What are the chances, really?
Posted: 03 November 2006 04:26 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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What are the chances, do you think, of the religious discussion ever actually ending?  I do not mean ending completely, there will always be SOME people who cling to the fantasy, but I mean ending on a wide scale.  One side has to win out, doesn't it?  Are people evolving towards a more thoughtful way of viewing the world?  Are they interested in relying on evidence as the basis of 'truth'?  I seriously wonder what good it does to speak to people who already agree with me.  It does help to vent, but does it help the cause?  Is there a cause?  It is sad that the very nature of free thought restricts atheists from banding together, its just not our "style".  Sure we need comfort and solace, like any human being, but banding together to overthrow the world religious/ignorant order, it seems like an impossible task.  I am an optimistic pessimist (sounds oxymoronic, but it is not), I feel very good about trying for this thing of ours…this way in which we look at the world…but I feel very bad about its prospect for success.  Anyone share these feelings?

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Posted: 03 November 2006 09:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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I think there will always be holy books with us. Parents teach their teachings to their children, and so on and so on.

Probably the best way to be rid of religion is to form your own colony—colony of the secularists.  :wink:

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Posted: 04 November 2006 08:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Superstition and evolution

Michael, we might be talking about the evolution of the human mind, and that can take thousands of years, or a hundred thousand years.  Sam Harris, and others, are pointing out that religious faith (as bigotry) coupled with modern weapons of mass destruction, create a recipe for disaster.  Technology in the hands of bigots might destroy us, or it might wake us up - speed up the evolution of the mind - hasten us out of the ages of superstition and myth.

We read about the blood and gore of the Aztecs and their gods.  Hopefully, in 500 years people will read about the blood and gore of our ‘Wars of the Fundies’ with equal horror and astonishment.  This kind of religion will be recognized for what it is - a force that divides people against each other.  Bigotry will be seen in the same light as we now see racism.  Fundamentalist churches will be viewed the way we presently view KKK meetings, or American Nazi Party rallies - places where hatred and intolerance are fostered.  (I am right, and everyone else is wrong).

I’ve heard of some recent studies that found that the world’s happiest countries seem to have very low church or mosque attendance.

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Posted: 04 November 2006 08:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Religion will be with us only as long as there are those who benefit from the perpetuation of fear and ignorance.

Pete

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Posted: 04 November 2006 08:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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[quote author=“unsmoked”]Superstition and evolution

Michael, we might be talking about the evolution of the human mind, and that can take thousands of years, or a hundred thousand years.

I think that should be corrected to say the the human brain may take hundreds of thousands of years to evolve.

The “mind” however may be another thing and I think that we can take some comfort in that. Perhaps the mind can change faster. Some of these memes are thousands of years old and certainly entrenched but also constantly competing for mind space with all of the other memes in a very Darwinian way. These kinds of growths foster in the dark and daylight is the best disinfectant. As the world shinks and information becomes more widely available, the old meme’s especially may have a hard time competeting. Daniel Dennett thinks that the best thing we can do is foster comparative religion education in schools so that other memes have access to people especially children. Of course the meme’s are violently opposed to anything like this as they are all mutually exclusive. I think that with more information they might cancel each other out.

[quote author=“unsmoked”]We read about the blood and gore of the Aztecs and their gods.  Hopefully, in 500 years people will read about the blood and gore of our ‘Wars of the Fundies’ with equal horror and astonishment.

Oh please no, don’t say it has to be. This is what we have to stop. At least let the war go on in mind space and not actually.

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Posted: 04 November 2006 04:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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[quote author=“hampsteadpete”]Religion will be with us only as long as there are those who benefit from the perpetuation of fear and ignorance.

Pete

It will also exist as long as people have a fear of the unknown and decide to rely on superstition instead of rational though.

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Posted: 04 November 2006 04:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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[quote author=“Anonymous”][quote author=“hampsteadpete”]Religion will be with us only as long as there are those who benefit from the perpetuation of fear and ignorance.

Pete

It will also exist as long as people have a fear of the unknown and decide to rely on superstition instead of rational though.

thought

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Posted: 04 November 2006 04:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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[quote author=“eucaryote”][quote author=“unsmoked”]Superstition and evolution

Michael, we might be talking about the evolution of the human mind, and that can take thousands of years, or a hundred thousand years.

I think that should be corrected to say the the human brain may take hundreds of thousands of years to evolve.

The “mind” however may be another thing and I think that we can take some comfort in that. Perhaps the mind can change faster.

From what I’ve read:
(1) There isn’t actually a consensus among neurobiologists about the differentiation between brain and mind/consciousness.  Is there any evidence to suggest that mind is actually separate from brain structure?  I would suggest that we are our brains and not some metaphysical disconnect.
(2) In my understanding, evolution is change in an organism in the hopes of increasing survivability of said organism.  This change can be caused by a number of things including ecological or social pressures.  If this is more or less the case, then what are the current pressures being placed upon humans that would cause an “evolution” of the brain?

Let us, as a global civilization, work toward a goal of rational thought and discourse that doesn’t involve waiting around for evolutionary processes to resolve our issues.

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Posted: 04 November 2006 11:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Sam points out that while Americans poll somewhere around 83% claiming they are “religious,” Swedes poll in the opposite direction, about 80 % as not religious.  The Swedes, and many Europeans, have left religion behind, are trying to do something about global warming, health care and are engaged in a variety of rational problem solving.

When Sam broaches the taboo about how religious moderates enable religious fundamentalists, it is a call to duty to confront moderates with the very doubts they already have, but are reluctant to face.  If these otherwise rational people can be peeled away from irrationality, we can begin to isolate the fundies, marginalize them (they do a good job on their own, ala Ted Haggard), and take over the conversation by simply discussing real problems and their solutions.

So take heart, there is hope, but you must participate by confronting irrationality and dogma when you hear it being proclaimed.

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Posted: 13 November 2006 04:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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[quote author=“gatorron”]Sam points out that while Americans poll somewhere around 83% claiming they are “religious,” Swedes poll in the opposite direction, about 80 % as not religious.  The Swedes, and many Europeans, have left religion behind, are trying to do something about global warming, health care and are engaged in a variety of rational problem solving.

However the global warming hype is another form of religion. Much of it based on fantasy.

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Posted: 13 November 2006 07:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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However the global warming hype is another form of religion. Much of it based on fantasy.

Says the preacher of the global warming denial.

We are indeed a curiosity among civilized nations where driving a car without liability insurance is a criminal offense but operating the economy like if there were no risks associated with destroying the environment is considered the sacred right to protect our lifestyle.

What do you know about the global warming that allows you to shrug off the risks Europeans are concerned about?

T. O.

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