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Argument for Tolerance from Harmless, Incorrect Belief
Posted: 28 March 2009 08:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]  
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burt - 27 March 2009 10:07 PM

. . . I take an attitude of suspending judgment on the essential claims of religions. . . .

Then I’d call you a religious moderate. To some people who hold a terminal degree in a science, which you do, essential claims of religions are set up in a context that is degrading to the individual and the world at large. To this day in many societies, including ours, religions remain the perceived gatekeeper of moral fitness due in large part to the fact that a terminal degree in science is a rare thing. Meanwhile, the perceived high morality exclusively inherent to religions continues as it has been for a long time with the rare exception of pendulum-swing attempts made by authority figures such as talk show hosts, news commentators, politicians, professors.

Valuing a shred or two of decency that lie among vast amounts of trash inherent to religious systems seems unnecessary and odd.

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Posted: 28 March 2009 08:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]  
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lindajean - 28 March 2009 11:45 AM

Burt
Where we do agree is that it isn’t doing a child a favor to insist that religious myths are factual truths, but young kids have a tough time telling the difference between fact and fiction and will tend to take fictional accounts as fact.

Exactly, so why do it?

Burt

Ideally, parents would be sensitive to this and teach in accord with their children were capable of understanding but that assumes that the parents are pretty enlightened as well.

“Assume” is not reality in my neck of the woods. I understand your point of view, but it seems a bit lofty and unrealistic. In a perfect world, sure….............

Burt

I don’t know how Piaget is regarded in education these days, but it seems to me that rigorous critical thinking only comes in starting around age 9 (and can blossom in the teens, for sure).

That’s correct.  In fact he would say the “rigorous” part of critical thinking doesn’t come about until around 12 (the age of reason I once heard it quipped.)  So in the meantime let’s fill that 5 year old’s pretty little head with lots of fantasy and tell her it is God’s truth.


Piaget was a genius.  Geniuses don’t do well in the education field.  Only politicians, bean counters and business administrators seem to thrive.  smirk

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Piaget

I think we’re coming at this from two different viewpoints.  You seem to me to be talking about what would be desirable in your idea of a perfect world (there are other discussions we could have about this…).  I think I’m recognizing that in the real world most parents are going to be sending their kids to Sunday school and wanting them to have a “proper” religious upbringing.  So from my perspective the best thing to do is to try and minimize the fundamentalist aspect of this.  A kid can be told that some story like Joseph and the Multi-Colored Dream Coat, or etc. is factual truth and this can be drummed into their heads; or they can be told the story without much distinction being made between “bible stories” and “OZ stories” except that the former are told in Sunday school and the latter read to them at home (along with Greek myths, Norse myths, African, Indian, Chinese, and other myths).  Coupled with other parental input this can provide a cultural foundation for kids to build on (and grow out of) rather than a box they can’t think outside of.  But most parents aren’t going to be doing this so it’s a matter of education of one generation so that the next generation is a little bit less fundamentalist and I think this is going pretty well. 

The other factor now is the major influence of the media in transmission of attitudes, ideas, and beliefs.  Forget the noisy skirmishes over teaching evolution in schools for a moment and look at how much the idea of evolution has penetrated popular culture (at a minimum, how common the word is).  This is one area where restrictive upbringings can be challenged with relative ease and in a stealth way (e.g., in the background and context of the story rather than the immediate action) that gets past the automatic censors that people put up.

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Posted: 29 March 2009 12:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]  
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Burt
I think I’m recognizing that in the real world most parents are going to be sending their kids to Sunday school and wanting them to have a “proper” religious upbringing.  So from my perspective the best thing to do is to try and minimize the fundamentalist aspect of this.  A kid can be told that some story like Joseph and the Multi-Colored Dream Coat, or etc. is factual truth and this can be drummed into their heads; or they can be told the story without much distinction being made between “bible stories” and “OZ stories” except that the former are told in Sunday school and the latter read to them at home (along with Greek myths, Norse myths, African, Indian, Chinese, and other myths).  Coupled with other parental input this can provide a cultural foundation for kids to build on (and grow out of) rather than a box they can’t think outside of.  But most parents aren’t going to be doing this so it’s a matter of education of one generation so that the next generation is a little bit less fundamentalist and I think this is going pretty well.

So you are saying that by going along with the benign liberal church (whose adult members innocuously want to give their children a proper religious upbringing)—this is going to counter balance (or reduce or negate) the fundamentalist views in proceeding generations?  Has history shown this to be the case or is this just wishful thinking on your part?  Do you have some reason to believe there is any connection between the two?

And it is “going pretty well” in the sense that we have a populace that elects people like GWB for 8 years of “leadership” and when he states in reference to God that he gets help in making decisions about going to war, etc…and we all kind of numbly nod our heads and yawn because we know deep inside he really doesn’t mean it.

Burt
The other factor now is the major influence of the media in transmission of attitudes, ideas, and beliefs.  Forget the noisy skirmishes over teaching evolution in schools for a moment and look at how much the idea of evolution has penetrated popular culture (at a minimum, how common the word is).  This is one area where restrictive upbringings can be challenged with relative ease and in a stealth way (e.g., in the background and context of the story rather than the immediate action) that gets past the automatic censors that people put up.

How does that happen?  People hear the word evolution and see it in the news and they will then have an epiphany about their true-to-the-heart religious beliefs that falsifies them?  Do you think most people hearing about evolution in the news actually have any real understanding of it in a scientific manner?  Isn’t it more likely they will hear about evolution and it will simply reinforce their typical and religiously jaded stereotypes about it as science’s attempt to condemn man and his relationship to god?

I think Sam sums up religious moderates the best when he says:

Religious moderates, are in large part, responsible for the religious conflicts in our world, because their beliefs provide the context in which scriptural literalism and religious violence can never be adequately opposed.

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Posted: 29 March 2009 04:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]  
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lindajean - 29 March 2009 04:59 PM

Burt
I think I’m recognizing that in the real world most parents are going to be sending their kids to Sunday school and wanting them to have a “proper” religious upbringing.  So from my perspective the best thing to do is to try and minimize the fundamentalist aspect of this.  A kid can be told that some story like Joseph and the Multi-Colored Dream Coat, or etc. is factual truth and this can be drummed into their heads; or they can be told the story without much distinction being made between “bible stories” and “OZ stories” except that the former are told in Sunday school and the latter read to them at home (along with Greek myths, Norse myths, African, Indian, Chinese, and other myths).  Coupled with other parental input this can provide a cultural foundation for kids to build on (and grow out of) rather than a box they can’t think outside of.  But most parents aren’t going to be doing this so it’s a matter of education of one generation so that the next generation is a little bit less fundamentalist and I think this is going pretty well.

So you are saying that by going along with the benign liberal church (whose adult members innocuously want to give their children a proper religious upbringing)—this is going to counter balance (or reduce or negate) the fundamentalist views in proceeding generations?  Has history shown this to be the case or is this just wishful thinking on your part?  Do you have some reason to believe there is any connection between the two?

I think history has shown this—what was the social atmosphere around religion only 100 years ago?  200 years ago?  500 years ago?  Lots of the fundamentalism we see today is its thrashing about in its dying gasps. 

lindajean - 29 March 2009 04:59 PM

And it is “going pretty well” in the sense that we have a populace that elects people like GWB for 8 years of “leadership” and when he states in reference to God that he gets help in making decisions about going to war, etc…and we all kind of numbly nod our heads and yawn because we know deep inside he really doesn’t mean it.

And now he is history…, the days when the Republican party could hang onto power through an alliance with the religious right are gone.  The Reagan Revolution is over and we’re in for 20 - 30 of the Obama years (which will go very nicely for a while, then degenerate into mere rhetoric and political cronyism just like every other political transformation). 

lindajean - 29 March 2009 04:59 PM

Burt
The other factor now is the major influence of the media in transmission of attitudes, ideas, and beliefs.  Forget the noisy skirmishes over teaching evolution in schools for a moment and look at how much the idea of evolution has penetrated popular culture (at a minimum, how common the word is).  This is one area where restrictive upbringings can be challenged with relative ease and in a stealth way (e.g., in the background and context of the story rather than the immediate action) that gets past the automatic censors that people put up.

How does that happen?  People hear the word evolution and see it in the news and they will then have an epiphany about their true-to-the-heart religious beliefs that falsifies them?  Do you think most people hearing about evolution in the news actually have any real understanding of it in a scientific manner?  Isn’t it more likely they will hear about evolution and it will simply reinforce their typical and religiously jaded stereotypes about it as science’s attempt to condemn man and his relationship to god?

Look at the way the word relativity has worked its way into society, or Freud (one of the major contributors to the decline of the strangle hold religions use to have on the popular mind).  I don’t buy the post-modern idea that changing the language changes the way people think, but it does help to open the door a crack.  Words carry ideas, and even distorted, the ideas carry underlying attitudes.  The other factor is that if a word is repeated often enough it loses whatever emotional charge it had and becomes just another word.  (That was one of Reagan’s master strokes of magic, making the word “liberal” a dirty word.  Republicans were able to live off of that for 25 years or so but by last year all the magic of that formula was gone.) 

lindajean - 29 March 2009 04:59 PM

I think Sam sums up religious moderates the best when he says:

Religious moderates, are in large part, responsible for the religious conflicts in our world, because their beliefs provide the context in which scriptural literalism and religious violence can never be adequately opposed.

Well, that’s Sam’s opinion and I think it is pretty limited, I’d even be willing to debate him on that.

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Posted: 01 April 2009 04:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]  
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burt

I think history has shown this—what was the social atmosphere around religion only 100 years ago?  200 years ago?  500 years ago?  Lots of the fundamentalism we see today is its thrashing about in its dying gasps.

Thrashing about while the use of WMD becomes more realistic, possible and relevant.

burt

And now he is history…, the days when the Republican party could hang onto power through an alliance with the religious right are gone.  The Reagan Revolution is over and we’re in for 20 - 30 of the Obama years (which will go very nicely for a while, then degenerate into mere rhetoric and political cronyism just like every other political transformation).

That is a good description of a glass half full (optimism).

Look at the way the word relativity has worked its way into society, or Freud (one of the major contributors to the decline of the strangle hold religions use to have on the popular mind).  I don’t buy the post-modern idea that changing the language changes the way people think, but it does help to open the door a crack.  Words carry ideas, and even distorted, the ideas carry underlying attitudes.  The other factor is that if a word is repeated often enough it loses whatever emotional charge it had and becomes just another word.  (That was one of Reagan’s master strokes of magic, making the word “liberal” a dirty word.  Republicans were able to live off of that for 25 years or so but by last year all the magic of that formula was gone.)

I think Liberal has just been replaced with Socialist.  The same connotation continues to apply, just a different word taking its place.


And most of the change that came about from the last election was because of the inefficiency of Bush.  People got mad because the economy sucks and it hit their pocket books. If the economy had not tail spun the story would be different.  I don’t think people have changed that much over the last 10 years at all.

burt


Well, that’s Sam’s opinion and I think it is pretty limited, I’d even
be willing to debate him on that.

I’ll pass that on to Sam the next time I see him.

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Posted: 02 April 2009 08:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]  
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lindajean - 01 April 2009 08:23 PM

And now he [Bush] is history…, the days when the Republican party could hang onto power through an alliance with the religious right are gone.  The Reagan Revolution is over and we’re in for 20 - 30 of the Obama years (which will go very nicely for a while, then degenerate into mere rhetoric and political cronyism just like every other political transformation).

That is a good description of a glass half full (optimism).

Look at the way the word relativity has worked its way into society, or Freud (one of the major contributors to the decline of the strangle hold religions use to have on the popular mind).  I don’t buy the post-modern idea that changing the language changes the way people think, but it does help to open the door a crack.  Words carry ideas, and even distorted, the ideas carry underlying attitudes.  The other factor is that if a word is repeated often enough it loses whatever emotional charge it had and becomes just another word.  (That was one of Reagan’s master strokes of magic, making the word “liberal” a dirty word.  Republicans were able to live off of that for 25 years or so but by last year all the magic of that formula was gone.)

I think Liberal has just been replaced with Socialist.  The same connotation continues to apply, just a different word taking its place.


And most of the change that came about from the last election was because of the inefficiency of Bush.  People got mad because the economy sucks and it hit their pocket books. If the economy had not tail spun the story would be different.  I don’t think people have changed that much over the last 10 years at all.

I don’t think you are seeing the overall unity of the processes going on.  Of course “Liberal” got replaced with “Socialist”, they took it to the extreme but it didn’t work.  The economy sucking is part of the collapse of Reaganism.  Political (and other) movements start out all bright and shinny, then trail off into cronyism and cynicism.  Bush was trying to live off the Reagan legacy rather than having the capacity to reinvigorate it, and that tank was empty.  Now we have the “Obama revolution” and themes that have been and will be set over the next 2 - 3 years will likely dominate the political world for the next 20 - 30 years.  It’s not people changing much over the past 10 years, it’s a social gestalt that has been changing over the past 3 - 4 of years.  Let’s say that one set of memes has worn out and is in the process of being replaced by another.

[ Edited: 02 April 2009 08:46 AM by burt]
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Posted: 02 April 2009 03:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]  
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Burt
don’t think you are seeing the overall unity of the processes going on.  Of course “Liberal” got replaced with “Socialist”, they took it to the extreme but it didn’t work.  The economy sucking is part of the collapse of Reaganism.  Political (and other) movements start out all bright and shinny, then trail off into cronyism and cynicism.  Bush was trying to live off the Reagan legacy rather than having the capacity to reinvigorate it, and that tank was empty.  Now we have the “Obama revolution” and themes that have been and will be set over the next 2 - 3 years will likely dominate the political world for the next 20 - 30 years.  It’s not people changing much over the past 10 years, it’s a social gestalt that has been changing over the past 3 - 4 of years.  Let’s say that one set of memes has worn out and is in the process of being replaced by another.

Yes, we can say that and I hope you are correct.  I don’t see it in “revolutionary” terms.  I see it in economic and pragmatic terms and that could be why I fail to see the “overall unity” of your vision here.

BTW:  Do you need help with the quote blocks?

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Posted: 07 April 2009 01:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]  
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teuchter - 22 March 2009 01:35 AM

On the other hand, I don’t think “tenets of the faith are harmless;”  any delusion, any refusal to face reality, cannot in the end be harmless…But an actual belief in a god, or in eternal life, can never be wholly benign in my view.

Good point. The issue is when an idea or proposition has no basis in evidence or even in observation. The acceptance of such ideas equates to a devaluing of the evidentiary principle. That’s worse when it’s done in a compartmentalized way, because there’s no consistency or guiding principle. Far better for a person to devalue the principle in all cases.

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Posted: 07 April 2009 02:50 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]  
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K Carsto. Faith is harmful. Then why do about 5 billion people have it?

Is it really the greatest story ever told?

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Posted: 09 April 2009 08:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]  
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McCreason - 07 April 2009 06:50 PM

Is it really the greatest story ever told?

The appropriate response is the Snopes principle that a story’s verisimilitude or entertainment value has nothing to do with its factual accuracy. The anti-ripoff axiom “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” would apply to stories in general. Verisimilitude is the most deceptive because a story may appear true only because it may jibe with our emotional outlook or preconceptions or biases, and we should be wary of trusting those things.

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Posted: 10 April 2009 09:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]  
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To the extent that the dogma in question can be used to justify diminishing the well being, or contributing to the suffering, of conscious animals (including humans, of course), it ought to be attacked.

Otherwise, don’t you think we should just mind our own business?

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Posted: 11 April 2009 05:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]  
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Silver Bullet - 11 April 2009 01:07 AM

To the extent that the dogma in question can be used to justify diminishing the well being, or contributing to the suffering, of conscious animals (including humans, of course), it ought to be attacked.

Otherwise, don’t you think we should just mind our own business?

Study the history of how any minority group obtained rights and respect. As far as I know, none of them gained anything by being good little boys and girls.

We ARE minding our own business. Ensuring that empiricism is adopted over dogma is our business if we want to survive for a little while longer. Dogma and faith lead to decisions that adversely affect everyone.  It is not benign to make decisions based on an ancient compilation of superstitious murderers and bigots.

Many tragic events in the last few years were perpetrated by religious fanatics like G. W. Bush and Bin Laden. When we allow the “moderates” to believe fairy tales without question, then we end up with leaders who use the same fantasies to guide their decisions. Tolerance does not mean accepting everyone’s bullshit without questioning it and revealing it.

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Posted: 11 April 2009 06:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]  
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Beam

Obviously you are a fundamentalist, dogmatic atheist.

red face

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Posted: 11 April 2009 07:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]  
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Beam - 11 April 2009 09:28 AM

We ARE minding our own business. Ensuring that empiricism is adopted over dogma is our business if we want to survive for a little while longer. Dogma and faith lead to decisions that adversely affect everyone.  It is not benign to make decisions based on an ancient compilation of superstitious murderers and bigots.

Good point. I would state it more broadly - the potential for harm from a proposition or conclusion is greater when a person reaches these through some avenue other than empiricism.

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Posted: 11 April 2009 07:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]  
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Carstonio - 11 April 2009 11:14 AM

Good point. I would state it more broadly - the potential for harm from a proposition or conclusion is greater when a person reaches these through some avenue other than empiricism.

Or maybe it could be the choice of whether to be social like termites or solitary like panthers. No harm done either way. It’s just an adaptive strategy. Termites have to work out their own approaches to population control. It’s paradoxical, in the case of god-botherers, since they adopt solitary or social strategies as it suits their ideological convenience, and has nothing to do with real survival. This will never end well for them.

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