The Great Hippo wrote:Why not? It satisfies all the requirements--faith in God, and commandments to follow. What more is required? When I believed in God as a child--and prayed every night--was I not religious? Does it matter that my belief's only important tenet was to try and do good for fellow human beings? Does the simplicity of my prior faith somehow invalidate it as a religious creed?
Faith in a deity and commandments do not make a religion.
Wikipedia: "Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values"
You are being entirely disingenuous when you are separating the single action of praying to a deity and calling that religion. While it is a behavior that is consistent with the culture and rituals of a religion it is not itself a religion. Religion is more than just the quote above, but very specifically religion relates to belief systems. It encompasses many beliefs that are associated with each other.
Humanism, also a belief system, does not associate itself at all with a deity. It is not dependent upon one nor does it follow from Humanism that a deity exists.
When you just throw a deity on top of that and say 'Look now we have a religion' you are not being honest about how beliefs function, reason functions nor how belief systems function.
And you still need to define this deity for me. Are we talking about something close to Coyote
or possibly the Christian God
? What defines this god, and how do we know of them? What does this god do? What does this god want us to do? Does this god communicate with us? Writings and stories define other deities and belief systems, what defines yours?
I'm sorry, I might have misunderstood or missed it; what was the evidence? Can you point me to the specific evidence that irrational beliefs are inherently harmful?
Because you missed it I'll quote myself from the post you are directly replying to.
Zcorp wrote:I've stated it is LESS healthy. Thus WORSE for well-being. I've stated numerous times there is utility in positive psychology. You really need to read what I write instead of what you want to read.
Now what this means: When I as an individual refuse to accept or am having trouble dealing with reality for whatever reason I might use escapism to try and alleviate my stress. This would be a defense mechanism. While this is less healthy than accepting reality it is a frequency occurrence in human behavior, especially in those who are not taught tools to assist them in accepting and understanding reality (so most people). If this lack of acceptance becomes chronic we start to categorize that behavior as psycho-pathological
. We observe that individuals who hold significant irrational beliefs start to have significant problems relating to people, society and other functioning in other aspects of their lives.
Say refusing to accept the death of a loved one. Because of this refusal this individual still believes they see and speak with the deceased, bringing their lack of acceptance into full blown delusion. Now this could be pretty much harmless, this individual could only speak to the deceased alone, never speak of seeing them and what the deceased 'tells' them could result in little harm. Due to this their other relationships might not suffer as no one knows about their delusion, their job might not suffer as it might not prohibit their ability to function and they might be able to easily form new relationships. However, we observe a high frequency in cases like this where individuals continue to delude themselves further. Creating greater conflict between what they make real in their heads and what is real. This greater conflict results in behaviors that are generally hard to understand by people close to them. Which often leads to them pulling away from other people, which we have observed creates greater problems in the human psyche.
Now as for teaching irrational beliefs that seem harmless. The primary difference between beliefs attained through Reason and Faith, well tautologically, the way they were created. One approaches from a place of skepticism looking for evidence of an occurrence and building on that evidence and judging the strength of that evidence to form a belief. The other establishes beliefs without evidence and tries to adapt the world to fit those beliefs. Now the problem with this is two fold, first people are generally poor at changing their beliefs. So once I have established a belief without evidence, I have Faith, changing that belief is difficult. In fact, we have observed that when you present evidence against that a belief created through by faith the belief grows stronger and not weaker. Second, with reason, one establishes beliefs and their strength or weight based on evidence often through a hierarchy of observations when presented with new evidence are not only more adept at changing their belief to fit this evidence they can, because they have actively set up a hierarchy of belief, with greater ease change associated beliefs as well.
The harm comes in when irrational beliefs are challenged by, or come in conflict with, reality. We have observed that when someone holds an irrational belief and reality conflicts the strength of that belief grows. Often this means that an additional irrational belief is created to compensate for the conflict. Say I have a faith that every time I wear green socks it rains. Then I wear green socks and it doesn't rain. Because I did not form my belief through observation of reality I'm very likely to add on a stipulation to my belief rather than change it. Say the day that it didn't rain was Wednesday. I might adapt my faith to "Every time I wear green socks it rains, unless it is Wednesday." Then next week I wear green socks on Wednesday and it rains. I might adapt my faith to "Every time I wear green socks it rains, unless it is Wednesday. Although if I don't eat breakfast on that Wednesday it still rains." This often continues and these beliefs becomes rationalized often to crazy extremes. These beliefs often have associated behavioral changes. Many of these beliefs are also related to someones feelings. Which becomes a positive feedback loop. Say an individual feels safer or less anxious (they have faith they are better in some way) when they triple check
the locks on a door. So every time they come home they do that and they feel better, than one day for whatever reason (bad day at work, a speeding ticket w/e, they heard on the news of a robbery nearby) their normal ritual doesn't make them feel the same way. So they add another step, they triple check the doors lock and then go and lock all the windows. Then it happens again: they now triple check the door lock, the and window locks multiple times throughout the night. Then it happens again; they triple check the lock, lock all the windows and look out the window to make sure no one is walking up to their house. Then again...and while watching their yard they write down everything that happens. Now their entire evening, and night consists of re-locking doors and windows while watching and taking notes of anything that happens in their yard or on the street in front of their house. This could affect their sleeping, it certainly affects their productivity during that time and this entire time they are in an emotional state of fear which they are letting control their behavior.
Irrational beliefs lead to erroneous justifications of those beliefs when they are confronted with evidence that those beliefs are wrong. But this is just the tip of the iceberg this is one of many defense mechanisms and how it might turn out. People are capable of overcoming various problems related to irrational beliefs and obviously not all irrational beliefs will result in significantly impairing OCD as described above. However, irrational beliefs have a much higher chance of creating problems. Not only on a personal psyche level as just described but in an individual relating to a community or communities relating to each other. Irrational beliefs lead to conflicts with reality, conflicts with reality generally lead to conflicts with other people or isolation from them. Both of which escalate the severity of the problem.
Whoa, whoa. First off, when someone 'withholds information and aspects of the world from children', do you consider that not lying?
Of course. We aren't talking about a lie by omission here, that should be obvious by the context. Refusing to purchase internet access and a computer is quite obviously not a lie.
Second off--when you said 'perpetuating an ignorance in their children about alternate possibilities', how was I supposed to read that? Because I read that as misrepresenting alternatives, which is clearly a deceptive practice. An example would be teaching Creationism to children by misrepresenting evolutionary arguments--misquoting Darwin, for instance. Obviously, if you need to lie to children to convince them that your beliefs are right, it's worth contemplating that your beliefs aren't right--or even worth teaching. Was I supposed to read your statement as 'unintentionally perpetuating an ignorance'?
Again we are discussing this in the context of Amish, Mennonites and Christian Science. An example would be never talking your child to a doctor nor teaching them any biology and instead only educating them on how prayer can heal you.
Okay. Reread what you wrote:
Zcorp wrote:If you are educating your child to be a critical thinker you actually have to teach them to reason, as the skill is largely defined by it. If you haven't reasoned through your own beliefs there is no possibility of you doing what I'm suggesting with your child.
I'm not going to get deep into this, but the last part of your statement here directly implies that what you're talking about is 'educating your child to be a critical thinker'. As in: "There is no possibility of you educating your child to be a critical thinker if you haven't reasoned through your own beliefs". How else am I supposed to interpret 'what I'm suggesting with your child'? Is this really a case where I'm misreading you?
We were discussing teaching your child about your own beliefs. My statement was in that context, why do you keep removing context?
There is no possibility of doing what I'm suggesting
(educating your children about your beliefs. Educating
and specifically not indoctrinating those beliefs) if you have not reasoned through your own beliefs.
That's fair, but outside of hard sciences, I'm always suspicious when someone can't boil down an argument into some intuitive form. I accept "Because they just do" as an explanation for something like why magnets attract metal (the real explanation would require at least several college courses to understand, and metaphors fail to do the true answer justice!), but when you're proposing the notion that irrational beliefs are inevitably detrimental, I'd like at least something more reasonable sounding than "because psychology says so" before I'll take you at your word. I don't accept "because psychology said so", because--as you yourself have pointed out--psychology is full of fraudsters. Mathematics and other hard sciences are less forgiving toward bad science; psychology is far more fuzzy. I need a deeper explanation before I can just accept the premise based on the credibility of the field.
I suppose I assumed that some basic elements of psychology were more prevalent in general understanding than they are. I don't mean that as a criticism of you, but as a failing of my own. The answer isn't 'because psychology said so' but because it is a base level observation we have made about human mental health. Something akin to hot air rising or mass attracting mass in physics. The specifics of this observation change based on the components, but is a general observation about human behavior and well-being.
Reality doesn't change because you don't believe in its effects or occurrences. When your beliefs are put in conflict with reality you accept reality (the more healthy option) or enact a defense mechanism to maintain your belief despite reality (the less healthy option). I feel like I explained this fairly well above, tell me if I did not. Maslow's Hierarchy
, besides the of valid criticisms of the 'hierarchy' aspect of the concept, is a taught because it is a more than decent representation of human needs. Social science progresses just like the physical ones, through observations and experimentation. Specifically ones that hold up to the principles of validity, reliability and consistency with other observations. The greater number of those needs that are met the 'healthier' the individual is. By healthy we mean the less stressed they feel, the more productive they are, they less self-destructive they are and the less socially destructive they are. Another attempt to distill human needs can be found within Choice Theory
. We can observe that the more of these needs that are met the healthier people behave. However, the amount of each need required to feel fulfilled (for lack of a better term, meant to mean that person is not seeking to fill that need) varies based on the individual. An individual with a low nor non-existent love and belonging need can be represented in a variety of ways. Say for example an individual has no drive to fill that need and a low Agreenableness
you have significant potential for Anti-social personality disorder
(often referred to as sociopathy). An individual who cares little about others well-being and has a low need for love and belonging is more likely to behave in a way that harms others and society, call them a constant defector in Prisoner's Dilemma. While an individual with a high need for love and belonging but still low level of agreeableness is likely to exhibit Histrionic
behaviors. However, all of this depends on other aspects of the individuals personality and experiences as well. A large part of that being their knowledge base and beliefs. If we can improve peoples knowledge base and methods for acquiring beliefs we can assist them in behaving in healthier ways. Both for themselves and for society.