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Meeting with LogicAndReason
Posted: 16 July 2008 02:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]  
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Bruce: “First, reason is not necessary at all with respect to receiving accurate information about reality. Non-reasoning animals receive sensory input and accurately process it without ever having any consciousness or rational thought, and they survive just fine.”

I just smashed a non-reasoning cockroach on my patio table tonight… perhaps a little reasoning could have helped the creepy little beetle… if it had had some reasoning capacity it would have stayed out of my back yard and off of my table. It’s “sensory input,” unfortunately for it, didn’t “accurately process” the fact that we in our household, are not buddhists that practice ahimsa in regard to the roach. But you’re correct, they are probably better at survival overall… the damn spray that our neighbors payed the professional bug killers for to kill them didn’t kill ‘em.

In other words, the “reality” of the roach (or any other insect) cannot be compared to mammalian “reality,”  especially in regard to instinctual survival of a particular species.

Bruce:  “My point is simply that reason is not the be-all-and-end-all of information acquisition.”

But it sure helps.

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Posted: 16 July 2008 06:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]  
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isocratic infidel - 16 July 2008 06:55 AM

Bruce:  “My point is simply that reason is not the be-all-and-end-all of information acquisition.”

But it sure helps.

Helps what? If we aren’t any better at survival than sharks and cockroaches, what does it help? You smashed one cockroach. How many people have been killed by bugs, viruses, bacteria, etc.? Our knowledge, made possible by our reason, now threatens to exterminate all life. We’ll smash ‘em all - we’re reasonable - we’ll show ‘em!

Perhaps there is another realm of information that we can access that will help us avoid all this - the realm of the spirit, that Jesus taught about.

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Posted: 16 July 2008 09:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]  
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Bruce Burleson - 16 July 2008 10:35 AM

How many people have been killed by bugs, viruses, bacteria, etc.? Our knowledge, made possible by our reason, now threatens to exterminate all life. We’ll smash ‘em all - we’re reasonable - we’ll show ‘em!

Perhaps there is another realm of information that we can access that will help us avoid all this - the realm of the spirit, that Jesus taught about.

Unless you think somebody’s watching, the issue is really moot, so stop asking questions that assume your conclusion. Part of the cause of the impending mass extinction is that not enough people die of disease before they reach sexual maturity.

isocratic infidel - 16 July 2008 06:55 AM

I just smashed a non-reasoning cockroach on my patio table tonight… perhaps a little reasoning could have helped the creepy little beetle…

I got smashed on somebody’s patio a couple of weeks ago, too. It was the margaritas.

[ Edited: 16 July 2008 09:37 AM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 16 July 2008 01:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]  
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Salt Creek - 16 July 2008 01:34 PM

I got smashed on somebody’s patio a couple of weeks ago, too. It was the margaritas.

Did you leave a a stain on the patio table and were spike heels involved?

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Posted: 24 July 2008 10:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]  
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Meeting Bruce only reinforces my belief that he and I as humans (a Christian and an Atheist) have more in common than not.  Bruce is a good man who is a theist.  Nothing about the latter part of that statement diminishes the former part.

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Posted: 25 July 2008 12:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]  
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LogicAndReason - 24 July 2008 02:33 PM

Meeting Bruce only reinforces my belief that he and I as humans (a Christian and an Atheist) have more in common than not.  Bruce is a good man who is a theist.  Nothing about the latter part of that statement diminishes the former part.

I thought Bruce was a masochist. Perhaps visiting the SH forum is something like a ritualistic flogging. Thankfully, I know that Bruce has a good sense of humor.

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Posted: 31 July 2008 08:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]  
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LogicAndReason - 24 July 2008 02:33 PM

Bruce is a good man who is a moderate theist.  Nothing about the latter part of that statement diminishes the former part.

I would make that slight ammendment to the statement.

Moderate here being synonymous with compromize.

Bruce’s behaviour being compatible with an attempt at a rational and fair society relies on him ignoring vast portions of the good book.

Now don’t get me wrong I am impressed that people manage to pull off this amazing stunt in cognitive partition. But it still means and this should be of most concern to Bruce. That there is a huge ammount of seriously fucked up stuff in the bible that is lurking for Bruce’s approval.

But it should not be taken too lightly that this active censorship of a book that supposedly can’t be wrong, should only be expected to remain as long as the rest of us are not devout believers as well. The vast majority of society that does not truly believe enforce this censorship in most theists.

If that kind of group pressure would disappear.. I wouldn’t want to see what happens, and I hope Bruce will give that a moments thought too.

In a world with only Christians, the spin down the maelstrom of retardation will not be held back. The progress that secular society has made will only guarantee that the return into the darkages is not instant. It will happen in one small seemingly harmless step at a time and before you know it the frog is boiled.

[ Edited: 31 July 2008 08:11 AM by Unbeliever]
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Posted: 31 July 2008 08:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]  
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Unbeliever - 31 July 2008 12:07 PM
LogicAndReason - 24 July 2008 02:33 PM

Bruce is a good man who is a moderate theist.  Nothing about the latter part of that statement diminishes the former part.

I would make that slight ammendment to the statement.

Moderate here being synonymous with compromize.

Bruce is a man of great personal integrity and does not compromise his core belief.  The error here is that you would wish to lump him into a neat pile of fascist far right Christians who scream for theocratic rule and fundamentalism…this is not our friend Bruce.  He discusses much of the Bible as historical allegory (which it is) and centers his belief on Salvation through Christ.  You and I may reject this based on rational thought or lack of evidence but I hope neither are standing on a platform of absolutism.

Unbeliever - 31 July 2008 12:07 PM

Bruce’s behaviour being compatible with an attempt at a rational and fair society relies on him ignoring vast portions of the good book.

Bruce has addressed this issue in a concise and scholarly way many times here and he is not a literalist.  Do you see him here arguing about 6 day creation or talking snakes?

Unbeliever - 31 July 2008 12:07 PM

Now don’t get me wrong I am impressed that people manage to pull off this amazing stunt in cognitive partition. But it still means and this should be of most concern to Bruce. That there is a huge ammount of seriously fucked up stuff in the bible that is lurking for Bruce’s approval.

We atheist fight against bigotry and chauvinism only to spout it back at theist.  Yes the bible is full of unbelievable stories and what I deem to be total fiction.  Yes theist use exegesis and hermeneutics to try to mold (IMO) irrational or unprovable tales into something that seems palatable and rational.  Bruce’s belief system is based on the death/resurrection of Jesus and salvation.  He and many other Christians are not arguing the genocide in Joshua or misogyny in Genesis and Judges.  Maybe you should ask him yourself. When do we get to classify all Christians as having to be fundamentalist? 

Unbeliever - 31 July 2008 12:07 PM

But it should not be taken too lightly that this active censorship of a book that supposedly can’t be wrong, should only be expected to remain as long as the rest of us are not devout believers as well. The vast majority of society that does not truly believe enforce this censorship in most theists.

How do you qualify that statement?

Unbeliever - 31 July 2008 12:07 PM

If that kind of group pressure would disappear.. I wouldn’t want to see what happens, and I hope Bruce will give that a moments thought too.

Why not just say what you mean here?  Do you accuse Bruce of only being nice because of peer pressure?  Are you saying that we are only a societal change in thinking from theocratic rule?  We Atheist simply do not believe in God?  Where do we begin to qualify such paranoid statements?  I like most of your posts Unbeliever and we are on the same side; but your innuendo of what Bruce thinks or might do are not too different from what a fundamentalist might accuse an Atheist. 

Unbeliever - 31 July 2008 12:07 PM

In a world with only Christians, the spin down the maelstrom of retardation will not be held back. The progress that secular society has made will only guarantee that the return into the darkages is not instant. It will happen in one small seemingly harmless step at a time and before you know it the frog is boiled.

Now the apocalypse?

Is somebody chronicling our new athelogy?

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Posted: 31 July 2008 03:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]  
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LogicAndReason, in your eagerness to defend the person Bruce, you both went ahead and argued with yourself for almost half a post, and you went out of your way to defend religious moderation.

By arguing with yourself I am referring to how you defended by non existing attack of Bruce being a fundamentalist. The whole point of my post would had been completely wasted if he was, it demans that he is a moderate.

There is this book, its called the bible. It is claimed to be science and absolute. Believing this more or less demands that you be an ignorant murderous fuckwit.
Bruce seems to only qualify for one of those attributes fully, and possibly bordering on another.
This means that something has happened between the point where Bruce grants credence to this ancient text as truth, and the point where he lives his life.

There are a number of alternatives for how people pull this off, and they all fall under religious moderation. Or, as it should more accurately be called scriptural devalvation.

The first alternative seems to be the most common among most European moderates. This is what Daniel Dennett defines as belief in belief in god.
These people, while giving a good show. Does not actually believe in the bible as truth. But they believe in the life philosophy of certain quotes, or they believe in having a book of wisdom by their bed or they believe in eating crackers or wearing white clothes.

These people are not that dangerous, because if they really believe in belief in god only. Whether they admit that or not, they will never go to extremes such as voting to outlaw homosexuality. Because they don’t actually have faith in any truth claims in the bible.
These people are a problem still because they misrepresent the faith outwards by supporting it while not admitting that they don’t actually believe in it.

The second category is people who actually do believe that the bible is a book of facts about hte universe, and that the moral codes are not designed by humans.
These people require a serious mental partition because while they are confident that the book is true, they will ignore vast portions of the text as if it is not.
These people are way more dangerous because these are the ones who living in a perfect theocracy are likely to most quickly leave these rationalizations behind.


One could make an analogy with some arbitrary dangerous ideology. I prefer to use Nazism because most people agree on it being hazardous. I’m not necessarily equating nazi’s with christians now I am just making a point.

If there was a nazi group, who claimed to believe that Mein Kampf is an awesome book, and its clearly the best book ever written. These people believe that Jews and other people are inferior, that the Aryan race came from the gods, but they eventually lost their divine powers by mating with the lesser races, mixing their pure blood.
This person would be genuinely scare to me, because as we all know we act based on our beliefs, and I can easily extrapolate some actions from that belief system.

But lets say this person then says that he believes all of that to be true, but does not think that its right to kill jews or ban people from having sex with slavic people.
Would this make me feel any better?

Whether this person is a nice guy, I would be ruthless in pointing out the flaw in these beliefs and the kinds of behaviour they demand. Just him saying that he won’t go out and kill jews cause it seems wrong, is way not enough of an assurance for me that he will not become a murderous nazi the day that everyone is a moderate nazi.

Thats the danger of religious moderation. No matter how nice you may be, if you give a pass to faith, if you just accept that the bible contans divine words without having evidence for it. There are risks that you will not be a nice guy the day all the other nice guys are gone.

When the day comes, when the whole population of the world are moderate christians, the step to considering homosexuality unnatural is not that far, the step from there to consider it a sin is not that far, the step from there to restrain rights for homosexuals is not far, the step to forcing homosexuals to not reveal their sexuality publicly is not far, the step to outlawing homosexuality is not far, the step to the death penalty for homosexuality is not far.

Every step can be taken easily, all you need is a lot of people believing the bible to be the word of god, and soon all those phrases that were out of fashion will start becomming a bit more acceptable again.

I’m not saying it has to go down that way. Most likely all those moderates who don’t really believe in god would finally be forced to be honest enough to give up their faith at that point.

I hope that Bruce either considers the implications of granting credence to claims without evidence or that he is one of those people who actually don’t believe in that stuff.

If neither, my concerns are still standing.

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Posted: 31 July 2008 05:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]  
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Unbeliever, are moderates our enemies?  I wholeheartedly agree with your Dennett reference about the “Belief in Belief” and I don’t know if we can scientifically prove it, but that may be a large majority of all theist; Dan Dennett is far more qualified than I to make that statement.

I do know Bruce personally and he is more like me than he is different; we are separated by belief and non-belief.

You make some statements above similar to many I too have made, I only ask that we examine what we are saying and assess our own dogmatic ideals.  Let’s consider these:

Unbeliever - 31 July 2008 07:39 PM

There is this book, its called the bible. It is claimed to be science and absolute. Believing this more or less demands that you be an ignorant murderous fuckwit..

Is this any less bigoted than saying homosexuality is a sin?  Do all or even most Christians make this claim?

Unbeliever - 31 July 2008 07:39 PM

These people are a problem still because they misrepresent the faith outwards by supporting it while not admitting that they don’t actually believe in it.

Eighty-five percent of people in Iceland are members of the Church of Iceland; less than twenty-five percent attend church.  Only thirty-four percent claim to believe in God.  The same hods true in Norway, Sweden and other Europen countries.  I think this is America in another generation.  All four of my children are secular (my wife is a deist) as are many of their friends.  Moderates fall away from the fundamentalism and in time fiction goes to the shelf.  Maybe I’m wrong.

I’m taking a pass over the Nazi comparison (I know you are not trying to lump Christians in with Nazis) because that is a classic in-group/out-group fascist and nationalist phenomenon not applicable to any of the hundreds of Christians I know.  This is not to say that some of the Neo-Con, Right-wing, Gay-bashing fuckwits who also call themselves Christians do not scare me…they do.

Unbeliever - 31 July 2008 07:39 PM

Thats the danger of religious moderation. No matter how nice you may be, if you give a pass to faith, if you just accept that the bible contans divine words without having evidence for it. There are risks that you will not be a nice guy the day all the other nice guys are gone.

I think historical Jesus is a total myth and what you are saying above is also a myth.  We hate when theist presuppose about us and we are guilty of the same.  I’m fairly ignorant but what is the difference? 

Unbeliever - 31 July 2008 07:39 PM

When the day comes, when the whole population of the world are moderate christians, the step to considering homosexuality unnatural is not that far, the step from there to consider it a sin is not that far, the step from there to restrain rights for homosexuals is not far, the step to forcing homosexuals to not reveal their sexuality publicly is not far, the step to outlawing homosexuality is not far, the step to the death penalty for homosexuality is not far.

My friend, judging homosexuality is bigotry.  It is anti-scientific.  My adult children don’t even understand that this is an issue.  I will fight to my last breath against hatred and bigotry but only against those individuals who display such hatred.  Go read Chris Hedges and see that there are plenty of bible-believing Christians out there who know that the bible is wrong on homosexuality.  We need to make these people our friends!  We will never win this battle without them.

Unbeliever - 31 July 2008 07:39 PM

I hope that Bruce either considers the implications of granting credence to claims without evidence or that he is one of those people who actually don’t believe in that stuff.

If neither, my concerns are still standing.

I hold our group to higher standards because I think Atheism is a further evolution or meme.  We have transcended superstition and are free to discover many new answers clouded by the blanket of religion.  But let’s not fall into the trap of becoming Utopia-builders or judges; we are fighting so hard to loose those bonds ourselves. Moderation is the next-step to where we are…let’s help pull them through. b

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Posted: 11 August 2008 09:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]  
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I got to admit, I really do suck at multi-argument discussions like these. Somewhere when the number of separate quotes being replied to exceeds three, and each contains several lines of text I just end up wandering off. Not because I dislike the discussion, or because I can’t reply but because I always end up tripping over my own thoughts when I write a cut up reply like that.

Its just that my mind wanders a lot and between the point where I answer the first quote, and start writing a reply to the last, the train of thought in my head has changed tracks and I have to go back to the first quote to rewrite it with a different moral.

So usually I end up writing a single reply to what I felt was the core of the argument, in favor of coherence. I likely miss a lot of counter arguments, some that might had been relevant so if I do this time around, feel free to repeat them.

I think moderates are the enemy. I think they are a far less imminent enemy, but they are not allies nor neutral.

I definately agree with you on the fact that moderates are close enough to reach, and we need to pull them through. I do alot of that in my everyday life in a much less confrontational way.

BUT, I feel that it is important that in the attempt to kindly talk these people out of some really dumb ideas, we don’t go so far out of our way being nice, that we end up adding more bricks to their defensive wall.

We can’t get people out of religious moderation while pretending that religious moderation is good.
I am concerned with dogma and not religion per say, and one of the ways in which I do attack moderation is to point out the relatively short step from moderation to fundamentalism.

Because the step is not any further than from moderation to atheism if you actually do believe in god, the resurrection, jesus and all that jazz.

You on several points want to argue over the fact that most Christians do not claim the things I allegedly claim that they claim…
But, I just said that the bible, makes those claims. Not people I know perfectly well that many moderates don’t object to homosexuality.

But while these people wander around happy as clowns in their personal delusions. Someone has to shake them into facing the contradition clashing right in front of them.

Religious moderates do not consider the consequences of their beliefs because they don’t think there are any.

THey do not consider that its vastly important that if they are going to moderate religion. They HAVE to understand on what basis they moderate.

If a Christian moderate, swears his/her faith in the bible. I could not care less if he decides to ignore those passages wishing death on homosexuals.
The only way I could care if he/she could tell me WHY that particular passage has to go.

No moderates are ever forced to account for what standard they use to censor the bible, and without a standard, there is no way of knowing what they will moderate and not moderate tomorrow. And most importantly there is no guarante that something moderated today will stay so tomorrow.

I am convinced that what kind of religious person someone is, is determined in 00% of cases by how they were raised.
Evangelicals raise evangelical children, we have a lot of moderates because moderate parents, moderate society and secular society raise these children with ideas and values that nullify certain parts of the bible.

Moderates are just not raised to follow the bible literary.
But this might not always be the case, if evangelism spreads, if religion creeps into politics and government, these factors driving moderation will weaken.
Religious moderates will be key to preventing fundamentalism from ever taking over our world again. But ONLY if they wake up and face these questions.

Thats why I grab moderates by the shoulders and shake them hard with some very confrontational comments from time to time. I’m not trying to generalize and say that I know every moderate is a fundamentalist at heart. I am trying to force them into facing the consequences of their beliefs. Because they don’t think there are any.

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Posted: 12 August 2008 06:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]  
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Unbeliever - 12 August 2008 01:49 AM

Religious moderates do not consider the consequences of their beliefs because they don’t think there are any.

 

This strikes at the heart of my personal conflict because it is so true!  They do not think there are any consequences to their belief system and there are.  Thanks for that clarity.

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