those kind of answers. So people turn to other things, and it's not really rational.
morriswalters
 
Posts: 3421
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:21 am UTC

Re: I don't understand the faith people put in religious tex

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:38 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:We are built to ask questions that begin with why. There isn't really any answer to some of those questions but people seem to need one.
See, this argument never glued to me. Science is all about the whys. Ask science why, and it'll tell you shit-tons.

The problem is that its idea of 'why' isn't necessarily fulfilling, and requires such an enormous investment to really understand. "Why is the sky blue?" - "Because of the following math. Here, read this physics book for more." - "Why is my skin pale, but Jimmy's is dark?" - "Because of melatonin. Here, read this biology book for more." - "Why are we here?" - "Probably because of abiogenesis. Here's a book on the beginning of life."

I'm not saying that the scientifically verifiable answers aren't worth my time, but, y'know, I got better things to do than read science books to really understand every single facet of the known universe. So I guess I am saying that.
User avatar
The Great Hippo
 
Posts: 5964
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 4:43 am UTC
Location: behind you

Re: I don't understand the faith people put in religious tex

Postby Lucrece » Fri Feb 03, 2012 5:17 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
Lucrece wrote:You mean, "I can't understand you, so I'm going to criminalize you, beat up, or kill you?"
Yes. See eugenics. And before someone pipes up with 'that's not real science', remember--it was sold to us as science, by scientists.

I think science is less prone to the mistakes that religion makes, because a perspective of critical thinking provides more room for us to undermine taboos and harmful beliefs--but don't make the mistake of believing that just because someone's wearing a labcoat, they aren't just as capable of criminalizing, beating, and killing you as someone wearing a priest's frock.



That wasn't my point. My point was that scientists are likely to commit these acts, but the scientific system makes it much easier to identify and correct mistakes because we do not place the source of information above humans; and because we know a human is behind it, it's easier to accept a compelling case for why what we might have believed to be right was wrong.

There's no expectation of subservience to our source of guidance. It's a relationship between equals, and that shapes the way people interact with belief differently from a paternalistic relationship.
Belial wrote:That's charming, Nancy, but all I hear when you talk is a bunch of yippy dog sounds.
User avatar
Lucrece
 
Posts: 3212
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2008 12:01 am UTC

Re: I don't understand the faith people put in religious tex

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri Feb 03, 2012 5:25 am UTC

Lucrece wrote:That wasn't my point. My point was that scientists are likely to commit these acts, but the scientific system makes it much easier to identify and correct mistakes because we do not place the source of information above humans; and because we know a human is behind it, it's easier to accept a compelling case for why what we might have believed to be right was wrong.

There's no expectation of subservience to our source of guidance. It's a relationship between equals, and that shapes the way people interact with belief differently from a paternalistic relationship.
I don't know if I can agree, but that's largely because I see science enabling those sort of paternalistic relationships all the time--even within the very context of this thread. 'I'm thinking about this rationally, you're thinking about this irrationally--therefore I know what's best for you' -- this is a theme so common that it's pretty much become the modern basis for paternalism.

I agree that science may not be innately paternalistic in the same way most religious scripture is, but that's never been the problem; the problem is that people are innately paternalistic, so you're going to have paternalism regardless of which system you subscribe to.
User avatar
The Great Hippo
 
Posts: 5964
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 4:43 am UTC
Location: behind you

Re: I don't understand the faith people put in religious tex

Postby Noc » Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:52 am UTC

The problem is that the "scientific system" is not synonymous with the "scientific establishment:" judging things scientifically is all about making sure anyone claiming a thing is backing it up with soundly designed experiments, but even if the research exists, and even if the sources are sited, it's impractical for everyone to investigate and verify every claim being made at them. First because of the time it'd take, but also because in many cases you need a proper background in a technical field to sufficiently understand what's being done.

So while I'm a great believer in the scientific method as a means of weeding out fact from bullshit, as a layman I'm generally reduced to just having to trust things sciencey-sounding people say. There's definitely a reasonable level of skepticism I can practice on my own, and that I think people should do more of (for instance, I'll trust claims with cited sources much more than uncited claims, even if I don't have the time to investigate the citations myself), but I and most similar layfolk really are kind of reduced to taking scientific claims on some level of faith.

It's a thing I'm usually at least somewhat comfortable doing, since there are definitely people out there who do investigate these things, and if something I've been hearing about is bunk word of this will often filter back to me. But that's less trust in The System than it is trust in the broader community to be on top of looking into this sort of thing for me, and unless I really trust the source I'll still end up taking claims I hear with the proverbial grain of salt.
Have you given up?
User avatar
Noc
Put on her robe and wizard hat ALL NIGHT LONG
 
Posts: 1330
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 7:36 pm UTC
Location: Within a 50 mile radius.

Re: I don't understand the faith people put in religious tex

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri Feb 03, 2012 7:21 am UTC

Noc wrote:It's a thing I'm usually at least somewhat comfortable doing, since there are definitely people out there who do investigate these things, and if something I've been hearing about is bunk word of this will often filter back to me.
"I trust the experts to debunk the experts"? That's the problem; there are vast dialogues going on where we don't understand anything that's being said--the skeptics or the proponents--so it often just comes down to a case of 'which side sounds more credible'.

I think that part of the benefit of critical thinking is that it comes with a suite of skills that allow you to assess credibility, though. Obviously, I can't navigate this mess, because I don't have the background; but I can apply critical thinking skills and figure out which side seems to have the most reasonable position, based on what tiny fraction of information I do know. For instance, simply asking 'what is group X's agenda?' tells you an enormous amount of information about their credibility (obviously, a religious organization has a strong incentive to justify religion; a government agency has a strong incentive to justify their existence; etc).

As applied to religious scripture: I think it's problematic when you're just trusting the authority of others. I'm a lot fonder of individual religious experiences; someone reads a piece of scripture, discovers something powerful that speaks to them, and trusts in that personal meaning. When organizations start telling people what scripture means, I get wary--because organizations have strong incentives to tell people what a particular piece of scripture means, and I don't trust that.

Of course, a lot of this is tremendously murky. A Catholic believer can trust their priest, but also take away their own personal interpretation of a piece of scripture. And just because a Catholic Priest told you scripture X means Y doesn't mean that they're trying to control your brain, or that you should throw away this interpretation--rather, I just think that a greater level of skepticism is healthier.
User avatar
The Great Hippo
 
Posts: 5964
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 4:43 am UTC
Location: behind you

Re: I don't understand the faith people put in religious tex

Postby Noc » Fri Feb 03, 2012 7:47 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
Noc wrote:It's a thing I'm usually at least somewhat comfortable doing, since there are definitely people out there who do investigate these things, and if something I've been hearing about is bunk word of this will often filter back to me.
"I trust the experts to debunk the experts"? That's the problem; there are vast dialogues going on where we don't understand anything that's being said--the skeptics or the proponents--so it often just comes down to a case of 'which side sounds more credible'.

I think that part of the benefit of critical thinking is that it comes with a suite of skills that allow you to assess credibility, though. Obviously, I can't navigate this mess, because I don't have the background; but I can apply critical thinking skills and figure out which side seems to have the most reasonable position, based on what tiny fraction of information I do know.

Well, yeah. I guess what I'm saying is that if something seems legit upon cursory critical inspection, I'll generally figure it to be legit. But if it receives a debunk, obviously someone thinks they spotted a problem, so I'll give the matter a closer inspection. And either way, in a great many cases the decision will boil down to which side, if any, "seems more legit."

Even that cursory inspection is pretty important, though, and catches lots of bunk that would otherwise slip through the net of credulity. I would imagine that a similar approach would apply just as well to theology: if someone tries to tell you what the scripture means, it probably makes sense to, say, actually take a look at the cited source to ascertain if their claim reads as a reasonable interpretation of the text.
Have you given up?
User avatar
Noc
Put on her robe and wizard hat ALL NIGHT LONG
 
Posts: 1330
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 7:36 pm UTC
Location: Within a 50 mile radius.

Re: I don't understand the faith people put in religious tex

Postby Zamfir » Fri Feb 03, 2012 10:09 am UTC

Noc wrote:Even that cursory inspection is pretty important, though, and catches lots of bunk that would otherwise slip through the net of credulity. I would imagine that a similar approach would apply just as well to theology: if someone tries to tell you what the scripture means, it probably makes sense to, say, actually take a look at the cited source to ascertain if their claim reads as a reasonable interpretation of the text.

That does lead to complicated results, though. Within Christianity, the most extreme biblical literalism is found in groups that strongly encourage self-study of the bible, especially evangelical protestants*. It's the result of exactly that attitude of not relying on appointed experts, be they priests or scientists, but thinking for yourself, and to find out for yourself which people you trust.

Of course, literalism and fundamentalism are not the only outcome of self-study, or of non-hierarchical religion. It's just a possibility. You can see something similar in science cranks, like people who prove relativity wrong or build a perpetuum mobile at home. In some specific ways, such people are closer to our supposed heros of science. The stubbornness of an Einstein who continued working at home after the community considered him not good enough, or a Galileo who doesn't listen to received wisdom but trusts his own lying eyes.

* Fun example: there's evangelical charity here that collects money to bring bibles to Poland, so the ignorant masses can read the true word for themselves.
User avatar
Zamfir
 
Posts: 6120
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:43 pm UTC
Location: Nederland

Re: I don't understand the faith people put in religious tex

Postby DSenette » Fri Feb 03, 2012 1:36 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:As to the original question, people want to believe. They need to believe. Life is full of questions for which their are no answers. The Religious texts give some type of meaning to life, and some kind of answers to those questions. We are built to ask questions that begin with why. There isn't really any answer to some of those questions but people seem to need one. So they create one. Science can't provide those kind of answers. So people turn to other things, and it's not really rational.

there aren't any questions that have no answers. there are questions that we don't know the answers to yet (we can mean both individuals and we as a species depending on your scale), but there's absolutely no reason to believe that there are questions that simply do not have actual answers.


the reason that religion is such a stalwart is because of how it's set up. and how long it's been running compared to how recently all of our REALLY important science type discoveries have come along. think of the time scale here, the earliest most simple religions (that are the basis for all religions) started millions of years ago....science started, at best, thousands of years ago.

so it's not our innate desire to ask questions, it's that there's been one system or another in place for eons that's told us that our questions are stupid and there's no reason to ask them.
The Righteous Hand Of Retribution
"The evaporation of 4 million who believe this crap would leave the world an instantly better place." ~Andre Codresu (re: "the Rapture")
DSenette
 
Posts: 2256
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2009 8:08 pm UTC

Re: I don't understand the faith people put in religious tex

Postby Tomo » Fri Feb 03, 2012 1:59 pm UTC

DSenette wrote:there aren't any questions that have no answers. there are questions that we don't know the answers to yet (we can mean both individuals and we as a species depending on your scale), but there's absolutely no reason to believe that there are questions that simply do not have actual answers.

the reason that religion is such a stalwart is because of how it's set up. and how long it's been running compared to how recently all of our REALLY important science type discoveries have come along. think of the time scale here, the earliest most simple religions (that are the basis for all religions) started millions of years ago....science started, at best, thousands of years ago.

so it's not our innate desire to ask questions, it's that there's been one system or another in place for eons that's told us that our questions are stupid and there's no reason to ask them.


I agree with everything you've said here, but I'd add that another main reason that religion is such a stalwart is that people are just lazy. Understanding science is a huge undertaking, requiring years of effort on behalf of the individual. Believing that god did it is pretty damn easy by comparison.
"Pick a number between 1 and 10."
"0.9999...?"
Tomo
 
Posts: 393
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 4:30 pm UTC

Re: I don't understand the faith people put in religious tex

Postby DSenette » Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:05 pm UTC

Tomo wrote:
DSenette wrote:there aren't any questions that have no answers. there are questions that we don't know the answers to yet (we can mean both individuals and we as a species depending on your scale), but there's absolutely no reason to believe that there are questions that simply do not have actual answers.

the reason that religion is such a stalwart is because of how it's set up. and how long it's been running compared to how recently all of our REALLY important science type discoveries have come along. think of the time scale here, the earliest most simple religions (that are the basis for all religions) started millions of years ago....science started, at best, thousands of years ago.

so it's not our innate desire to ask questions, it's that there's been one system or another in place for eons that's told us that our questions are stupid and there's no reason to ask them.


I agree with everything you've said here, but I'd add that another main reason that religion is such a stalwart is that people are just lazy. Understanding science is a huge undertaking, requiring years of effort on behalf of the individual. Believing that god did it is pretty damn easy by comparison.

understanding science isn't a huge effort. understanding highly complex scientific discoveries sure, but the average person doesn't need to know how quantum mechanics ACTUALLY works.

critical thinking, skepticism, the scientific method, those things are all easy! people think they're hard because they've never been taught to use them correctly, and in some cases, they've actually been taught NOT to use them
The Righteous Hand Of Retribution
"The evaporation of 4 million who believe this crap would leave the world an instantly better place." ~Andre Codresu (re: "the Rapture")
DSenette
 
Posts: 2256
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2009 8:08 pm UTC

Re: I don't understand the faith people put in religious tex

Postby Lucrece » Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:15 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
Lucrece wrote:That wasn't my point. My point was that scientists are likely to commit these acts, but the scientific system makes it much easier to identify and correct mistakes because we do not place the source of information above humans; and because we know a human is behind it, it's easier to accept a compelling case for why what we might have believed to be right was wrong.

There's no expectation of subservience to our source of guidance. It's a relationship between equals, and that shapes the way people interact with belief differently from a paternalistic relationship.
I don't know if I can agree, but that's largely because I see science enabling those sort of paternalistic relationships all the time--even within the very context of this thread. 'I'm thinking about this rationally, you're thinking about this irrationally--therefore I know what's best for you' -- this is a theme so common that it's pretty much become the modern basis for paternalism.

I agree that science may not be innately paternalistic in the same way most religious scripture is, but that's never been the problem; the problem is that people are innately paternalistic, so you're going to have paternalism regardless of which system you subscribe to.



There may be paternalism in the interaction, as it may be in our nature, but the difference with that paternalism is the ease with which we can challenge it. Challenging a guy condescending to me or saying "Hmmm, maybe my superior is wrong, so I'll follow up on this." is more likely to happen among people than "Hmm, creator of worlds and destroyer of evil might be wrong -- let me risk eternal agony and perdition to test that hypothesis."

The proportion is just distorted when you throw in the supernatural into the mix, because there's always a mystery in the way you interact with the source of information, who might not be cooperative or offer you what you ask for in order to be convinced. If one of my mentors makes a claim, and I feel strongly against it, I can follow up on him. If I feel he's a crook, I can investigate his connections to other people/organizations. He doesn't have something I never will have in order to understand the claim, because the whole point of mentoring/teaching is the assumption that information can be transferred and understood -- we're more or less on the same scale of cognitive capacity. Not so compared to omniscient beings that are not subject to our behavioral patterns or physical laws.
Belial wrote:That's charming, Nancy, but all I hear when you talk is a bunch of yippy dog sounds.
User avatar
Lucrece
 
Posts: 3212
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2008 12:01 am UTC

Re: I don't understand the faith people put in religious tex

Postby morriswalters » Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:05 pm UTC

Certainly there are questions that have no answers. Your child dies, or your spouse, you are moved to ask why? Do you think science has the answer? We want a reason, other than random chance. It's not rational but it's true none the less.
morriswalters
 
Posts: 3421
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:21 am UTC

Re: I don't understand the faith people put in religious tex

Postby DSenette » Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:26 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:Certainly there are questions that have no answers. Your child dies, or your spouse, you are moved to ask why? Do you think science has the answer? We want a reason, other than random chance. It's not rational but it's true none the less.

that's not a question that doesn't have an answer. that's a question that religion has forced us to think requires more of an answer than what you get.

that you're not satisfied with the answer you get, doesn't mean that there isn't an answer
The Righteous Hand Of Retribution
"The evaporation of 4 million who believe this crap would leave the world an instantly better place." ~Andre Codresu (re: "the Rapture")
DSenette
 
Posts: 2256
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2009 8:08 pm UTC

Re: I don't understand the faith people put in religious tex

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:38 pm UTC

DSenette wrote:the reason that religion is such a stalwart is because of how it's set up. and how long it's been running compared to how recently all of our REALLY important science type discoveries have come along. think of the time scale here, the earliest most simple religions (that are the basis for all religions) started millions of years ago....science started, at best, thousands of years ago.
...uh, what? Humans haven't even been around for millions of years. Try 200,000. And as far as we can tell, we weren't even doing anything particularly interesting up until 50,000 years ago. Cite.

The evolution of religion and science represent a far more complex, interdependent relationship; I don't think until recently (maybe the past thousand years?) that we've even bothered separating the two in the Western world.
DSenette wrote:so it's not our innate desire to ask questions, it's that there's been one system or another in place for eons that's told us that our questions are stupid and there's no reason to ask them.
This is... what? No. No. You're talking nonsense. These systems have been in constant evolution, always asking new questions, always extending their understanding of the universe. Yes, sometimes they contract in defense, fighting some new idea or some new question that threatens the establishment; this is almost inevitably followed by submission and expansion of thought. Compare the modern Catholic Church to the Catholic Church of a thousand years ago.

Besides, you think this sort of 'stop asking questions, just shut up and accept the status quo' bullshit doesn't happen in scientific circles, too?
morriswalters wrote:Certainly there are questions that have no answers. Your child dies, or your spouse, you are moved to ask why? Do you think science has the answer?
"Because a car hit them. Here's some books where you can read about the physics and biology involved."

Now, if you reframe your question: "Why did God allow my child to die?" -- or: "If the universe is just, why did my spouse die?" -- now they become difficult. You might notice the reason: Science doesn't presume the existence of God or a just universe. It's not interested in abstracts; it's interested in grinding away at our perceptions through sheer persistence so it can get as close to reality as possible.
User avatar
The Great Hippo
 
Posts: 5964
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 4:43 am UTC
Location: behind you

Re: I don't understand the faith people put in religious tex

Postby DSenette » Fri Feb 03, 2012 4:56 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
DSenette wrote:the reason that religion is such a stalwart is because of how it's set up. and how long it's been running compared to how recently all of our REALLY important science type discoveries have come along. think of the time scale here, the earliest most simple religions (that are the basis for all religions) started millions of years ago....science started, at best, thousands of years ago.
...uh, what? Humans haven't even been around for millions of years. Try 200,000. And as far as we can tell, we weren't even doing anything particularly interesting up until 50,000 years ago. Cite.

The evolution of religion and science represent a far more complex, interdependent relationship; I don't think until recently (maybe the past thousand years?) that we've even bothered separating the two in the Western world.
time scale failure, but the meaning is still the same.

which of the two formal systems is older as a system used to explain the world around us? religion, by far, because it was easier to point to the sky or the top of a mountain and say that the guy up there was responsible.

add to that the fact that formal religion, historically, is designed to not be questioned from the inside. and you end up with a way of thinking that's harder to overcome.

The Great Hippo wrote:
DSenette wrote:so it's not our innate desire to ask questions, it's that there's been one system or another in place for eons that's told us that our questions are stupid and there's no reason to ask them.
This is... what? No. No. You're talking nonsense. These systems have been in constant evolution, always asking new questions, always extending their understanding of the universe. Yes, sometimes they contract in defense, fighting some new idea or some new question that threatens the establishment; this is almost inevitably followed by submission and expansion of thought. Compare the modern Catholic Church to the Catholic Church of a thousand years ago.

Besides, you think this sort of 'stop asking questions, just shut up and accept the status quo' bullshit doesn't happen in scientific circles, too?
morriswalters wrote:Certainly there are questions that have no answers. Your child dies, or your spouse, you are moved to ask why? Do you think science has the answer?

yeah, compare the modern catholic church to the old catholic church and you get a church that today is sort of ok with divorce......they're still not terribly ok with contraception, or women's rights. so yeah, man they're like....totally progressive!

the reasons that religions have changed over the years are quite different than the reasons that science has changed (which, btw, science hasn't changed, the stuff we know has changed, and the way we know things has changed, but science itself hasn't.). religions have tended to change because they have been forced to, not because adaptation and inclusion are part of their basic structure.

take the churches that sprouted up during early times in europe. those didn't come about because someone was asking these deep ass questions about how the world works and what god was thinking about the changing world, those came about because some dude didn't like a rule in their rule book and said "fuck it, i can do this better than that pointy hatted fucker!". that's not evolution, that's fracturing.


as for the second part there, you're not talking about science the process (which is what i'm talking about), you're talking about science the institution, the groups of people that "do science". yeah, those are full of people, people don't like being challenged or told they're wrong. science itself, science the process doesn't give two shits about you or yours.
The Righteous Hand Of Retribution
"The evaporation of 4 million who believe this crap would leave the world an instantly better place." ~Andre Codresu (re: "the Rapture")
DSenette
 
Posts: 2256
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2009 8:08 pm UTC

Re: I don't understand the faith people put in religious tex

Postby Zamfir » Fri Feb 03, 2012 5:14 pm UTC

We have tainted science with our sinful presence.
User avatar
Zamfir
 
Posts: 6120
Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2008 2:43 pm UTC
Location: Nederland

Re: I don't understand the faith people put in religious tex

Postby DSenette » Fri Feb 03, 2012 5:17 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:We have tainted science with our sinful presence.
we've tainted science by paying people to do it
The Righteous Hand Of Retribution
"The evaporation of 4 million who believe this crap would leave the world an instantly better place." ~Andre Codresu (re: "the Rapture")
DSenette
 
Posts: 2256
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2009 8:08 pm UTC

Re: I don't understand the faith people put in religious tex

Postby The Great Hippo » Fri Feb 03, 2012 5:23 pm UTC

DSenette wrote:which of the two formal systems is older as a system used to explain the world around us? religion, by far, because it was easier to point to the sky or the top of a mountain and say that the guy up there was responsible.
This is an enormous oversimplification.
DSenette wrote:yeah, compare the modern catholic church to the old catholic church and you get a church that today is sort of ok with divorce......they're still not terribly ok with contraception, or women's rights. so yeah, man they're like....totally progressive!
That's very disengenuous of you. I didn't say they were progressive; I said they became more progressive. And they have.
DSenette wrote:as for the second part there, you're not talking about science the process (which is what i'm talking about), you're talking about science the institution, the groups of people that "do science". yeah, those are full of people, people don't like being challenged or told they're wrong. science itself, science the process doesn't give two shits about you or yours.
And religion is different how, exactly?
User avatar
The Great Hippo
 
Posts: 5964
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 4:43 am UTC
Location: behind you

Re: I don't understand the faith people put in religious tex

Postby DSenette » Fri Feb 03, 2012 5:37 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
DSenette wrote:which of the two formal systems is older as a system used to explain the world around us? religion, by far, because it was easier to point to the sky or the top of a mountain and say that the guy up there was responsible.
This is an enormous oversimplification.



DSenette wrote:yeah, compare the modern catholic church to the old catholic church and you get a church that today is sort of ok with divorce......they're still not terribly ok with contraception, or women's rights. so yeah, man they're like....totally progressive!
That's very disengenuous of you. I didn't say they were progressive; I said they became more progressive. And they have.[/quote]
so? you are suggesting that the simple fact that SOME things about religion have changed, somehow negates the fact that "god did it!" being the default answer isn't exactly conducive to wonder and advancement of knowledge. especially when the policy is typically to denounce or shun or in some other way punish those that question the base idea of "god did it"


The Great Hippo wrote:
DSenette wrote:as for the second part there, you're not talking about science the process (which is what i'm talking about), you're talking about science the institution, the groups of people that "do science". yeah, those are full of people, people don't like being challenged or told they're wrong. science itself, science the process doesn't give two shits about you or yours.
And religion is different how, exactly?

because it's a lot harder to separate the "stop asking questions and follow the rules!" stuff from religion, because in A LOT of instances that's part of their rule structure.

with science, the actual scientific method, "stop asking questions" is explicitly against the rules. so when someone is participating in that behavior you get to call them out for not doing science correctly.
The Righteous Hand Of Retribution
"The evaporation of 4 million who believe this crap would leave the world an instantly better place." ~Andre Codresu (re: "the Rapture")
DSenette
 
Posts: 2256
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2009 8:08 pm UTC

Re: I don't understand the faith people put in religious tex

Postby induction » Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:00 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:As to the original question, people want to believe. They need to believe. Life is full of questions for which their are no answers. The Religious texts give some type of meaning to life, and some kind of answers to those questions. We are built to ask questions that begin with why. There isn't really any answer to some of those questions but people seem to need one. So they create one. Science can't provide those kind of answers. So people turn to other things, and it's not really rational.


DSenette wrote:there aren't any questions that have no answers. there are questions that we don't know the answers to yet (we can mean both individuals and we as a species depending on your scale), but there's absolutely no reason to believe that there are questions that simply do not have actual answers.


To get nitpicky for a moment, even science admits of questions with no answers. Suppose physicists succeed in finding a Theory of Everything, and all physical forces are united in a single equation. We can still ask 'Why is that equation correct instead of a different one.' Science is all about explaining our physical observations, but those explanations are necessarily stated in terms of previously accepted (or new and improved) theories. There will necessarily be an end of the line, since all theories require at least one axiom. No matter how complete your theory is, at some point, you just have to say, 'That's just the way it seems to work.'

But I think what morriswalters is getting at is that there are some areas of human interest that science doesn't address. Morality is often considered to be among them. Science can help us achieve our moral aims, but can't tell us what we should want because that's not something we can physically measure.

Spoiler:
A student once said to the Buddha, “I never eat animals because they are our brothers and sisters.”
The Buddha replied, “Why shouldn’t we eat our brothers and sisters?”

Spoiler:
I know a lot of us object to arguments from authority, but I'm gonna put this here anyway:
Richard Feynman wrote:Western civilization, it seems to me, stands by two great heritages. One is the scientific spirit of adventure — the adventure into the unknown, an unknown which must be recognized as being unknown in order to be explored; the demand that the unanswerable mysteries of the universe remain unanswered; the attitude that all is uncertain; to summarize it — the humility of the intellect. The other great heritage is Christian ethics — the basis of action on love, the brotherhood of all men, the value of the individual — the humility of the spirit.
These two heritages are logically, thoroughly consistent. But logic is not all; one needs one's heart to follow an idea. If people are going back to religion, what are they going back to? Is the modern church a place to give comfort to a man who doubts God — more, one who disbelieves in God? Is the modern church a place to give comfort and encouragement to the value of such doubts? So far, have we not drawn strength and comfort to maintain the one or the other of these consistent heritages in a way which attacks the values of the other? Is this unavoidable? How can we draw inspiration to support these two pillars of western civilization so that they may stand together in full vigor, mutually unafraid? Is this not the central problem of our time? -Richard Feynman, 1956
induction
 
Posts: 241
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2012 8:00 am UTC

Re: I don't understand the faith people put in religious tex

Postby Azrael » Fri Feb 03, 2012 7:06 pm UTC

DSenette wrote:
Zamfir wrote:We have tainted science with our sinful presence.
we've tainted science by paying people to do it

That seems utterly unsupportable. To the point where I wonder if you took too much to heart when reading Anathem.
User avatar
Azrael
Unintentionally Intoxicated
 
Posts: 6080
Joined: Thu Apr 26, 2007 1:16 am UTC
Location: Boston

Re: I don't understand the faith people put in religious tex

Postby DSenette » Fri Feb 03, 2012 7:56 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:
DSenette wrote:
Zamfir wrote:We have tainted science with our sinful presence.
we've tainted science by paying people to do it

That seems utterly unsupportable. To the point where I wonder if you took too much to heart when reading Anathem.

no, it was meant to be tongue in cheek. or a flat out joke.
The Righteous Hand Of Retribution
"The evaporation of 4 million who believe this crap would leave the world an instantly better place." ~Andre Codresu (re: "the Rapture")
DSenette
 
Posts: 2256
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2009 8:08 pm UTC

Re: I don't understand the faith people put in religious tex

Postby morriswalters » Fri Feb 03, 2012 8:27 pm UTC

What I am trying to say is this. We are built by evolution to question. We question everything. We have to know the why of it. We invent narratives to explain everything. Science is very good at repeatable facts, but the world as it is, is mostly untouchable by science. If there is meaning it eludes science. There may be none, but that is unacceptable, because it doesn't answer questions. The brain does this. Lacking knowledge it makes it up. Read Michael S. Gazzaniga's, book Who's in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain.
morriswalters
 
Posts: 3421
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:21 am UTC

Re: I don't understand the faith people put in religious tex

Postby c_programmer » Fri Feb 03, 2012 10:59 pm UTC

induction wrote:To get nitpicky for a moment, even science admits of questions with no answers. Suppose physicists succeed in finding a Theory of Everything, and all physical forces are united in a single equation. We can still ask 'Why is that equation correct instead of a different one.' Science is all about explaining our physical observations, but those explanations are necessarily stated in terms of previously accepted (or new and improved) theories. There will necessarily be an end of the line, since all theories require at least one axiom. No matter how complete your theory is, at some point, you just have to say, 'That's just the way it seems to work.'

There will always be a philosophical argument to say that a deity is behind whatever just happened. Science will continually move a step back, explaining how it happened, and the deity explanation will move back as well. Regardless of how far back it goes it is nonsense to attribute it to a deity unless it can be demonstrated that something could not have happened naturally (this is different than the lack of a natural explanation) and would require some sort of supernatural intervention.

induction wrote:But I think what morriswalters is getting at is that there are some areas of human interest that science doesn't address. Morality is often considered to be among them. Science can help us achieve our moral aims, but can't tell us what we should want because that's not something we can physically measure.]

Richard Dawkins put it very well here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxdgCxK4VUA
User avatar
c_programmer
 
Posts: 93
Joined: Sun Apr 04, 2010 1:36 am UTC

Re: I don't understand the faith people put in religious tex

Postby induction » Sat Feb 04, 2012 12:16 am UTC

c_programmer wrote:There will always be a philosophical argument to say that a deity is behind whatever just happened. Science will continually move a step back, explaining how it happened, and the deity explanation will move back as well. Regardless of how far back it goes it is nonsense to attribute it to a deity unless it can be demonstrated that something could not have happened naturally (this is different than the lack of a natural explanation) and would require some sort of supernatural intervention.


Agreed. 'God did it' has always been a popular way of avoiding the painful phrase, 'I don't know'. I think that learning to say this without being embarrassed is one of the greatest benefits of a scientific education. Even so, I suspect many religious folks would not be satisfied by believing in a god who chose some string theory parameters and then washed his hands of the whole thing, since this generally doesn't satisfy the need for meaning that morriswalters refers to.

Also, nice Dawkins video. I never try to argue people out of their religious beliefs, but I am always willing to talk to them about what and why they believe. The most common reasons I hear regarding how they know God exists are along the lines of 'If there was no God, then there would be basis for morality' and/or 'life would be meaningless'. (I recognize that these responses clearly only provide their motivation to want to believe, and provide no evidence of actual existence at all.) In my mind, morality should be based on neither science nor scripture, but rather on things like empathy and the predicted effects of behavior on society. But neither of these concepts (empathy and social stability) are easily explainable to small children. If you want them to behave it's easier to tell them something they can understand. Then they grow up with it programmed into their heads and eventually teach it to their own children. Rational examination of one's own programming makes many people very uncomfortable, which is why arguing with them about it is usually not fruitful. They just become defensive.
induction
 
Posts: 241
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2012 8:00 am UTC

Re: I don't understand the faith people put in religious tex

Postby Tomo » Sat Feb 04, 2012 2:25 am UTC

DSenette wrote:
Tomo wrote:I agree with everything you've said here, but I'd add that another main reason that religion is such a stalwart is that people are just lazy. Understanding science is a huge undertaking, requiring years of effort on behalf of the individual. Believing that god did it is pretty damn easy by comparison.

understanding science isn't a huge effort. understanding highly complex scientific discoveries sure, but the average person doesn't need to know how quantum mechanics ACTUALLY works.


Quantum mechanics is true, trust me.
God made everything for sure, trust me.

I'm sorry, but there's really no difference between science and religion from a laymans point of view other than the fact that scientific results could be understandable by them given they put in the time.
"Pick a number between 1 and 10."
"0.9999...?"
Tomo
 
Posts: 393
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 4:30 pm UTC

Re: I don't understand the faith people put in religious tex

Postby The Great Hippo » Sat Feb 04, 2012 2:53 am UTC

DSenette wrote:so? you are suggesting that the simple fact that SOME things about religion have changed, somehow negates the fact that "god did it!" being the default answer isn't exactly conducive to wonder and advancement of knowledge. especially when the policy is typically to denounce or shun or in some other way punish those that question the base idea of "god did it"
That's not the default answer, and--again--represents an enormous oversimplification. People have been inspired to ask 'why' and seek answers long before we formalized the methodology. While religious organizations (note that important distinction) opposed questions which challenged their right to credibility, this is not much different than any other organization. But since there are no experiments you can perform to directly disprove the existence of God, this hasn't really been a huge problem.

If you actually look at the history, you'll see that, in the West, religion tends to support scientific advancement pretty much universally1.
DSenette wrote:because it's a lot harder to separate the "stop asking questions and follow the rules!" stuff from religion, because in A LOT of instances that's part of their rule structure.

with science, the actual scientific method, "stop asking questions" is explicitly against the rules. so when someone is participating in that behavior you get to call them out for not doing science correctly.
Organizations tend to oppose challenging the very presumption upon which they were founded. I doubt scientific organizations would appreciate it if I kept asking questions like "But can we really trust empirical data?" or "Sure, every test we've done indicates X, but have you considered the possibility that God might prefer Y?".

But that's mostly irrelevant, since it wasn't even my point; you said I'm not allowed to criticize the scientific establishment, because that's not actual 'science'. My response was to ask how is that different from religion--why are you allowed to criticize the religious establishment? Can't I claim that's not actually religion? Maybe the 'rules' you're criticizing aren't the actual process of religion, which is ideally an unorganized structure that doesn't rely on doling out religious authority and credibility.

Either way, I just want you to think about this more critically--rather than rushing to pass judgment on something you clearly don't understand.
morriswalters wrote:What I am trying to say is this. We are built by evolution to question. We question everything. We have to know the why of it. We invent narratives to explain everything. Science is very good at repeatable facts, but the world as it is, is mostly untouchable by science.
What? No. Science is fantastic at the world as it is (or, at least, at the world as our senses describe it). That's the one thing it does far better than anything else.

1If you respond to this by citing Gallileo and the Scopes Trial, then I officially give the fuck up.
User avatar
The Great Hippo
 
Posts: 5964
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 4:43 am UTC
Location: behind you

Re: I don't understand the faith people put in religious tex

Postby Zcorp » Sat Feb 04, 2012 11:53 am UTC

Tomo wrote:
Quantum mechanics is true, trust me.
God made everything for sure, trust me.

I'm sorry, but there's really no difference between science and religion from a laymans point of view other than the fact that scientific results could be understandable by them given they put in the time.

Except the layman can educate themselves about Quantum Mechanics and test those results. A layman can not educate themselves about knowing that God made everything. Beyond that as already mentioned, science is required to stand up to scrutiny, Religion is not. With a tool like reason laymen can become aware of how things function within the findings of areas studied with the scientific method. They do not have to have a strong grasp of high level math to understand how most of relativity, for example, works.
They can, without specializing in a specific field, understand the knowledge created by scientific inquiry if the are educated with the proper thinking tools. They can even be taught to navigate social sciences with just a strong understanding of reason and little understanding of the math behind statistics.


The Great Hippo wrote:But that's mostly irrelevant, since it wasn't even my point; you said I'm not allowed to criticize the scientific establishment, because that's not actual 'science'. My response was to ask how is that different from religion--why are you allowed to criticize the religious establishment? Can't I claim that's not actually religion? Maybe the 'rules' you're criticizing aren't the actual process of religion, which is ideally an unorganized structure that doesn't rely on doling out religious authority and credibility.
What is the point you are trying to make here? Beyond that the authority figures in academia are fallible, and that an appeal to authority is a shitty argument? That religion and science are equal in what exactly, not wanting to be criticized?

If you actually look at the history, you'll see that, in the West, religion tends to support scientific advancement pretty much universally1.
By religion you mean who? The Catholic Church? The Protestants? Consistently we see a fight of faith vs reason in education. Creationism, sex ed, pretty much no prominent psychologist for its first 70 years was well liked nor respected by the Catholic Church which often fought against the use and advancement of the field. There is a complete disregard for it within New Age Spirituality. You seem to be speaking specifically of geology, biology, physics and astronomy. What else do you see western religion supporting? And by supporting you mean what? Their support doesn't include educating their laity of scientific findings nor scientific thinking.


I keep responding to your posts, but this discussion is going nowhere because neither you nor DSenette are defining terms.


The best process that we use to gain knowledge, that we call science, is slow and often riddled with problems due to bias. However the great benefit of it is the massively greater level of accessibility for anyone than speaking with God. It sometimes takes a while to replicate studies and increase or decrease the validity of findings, and when they are done poorly or dishonestly there is often massive repercussions (see Andrew Wakefield). But the process isn't corrupt even of some people who claim authority are. Because of this we can check results. Blaming the process on the corruption of people, especially in a age where most people still can't check results, is silly.
User avatar
Zcorp
 
Posts: 975
Joined: Sat Apr 18, 2009 3:14 am UTC

Re: I don't understand the faith people put in religious tex

Postby The Great Hippo » Sat Feb 04, 2012 4:36 pm UTC

Zcorp wrote:What is the point you are trying to make here? Beyond that the authority figures in academia are fallible, and that an appeal to authority is a shitty argument? That religion and science are equal in what exactly, not wanting to be criticized?
Yes. I was addressing DSenette's argument to the contrary.
Zcorp wrote:By religion you mean who? The Catholic Church? The Protestants?
Western religion; i.e., largely the Abrahamic faiths. Is that really unclear?
Zcorp wrote: Consistently we see a fight of faith vs reason in education. Creationism, sex ed, pretty much no prominent psychologist for its first 70 years was well liked nor respected by the Catholic Church which often fought against the use and advancement of the field. There is a complete disregard for it within New Age Spirituality. You seem to be speaking specifically of geology, biology, physics and astronomy. What else do you see western religion supporting? And by supporting you mean what? Their support doesn't include educating their laity of scientific findings nor scientific thinking.
I beg your pardon; supporting was a very poor choice of words. 'Remaining indifferent' would be better. I do think there have been places and times where religion has supported the sciences (providing both education and momentum), but they are likely as few and far between as the points where religion has opposed the sciences.
Zcorp wrote:I keep responding to your posts, but this discussion is going nowhere because neither you nor DSenette are defining terms.
Oh, please. 'Religion in the West' is clearly a reference to the Abrahamic faiths, not New Age Spirituality (which borrows heavily from Eastern traditions). And I'm arguing against DSenette's murky terminology and asking for them to think more critically about this; I'm not providing a terminology for them to replace their own with. Screw that; I'm not an expert. But I have enough understanding of the subject to explain why DSenette's terms are balls.
Zcorp wrote:The best process that we use to gain knowledge, that we call science, is slow and often riddled with problems due to bias. However the great benefit of it is the massively greater level of accessibility for anyone than speaking with God. It sometimes takes a while to replicate studies and increase or decrease the validity of findings, and when they are done poorly or dishonestly there is often massive repercussions (see Andrew Wakefield). But the process isn't corrupt even of some people who claim authority are. Because of this we can check results. Blaming the process on the corruption of people, especially in a age where most people still can't check results, is silly.
Oh hey, look, a bunch of other stuff I don't disagree with.
User avatar
The Great Hippo
 
Posts: 5964
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 4:43 am UTC
Location: behind you

Re: I don't understand the faith people put in religious tex

Postby Zcorp » Sat Feb 04, 2012 6:56 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Western religion; i.e., largely the Abrahamic faiths. Is that really unclear?
I understand what you meant by Western Religion but it is far to board of a term to use when you suggest that large category of culture supports scientific progress. It is also one that isn't true.

I beg your pardon; supporting was a very poor choice of words. 'Remaining indifferent' would be better. I do think there have been places and times where religion has supported the sciences (providing both education and momentum), but they are likely as few and far between as the points where religion has opposed the sciences.

So, "Abrahamic Faiths" are "remaining indifferent" to scientific advancement. By Abrahamic faiths I'll assume you mean the leadership of western religions organizations, not the laity. Although neither really remain different, consistently there are fights over values, changes in culture, acceptance of knowledge, methods, law and education. Again I'll bring up Creationism and Sex Ed, two areas where Western Religions leadership has not done anything close to remaining indifferent. While these are just two easy examples, with great frequency Western Religions laity and leadership impeded scientific advancement with the populace's knowledge and understanding.

So who is it that you are speaking of when you state "If you actually look at the history, you'll see that, in the West, religion tends to support scientific advancement pretty much universally."


Oh, please. 'Religion in the West' is clearly a reference to the Abrahamic faiths, not New Age Spirituality (which borrows heavily from Eastern traditions).
I was confused about who you think was supporting scientific knowledge within Western Religions not that it means Abrahamic ones. I just brought up New Age ideas as another idea that has emerged that ignores the processes of science, I did not mean to imply it fell under the description of a Western Religion.


And I'm arguing against DSenette's murky terminology and asking for them to think more critically about this; I'm not providing a terminology for them to replace their own with. Screw that; I'm not an expert. But I have enough understanding of the subject to explain why DSenette's terms are balls.
Sure. By mentioning that "I keep responding to your posts, but..." I meant to convey that, even though I'm responding to you, his choice of words isn't great either.



Zcorp wrote:The best process that we use to gain knowledge, that we call science, is slow and often riddled with problems due to bias. However the great benefit of it is the massively greater level of accessibility for anyone than speaking with God. It sometimes takes a while to replicate studies and increase or decrease the validity of findings, and when they are done poorly or dishonestly there is often massive repercussions (see Andrew Wakefield). But the process isn't corrupt even of some people who claim authority are. Because of this we can check results. Blaming the process on the corruption of people, especially in a age where most people still can't check results, is silly.
Oh hey, look, a bunch of other stuff I don't disagree with.

Aye, I was posting this last part in an attempt to add clarity to the discussion in general.
User avatar
Zcorp
 
Posts: 975
Joined: Sat Apr 18, 2009 3:14 am UTC

Re: I don't understand the faith people put in religious tex

Postby The Great Hippo » Sat Feb 04, 2012 7:42 pm UTC

Zcorp wrote:So, "Abrahamic Faiths" are "remaining indifferent" to scientific advancement. By Abrahamic faiths I'll assume you mean the leadership of western religions organizations, not the laity. Although neither really remain different, consistently there are fights over values, changes in culture, acceptance of knowledge, methods, law and education. Again I'll bring up Creationism and Sex Ed, two areas where Western Religions leadership has not done anything close to remaining indifferent. While these are just two easy examples, with great frequency Western Religions laity and leadership impeded scientific advancement with the populace's knowledge and understanding.
Western religions impede scientific advancement only when scientific advancement challenges the credibility of western religions. Creationism is one of those times, yes. But try to see it in a broader context: Has western religion opposed the microprocessor? What about the discovery of different types of molecules? Are there religious protesters arguing against teaching the theory of gravity, or calculus? Put another way--if we were to somehow express the amount of technological and scientific progress western religion has opposed on the whole as a percentage, do you think that percentage would be very high?

I do agree that western religion is responsible for a lot of corrosive ideology; my problem with this line of thinking is that we often overemphasize just how opposed religion is to science. Religion, like any system, doesn't like to be challenged. When science does challenge it, it fights back. On the all, this usually doesn't happen--the spheres they govern are so distant that intersections between the two are actually pretty rare. Things like evolution and sexual education represent aberrations--for every piece of science religion opposes, there's probably ten more it doesn't.

Given the choice, I will inevitably side with science, because science is inevitably the best system by which to make predictions grounded in the reality we know. I just don't like this notion that science and religion are diametrically opposed. Religion and science can be reconciled. Yes, it's religion that will always have to give up ground, but convincing religion to do that requires understanding its values and encouraging it find better, healthier ways to express them.
Zcorp wrote:Sure. By mentioning that "I keep responding to your posts, but..." I meant to convey that, even though I'm responding to you, his choice of words isn't great either.

...

Aye, I was posting this last part in an attempt to add clarity to the discussion in general.
I beg your pardon; I thought the statements both of these quotes are referring to were directed exclusively to me.
User avatar
The Great Hippo
 
Posts: 5964
Joined: Fri Dec 14, 2007 4:43 am UTC
Location: behind you

Re: I don't understand the faith people put in religious tex

Postby Zcorp » Sat Feb 04, 2012 8:10 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:Western religions impede scientific advancement only when scientific advancement challenges the credibility of western religions. Creationism is one of those times, yes. But try to see it in a broader context: Has western religion opposed the microprocessor? What about the discovery of different types of molecules? Are there religious protesters arguing against teaching the theory of gravity, or calculus? Put another way--if we were to somehow express the amount of technological and scientific progress western religion has opposed on the whole as a percentage, do you think that percentage would be very high?
Yes, you have only mentioned a few areas of physical sciences. Social sciences are consistently contested and often have hot debates.

But even in the physical sciences there are not insignificant opposing groups like the Amish, Mennonites and Christian Scientists.


I do agree that western religion is responsible for a lot of corrosive ideology; my problem with this line of thinking is that we often overemphasize just how opposed religion is to science. Religion, like any system, doesn't like to be challenged. When science does challenge it, it fights back. On the all, this usually doesn't happen--the spheres they govern are so distant that intersections between the two are actually pretty rare. Things like evolution and sexual education represent aberrations--for every piece of science religion opposes, there's probably ten more it doesn't.
Granted I work in education and my area of study is social science, and more specifically psychology, but pretty much everything ends up being a fight with Religion from that experience. Not just religion mind you, the establishment of our educational group think is as, if not more, impeding than the religious but it is a consistent impediment to progress within my field.


Given the choice, I will inevitably side with science, because science is inevitably the best system by which to make predictions grounded in the reality we know. I just don't like this notion that science and religion are diametrically opposed. Religion and science can be reconciled. Yes, it's religion that will always have to give up ground, but convincing religion to do that requires understanding its values and encouraging it find better, healthier ways to express them.
Critical Thinking and Faith are diametrically opposed. Which generally leads to very different values, even different amounts of knowledge we can expect individuals to understand. The significant fight between religion and science isn't one over if things fall down, or if we should make computers but one over culture. What we should be teaching people, how to access that information, how to treat people, how to punish, how to think about yourself, the world and what responsibilities you have to society and it has to you.
User avatar
Zcorp
 
Posts: 975
Joined: Sat Apr 18, 2009 3:14 am UTC

PreviousNext

Return to Serious Business

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: broarbape, Enthalpie and 2 guests